National Fisherman


STOCKTON SPRINGS — Greg Perkins thinks of the thousands of pounds of lobsters and crabs that he’s caught in the Penobscot River over the past 10 years and worries about his family and the consumers he might have unknowingly poisoned with mercury.
 
“My first thought was, ‘Were those lobsters contaminated?’ ” Perkins said Wednesday, a day after the Maine Department of Marine Resources announced that it will close the mouth of the river to lobstering and crabbing because of mercury contamination. “Was I possibly poisoning my family and the public for 10 years? It’s impossible to think about.”
 
Perkins said he knew that environmental groups and the state had been doing studies for years, but he didn’t hear until last month that the tests showed unsafe mercury levels in lobsters and crabs.
 
“It sucks for us, but I don’t want to kill people either,” said Perkins, who fishes the maximum of 800 traps out of Stockton Springs, in the 7-square-mile area that will be closed for at least two years starting Saturday.
 
A total of about 270 licensed commercial and recreational harvesters work in the area and are potentially affected by the closure, according to the Department of Marine Resources.
 
Read the full story at the Portland Press Herald>>

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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