National Fisherman


The federal government unveiled a sweeping plan to try and restore west Marin County's dwindling Coho salmon population, one of the last watersheds in California where the endangered fish return to spawn.

Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration described the recovery plan as a long-term roadmap toward restoring the Coho's numbers, which have declined sharply since the 1940s when California's population was estimated at around a half-million. Despite years of dangerously low numbers, state leaders were encouraged by a slight rebound of Coho in Marin County.

"We've come a long way in Lagunitas Creek in Marin County," said Chuck Bonham, director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. "It's known up and down the state as a stronghold of salmon effort."

The Lagunitas Creek watershed, a warren of winding creeks and streams in West Marin, is considered one of the few successful Coho spawning grounds left in California. Still, the already low number of returning salmon there dropped even further several years ago. Todd Steiner of the environmental group SPAWN said the numbers are slowly rebounding. He said the group recorded more returning Coho this year, than three years ago.

"It's a good sign," Steiner said. "We have to keep reality in mind though that we only have a couple hundred fish. It's not enough to sustain a run."

The new federal plan, a requirement of the Coho's addition to the endangered list, calls for restorative actions stretching from Mendocino to Santa Cruz. The actions are aimed at restoring and protecting critical Coho habitat.

Read the full story at KNBC>>>

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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