National Fisherman


New England fishermen facing a dire future for their industry asked Congress in a letter Tuesday for immediate help surviving deep and impending cuts to their catch limits.

The letter, signed by 173 fishermen in ports from Connecticut to Maine, came as the industry prepares for May 1 catch reductions that fishermen warn could finish off the fleet.

A 77 percent cut in the catch limit for cod in the Gulf of Maine and a 61 percent decrease in the cod limit in Georges Bank, off southeastern New England, are the most significant in an array of 2013 catch reductions on bottom-dwelling groundfish.

The letter described the situation as "simply unbelievable" following rosy promises by regulators of healthier fish stocks and economic stability if previous regulations were enacted.

"There is no stability," said the letter, which was sent to 14 regional Congressmen and 12 U.S. Senators. "There are only repeated, record reductions in catch limits. Prosperity is a discarded dream. This is a real disaster."

The letter blamed "the failure of government policies and programs" to accept that current science is inadequate to effectively manage the fishery. It said the fleet has fished within government-set catch limits on every species for nearly a decade.

Read the full story at Fox News>>

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.

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.

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