National Fisherman


The Rudderpost 

jesJes Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman magazine and NationalFisherman.com.

 

It seems the only thing sustainable about oil is its expense.

I must admit I breathed a sigh of relief this morning when Marketplace reported that oil had dropped to just shy of $126 a barrel. I never thought I'd be daydreaming about the heady days when everyone was shellshocked after it passed the $50 mark. (That was less than four years ago.)

But when it comes to fuel prices, as bad as it seems over here, it's always worse in Europe.

In protest of the cost of diesel fuel, French commercial fishermen have been blockading ports and refineries for weeks<a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/south_west/7425616.stm">; and in Madrid, they're handing out free fish while they're tied up to the docks.

Welsh fishermen say that between the French blockades and the cost of fuel, they're on the brink of total collapse.

Plenty of American fishermen are tying up to the docks because the price of fresh fish has not overtaken the rising cost of oil.

So what can we do at this point, besides cross our fingers and hope for the best?

Even if there were some sort of revolution in efficiency and/or alternative fuels, the cost of switching over would be overwhelming to most small-boat fishermen or any small-business owner.

The fact is, there is no quick fix for this problem. Protests aren't going to solve the problem (though I can't blame the Europeans, who are paying at least double what we are for the same product), and tying up is certainly not a long-term solution for any fisherman who has to make a living.

I have to wonder if the government stepped in to offer subsidies and tax breaks, would they be a little more careful about the influx of farmed seafood imports?

I guess I'll just have to cross my fingers and hope.

Inside the Industry

NOAA recently published a proposed rule that would implement a traceability plan to help combat IUU fishing. The program would seek to trace the origins of imported seafood by setting up reporting and filing procedures for products entering the U.S.

The traceability program would collect data on harvest, landing, and chain of custody of fish and fish products that have been identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and fraud.

Read more...

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...
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