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

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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