National Fisherman


At Ross Mullins' home in Cordova, Alaska, you have to slam the front door extra hard to make it close. The former commercial fisherman lives in a small wood-frame house that's in need of repair. Some of the windows are cracked and he leaves the water faucets dripping to protect uninsulated pipes from the harsh Alaskan winter.
 
When the Exxon Valdez oil tanker ran aground and started leaking oil 25 years ago, the disaster drastically changed the fishing industry in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Mullins has never recovered from that blow.
 
"I figure my own net worth going into '89 was around $1.5 million," Mullins says.
 
He was in his mid-50s, prime earning years, when the spill wiped out herring and other fisheries.
 
"My net worth today is, I would say, minus $100,000," Mullins says. "That's the nutshell right there."
 
His story begins 18 years before the Exxon Valdez oil spill, when he and other Cordova fishermen were fighting the proposed trans-Alaska pipeline that would bring oil tankers to their fishing waters.
 
He has an old clip from the CBS Evening News that shows a young Mullins standing on a pier, warning of economic collapse should there be an oil spill in Prince William Sound.
 
"This town would no longer continue to exist in my mind," he said in the video. 
 
Read the full story at Northwest Public Radio>>

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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