April 21, 2017 — SEAFOOD NEWS — The Fish, Food and Allied Workers union said that hundreds of snow crab fishing boats are being kept ashore by the ice that has built up around Newfoundland and Labrador. President Keith Sullivan called on the federal government to pay compensation to fish harvesters who are kept away from the fishery. “For many, E.I. benefits run out next week, which will leave families without any income for the foreseeable future, since ice is expected to be a problem until at least mid-May,” the FFAW wrote in a statement.
New England regulators will allow lobster fishing in proposed deep-sea coral protection zones on the Mount Desert Rock and Outer Schoodic Ridges. The New England Fishery Management Council voted 14-1 Tuesday to ban most fishing in the canyons and plateaus where slow-growing, cold-water coral gardens flourish in the dark waters of the Gulf of Maine. But pleas from Maine lobster fishermen who say a trap ban in fertile gulf fishing grounds would cost them millions of dollars helped sway an initially resistant council to grant a lobstering exemption. The Council will vote on the exemption at its meeting in June.
In other news, Greenpeace released its annual sustainability rankings of canned tuna products sold in the US market. John Sackton writes how these rankings have almost nothing to do with tuna sustainability. “Instead, like other supermarket rankings undertaken by Greenpeace, the ranking system is used to reward banners that conform to Greenpeace’s ideology and punish banners that don’t,” Sackton writes.
Meanwhile, the Gulf Seafood Institute and six other Gulf of Mexico seafood industry organizations endorsed North Pacific Fishery Management Council Executive Director Chris Oliver for the open position of Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries. “It is imperative that NOAA Fisheries be guided by an experienced Administrator with a solid track record of uniting these varying interests with a spirit of positivity and mutual respect,” the groups said in a letter sent to Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Jr.
Finally, biologists at NOAA Fisheries’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center cracked the code on how to spawn Pacific sardines in the laboratory, opening a new window on the life cycle of the commercially important species. Some in the industry hope it will better inform industry and managers as to what environmental factors would augment wild reproduction and recruitment.
This story originally appeared on Seafoodnews.com, a subscription site. It is reprinted with permission.