National Fisherman

The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee began the lengthy process of hearings Wednesday, leading to an intended update of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the nation's primary law for managing the nation's fisheries, with widespread consensus among witnesses on the need for better and more timely scientific stock assessments.

But among three Massachusetts congressmen — including the ranking Democrat on the committee, Rep. Ed Markey — there was no consensus on the need for a rewrite of the law to give the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration more flexibility in writing rebuilding plans for overfished species.

In written statements to the committee, Congressmen John Tierney, whose district includes Cape Ann, and William Keating, who represents Cape Cod and the ports along Massachusetts Bay, both underscored the need for greater flexibility. These views were in line with those of retired Congressman Barney Frank, who represented New Bedford before deciding against running again last November in a reconfigured district that did not include that port city.

Markey — who avoided the issue of flexibility in prepared opening comments, and instead hammered the Republicans for blocking fisheries disaster funding for the Northeast groundfishery at the end of the last session — made clear in a statement to the Times last week that he believed Magnuson was sufficiently flexible.

"It is flexible enough that when Massachusetts fishermen and elected officials including myself asked for carryover of unused quota from this year to next, the answer was yes," he said in an email last week. Markey, of Malden, is dean of the Massachusetts congressional delegation and his district includes the coastal communities of Revere and Winthrop.

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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