National Fisherman


BOSTON - A mystery of sorts threatens to stunt Massachusetts' small but growing oyster industry after illnesses linked to bacterial contamination forced the state to shut down beds for the first time ever.
 
The culprit is the Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacterium, which has occurred in state waters since the 1960s. Theories abound about the recent increase in illnesses linked to Massachusetts -- but those are only theories.
 
"Honestly, I'm confused by the whole thing," said Don Merry, an oyster grower from Duxbury, where oyster beds have been closed.
 
Average monthly daytime water temperatures in the region rarely approach the 81 degrees believed to be the threshold that triggers dangerous Vibrio growth. Rising average water temperatures locally, while not reaching that threshold, could be causing environmental changes that cause strains of Vibrio to thrive, said Suzanne Condon, associate commissioner of the Department of Health.
 
In addition, virulent Vibrio strains that aren't as temperature-sensitive may have been carried from overseas in ships' ballast water in the past decade, said the state's chief shellfish biologist, Michael Hickey.
 
Read the full story at Portland Press herald>>

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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