National Fisherman


Lawmakers from Maine and two other states are urging federal regulators to "exercise all authority under the law" to help the New England groundfishing fleet weather severe catch limits that many fear could decimate the industry.

In a letter sent Thursday, 13 members of Congress from Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire asked acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank to help owners cover the costs of having catch monitors on vessels as mandated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. All four members of Maine's delegation -- Republican Sen. Susan Collins and independent Sen. Angus King and Democratic Reps. Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud -- signed the letter.

"NOAA Fisheries must seriously consider the impact of further burdening our fishermen with at-sea monitoring costs and dedicate the resources necessary to continue to cover these costs," the members wrote. "Even without the drastic reductions in catch limits, our fishermen cannot feasibly afford their expected share of at-sea monitors."

Read the full story at Portland Press Herald>>

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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