National Fisherman

The New England Fishery Management Council has voted to recommend giving commercial groundfishermen access to parts of five areas that have been closed to them for many years.

The federal Commerce Department must approve the votes, taken at the special Dec. 20 meeting, but John Bullard, regional administrator for the Commerce's National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration, announced his support for limited openings. Such openings would give the commercial fleet, facing a declared economic disaster, some hope for relief from the hardships to come in the fishing year beginning May 1.

At the same special meeting last month, the council deferred setting catch limits on the groundfish complex for the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank until its regularly scheduled January 2013 meeting in Portsmouth, N.H. By then, an extraordinary benchmark assessment of inshore cod will be available.

The five closed areas include two near Gloucester: the Western Gulf of Maine closed area, a thin rectangular section of water about 10 miles wide running from near Provincetown to opposite Portland, Maine, and about 12 miles east of Gloucester; and Caches Ledge, a rock outcrop about 30 miles north-northeast of Gloucester. The others are in Georges Bank.

Read the full story at the Gloucester Daily Times>>

Inside the Industry

NMFS has awarded 16 grants totaling more than $2.5 million as part of its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.

The program supports the development of technological solutions and changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch and aims to to find creative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, seabird interactions, and post-release mortality in federally managed fisheries.


Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.

Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.

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