Written by Adrianne Madden
Friday, 04 December 2009
Who wouldn't feel a 25 percent hit in their income?
Maybe professional athletes, movie stars or rock stars wouldn't. They wouldn't be happy about it, but they could withstand it. I mean, if Jim Carrey goes from making $10 million per film to $7.5 million, I don't think he's going to be worried about making mortgage or car payments and putting food on the table.
But new rules for the 2010 season approved at November's New England Fishery Management Council meeting (though NMFS must still give final approval) could slash scallopers' revenue by 25 percent. Despite a healthy, well-managed and monitored scallop resource, the total allowable harvest will be lower because regulators are required to factor in "scientific uncertainty" about population numbers when setting the harvest limit.
Furthermore, days at sea will be cut from 38 to 29. And the number of trips to restricted access areas will decline from five to four.
Given all this, scallopers say they could be facing a 25 percent cut in their revenue next year. Roy Enoksen, president of New Bedford, Mass.-based Eastern Fisheries, which operates 23 scallop boats, told the New Bedford Standard-Times this week http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20091201/NEWS/912010355/1018/OPINION the changes translate into a loss of $250,000 to $300,000 per vessel.
The scallop industry will survive the cuts. But in a down economy, they sure don't help.
Hence, it's all the more perplexing that Magnuson-Stevens Act requirements force regulators to largely ignore socioeconomic factors that could give fishery managers greater leeway and mitigate the hit fishermen would take in these tough economic times.
Perhaps persistent industry prodding could convince our esteemed congressmen and senators to amend Magnuson-Stevens to give regulators that flexibility. I'm inclined to believe they'd be sympathetic to the cause. After all, how do you think they'd react to any attempts to cut politicians' income by 25 percent?
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...