National Fisherman


Reel Action

Gloucester's bluefin chasers prove why they're the stars of the show

By Shelley Wigglesworth

The spirit of the sea runs deep in the veins of the hardworking commercial fishermen and women who have been making their living off the shores of Gloucester, Mass., for hundreds of years.

One of the oldest fishing villages in the United States, Gloucester is teeming with a rich maritime heritage that spans the centuries. It is also the home of Gorton's seafood, a mainstay fish processing factory in the town for decades, and to the Marine Science Research Station, a cooperative effort between the University of Massachusetts and the state's Division of Marine Fisheries, which conducts valuable studies of large commercial fish — primarily bluefin tuna — to ensure a healthy and sustainable fishing population for generations to come.

The region's commercial fishermen look forward to the rod and reel bluefin tuna fishing season, which runs from mid-June through December. Landing just a few of these giant fish can make their entire year of fishing — as one prime specimen of bluefin tuna can bring in upward of $20,000. There is a three-fish maximum per fishing vessel per day, but not all days are successful. Captains and crews can go days, even weeks, without a single hook-up. It can be a huge gamble, but when it does pay off, it pays dearly and is well worth it.

A day at sea with some of Gloucester's bluefin fishermen includes jockeying for space with the television crew from National Geographic's "Wicked Tuna," which is now in its third season. Skipper Dave Carraro, 48, and his deckhands, Sandro Maniaci, 27, and Garon Mailman, 30, on the F/V Tuna.com took the gamble of hosting another media stowaway on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013.

Inside the Industry

NOAA recently published a proposed rule that would implement a traceability plan to help combat IUU fishing. The program would seek to trace the origins of imported seafood by setting up reporting and filing procedures for products entering the U.S.

The traceability program would collect data on harvest, landing, and chain of custody of fish and fish products that have been identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and fraud.

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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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