National Fisherman

Cold temperatures brought an early freeze to local rivers, which has allowed smelt-fishing camps to get a jump on the season.

Commercial smelt camps that most years don’t typically open until mid-January had enough ice to open around Christmas.

“We’ve probably got 16 inches of ice, if not more,” said Sonny Newton, owner of Sonny’s Smelt Fishing on the Kennebec River in Dresden. “We started cutting (through the ice) with a 14-inch bar, and we couldn’t get through it. It was 17 below yesterday. It’s making ice.”

Newton put shacks out the day after Christmas and has 10 shacks out so far, but said business has been slow, in part because people aren’t used to being able to fish this early in the season. Last year, Sonny’s didn’t have fishing until a couple weeks into January, he said.

“It has been slow, but it’s early,” Newton said. “People just had Christmas and New Year’s, when they spend a lot of money. And the economy is hard.”

Read the full story at the Portland Press Herald>>

Inside the Industry

NMFS has awarded 16 grants totaling more than $2.5 million as part of its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.

The program supports the development of technological solutions and changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch and aims to to find creative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, seabird interactions, and post-release mortality in federally managed fisheries.


Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.

Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.

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