National Fisherman


Yearbook 2005

Response to change is essential to success

Someone once said the only constant in the universe is change, and fishermen certainly can attest to that. It might be weather, which changes with or without preamble, or it might be price. Sometimes it's the fish, who change their minds and swim away. Maybe next time they'll swim right at you. The politicians are always changing their minds, so the bureaucrats are always changing the rules, and now you've got to change your gear. God forbid your spouse changes his or her mind, or next you time you go ashore, you'll be changing your address.

Times change along with the seasons. Fishermen once held sway over waterfronts largely regarded as undesirable neighborhoods. In some places today you'll do well to hold onto your mooring. You accepted the unpredictability of what you did, but you certainly would have predicted you'd always be doing it. Sometimes you regretted working so hard. Now they won't let you work enough.

Lately it seems like there's more change, and little for the better. Without a crystal ball, it's hard to be sure. What we can be certain of is that change is a force of nature, an energy to be harnessed.

Even the best fisheries management stories will have few positive outcomes for us if we're not in a position to profitably harvest; the best weather will do us no good if we're tied to the dock; the most efficient gear will do us no good if we don't set it on fish.

2006 may have been a tough year: continued consolidation, a rising tide of imports, and this relentless push to eco-colonize an ecosystem that's done a pretty good job on its own, to say nothing of a rewrite of Magnuson that paid little heed to much of this industry.

There'll be better years — and tougher ones. Keep the net in the water, as the Gloucesterman used to say, and you'll get a trip.

— Jerry Fraser

Inside the Industry

NOAA recently published a proposed rule that would implement a traceability plan to help combat IUU fishing. The program would seek to trace the origins of imported seafood by setting up reporting and filing procedures for products entering the U.S.

The traceability program would collect data on harvest, landing, and chain of custody of fish and fish products that have been identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and fraud.

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The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:

The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.

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