National Fisherman


Last week, the Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust announced the acquisition of more than $1 million in commercial groundfish fishing quota from The Nature Conservancy, permanently securing these historic fishing rights for the long-term benefit of the Monterey Bay community.

 The Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust is a nonprofit organization created to own and lease groundfish quota to local fishermen, while working to improve the economic and environmental performance of the fishery.

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This week Cordova District Fishermen United, a non-profit focused on Prince William Sound, became the newest member of the Seafood Harvesters of America, which now represents 17 commercial fishing organizations.

“The addition of CDFU brings with it notable leadership in Alaska’s commercial fishing industry. CDFU is an exceptional organization; we are thrilled to work with them,” said Chris Brown, the chairman of the association, in a press release. The Seafood Harvesters of America is a better group for their inclusion. We share the core values of resource stewardship and accountability. We are traveling on the same pathway towards a great American fishery.”

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After a 30-year career with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Jeff Regnart will be stepping down as director of the state’s commercial fisheries division on Oct. 2.

Regnart explained the main reasons for stepping down were to take care of his family and aging parents, which would require him to spend too much time out of state to keep up with the demands of the position.

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The longest running coastal shark research survey along the East Coast has completed its 2015 field work, capturing and tagging more than 2,800 sharks, the most in the survey’s 29-year history. The results are very good news for shark populations.

The last survey was in 2012, during which 1,831 sharks were captured and tagged, compared with 2,835 in 2015. In all, 13 shark species were among the 16 species of fish caught. 

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As part of its efforts to build resilient coastal communities and sustainable marine resources, NMFS announced the availability of approximately $10 million in competitive grants through the 2016 Saltonstall-Kennedy Grant Program.

The program addresses the needs of fishing communities and increases opportunities to keep working waterfronts viable by funding fisheries research and development projects.

 

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The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council has scheduled a series of scoping hearings to gather public input for a proposed action to protect unmanaged forage species.

The proposed action would consider a prohibition on the development of new, or expansion of existing, directed fisheries on unmanaged forage species in the Mid-Atlantic until adequate scientific information is available to promote ecosystem sustainability.

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The National Marine Educators Association has partnered with NOAA this year to offer all NMEA 2015 conference attendees an educational session on how free NOAA data can add functionality to navigation systems and maritime apps.

Session topics include nautical charts, tides and currents, seafloor data, buoy networking and weather, among others.

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NMFS announced two changes in regulations that apply to federal fishing permit holders starting Aug. 26.

First, they have eliminated the requirement for vessel owners to submit “did not fish” reports for the months or weeks when their vessel was not fishing.

Some of the restrictions for upgrading vessels listed on federal fishing permits have also been removed.

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Alaskans will meet with British Columbia’s Minister of Energy and Mines, Bill Bennett, when he visits Juneau next week and will ask him to support an international review of mine developments in northwest British Columbia, upstream from Southeast Alaska along the Taku, Stikine and Unuk transboundary rivers.

Some Alaska fishing and environmental groups believe an international review is the best way to develop specific, binding commitments to ensure clean water, salmon, jobs and traditional and customary practices are not harmed by British Columbia mines and that adequate financial assurances are in place up front to cover long-term monitoring and compensation for damages.

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The final amendment 6 to the Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan implements a range of management measures for the Atlantic commercial shark fisheries.

The amendment could affect commercial shark fisherman and any dealer who buys or sells sharks or shark products.

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Page 7 of 17

Inside the Industry

Fishermen throughout the Gulf of Mexico are praising Louisiana officials for a series of strong decisions last week that have broken the deadlock of red snapper management in the Gulf of Mexico.

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According to the Portland Press Herald, the Maine Seaweed Festival has been canceled this year due to a rift between the event’s organizers and seaweed harvesters.

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