Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Important fishing/seafood press releases -- Definitely worth a read
NMFS computer model predicts effects of climate change on Atlantic croaker
SEAFOOD.COM NEWS [United Press International] - March 26, 2010 - U.S. government scientists say they have created a computer model that is one of the first to directly link a specific fish with climate change effects.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researchers said their new climate-population model considers rising ocean temperatures and fishing rates involving the future of the Atlantic croaker fishery. Atlantic croaker (Micropogonias undulatus) is a U.S. east coast marine fish with an $8 million annual commercial fishery.
'Some fish populations will increase and others decrease as a result of climate change,' said the study's lead author, Jon Hare of NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center. 'Our results demonstrate that climate effects on fisheries must be identified and understood, included in the scientific advice to managers, and factored into fishery management plans if sustainable exploitation is to be achieved.'
For various temperature and fish population scenarios over the next 90 years, the researchers forecast that at current levels of fishing, the spawning population of Atlantic croaker would increase 60-100 percent and the center of the population would shift approximately 30-65 miles northward, with the maximum sustainable yield increasing 30-100 percent.
'Although our model does not include all potential environmental complexities, the recruitment hypothesis on which it is based is supported by both laboratory and field work, and is consistent with current fishery population models,' Hare said. The study appears in the journal Ecological Applications.
[M2 Communications] - March 26, 2010 - DOHA, Qatar, Assistant Secretary of the Interior Tom Strickland today said he was disappointed that the parties to the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) did not vote to protect shark species that have been depleted by overharvest but expressed hope that a foundation has been laid to protect the species in the future.
'This is a significant setback for these marine species, but we view it as only a temporary setback. We will redouble our efforts with other countries around the world to fight for the protection of marine species imperiled by international trade,' said Strickland, who headed the U.S. delegation to CITES' 15th Conference of Parties, which ended today.
The Parties to CITES completed their work by reconsidering a number of important species proposals during the final plenary session.
The United States asked the parties to re-open debate on the listing of three shark species including the scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini), great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran), and smooth hammerhead (Sphyrna zygaena) because the proposal was only five votes short of adoption in Committee I.
The United States had amended the proposal to remove two other species of sharks and delay implementation for 24 months. The amended proposal was supported by the majority of parties, but did not have the two-thirds necessary for adoption.
During the brief discussion following the decision to reopen debate on the U.S. hammerhead shark proposal, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Colombia spoke in support of the U.S. proposal, and Japan, China and Grenada spoke in opposition. Grenada also called for a secret ballot which was granted after the required approval by ten Parties. The final vote was 76 in support, 53 opposed and 14 abstentions. The parties also voted to overturn the listing of the Porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus) on Appendix II, a proposal adopted in Committee I earlier in the week.
The Parties also voted to reopen debate on the amended proposals on African elephant (Loxodonta Africana) submitted by Tanzania and Zambia. Both of those proposals were not adopted after debate. Egypt reopened debate on its amended downlisting proposal for the Egyptian population of the Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) and it was adopted by consensus.
A Conference of the CITES Parties is held every 2-3 years to review, discuss, and negotiate changes in the management and control of trade in the various wildlife species covered by the agreement.
The Parties decided to hold the next meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Thailand.
NOAA has released its annual report entitled on the status of U. S. marine resources. The report states that in most areas of the country, overfishing has ended and stocks are not overfished.
The areas where overfishing is continuing to occur are in New England, and the Gulf of Mexico. These areas account for 60% of current overfishing, with most problematic species continuing to be in the Northeast.
The report cites the Alaskan groundfish fisheries- pollock, Pacific cod, rockfishes and Atka mackerel- as a prime example of how managers and fishermen are working together to keep fish harvest rates at sustainable levels while reducing risks to other species in the ecosystem, including marine mammals, juvenile fish and other fish species not being targeted.
The report also describes how closed areas and other management of fishing areas - called place-based management - are helping to restore ecosystems. By closing several areas in the Northeast off New England, depleted groundfish stocks are being rebuilt while allowing some sustainable fishing for rebuilt populations of sea scallops. The West Coast is in the forefront of using place-based management through a network of marine conservation areas that have been established to protect habitat and assist in the rebuilding of depleted groundfish populations.
