Written by Linc Bedrosian
Thursday, 13 December 2012
Yes, New England groundfishermen, there is a Santa Claus. NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco says she's leaving the agency at the end of February to return to her family on the West Coast and academia.
It's likely a bittersweet Christmas gift for the region's groundfish harvesters. On one hand, many of them have been clamoring for her removal almost from the beginning, thanks to her zeal in forcing catch share management upon them.
On the other hand, her resignation won't improve their present lot. Next week, the New England Fishery Management Council has the unhappy task of discussing catch limit alternatives for 2013 and beyond. Given dire stock assessments for cod and yellowtail flounder, whatever catch limit alternative the council eventually selects, the news probably won't be good.
So who should Lubchenco's successor be? What we saw during her tenure was Lubchenco's desire to have NOAA rather than NMFS drive the fisheries management policy bus. Should that trend continue, would Brian Rothschild, the Montgomery Charter Professor of Marine Science of the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, School for Marine Science and Technology, be a good fit?
Certainly Rothschild possesses the scientific credibility and gravitas the job requires, and the ability to work with a diverse group of stakeholders. He also has fishermen's respect, which would go a long ways towards righting their relations with the agency.
Whoever becomes Lubchenco's successor must do a better job of working with fishermen, and U.S. senators and representatives, too. And most of all, the new leader must encourage a better balance to fisheries management policy to ensure that fish and fishermen thrive. That would be the greatest Christmas gift U.S. fishermen could ever receive.
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...