National Fisherman


Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 10.48.26 AMWhen I interviewed Dorothy Lowman, fisheries advisor and chair of the Pacific Fishery Management Council, she told me she was a workshop skeptic. That was surprising considering she had organized the first national electronic monitoring workshop in Seattle in January.

But I knew what she meant. I’ve been in plenty of meetings where people talk a good talk, but nothing happens after.

I don't think that will happen with electronic monitoring. The national workshop was timely. Fishermen on all coasts are working toward electronic monitoring. That makes sense because around the country an increasing number of fisheries are under quota management systems that require greater catch accountability.

With so much going on and so many interested parties, Lowman organized the workshop to bring people together from different fisheries and councils. Dan Falvey, a workshop participant who is working on electronic monitoring in the Alaska longline industry, told me there have been over 40 EM pilot programs around the country. It makes sense for those people to talk to each other.

For National Fisherman it’s an issue that’s important to get in the magazine, especially considering that people on all coasts are working toward implementation so that they can better track their catch and make it easier for fishermen to do it.

The skepticism comes in with what happens next. When I talked to people for a story about electronic monitoring for National Fisherman’s June issue, they were far from done. Several told me their own councils were holding EM workshops.

In addition, the workshop generated a great online resource for those continuing to work on its implementation. At www.eminformation.com, you can find a workshop summary and takeaways, videos and papers of presentations from the workshop as well as pilot program studies and contacts within the EM world.

The website is intended to continue to be used as an information sharing resource for fishermen and others interested in electronic monitoring. I expect the number of people interested will only get bigger.

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.

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