National Fisherman


The breadbasket of Biscayne Bay isn’t so bountiful anymore.
 
There are fewer fish. And the ones that remain are smaller. Shrimp trawlers have mowed rolling sea grass meadows to the quick. Sponges are almost gone. If there’s coral, it’s mostly rubble.
 
So Biscayne National Park is proposing drastic measures: phasing out commercial fishing in park waters, ending the beloved two-day lobster mini season and imposing a host of new restrictions that park managers hope will revive the vast, 270-square-mile underwater wilderness that once teemed with bonefish, snapper, sea turtles and hundreds of other species.
 
“We recognize that this is a significant change to existing conditions and any time you’re doing that, regardless of the topic, you’re going to get resistance. It’s just human,” said park superintendent Brian Carlstrom, who stressed the plan is “not something we propose to do overnight.”
 
In fact, the rules evolved at a glacial pace over 15 years as three different superintendents struggled to win support from the state, which manages wildlife in parts of the park, and balance the competing interests of environmental groups, anglers and commercial fishermen.
 
The park’s general plan, a broader blueprint that will address more-contentious matters — like whether to ban fishing entirely from some areas or weekend parties by boaters that scar flats and kill sea grass — is still in the works.
 
Read the full story at the Miami Herald>>

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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