National Fisherman


AUGUSTA, Maine — Despite highly visible defeats for Maine groundfishermen who have tried to overturn a state law that prohibits them from possessing lobsters, there may be hope yet for easing the restriction.

For the third time in six years — and the second time in the past two months — a bill that would legalize the practice is being considered in the Legislature.

Two earlier legislative proposals that would have allowed Maine groundfish boats to keep their incidental lobster bycatch and to land it in Maine have died in committee. In March 2007 and again this past April, the Legislature's Marine Resources Committee voted unanimously that each proposal ought not to pass.

Members of Maine's lobster trap fishery strongly opposed both prior proposals, which contributed each bill's defeat. Each time, lobstermen argued that allowing groundfishermen to keep the lobsters they drag up would place undue pressure on the resource and have an adverse effect on the lobster industry's bottom line.

This time around, however, the idea has received partial support in the legislative committee and the Maine Lobstermen's Association — the largest commercial fishing advocacy organization in Maine — has decided to remain silent.

Read the full story at Bangor Daily News>>

Inside the Industry

NOAA recently published a proposed rule that would implement a traceability plan to help combat IUU fishing. The program would seek to trace the origins of imported seafood by setting up reporting and filing procedures for products entering the U.S.

The traceability program would collect data on harvest, landing, and chain of custody of fish and fish products that have been identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and fraud.

Read more...

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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