National Fisherman


Hundreds of herring were hanging from the rafters of native long houses when Captain James Cook first sailed along the coast of British Columbia in the spring of 1778. And First Nations people can be seen smoking the small silver fish over fires in an arresting painting by John Webber, the artist on the Cook’s expedition.
 
Native legends and place names also provide plenty of evidence that herring were far more common historically than they are today.
 
Now a team of archeologists has weighed in with a report that further elevates the status of the lowly fish.
 
The international team assessed data on almost half a million fish bones found at 171 archeological sites along the coast of Alaska, British Columbia and Washington.
 
“We found that one species, herring, was consistently the most abundant and ubiquitous fish in the 171 sites,” says Iain McKechnie, a post-doctoral fellow based at British Columbia’s Simon Fraser University (SFU) and lead author of the report published Monday in the U.S. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
 
“Herring was the consistent focus of the fishery for at least the last 2,500 years,” says McKechnie. The study of sites up to 10,00o years old also provides sobering “deep time” evidence of how the herring fishery, which was sustainable over the “millennia,” has been seriously depleted by industrial fishing since the late 1800s.
 
Herring have vanished from coastal areas around Vancouver and Victoria where the archeological evidence shows they were once  plentiful. They have also disappeared from many traditional First Nations sites along the coast.
 
Read the full story at Canada.com>>

Inside the Industry

NOAA recently published a proposed rule that would implement a traceability plan to help combat IUU fishing. The program would seek to trace the origins of imported seafood by setting up reporting and filing procedures for products entering the U.S.

The traceability program would collect data on harvest, landing, and chain of custody of fish and fish products that have been identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and fraud.

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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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