National Fisherman


It's too early to gauge the legitimacy of the latest NOAA science and assessment of the Gulf of Maine cod stocks.

But given that the latest assessments may yield cuts in cod landing limits of up to 86 percent over the already-diminished current year, NOAA and its New England Fishery Management Council owe it to all fishermen to do a thorough review of the methodology that's gone into a study that could virtually wipe out the Northeast groundfishing industry for the new fishing year beginning May 1.

And NOAA regional administrator John Bullard should indeed do all he can to buy time before setting limits that will decimate the industry by virtually taking away its most important stock. That means seeking the route proposed by the Gloucester-based Northeast Seafood Coalition, which is urging him to try to extend under the Magnuson-Stevens Acting for a second year the current policy of trimming the limits by 22 percent – a level that would obviously further preserve the stock, yet allow fishermen to at least earn an admittedly reduced living while officials look to verify stock science that has held little or no credibility in the past.

The new stock assessments should come as no surprise; they follow a November 2011 study that stunned fishermen and others across the industry, largely because it stood in sharp contrast to a far more positive assessment taken in late 2008. Yet the new assessments, once again, included no input or monitoring by rank-and-file fishermen, who know the ins and outs of the industry, including where and how specific stocks are located and caught.

Read the full story at the Gloucester Daily 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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