National Fisherman


The Rudderpost 

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

 

The fishing and seafood processing industries got great news yesterday when a federal district court judge in Florida handed down a decision to delay implementation of new H-2B guest worker program rules.

The new Labor Department rules threatened to shut down processing facilities from Alaska to the Chesapeake Bay by complicating the process that allows seafood processors to bring in foreign workers for jobs that are no longer appealing to American workers.

"The new rules force us to spend more time and money on recruitment initiatives that have proven almost worthless. They greatly complicate efforts to bring in employees who have demonstrated their willingness to do what American workers simply won't do," said Jack Brooks, president of the Coalition to Save America's Seafood Industry, in a press release.

The coalition is committed to continuing to work with Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) to improve labor regulations as well as communication between the federal government and the industry that relies on a staggered influx of foreign workers based on varying needs as fishing seasons progress.

While I think it's unfortunate that millions of American college students would rather pile on student loan debt than work in seafood plants for the summer, we must recognize that the system has changed. Students are often expected to further their career credentials by working for nothing (or next to it) in summer internships.

As a nation, we have veered away from understanding what a day's work really means. I hope to teach my own child the value of true labor. In the meantime, I'm happy to know the processing and picking houses will be humming along as usual.

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.

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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.

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