Written by Linc Bedrosian
Thursday, 22 March 2012
The Keep Fishermen Fishing rally in Washington, D.C., has come and gone, as have the buses that carried commercial and recreational fishermen alike to Wednesday's demonstration. So was the event a success? The answer may depend on the yardstick you're using.
If you're measuring its success by attendance, you may initially have doubts. According to a press statement issued by the Marine Fish Conservation Network, which opposes bills seeking to relax the Magnuson-Stevens Act's 10-year stock rebuilding mandate, crowd size was estimated as a paltry 300 people. Yikes!
But mainstream media news story estimates set the number of commercial and recreational fishermen attending as between 1,000 to 3,000 people. If it was closer to 1,000, then folks could argue that the demonstration didn't attract as many fishermen as the 2010 fishermen's rally did. Back then, fishermen similarly gathered in Washington to voice their dissatisfaction with increasingly stringent regulations that make it more difficult for small-boat fishermen to earn a living.
Of course, one could also argue that thanks to those onerous regulations, there may be fewer fishermen left to demonstrate than there were two years ago. However, the Gloucester (Mass.) Times cited reports indicating that some buses carrying fishermen to the demonstration site, which would have bumped up the attendance figure, got stuck in traffic in Manhattan and Delaware.
If crowd size was closer to 3,000, then the same number of folks attended as did in 2010. Moreover, Wednesday's rally reportedly attracted even more politicians than the 2010 one did. Politicians who are backing the fishermen-supported legislation to amend the Magnuson-Stevens Act spoke at the rally, proclaiming their support for the fishermen's cause.
That alone suggests that fishermen are increasingly gaining the ears of federal lawmakers who have the power to bring about change. And if that translates into passage of bills that make the Magnuson-Stevens Act more fisherman-friendly, the rally will be deemed a success by the only yardstick that matters — action.
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...