First published in Landings, January, 2020
First Right Whale Calf of the Season Seen
The first right whale calf of the winter migration season was spotted in late December off the coast of Georgia. Aerial survey teams with Clearwater Marine Aquarium spotted a mother-calf pair, said Allison Garrett, a spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Scientists tentatively identified the mother by her number in the New England Aquarium Right Whale catalog as #3560, a first-time mother born in 2005, Garrett said.
GMRI Gets Grant to Improve Access to Seafood
The Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in December to improve local access to seafood in New England. The grant of $480,000 will be matched by GMRI with $125,000 in funding and staff time. The funds will be invested in smaller ports in New England in order to improve supply-chain logistics. GMRI program manager Kyle Foley said that the project is largely focused on improving the cold-chain logistics at multiple ports in the region. Access to ice has been identified as the first important issue among the ports.
Scallop Quota Down Slightly
The New England Fishery Management Council approved Framework Adjustment 32 to the Atlantic Scallop Fishery Management Plan in December. The new specifications will result in 52 million pounds of projected landings in 2020, lower than 2019’s projection of more than 62 million pounds. While lower than 2019, the projection is still higher than average, with an expected ex-vessel value of $487 million. The biomass of scallops in the region remains high, however low recruitment led the Scallop Advisory Panel to support a conservative approach for the 2020 season. Surveys indicated that the highest density of scallops was in the Nantucket Lightship South area, with estimates of 35,000 metric tons in the area.