National Fisherman


A NOAA Fisheries official offered no short-term hope for Sitka small-boat bottom-fishermen who are objecting to the possibility of having on-board bycatch observers starting this year. In a meeting with about 45 fishermen last week, Martin Loefflad said electronic monitoring of potential bycatch in the halibut and black cod fishery is at least two years away, following NOAA testing that's starting this spring. As KCAW reports, NOAA has already rejected a fishermen-proposed electronic monitoring program. The fishermen feel their boats are too small and there are too many expenses and complications involved in having a monitor aboard.

Speaking from the audience, Linda Behnken, the director of the Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association, noted that 90 percent of the catch was landed at on-shore processors, where this data could be easily collected. Loefflad suggested that was inadequate.

"If there are some beasts that never make it to the dock, the only way to get those beasts is on the boat."

Read the full story at the Anchorage Daily News>>

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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