National Fisherman


First oysters, now herring.

Bay Area Pacific herring fishermen are squaring off against the U.S. Department of the Interior to challenge a recent fishing ban, according to court documents.

In November, federal officials informed Bay Area fishermen that they would not be allowed to catch spawning herring in waters that abut protected Golden Gate National Recreation Area land. Since no federal law expressly permits fishing in waters off federal land, fishing is not allowed, GGNRA Superintendent Frank Dean wrote.

The Pacific herring commercial fishery, which began in the 1870s, is the last of its kind in the Bay. The silver-colored, 8- to 10-inch long fish's value lies in their eggs, or roe. Processed roe is a staple in Japan.

In winter, the fish spawn in shallow coastal waters near estuaries. Fishermen nab pregnant herring as they head into these areas to spawn. The herring season in the Bay Area begins in January and ends in March, according to the California Department of Fish and Game.

Attorneys for the San Francisco Herring Association filed a lawsuit last week to challenge the federal restrictions, arguing that there is no federal law on the books that expressly gives the Interior Department the right to regulate fishing or other activities in the coastal areas in question.

Read the full story at San Francisco Examiner>>

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...
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