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

Legislators from Connecticut and Massachusetts complained about the current “out-of-date allocation formula” in black sea bass, summer flounder and scup fisheries in a letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce earlier this week.

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The Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance recently announced that the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has awarded the organization a Hollings Grant to reduce whale entanglements in Alaska salmon fisheries by increasing the use of acoustic whale pingers to minimize entanglements in fishing gear.

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