Jan 7, 2018

Maine inshore waters enviro protection moves to next stage w/fed inshore habitat area of particular concern.

Shallow Ecology: New fed regs to protect nearshore baby cod from pollution & sprawl


Photo by: NEFMCMap shows the new Habitat Area of Particular Concern for juvenile Atlantic cod along the Maine coast.
New federal fish habitat regs will allow for protection of the homes and prey of juvenile Atlantic cod  from water pollution and habitat damage, along our bay's and greater New England coasts and around their islands, 
The New England Fishery Management Council identified the habitat and water quality needs of  juvenile cod, and its prey species eight types of chemical threats, nineteen categories of physical threats and four types of  biological threats. Click for list of known impacts
Learn how important YOU are  to ensure that  protecting and conserving this important shallow frontier of the sea. And how easily.
The new protection zone is called the  "Inshore Juvenile Cod HAPC Habitat Area of Particular Concern".  This HAPC along the New England coast has gone through several alternative size/depths extends from the low tide line to the 20 meter depth contour. Working waterfronts are exempted.
In the late 1990s the Fishery Council tasked researchers with finding out what coastal cod populations need and what harms them. Their 2000 report on nearshore juvenile cod habitat of particular concern revealed its vulnerability to landbased impacts was published in 2000. Research report on the nearshore HAPC:  in 2000.
The zone  was selected by   commercial fishermen of the New England Fishery Management Council after reviews and commentary  by academics , ENGOs and  government agencies and is now in the hands of NOAA.
The agency is expected to post the new "HAPC" regs on the federal register shortly, making them official. The council has also designated HAPCs for all other fish they manage
Their final report on inshore juvenile cod HAPC, released earlier this year, notes that  "Due to their close proximity to human activities, inshore and nearshore areas are sensitive to anthropogenic stresses."
The report describe eight types of chemical threats, nineteen categories of physical threats and four types of  biological threats to the  water quality, prey availability and habitat  of these  shallow areas, where nearshore Atlantic cod  live during their larval and  juvenile life stages.
Under the new regulations, coastal developers and others proposing to impact those shallow waters will need to be able to prove that their project will not harm juvenile cod nor their prey species and habitats. If it would, the developer would have to modify the project to minimize those impacts or move it elsewhere. The same goes for pesticide appliers and licensed outfall dischargers and owners of polluted shorelines.
The Friends of Penobscot Bay believe that this Habitat Area of Particular Concern will make give fishermen and others concerned about their fishes' environment a sensible way to protect it.
"These productive shore waters and shoals are the bay's and Gulf of Maine's front line," said Ron Huber, executive director of Friends of Penobscot Bay. "Here  is where fish, shellfish and their prey first encounter the complicated mixture of wastes, pesticides and more coming off the land via outfalls, culverts, spills, leaks and runoff."
"Come to the Belfast public library Wednesday  August 6th at 6pm  and learn how you can help bring back our coastal cod."
FMI contact Friends of Penobscot Bay 593-2744

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