National Fisherman


Virginia and Maryland menhaden fishermen had to pack up their equipment on the Potomac River last week.
 
The Potomac River Fisheries Commission closed all menhaden fisheries in the Potomac River Aug. 22 complying with new catch limits mandated by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC).  The commission determined that overfishing was taking place and set new limits.
 
Twenty pound net fishermen take about 99 percent of the menhaden in the Potomac River. This accounts for about 26 percent of the coast-wide quota.
 
This year menhaden were not as abundant in the Potomac as last year, according to Ellen Cosby, assistant executive secretary of the commission. The commission tracks menhaden catches closely. Instead of the fishery being closed in June, it closed this month.
 
ASMFC will allow pound net fishermen a 6,000 pound daily bycatch limit per licensee by ASMFC. The commission met earlier this year with pound net fishermen to inform them of the new limits.
 
“Everybody was on board, everyone knew what was going on, nobody was surprised,” said Cosby.
 
Since any overage in this years catch would be deducted from next year’s limit, the fishermen were “very much in support of the program…they wanted to get close but not go over.”
 
While Virginia fishermen on the Potomac have been quiet about the closure Maryland, the fishermen are in an uproar and threatening a lawsuit against Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources.
 
Read the full story at the Westmoreland News>>

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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