National Fisherman


The Bering Sea crab fleet was ready to head to the fishing grounds over the weekend after the government shutdown and unissued licenses stalled the Oct. 15 start of the crab season. Skippers of the 80 boats estimated the extra time tied up in Dutch Harbor cost them each $1,000 per day.
 
Meanwhile, the situation was even worse for small boat crabbers at Kodiak and the Westward region, who learned there would not even be a Tanner fishery come January.
 
“It is not unexpected,” said Mark Stichert, a shellfish biologist at Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Kodiak. “We’ve been seeing a decline in abundance of legal sized or mature male Tanner crab for the last couple of years.”
 
The closure affects Tanner crab fisheries at Kodiak, Chignik and the South Peninsula. Stichert said the stocks have seemed to follow an up and down pattern since the late 1990s.
 
“Beginning in 2006/2007, we saw large recruitment of juvenile Tanner crab, and those crab subsequently matured into the population and into the commercial fishery beginning in 2009 through 2011,” Stichert said.  “We had a couple of pretty large years and now those crab are aging out of the population. That’s what has led the decline and resulted in closures for next year.”
 
Those years produced region-wide catches of three to more than four million pounds; last January the harvest was less than one million pounds. The mid-January fishery is worth several million dollars to the coastal communities. Up to 40 Kodiak boats dropped pots for Tanners and 25 at the Peninsula during the 2013 season. Chignik has been closed for two years.
 
Looking ahead, Stichert said there is a mix of good and bad news.
 
Read the full story at the Homer Tribune>>

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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