National Fisherman


Exactly two months after the Northeast groundfishery was acknowledged to have become a statutory disaster for the five New England states and New York, the regional fishery management council digs in today to debate and possibly vote on a suite of changes to the system — none with the potential to provide dramatic relief to an industry in dire straits.

Direct relief has been left to Congress; the congressional delegation has agreed to press for $100 million although no written plan exists for the use of that or any amount that may be included in the resolution of the federal budget and sequestration crisis, a spokesperson for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday.

If anything, the disaster is spreading from the groundfishery — which faces catch limits reduced by between 45 and 73 percent on Gulf of Maine Cod and multiple Georges Bank stocks, unprecedented since the enactment of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act in 1976 — to the scallop fishery, the nation's No. 1 fishery based on sales value, and a fishery centered in New Bedford.

Read the full story at the Gloucester Times>>

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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