National Fisherman


BILOXI, Mississippi — In the cool early-morning air, Frank Parker jumps into his skiff off the Kuhn Street Pier with an ice chest full of bait and 26 years of commercial shrimp and crab fishing experience under his belt. He says there are ups and downs in this business, but lately he's just trying to catch enough to pay the bills.

"Shrimping has been kind of slow," Parker said. "Crabbing has been awful."

The abundance of blue crab is declining in both Mississippi and Alabama and has been for years, according to data collected by state fishery-monitoring agencies.

In 2012, the abundance of blue crab in each state dropped 62 percent from 10 years earlier, according to samples taken by the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Blue crab populations can fluctuate widely from year-to-year, so Parker said it's difficult to determine why blue crab landings, or catches, have dropped off. But he said crabbers from Louisiana to Florida are complaining of the worst landings in decades and no one really seems to know why.

Read the full story at the Mobile Press-Register>>

Inside the Industry

The Downeast Salmon Federation has received a major grant from the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities to ensure and improve the water quality of eastern Maine’s most important rivers, according to the Ellsworth American.

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Louisiana crab fishermen and their catch are feeling the pressure of a downturn in the state economy, and a resulting upturn of people entering the fishery.

“It’s a crazy business right now,” said Pete Gerica, the New Orleans fisherman who now serves as president or the Louisiana Crab Task Force, a legislatively-created board of industry voices that makes recommendations to state government.

Read more...

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