National Fisherman


HOUSTON – John Reynolds and the four others aboard the Nite Owl weren't worried when the thunderstorms made it impossible for the commercial fishing boat to return back to shore. They'd seen this kind of weather before.

They did what they normally would, tying the boat to an oil rig off the Texas Gulf Coast and going to sleep. But early Friday morning, "a rogue wave, a freak wave or something hit the side of the boat," Reynolds said.

"It just collapsed the cabin ... where the captain sleeps," he said in a telephone interview Sunday as the U.S. Coast Guard announced it was calling off the search for the other four people who were aboard the Nite Owl. "When it hit, it tore the whole top of the boat off."

The captain was sent overboard, and within two minutes, the 50-foot vessel sunk. One crew member tried to reach the captain, while Reynolds and the two others saw a life raft. Reynolds was the only one who reached it.

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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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