National Fisherman


There’s a great big target on the backs of predator green crabs now, thanks to rule changes by the Maine Department of Marine Resources that went into effect this week.
 
As of Aug. 10, commercial fishermen no longer need a special license to harvest and sell green crabs and don’t have to report their green crab harvests to the state. Lobstermen will now be allowed to take them as bycatch. And when the Sheepscot, Damariscotta and Medomak rivers are closed for fishing other species of crabs between Dec. 1 and April 30, fishermen will still be able to harvest green crabs from those waters.
 
Public and private efforts are underway to rid Maine’s coastal waters of the invasive species, which preys on the state’s valuable shellfish population and wreaks havoc on eel grass. Although the crustaceans, which can be anywhere from 2.5 to 5 inches long, have been reported in Maine for more than a century, scientists speculate that warming ocean temperatures have allowed the crabs to multiply.
 
The crabs feast on bivalves such as softshell clams, which are Maine’s third most lucrative fishery. In 2013, 10.6 million pounds of softshell clams were valued at $16.9 million. But that was down from 11.1 million landed in 2012, according to the DMR, a decline partly attributable to damage from green crabs.
 
Read the full story at Portland Press Herald>>

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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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