National Fisherman

Chinese community representatives and advocates trying to reverse a culturally controversial California law banning shark fin possession and sales are diving into a hearing today with backing from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled today to review the community groups' appeal of the U.S. District Court's denial of a preliminary injunction, along with an amicus brief filed by the Justice Department in support of the appeal.

The Chinatown Neighborhood Association and Asian Americans for Political Advancement sued the state in 2012 to stop the ban from being implemented. The community groups allege the ban, which took full effect July 1, infringes on the Chinese tradition of eating shark fin soup in celebrations that dates back to the Han Dynasty that began in 206 B.C.

The Justice Department's brief late last month states that California's new law "obstructs the use of fishery resources lawfully obtained in federal waters." Federal acts, including the Shark Finning Prohibition Act in 2000 and Shark Conservation Act in 2010, sought to protect the endangered species without sinking the commercial fishing industry.

Read the full story at San Francisco Examiner>>

Inside the Industry

NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.


A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.

Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species,  allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.

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