National Fisherman


AUGUSTA — Lawmakers moved closer Wednesday to approving a bill designed to help Maine groundfishermen increase their catch in federal waters.

L.D. 939, sponsored by Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, would authorize a $3.5 million bond to help fishermen land more fish by subsidizing the purchase of permits in the Groundfish Permit Bank. The proposal is one of two remaining in this session designed to bolster the state's dwindling groundfish industry. It has received unanimous support in the House and Senate.

If the bill is enacted, the bond will need approval from Maine voters.

The state now participates in the Groundfish Permit Bank. L.D. 939 would allow fishermen to buy additional permits. Supporters say the bill would assist an industry that has declined because of reduced catch quotas. Federal regulations are expected to lead to an approximately 70 percent decrease in quotas for cod and haddock and an estimated 50 percent decrease in sole and yellowtail flounder.

Maine's groundfish fleet comprised about 350 boats in the 1990s. It had about 70 boats in 2012. The catch has shrunk over that period, from 44.8 million pounds worth $33 million during the 1990s to 6.6 million pounds worth $6.2 million in 2009.

Read the full story at Portland Press Herald>>

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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