National Fisherman


The first commercial fishing announcement of the season in the Upper Cook Inlet restricts commercial king salmon fishing in the Northern part of the inlet.

The setnet fishery, which has had an average of 53 permit holders during the last ten years, is comprised of fishermen on both the East and West sides of the Cook Inlet who will see their first fishing period closed in response to king salmon conservation concerns.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game Area Management Biologist Pat Shields said six systems in the Northern District of the Upper Cook Inlet were considered stocks of concern and despite similar restrictions to the commercial king fishery in 2012 — including closures in the early commercial sockeye salmon fishery — a number of systems failed to meet king salmon goals.

Although harvest of early run king salmon in the commercial fishery has been low when compared to the rest of Cook Inlet — setnetters caught an average of 1,540 fish during the last four fishing seasons according to Fish and Game data — Shields said the fishery is still valuable.

"It's the first king salmon fishery, our first commercial salmon fishery and the price that they get per pound for those king salmon is anywhere from two times to four times what they'll get later on," Shields said. "They can get $5 to $7 a pound ... it's not a large number of people that participate but it's an early season, important fishery for those folks and it's unfortunate that we have to restrict, but it's happening to everybody. It's happening to the sport fishery also."

Read the full story at the Peninsula Clarion>>

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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