National Fisherman

First-year NOAA regional administrator John Bullard, who heads the regulation of fisheries from Maine through North Carolina from his perch in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration building in Gloucester's Blackburn Industrial Park, says he doesn't believe the Magnuson-Stevens Act allows the flexibility to extend the current Gulf of Maine cod limits, which cut 22 percent from fishermen's allowable catch a year ago, for another year.

Because of that, he said he will not take that step, and will instead allow new cuts of up to 86 percent take hold for the 2013 fishing year that begins May 1. Saying that the fishing industry simply has to face the reality of NOAA's latest stock assessment data, he and the Department of Commerce may essentially set those limits today — limits that would absolutely devastate a Gloucester and New England groundfishery that Commerce has already declared an "economic disaster," but has shamefully refused to push for any money that could ease it.

But a few other folks, it seems, see the Magnuson-Stevens Act a bit differently. Within hours of Bullard's adamant statement being reported last week, Massachusetts senators John Kerry and Elizabeth Warren joined Congressmen John Tierney, William Keating and Edward Markey in penning a joint letter to Bullard, calling for him to reconsider — especially given that Congress intended the statute to "help prevent the collapse of fisheries."

Read the full story at the Gloucester Daily Times>>

Inside the Industry

NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.


A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.

Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species,  allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.

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