National Fisherman


The West Coast and East Coast may be apples and oranges when it comes to collaborative research, but which is the model for how it should be done?

“The West Coast has never not had the industry involved in cooperativeJimmyRuhle research. You’ve always had good participation. You’ve got industry participation every level of the way,” said North Carolina skipper Jimmy Ruhle (right) during a session on cooperative research at the Pacific Marine Expo on Wednesday.

On the East Coast collaboration between scientists and fishermen has been a more recent development after years of the former not taking input from the latter seriously, he pointed out.

But the West Coast has room for improvement too, said John Gauvin, of the Alaska Seafood Cooperative. He looked at the level of NOAA involvement in various programs and found that it was more involved with the short-term ones, if involved at all. That kind of independence from NOAA could make it difficult for industry funded research to be implemented in fishery management decisions.

He believes a regional cooperative research program for Alaska — which doesn’t exist now — would provide an infrastructure for various efforts.

“Why wouldn't we want to have our own cooperative research program through NOAA like they do in New England?” he asked. “I really don't know if we’re the apples or the oranges.”

Research projects in the North Pacific run the gamut in size and scale, but what they all have in common is that NOAA manages the fisheries they study. Including NOAA in the collaborative process could make the information collected more valuable to Alaska's fisheries.

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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