National Fisherman


Recreational and commercial fishermen and coastal business should be very concerned about an effort by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to create more no-fishing zones off North and South Carolina, Georgia and east Florida in a misguided reaction to radical environmental groups that are pushing for extraordinary and unjustifiable protections for two deep-water grouper species.
 
At its meeting next week in Charleston, the SAFMC will consider approving up to 18 new Marine Protected Areas, encompassing nearly 1,350 square miles of ocean, that were recommended by the council's MPA Workgroup as no-fishing zones for bottom fishing and even trolling in an effort to reduce the possible bycatch of speckled hind and warsaw grouper.
 
In 1994, commercial sales of speckled hind and warsaw grouper were prohibited and the recreational bag limit for each species was reduced to one, and in 2010 the fisheries were closed as a precautionary measure.
 
The council plunges forward with these protected areas despite the contrary advice of its Scientific and Statistical Committee, which said in an April 2012 report: "There isn't enough scientific backing to say [area] closures will do what managers need them to do... Currently, there is no analysis that shows any conservation benefits of [area] closures to these species."
 
Read the full story at the Island Packet>>

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.

Read more...
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