National Fisherman

AUGUSTA – A state-run permitting program that helps Maine's long-ailing groundfishing industry should be open to boats of all sizes, supporters of a bill to expand a so-called permit bank said Wednesday.

L.D. 939, sponsored by Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, would allocate $3.5 million in state money annually to the Maine Groundfish Permit Bank, established in 2010 with federal money administered by the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

At a public hearing Wednesday before the Legislature's Marine Resources Committee, the bill faced no opposition. Some in the groundfish industry and the Maine Lobstermen's Association testified in support of it.

Alfond said his bill "will have real economic benefit by creating a mechanism to provide Maine fishermen access to additional groundfishing quota at affordable rates."

Under the program, the state auctions off shares of its allotted annual catch of groundfish -- 14 fish species including cod, haddock and halibut -- to high bidders, which include the Penobscot East Resource Center in Stonington and the Nature Conservancy. Those entities lease permits at affordable rates to small-scale fishermen.

Under a federal agreement with Maine, permits go only to operators of vessels as long as 45 feet based in communities with populations of 30,000 or less, allowing more access to fish than they would otherwise have.

Read the full story at the Kennebec Journal>>

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 12/16/14

In this episode, Bruce Buls, WorkBoat's technical editor, interviews Long Island lobsterman John Aldridge, who survived for 12 hours after falling overboard in the dead of night. Aldridge was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Pacific Marine Expo, which took place Nov. 19-21 in Seattle.

Inside the Industry

NOAA, in consultation with the Department of the Interior, has appointed 10 new members to the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee. The 20-member committee is composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experience who advise the departments of commerce and the interior on ways to strengthen and connect the nation's MPA programs. The new members join the 10 continuing members appointed in 2012.

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