Written by Adrianne Madden
Friday, 15 October 2010
Catch share management is coming to the West Coast groundfish fishery starting Jan. 1, 2011. The question is, will the West Coast fleet find life under catch share management more palatable than do their New England counterparts?
Catch share management has rankled Northeast groundfishermen. They say catch share allocations, which are based on catch histories, penalize those who acquired days at sea permits that had little fishing history. The combination of small allocations and low catch limits for "choke" species are keeping groundfish boats tied to the docks, they say, and driving fishermen out of business.
The New England fleet received a glimmer of hope this week. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke traveled to New Bedford, Mass., and announced that, as New England's legislative delegation has asserted, he has the authority under the Magnuson-Stevens Act to make emergency adjustments to regulations.
Moreover, Locke is prepared to do so if economic and scientific data justifies and supports such action. That could lead to reassessments of 2010 catch limits.
Meanwhile on the West Coast, NOAA is trumpeting the coming implementation of groundfish catch shares.
"The point of catch-shares is to get government out of the business of telling fishermen when they can fish," NOAA spokesman Brian Gorman told the Monterey County (Calif.) Herald. http://www.montereyherald.com/local/ci_16336202?nclick_check=1 "It minimizes the amount of regulations fishermen have to endure and puts more control into their hands." However, it didn't take Jeremiah O'Brien, president of the Morro Bay Commercial Fishermen's Organization, long to find a down side to catch share management.
He told the Herald that the program will "basically turn fishing over to corporate entities." O'Brien also wondered why the government is championing a policy that will eliminate jobs.
If his New Bedford announcement is any indication, Locke may be wondering that, too.
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...