National Fisherman


A planning document intended to resolve decades of water conflict in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta was instead greeted by a flood of lawsuits on Monday.

At least seven lawsuits were filed in three counties against what is known as the Delta Plan. The plan, which lays out a long-term strategy for developing and managing the sensitive estuary, is required by 2009 state legislation. That law also created the Delta Stewardship Council, a seven-member appointed commission charged with crafting the vision.

The lawsuits came from virtually all points of the political spectrum in California's unceasing water wars, including environmental groups, commercial fishermen, water diverters and local governments.

Richard Frank, a professor of environmental law at UC Davis, said the lawsuits appeared to mark a new front in the battle over the Delta, the largest estuary on the west coast of the Americas. A period of relative quiet that prevailed after the 2009 package of water bills was approved appears to be over.

"There was a short truce and now we seem to be back into litigation mode, although with a different and new target," Frank said.

"I think, in part, it's unavoidable," he said. "The Delta is really the perfect storm of virtually every environmental issue and environmental controversy you could imagine in California."

Read the full story at Modesto Bee>>

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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