National Fisherman


When it comes to ocean acidification, the state of Washington is in damage-control mode. There is little doubt such acidification has — and will — take a toll on the state's economy; the question is, at what cost?
 
At stake is the state's $270 million shellfish industry — along with Alaska's $100 million king crab fishery, other Washington fisheries, and the economies of all states that are reliant upon the ocean for sustenance. Because of that, U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Mark Begich, D-Alaska, visited the Puget Sound region last week to talk about ocean acidification and legislation they are preparing in order to mitigate its impact. The plan would provide funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to expand a network of high-tech buoys and sensors that monitor ocean conditions.
 
The impetus is the fact that about 25 percent of all carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere settles in the ocean, and that process has been linked to decreasing pH levels in ocean water. The reduced pH levels have led to a massive die-off of oyster larvae in the waters of the Pacific Northwest, as oysters are unable to extract minerals from the water that are necessary for the formation of shells. Similar problems have been observed in Alaskan crabs and in other shellfish, and that can impact the entire marine ecosystem.
 
"Even the fact that salmon eat the pteropods that are now also having problems forming shells — this is a major issue for all of us," Cantwell said.
 
Read the full story at The Columbian>>

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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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