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

NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.


A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.

Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species,  allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.

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