National Fisherman


ANCHORAGE — New rules to protect king salmon returning to Kenai Peninsula rivers unfairly target commercial fishermen, they said Wednesday after the Alaska Board of Fisheries approved the measures.
 
Jim Butler, a commercial set-net fisherman and a representative of the Kenai Peninsula Fishermen’s Association, said the loss of fishing opportunity will not be equally shared with anglers.
 
“There has been nothing in the river that been changed except ‘not-bait,’” he told the Peninsula Clarion (http://bit.ly/1eYmgi5). “There’s been not one less motorboat day, not one less drift boat day, there has been no limitation on the number of hours the commercial guide industry fishes.”
 
The Fish Board, meeting in Anchorage, voted 6-1 in favor of “paired restrictions” for late-run king salmon returning in July. State fish managers will have the power to reduce both sport and commercial fishing in Cook Inlet when king salmon return numbers look low, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
 
For example, river anglers in private boats or boats with guides could be prohibited from using bait. That would kick in restrictions on nets used by set-netters, the commercial fishermen who stretch gill nets perpendicular to ocean beaches near rivers to intercept returning salmon.
 
Set-netters target sockeye salmon but catch an estimated 13 percent of the returning kings.
 
Fish managers could also require in-river anglers to catch and release kings. Under the new rules, commercial set-net fishermen would then be limited to one 12-hour fishing period per week instead of two.
 
King salmon are a huge draw for the peninsula’s tourism industry, attracting anglers who support lodges, restaurants and guides. Sport fishing interests had pushed for the paired restrictions.
 
Read the full story at the Juneau Empire>>

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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