National Fisherman


A year ago this week, an oversupply of soft-shell lobsters - due to early molting - had already dropped the dock prices paid to Maine fishermen to less than $2 a pound. Then, as all that cheap, excess product made its way into the Canadian Maritimes for processing, fishermen in that country watched their prices begin to drop as well, before their short lobster season had even begun. Frustrated, Canadian lobstermen spent several days blocking the shipments from entering processing plants along the Acadian Coast in New Brunswick. The protests shed new light on the supply and demand challenges facing the lobster industries in Maine and Canada. Officials on both sides of the border say expanded, more effective marketing is the key to stabilizing prices. But, in the first of a series of reports this week, Jay Field looks at how that's left Maine and Canada in the awkward position of needing to work together more closely, while also trying to outmarket each other.

This delicate dance was on display in late July at a hotel in Moncton, New Brunswick. An entourage from Maine traveled up to attend a two-day conference put on by the Atlantic Lobster Sustainability Foundation and the University of Maine's Lobster Institute. In past years, the event focused more or less exclusively on science. But this year, the organizers invited fisheries ministers from the Maritimes and Maine to talk about the state of the industry. And they added a session on marketing.

"The biggest, two-clawed lobster resource in the world - we've got an amazing opportunity together to market," said Geoff Irvine, who runs the Lobster Council of Canada. Irvine quickly revised that idea: "maybe not together, but at least be mindful of how we're both marketing."

Read the full story at Maine Public Broadcasting Network>>

Inside the Industry

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.

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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...
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