FishNews – November 8, 2017

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NOAA Fish News

November 8, 2017



Veterans Corps

Army National Guardsman Finds Inspiration in Veterans Fisheries Corps
As we observe Veterans’ Day this Friday, we want to thank the men and women in our military for their dedication and service. NOAA Fisheries is proud to be a partner agency in the Veterans Fisheries Corps, a work development program in California. Please read our interview with Specialist Philip Taylor, who describes how the Vet Corps opened doors and inspired him to pursue a career in the sciences.


PME Collage v2

Join Chris Oliver at the Pacific Marine Expo
Each year, NOAA Fisheries, Weather, Charting, and Enforcement hold a joint exhibition at the Pacific Marine Expo to engage with stakeholders and update them on the science and services they depend on. This year’s Expo features Assistant Administrator for Fisheries Chris Oliver as the keynote speaker. Please stop by the NOAA booth, #715, the afternoon of November 16 to visit with Chris, and catch his keynote remarks at 3:15 pm.  Hope to see you there.

Technology Week

Fisheries Celebrates Technology Week 2017
Advancements in technology improve how our scientists collect data, which in turn helps us make informed conservation and management decisions. Join us this week for #TechnologyWeek as we take a closer look at how NOAA scientists are using advancing technologies to better collect fisheries data, study endangered species, and better understand our changing ocean ecosystems.

Underwater Camera Shark

Underwater Camera Technology Improves Pacific Islands Population Assessments

NOAA Fisheries scientists are pairing underwater camera technology with bait bags to improve assessments of reef fish and shark populations across the Hawaiian archipelago.

Historical Data Collection

Fisheries Data Collection Through the Years

Fisheries data collection has evolved considerably over the past 50 years. From clipboards to conveyor belts, take a look at how technology has transformed fisheries sampling on the high seas.

LED nets

LED Technology Lights the Way for Chinook Salmon

Scientists at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center and their partners showed that LEDs are very effective in directing Chinook salmon to escape windows Pacific hake trawl nets.

Oyster Camera

Underwater Cameras Aid in Aquaculture Research

NOAA Fisheries’ Milford Lab, a global leader in aquaculture research, is using cutting-edge technology to study interactions between oyster farm gear and wild species.

Sturgeon Sonar

Sonar Technology Tracks Sturgeon

Sonar work and habitat analysis in the Chesapeake Bay region helped inform the Final Rule for Atlantic sturgeon—and spotted some sturgeon in the process.

BREP Report

Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program Report
NOAA Fisheries has long been committed to reducing bycatch. The Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program supports development of technological solutions and conservation practices that minimize bycatch and bycatch mortality in federally managed fisheries. This report summarizes the results for 18 projects awarded in 2014 and conducted in 2015.

Sandbar shark

Applicants Sought for 2018 Shark Research Fishery
Commercial shark fishermen who would like to participate in the 2018 Atlantic Highly Migratory Species shark research fishery should submit both a completed shark research fishery application and the required vessel information to the Atlantic HMS Management Division by December 4.


Bluefin tuna narrow

NOAA Issues Exempted Fishing Permit for Bluefin
After reviewing public comments, NOAA Fisheries decided to issue an Exempted Fishing Permit to the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance. The permit will allow the Alliance to use electronic monitoring to verify authorized gear use when fishing for, retaining, and possessing bluefin tuna during a fishing trip on which unauthorized gear is also onboard.




Halibut swimming

Enforcement Focus on Subsistence Fishing
The Alaska Subsistence Halibut Program permits rural residents and members of Alaska Native tribes to catch halibut for themselves and their families. It is illegal, however, to sell subsistence halibut commercially. NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement is increasing outreach efforts about the program.

West Coast


Rockfish recovery

Yelloweye Rockfish and Bocaccio Recovery Plan
NOAA Fisheries finalized a recovery plan for the Puget Sound/Georgia Basin Distinct Population Segments of yelloweye rockfish and bocaccio. The recovery plan provides a roadmap for restoring sustainable rockfish populations, benefiting regional fishing opportunities and the health of the ecosystem.


Common dolphins

Climate Shifts Shorten Marine Food Chain off CA
A new study found that environmental disturbances such as El Niño shake up the marine food web off Southern California, countering the conventional thinking that the hierarchy of who-eats-whom in the ocean remains largely constant over time. The study analyzed dolphin skin cells for chemical clues about their prey and what their prey had eaten.


Pacific Islands


False Killer Whale illustration

Proposed False Killer Whale Critical Habitat – Open for Public Comment
By January 2, please submit your comments on NOAA Fisheries’ proposed designation of critical habitat for the Main Hawaiian Islands False Killer Whale Distinct Population Segment under the Endangered Species Act. Critical habitat protections apply only to federal actions, and NOAA works with partner federal agencies to understand how a designation may affect these activities.


