National Fisherman


FREEPORT - The Freeport Shellfish Commission is being urged to hire a regional shellfish coordinator to help solve problems that are threatening the area’s clamming industry.
 
The Maine Clammers Association has proposed a regional shellfish coordinator, who would work in the interest of fishermen in Casco Bay. Chad Coffin, president of the clammers association, will present the proposal for a regional shellfish coordinator, which would be a paid position, at the commission’s upcoming meeting. A meeting scheduled for Feb. 13 was postponed due to snow. Nora Healy, chairwoman of the shellfish commission, said on Monday that the next scheduled meeting is March 13, at 6:30 p.m., at the Freeport Community Center. She is unsure if an additional meeting would be held any earlier than that.
 
Healy said last week that problems such as water quality and the impact of invasive species such as green crabs are issues “that are broader than Freeport.” 
 
Coffin said he will refer to a report from Sara Randall, an environmental consultant the clammers association hired to collect data and to develop a job description and a budget.
 
The Freeport Shellfish Commission must decide if it wants to go along with a regional concept, instead of municipal shellfish warden, Coffin said. The clammers have been asking the town to make this conversion for years, he said.
 
“The Shellfish Commission in Freeport, and I see it everywhere, is frustrated the Town Councils and selectmen are resisting transitioning,” Coffin said. “Town government can’t do it. Clammers are seeing the resource disappear. We’re actually in a major crisis right now.”
 
Read the full story at Tri-Town Weekly>>

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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