National Fisherman


Florida officials should use "every arrow in their quiver" to restore the flow of fresh water to the sapped Apalachicola River and Bay, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Monday - including firing up another lawsuit in the state's water war with Georgia.

"Under the current regulatory regime, I am not optimistic that the Apalachicola Bay oyster industry will recover in the near term," Putnam said at a post-legislative session meeting with reporters where he also talked about the citrus industry and the state's water supply plan as well as the river system. "We need to be as aggressive as we can be in every venue ... to resolve this issue."

More than two decades of legal wrangling between Florida, Georgia and Alabama over the amount of water released downstream ended last year when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider an appeal of a federal court decision that gave the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers the authority to manipulate the water levels of Lake Lanier to meet Atlanta's water needs.

Since then, a prolonged drought and the lack of freshwater making its way down the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system has contributed to the collapse of the oyster population in Apalachicola Bay, imperiling the region's economy.

"The things that we warned the court would be the consequences of inadequate water flow, but had not yet realized, have now been realized," Putnam said. "So you would hope that would open up another opportunity to get back in court."

Read the full story at First Coast News>>

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.

Read more...
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