National Fisherman


The possible future of South Florida fishing rules, including the latest information on Goliath grouper populations, goes before combined panels of federal and state fishery experts convening Jan. 7-9 in Key Largo.
 
“This is really interesting stuff,” said Robert Mahood, executive director of the federal South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.
 
Board members and staff from the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and the South Atlantic Council, along with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission scientists and managers, will consider possible ways to streamline fishing regulations specifically for South Florida waters.
 
“We’ve talked for years about trying to coordinate regulations in Florida. This is part of that,” Mahood said.
 
“If you drive down U.S. 1 in the Keys, you might legally catch a snapper on one side of a bridge,” he said. “But if you take it across the road to your car, you may be breaking the law.”
 
The two federal councils and the FWC formed the Joint Council on South Florida Management Issues, which meets at the Hilton Key Largo. Five council members or staff members who serve on the South Florida committee also sit on the Goliath Grouper Joint Council Steering Committee, which holds a meeting during the Key Largo trip. John Sanchez, a former Florida Keys commercial fishing executive, represents the Gulf Council on both committees.
 
“There’s been a lot of interest, especially from the Gulf side where they’re seeing more (Goliath grouper), in reopening that fishery,” Mahood said. It has been nearly a quarter of a century since a ban on legally harvesting a Goliath grouper — then known as a jewfish — was enacted in 1990.
 
Read the full story at Bradenton 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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