Starting in October, the federal government began a pilot project to test electronic monitoring on midwater herring trawlers fishing in “groundfish closed” areas off the coast of New England, two of which are in the rich spawning grounds on the continental shelf known as Georges Bank. The yearlong project will help regulators decide whether cameras can replace people as observers.
A shellfish harvesting closure went into effect Oct. 21 for lower Narragansett Bay and a portion of Rhode Island Sound, according to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. A closure is also in effect for lower Sakonnet River.
CHATHAM, Mass. — Cape Cod fishermen may be on their way to some relief from sharing inshore fishing grounds with mid-water herring trawling, a practice they say is threatening their livelihoods. But a persistent lack of data on the impact of the trawls may hamper efforts to regulate them.
NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — Dan Briggs blames the discoloration of soft-shell clams on the amount of chlorine being used at wastewater treatment plants. He doesn’t buy the argument that the UV systems used at these facilities to remove chlorine before treated effluent is released into Narragansett Bay is adequately addressing the accumulation of this element in the Ocean State’s most important natural resource.
PROVIDENCE — The city's waterfront supported millions of oysters at the turn of the 20th century, with 5,000 acres of leased oyster beds in the Providence River and upper bay in 1905. In the decades that followed, pollution, bacteria and sedimentation caused a sharp decline in the oyster population. The Hurricane of 1938 put an end to the already-declining local oyster industry, and shellfishing was later banned in the upper bay because of polluted sediment and bacteria in the water.
BOURNE, Mass. — Buzzards Bay recreational fishermen may soon have access to improved scallop, oyster and quahog populations in town waters for recreational harvests, thanks to settlement funding being used by the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and The Nature Conservancy to restore natural resources injured by a 2003 oil spill near the bay’s entrance.
HARWICH, Mass. — June 1 marks the beginning of a new era for fisheries monitoring in New England. This year, for the first time, up to 20 participating fishermen from Massachusetts and Maine will use digital cameras rather than human monitors to document discards of groundfish, such as cod, haddock and flounder, on commercial fishing trips.
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management has reclassified several areas of the state’s shellfish harvesting waters. Areas in Sakonnet Harbor, Kickemuit River and the East Passage of Narragansett Bay have been reclassified based on water-quality monitoring results. The changes take effect at sunrise May 28, along with seasonal shellfish closures.
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management recently enacted new regulations to help prevent the illegal harvest and sale of Atlantic striped bass.
PROVIDENCE — Fishermen, scientists and interested citizens gathered in mid-April at Rhode Island College for a panel discussion about whether commercial fishing is, or can be, sustainable.
PROVIDENCE — The versatile quahog is a staple and icon of Rhode Island seafood. Unfortunately for shell fishermen, many of those delicacies such as chowder and clam cakes are almost exclusively enjoyed during the summer. But, the hard-shell mollusks are abundant year-round in Narragansett Bay, as more than 27 million quahogs were harvested from state waters last year.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and all nine members of the state’s congressional delegation have called upon the Obama administration to reverse recent policy decisions and continue the funding of at-sea monitoring for Northeastern fishermen.
MENEMSHA and CHATHAM, Mass. — In partnership with local fishermen’s organizations, The Nature Conservancy recently acquired groundfish permits on Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod to advance more sustainable fishing practices, keep local fishermen on the water and help ensure long-term access to the fishery for traditional fishing communities.