National Fisherman


PORTLAND (AP) — Maine's lucrative glass eel fishery will be allowed to remain open next year as long as state officials devise a plan to cut its 2014 catch by at least 25 percent, regulators agreed Wednesday.
 
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's eel management board voted to postpone passing new regulations that would go into effect in 2014, opting instead to vote on new rules next spring that would be effective in 2015, said commission spokeswoman Tina Berger.
 
In the interim, state officials will work with eel fishermen and dealers in Maine to create a plan that results in next spring's catch being 25 percent to 40 percent smaller than this year's spring harvest.
 
The regulatory debate has been closely watched by Maine fishermen who catch the tiny translucent eels, known as elvers, in nets as they swim up coastal rivers and by dealers who export the alien-looking creatures to Asia, where they are used as seed stock in aquaculture facilities.
 
Elver fishing has become very profitable the past two years, with catch prices spiking to more than $2,000 a pound. The total value of the catch was $38.8 million in 2012, making it the state's second most valuable fishery, behind lobster.
 
Although Maine fishermen will face new rules next spring that cut down on their catch, for the most part they're pleased with the vote, said Jeffrey Pierce, executive director of the Maine Elver Fishermen Association. At previous meetings, some eel management board members wanted to shut down the elver fishery.
 
"At least this board was willing to listen to keep this glass eel fishery open instead of 'We want it closed,'" Pierce said by phone from the board meeting in St. Simons Island, Ga.
 
Read the full story at the Lewiston Sun Journal>>

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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