National Fisherman


Bert Jongerden walked through the refrigerated display room at the city-owned fish auction house Tuesday, where 3,000 to 4,000 pounds of cod were packed in ice and waiting for buyers, a significant amount for an allegedly doomed fishery.
 
“Look at it all. It’s beautiful,” said Jongerden, general manager of the Portland Fish Exchange.But all that cod should not be there, according to a report last month by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that found the number of cod of reproductive age in the Gulf of Maine has hit an all-time low – only 3 percent to 4 percent of what’s needed for a sustainable fishery.
 
That’s a sharp decline from an estimated 13 to 18 percent in 2013. Those grim numbers will put pressure on fishery managers to make major cuts to the amount of cod that fishermen can take and that, in turn, would make it harder for fishermen to go after healthy stocks of other groundfish that swim in the same fishing grounds. It is difficult to catch those species without catching cod in the same nets.
 
Jongerden and fishermen in Maine say landings data in Portland and what they have seen for themselves indicate that scientists are using mathematical models that don’t reflect what’s going on in the ocean. Fishermen have landed nearly twice the amount of cod in the first four months of this season as they did during the same period last year.
 
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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