National Fisherman


BALTIMORE — Maryland lawmakers have joined a handful of states in passing a ban on shark fin sales with a slight twist, crafting a measure that is supported by conservationists as well as a commercial fishing group.

Environmental groups have long pushed for shark fin bans, noting shark populations are being drastically reduced by the practice of finning. The practice involves leaving sharks to die after having their fins cut off for the lucrative trade in the Asian delicacy.

One trade group, however, argued that California’s more extensive ban hurts fishermen who catch spiny dogfish, a small shark also used for fish and chips that is sustainably harvested. The Maryland law exempts the shark species along with several others. Maryland’s law was supported by the Sustainable Fisheries Association, a Massachusetts nonprofit founded by four seafood processors.

John Whiteside, an attorney for the association, said other states should consider Maryland’s law as a model.

“This is the way to approach it. You account for the fisheries management plans that are in place and you work with federal and state regulatory agencies to craft something that doesn’t create an inherent conflict,” Whiteside said.

While fins account for 3 percent of a spiny dogfish, they represent nearly 40 percent of profits from sales, the association said.

In a posting to the Federal Register on a proposed rule stemming from the federal Shark Conservation Act, the National Marine Fisheries Service noted Thursday that state shark fin laws have the potential to undermine management of federal shark fisheries.

“Although state shark fin laws are also intended to conserve sharks, they may not unduly interfere with the conservation and management of federal fisheries,” the service said in its posting, which seeks comment on the proposed rule.

Read the full story at the Washington Post>>

Inside the Industry

The Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance recently announced that the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has awarded the organization a Hollings Grant to reduce whale entanglements in Alaska salmon fisheries by increasing the use of acoustic whale pingers to minimize entanglements in fishing gear.

Read more...

Last week, Alaska senators Lisa Murkowski (R), Dan Sullivan (R) and Rep. Don Young (R) asked Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate with Canadian leaders to make sure appropriate environmental safeguards are in place for mine development in Southeast Alaska.

The congressional delegation explained the importance of this issue to Alaskans and the need for assurances that the water quality in transboundary waters between Alaska and Canada will be maintained.

Read more...
Try a FREE issue of National Fisherman

Fill out this order form, If you like the magazine, get the rest of the year for just $14.95 (12 issues in all). If not, simply write cancel on the bill, return it, and owe nothing.

First Name
Last Name
Address
Country
U.S. Canada Other

City
State/Province
Postal/ Zip Code
Email