April 10, 2017 — An effort to gain better control over the amount of participation in the East Coast squid fishery will be the subject of a series of public hearings this spring.
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council wants to reduce latent permits for certain kinds of squid. Most years, a few vessels are responsible for bringing the majority of the commercially harvested squid to shore.
The fishery council says it’s concerned that excessive squid fishing could occur if latent permits become active.
Longfin squid fishing’s a major industry, with more than 26 million pounds coming to shore in 2015. It was valued at more than $31 million. Rhode Island’s the biggest producer.
April 4, 2017 — The following was released by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council:
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council will hold nine public hearings in April and May 2017 to solicit public input on the Squid Amendment to the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan. The Council is also soliciting written comments on the amendment through 11:59 pm on May 18, 2017.
The amendment considers measures to reduce latent longfin and Illex squid permits. Currently, a relatively small portion of vessels with limited access (“moratorium”) squid permits account for the majority of landings in most years. The Council is concerned that activation of latent permits in the squid fisheries could lead to excessive fishing effort, potentially resulting in shortened seasons and increased catch of non-target species.
The amendment also considers measures to modify the management of longfin squid during Trimester 2 (May-August). The Council is considering this action because there is concern that the productivity of the longfin squid stock may be negatively impacted if excessive fishing in Trimester 2 does not allow sufficient spawning and/or successful egg hatching from egg mops.
- April 24, 2017, 5:00 – 7:00 PM: The Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce, 12320 Ocean Gateway, Ocean City, MD 21842, 410-213-0144.
- April 25, 2017, 5:00 – 7:00 PM: Holiday Inn by the Bay, 88 Spring St., Portland, ME 04101, 207-775-2311.
- April 26, 2017, 5:00 – 7:00 PM: Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, Annisquam River Marine Fisheries Station, 30 Emerson Ave, Gloucester, MA 01930, 978-282-0308.
- May 2, 2017, 5:00 – 7:00 PM: Congress Hall, 200 Congress Place, Cape May, NJ 08204, 609-884-8421.
- May 3, 2017, 5:00 – 7:00 PM: DoubleTree by Hilton Tinton Falls, 700 Hope Road, Tinton Falls, NJ 07724, 732-544-9300.
- May 4, 2017, 6:00 – 8:00 PM: Webinar, http://mafmc.adobeconnect.com/squid2017/ 800-832-0736, Rm: *7833942#. A listening station will be available at Virginia Marine Resources Commission, 2600 Washington Avenue, 3rd Floor, Newport News, VA 23607, (757) 247– 2200.
- May 8, 2017, 5:00 – 8:00 PM: University of Rhode Island, Corless Auditorium, Watkins Building, 218 Ferry Rd., Narragansett, RI 401-874-6222.
- May 9, 2017, 4:30 – 7:00 PM: Doubletree by Hilton Cape Cod – Hyannis, 287 Iyannough Rd., Hyannis, MA 02601, 508-771-1700.
- May 11, 2017, 5:00 – 7:00 PM: Hyatt Place Long Island/East End, 431 East Main St., Riverhead, NY 11901, 631-208-0002.
Written comments may be sent through mail, email, fax, or online through 11:59 pm on Thursday, May 18, 2017.
- Mail to Dr. Chris Moore, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 North State Street, Suite 201, Dover, DE, 19901 (please write “Squid Amendment Comments” on the outside of the envelope.)
- Fax to Dr. Chris Moore, Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council at 302-674-5399 (please include “Squid Amendment Comments” in the subject line.)
- Email to email@example.com
- Onlineat http://www.mafmc.org/comments/squid-amendment-public-comments
Additional information and relevant background documents are available on the Council’s website at http://www.mafmc.org/actions/squid-capacity-amendment. The public hearing document will be posted there by April 18, 2017.
Please direct any questions about the amendment to Jason Didden (firstname.lastname@example.org, 302-526-5254).
March 24, 2017 — David Pierce, director of the state’s Division of Marine Fisheries, started yesterday’s public hearing on whether to bar trawlers from fishing for squid within three miles of Nantucket by listing the reasons he does not support a local petition to keep them away from the island from May 1 to Oct. 31.
By the end of the four-hour meeting, attended by an overflow crowd at the Public Safety Facility, Nantucket charter captain and former commercial fisherman Pete Kaizer hoped Pierce had changed his mind on at least one thing: that trawlers disrupt what are called squid mops in a way that kills squid eggs and affects spawning.
“Squid mops have to stay intact for 17-30 days and to disturb them will cause 100 percent mortality.You can’t be fishing on spawning squid and the eggs as well. That could be a tipping point with the kind of fishing pressure there now.”
March 24, 2017 — It was the best single run of longfin squid anyone on the East Coast had ever seen – and it happened fast and was over fast. In two months last summer, June and July, the East Coast-based squid fleet landed approximately 14 million pounds, with Rhode Island landing more than 50 percent of that quota, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration landing reports.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. The squid just kept coming,” said Point Judith fisherman Jeff Wise of Narragansett. “I’ve never seen volume and catch rates that high before.”
