I nearly always attend New England Fishery Management Council meetings in person, but last month, I was unable to attend the meeting in Newport, and instead listened to the proceedings online. I found that listening, and not physically being there, gives you a different perspective on a meeting. You hear more intently. There are fewer distractions. Examples seem clearer. Patterns emerge.
There are some predictable patterns in life. When there is an accident, at the end of the traffic jam you find a police officer. When you go to a restaurant, at the end of dinner the bill comes. And when you attend a fisheries management council meeting that is dealing with a crisis, there is usually a bad stock assessment.
Bad stock assessments have become as predictable as the sunrise.
In Newport, a long and difficult discussion took place to determine how next year's miniscule limit of yellowtail flounder would be divided between the scallop fleet and the groundfish fleet. Eventually a decision was made. But wait! It turns out there is another fishery — whiting — asking for a share of the allegedly non-existent yellow tail flounder.
When there is good science, the industry will agree to a cut. Just a week ago, NOAA closed an area to scalloping with the support of the industry. The reason is because for over a decade, a survey conducted under the direction of Dr. Kevin Stokesbury at the UMass School for Marine Science and Technology has been performed in cooperation with fishermen using actual scallop vessels. Fishermen believe those results. In the yellowtail survey, fishermen don't even believe government scientists are using the right equipment to catch bottom-dwelling flat fish.
Read the full story at the Standard-Times>>
Callifornia crabbing: Here's a fun video shot on the decks of the Majestik while catching Dungeness crab off the coast of northern California.
Alaska fisherman and commercial fisheries activist Kevin Adams was elected chairman at the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute board of directors meeting on May 9 in Anchorage.
The governor-appointed board consists of seven members: five seafood processors and two industry representatives actively engaged in commercial fishing. Adams was appointed to fill a harvester seat by Gov. Frank Murkowski in 2004.
With 38 years of fishing experience in Bristol Bay, Adams has long been an active member in the Alaska fishing industry, ASMI says. He has worked for both the Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation and the Bering Sea Fisherman's Association, and represents Alaska fishermen on numerous boards.
The Northeast Regional Planning Body, a group of state, tribal and federal representatives from New England who are working to implement the National Ocean Policy and address critical New England ocean issues, is holding a series of public meetings in May and June.
The meetings are being held to discuss draft regional ocean planning goals and associated potential actions. The planning body seeks input on these goals and actions. Additional information on the group's progress can be found here.
The meetings will also provide an opportunity to review draft maps and products from initial efforts to gather information on the natural resources and diverse uses of the ocean, including fishing, transportation, energy and infrastructure, aquaculture, and recreation.