National Fisherman

WASHINGTON – When commercial fishing vessels unload their hauls on deck, crews usually gut their catch and put it on ice for the trip back to shore.

Then they do something that could land them in trouble under a 6-year-old law: They hose down the decks, sending the bloody mix of guts and scales into the water.

The Clean Boating Act of 2008 requires vessels to test deck-water runoff for contaminants. They also must sample seawater that is circulated into live wells for crabs and lobsters and then discharged back into the ocean, gulf or bay.

At least on paper.

The regulation isn't enforced because lawmakers have approved temporary exemptions sparing commercial fishermen from having to comply with a rule that many call onerous and expensive. The current exemption ends in December, and the industry is concerned congressional malaise and partisanship could stall legislation to extend it.

That would leave commercial operators on the hook for an expensive and time-consuming sampling regimen that they say could drive them out of business and reduce the fish available at local markets and restaurants.

Read the full story at Clarion-Ledger>>

Want to read more about the Incidental Discharge Act? Click here...

Inside the Industry

NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.


A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.

Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species,  allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.

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