A Plague of Dogfish
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(business, vessel, organization, etc.) and whether you are in the commercial, recreational or party/charter sector.

Fishermen Organized for Responsible Dogfish Management (FORDM)

Commercial, recreational and party/charter fishermen from Maine to North Carolina have come together in FORDM, an ad hoc (that means minimum administrative chores and maximum efficiency) association with the sole purpose of bringing some rationality to the management of spiny dogfish. Our first official act was sending a letter to NOAA Assistant Administrator Jane Lubchenco detailing the situation and asking for her support in rectifying it. The letter is linked here. We have been solicitating additional signers through a web-based form available here. If you wish to see the runaway dogfish population brought under control, pleas fill out the form - you will also be able to subscribe to FORDM email updates when filling out the form.

Dogfish Links

FORDM Letter to NOAA Administrator Lubchenco

Reply to FORDM
Letter from J. Balsiger

What Northeastern fishermen have to say about spiny dogfish

YouTube video - "Surrounded by hungry dogfish" courtesy of
Mike Laptew

Presentation by N. Stolpe to the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
 Magnuson management ( focusing on spiny dogfish)

Gloucester Daily Times
Fishermen look to NOAA in dogfish fight

Commercial Fisheries News Special Report on Dogfish

FishNet USA
Dogfish Follies

National Marine Fisheries Service
Spiny Dogfish Status

Joint Spiny Dogfish Committee Report

Fishes of the Gulf of Maine
The Spiny Dogfishes

East Carolina University
Spiny Dogfish Research

Portland Press Herald
Dogfish tourney: science with teeth

Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat
Assessment of Spiny Dogfish in Atlantic Canada

 Register your dissatisfaction with spiny dogfish management in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic

    The Dogfish Forum

    The Philadelphia Airport Sheraton Suites Hotel - 09/30/2008  


    "Voracious almost beyond belief, the dogfish entirely deserves its bad reputation. Not only does it harry and drive off mackerel, herring, and even fish as large as cod and haddock, but it destroys vast numbers of them. Again and again fishermen have described packs of dogs dashing among schools of mackerel, and even attacking them within the seines, biting through the net, and releasing such of the catch as escapes them. At one time or another they prey on practically all species of Gulf of Maine fish smaller than themselves, and squid are also a regular article of diet whenever they are found." (Fishes of the Gulf of Maine, Bigelow, H.B. and W.C. Schroeder, 1953)

A plague of spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias) is interfering with fisheries in coastal states from Maine to North Carolina. Unprecedented numbers of these voracious predators are clogging nets, stealing bait and ruining the catch in fishery after fishery, needlessly penalizing the affected fishermen and coastal fishing communities. In addition to this direct interference with other fisheries, dogfish are eating vast quantities of much more valuable species, negating the effects of drastic management-mandated fishing effort reductions in those fisheries. Fishermen are sacrificing to conserve extremely important recreational and commercial species and their efforts are doing little more than providing more food for an ever-increasing population of dogfish.

How have we gotten to this sorry state? How have we let a low value species like the spiny dogfish become so plentiful that it is standing in the way of the successful rebuilding of other, far more valuable species and costing the coastal economies of a dozen states tens of millions of dollars? The simple answer is thatís what federal law requires.

Building on similar meetings in Biddeford, Maine and Hyannis, Massachusetts, on September 30th weíll be bringing together federal, state and regional managers, researchers and commercial, recreational and party/charter boat fishermen most familiar with spiny dogfish to discuss the status of the dogfish stocks, the current situation regarding their depredations on East Coast fish and fisheries, and the expectations for the future. We will also be searching for solutions to the problems they are currently inflicting on virtually every other fishery. Our intention is to prepare and widely distribute the proceedings of the Forum, with the aim of acquainting the public and policy makers with the scope of the dogfish problem and of the need for an effective and immediate solution.

Registration is limited and a minimal fee may be required to partially offset expenses. Please contact Nils Stolpe, the Foum Coordinator, for more information.

Also, if you have any pictures illustrating the impact of dogfish on traditional fisheries or dogfish abundance, please let let us know via the contact information above.

We are planning - barring unforeseen technical difficulties - on having an audio recording of the forum, as well as the Powerpoint presentatyions, available on this website within a week.

The agenda is:






9:15 - 9:30

Nils Stolpe
FishNet USA




9:30 - 10:00

Paul Rago
National Marine Fisheries Service

Spiny dogfish - status of the stock

Click here for PDF of presentation

Click here for audio(4.6 mb MP3 file)

10:10 - 10:40

Jim Armstrong
Mid Atlantic Fisheries Management Council

MAFMC Spiny Dogfish Management

Click here for PDF of presentation

Click here for audio(5.7 mb MP3 file)

10:50 - 11:20

Chris Vonderweidt
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission

ASMFC Spiny Dogfish Management

Click here for PDF of  presentation

Click here for audio(2.3 mb MP3 file)

11:30 - 12:00

David Pierce
Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries

Act III, Scene 1: "Cry 'Havoc!', and let slip the dogs of war" between the states and NOAA Fisheries: Are we wedded to a dogfish doomsday scenario, or will ecosystem management spur a new direction for dogfish management and cooperation?

Click here for PDF of presentation

Click here for audio(4.8 mb MP3 file)

12:00 - 1:00





1:00 - 1:30

Peter Himchak
New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife

NJ spiny dogfish management and resource monitoring

Click here for PDF of presentation

Click here for audio(4.1 mb MP3 file)

1:40 - 2:10

James Sulikowski
University of New England

Dismissing Dogma: Using satellite tag technology to gain new Insights into the horizontal and vertical movement patterns  of  spiny dogfish.

Click here for PDF of presentation

Click here for audio(4.6 mb MP3 file)

2:20 - 2:50

Roger Rulifson
University of Eastern Carolina

Movements and Migrations of East Coast Spiny Dogfish

Click here for PDF of presentation

Click here for audio(5.3 mb MP3 file)

3:00 - 3:30

Andrew Minkiewicz
Kelley Drye

Spiny dogfish management - administrative and legislative considerations


Click here for audio(3.0 mb MP3 file)

3:40 - 4:00

Representative from Northeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program

The NEAMAP Trawl Survey

Click here for PDF of presentation


Recreational, commercial and party/charter boat Fishermen from the Gulf of Maine to North Carolina will be discussing the impacts of the explosion of the dogfish stocks on their fisheries between the longer technical presentations.

The Dogfish Forum was sponsored by the Fishermen's Dock Cooperative, Lundís Fisheries, National Fisheries Instituteís Scientific Monitoring Committee, North Carolina Fisheries Association, Recreational Fishing Alliance, United Boatmen of NY & NJ and Viking Village.