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News DMF News Q3 & Q4 2019 Now Available!

The most recent edition of our newsletter, DMF NEWS, is now available for download. This edition covers events and issues of the second half of 2019.
  • Division of Marine Fisheries
Cover page of DMF News Q3 & Q4

To read each individual article, click the link below the title. To download the entire newsletter as a PDF, follow the DMF News link in the top right corner.

Director David E. Pierce Retires

On November 1, Dr. David Pierce retired from DMF after 48 years of service. Renowned for his work ethic and attention to detail, David has been a pillar of Massachusetts fisheries management since the 1970s.

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Striped Bass Management Changes Pending for 2020

Later this winter, the public will have a chance to weigh in on the Division’s management of the Massachusetts commercial and recreational striped bass fisheries. A number of the proposed changes for 2020 are new interstate management requirements in response to updated stock status, while others are optional tools to improve the fisheries’ performance. 

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In September, DMF was contacted by the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association after several lobstermen observed an unusual occurrence in their traps. In portions of southern Cape Cod Bay, traps were coming up from the ocean floor containing dead lobsters, crabs, and finfish. All initial reports were from an area between Scorton Ledge and the mouth of Barnstable Harbor, at depths ranging from 30–70 ft of water. Individual fishermen’s counts of dead lobsters ranged from a dozen to several hundred within a fishing day.

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Become a Citizen Scientist!

We’re looking for anglers to voluntarily report their groundfish catch, fishing time, and locations to help improve our haddock recreational maps.

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Fishway Construction at the Draka Dam on the Three Mile River

The Draka Dam, also called the 620 Spring Street Dam, was built to provide hydropower for the surrounding mill industries in the 1800s. The dam impounds the 45-acre Mount Hope Pond and eliminated upstream passage for sea-run fish to the pond and for several miles upstream in the Three Mile River. With the completion of a new fish ladder at the Draka Dam on the Taunton and Dighton border, river herring will finally get their chance to swim up river next spring. 

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2020 Commercial Quota Outlook

Commercial fishing quotas for 2020 have been updated. The quotas described herein are subject to change. Check the Division’s quota monitoring webpage for updates on commercial quotas and landings.

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Using Advanced Technologies to Map the Distribution and Habitat Use of Spawning Cod near Cox Ledge

Cox Ledge and the surrounding area of Southern New England waters have been slated for wind energy development starting in 2022. This area supports one of the remaining major spawning components of Atlantic cod. Cod use noise to communicate during the spawning season and an increasing body of literature demonstrates that construction noise and operations can disrupt spawning activity. However, there is relatively little information available to evaluate the habitat use and spawning dynamics of cod in the Cox Ledge region. 

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Construction Underway at the Deer Island Fishing Pier

A fishing pier providing access to Boston Harbor was first conceived by our Marine Recreational Fisheries Development Panel in 2012. At the time, with several successful pier projects on the Cape and Islands completed or in the pipeline, the Panel members had stressed to DMF that seeking out an urban opportunity for a future large-scale fishing access project would benefit a wider range of anglers. Among the many ideas that were thrown out for a potential fishing pier location was Deer Island in East Boston. 

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DMF Deploys Materials on the Yarmouth Reef in Nantucket Sound

Through the collaborative efforts of DMF, the Cape Cod Salties, the Yarmouth Division of Natural Resources (DNR), the U. S. Coast Guard, and the MA Department of Fish and Game (DFG), new structures have been deployed to the Yarmouth artificial reef site in Nantucket Sound for the first time in more than two decades. Two separate efforts contributed more than 3000 cubic yards (CY) of new material to the site, covering several acres of bottom. 

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DMF Biologists Will Study Growth in Large Lobsters

Lobster growth is a complicated process because of their hard shells; growth must happen in distinct steps rather than continuously like fish growth. Lobsters produce a new shell underneath their existing hard shell, and once they’ve outgrown the old hard shell, they molt. (The scientific term for molting is “ecdysis,” which is derived from an old Greek term meaning “to take off”.) Immediately after molting, the lobster’s new shell is very soft, and the lobster absorbs water to inflate the new shell to its larger size before it hardens. Over time, the water will be replaced with body tissue as the lobster grows, until its shell is full and it needs to molt again.

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Creature Feature: Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles

The Kemp’s Ridley is a small, hard-shelled turtle with adults measuring around 2 feet in length and weighing 70 pounds. They are a benthic feeder that prefer shallow sandy or muddy bottom areas and primarily eat crabs. Approximately 7,000–9,000 nesting females exist and almost all return to a single nesting beach, Rancho Nuevo in Mexico, to lay their eggs. In the US they are listed as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act. While adult Kemp’s Ridley are mainly confined to the Gulf of Mexico, juveniles range to temperate coastal areas and are found all along the US East Coast, including as far north as Massachusetts. 

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Applications Sought for the Climate Change Resilience in Fisheries and Aquaculture Grant Program

DMF is accepting applications for the 2020 Climate Change Resilience in Fisheries and Aquaculture Grant Program. The goal of this program is to develop, utilize, or promote technologies that enhance the resiliency of the Massachusetts commercial fishing and aquaculture industries to climate change and enhance the environmental monitoring capacity of Massachusetts coastal waters.

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Regulatory Updates and Adjudicatory Proceedings

During the period of July 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019 the following regulatory changes were enacted by DMF after public hearings and Marine Fishery Advisory Commission approval, or by the Director under his declaratory and emergency authorities. 

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Division of Marine Fisheries 

The Division of Marine Fisheries manages the state’s commercial and recreational saltwater fisheries and oversees other services that support the marine environment and fishing communities.