For those two summer months, the fishing port of Point Judith, or Galilee, was the squid capital of the world, the hub of squid commerce. Shore-side activity went nonstop as processors and others tried to keep pace with the volume of squid the fishing vessels carried in from the sea. Approximately 118 vessels, according to state landing reports, from as far south as Wanchese, N.C., used Rhode Island ports to offload their catch.
Although June and July are traditionally peak squid months, with average summer landings (May through August) fluctuating between 3 million and 19 million pounds, it was the high catch rates for those two months that was unprecedented last summer, which for the season saw 18.7 million pounds of landings.
“Though we’ve been seeing an upward trend in [longfin] squid since 2010, [last year was] one of the strongest we’ve seen since the 1990s,” said Jason Didden, squid-management-plan coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, the agency, along with the National Marine Fisheries Service, responsible for squid policy.
Local fishermen, many of whom depend heavily on squid, enjoyed the bounty but are warily focused on regulatory issues they fear could bring the good times to a premature end.
Landings the past 30 years have shown peaks and valleys, as levels of squid abundance have changed – but there has been no need for quota cuts.
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council often works with advisory panels to identify problems within fisheries and to come up with solutions to those problems. It’s a long road, complex and full of red tape, to go from an identified fishery problem to an actual change in the policy. These advisory panels are composed of industry members, recreational anglers, environmentalists and academics.
Three policy issues surfaced in recent months that could affect Rhode Island squid vessels and processors. One concerns managing the number of squid permits allowed, an issue perennially raised by the commercial fishing industry. The other two concern the possible loss of fishing ground – one by proposed wind farms off Long Island, and the other from lobbying pressure for a buffer zone in a key squid area south of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
The buffer-zone issue was raised by a group of recreational fishermen from Nantucket.
“It’s hard to be optimistic right now,” said Wise. “It never seems to stop – we are constantly worried about losing fishing ground [due to] buffer zones, marine sanctuaries and wind farms.”
March 7, 2017 — Shaped like a torpedo and about as swift, squids are jet-propelled underwater predators. Together with their nimble brethren, the octopus and cuttlefish, they make for an agile invertebrate armada.
But that was not always the case. Hundreds of millions of years ago, the ancestors of the tentacled trio were slow, heavily armored creatures, like the coil-shelled ammonites and the cone-shelled belemnites.
Alastair Tanner, a doctoral student at University of Bristol in England, wanted to better understand why those cephalopods lost their shells. But though both ammonites and the belemnites have left behind rich fossil records, their shell-less descendants have not.
So Mr. Tanner conducted a genetic analysis of 26 present day cephalopods, including the vampire squid, the golden cuttlefish and the southern blue-ringed octopus.
February 23, 2017 — For the past couple of years, Nantucket fishermen have had a hard time finding striped bass in the rips and alongshore where they were accustomed to catching them.
They think they know why: no squid.
“This was where all the bass were caught. Now, no bait, no fish, no stripers to speak of,” said Pete Kaizer, a charter boat captain and commercial tuna fisherman.
Kaizer and other Nantucket fishermen petitioned the state Division of Marine Fisheries to prohibit fish draggers and scallopers that tow nets or large metal dredges along the ocean bottom from state waters, up to 3 miles out from shore all around the island. The ban would run from May 1 to Oct. 31 with the idea of protecting spawning longfin squid.
Kaizer said squid boats target the squid when they spawn because they come together in large schools and are easier to catch. Following mating, female squid drop to the bottom and put down a sticky substance that adheres to the sandy bottom, rocks or vegetation. They then deposit tubelike sacks containing over 100 embryos apiece, that stick to that patch and can resemble an underwater chrysanthemum, but are prosaically known as “squid mops.”
Nets or dredges towed across the bottom can dislodge these mops or even bring them up to the surface along with fish or squid. There is some debate about whether any young can survive this, but some lab studies have shown that older embryos hatch prematurely when the mop is dislodged from its adhesive anchor and tend to die, said Lisa Hendrickson, a fishery biologist specializing in squid with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole.
WASHINGTON (Saving Seafood) – February 9, 2017 – Lawyers representing a host of fishing communities, associations, and businesses, led by scallop industry trade group the Fisheries Survival Fund, argued in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., yesterday against the lease sale of 127 square miles of ocean off the coast of Long Island for wind energy development. A ruling is expected in the coming days.
The plaintiffs are seeking a preliminary injunction against the wind farm lease, which the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) preliminarily awarded to Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil for $42.5 million at auction in December, arguing that the site of the project is in the middle of important fishing grounds, particularly for the valuable scallop and squid fisheries. They claim that allowing the lease sale to go through would cause irreparable harm to commercial fishermen and is unlawful.
The plaintiffs argued that the lease sale would have an immediate impact on fishing interests by giving the government and Statoil free rein to conduct a number of harmful actions, including installing a meteorological tower that could damage scallop beds, and performing sonic testing that studies suggest hurts fish populations. The plaintiffs also said that, should the lease proceed, additional investments make it nearly certain that a wind farm will be constructed, permanently restricting fishermen who make their livelihoods in the area.
