National Fisherman


WASHINGTON — Federal efforts to rebuild depleted fish populations have largely been successful, but pressure to overfish some species remains high, and some fish stocks have not rebounded as quickly as projected, according to a new report by a scientific panel.

The report by the National Research Council said 43 percent of fish stocks identified as being overfished were rebuilt or showed good progress toward rebuilding within 10 years, the time limit required by federal law. Another 31 percent were on track to rebuild if sharply reduced fishing levels remain in place, the report said.

But the report also said 26 percent of overfished stocks continue to be overfished, due to ineffective enforcement and errors in fish stock estimates that led officials to set catch limits that were too high.

The report, released Thursday, said fishery management plans continue to be plagued by uncertainty, noting that 20 of 55 fish stocks examined by the research council were not actually overfished despite being classified as such by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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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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