Written by Jen Finn
Fishing industry stakeholders and federal managers in June will begin crafting a bycatch reduction plan for trawl groundfish fisheries in the Gulf. It will include some form of catch share plan, and as the main delivery port for more than $100 million worth of pollock, cod, flats and other fishes, Kodiak is closely guarding any giveaways.
It's similar to a chess game, said Duncan Fields, a lifelong Kodiak fisherman and a member of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council charged with designing the new plan.
"You have multiple moving pieces and every time you move a piece, it impacts all other pieces on the board," Fields explained at a recent panel discussion in Kodiak. "You have your queen and your king– those might be your primary policy goals – but if you can get that pawn to the other end of the board, that becomes a queen. Sometimes the little components of a catch share or rationalization program can become equally as important as the big parts."
"The big question is how you win, collectively, as a community, "he added. "That revolves around defining the goals and objectives early on. At the cusp of developing a program for the Gulf of Alaska, we have to appreciate the long term nature of the decisions we may make."
Fields said he believes mirroring catch share modes being used so far in Alaska (halibut, sablefish and Bering Sea crab fisheries "will not bring a good result to the Gulf."
Any new plan must be very inclusive, said Nicole Kimball, the State's federal fisheries advisor.
"We need to recognize the interests and investments and the dependence of all sectors, so there shouldn't just be a vessel based program or one just focused on processor interests or the community. It needs to be all three," Kimball said.
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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...