National Fisherman


The Rudderpost 

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

 

U.S. fishermen have seen it many times over. The federal government intervenes with a poorly managed industry, and the results run the gamut. Sometimes, it's gangbusters, and sometimes it's a flop.

But when the government fails in a major way as a result of alleged corruption (as we have seen on both coasts with NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement) or simply neglect, out comes the giant broom and rug. Sweep. Sweep.

It's as if admitting a failing and learning from it is worse than living under a halo of lies that anyone who's paying attention can see right through. (It may indeed be the best course of action, as federal governments face the prospect of lawsuits from all angles.)

But this week, an activist in British Columbia said no more to Canada's Department of Fisheries and Ocean and the Cohen Commission's continuous delays in publishing their findings of what led to the collapse of the 2009 Fraser River sockeye run.

“I'm not going to waste my time and energy praying and hoping and begging Mr. DFO to do something right,” said Alexandra Morton, according to the CBC.

“It's never going to happen. DFO is downsizing and my thought is: ‘Right on. Bye, bye. Step out of the way. Step away from the fish. We can deal with this.’”

Morton is a vocal advocate of the preservation of wild salmon and is vowing to establish private sector group comprising First Nations, fisheries managers, stream keepers and commercial fishermen that monitors wild salmon on Canada's West Coast.

“What I see in DFO is a lot of really wonderful people who would like to do the right thing, but they can't,” Morton told the CBC.

And when that happens, we have nothing left to do but take matters into our own hands. Kudos to Morton and her colleagues who are stepping in to make a difference where the federal government is hamstrung by formalities, process and quite possibly the monumental task of covering tracks.

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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