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 Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance recently announced that the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has awarded the organization a Hollings Grant to reduce whale entanglements in Alaska salmon fisheries by increasing the use of acoustic whale pingers to minimize entanglements in fishing gear.

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Last week, Alaska senators Lisa Murkowski (R), Dan Sullivan (R) and Rep. Don Young (R) asked Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate with Canadian leaders to make sure appropriate environmental safeguards are in place for mine development in Southeast Alaska.

The congressional delegation explained the importance of this issue to Alaskans and the need for assurances that the water quality in transboundary waters between Alaska and Canada will be maintained.

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