National Fisherman


Alaska's congressional delegation wants changes in federal plans to put observers on more commercial halibut fishing boats.

The observer program has been around since 1990 for large catcher and catcher-processor vessels in Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska fisheries. The National Marine Fisheries Service has announced plans to add part-time observers to vessels that are less than 60 feet but more than 40 feet.

A letter from Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich and Rep. Don Young to Commerce Department Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank claims the expanded program is poorly planned and will be expensive.

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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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