National Fisherman


The news that a congressional spending bill bears $75 million in fisheries disaster aid — and may get both House and Senate approval today — provides welcome tidings for the fishing industry.
 
And the fact that the House bill now in play on Capitol Hill rightfully keeps NOAA’s Northeast regional administration in Gloucester — albeit under the new, more fitting name of the Greater Atlantic Fisheries Office — represents an important relief for Cape Ann’s economy as well.
 
Now, however, the important thing is for lawmakers to ensure that this aid, desperately needed by so many fishermen and families to stabilize the boats, businesses and their way of life, gets into their hands as soon as possible heading into a new fishing year starting May 1.
 
That means that the Department of Commerce — governmental parent of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the agency entrusted with this planned allocation — should immediately move toward distributing the money through the states, to be parceled out perhaps based on the number of commercial permits and fishermen working the seas.
 
Yes, the aid is facing approval late in the game — an absurd 16 months after the Department of Commerce declared the Northeast groundfishery, including Gloucester, a full-fledged “economic disaster,” and nine months after NOAA’s cuts of up to 78 percent in landing limits made things even worse than that.
 
Read the full story at the Gloucester Daily Times>>

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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