IN BRIEF - Conflict looms over effort to reopen protected Gulf of Maine fishing ground
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
Roughly 100 miles off the coast of southern Maine, a hidden, mountainside forest that scientists describe as an ecological time machine offers glimpses of an abundance long lost on the New England coastline.
Schools of oversized cod and pollock congregate in Cashes Ledge, drawn to the food and shelter found in one of the largest, densest kelp forests in the world. Endangered North Atlantic right whales, humpback whales and various species of shark swim above, while sponges, sea stars and sea anemones form a brightly colored blanket on the bottom – all in an area largely off-limits to commercial fishermen.
Now a proposal to reopen part of the 500-square-mile area to groundfishing is reviving debate about how to balance conservation with attempts to keep New England’s historic groundfishing industry from becoming extinct. That debate will continue Tuesday and Wednesday as the New England Fishery Management Council holds public hearings in Brewer and Portland on the Cashes Ledge proposal and other potential changes to regional fishing regulations.
Fishermen and members of the management council – the regional federal commission that regulates the industry – insist that the proposed changes still will protect the rare Cashes Ledge habitat while giving fishermen access to surrounding waters. The council is accepting public comment on the suite of proposed changes through Thursday.
Under the “preferred option” being considered by the council, the more than 500-square-mile closure zone would shrink by roughly 70 percent. All mobile “bottom-tending” fishing gear – such as draggers and trawlers that can disturb the sea floor – would remain banned around Ammen Rock and most of the ledge proper. But fishermen could resume targeting haddock, cod, pollock and other groundfish in surrounding mudflats that the council deemed “less vulnerable to accumulating adverse effects.”
The potential changes come at a critical juncture for New England’s groundfishing fleet.
As many as 350 Maine-based vessels plied the waters for groundfish in 1990; today that number is less than 50. And the $7.6 million in groundfish landed in Maine in 2013 represented roughly 2 percent of the $378.7 million in lobster that was landed that year, and 1.3 percent of the total value of the commercial fisheries harvest in the state that year.
Responding to surveys showing record-low cod populations, the fishery council cut the region’s cod quota by 75 percent in November on top of already severe reductions. The cuts all but eliminated cod fishing in the region this year, although boats can continue to target haddock, pollock and other groundfish with stable populations.
Conservationists and researchers are raising alarms about proposed changes they insist could affect a unique “biodiversity hot spot” in the gulf.
Congress has urged the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) to evaluate wild caught fishery systems and to assess the feasibility and appropriateness of developing organic production, handling, and labeling standards for wild caught seafood.
NOP will host a virtual Town Hall listening session on Thursday, March 18, 2021, from 2:00–3:00 pm Eastern to hear from the organic community and those interested in the wild caught fish industry.
Online Meeting Details
Date: Thursday, March 18, 2021
Time: 2:00-3:00 pm Eastern
The Zoom registration link is available on the Wild Caught Fish Town Hall webpage
After you register, you will receive a meeting link with options to join the Town
Hall by video or phone.
Written comments and questions will also be accepted now through Friday,
March 26, 2021 via email: [email protected]
During the webinar, participants will be able to chat in comments to provide feedback to NOP’s presentation and questions.
A record of the Town Hall typed chat, the Town Hall Slides, and a written transcript will be posted online.
Meeting materials including the agenda, Zoom link, transcript, and NOP’s Report to Congress will be added to the Wild Caught Fish Town Hall webpage linked above as they become available - Source: Laine Welch | Alaska Fish Radio
Europêche has written an open letter to the EU Fisheries Commissioner Sinkevicius criticising the spread of damaging information coming from the Commission.
In the letter, the EU wide fisheres organisation says:
Last Friday an “explanatory note” on the revision of the EU-fisheries control system  was reportedly circulated by the European Commission services to a few Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), mainly within the Committee on Environment.
Source: The Fishing Daily | Read the full articlehere
Thai Union has partnered with conservation organisation The Nature Conservancy (TNC) on a commitment to full transparency in its global tuna supply chains to help combat illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.
