National Fisherman


Ever since the Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) updated its Bristol Bay Area Plan for land use management in 2005, there has been debate about what should and should not be considered the best use of the land. And as the proposed Pebble Mine became clearer in scope, some Bristol Bay residents became more and more concerned about what the plan's revisions were designed to accomplish.

In 2009, several tribes and entities in the region filed suit against the 2005 plan, which covers some 12.6 million acres of above-ground and 6 million acres of submerged and tideland in the region. An agreement reached with the plaintiffs called for DNR to address errors found in the plan and consider other issues raised by the plaintiffs.

Fast-forward to January: DNR completed this process, releasing the revised plan to the communities in the region for public comment. The response, by-and-large, was negative. One group of citizens came up with its own plan, which contains lots of co-designated lands, habitat designations, and far fewer lands designated for mineral development.

When the state concluded its public comment period, it held a series of meetings in Bristol Bay communities to discuss the plan. Instead, some residents, riled by a now-contentious fight against plans to develop a large-scale gold, copper and molybdenum mine in the Bristol Bay watershed, turned out to protest what many saw as an attempt by the state to make it easier to permit mining and disregard other uses, like subsistence hunting and fishing upon which many depend.

Read the full story at the Alaska Dispatch>>

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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