Written by Jen Finn
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>>
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.Read more...
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.Read more...