National Fisherman


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today questioned Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank on several critical ocean policies facing Alaskan coastal communities during a Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, and was informed that NOAA’s national marine debris removal program is being increased twenty percent, mostly to deal with tsunami debris.

Among the topics raised in a rapid-fire question and answer period were: tsunami marine debris relief; issues surrounding the North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program and an update on the controversial coastal and marine spatial planning program.

In her questioning, Senator Murkowski pressed Secretary Blank on how NOAA planned to respond to incoming tsunami marine debris floating west to the United States. “An estimated 1.5 million tons of debris is floating out there in the ocean,” said Senator Murkowski. “We’ve seen it come up on the shores in Hawaii, out in Oregon, in Alaska, and we know it will still come our way years after the fact.” Secretary Blank indicated the Commerce Department is working to provide increased funding levels to deal with future marine debris in impacted states, bumping up its funding from $5 million to $6 million in FY14.

Read the full story at Alaska Business Monthly>>

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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