National Fisherman


FOR CENTURIES, Louisiana fishermen thrived off the bounty found in the extremely fertile coastal waters nourished by the Mississippi, Atchafalaya and other rivers.
 
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Louisiana produces more than 76 percent of all seafood coming from the Gulf of Mexico and 34 percent of the total from the contiguous United States, landings worth about $2.5 billion annually. Shrimp typically account for more than 60 percent of Louisiana seafood harvests.
 
Consistently leading the nation, Louisiana shrimpers traditionally catch 45 percent of the Gulf landings and 29 percent of the national total. In 2012, Louisiana shrimpers landed 100.4 million pounds.
 
These numbers come despite shrimpers facing enormous problems during the past 10 years. Several hurricanes between 2005 and 2012 devastated the shrimping fleet. In 2010, just as the industry began to recover from the storms, a massive Gulf oil spill shut down fishing in many areas. Some areas remain off limits. In addition, competition from foreign imports, rising fuel prices and federal regulations makes life tough for shrimpers. Many shrimpers, some following traditions going back several generations, called it quits in recent years.
 
“My grandfather started shrimping in a sailing schooner before he had an engine on his boat,” says Clint Guidry of Lafitte, president and CEO of the 600-member Louisiana Shrimping Association. “My dad was a shrimper all his life. I did it on and off for all of my 65 years. From 2003 to 2009, Louisiana lost 75 percent of its offshore shrimping fleet and 40 percent of the inshore fleet. We’ve been through a lot in the past 10 years, but we’re still here.”
 
Read the full story at My New Orleans>>

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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