Gulf Of Maine

BOEM.gov

 

All 10 U.S. senators in coastal New England reintroduced a proposal Friday to bar oil and gas drilling from the region's shores.

The group said President Donald Trump's administration was stalling on the release of a new draft of its five-year offshore leasing plan. The group of senators, led by Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, said that means the Atlantic continental shelf off of New England is still at risk of being opened up to drilling.

Josh Carloni / NHFG

Regulators are taking comments on plans to expand a lucrative new crab fishery that’s stirring interest in the Gulf of Maine.

Jonah crabs are a native species that, until recently, was mainly caught as bycatch – by accident – in lobster pots.

Now, as warming waters push the lobster fishery north, more fishermen – especially in southern New England – are targeting Jonah crabs on purpose to supplement their income.

New Hampshire Fish and Game biologist Josh Carloni says in Northern New England and the Gulf of Maine, lobster is still king – but that could change.

Virginia State Parks via NOAA

Scientists have narrowed down the top likely cause of more than 1,400 seal deaths across New England in recent months.

But they say the "unusual mortality event" appears to be ending as cold weather sets in.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the main pathogen found in the stranded seals was phocine distemper virus.

It commonly affects seals and could affect pets, but can't be transferred to humans.

NOAA Fisheries

 

Regulators voted Friday to close the Gulf of Maine winter shrimp season for another three years, raising fears that the fishery decimated by rising water temperatures may never bounce back.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has been taking a year-to-year approach to determining whether to allow a winter season, but the panel decided to shut it down for 2019, 2020 and 2021 after receiving a dismal report on the depleted fishery.

The fishery has been shut down since 2013 in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Federal regulators are recommending a host of new restrictions to protect the Gulf of Maine's declining cod fishery.

The federal New England Fishery Management Council's Groundfish Oversight Committee on Wednesday recommended a battery of changes, including implementing expansions to existing inshore spawning closures. The panel also requested a review of the extent of cod bycatch in the lobster fishery.

Kevin Bryant / Flickr CC

Researchers studying the Gulf of Maine say its waters are warming faster than 99 percent of the world’s oceans, and worry the rising temperatures will hit New England commercial fisheries hard.

The study is still in its preliminary phase, and is being conducted by scientists at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. According to their data the waters off of New England’s coast are warming by about a half a degree Fahrenheit per year on average. That gives the region a dubious distinction.