National Fisherman


During a visit to Eureka Tuesday, Congressman Jared Huffman announced plans to introduce legislation aimed at alleviating the financial hardship of a federal loan that has been weighing on Pacific Coast groundfish fishermen for just under a decade.

Huffman's "Revitalizing the Economy of Fisheries in the Pacific Act" picks up where a bipartisan bill introduced in Sept. 2012 by former North Coast Congressmen Mike Thompson left off and would allow for the refinancing of a $35.7 million buyback loan authorized by Congress in 2003.

The opportunity to refinance the loan at a lower interest rate would give local groundfish fishermen the same opportunities as any homeowner or business, Huffman said during a news conference to announce the bill held outside the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center Tuesday afternoon. The bipartisan bill would not require the federal government to spend any new money.

"It is becoming increasingly difficult for them (fishermen) -- especially small businesses -- to repay that debt, plus new fees -- higher fuel costs, higher health care costs -- and to remain in business," he said. "Like any of us, they would like to refinance. They would like to take advantage of these historically low interest rates that we have today, but they need an act of Congress to do that."

Read the full story at Willits News>>

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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