Following Oceana’s newly released report on the harmful impacts of illegal fishing, one of the questions that I as Oceana's Northeast representative was asked most often was, “Where is this happening?” The short answer: Illegal fishing happens everywhere, from the most distant waters near Antarctica to just off the U.S. coast.
On Wednesday afternoon, the state of Massachusetts became a national leader in the fight against mislabeled seafood with a clear message: with an abundance of local seafood, there is no place for mislabeled seafood in Massachusetts, and more must be done to combat this common problem and protect consumers and the fishing industry from fraud.
The Hearing of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure provided a forum for representatives of the state Office of Consumer Protection, Department of Public Health and the Division of Marine Fisheries to update the committee on their efforts to respond to the issue, which was highlighted in a Boston Globe investigation and supported by separate research by Consumer Reports and Oceana.
Drawing on its research into the causes and solutions to this chronic problem, Oceana was among a group of industry and scientific representatives that provided testimony to the committee. Oceana offered new information and clear recommendations about solutions to ensure that all fish are accurately labeled and can be tracked back to their boat or farm of origin.
In response to the testimony provided to the committee, Representative Theodore C. Speliotis, co-chair of the committee, summarized: “It’s clear there has been no oversight on fish mislabeling – none. This hearing is really just the first step.’’
From the Associated Press -- Scientists Spot Rare Blue Whales in Alaska:
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Federal scientists have sighted a rare mammal in Alaska waters - endangered blue whales, the largest animal known to live on Earth.
The sighting by researchers on board a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessel means the blue whale population may be getting healthier and expanding back to traditional territories.
From Reuters -- "Dead Whales Land in Canaries After Naval Exercises":
Two dead whales have landed in Spain's Canary Islands, raising fears they may have been hurt by NATO military exercises off Morocco and that more could have died, officials said on Friday.
From the CBC -- "Fishery changed cod breeding: study":
Overfishing of mature cod has caused the fish to change their breeding tactics, a new study suggests.
From CanadaEast.com -- "Cod fishery closed again due to historically low stocks":
There won't be a cod fishery this year off the east and northeast coast of Newfoundland and the south coast of Labrador.
From the New Zealand News -- "Fisherman wins prize for slick way to save big birds":
Conservationists believe populations of 22 species of seabirds are declining, including 17 of the 21 species of albatross.
But Alex Aitken, a fisherman for 24 years based at Leigh, has discovered a simple, cheap and effective solution to the problem.