The company, home to the Chicken of the Sea and John West brands, will work with TNC to implement ‘on-the-water’ monitoring by 2025 through the use of cameras, GPS and sensors to automatically track onboard activities.
“Thai Union has made significant strides in making sustainability a key attribute of our company, from the creation of our global sustainability strategy, SeaChange, to partnering with leading organisations like The Nature Conservancy,” said Thiraphong Chansiri, president and chief executive of Thai Union.
Protecting 30 percent of the Mediterranean Sea in specific areas will reverse the declining fish stock trend seen in the region and support the recovery of the wider ecosystem, according to new analysis compiled by WWF scientists.
While the E.U. last year pledged to protect 30 percent of land and sea areas by 2030, currently only 9.68 percent of the Mediterranean Sea has been designated for protection, with only 1.27 percent deemed as effectively protected. In its “30 by 30: Scenarios to recover biodiversity and rebuild fish stocks in the Mediterranean” report, WWF maintains that fish stocks will continue to decline if unsustainable fishing and other industrial activities continue.
Author: Jason Holland / SeafoodSource | Read the full article here
All 32 crew of Ocean Choice’s offshore scalloper Atlantic Destiny which issued a mayday reporting a fire on board late have been safely transferred from the vessel, now reported to have been lost. At the time of the incident the vessel was in the George’s Bank area.
All 32 crew members are safe and accounted for. A total of 28 crew members were safely taken via helicopter to Yarmouth where they received medical attention, food and accommodation.
Author: Quentin Bates / FiskerForum | Read the full articlehere
Dates have been announced for next year’s Irish Skipper Expo 2022 and Scottish Skipper Expo 2022 commercial fishing exhibitions.
Irish Skipper Expo 2022 will be held on 25 and 26 March (Friday and Saturday) at the UL Sport Arena in Limerick, while Scottish Skipper Expo 2022 will take place on 13 and 14 May (Friday and Saturday) at the P & J Live arena in Aberdeen.
Show organiser Mara Media had recently consulted exhibitors and visitors on the expos, and the consensus was that the current two-day format, held on a Friday and Saturday, was the most suitable option.
Both expos will feature virtually every type of equipment and support service available to the commercial fishing sector, with the events providing a vitally important showcase to help reinvigorate the industry.
The oceanographic vessel Miguel de Oliver set sail from Cádiz this Tuesday, in a new research campaign of the pelagic ecosystem, where sardines, bocartes (also called anchovies), horse mackerel, xardas (mackerel) or lilies (blue whiting) live. The Ministry of Fisheries joins the Pelago2 campaign with the ship. Scientific management is the responsibility of the Portuguese Institute of Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA). Portugal and Spain come out for the second consecutive year to the aid of their fleets, providing scientific results on the abundance of Sardina pilchardus.
Source: The Voice of Galicia | Read the full articlehere
The value of exports fell by 13%; that of imports, 14.5
The pandemic has not prevented Spanish exports from the agri-food, fisheries and forestry sectors from improving, in global terms, in 2020. The “COVID Report - Foreign Trade, situation of the agri-food and fisheries sector” puts the value of 40,997 million euros in exports registered in the period between the months of April to December 2020, compared to 39,905 million in the same period of 2019. It is 2.7% more.
However, the news for fisheries is less positive: both exports and imports have fallen.
Source: Industrias Pesqueras | Read the full article here
The Digital Seafood Meeting 2021
European seafood market: Changes, challenges and innovation
Be part of the Digital Seafood Meeting gain market information and new business contacts or exchanging ideas with existing contacts. The virtual meeting gives you opportunities for networking before we will meet again in person at our trade fair fish international in 2022. The access to the Digital Seafood Meeting will be available free of charge to all the professional participants from:
Faazi Adam is research and engagement manager at FAIRR, an investor network looking at environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks in the global food sector. Here she takes a look at salmon farming’s sustainability, coinciding with the publication today of Coller FAIRR’s ESG Risks and Opportunities in Aquaculture Special Report
Aquaculture is the fastest growing food production sector globally. It currently accounts for over half of fish consumed by humans.
Author: Faazi Adam / fishfarmingexpert | Read the full articlehere