National Fisherman


National Fisherman - November 2011

1111

The frontier spirit

By Jessica Hathaway

I’ve known Katherine Carscallen for a few years now. Long enough to know that when she is on a mission, it’s because she’s fully dedicated to the cause. She doesn’t do anything with half a heart or a partially made up mind. Nor does she act rashly or whimsically (except perhaps when procuring kittens).

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Land of second sons

Determination shines in Petersburg, Alaska — founded by Norwegians and thriving on fish

By Jessica Hathaway

When I stepped off an Alaska Airlines 737 in Petersburg, Alaska, I was struck by how small the airport is, given the size of the plane (a flight that nestles between the muskeag and mountains twice daily). I would soon cement the idea gelling in my mind that this town is awash in contradictions.

Known as Alaska's Little Norway, Petersburg has streets lined with perfectly appointed Scandinavian-style houses with manicured lawns and impeccable gardens. Yet, its main street (which in most parts of the country is considered the avenue of first impressions) is rather perfunctory. A string of unassuming shops and restaurants primarily cater to the principle industry in Petersburg: commercial fishing. The locals are fastidious, but above all, they're industrious.

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ATY Northeast

Lobstermen race to fight MS; boat is stolen and then found

The third weekend in August, 60 lobster boats showed up at the MS Harborfest Lobster Boat Races in Portland, Maine. This is the last race for points in Maine's lobster-boat racing circuit. It was also a chance to raise money to fight multiple sclerosis.

This year the races generated slightly more than $11,000 for the Greater New England Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The money comes from race entry fees and from fishermen who give back their prize money for first, second and third place. "Almost everyone gave money back," says Jon Johansen, a race organizer.

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Gulf/South Atlantic Oysters

Supply, demand low as region recovers from oil spill and consumer perception

One thing seems certain as the 2011-12 oyster season approaches; there won't be an abundant supply of Gulf of Mexico oysters. Demand also remains below normal.

While Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama fisheries were still recovering from the BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill, an abundance of fresh water from record Mississippi River spring flooding flushed central gulf oyster grounds and killed a lot more oysters. Then, the Texas summer drought raised Galveston Bay salinity to the danger level, increasing the odds against a normal fall opening. By mid-August, only Florida's fishery had escaped serious setbacks.

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Close to home

From U.S. Coast Guard Reports

On a cool, sunny February day near Hopedale, La., a 31-foot bayou shrimper was making its way back to port with three crew. She was moonlighting as an oyster dredge on this trip.

The skipper, mate and deckhand had worked four days hauling, cleaning, and bagging 130 sacks of oysters. The skipper and mate had fished together for some time. The deckhand was a greenhorn.

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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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