National Fisherman


By Sarah Schumann

PROVIDENCE — Times are tough for New England’s commercial fishing industry. Just last week federal fisheries regulators announced sweeping cuts to the number of cod that fishermen are allowed to catch. But even in the midst of regional suffering, Rhode Island’s fishermen recently pulled together to support their colleagues on a distant coast: Bristol Bay, Alaska.

The challenge facing commercial fishermen in Bristol Bay is not how to cope with a shortage of fish, as is the case in several high-profile fisheries in New England. Rather, it is to protect a thriving, abundant salmon resource from the potentially harmful effects associated with the proposed Pebble Mine.

Opposition to the Pebble Mine led Bristol Bay salmon fisherman Katherine Carscallen to spend two weeks touring New England ports and rallying local fishermen to her cause. Carscallen represents the advocacy group Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay.

During a Feb. 1 visit to Rhode Island, Carscallen and several local fisheries advocates met with Sen. Jack Reed’s staff to urge support for an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action under the Clean Water Act to protect the watersheds of Bristol Bay from mining.

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Inside the Industry

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.

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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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