National Fisherman


The 2013 farm bill emerged from the U.S. Senate this week with two amendments to help the fishing industry, introduced by Massachusetts Sen. William "Mo" Cowan, his staff announced Monday.

One amendment calls for some sort of catch insurance similar to crop insurance used by farmers.

The other would make low-interest loans available to the fishing industry to cope with the economic disaster declared in the fishery last year by acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank.

But the bill still has months to go. The House is expected to pass its own version, then the two will be reconciled in committee, where support for new spending on the fishing industry might face an uphill battle.

"Our fishermen are hurting and they need our help. I was pleased that the Senate-passed farm bill included my provision to resolve an inequity in the law and provide fishermen access to disaster loans just like other agriculture producers," Cowan said in a written statement. He was unavailable for an interview.

Read the full story at Standard-Times>>

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.

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