National Fisherman


Maine’s lucrative elver fishery is facing some big changes, including smaller catch quotas and a new swipe-card monitoring system that state officials hope will help manage the resource while reducing the poaching of baby eels that fetched up to $2,000 a pound last season.
 
Both changes follow the state’s promise to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission last month that it will find ways to reduce the 2014 harvest between 25 percent and 40 percent. In the background is a recently uncovered welfare and tax fraud investigation that specifically targets elver fishermen, many of whom are members of the Passamaquoddy Tribe. Records obtained by the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram show that the investigation is scheduled to conclude at the end of January, about two months before the next season.
 
State officials have refused to comment on the fraud initiative, which involves three state agencies reviewing catch records and tax filings from 2010 to 2013 to determine whether any elver fishermen who received welfare benefits have failed to report income. It’s unclear what motivated the special investigation or how much money the state is devoting to the initiative.
 
Read the full story at Portland Press Herald>>

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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