National Fisherman


Morris Communications is the Georgia-based media group that owns the Peninsula Clarion, Homer News, Juneau Empire, Alaska Journal of Commerce and numerous other media holdings in Alaska. In November, company chairman William Morris III announced a special 10-part series to help Alaskans “find the facts” about declining King salmon runs.


The special series recently concluded, and overall, it provided useful information that can help Alaskans understand the complexities of the king salmon life cycle and its management. Unfortunately, the series was strangely silent on one of the most important issues facing wild salmon across Alaska: healthy, productive habitat and the ever-growing threats to it.

In over 33,000 words, the series made no serious effort to address salmon habitat. Maybe it was simply an oversight. Or maybe habitat protection has become sadly politicized in the rising tensions of the Cook Inlet fish wars.

It’s not as if salmon habitat issues have not been in the public eye lately. The proposed Pebble mine has galvanized tens of thousands of Alaskans around salmon habitat protection, and in Cook Inlet, there’s a growing wave of Alaskans concerned about the proposed Chuitna coal strip mine, which would be the first project in state history to completely remove miles and miles of wild salmon streams.

But here’s the problem: habitat protection implicates thorny legal, social and economic issues which in turn arouse incredibly strong passions. A prime example is the effort in 2013 to strip away habitat buffers along salmon streams and lakes in the Kenai Borough. Some property owners balked loudly at what they considered improper government intrusion. No one questioned their love for salmon, but the debate was raucous. Fortunately, a majority of Alaskans rose up in defense of salmon habitat.

Read the full story at the Alaska Journal of Commerce>>

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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