National Fisherman


PORTSMOUTH — Eleven months after the U.S. Department of Commerce declared a disaster for the Northeast commercial fishing industry, fishermen have yet to see any money to help alleviate their financial hardship.

It's a situation that U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said needs to change. During an appearance at the Portsmouth commercial fish pier Thursday, she said she and others in Congress are working to secure $150 million in federal disaster relief for coastal communities across New England, the region where the fishing industry has been hit the hardest.

If approved, the $150 million could be used to support programs such as New Hampshire Community Seafood, a collaborative between fishermen and community stakeholders to promote local markets. Josh Wiersma, the manager of New Hampshire groundfish sectors and executive director of N.H. Community Seafood, said the multi-stakeholder cooperative model is helping to support local fishing families and is striving to expand the industry beyond the traditional staples like cod fishing, which has been decimated by strict regulations to protect a dwindling cod population.

Shaheen spoke at a gathering of local fishermen and other officials, including Wiersma, N.H. Fish and Game Executive Director Glenn Normandeau, Chris Duffy of the N.H. Small Business Development Center and Ellen Goethel, a Hampton resident recently appointed to the New England Fishery Management Council.

Shaheen said the disaster relief previously passed the U.S. Senate, but did not pass the House and is now back into an appropriations bill that has been approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

When the disaster declaration was announced in September 2012, local fishermen were skeptical that any aid would ever come their way. Shaheen said some suggested the $150 million was "a boondoggle."

"They had no idea what they were talking about," she said. "We really needed those funds."

Read the full story at Seacoast Online>>

Inside the Industry

NOAA recently published a proposed rule that would implement a traceability plan to help combat IUU fishing. The program would seek to trace the origins of imported seafood by setting up reporting and filing procedures for products entering the U.S.

The traceability program would collect data on harvest, landing, and chain of custody of fish and fish products that have been identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and fraud.

Read more...

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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