National Fisherman


WASHINGTON — Stalled by lawmakers' focus on the fiscal cliff debate, odds appear to have dimmed for New England fisheries getting $100 million in federal disaster aid by the end of this year.

Members of Massachusetts' congressional delegation said they are now aiming to attach the funds to a larger disaster bill that would also contain relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy, as well as Midwestern farms stricken by drought.

"Our coastal communities depend on a healthy catch to keep local families and businesses churning, just like Midwestern communities rely on the yield of their crops," Alec Gerlach, a spokesman for U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., said in a statement.

Massachusetts lawmakers expressed skepticism this week that a disaster relief bill could be enacted until after the new 113th Congress convenes in January.

Read the full story at Worcester Telegram & Gazette

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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