National Fisherman


BOSTON - A plan to protect the important Atlantic herring from what many believe is its biggest threat has been shelved indefinitely after years of work devising it -- and even after winning support from the very vessels being targeted.

Last month, federal regulators at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration rejected a measure that would have required independent catch observers aboard every trip taken by midwater trawlers, which can scoop hundreds of thousands of pounds of herring at a time out of the ocean.

Critics believed the observers would find that the vessels dump large amounts of herring and often inadvertently catch and kill critical marine species, such as cod or haddock. But trawler owners said the observers would vindicate them.

The New England Fishery Management Council approved the beefed-up observer coverage in June 2012. But federal regulators disapproved it last month. John Bullard, the Northeast's top federal fishing regulator, said that it amounted to an unfunded mandate and that the council should have known that before it voted.

"We don't have that money," Bullard said.

Read the full story at Portland Press Herald>>

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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