National Fisherman


ASTORIA — Uncertainty about the future of the gillnet fishery on the Columbia River has begun to hurt the businesses that supply the trade.

"We've had the slowest year so far that we've ever had," said Bob Zakrzewski, co-owner of an Astoria business that repairs boats and motors for gillnet fishermen and that is up for sale.

"If I was a gillnetter I wouldn't be putting a bunch of money in my boat if I don't know if I can fish or not," said his partner in Columbia Pacific Marine Works, Lasse Vedenoja.

The Oregon Court of Appeals is considering a challenge from commercial gillnetters to new rules that shunt them from the main stem of the Columbia to tributaries. They say they can't make a living there.

The gillnet ban was pushed by Gov. John Kitzhaber, who hoped to mediate a long dispute between commercial and recreational fishermen. The nets are the primary means of commercial fishing on the river.

They snag fish by the gills, preventing them from breaking free. Critics say they are cruel and kill endangered salmon.

During the appeal, the Oregon rules have been stayed. Washington has adopted similar rules.

About 500 commercial gillnet permit holders and their families on both sides of the river wait to see what the future holds.

Read the full story at the Statesman-Journal>>

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.

Read more...
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