National Fisherman


MONTGOMERY — An effort to lift a decades-old, but only recently enforced, ban on gill net fishing on the Tennessee River system failed this year, but the debate between commercial and sport fishermen hasn't died.

"We don't bother anyone," said Judy Bivens, of Bivens Fish Market in Athens. "There aren't that many commercial fishermen left."

Until last year, her husband used gill nets to catch buffalo fish and catfish in Wheeler Lake.

In December, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said it would begin enforcing the ban on gill and trammel nets in the Tennessee River basin. The state said the gill net ban wasn't enforced for years based on a legal interpretation that it was unconstitutional. But a state attorney general's opinion late last year said the law could be enforced.

The nets can be used to catch large amounts of fish by blocking a section of a stream or waterway.

The punishment is a fine up to $500 and/or up to six months in jail.

"We've lost a lot of customers," Bivens said.

She lobbied earlier this year for legislation that would have lifted the ban. Rep. Lynn Greer, R-Rogersville, sponsored it and several north Alabama lawmakers lent their support. It passed the House, but died without a vote in the Senate.

"When you think of commercial fishing, you think of the Gulf Coast, but we've got a lot of people here that do it," Greer said earlier this year.

Proponents of the ban said the nets trap and kill too many bass and other valuable fish.

Read the full story at the Times Daily>>

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.

Read more...

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...
Try a FREE issue of National Fisherman

Fill out this order form, If you like the magazine, get the rest of the year for just $14.95 (12 issues in all). If not, simply write cancel on the bill, return it, and owe nothing.

First Name
Last Name
Address
Country
U.S. Canada Other

City
State/Province
Postal/ Zip Code
Email