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Fisheries Management in the Case of a Major Pollution Event in the Gulf of Maine

MARCH 1, 2019 — The week of February 25, the OR&R Emergency Response Division, NOAA Marine Fisheries/Greater Atlantic Regional Field Office, and the Coastal Response Research Center (CRRC - a joint NOAA/University of New Hampshire research center) brought response, management and seafood inspection authorities from state and federal levels together to discuss fisheries management following a major pollution event in the Gulf of Maine. 

Attendees came from Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts (state response and management agencies), Food and Drug Administration, NOAA’s Seafood Inspection Program, New Hampshire Sea Grant and others. This one-day workshop examined the science (and craft) of fisheries closures based on the uncertainty of trajectory modeling as well as oil types and oil fate. The program included a comparison of closure and opening practices among the states and by federal agencies, an overview of the NOAA Sensory Analysis Laboratory, and outreach and communication ideas for fishermen, stakeholders, and the public. 

Aside from the important network building that occurred, the workshop resulted in several key action items: 

  1. We will endeavor to add an annex to the Area Contingency Plans that specifically addresses fisheries management and development of an incident-specific fisheries team following a major release. 
  2. We will develop outreach materials aimed at informing the public, the commercial fishing community, and associated stakeholders as to the science involved in determining contamination or taint and the measures taken to ensure seafood going to market is safe to consume. 
  3. We will reach out to the aquaculture community in the Gulf of Maine as there are some unique aspects to their industry with respect to this topic. 

For further information, contact Steve.Lehmann@noaa.gov.

Return to OR&R Weekly Report.