National Fisherman


The word that Massachusetts will lose about $34 million in direct revenue through the decline in 2013 fish landings — and the estimate that direct and indirect revenue losses to the state’s fishing industry and fishing communities like Gloucester will be about $103 million — should not come as any surprise.
 
Those figures, outlined by Gov. Deval Patrick in a letter to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, indeed show the level of economic disaster the state and its fishing communities are facing in the face of the continuing commercial fishing crisis, and stand on their own to emphasize the immediate need for the $75 million in federal disaster aid promised for six declared disasters, including the Northeast Groundfish fishery.
 
But the numbers, compiled through a state commission study, also drive home that this level of aid may not make a large dent in the level of crisis faced by fishermen out of Gloucester and elsewhere. And they make the case that any grant to Massachusetts fishermen through the Division of Marine Fisheries should not depend upon or be delayed for the state to kick in the expected 25 percent matching funding, as noted by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s office last week.
 
In supporting the distribution of the aid, Patrick advanced a number of distribution strategies, including a “direct subsidy program to fishermen and fishing businesses to provide temporary relief and deal with immediate changes in fishery management” and “support crew and family services.”
 
That, indeed, should be the Department of Commerce’s and the state DMF’s chief priority — getting the aid directly to the fishermen and other businesses so as to get fishermen and crews alike back on the water and back to work.
 
Read the full story at the Newburyport News>>

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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