National Fisherman


Yesterday was Earth Day. On the web, it was noted in tweets, blogs and Facebook posts. For some, talking about the environment meant talking about commercial fishing.  

"Fish feeling pain not reason enough for you to stop eating them? This Earth Day, learn the environmental reasons."  That was a tweet from Food Empowerment with a link to a web page detailing the crimes of commercial fishing.

The "environmental reasons" were many. Basically, if the ocean has a problem, commercial fishing is to blame. The only way you can save the ocean is by eating vegan — and tell your friends.

When you hear those kinds of messages, you can direct your friends to NOAA's Fish Watch site. It provides information about species and sustainable fishing. This video, for instance, gives the basics about what they need to know to buy sustainable seafood:

Most environmental groups are savvy enough to know you can't get people to stop eating fish, and they've focused their resources in changing policies.

I may not make any friends by saying this, but it's not all bad. Environmental groups' involvement in fishery management and sustainable labeling programs has been controversial, but at least part of their message is that there are sustainable choices consumers can make.

But the message should always be to buy local first. If you buy fish that was landed nearby, you support local fishermen and the working waterfront that supports them. Their activities help sustain the local economies of small coastal communities that don't have other industries they can depend on for employment. That, in turn, helps sustain a future as one generation follows the next into a career that is hard but suits the individuals who make it their life's calling. Common sense tells you they're heavily invested in keeping the resource around for the future as well.

As they say about the ocean, the environment, the earth — it's all interconnected.

Inside the Industry

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.

Read more...

Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.

Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.

Read more...
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