Written by Adrianne Madden
Friday, 01 April 2011
Apparently, Mother Nature is a big April Fools Day fan. The calendar says it's spring, but Mama N. decided it would be hilarious to drop lots of heavy, wet snow on those of us residing in the Northeast. Ha-ha! Good one!
However, the work of Northeast fishermen and politicians to revise U.S. fisheries management policy is no joke. And it's gaining serious momentum.
Let's take stock of what we've seen over the last few weeks. The Commerce Department made a surprising about-face regarding fisheries enforcement. Where previously NOAA refused to hear fishermen's complaints, the Commerce Department announced it would review appeals of enforcement penalties after all. And it's implementing new practices designed to address problems listed in a federal report concerning enforcement practices.
Commerce has also announced plans to visit New England fishing ports to examine the economic wounds catch share management has inflicted upon fishermen and their communities. And next week, New Bedford, Mass., Mayor Scott Lang's Ocean and Fisheries Council travels to Washington, D.C., for an informational meeting to be held in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Room.
The meeting, expected to attract industry supporters from the Gulf of Mexico and the West Coast as well as a bi-partisan mix of Senate and House members, will outline industry concerns with fisheries management policy.
Fishermen's efforts to gain the ear of their Congressional delegates and affect change indicate that fishermen do indeed have a voice. And if they yell loud enough and long enough with that voice, they can restore balance to fisheries management.
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.Read more...
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...