As Covid-19 rises, Alaskans crowd rivers for wild salmon
“As salmon make their epic voyages from the sea to upriver spawning grounds, Alaskans crowd shorelines to catch enough fish to put up for the winter,” Miranda Weiss writes in FERN’s latest story. But the activity has taken on a new urgency this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic and fears of …
Consolidation and climate change threaten U.S. fisheries, say FERN panelists
While overfishing no longer threatens U.S. fisheries, other pressing sustainability issues, such as finfish aquaculture and consolidation, top the list of concerns among fishers and fisheries experts, according to panelists who spoke at FERN Talks and Eats in New York City on Monday.(No paywall)
Houses passes reauthorization of the ‘fish bill’
The House reauthorized the Magnuson-Stevens Act in a roll call vote on Wednesday. A multi-hour debate over the bill, which regulates fishing in federal waters, centered on its two controversial measures: weakening catch limits for several species of fish, and eliminating a 10-year deadline for fish stock rebuilding.
As abalone numbers drop, sport fishing is banned in Northern California
The state Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously to ban sport fishing of abalone in Northern California in 2018 in an attempt to preserve the imperiled marine snail, said the San Francisco Chronicle.
Groups pledge to do more to save Pacific bluefin tuna
As Pacific bluefin tuna stocks dwindle to 2.6 percent of their historic population, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission have promised to increase the fish’s population sevenfold.
Warmer ocean will mean smaller fish, says study
Fish species could shrink in size by as much as 30 percent thanks to climate change, says a study in the journal Global Change Biology. “Fish, as cold-blooded animals, cannot regulate their own body temperatures. When ocean waters become warmer, a fish’s metabolism accelerates, and it needs more oxygen to sustain its body functions,” says Nexus Media.
Study details aquaculture’s vast potential to feed the world
If the world utilized every appropriate ocean habitat for aquaculture, it could outproduce the global demand for seafood by 100 times, says a study by scientists at the University of California-Santa Barbara in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.
Groups debate fishing rules for Hawaiian national monument
The Honolulu-based Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council is in the midst of a debate about changing the rules governing non-commercial fishing in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument since the monument’s size was quadrupled by the Obama administration.
Women break into Maine’s mostly male lobster fleet
More women are joining Maine’s lobster fleet, breaking down the old stereotype that women are just the fisherman’s wife. Last year, women held 434 of the state's 5,500-plus lobster licenses, hauling in a catch so physically demanding it has long been considered man's work, says NPR.
World’s top tuna company commits to lower bycatch, better labor practices
Responding to pressure from the environmental group Greenpeace, the world’s largest tuna supplier, Thai Union, has announced a series of initiatives designed to improve its fishing practices and protect workers from abuses. Thai Union owns the popular brands Chicken of the Sea and Sealect.
As Asian carp near Great Lakes, Trump threatens program to keep them at bay
After a commercial fisherman pulled a live Asian carp out of a northern Illinois river that empties into Lake Michigan, authorities have expressed concern that more of the invasive species have made it past electric barriers meant to keep them out of the Great Lakes, says the LA Times.
Forecast: A ‘dead zone’ the size of New Jersey in the Gulf of Mexico
Heavy rainfall in May washed the equivalent of an estimated 2,800 rail cars of nitrogen fertilizer down the Mississippi River and will create the third-largest fish-killing "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico in 32 years of monitoring, say federal scientists. They forecast a low-oxygen dead zone of 8,185 square miles, about the size of New Jersey.
White House cancels rule to curb bycatch on West Coast
The Trump administration is canceling a proposed rule that would have shut down any gill net fishery that killed or seriously injured sensitive species like sea turtles, whales and dolphins in West Coast fishing nets. The rule — proposed in 2015 by the “14-member Pacific Fishery Management Council, which manages fisheries in California, Oregon and Washington”— was deemed unnecessary and a cost burden to fishermen by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Anglers plan protests over red snapper season
Sport fishermen, angry over strict limits to the recreational red-snapper catch, are organizing protests along the Gulf of Mexico for June 4. The anglers say the three-day recreational snapper season set by the federal government is cripplingly short and the source of lost business for local marinas and tackle shops.
Three-quarters of California native trout and salmon at risk of extinction
Unless critical habitat is protected and restored, researchers say three-quarters of California's 31 native trout, steelhead and salmon species "will be extinct in the next 100 years," says the Sacramento Bee. "California’s record-breaking drought that officially ended this winter wreaked havoc on many of the already-struggling fish, which depend on cold water."
USDA says once per shift is sufficient for catfish inspection
Ahead of the enforcement date for its catfish inspection program, USDA said it will inspect catfish plants once per shift rather than its original plan of having inspectors in the plant whenever it was in operation. In a Federal Register notice, USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service said catfish plants are more like processing plants than slaughterhouses, which by law cannot operate unless an inspector is present.
EPA gives green light to Bristol Bay mine permit in Alaska
Salmon fishermen are among many groups in Alaska upset by the EPA’s announcement that the Pebble Limited Partnership can now file for a mining permit in Bristol Bay, in the southwestern part of the state.
NOAA reports lower commercial fishing profits
U.S. commercial fishing profits and jobs were down in 2015, due mostly to environmental issues, says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association in its Fisheries Economics of the United States report. Earnings for 2016 have not yet been released.