National Fisherman


The Cortez community is hosting a Bradenton benefit for the long-time commercial fisherman, who was diagnosed with throat cancer last year. The profits will help with his medical bills.

Gearing up for stone crab season, which begins in October, has been a little harder this year.

Mike O’Leary, 56, has been commercial fishing out of Cortez for more than two decades. Normally you would find him tending to his crab traps in the gulf or fishing the inshore grass flats, but recently something has been keeping him from getting out on  the water in his “ol’ wooden boat, Keegan,” which he named after his son. As O’Leary put it, he just doesn’t have the “giddy up and go” any more.

O’Leary, a fourth-generation Bradenton native, was diagnosed with cancer last year and is currently undergoing radiation therapy. While a life at sea offers many benefits — open air, liberty and landscape — health insurance isn’t one of them.

“It’s been hard,” O’Leary said. “I want so badly to get out there and get to work, but I’m just too weak. Instead I’ve been having an Andy Griffith bonanza.”

Read the full story at Bradenton Patch>>

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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