fisheries

You can make fish and chips using spiny dogfish, a common catch in our waters.
Matthias Meckel, https://tinyurl.com/y6monys9

Dozens of species of fish and shellfish are caught in New England’s waters. But only a handful show up in most seafood retailers. You can probably list them: cod, haddock, scallops, clams, lobster.

Now, it’s not just anecdotal. A citizen science initiative has found that five species dominate at New England seafood counters and that some of the species that are most common out in the ocean are the rarest in our markets.

David Abel

 

The buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is warming the oceans, and the waters off New England’s coast are seeing some of the most dramatic temperature increases of anywhere in the world. And that is having a major effect on lobster populations and the fishermen who rely on them.

Sarah Mizes-Tan / WCAI

The commercial bay scallop season opened on Nantucket at the beginning of November and will run through the end of March, but for bay scallopers, this year’s harvest is already looking to be pretty lean.

Out in Madaket harbor on the western-most edge of Nantucket, scalloper Blair Perkins is throwing out a test dredge, and scanning his catch for the iconic bivalve that seems to be getting scarcer and scarcer in a net full of shells, crabs and spanish moss. 

Chef Scott Robertson: Try Jonah Crab at Home

Nov 14, 2018
Pien Huang/WCAI

As executive chef at Fisherman’s View Restaurant, Scott Robertson is a pioneer in the growing field of Jonah crab cuisine.

Pien Huang/WCAI

The lobster industry in southern New England has been on the decline for decades. As waters warm, some lobster fishermen are adapting by switching their catch to Jonah crab, a crustacean once considered a trash species.

Pien Huang/WCAI

New England’s fishermen are feeling the effects of climate change in fundamental ways, as fish populations respond to changes in the ocean environment. For scientists trying to understand this dynamic system, one big challenge is getting enough data. To address that problem, a number of scientific projects are building on an unlikely collaboration, enlisting data collection from the men and women who are out on the water most.

NOAA

For thousands of years, Atlantic salmon – known as the King of Fish – ran almost every river northeast of the Hudson. And for decades, the first fish caught in Maine’s Penobscot River was actually presented to the president of the United States in a “first fish” ritual.

NOAA

Minke whales may not be New England's best known or most charismatic whales, but some Massachusetts residents have gotten an up close look at them in recent months as several dead minkes have washed up on shore. 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jakecaptive

The New England Fishery Management Council has voted to protect Atlantic herring from midwater trawl boats in a 12-mile buffer zone that would extend from Maine to the tip of Long Island. The matter has divided fishermen in the region, pitting midwater trawlers who fish herring against small boat fishermen, many of whom work off the Cape and Islands and who catch predator fish that rely on the herring as a food source.

Erwan Hesry / unsplash

From cod to lobster, it’s no secret that New England’s fisheries are suffering at the hands of rising water temperatures and ecological shifts related to climate change. But, sometimes, it smacks you in the face.

Moira Brown and New England Aquarium

A workshop in Woods Hole on February 1st brought together an unusual combination of scientists, engineers, fishermen, and government regulators to talk about an even more unusual idea: catching lobsters with no rope connecting the traps at the bottom with a buoy at the surface.

gmri.org

It’s no secret that the lobster fishery in southern New England is in trouble. The population has declined by almost eighty percent in the past few decades. In contrast, lobsters in the Gulf of Maine have exploded and the fishery has seen record landings. So, what gives? 

Right now, fewer than one in five ground fishing trips in New England is monitored by an independent observer. Fishermen say it’s too expensive, and unfair to ask them to pay the cost. The Nature Conservancy is experimenting with an alternative: video monitoring systems, and computer algorithms that could identify fish being caught and thrown overboard on every trip.

As water temperatures rise, southern New England is losing its lobsters.
Derek Keats, Wikimedia Commons / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en

When it comes to the iconic fisheries of New England, lobster is a close second only to cod. But lobsters are not faring well in the waters off southern New England. In fact, on a ten-point scale, lobster biologist Kari Lavalli of Boston University puts the population at a three.

Beth Casoni, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Lobstermen's Association, says lobsters south and west of Cape Cod have faced “a multitude of stressors.” Lavalli agrees, but points the finger primarily at climate change. Both say this is definitely not the fault of those who catch and eat lobsters.

File photo, Flickr

Carlos Rafael, a New Bedford-based fisherman who owned, operated and controlled much of the region’s fishing fleet, pleaded guilty to dozens of federal fraud, conspiracy and tax evasion charges Thursday. The fishing mogul now faces up to 6-and-a-half years in prison.

Around New Bedford, Rafael is known as the ‘Codfather.’ The 64-year-old Portuguese immigrant built a remarkable business, with more than 40 boats at his disposal. His business was so robust, Rafael was allowed to catch about 25 percent of all of the fish New England’s fishermen may bring ashore each season.

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