National Fisherman


The Rudderpost 

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

 

There's no task more daunting and more rewarding than naming our annual Highliner Award winners. I often feel unqualified to decide who should get the award among fishermen who have worked for decades in this industry. But I try to do my homework and talk to dozens of people who serve all aspects of the U.S. commercial fishing industry.

This year I am especially delighted to include Dr. Brian Rothschild in the list of honorees with a special award for lifetime achievement.

Rothschild is known from coast to coast in the fishing industry, and not as a result of self-promotion. He is a brilliant scientist with the uncommon inclination to think highly of small fishing communities and laborers.

This week, Rothschild announced strides toward yet another monumental outreach project with the fishing industry. The School for Marine Science and Technology, which he helped to found at the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth, has committed to conducting an independent groundfish survey to allow Northeast fishermen and managers to get a better look at the anomalies that are apparently taking place in Gulf of Maine stocks.

The new groundfish season begins May 1. But the infrastructure of many small New England ports is unlikely to survive another year of consolidation in the fleets. The attrition is caused in part by the third year of catch shares and sector management and in part by predicted extreme cuts to fishing quotas as a result of two drastically different surveys, one of which must be a consequence of a seriously flawed assessment.

"(The National Marine Fisheries Service) is saying they don't have time to review the assessments that are on the table," Rothschild told the New Bedford (Mass.) Standard Times. "But this is really high stakes and we need to do something before May 1."

I am so grateful the Northeast industry has someone like Rothschild and a team like the faculty and staff of SMAST to provide an honest insight to the groundfish stocks. I hope NMFS agrees to do the work the service was designed to do and steps up to the plate to work with these dedicated scientists and researchers.

For more on Rothschild's history with the industry and profiles on our three East and Gulf coast Highliners, check out the November 2012 issue of National Fisherman.

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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