National Fisherman


BALTIMORE — Nothing seems to identify Maryland cuisine more than the blue crab, but a tough start to the season has made way for a lot of foreign crab being used that many might have thought was local.

A new day on the Big Choptank River off Cambridge brings fresh hope to Bill James, 78, a longtime waterman who said this has been the slowest start to the crab season he has ever seen.

"It's less crabs every year," he said.

I-Team reporter Deborah Weiner, who went out with him, saw plenty of lonely bait on his line and just a few of the coveted blue crabs. The state estimated that more than a quarter of the adult crab population was lost this year due to natural predators, coastal currents and a long, cold winter.

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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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