Jes Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman magazine and NationalFisherman.com.
Friday, 18 September 2009
The Maine lobster fishery has gotten a lot of press this summer for heightened tension in several fishing communities.
But the most explosive blow came this week from the U.S. Coast Guard.
Seal Island, near Matinicus (location of a shooting among embattled lobstermen earlier this year), Vinalhaven and Isle au Haut, was used for bombing practice during World War II.
It seems sea urchin divers discovered unexploded ordnance in the form of "several hundred" bombs or shells in island waters, according to the Bangor Daily News.
In response to what the Coast Guard is calling a danger zone, a new safety zone for the area was expanded to include local lobster grounds.
When Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) met with Coast Guard officials to discuss the ruling, they concurred that the benefits of keeping the fishery open for already-struggling lobstermen outweighed the unknown risk and withdrew the rule.
What surprises me is how long it has taken the Maine Department of Marine Resources — or anyone else, for that matter — to ask the Coast Guard — or anyone in the federal government responsible for errant munitions — to consider removing unexploded bombs from fishing grounds.
(According to the article, "The DMR planned to ask the agency to consider a mitigation plan for the island." That is, no one has asked yet; they're just planning on asking someone to think about it.)
Are we to expect fishermen to avoid the area or risk being blown up because we don't bother to clean up our own messes?
If this is the federal attitude toward water resources, it's no wonder fishermen are losing ground.
National Fisherman Live: 12/16/14
In this episode, Bruce Buls, WorkBoat's technical editor, interviews Long Island lobsterman John Aldridge, who survived for 12 hours after falling overboard in the dead of night. Aldridge was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Pacific Marine Expo, which took place Nov. 19-21 in Seattle.
NOAA, in consultation with the Department of the Interior, has appointed 10 new members to the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee. The 20-member committee is composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experience who advise the departments of commerce and the interior on ways to strengthen and connect the nation's MPA programs. The new members join the 10 continuing members appointed in 2012.