National Fisherman


HARPSWELL, Maine — When Port Clyde fisherman Gary Libby started fishing in 1978, a good day at sea meant heading home with 6,000 pounds of fish on board. Today, a 21-hour trip nets anywhere from 1,000 pounds to 1,500 pounds — and he’s fishing far, far fewer days each year.
 
Randy Cushman, also of Port Clyde, remembers his biggest trip ever, when he hauled in 11,000 pounds of codfish, back when Cushman was young and Port Clyde “was hoppin’.”
 
“We had the big fishing that you hear about,” Cushman said. “Real big. Too much. We stayed up for 48 hours straight. We only had 3 hot dogs to eat … that takes its toll on you, with two guys. You’re working. You’re busting your hump.”
 
Port Clyde, like other fishing towns up and down the Maine coast, has changed in the past few decades. Most significantly, with federal regulations and a depleted fishery, Maine’s groundfishing fleet has shrunk from 300 boats in the early 1990s to about 50 in 2013, according to Ben Martens, executive director of the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, a fishermen-led nonprofit that works to restore the fisheries and sustain Maine’s fishing communities.
 
But as valuable as the industry itself are stories such as Libby’s and Cushman’s. The Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association has preserved some of those fish tales through its Oral History Initiative, a multimedia presentation opening Wednesday at Harpswell Heritage Land Trust.
 
Read the full story at Bangor Daily News>>

Inside the Industry

NOAA recently published a proposed rule that would implement a traceability plan to help combat IUU fishing. The program would seek to trace the origins of imported seafood by setting up reporting and filing procedures for products entering the U.S.

The traceability program would collect data on harvest, landing, and chain of custody of fish and fish products that have been identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and fraud.

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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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