National Fisherman


Fishing advocates are questioning why the direct assistance contained in the federal fishery disaster aid plan is going to take so long to get to eligible fishermen and permit holders.
 
“The long-term programs like the buyback and the state grants are going to take more time and we understand that,” Jackie Odell, executive director of the Northeast Seafood Coalition, said Monday. “But the idea was to get the direct assistance money out the door sooner rather than later.”
 
State and federal officials, in announcing the distribution plan last Wednesday for the nearly $33 million headed to the coastal New England states and New York, said the general target date for delivering the $32,463 checks to 336 eligible fishermen — including about $6.3 million to 194 in Massachusetts — is Oct. 1.
 
If that timetable holds, fishermen won’t receive the $11 million in direct assistance for up to four months after the plan was announced — nine months after Congress appropriated $75 million in fishing disaster relief funds, and eight months after NOAA said $32.8 million of the $75 million was headed to fishermen in the New England coastal states and New York.
 
Read the full story at the Gloucester Daily 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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