National Fisherman


It’s hard to image an Ocean State without a commercial fishing industry, but one local business owner warns it could happen.
 
Increasingly restrictive federal regulations have cut the commercial fishing fleet in half over the last four years and are imperiling its future, according to Richard Fuka, the president of the Rhode Island Fishermen’s Alliance.
 
“We’re at a dangerous low level,” Fuka said. If the fleet is diminished any further, Rhode Islanders could see a local heritage industry “slip away” and become “a museum piece,” Fuka says. Further tightening federal regulations he says could be just thing that pushes the industry over the edge, according to Fuka. (See below slides for data on the decline.)
 
Fuka said things took a decided turn for the worse after President Obama took office and his new appointee for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agenda has pursued a more aggressive regulatory agenda. But he says the industry was already chafing under regulations passed in the later years of the Bush administration.
 
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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.

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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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