National Fisherman


AUGUSTA, Maine — Demand for Maine oysters is growing, but regulations on the cold-weather storage of the delicacy prevent some aquaculturists from accessing their stock during winter, depressing the supply.
 
Until the last few years, oyster farmers sold only about nine months out of the year, said Bill Mook, an aquaculturist on the Damariscotta River. But now, with demand rising, Mook and other harvesters want to sell year-round.
 
Oysters grow best in the warm, upstream locations on Maine’s oceanic rivers such as the Damariscotta or the Bagaduce. In the spring and summer, temperatures there can reach 60 degrees, optimal growing conditions for the American oyster.
 
But cold winter temperatures often cause ice at the river’s surface, making it difficult for harvesters to access their stocks. In a perfect world, Mook said, farmers could simply move the stock downstream, closer to the open ocean, where temperatures vary far less, for winter storage. It’s still too cold for the oysters to grow, but at least farmers could easily get to their stocks.
 
Last year, Mook obtained a nonrenewable experimental license to do just that. But if he wants to keep weighing anchor in warmer waters, the state says he will need to get another standard aquaculture lease, just like he did for his growing site upriver.
 
Read the full story at Bangor Daily 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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