National Fisherman


A $32-million commercial fishery has inexplicably and completely collapsed this year on the B.C. coast.
 
The sardine seine fleet has gone home after failing to catch a single fish. And the commercial disappearance of the small schooling fish is having repercussions all the way up the food chain to threatened humpback whales.
 
Jim Darling, a Tofino-based whale biologist with the Pacific Wildlife Foundation, said in an interview Monday that humpbacks typically number in the hundreds near the west coast of Vancouver Island in summer. They were observed only sporadically this year, including by the commercial whale-watching industry.
 
“Humpbacks are telling us that something has changed,” he said. “Ocean systems are so complex, it’s really hard to know what it means. For one year, I don’t think there’s any reason to be alarmed, but there is certainly reason to be curious.”
 
Humpbacks instead were observed farther offshore, possibly feeding on alternative food sources such as herring, sandlance, anchovies, or krill, but not in the numbers observed near shore in recent years.
 
Read the full story at the Vancouver Sun>>

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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