Written by Jen Finn
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>>
NOAA recently published a proposed rule that would implement a traceability plan to help combat IUU fishing. The program would seek to trace the origins of imported seafood by setting up reporting and filing procedures for products entering the U.S.
The traceability program would collect data on harvest, landing, and chain of custody of fish and fish products that have been identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and fraud.Read more...
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...