National Fisherman


Fresno -- A year ago federal officials trucked 116 spawning salmon to the upper San Joaquin River in Central California and invited media to watch them swim free for the first time since a dam cut off the river's flow a half century ago.
 
The effort to see if gravel riverbeds still could sustain eggs cost $237,000. A few months later, the offspring died.
 
The biologists had not figured out a reliable way to catch the smolt for a return to the sea across 60 miles of riverbed left dry when the Friant Dam began diverting water to create the richest agriculture region in the nation.
 
"They didn't plan ahead and say, 'How are we going to get the juveniles out?' It's that lack of planning that's frustrating," said Monty Schmitt, a scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, which sued the federal government decades ago to have the river and salmon populations restored.
 
After eight years of work, this January is the deadline for the once-mighty San Joaquin to be carrying enough water to allow spring and fall runs of chinook salmon to help revive the state's fishing industry.
 
But the highly ambitious river restoration has been plagued by unforeseen problems resulting in delays and increased costs. Land has subsided so much in places that engineers must figure out how to make the river run uphill. And farms, barns and roads are in the way of a river that wants to return to its marshy expanse.
 
After $100 million spent so far, the dry river is just as incapable today of carrying water as it was in 2006 when a historic agreement was struck among environmental groups, fishermen, farmers and the federal government to undo damage caused by dam diversions.
 
Re3ad the full story at San Francisco Chronicle>>

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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