National Fisherman


Proposed legislation that would allow Maine's groundfishermen to sell lobsters that they unintentionally catch in their trawling nets has led to some fierce debate among different sections of the state's fishing community. On one side are the fishermen, who have traditionally relied on harvesting flounder, pollock, haddock and other types of groundfish. With this fishery facing huge cuts, the ability to sell lobster bycatch to supplement the regular catch is regarded by them as a crucial source of additional revenue. But those who lobster for a living are opposed to the proposal. Tom Porter reports.

Jim Odlin owns and operates three groundfishing vessels out of Portland. He says there's a lot at stake.

The state stands to lose a whole industry," says Odlin, who was at the State House Monday to testify at a public hearing in favor of LD 1097 - an Act to Allow the Sale of Incidentally Caught Lobsters. This would allow groundfishermen who pick up lobster by-catch in some offshore federal waters, to sell it at the Portland fish market.

Maine is the only New England fishing state that prohibits the practice. Massachusetts, for example, allows fishermen to land up to 500 lobsters per 5-day fishing trip. As a result, Odlin says his boats have been forced to unload in Massachusetts, rather than in Portland, Maine, where they're based. And he says that is costing Maine jobs.

Read the full story at Maine Public Broadcasting Network>>

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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