National Fisherman


Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.

 

 

Top 5 Mixed Catch Stories

Logical thinking has apparently outlived its usefulness. Consider the following.

Commercial fishing has long been known as the nation's most dangerous profession. And until recently, Massachusetts fishermen were thankful that they could rely on the Fishing Partnership Health Plan. The innovative, cost effective health care program for harvesters and their families was once hailed as a potential model for a national health care system.

Unfortunately, the program is being dissolved.

According to the Gloucester (Mass.) Times, rising medical costs, market forces, a troubled Bay State economy, state tax policies, an aging fishing community, and the stringent regulations shackling the region's groundfish harvesters all have made it too difficult to continue the program. Its members will transfer into other similar large quasi-public health care programs.

But it'll cost them more for health coverage. That runs contrary to the mission of the Fishing Partnership plan, which was to provide lower-cost health care to a segment of the population that insurance companies are reluctant to cover — you know, because they work in the nation's most dangerous profession.

Now consider that funding for the Commercial Fishing Safety Research Program at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health was targeted for elimination from the 2012 federal budget.

Well, of course. Why would we need to continue to improve safety in the nation's most dangerous profession?

The commercial fishing community has come a long ways from the days when they didn't carry survival suits, routinely check safety equipment, and perform safety drills that could make the difference when disaster strikes and you must act without thinking. But apparently our elected representatives believe fishing can't be made any safer, so they're not going to bother allocating precious federal dollars to the NIOSH program.

Sigh.

So let's recap. Folks who work in the nation's most perilous industry must pay more for health care (if they can get or even afford coverage). And our federal legislators want to nix funding to improve safety in that profession. That sure sounds logical doesn't it?

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.

Read more...
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