National Fisherman


DEAL ISLAND, Md. (AP) — Around the turn of the 20th century, the skipjack was the vessel of choice for oystermen who made their living on the Chesapeake Bay. However, today only a handful of the sailboats are used for commercial dredging during Maryland's oyster season, which runs November through March.


The owner of one is Capt. David Whitelock, who says commercial fishing runs deep in his family. Two members aboard his skipjack, a 109-year-old sailboat named Hilda M. Willing, are cousins. And only after buying the vessel from another family of watermen did Whitelock discover that it once belonged to his great-great grandfather.

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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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