National Fisherman

ELLSWORTH, Maine — Federal fisheries officials have issued the final version of a new rule aimed at protecting whales from getting entangled in fishing lines that connect surface buoys to traps on the ocean bottom.
 
The rules require lobstermen to use multiple traps with each buoy (gear configurations called “trawls”), the minimum number of which depends on how far out from shore the traps are set. With a few exceptions, lobstermen will no longer be allowed to fish “singles,” which are configurations of one trap per buoy and no ground lines. The ban on singles is aimed at reducing the number of vertical buoy lines in the water column, which federal officials say pose an entanglement threat to whales.
 
The regulations won’t go into effect for Maine fishermen until June 1, 2015, well after this year’s busy lobster season winds down. Regulators predict the new rules will reduce the amount of vertical fishing lines in the water by between 30 and 40 percent.
 
The new federal rules are a follow-up to regulations implemented in 2009 that required fishermen to use sinking groundlines between traps on their multitrap trawls. Those rules also are aimed at preventing whale entanglements, but fishermen say it has helped to increase their operating costs at a time when the price they get for their catch is still languishing well below what it was in the mid-2000s, when they averaged more than $4 per pound. In 2013, Maine fishermen on average earned $2.89 per pound.
 
Read the full story at Bangor Daily News>>

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National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 11/06/14

In this episode:

NOAA report touts 2013 landings, value increases
Panama fines GM salmon company Aquabounty
Gulf council passes Reef Fish Amendment 40
Maine elver quota cut by 2,000 pounds
Offshore mussel farm would be East Coast’s first

 

Inside the Industry

Fishermen in Western Australia captured astonishing footage this week as a five-meter-long great white shark tried to steal their catch, ramming into the side of their boat.
 
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EAST SAND ISLAND, Oregon—Alexa Piggott is crawling through a dark, dusty, narrow tunnel on this 62-acre island at the mouth of the Columbia River. On the ground above her head sit thousands of seabirds. Piggott, a crew leader with Bird Research Northwest, is headed for an observation blind from which she'll be able to count them.
 
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