National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

lincIn Mixed Catch, NF Senior Editor Linc Bedrosian spotlights a wide range of commercial fishing-related news items from coast to coast.

Louisiana's commercial fishing industry must be building up some serious karma points.

Since 2005, Hurricane Katrina and other storms wreaked havoc on the Pelican State's fishing industry. But it somehow managed to slowly pick itself up again.

Then last year, the Deepwater Horizon oil well exploded off Louisiana, releasing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, idling fishing once more. Yet despite the massive oil spill and its accompanying frustrations, Louisiana keeps putting one foot in front of the other, trying to get back to business.

Now, the state's oyster industry faces another hurdle courtesy of the swollen Mississippi River. According to the Associated Press, the Army Corps of Engineers is preparing to release freshwater from the Bonnet Carre Spillway to protect people, homes and businesses situated along the Mississippi. The Corps may also open the Morganza Spillway located some 35 miles northwest of Baton Rouge.

Doing so will divert water out of the Mississippi and relieve pressure on the river's levees. Unfortunately, the influx of freshwater into Louisiana oyster beds could also cause significant mortalities. Oysters prefer saltier waters.

Should a significant number of oysters perish, Nicholls State University biology professor Earl Melancon Jr. told the AP, recovery of Louisiana's oyster industry from the oil spill could be set back a year.

"It's Mother Nature giving us another blow after what BP did last year," Melancon told the AP. "That's dramatic for these oystermen."

Louisiana's commercial fishing industry members have been living for months in "survival mode" as one oyster company owner put it. Seems like now would be as good a time as any for the fates to start reimbursing them for all the karma points they've built up.

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 11/06/14

In this episode:

NOAA report touts 2013 landings, value increases
Panama fines GM salmon company Aquabounty
Gulf council passes Reef Fish Amendment 40
Maine elver quota cut by 2,000 pounds
Offshore mussel farm would be East Coast’s first

 

Inside the Industry

EAST SAND ISLAND, Oregon—Alexa Piggott is crawling through a dark, dusty, narrow tunnel on this 62-acre island at the mouth of the Columbia River. On the ground above her head sit thousands of seabirds. Piggott, a crew leader with Bird Research Northwest, is headed for an observation blind from which she'll be able to count them.
 
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NOAA and its fellow Natural Resource Damage Assessment trustees in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have announced the signing of a formal Record of Decision to implement a gulf restoration plan. The 44 projects, totaling an estimated $627 million, will restore barrier islands, shorelines, dunes, underwater grasses and oyster beds.

Read more...

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