National Fisherman


WASHINGTON - It's being called the worst blue crab season in 20 years.
 
Last winter, the Chesapeake Bay was fully stocked with blue crabs. But now, the population is depleted and retailers are having to pull them from other states to bring them to the table.
 
At Jesse Taylor Seafood on the Southwest Waterfront, manager Stan Kiser agrees it's the worst blue crab season he's seen. Every crabber is pulling in fewer bushels, he says.
 
"Instead of dealing with two or three people, you have to deal with 10 people to get the amount that you need," Kiser says.
 
But the demand is still high. So, Jesse Taylor's as well as other wholesale markets and restaurants are pulling their blue crabs in from out of state and charging the consumer more.
 
"As far north as Delaware and as far south as Florida," Kiser says.
 
"We're experiencing this scarcity of crabs from Florida to New Jersey and the whole East Coast as far as commercial crabbing for blue crabs," says Jack Brooks, president of the Chesapeake Bay Seafood Industries Association.
 
Blue crabs are fighting to survive for a number of reasons, Brooks says. Their natural habitat -- grasses that grow in the bay -- are thin, giving them little place to hide. Pollution levels increased in the bay after major storms like Hurricane Sandy and Irene forced runoff into the watershed.
 
Finally, one of the blue crabs' natural predators, the striped bass, which is protected by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is thriving, Brooks says.
 
Read the full story at WTOP>>

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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