Written by Jen Finn
First-year NOAA regional administrator John Bullard, who heads the regulation of fisheries from Maine through North Carolina from his perch in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration building in Gloucester's Blackburn Industrial Park, says he doesn't believe the Magnuson-Stevens Act allows the flexibility to extend the current Gulf of Maine cod limits, which cut 22 percent from fishermen's allowable catch a year ago, for another year.
Because of that, he said he will not take that step, and will instead allow new cuts of up to 86 percent take hold for the 2013 fishing year that begins May 1. Saying that the fishing industry simply has to face the reality of NOAA's latest stock assessment data, he and the Department of Commerce may essentially set those limits today — limits that would absolutely devastate a Gloucester and New England groundfishery that Commerce has already declared an "economic disaster," but has shamefully refused to push for any money that could ease it.
But a few other folks, it seems, see the Magnuson-Stevens Act a bit differently. Within hours of Bullard's adamant statement being reported last week, Massachusetts senators John Kerry and Elizabeth Warren joined Congressmen John Tierney, William Keating and Edward Markey in penning a joint letter to Bullard, calling for him to reconsider — especially given that Congress intended the statute to "help prevent the collapse of fisheries."
Read the full story at the Gloucester Daily Times>>
NOAA recently published a proposed rule that would implement a traceability plan to help combat IUU fishing. The program would seek to trace the origins of imported seafood by setting up reporting and filing procedures for products entering the U.S.
The traceability program would collect data on harvest, landing, and chain of custody of fish and fish products that have been identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and fraud.Read more...
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.Read more...