National Fisherman


State regulators are pushing for a limit on tribal claims to Maine’s lucrative elver fishery to avoid a repeat of the 2013 season, when law enforcement clashed with Passamaquoddy fishermen on the banks of the Pennamaquan River.
 
The effort may end up heightening the tension instead.
 
The Department of Marine Resources is backing a bill that would make commercial elver fishing licenses issued by Native American tribes invalid unless they’re first ratified by the state. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Walter Kumiega, D-Deer Isle, would also increase fines and criminal penalties for illegal harvesting of elvers, baby eels that have been sold for close to $2,000 a pound in recent seasons.
 
State and federal regulators are tightening restrictions on the fishery, which is experiencing something of a gold rush, because of growing concerns about overfishing and poaching. The 2014 elver season will start March 22.
 
Representatives of the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes told lawmakers Monday that Kumiega’s bill is discriminatory and would infringe on federal and state agreements that allow the tribes to manage natural resources on sovereign land.
 
“The state needs to start managing elvers and stop managing Indians,” said John Banks, natural resources director for the Penobscot Nation.
 
Read the full story at Portland Press Herald>>

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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