National Fisherman


Republican Sens. John McCain and Tom Coburn have signaled an effort to strip from a $60.4 billion Hurricane Sandy disaster relief bill today the $150 million targeted for fisheries disaster funding — the bulk of which would go to the five coastal New England states and New York whose fishermen work the Atlantic for groundfish.

The Northeast fishing industry, including groundfishermen working out of Gloucester, was recognized as an economic "disaster" in September by the acting secretary of Commerce, based on stock and economic assessments and projected draconian catch limits for 2013. But the Commerce disaster declaration did not come backed by any emergency funding, so federal lawmakers worked to add fisheries disaster money onto the Sandy emergency aid bill.

The Sandy relief bill and its amendments — including coverage for fisheries disasters — draws toward the nation's center stage a struggle for survival by the groundfishermen of the Northeast, centered around Gloucester and New Bedford.

Read the full story at Gloucester Times>>

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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