National Fisherman


Two days into Florida's stone crab season, it already looks grim. Few crabs plus huge demand equals stratospheric prices.
 
For now, retail prices may hover around $15 per pound for mediums, $30 per pound for jumbos, said Tommy Shook, general manager of Frenchy's Seafood. In a good year, mediums might start out around $8 pounds, jumbos $20.
 
Why? It's a perfect storm.
 
Last year's terrible season meant that many part-time crabbers didn't even drop traps this year, forgoing the season altogether, according to Matt Loder Sr., CEO of Crabby Bill's restaurants.
 
"Take all those part-time crabbers out of the equation and a lot fewer crabs will come in," he said.
 
That number is further squeezed by the federal shutdown. Every crab trap requires a tag — those crabbers late to get their tags may have been shut out of the season's launch.
 
In Everglades City, many professional crabbers went on strike as the season opened Tuesday and refused to leave the docks. They were offered only $7.50 for boat price for mediums, so they decided to park it in the hopes dockside pricing will change.
 
"If you're a crabber in Homosassa Springs and you hear the crabbers down south aren't going out crabbing," Loder said, "you think you should be getting more for your stuff."
 
Read the full story at the Tampa Bay Times>>

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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