National Fisherman


PORTLAND, Maine — Federal regulators balked Thursday at a chance to set a new quota for Maine’s lucrative baby eel fishery.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s American Eel Management Board met in Alexandria, Virginia, to vote on recommendations for the fishery, which has grown in volume and value in recent years, but deadlocked without reaching a decision. Federal officials have said the recommendation could range from keeping the status quo of a nearly 6-ton quota to closing the fishery.

In addition to a new quota, the board is also considering enacting harvest allowances for aquaculture purposes. The board will revisit the issue with a potential final vote in late October, a spokeswoman said.

The fisheries commission said in a statement that American eel populations in U.S. waters are depleted because of a combination of overfishing, habitat loss, changes in predation, environmental changes, contaminants and disease.

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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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