National Fisherman


The Rudderpost 

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

 

Blogpic It should come as no surprise that one of the first questions out of people's mouths after the Deepwater Horizon explosion and consequential oil spill is, "What's going to happen to the offshore drilling plan?"

I've heard a lot of folks pronounce this spill as the death knell to Obama's plan, but I find that hard to believe.

This is a massive spill (although the rate at which oil is being pumped above the seafloor is now in dispute), and we won't know the extent of the damage for a very long time. However, tragedies like this one serve as lessons learned. After the Exxon Valdez disaster, we got double-hulled tankers. That action may seem like a no-brainer now, but unfortunately, it often takes disaster on a massive scale for our government (or the international community, when it came to double hulls) to force industry into significant investments.

Hopefully, after Deepwater Horizon, our government will require sonar-activated blowout preventers. During the Bush administration, there was some talk of requiring these preventers on all rigs in U.S. waters, but the oil industry pushed back and said the $500,000 investment was too high, so the Minerals Management Service backed down. Now that cost seems laughable.

Sadly, it seems that for many decades at least, our government has been more in the business of protecting corporations than in protecting its own people. This is just another example of how that has come back to bite us. And the government officials who made it all happen? Happily retired. Good for them.

So what do we do? Well, we have to do what fishermen have understood and been doing for the last couple of decades: get involved in the process. Otherwise, you are sure to be left out, left behind and left in a lurch in the long run.

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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