National Fisherman


HARTFORD -- In the wake of five reported illnesses, the state agriculture department has shut 22 shellfish beds in Norwalk and Westport and instituted a so far voluntary recall of oysters and clams harvested since July 3.

The culprit is Vibrio parahaemolyticus, naturally occurring bacteria that is generally seen more on the west coast. It does, however, thrive in warmer water, and the underlying question is whether water temperatures this summer are responsible for the outbreak and if they are, whether climate change is poised to make things worse.

"It's a question that needs to be looked at," said Kristin Derosia-Banick, an environmental analyst with the department's bureau of aquaculture. "We just don't know."

Last summer, when water temperatures ran warmer than usual due to the unseasonably warm winter before, there was one reported case of Vibrio parahaemolyticus in Connecticut, though an outbreak (more than one case) occurred in Oyster Bay on Long Island's north shore.

The bacteria is in the same family as cholera, causing diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, headache, fever, and chills that are usually non life-threatening except in those with compromised immune systems.

Read the full story at The Hour>>

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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