National Fisherman


AUGUSTA – Lawmakers on the Maine Legislature's Joint Standing Committee on Marine Resources effectively killed a bill Wednesday that would allow fishermen to keep and sell lobsters caught in trawling nets.

The panel voted unanimously -- with two members absent -- to defeat the bill, a move that likely means it will fail when it comes up for full votes in the House and Senate.

The bill, L.D. 1097, had reignited an old debate between supporters, who claimed that the bill would save Maine's flagging groundfishing industry, and lobstermen, who said the proposal would endanger the lobster fishery.

Sen. Anne Haskell, D-Portland, the sponsoredthe bill to permit trawlers to land "incidentally caught" lobsters, known as bycatch, in some federally regulated waters and sell them at the Portland Fish Exchange.

The bill had the support of the LePage administration and Portland Mayor Michael Brennan. The administration argued that lobsters are already being drag-caught in federal waters, then landed and sold in other states.

Haskell, in a written statement, said she hoped that the administration and the committee would find an "alternate path that will support the goals of preserving Maine's fishing infrastructure."

Read the full story at the Portland Press Herald>>

Inside the Industry

NOAA recently published a proposed rule that would implement a traceability plan to help combat IUU fishing. The program would seek to trace the origins of imported seafood by setting up reporting and filing procedures for products entering the U.S.

The traceability program would collect data on harvest, landing, and chain of custody of fish and fish products that have been identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and fraud.

Read more...

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...
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