National Fisherman


ROCKPORT — Lobster fishing, the most lucrative commercial fishery in Maine with last year’s catch valued at $364.5 million, has a secret.
 
That is that nearly a third of the 6,000 people who hold Maine lobster licences are not actively fishing and catch almost nothing.
 
Almost half of the license holders land less than 14 percent of the total catch of tasty crustaceans. Commissioner Patrick Keliher of the Maine Department of Marine Resources told a roomful of lobstermen at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum Saturday at the Samoset Resort that this discrepancy among license holders and active fishermen is called “latency.” He said that it is a concern that must be addressed in order to successfully manage the state’s most lucrative fishery.
 
Keliher said there are a number of reasons why latent licenses might become active, including changing personal circumstances, changes in other fisheries and the threat of losing licenses due to changes in management strategies. If those inactive fishermen started to set the traps they’re entitled to by law, it could stress the fishery, or certainly change it.
 
“There are 1.2 million trap tags that are not in the water,” the commissioner told the fishermen. “We can’t say, ‘We can’t talk about it,’ if we know it’s a problem. Having the conversation now, when there’s no threat or need to change, is a much different conversation than it could be in the future.”
 
Read the full story at the Lewiston Sun-Journal>>

Inside the Industry

Ray Hilborn, a University of Washington professor of aquatic and fishery sciences, recently received the 2016 International Fisheries Science Prize at the World Fisheries Congress in Busan, South Korea.

The award was given to Hilborn by the World Council of Fisheries Societies’ International Fisheries Science Prize Committee in recognition of his 40-year career of “highly diversified research and publication in support of global fisheries science and conservation.”

Read more...

Legislators from Connecticut and Massachusetts complained about the current “out-of-date allocation formula” in black sea bass, summer flounder and scup fisheries in a letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce earlier this week.

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