National Fisherman


There's a naval war brewing off the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, and the next battle will be in New Orleans at the end of the month.

Recreational and commercial fishers will exchange verbal volleys at the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meeting, with the spoils of war being greater access to a recovering Gulf red snapper stock.

For the last three decades, the annual red-snapper quota has been divvied among the two sectors nearly evenly. Commercial anglers receive 51 percent of the quota, while those on the recreational side get the remaining 49 percent.

But as red-snapper numbers have climbed in recent years, the recreational sector has begun to push for a bigger piece of the pie. The Coastal Conservation Association and other recreational-fishing groups intend to make their case when the Gulf Council meets at the Doubletree New Orleans Oct 28-31.

David Cresson, executive director of the Louisiana CCA branch, said the way the system is currently set up is patently unfair because fewer than 400 commercial red snapper anglers have access to a larger percentage of the quota than 3.2 million Gulf Region recreational anglers.

So his organization is pushing a plan to establish a benchmark, based on historical catch data. Anything under that benchmark would be divided with the current 51/49 split, but anything over would be weighted in favor of the recreational sector.

Read the full story at the Times-Picayune>>

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.

Read more...
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