National Fisherman


Monday, Governor Rick Scott announced that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) completed and submitted a status report on the Florida Gulf Coast oyster disaster to the National Marine Fisheries Service. The report supports the Governor's request to the United States Secretary of Commerce to declare a commercial fishery failure due to a fishery resource disaster for Florida's oyster-harvesting areas in the Gulf of Mexico, particularly those in Apalachicola Bay.

Governor Scott said, "This report underscores the need for the federal government to declare a commercial fishery failure for families who rely on Apalachicola Bay for their survival. The state of Florida has supported the region with a $4.7 million investment from the Florida Families First Budget for water quality projects, and with this analysis we hope that the federal government will work to provide the support families need."

The oyster disaster is the consequence of low water flow due to water-management policies and overconsumption of the river water, intensified by the impact of severe drought conditions experienced in the southeastern United States. Prolonged low water flows resulted in higher salt content in the bay systems where oysters live. Higher salt content led to more abundant oyster predators and natural oyster diseases. Low freshwater flows led to less food available for oysters.

"This disaster has taken a tremendous biological and economic toll on Florida's Gulf Coast oyster habitat, oyster resources, oyster harvesters and oyster processors" said Nick Wiley, executive director of the FWC.

Read the full story at WMBB>>

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.

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.

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