Hawaiian Monk Seal in coral

Exploring Ecosystem Dynamics for Hawaiian Monk Seal Population Trends
Why are Hawaiian monk seal numbers increasing in some locations but stabilizing in others? Scientists at the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center used an ecosystem model to explore the relative importance of factors that influence growth and mortality of monk seals at two locations in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Grander blue marlin

Ageing the Grander Blue Marlin
In 2009, fishermen caught a 12.2-foot-long, 1,245-pound blue marlin—known as a “grander” blue marlin due to its size—off the coast of Hawaii. Saving the head allowed scientists to analyze the fish’s ear bones (otoliths) to determine its age. The giant fish turned out to be only 20 years old.



Longline hooks

Unrigged Hooks on Longline Vessels – Open for Public Comment
By November 14, please submit your comments on a proposed rule for commercial bottom longline regulations in the Gulf of Mexico. Currently, reef fish bottom longline fishermen can only carry 250 extra unrigged hooks onboard their vessels; the proposed rule would lift that limit to make multi-day trips more economical.


Florida Restoration Plan

Florida Restoration Plan – Open for Comment
By December 8, please submit your comments on the Florida Trustee Implementation Group’s draft Phase 2 Restoration Plan proposing projects to compensate for a portion of the lost recreational use in Florida caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. There will also be a public meeting on the project on November 16 in Port St. Joe, Florida.


Greater Atlantic


Northeast FUS story

New England, Mid-Atlantic States Lead Nation in Several Key Fisheries
NOAA Fisheries released the Fisheries of the U.S. 2016 report last week. Once again, New Bedford, Massachusetts, was the leading U.S. port by value, and American lobsters were the nation’s most valuable landed species. Maine and Massachusetts ranked second and third (behind Alaska) in the statewide value of landings. Read more about the report’s findings for the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions.


Scup illustration

Proposed Scup Quotas – Open for Public Comment
By November 22, please submit your comments on proposed revisions to the 2018 quotas and projected 2019 quotas for the scup fishery. Compared to the current specifications in place, this action would increase commercial quotas and recreational harvest limits by approximately 40 percent.


Essential Fish Habitat generic

Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat Amendment – Open for Public Comment
By December 5, please submit your comments on a proposed rule that would revise the essential fish habitat designations for all species and life stages managed by the New England Fishery Management Council. The rule would also add Habitat Areas of Particular Concern and Dedicated Habitat Research Areas and revise the spatial management system and seasonal spawning protection measures.

Monkfish research set-aside

Monkfish Research – Request for Proposals
Projects selected through the Northeast region’s unique Monkfish Research Set-Aside Program are awarded fishing days rather than dollars, and they fund their work with the proceeds from catch made on those days. Proposals for 2018/2019 monkfish research support are due December 21.

GRLI Story Map

The Great Lakes: A National Treasure
In 2010, 16 federal agencies launched the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to address the region’s unfortunate legacy of damaged wetlands and degraded habitat. A new story map explores how NOAA’s habitat restoration work in the Great Lakes through this initiative benefits both people and fish.


Blue catfish dish

Blue Catfish in the Chesapeake: Invasive, but Tasty
Blue catfish, native to the central United States, were introduced to Chesapeake Bay rivers decades ago and, in the absence of their natural predators, their numbers have grown dramatically. Humans are stepping up to fill that gap. Harvest of blue catfish in the Potomac River doubled from 2014 to 2015, reaching a dockside value of more than $1.7 million.


November 13
Workshop to Improve New England Recreational Fishery Management in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

November 14
Free Protected Species Safe Handling, Identification, and Release workshop in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

November 16
Free Atlantic Shark Identification workshop in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.

November 16
Florida (Oil Spill) Trustee Implementation Group public meeting in Port St. Joe, Florida.

November 28
(Rescheduled from September) Free Protected Species Safe Handling, Identification, and Release workshops in Panama City, Florida.

November 30
(Rescheduled from September) Free Atlantic Shark Identification workshop in Panama City, Florida.

December 7
Public hearing in Honolulu on proposed critical habitat designation for main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whales.


November 22
Nominations due for the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel.

November 27
Nominations due for the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee.

December 4
Application and required vessel information due for the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species 2018 Shark Research Fishery.

December 21
Proposals due for the 2018/2019 Monkfish Research Set-Aside Program.

December 22
Nominations due for the 2018 National Wetlands Awards.

Federal Register Actions

Visit for a list of only those actions open for public comment. Scroll search for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

For a list of all daily actions, check the Federal Register online.

Corrections or technical questions should be sent to the FishNews Editor at