National Fisherman


The Rudderpost 

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

 

President Obama's nominee for commerce secretary, John Bryson, has an interesting background, including a mix of business interests as well as the Natural Resources Defense Council.

I understand why many people in the fishing industry are concerned about how Bryson's history as a founder of NRDC would affect his leadership of the department that oversees U.S. commercial fishing. However, my biggest concern remains that just under the commerce secretary, Jane Lubchenco, head of NOAA, has already clarified her preference for environmental groups over American fishermen.

Lest we forget, last year at the International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas gathering Lubchenco requested a reduction in the American bluefin quota after being urged by a bipartisan and seasoned congressional coalition to ask for a slight increase.

That said, I'm satisfied with NOAA's decision late last week to list bluefin tuna as a species of concern. We still don't know what, if any, effect the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has had on bluefin spawning grounds in the Gulf of Mexico.

But what we do know without a doubt is that American and Canadian fishermen are not putting undue pressure on this species because their quotas are strictly enforced.

Listing the bluefin as an endangered species would do little if anything to protect overseas stocks and would in fact shut down tuna fishing on this side of the Atlantic, resulting in the punishment of our own fishermen for the wrongs of foreign fishermen. And the savings would amount to only 5 percent of the annual tuna harvest.

The best thing we can do as Americans, consumers, politicians and fishermen is continue to pressure the international community to reduce fishing effort worldwide. Boycott bluefin caught overseas. Make Western Atlantic tuna a culturally valuable product.

The ability to monitor and control our own fisheries in our own waters is the inspiration behind the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Let's not make jetsam out of the principles set forth in that monumental piece of fisheries legislation.

Instead, I hope environmental organizations will endeavor to make inroads in nations that flout fishing regulations and take the fight overseas, where they can make the biggest difference.

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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