National Fisherman

BOSTON — The state attorney general of Massachusetts filed suit against federal fishing regulators Thursday in an attempt to block new rules that she called a "death sentence" for New England's fleet.

The filing by Attorney General Martha Coakley comes four weeks after major new cuts in catch limits for bottom-dwelling groundfish went into effect May 1.

The most significant cut is a 78 percent year-to-year reduction in the catch of Gulf of Maine cod, but fishermen have also absorbed huge reductions in key flounder and haddock species.

Fishermen say they aren't allowed to catch enough fish to stay in business.

"I am in financial ruin," said Gloucester fisherman Joe Orlando, who stood with industry advocates and Coakley at the Boston Fish Pier when Coakley announced the suit.

The suit alleges that though regulators at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration acknowledge the cuts will be devastating, they haven't met legal requirements to mitigate them. It also charges regulators with using flawed science to back overly restrictive rules.

"The federal government has shown a callous disregard for the well-being of Massachusetts fishing families," Coakley said.

Read the full story at Portland Press Herald>>

Inside the Industry

NMFS has awarded 16 grants totaling more than $2.5 million as part of its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.

The program supports the development of technological solutions and changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch and aims to to find creative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, seabird interactions, and post-release mortality in federally managed fisheries.


Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.

Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.

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