National Fisherman


The Rudderpost 

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

 

The charter halibut bag limit controversy in Southeast Alaska sure is stirring the pot for charter boat owners and recreational fishermen. They all seem quite horrified by cuts to the charter boat angler's daily allotment from two fish to one, and claim they simply won't be able to survive if the ruling stands.

Welcome to our nation's fisheries management process.

How many times have commercial fishermen pled loss of business in the face of dwindling allocations, had the ruling stand anyway, and then gone out of business?

The standard retort is, "That's what you get for overfishing." Well, I could go on a long tangent about water quality, runoff, overdevelopment, cheap foreign imports and other factors of some species and market decline.

But what I will say instead is that a charter fleet is just as capable of overfishing their quota as a commercial fleet is. In some cases, they are more risky because their numbers are not always reported.

Maybe the charter guys should band together to establish charter IFQs. That way, the guys who go out of business can get bought out by the guys who have enough business history to stay in it.

I don't want to sound cold or eager to toss legitimate tourist business aside (I live in Vacationland, so I get it, believe me). What I would like to see is commercial guys taking advantage of recreational publicity to shed light on their own industry struggles.

What I would love to see is the recreational guys joining with commercial interests to keep everyone in business.

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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