National Fisherman


“Australia is watching us,” said Steve Cushman, instructor for Tallahassee Community College’s Oyster Aquaculture Certification program. The new program, created and administered by TCC’s Wakulla Environmental Institute, instructs students in the art and science of cultivating, harvesting and marketing oysters. Oyster growers Down Under are watching us, because the type of oyster production proposed in the WEI program is based on Australia’s long-line oyster farming method.
 
Long-line oyster farming is much different than the tonging method used locally, and was not legally possible in Florida until about six months ago. Cushman’s connections to Australian oyster farmers have turned their eyes to Wakulla County, curious for the results of the program.
 
Prior to July 2013, oyster harvesting was primarily restricted to oysters growing wild in beds on the bottom of our bays. Until then it was illegal for anyone to use the entire water column for aquaculture, restricting water use to only 6 inches above the bottom. On July 1, 2013 the law changed, allowing full use of the water column for aquaculture.
 
The new law presented an opportunity for Florida to introduce a different process for cultivating oysters. “This is an experiment,” said WEI executive director Bob Ballard. “The purpose of the program is to bring jobs and money to Wakulla and the surrounding areas. If successful, this will change the economic face of Wakulla County.”
 
Read the full story at Tallahassee Democrat>>

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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