'Our Living Oceans describes the successes in rebuilding some depleted fish stocks and restoring and protecting our ocean ecosystems,' said Jane Lubchenco, Ph. D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. 'It also outlines the challenges we face and measures we are taking to end overfishing and restore the healthy and resilient ecosystems that sustain the lives and livelihoods of people in the nation's coastal communities.'
The report describes the increasing use of catch share programs to manage fisheries supporting coastal communities. The report describes halibut as an example of an effective catch share program. That program has extended the season from less than a week to eight months, helped raise the value and quality of the catch in the marketplace, improved fishermen's safety and reduced unintended bycatch of juvenile halibut and other species.
The report also outlines the status of many marine mammals and sea turtles. Recent stock assessments in Alaska show continued increases for bowhead, gray whales and North Pacific humpback whales. However, the stocks of northern fur seals have been decreasing and the Cook Inlet beluga whale has been classified as endangered.
This sixth edition of Our Living Oceans, is now available online at http://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/LivingOceans.html, and will be available in printed copies soon from the NOAA's Fisheries Service Office of Science and Technology.
Bluefin Tuna ban creates international division
Published: 16 March, 2010
A PROPOSED international trade ban on Atlantic Bluefin is this week creating widespread division across the fishing world.The United States and Europe are supporting the ban to prevent its extinction. But Japanese fish merchants are bitterly fighting the move and Australia has refused to join in which has brought an outcry from conservation groups.
The Australian Environment Protection Minister, Peter Garrett, has decided instead to go for trade controls instead of an outright fishing embargo. Australian tuna fishermen have said this is a more practical and sensible approach.
However, the Australian Marine Conservation Society said the fears of the domestic bluefin industry should not be allowed to dominate government decision-making
But it is the Japanese, who are also under fire over their continuation of whaling, who fighting the proposals every inch of the way. Tuna is a big favourite in that part of Asia with around 2,000 tuna are auctioned every day at Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market alone . More than 500 Tokyo merchants have signed a petition which is expected to gather momentum as it is sent to other fish markets around the country.
Tadao Ban, Campaign Organizer, said ,"We want to protect Japanese food culture and to prevent tuna from disappearing as a food source." The Japanese fish processing business has said that the rest of the fishing world appear to be "ganging up" on Japan.
Conservationists say that blue fin tuna stocks have declined by over 70 per cent in the past 30 years, but this is being challenged by many fishermen, particularly the Japanese.
March 26, 2010 - The U. S. State Department has formally announced to Congress that it is withdrawing Mexico's certification the law that prohibits the importation of shrimp and shrimp products harvested in ways that may adversely affect sea turtle species.
This prohibition does not apply to countries that the U. S. certifies as complying with turtle protection measures in their shrimp fisheries, including mandatory use of TED's.
The State Department said they 'withdrew Mexico's certification after the Department determined, in consultation with the U. S. National Marine Fisheries Service, that Mexico's TED program no longer met standards established under Section 609. The U. S. Government has provided the Government of Mexico with detailed technical recommendations and capacity-building support to improve its program and will seek further opportunities help Mexico toward reinstatement of certification within the shortest period of time consistent with the requirements of Section 609.'
'As a result of the certification withdrawal, wild-harvest shrimp from Mexico's commercial trawl fisheries may not be imported into the United States effective April 20, 2010 until Section 609 certification for Mexico is reinstated. Imports of Mexican wild-harvest shrimp may be permitted entry into the United States until April 20 to avoid disruption to shipments already in the import process. The Department of State is notifying U. S. importers of the certification withdrawal.'
As the wild shrimp season is largely over, most production will likely be across the border before April 20th. However, the issue facing Mexican shrimp exporters is how quickly they can get their fishery re-certified. It is unlikely to happen before fishing operations start up again in the fall.
There are two exemptions to the import ban, which include shrimp caught with artisanal methods that are recognized not to harm turtles, and for all farmed shrimp. Both artisanal shrimp and farmed shrimp make up a portion of Mexican white shrimp imports from the Sea of Cortez.
News of the impending de-certification was first reported by us on April 2nd.
[Gloucester Daily Times] By Patrick Anderson - March 26, 2010 - The endangered species listings New England fishermen had feared -- for the ubiquitous spiny dogfish and precious bluefin tuna -- have been rejected by a United Nations group meeting in Qatar this month.
International trade of the species can continue. Of five proposals for trade restrictions on fish, only the listing of porbeagle shark was approved under the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, which includes representatives from 175 countries.
