National Fisherman


The greatest threat to Japan’s whaling industry may not be the environmentalists harassing its ships or the countries demanding its abolishment, but consumers who have lost their appetite for the delicacy.
 
The amount of whale meat stockpiled for lack of buyers has nearly doubled over the last decade, even as anti-whaling protests helped drive catches to record lows. Meat equivalent to more than 2,300 minke whales is sitting in freezers while whalers still plan to catch another 1,300 per year.
 
Low demand will unlikely recover given Monday’s ruling by the International Court of Justice in The Hague that Japan should stop its research whaling in the Antarctic Ocean because it isn’t really for scientific purposes.
 
The ruling was a major victory for whaling opponents such as Australia, which argued that it is a cover for commercial hunts.
 
The stated goal of the research, which began in 1987, is to show that commercial whaling is environmentally sustainable, but a growing question is whether it is economically sustainable.
 
The government-subsidized whaling program is sinking deeper into debt and faces an imminent, costly renovation of its 27-year-old mother ship, the Nisshin Maru.
 
“A resumption of commercial whaling is not a realistic option anymore, and the goal has become a mere excuse to continue research hunts,” said Ayako Okubo, a marine science researcher at Tokai University. “The program is used for the vested interests.”
 
Read the full story at the Japan Times>>

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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