National Fisherman


Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.

 

 

Top 5 Mixed Catch Stories

I have spent the better part of this week sniffling, sneezing and coughing. I would say I've gone through a box and a half of Kleenex and have downed my fair share of Robitussin cough syrup.

Nonetheless, I consider myself a lucky guy. The common cold aside, I'm pretty healthy; I don't think I've had even a handful of sick days since I came to NF in late 1994.

And if I do find myself in need of medical attention, I'll be able to take advantage of our company's health care plan. You almost start to feel better just knowing that you're not going to have to worry about how to pay that bill that could easily drain your finances.

Fishermen aren't so lucky. Health care for fishermen and their families is expensive — and often too costly to buy.

The good news is that two bills championing a nationwide health care plan for fishermen (H.R. 5404 and S. 2630) continue to gain traction and bi-partisan support in Congress. So far, the Commercial Fishing Industry Health Care Coverage Act of 2008 has 26 co-sponsors, according to the Massachusetts-based Fishing Partnership Health Program.

The legislation is also getting support at the state level. Yesterday it was announced that California State Sen. Patricia Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa) has introduced legislation calling on Congress and the President to pass the bills. Wiggins chairs the state Joint Legislative Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture.

That the program has gained such political support is attributed to the work of the fishing community organizations that have endorsed the legislation. Thus far 15 such groups spanning the nation's coasts have demonstrated their support, as have two nationwide organizations.

All the stars seem to be aligned to get the bills passed this legislative session — provided that fishermen and fishing groups continue to press their Congressional delegates to co-sponsor the bills. To learn more about the health care program and what you can do to help get the legislation passed, visit the Fishing Partnership Health Plan Web site (www.fphp.org).

Just think: If fishermen make enough phone calls, send enough e-mails and get their legislators to commit to sponsoring the legislation, there could actually be an affordable health care plan for fishermen and their families approved by year's end. Hey, I'm feeling better already.

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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