'It is a relief,' said Kristian Kristiansen of Zeus Packing on Harbor Loop in Gloucester, which processes dogfish and employs up to 100 people.
'It is crazy that it even got this far.' 'It was like a weight off of our shoulders,' said Steve Weiner of the American Bluefin Tuna Association, which led the opposition to the trade ban. 'The fact that we won this was amazing. The dollars and manpower were all against us.'
The proposed trade ban on Atlantic bluefin tuna, which is highly prized by sushi chefs, was the most intensely fought of the proposals, with the Pew Environment Group and Oceana pushing a plan sponsored by the United States and Monaco.
Opposed by New England fishermen who catch the bulk of America's Atlantic bluefin, the trade ban was defeated last week in a secret ballot that saw 68 nations vote against the proposal versus 20 in support.
Sushi-loving Japan, the world's primary consumer of bluefin, spearheaded the effort to kill the trade ban on the grounds that traditional fisheries management, under the International Commission on Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, is a more effective way to manage the species.
In New England, commercial and recreational fishermen argued that banning the trade of bluefin would disproportionately hurt the United States, where management of the fishery has been strict, while doing nothing to stop illegal fishing or nations most responsible for depleting stocks.
Environmental groups have described the bluefin as close to extinction and argued for efforts to depress demand for the species as well as the catch.
With the bluefin ban defeated early in the two week CITES gathering in Doha, Qatar, attention in the fishing world turned to proposals to protect eight shark species, including spiny dogfish, under a CITES listing that stops just short of a total trade ban, but would likely make commercial sale of the fresh seafood impossible.
In New England, where dogfish populations have surged in recent years, the idea of protecting the small shark, which eats more valuable commercial fish, was viewed as a cruel joke. 'It was almost beyond he realm of possibility to contemplate that (dogfish) would be listed, because of their abundance on the water,' said Tom Dempsey of the conservation-oriented Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Association, which has recently made increasing catch limits for dogfish a priority.
Groups supporting a dogfish listing point to overfishing in Europe as the main reason to consider the species endangered, even though trade within the European Union, where almost all American dogfish are exported, would be unaffected.
The one species that was given an endangered species listing was the porbeagle shark, a large, cold-water species common to the Gulf of Maine, but of only minor commercial value locally. Offshore gillnet fishermen have reported increasing numbers of porbeagle sharks in the last year.
While the results of the Qatar conference largely went the way of the fishermen this year, Kristiansen of Zeus in Gloucester said he would not be surprised to see another push to protect the dogfish. 'It will come back two years from now like it did this time,' Kristensen said. 'The supporters are persistent.'
Copyright (c) 2010, Gloucester Daily Times, Mass.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
March 26, 2010 - Most of the seal pups born in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence this year will drown due to a lack of ice, a government scientists says.
'It's not a very big impact at all.' says DFO biologist Mike Hamill.
Biologist Mike Hammill of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans told CBC News Thursday there is no cause for concern yet.
Hamill spent a few days earlier this week flying over the Gulf of St. Lawrence, seeing how much ice and how many seals are left. He estimates 70 per cent of seal pups won't make it. Seals need ice for birthing and nursing, but there is so little ice this year Hamill said that won't be possible for many seals.
But Hamill said the impact of one year of bad ice is minimal.
'We predicted the population in 2009 was 6.9 million and after this year probably the population for 2011 will be 6.7 million,' he said.
'So really it's not a very big impact at all.'
The lack of ice has made sealing virtually impossible in the southern gulf, but DFO has decided the herd can still sustain a hunt off Newfoundland this year.
Protesters have quiet year
The unusual ice conditions have animal rights groups changing their approach as well. The arrival of seal hunt protesters and the media that follow them is a sign of spring on Prince Edward Island, but this year has been quiet.
Sheryl Fink of the International Fund for Animal Welfare said fewer members of her group came to P.E.I. this year and they're leaving Friday, heading north to Newfoundland. 'Hopefully it will be a less competitive hunt,' she said.
'Hopefully any seals that are being killed, the hunters will be able to take the time to follow the regulations and take the steps that are required to make sure the seals are unconscious before they're being skinned.'
Hammill said DFO will continue to monitor the number of seals in Atlantic Canada. The seal hunt quota could be reduced in the future if warmer weather continues, and officials think the lack of ice is taking too much of a toll on the herd.
Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2010/03/26/pei...