National Fisherman


KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) - Officials from the Pew Charitable Trusts and 1 of famed underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau's grandsons were in Bermuda on Thursday calling for the creation of the Atlantic's biggest marine reserve.

The ambitious "Blue Halo" plan would create a vast reserve in ecologically rich waters between the tiny mid-Atlantic territory's coastal fishing areas and its 200-mile (322-kilometer) exclusive economic zone boundary.

Advocates say it would safeguard significant parts of the Sargasso Sea, a 2 million-square-mile (3 million-square-kilometer) body of warm water in the Atlantic that is a major habitat and nursery for numerous marine species. It would potentially start 50 miles (80 kilometers) from Bermuda's shore and ring the territory, ensuring that anglers could still fish offshore.

Bermuda is the only island within the Sargasso Sea, known for its mats of brownish Sargassum seaweed and as the spawning place for European and American eels.

Philippe Cousteau, an ocean campaigner who is frequently seen discussing marine issues on U.S. television, said the Blue Halo reserve would affect few Bermuda fishermen, since most don't venture beyond 25 miles (40 kilometers) from shore. If anything, he said, it would improve catches since research has indicated that fishermen eventually haul in bigger catches when a nearby marine reserve provides a safe haven for fish to grow.

Cousteau believes the plan would boost tourism, Bermuda's top economic driver along with offshore financial services.

"I think it's something that Bermuda can really turn into a gem," Cousteau said during a phone interview from Bermuda, where he and Pew officials were meeting with officials, fishermen and others.

Derrick Binns, permanent secretary for Bermuda's Ministry of Environment & Planning, said in an email that the initiative "continues Bermuda's longstanding commitment to ensuring the sustainability of our marine environment."

He said the government will undertake a public consultation to evaluate the views of the territory's population.

"Upon consideration of those views, the government will then determine if such a marine protected area will be created, and if so, the location, size, shape and the nature of protections to be associated with it," he wrote.

Matt Rand, director of Pew Charitable Trusts' Global Ocean Legacy Campaign, said, "There has been strong community support for the Blue Halo during the many meetings and outreach efforts that Pew staff has been engaged in."

Read the full story at the New Jersey Herald>>

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.

Read more...
Try a FREE issue of National Fisherman

Fill out this order form, If you like the magazine, get the rest of the year for just $14.95 (12 issues in all). If not, simply write cancel on the bill, return it, and owe nothing.

First Name
Last Name
Address
Country
U.S. Canada Other

City
State/Province
Postal/ Zip Code
Email