Plumbing the Depths

Federal legislators step up to solve dredge problems

Federal legislators step up to solve dredge problems

To help explain why dredging approvals can be arduous and lengthy, look at a partial list of agencies involved:  
US Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency, United States Fish and Wildlife, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Coastal Zone Management, Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife…
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Dredging projects require sign-off from all of those, and within each agency there often are approvals required from more than one division.

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Comments abound on potential wind energy areas

Comments abound on potential wind energy areas

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) published a Draft Wind Energy Area that extends across approximately 3.5 million acres of ocean off  Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.  Most of the area is off the coast of Massachusetts.

A number of commercial fishermen, fishing industry organizations and others have commented on the Draft Wind Energy Area, which begins 23 miles east of Wellfleet. As the final wind energy area and proposed sale notice for interested companies will be published in the new year, we thought we would share some comments submitted for the draft.

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A trip to D.C. with Seafood Harvesters

A trip to D.C. with Seafood Harvesters

While in Washington, D.C., Aubrey Church, policy manager at Fishermen’s Alliance, was sitting with representatives of 120-foot trawlers, Alaska Berring Sea Crabbers, Oregon’s distant water fleet, and drift and setnet salmon fishermen – all members of Seafood Harvesters of America.

Seafood Harvesters of America, a national commercial fisheries organization, had long been advised that building alliances between commercial fishermen who don’t always agree pays dividends on Capital Hill. 

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Scup celebrated at Meet the Fleet

Scup celebrated at Meet the Fleet

Winslow Hallet Crocker was standing in a crowd gathered at Nauset Marine East in Orleans relishing a grilled scup taco.

While others clustered around Chef Tyler Hadfield, who was serving the mild white fish with sumac-cucumber salsa piled on lavish bread, Hallet Crocker confessed this was his first taste of scup. A recreational fisherman, he had seen the muted silver fish (also known as a porgy) for decades, but he always focused on cod, flounder and black sea bass.

“I throw them back,” he said, thinking they are too difficult to fillet. “I know a lot of people love them.”

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Warming waters outpace fisheries management

Warming waters outpace fisheries management

When people talk about the poster fish of warming waters, black sea bass surfaces. The shimmery, tasty fish is also on the tips of tongues when people talk about flaws in the management system. 

“Populations are really surging off the Northeast, likely related to climate change,” said Hannah Verkamp, research biologist with the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation in Rhode Island.

Since 2010, landings in the southern Atlantic are down 50 percent. In the mid-Atlantic and New England, landings are up 249 percent and 260 percent respectively.

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Underwater noise could have ecosystem repercussions

Underwater noise could have ecosystem repercussions

Decades ago, fishermen knew if they wanted to catch cod they were better off in a skiff; the bearded fish didn’t like the sound of motors.

Years later, the ocean is noisier and scientists are learning how that affects the marine ecosystem.

Aran Mooney, an associate scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has worked on the impact of noise in the ocean for close to 20 years. Then the focus was on Navy sonar, now it’s wind turbines. With one wind farm being built offshore, and seemingly more to come, there are concerns about the fisheries.

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Monkfish research could help fish, fleet

Monkfish research could help fish, fleet

Knowing a big-mouthed, extra-terrestrial-looking fish was going to be the focus of her internship, Ana Brown spent time learning about all things monkfish before she landed at the Fishermen’s Alliance this spring.

What struck her most was not that the fish’s oil is used as a cordial in Japan, or that the lure hanging from the fish’s football-shaped forehead may reveal age; she was impressed by how commercial fishermen have pushed for its protection.

“It was the industry that organized and advocated for them and for a management plan,” Brown said. Management of the great-tasting fish has suffered from lack of data. A recent cut in harvest amounts, now postponed, highlighted the need for better information that Brown’s work will help provide.

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