National Fisherman


Two years ago, you could pretty much bank on it: Leave the dock at 5:30 or 6 a.m. and be back by 9 with a bushel or so of scrappy male crabs. Then it was just a matter of hooking up the cooker, herding the crabs into the steamer and sitting back for the 25 minutes or so it takes to turn them red and scrumptious.

In the evening it was crabs for six or eight or however many you could gather, followed by a picking session that left you with a pound or two of flaky white meat for crabcakes. That was the norm, from June to September, as it had been for the decade or more since I took up crabbing and for a century before that. Sometimes it was more than a bushel, sometimes less, but always there was a proper mess for supper if you took the trouble to go out.

Last year the bottom fell out. No one is quite sure why, but after an initial run in June, the crabs went scarce. It was eerie, because even in mediocre crabbing years, you catch a lot of little throwbacks, and in the fall there were always many females, which recreational crabbers are required to toss back for conservation. (Commercial crabbers, for inscrutable reasons, are allowed to keep females.)

Read the full story at Post and Courier>>

Want to read more about Chesapeake blue crabs? Click here...

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.

Read more...

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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