fisheries

RIPR FILE

The New England Fishery Management Council made the right move recently, voting to ask the federal government to suspend an at-sea monitoring program required of the groundfish industry, according to long-time fisherman Fred Mattera, who said shifting the cost to fishermen could decimate the industry.

Mattera, who was a commercial fisherman for 40 years, said fishermen already have to deal with quota cutbacks and depressed prices for locally caught fish. 

U.S. Geological Survey

The New England Fishery Management Council has reduced protections of highly sensitive areas in Georges Bank, on the continental shelf east of Cape Cod, and opened it to commercial scalloping. The vote comes after a 12-year-review of habitat protection measures in the Omnibus Habitat Amendment.

Approximately 10,000 square kilometers on Georges Bank, an important fishery area for Rhode Island fishermen, have been protected from fishing for more than 20 years.

Hans-Petter Fjeld / Wikimedia Commons

In regional news, the Gulf of Maine Atlantic salmon, known as the “king of fish,” is one of eight marine species most at risk for extinction in the near future. The fisheries division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration just announced a new campaign to beef up efforts to help these endangered species survive.

NOAA Fisheries biologist Tara Trinko Lake said the Atlantic salmon were once abundant as far south as Connecticut, but they started to decline in the late 1800s from dams, overfishing, and pollution.

Courtesy of Northeast Fisheries Science Center / NOAA

Oceans are becoming more acidic as they absorb all the carbon emissions humans release into the air. And it could impact the Atlantic seaboard’s scallop industry, which brings in hundreds of millions of dollars. A team of researchers is working to predict just how bad the damage might be.

Researchers with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the nonprofit Ocean Conservancy unveiled a computer program that analyzes data on changes in the ocean, the scallop population, and the economy.

The Rhode Island Foundation has announced the winners for this year’s innovation fellowships.  The program is aimed at sparking new ideas for the state. The award comes with a $300,000 grant.

This year’s two winners include John Haley, a scientist specializing in marine fisheries.  He’s working on a product to improve mussel aquaculture.  It’s a kind of cord that’s “pre-loaded” with mussel larvae to speed up the cultivation time for mussel farmers.

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