National Fisherman


ROCKLAND — The cold winter is still being felt in the waters off Maine, where the nation’s largest lobster fishery is off to a slow start.
 
The season typically picks up after the bulk of the lobster population sheds its shells and reaches legal harvesting size. That occurred in late June last year and mid-June in 2012, but state officials and lobstermen say it hasn’t happened yet this year, leading to small catches.
 
State lobster biologist Carl Wilson said the cold winter and spring may have held back molting. Some lobstermen and buyers are reporting catches half the size they saw at this time last year.
 
Prices of lobster are up slightly from last year amid the decline in catch, the Maine Import Export Lobster Dealers’ Association’s President Tim Harkins said. The value of last year’s lobster fishery was $2.89 per pound, the second lowest figure in the past 18 years.
 
Molting could start happening “any day now,” Wilson said, adding that this year’s molt appears similar to what the state typically experienced 10 years ago. The last two years – which brought record catches of more than 125 million pounds of lobster each – were seasons that featured an early molt, he said.
 
Read the full story at the Portland Press Herald>>

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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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