National Fisherman


Harold Robinson has made his living out of Wingate Harbor in Dorchester County for all of his good years. He knows every piece of the bottom in the waters he works near Hearns Cove on Chesapeake Bay. At 64, Robinson is one of the last working oystermen around these parts. And he knows his days on the water are numbered. Not for nothing has he called his boat Limited — a reference to the restrictions the state has placed on what and when watermen can harvest.

"They get you back to the wall, where it's just so hard to make a living," Robinson said as he stopped in the marina's office to get a part for his boat. "Some winters, we didn't even work at all."

The ranks of oystermen in Maryland have long been dwindling. But now the harbors and marinas that once housed their boats are going, too.

Maryland and Virginia have lost dozens of working marinas, oyster-shucking houses, crab-picking places and boat repair shops during the last half-century. Some marina owners sold to developers, unable to make a living from the few remaining oystermen who docked there. Others couldn't afford to repair damages from ever more severe storms as sea level rose. Still others simply couldn't afford or didn't want to spend money on the

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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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