SHOCKING “OBSERVERS” (SPY) PROGRAM PUTTING GLOUCESTER LOBSTERMEN’S LIVES AT RISK

June 4, 2015 – The NOAA Fisheries sponsored informational meeting held Thursday night at their Gloucester facility did nothing to alleviate lobstermen’s deeply held concerns over the NOAA observer-spy program.

The lobstermen’s greatest concern is safety; safety for their crew, the observer-spy, and for themselves, along with the liability issues and lawsuits that will fall squarely on their shoulders when the accidental injury or drowning invariably occurs.  The financial burden will be huge because of the adjusted insurance rates and the fact that the boats will now be forced to carry expensive safety equipment; combined costs in the tens of thousands of dollars. The observer-spies carry sleeping bags, pillows, personal coolers, measuring boards, baskets, and buckets.

4/15/15 Division of Marine Fisheries Spring Trawl Survey updates

Each spring and fall, Marine Fisheries conducts trawl surveys throughout Massachusetts coastal waters. These surveys have been conducted each May and September since 1978, and are used to determine the condition of fish stocks, evaluate how construction activities affect fishing and the environment, and how best to manage fisheries and protect fishery resources. Check back here daily to see where the trawl survey has been completed.  Stations completed are circled in RED! 

CBBAYtoECC 05.13.2015 708MABAYtoNH 05.09.2015 708

Please see all locations so to avoid potential gear conflicts with the r/v Gloria Michelle and the researchers work.

www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dfg/dmf/programs-and-projects/trawl-survey-updates.html  

Why is the Council Developing this Amendment?

April 1, 2015 – The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) is required by the Magnuson-Stevens fishery Conservation and Management Act to periodically revise and update habitat management measures.  The Council must review essential fish habitat (EFH) designations, as well as any rules in place that minimize adverse fishery effects on EFH to the extent practicable and must identify other actions that encourage conservation and enhancement of fish habitat.  The Omnibus Habitat Amendments 2 addresses these requirements.

As part of the Amendment, the Council intends to update its EFH designations, potentially designate Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (HAPCs) and Designated Habitat Research Area (DHRAs), improve and reduce impacts on spawning groundfish and their spawning activity.  The Proposed DHRA is located in RED on the map above.

Revised Management Plan for Large Whales 12-11-14

On December 11, 2014  NOAA Fisheries announced final revisions to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan.
Based on input from the state of Massachusetts, lobster fishermen and other stakeholders, the size of an area scheduled to be closed in 2015 will be expanded by approximately 912 square miles. The closure start date will be shifted from January to February. By expanding the area, whales will be protected. By shifting the start date to February 1, 2015, the fishing industry will be able to continue fishing through the lucrative holiday season. Other measures were implemented to ensure state and federal regulations were consistent.   NMFS Whale Plan update 2014-29195_PI  MA restricted area chart

 

Fishery Council Approves Actions To Protect Declining Cod

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Newport, RI – November 21, 2014  The following was released by the New England Fishery Management Council:  Responding to scientific information that gulf of Maine cod, an inshore stock of fish that has been harvested by local fishermen for generations, has declined to historic low levels, the New England Fishery Management Council (Council, NEFMC) last week voted on new fishing rules to remedy the problem.

While emergency measures put in place last week by NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service will likely remain in effect until April 30, 2015, the council’s intent is to replace the agency’s restrictions with those listed beginning on May 1, 2015, the start of the next fishing year. Read more here. NEFMC GOM COD

The MLA supports the division of marine fisheries request to national marine fisheries service for exemptions and modifications on whale plan.

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) submitted its request for Exemptions and Modifications to the Whale Plan on August 18th after several meetings with the MLA and industry members to encompass all the industries requests and concerns from across the Commonwealth. The DMF’s letter is following this article for your review. (more…)