National Fisherman


The report, written by researchers at the University of British Columbia and to be published in Marine Policy magazine, puts the value of the catch from illegal, unregulated and underreported (IUU) fishing at between $1 billion and $2 billion annually, or between 15% and 26% of the total value of wild-caught imports.
 
Vessels classified as participating in IUU fishing are designated as such because they regularly ignore domestic and international fishing laws, fish in areas closed or restricted to commercial fishing, target endangered and at-risk species, and use illegal gear.
 
“This study unfortunately confirms what we have long suspected–that seafood from pirate fishing is getting into our markets,” said Beckie Zisser of the environmental group Oceana, which has been documenting issues of fraud and illegal fishing in the seafood industry. “Illegal fishing undercuts honest fishermen and seafood businesses that play by the rules, and the U.S. should not be incentivizing pirate fishers by creating a legal market for their products.”
 
The best way to rid the market of pirate-caught fish is to institute a system of traceability that tracks each fish from the time it is caught until the time it is sold, she said. “Before seafood crosses our borders and enters our markets, it needs to have documentation that verifies that it was legally caught, and that the fish traveled a transparent path from the fishing vessel to our dinner plates,” Ms. Zisser said.
 
The National Fisheries Institute, which in 2007 created the Better Seafood Board to combat fish fraud, said while it supports efforts to fight pirate fishing, it has serious doubts about the numbers reported in this study.”We find this report, however, a bit skewed. To begin by proposing that 10% to 20% of domestic seafood comes from IUU fishing suggests the author’s other conclusions may be suspect,” an NFI spokesman said. “Experts who know fisheries management would not accept the suggestion that as much as 20% of the U.S. catch is IUU.”
 
Read the full story at the Wall Street Journal>>

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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