National Fisherman


Ancient's teachings

A research fishery may help Chesapeake fishermen ensure the prehistoric sturgeon's future

By Larry Chowning

It's just before dawn one late May day and there's a hazy fog in the air as the wooden deadrise boat Gloria J lays to at the dock in Deep Creek harbor just off the James River.

Her captain, George Trice of Poquoson, Va., checks the engine as his mate, Jimmy Moore, moves about getting ready for a day of fishing.

The boat, equipped with a gillnet reel aft, among other gear, appears pretty standard as gillnetters go on the Chesapeake Bay, like any other boat targeting spot, flounder, bluefish, croaker, gray trout, menhaden and striped bass — the usual fish caught in bay waters.

On this day, however, the Gloria J has an unusual target: she's going after Atlantic sturgeon, a fish commercial fishermen have not been allowed to catch in Virginia waters since 1974.

Trice and Moore fish the Chesapeake exclusively for finfish. They work a haul seine from the shores around Poquoson in the spring and early summer. In August, they go drop-gillnetting around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and along Virginia's Eastern Shore. In winter they gillnet for rockfish between Rudy Inlet and the Cell in Chesapeake Bay.

Normally, Trice and Moore would be haul seining in May; instead they have opted to participate in the sturgeon program. "It doesn't pay as good as when you are catching fish, but by doing this we at least know what we are going to get paid every day," Trice says.

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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