National Fisherman


Since May 1 — the start of the new commercial season — the dire catch limits clamped on Gulf of Maine cod and other species by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has turned the spotlight on the industry’s increasingly urgent need.
 
The need is for a financial aid package addressing what had been recognized by the Department of Commerce as a legitimate “economic disaster.” Congressman John Tierney and other federal lawmakers had sought to provide relief for months.
 
In recent weeks, some signs of that potential aid have surfaced.
 
First came a pool of up to $10 million in NOAA money through the Saltonstall-Kennedy Act. Yes, that’s just a tenth of what the 1954 act meant to provide when it was designed to steer 30 percent of all imported seafood tariff money toward marketing the domestic fishing industry and funding improvements for it. But the $10 million has spurred a rash of applications, including a total of seven from Gloucester alone.
 
Then came a Small Business Administration low-interest loan program just approved Friday for fishermen or waterfront businesses who could get up to $2 million each at a rate of 4 percent over up to 30 years — if they qualify for it, which most struggling fishermen cannot.
 
But on Monday, a hearing hosted by Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other lawmakers, including Tierney, reminded us all of the type of help that New England fishermen truly need — and it may not cost U.S. taxpayers a dime.
 
Monday’s Boston hearing did not focus on how to throw money at the fishing crisis, but on carrying our reforms to the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which is up for reauthorization and sits at the core of the fishing crisis.
 
Read the full story at the Newburyport News>>

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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