National Fisherman


The Rudderpost 

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

 

Once again, an environmental group is using numbers from a study to push fishermen out of the water, while ignoring reports from fishermen that the waters are teeming.

So far this year, reports from the Atlantic bluefin season are consistent in one thing: It is gangbusters out there.

The commercial fleet in Prince Edward Island caught their annual quota in two days. Recreational fishermen in the Mid-Atlantic are saying it's more robust than ever.

And yet, the Center for Biological Diversity continues to insist on an Endangered Species Act listing to protect bluefin tuna from American fishermen.

The group claims the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico devastated the already dwindling population of bluefin during their spawning season.

This may indeed be true, but we don't know for sure. What we do know is that the "numbers" have indicated a long-term spawning problem, but the anecdotes from the people on the water contradict those studies.

Unfortunately, some groups would rather follow the precautionary approach to save the animals rather than to save the jobs.

According to CBD attorney Catherine Kilduff, as quoted in the Ocean City, Md., Dispatch, "The federal government could have predicted the effects of the spill during spawning season prior to the disaster. Listing Atlantic bluefin tuna as endangered will prevent such an oversight from ever happening again."

This sounds like the plan going forward ought to be that we assume there will be scientific studies, presume they will herald disaster and act on those assumptions before bothering to perform the study.

My preference would be for more collaborative research that incorporates the honed skills of professional researchers and scientists with generations of local knowledge you can only find in commercial fishing communities.

People think fishermen are eager to catch the last fish and are not capable of being the stewards of their fishery. It's an uphill battle, but we have to prove them wrong.

Let's work together, get as close as we can to the truth, and move forward from there.

For more on this debate, check out our upcoming December issue.

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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