National Fisherman


Should the state of Alaska buy back some of its limited entry permits in Bristol Bay? A study recently released by the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association indicates that fishermen say yes.

The organization sent out a questionnaire this spring to all 1,858 Bristol Bay drift permit holders. They are still accepting returned questionnaires, but have gotten back more than 400 so far. According to the seafood development association, which supports market, product and infrastructure improvements in the bay, most permit holders who've responded favor a buyback.

At the time of their summer newsletter release, the returns showed that 74 percent of them supported a buyback program. A total of 81 percent supported the association's continued investigation into a potential buyback, including what the costs and impacts would be to Bristol Bay communities. The association's annual meeting was in Dillingham earlier this month.

The question of a fleet reduction originated with the board of directors, which after extensive discussion, decided to put the issue to the fleet.

"Our discussion focused on elements of 'buyback programs' at the state and federal level, specifically as they may relate to concerns regarding the economic sustainability of the Bristol Bay drift gillnet fishery in light of the smaller sockeye runs we have seen return to the Bay over the past four years," stated a recent letter from the board to association members. "At the end of the day we were all in agreement that the issue warranted further investigation."

Read the full story at the Alaska Dispatch>>

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...
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