National Fisherman


DOVER, Del. — Members of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council discussed options for protecting deep sea coral from being damaged by commercial fishing as the panel began a three-day meeting in Wilmington Tuesday.

The council last year initiated an amendment to a management plan for Atlantic mackerel, squid and butterfish to protect deep sea corals from impacts of bottom-tending fishing gear in the Mid-Atlantic.

It is aimed at protecting areas known or highly likely to contain deep-sea corals, which provide habitat for many commercially and recreationally important fish species. According to the council, deep sea coral species in the mid-Atlantic do not form large reefs but are fragile and slow-growing, making them vulnerable to physical disturbances.

The proposals include establishing both broad and discrete coral zone areas, and responses ranging from no action to prohibiting all bottom-tending gear.

On Tuesday, members of the council's ecosystems and ocean planning committee wrestled with how to balance the goal of coral protection with the interests of commercial fishermen. After lengthy debate, committee members voted to add an exemption for short-finned and long-finned squid fishing to the list of proposed alternatives for management measures for discrete coral zones.

Read the full story at The Washington Post>>

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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