National Fisherman

On the eve of a U. S. Senate hearing in Franklin County, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker on Monday declared a commercial fishery failure for the oyster fishery in Apalachicola Bay.

Gov. Rick Scott requested the declaration in September 2012 because the fishery was near collapse. A May 2013 state report sent last week to federal officials blames lack of fresh water flowing from federal reservoirs in Georgia and Alabama.

Pritzker declared the commercial fishery failure for the oyster fishery along the west coast of Florida. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the fishery resource disaster resulted from excessive drought conditions in Apalachicola Bay and elsewhere in the Florida panhandle during the 2012-13 winter fishing season.

"We understand the economic significance this historic oyster fishery has for fishermen and related businesses in the panhandle of Florida," Pritzker said in a news release. "Because the drought caused such a decline in oyster landings and a rather significant drop in revenue, the fishery qualified as a resource disaster under the nation's fishing law."

The U. S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will conduct a field hearing Tuesday in Apalachicola at the courthouse annex starting at 11 a.m. U. S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Miami, and Scott also are scheduled to tour the area.

The May report issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the population of legal size oysters has dropped 67 percent. Recovery of oyster populations, the report said, will take five years under "ideal" conditions with adequate fresh water flow.

In a statement issued Monday night, Scott said NOAA did the right thing in making the declaration.

"Now we need the support of Congress to provide the dollars necessary to support this region's recovery," Scott said. "Congress should move with a sense of urgency to provide much-needed support for families in the region, so they can get back on their feet and continue providing our nation with the world's best oysters."

Read the full story at the Florida Current>>

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 3/10/15

In this episode, Online Editor Leslie Taylor talks with Mike McLouglin, vice president of Dunlop Industrial and Protective Footwear.

National Fisherman Live: 2/24/15

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March date set for disaster aid dispersal
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Inside the Industry

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker is required by state statute to appoint someone to the Board of Fisheries by today, Tuesday, May 19. However, his efforts to fill the seat have gone unfulfilled since he took office in January. The seven-member board serves as an in-state fishery management council for fisheries in state waters.

The resignation of Walker’s director of Boards and Commissions, Karen Gillis, fanned the flames of controversy late last week.

Read more...

Keith Decker, president and COO of High Liner Foods, will take over for the outgoing CEO, Harry Demone, who will assume the role as chairman of the board of directors. The Lunenburg, Nova Scotia-based seafood supplier boasts sales in excess of $310 million (American) for the first quarter of the year.

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