National Fisherman


Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.

 

 

Top 5 Mixed Catch Stories

It's been a dreary, rainy summer thus far here in Vacationland. That's not helping Maine lobstermen, who have had metaphorical clouds hanging over their heads for a couple of years.

The economy of course puts a damper on tourism, and the cold (the time and temperature building display outside my window says it's 63 degrees), wet weather isn't helping. And a lack of visitors eager to munch on Maine's signature seafood product isn't doing the lobster industry any good.

Meanwhile, lobstermen have undertaken a costly swap of floating rope for sinking rope to prevent the possibility of endangered northern right whales becoming ensnared in lobster gear. It's not just the initial cost of buying the new, pricier rope that's a problem. The sinking rope doesn't last as long, and can break if it gets hung up on rockier grounds. So gear replacement occurs more frequently, adding to lobstermen's overhead.

Add the global economic tailspin that sent consumer demand and dock prices tumbling to the list of lobstermen's woes. Heck, driving into work this week, I saw the following prices displayed at a local gas station:

Regular: $2.59
Premium: $2.79
Lobster: $2.99 a pound

I'm old enough to remember the days when you'd get items like glasses and dinnerware when you gassed up, but I don't ever recall being able to dip into the lobster tank while filling the gas tank. On the other hand, if you'll recall, we were paying more for a gallon of gas last summer than the gas station's customers are paying for lobster.

Here's hoping the lobstermen's woes are temporary, especially since the fishery has been the backbone of the Pine Tree State's fishing industry for so long. In the years prior to the recent economic downturn, lobstermen enjoyed record landings and healthy dock prices; chances are they'll do so again.

Until then, they're buckling down and weathering the storm as best they can. In every life, some rain must fall.

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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