National Fisherman


Almost everyone interested in the commercial fishing industry is now familiar with Discovery Channel’s hit reality series "Deadliest Catch." The show is entertaining, the cinematography is superb, the characters are portrayed as both villainous and heroic and it’s filmed in one of the most brutal environments in the world. To average Americans sitting in front of their televisions, "Deadliest Catch" is an interesting documentary in a historically ignored industry. However, there has been a big problem developing in one of Alaska's most iconic fisheries as a result of the show and legislation known as Bering Sea Crab Rationalization.
 
It's obvious why the show has enjoyed such success, and I commend the captains, crew and boat owners who have been involved in the series over the last decade. But the fleet that appears on "Deadliest Catch" is creating a problem for the 65 or more other crab boats whose crews depend on the Bering Sea crab resource for financial survival but don't appear on television.
 
Alaska’s Bering Sea crab fleet has had a rich and tumultuous history. The king crab boom of the 1970s generated exorbitant profits for all who participated; however, the king crab crash of the 1980s saw these same players scrambling to keep their businesses afloat through diversification into other fisheries. Fortunately, the opilio crab fishery emerged as a saving grace to the struggling king crab fleet from the mid 1980s and well into the 1990s. As the opilio quotas dwindled in the late 1990s, different management plans were discussed to end the Olympic-style fishery that Bering Sea crabbers had perfected.
 
Read the full story at the Alaska Dispatch>>

Inside the Industry

NOAA recently published a proposed rule that would implement a traceability plan to help combat IUU fishing. The program would seek to trace the origins of imported seafood by setting up reporting and filing procedures for products entering the U.S.

The traceability program would collect data on harvest, landing, and chain of custody of fish and fish products that have been identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and fraud.

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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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