National Fisherman


The Rudderpost 

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

 

JHathaway2 A year and a half ago, I was standing in the hallway of the Rhode Island Convention Center discussing with the late Phil Ruhle Sr. the pitfalls of establishing groundfish catch shares.

I will never forget the voracity with which he attempted to plead the case of so many fishermen who were arguing at a recent New England Fishery Council Meeting that their catches were not recorded correctly and would, therefore, negatively affect their catch shares under the new program.

Today we find out that NMFS regional administrator Pat Kurkul has admitted to errors in the agency's data recording.

While I applaud Kurkul for beginning what I can only hope is an era of improved communication between the federal agency and the industry it regulates, I am disappointed in her attempt to spread the blame.

According to the Gloucester (Mass.) Daily Times, Kurkul wrote in 2007, "Given the amount of data we receive and process each year, currently exceeding 1 million records, errors do occur on both the reporting side by the fishing industry and on processing the reports submitted.

"The responsibility for ensuring that we do have this information rests on both parties."

Well, I'm pretty sure plenty of fishermen were saying almost two years ago that the data was wrong. Yet, the catch shares for 2010 are set.

Once again, the onus is on the fishermen to be the watchdogs of their own federal agency.

If you think your catch history is incorrect, you won't find relief for next May. But make sure you have your complaint in writing to NMFS by Oct. 31 for correction by the 2011 season.

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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