FishNews – October 3, 2018

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NOAA Fish News

October 3, 2018



Seafood Month Intro

October Is National Seafood Month
Here at NOAA Fisheries, October is National Seafood Month—an opportunity to celebrate the important role of seafood in our “blue economy” and the success of U.S. seafood as among the world’s most sustainable. Throughout the month, we will be highlighting the success stories behind U.S. seafood and the fishermen and fish farmers who make it possible.

Chris Oliver square

The Blue Economy Initiative Means Seafood for the Future
Read a Leadership Message from Chris Oliver, head of NOAA Fisheries, to learn more about how we are growing the “blue economy.”

FishWatch square

FishWatch: Learn about the Seafood You Love
A new video showcases FishWatch, our one-stop resource for facts on U.S. fish stocks to help consumers make sustainable seafood choices.

Seafood Month Badge square

Celebrate #SeafoodMonth
Join the fun throughout the month by incorporating our #seafoodmonth web badge onto your website and pages! Download the image here.


Holmes Dam

Dam Removal Completes 16-Year Restoration
Last month, work began to remove Holmes Dam, the final major step in the nearly 16-year project to restore historic Town Brook in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Combined with the removal of the three other dams, improvements to two fish ladders, and the lowering of an additional dam, these efforts may support fish runs of more than 1 million river herring. 

Arctic Agreement

U.S. Signs International Agreement for the Arctic
Following more than 2 years of international negotiations, on October 3 the United States and nine other parties signed the Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean. The agreement represents a precautionary approach to the management of high seas fish stocks before any fishing begins, and was undertaken in response to developments in the Arctic related to a changing climate. 



North Pacific right whale

Mysterious Movements of the Rarest Great Whale
The eastern North Pacific right whale is the rarest of great whales; after decades of legal and illegal whaling, only 30 are thought to remain. A new NOAA Fisheries study sheds light on the mysterious lives of these critically endangered whales.

Aerial Surveys of Arctic Marine Mammals

2018 Aerial Surveys of Arctic Marine Mammals
The Arctic survey of marine mammals in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas has been conducted every year since 1979 off the northern and western coasts of Alaska. The project is co-managed by the Alaska Fisheries Science Center and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Follow the research teams’ blogs here.

West Coast



Warm Ocean Years Leave Forage Fish Hungry
A new study found that unusually warm temperatures across the eastern Pacific Ocean in recent years drained the food web of many energy-rich plankton that small forage fish feed on, leaving the fish to consume the marine equivalent of less nutritious “junk food” instead. The study opened a window on the ways that changing ocean conditions reverberate through the ecosystem.


Pacific Islands


Spinner Dolphin graphic

Six Reasons Not to Swim with Spinner Dolphins
Would you swim with wild spinner dolphins if you knew they were trying to sleep? Learn more about spinner dolphins’ natural behaviors and why we should avoid disrupting them.




Golden Tilefish illustration border

Golden Tilefish Rule – Open for Public Comment
By October 12, please submit your comments on a proposed rule to implement Amendment 28 to the South Atlantic Snapper-Grouper fishery management plan. The amendment would reduce the total, commercial, and recreational annual catch limits for South Atlantic golden tilefish. Proposed in response to results of the latest population assessment, these new limits are intended to end overfishing of golden tilefish.


Greater Atlantic


Atlantic mackerel school

Atlantic Mackerel Measures – Open for Comment
By October 19, please submit your comments on proposed measures included in Framework Adjustment 12 to the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan. The proposed action would allow the possession of 5,000 lbs of Atlantic mackerel after 100 percent of the domestic harvest is caught, instead of prohibiting possession of Atlantic mackerel for the rest of the year.

Whale entanglement diagram

Proposal for Trap/Pot Restricted Areas – Open for Public Comment
By October 29, please submit your comments on possible modifications to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan’s Massachusetts Trap/Pot Restricted Area and the Great South Channel Trap/Pot Restricted Area. NOAA Fisheries is considering allowing trap/pot fishing that does not use vertical buoy lines (referred to as buoy-lineless or ropeless gear) prior to gear retrieval.

Atlantic striped bass illustration v2

Striped Bass Fishing in Block Island Transit Zone – Open for Public Comment
NOAA Fisheries is considering removing the current prohibition on recreational Atlantic striped bass fishing in the Block Island Transit Zone, a small area of federal waters substantially bounded by state waters. The current prohibition may be confusing for anglers, and NOAA solicits feedback on possible options for improving striped bass management in the Transit Zone. Please submit comments by November 19.

Skate Illustration

2018–2019 Northern Skate Fishery Specifications
NOAA Fisheries approved and implemented Framework Adjustment 5 to the Northeast Skate Complex Fishery Management Plan and 2018–2019 Specifications. The new provisions allow limited possession of barndoor skate in the directed skate wing fishery, and they exempt vessels fishing exclusively within the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization Regulatory Area from some specific domestic skate regulations.

Atlantic herring

Electronic Monitoring for Mid-Water Trawl Fishery 
Read an interview with Nichole Rossi, Fisheries Biologist and Electronic Monitoring Lead from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, about why NOAA Fisheries is exploring electronic monitoring as a commercial catch monitoring and reporting tool. She discusses the successes and challenges in applying this technology to the Atlantic herring and mackerel mid-water trawl fisheries.


October 4
Free Protected Species Safe Handling, Identification, and Release workshop in Largo, Florida.

October 4–5
Rescheduled South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting in Charleston, South Carolina.

October 4–9
North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Anchorage.

October 10
Public webinar on Florida’s Draft Restoration Plan I for the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment.

October 15
Annual public meeting hosted by the Texas Trustees Implementation Group about the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment process.

October 18
Free Atlantic Shark Identification workshop in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

October 22–25
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meeting in Mobile, Alabama.

October 23–24
Western Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

October 23–November 9
Top NOAA leaders will conduct public conferences around the nation about the Department of Commerce 2018–2022 Strategic Plan.

October 26–27
Western Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Tumon, Guam.

November 7–8
U.S. Aquaculture Innovation workshop and networking event in Baltimore, Maryland.

November 13 and 15
free Protected Species Safe Handling, Identification, and Release workshops in Florida and Louisiana.

November 13–16
United States–Japan Natural Resources Panel on Aquaculture Scientific Symposium in Mystic, Connecticut.



October 15
Abstracts due for the joint Northeast Aquaculture Conference and Exposition and Milford Aquaculture Seminar meeting scheduled for January 2019.

October 29
Proposals due for 2019 Community-Based Marine Debris Removal grants.

October 30
Applications due for 2019 Species Recovery Grants to Tribes.

October 31
Proposals due for funding to document the distribution of surfclams in the U.S. Northwest Atlantic.

November 1
Applications due for 2019 Species Recovery Grants to States.

November 12
Applications due to attend the U.S. Aquaculture–Gulf Coast Innovation workshop and networking event scheduled for February 2019.



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