National Fisherman


The possibility of Gulf of Mexico aquaculture moved another step closer to reality this month. But the small step forward – mainly adding a few rules for the proposed fish farming – caused fishers and environmentalists to once again speak out against an idea they fear will unfairly compete against local fishers and pollute local waters.

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, which advises the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service on fish and fishing in the Gulf, recently approved the final draft of its proposed rule to regulating offshore Gulf marine aquaculture. After some more federal review and an expected public comment period this summer, the idea is that sometime next year businesses could begin applying for permits to establish red snapper, grouper and other finfish-farms in Gulf federal waters, which in Louisiana extend from three to 200 miles offshore.

The plan would make the Gulf the first region in the country to develop open-ocean aquaculture in federal waters, potentially reaping another 64 million pounds of seafood. The plan prohibits shrimp farming, and only allows the raising of native Gulf species.

Read the full story at Times Picayune>>

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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