National Fisherman


In May 2010, just at the moment NOAA put into operation a free trading commodity market for groundfishermen who were given an allocation and joined into a fishing cooperative, a perfect storm of constrictions began strangling the industry.

Hard catch limits and penalties merged with deadline-driven rebuilding requirements came into being just as science-based assessments of the stocks led to government decisions to constrict the availability of the commodity, all sending the industry spiraling into a crisis that many in industry, including Gloucester’s Vito Giacalone, saw coming.

As policy director of the Gloucester-based Northeast Seafood Coalition, the region’s largest industry group, Giacalone and other members of his organization had read the converging vectors of regulation and prepared as well as possible by establishing 13 sectors — the fishing cooperatives that aggregated fishermen largely by port, gear type and boat size — and digging in to make the best of the awful circumstances.

Now, with the crisis unfolding, with NOAA certain to mandate even more extreme constrictions in the harvesting of fish stocks next year, and with harvesters struggling to hang on by leasing out their allocation to bigger operators, the coalition has recommended against a corrective initiative — a move favored by many fishermen, non-government organizations and NOAA’s Gloucester-based Northeast regional administrator, John Bullard.

Read the full story at the Gloucester Times>>

Inside the Industry

The Downeast Salmon Federation has received a major grant from the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities to ensure and improve the water quality of eastern Maine’s most important rivers, according to the Ellsworth American.

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Louisiana crab fishermen and their catch are feeling the pressure of a downturn in the state economy, and a resulting upturn of people entering the fishery.

“It’s a crazy business right now,” said Pete Gerica, the New Orleans fisherman who now serves as president or the Louisiana Crab Task Force, a legislatively-created board of industry voices that makes recommendations to state government.

Read more...

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