National Fisherman

The scallop fishery has become the lifeblood of the New Bedford waterfront, a bright spot in a fishing industry encumbered by onerous regulations and heavy-handed management. It has helped make New Bedford, for the 13th year in a row, the most valuable port in the nation. But, with potential cuts to the scallop catch anticipated next year, scallopers and fishing communities coast-wide face the prospect of diminished revenues and loss of stability to the scallop industry.
One way to prevent this is to finally allow the scallop fleet access to historic fishing grounds in Georges Bank, particularly in the Northern Edge, from which we have long been cut off. We have an opportunity to re-evaluate these closures with the Omnibus Habitat Amendment, considered on Tuesday by the New England Fishery Management Council.
For almost 20 years, large sections of Georges Bank have been closed to commercial fishermen and scallopers, part of a larger management effort aimed at protecting habitats and limiting overfishing. When the closures were put in place, it was thought that by keeping fishermen and scallopers out of these areas, juvenile groundfish, particularly cod, would benefit from undisturbed access to the area's gravel habitat, which was thought to be beneficial as a source of food and refuge from predator species. Unfortunately, little empirical evidence has emerged since the closures were enacted to demonstrate positive benefits have arisen from these regulations.
Read the full story at the Standard-Times>>

Inside the Industry

NMFS has awarded 16 grants totaling more than $2.5 million as part of its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.

The program supports the development of technological solutions and changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch and aims to to find creative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, seabird interactions, and post-release mortality in federally managed fisheries.


Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.

Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.

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