Lawyers representing BOEM and Statoil countered that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate immediate and irreparable harm to their livelihoods, saying that any impact on fishermen would not happen for years, and that there would be time to address fishing concerns in future environmental assessments.
Federal law requires a balanced process that considers all stakeholders when developing wind energy projects, but the plaintiffs said that fishing concerns have not been properly addressed in the siting of the New York wind energy area.
BOEM estimates the value of fishing grounds in the proposed wind energy area at $90 million, a figure that the plaintiffs argued is too low because the government used less precise vessel trip reports instead of more accurate satellite-based vessel monitoring systems. The defendants argued that the lease siting process was transparent, including meetings with fishermen and multiple requests for information.
The plaintiffs responded that their more accurate information was ignored, the location of the wind farm was chosen in private, and fishermen never had a chance to advocate for alternative sites.
The plaintiffs maintained that their complaint was not against wind energy as a whole, pointing out that Mayor Jon Mitchell of New Bedford, Mass., a plaintiff in the case, has been an outspoken proponent of wind energy development. Specifically, they are challenging the use of the unsolicited bid process that allows private entities to claim part of the ocean for wind energy development.
The plaintiffs in the case are the Fisheries Survival Fund, the Garden State Seafood Association, the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, the Narragansett Chamber of Commerce, the Fishermen’s Dock Cooperative, the Rhode Island Fishermen’s Alliance, the City of New Bedford, Mass., the Borough of Barnegat Light, N.J., the Town of Narragansett, R.I., SeaFreeze Shoreside, Sea Fresh USA, and the Town Dock. The case was heard by Judge Tanya S. Chutkan.
January 18, 2017 — The following was released by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council:
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council is soliciting applications from qualified individuals to serve on several advisory panels that currently have vacancies. Advisory panels provide information and recommendations to the Council during the development of fishery management actions. One of the chief responsibilities of advisory panels is the development of annual Fishery Performance Reports, which provide the Council and SSC with information on why catches may have fluctuated from year to year.
Advisory panels are composed of individuals with diverse experience and interest in Mid-Atlantic fisheries. Members include commercial fishermen, recreational anglers, for-hire operators, dealers, scientists, environmentalists, and other interested members of the public. Most advisory panels meet 1 – 2 times per year. Members are compensated for travel and per diem expenses for advisory panel meetings. Individuals appointed under this notice would serve on an interim basis and could re-apply during the next general application window in early 2018.
The Council is accepting applications for the following advisory panels:
- Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish (1 vacancy)
- Spiny Dogfish (2 vacancies)
- Surfclam/Ocean Quahog (1 vacancy)
Anyone interested in serving on one of these advisory panels may apply online or download an application at www.mafmc.org/forms/advisory-panel-application. Applications can also be obtained by calling the Council office at (877) 446-2362 or emailing email@example.com. Completed applications should be submitted using one of the following methods:
- Online using the form at the web address above;
- Mail to Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 N. State Street, Suite 201, Dover, DE 19901;
- Email to firstname.lastname@example.org; or
- Fax to (302) 674-5399.
Please include “ADVISORY PANEL” in the subject of your fax or email.
January 17, 2017 — The following is a schedule for the February meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Managment Council (MAFMC). It was released by the MAFMC:
Tuesday, February 14th
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. River Herring/Shad Committee Meeting
- Discuss criteria to assess progress in river herring/shad conservation
2:30 p.m. Council Convenes
2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Meeting as a Committee of the Whole
- Review and approve public hearing document for Squid Amendment
4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Law Enforcement Report
4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Presentation on National Marine Sanctuary Nomination Process, Paul Ticco – NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
Wednesday, February 15th
9:00 a.m. Meeting with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Boards
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. 62nd Northeast Regional Stock Assessment Workshop (62nd SAW), Jim Weinberg, NMFS, NEFSC
- Overview of black sea bass benchmark stock assessment findings and peer review panelist findings
10:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Black Sea Bass 2017-2019 Specifications
- Overview and staff recommendation
- SSC recommendation
- Review Monitoring Committee and Advisory Panel recommendations
- Adopt recommendations for 2017-2019
11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Black Sea Bass Research Update, Brad Stevens – UMES
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. LUNCH
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Black Sea Bass Recreational Specifications
- Review Monitoring Committee and Advisory Panel recommendations
- Adopt recommendations for 2017 management measures
- Review Recreational Working Group recommendations and regional/state proposals (possible Board action)
3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Black Sea Bass Commercial AM Framework
- Review background, issues, and draft alternatives
5:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Summer Flounder Amendment
- Update on progress and timeline
Thursday, February 16th
9:00 a.m. Council Convenes
9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Business Session
- Organization Reports
- NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Office
- NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center
- NOAA Office of General Counsel
- Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission
- Liaison Reports
- New England Council
- South Atlantic Council
- Regional Planning Body
- Executive Director’s Report, Chris Moore
- Science Report, Rich Seagraves
- Committee Reports
- Continuing and New Business