National Fisherman


Commercial fishers have sued the federal government, claiming that recreational anglers have been awarded a disproportionate amount of the annual red snapper harvest. The suit says that the National Marine Fishery Service has violated provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the law governing federal fisheries.

Under federal law, commercial fishers get 51 percent of the annual red-snapper take, while recreational anglers get 49 percent.

The suit alleges that the federal government's "failure to effectively manage the red snapper fishery has resulted in chronic over harvesting by the recreational sector," which "undermines the conservation goal of rebuilding the red snapper stock and harms all stakeholders in the fishery."

Commercially, red snapper are harvested under an individual fishing quota program that was established in 2007. As part of the IFQ process, fishers are awarded quotas each year, the size of which depends on how healthy the overall stock is.

Commercial boats, by law, must be outfitted with vessel-monitoring systems that allow NMFS to track daily movements. Commercial fishers also must alert NMFS before leaving and returning to port.

The measures are designed to ensure commercial boats don't exceed their red-snapper quotas.

Because the recreational red-snapper take is managed by bag limits, it's more difficult for NMFS to estimate when the sector's overall quota has been reached and the fishery needs to be closed, according to the lawsuit.

Read the full story at the Times-Picayune>>

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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