National Fisherman


Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.

 

 

Top 5 Mixed Catch Stories

Not all U.S. industries are created equal. At least that's the conclusion you reach when you look at how the fishing industry and the oil industry are regulated.

One the one hand, we have the fishing industry. NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco is driving the push towards catch share management, and appears determined to implement the sector management system regardless of the economic toll it will take on the region's fishermen and their communities.

Industry advocates and legislators fear that the catch share management program will devastate the Northeast groundfish fishery and coastal communities unless alterations are made. Yet entreaties to Lubchenco and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to raise catch limits enough to let fishermen survive until annual quotas can be more accurately set in future years are falling on deaf ears.

On the other hand we have the oil industry. The federal Minerals Management Service didn't require British Petroleum to have a $500,000 acoustic backup device for the Deepwater Horizon oil rig; it deemed the device too expensive. That probably looks like chump change to BP now.

On Friday, President Obama lit into the agency, "For too long, for a decade or more, there's been a cozy relationship between the oil companies and the federal agency [MMS] that permits them to drill," Obama said during a White House press conference in the Rose Garden. "It seems as if permits were too often issued based on little more than assurances of safety from the oil companies."

Thus we have two industries, both extracting natural resources that are treated very differently by the agencies that manage them. Alaska's Prince William Sound and now the Gulf of Mexico will likely never be the same following oil spills. So tell me again which industry is the better steward of our nation's ocean resources?

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.

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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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