The last days of the vaquita

Despite a last-ditch effort by a group of radical conservationists, the vaquita — a small porpoise found only in Mexico’s Gulf of California — is going extinct, and will likely disappear this year, reports Ben Goldfarb in FERN’s latest story, published with Pacific Standard. No paywall

Study points to benefits of ‘catch shares’ for U.S. fisheries

A sweeping study of 78 fisheries concludes that market-based “catch share” programs help alleviate a vexing problem: the panicky “race to fish” that shortens seasons, harms fish populations, and imperils the safety of commercial anglers. The study was published in Nature, as Congress considers whether to limit these programs’ expansion.

Whole Foods and others say their tuna will be ethically-caught

Retailers across the country, including Whole Foods, are upping their tuna game with new sustainability standards focused on how the fish was caught. “Last Wednesday Whole Foods Market announced that by January 2018, all canned tuna sold in its stores or used in its prepared foods departments will be sourced from fisheries that use only pole-and-line, troll or handline catch methods that eliminate bycatch (accidental harvest of other fish, birds or mammals) because fishermen are catching tuna one at a time,” says NPR.

New fishing net could help save Maine’s cod

Fishermen in Maine are experimenting with a new kind of trawl net that catches ample flatfish like flounder and sole, but leaves the plummeting cod population alone, says NPR. New Englanders once claimed they could walk across the water on the backs of cod, because they were so plentiful. But the fish is now struggling after decades of overfishing and rising water temperatures. Fishermen who catch them accidentally as bycatch are dinged by a quota manager.

NOAA rule holds fish imports to bycatch standards of U.S.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it has issued a final rule that would hold nations exporting fish and fish products to the United States to the same bycatch standards as U.S. commercial fishing operations.

Bycatch is hurdle to higher ratings for U.S. fisheries

Almost all U.S. fisheries would be rated as "best choice" for environmental sustainability and would "reap rewards in the marketplace for that recognition" if they reduced losses from bycatch, says a new research paper.