Written by Jen Finn
By default and past experience, what slim hope remains to relieve the declared federal fisheries disaster before it consumes the surviving core of the groundfishing fleet in Gloucester and other New England ports has shifted from leadership at the Commerce Department to the White House.
The industry — as its participants related in meetings in Gloucester Tuesday and New Bedford Wednesday with U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren — is running out of time to get relief from 77 percent cuts in the Gulf of Maine cod limits and other tight restrictions due to take effect May 1, and carry through the 2013 and 2014 fishing years.
Down from 570 boats in 2009 to 420 in 2011, the last year for which NOAA has published data, with most fishing businesses leveraged to the hilt, the squeeze is widely projected to deliver the coup de grace here in Gloucester, though New Bedford, the co-capital of Americans' earliest continuous way of life, may hold on longer due to the lucrative but also increasingly constricted harvesting of scallops.
The draconian cuts in landings — 77 percent of inshore cod, 61 percent of cod from Georges Bank, enormous cuts in flatfish, too, and the shift of millions of dollars for what is now pegged as fishermen's cost of NOAA's on-board monitors — approaches just as the leadership at Commerce is disappearing.
Read the full story at Gloucester Times>>
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...
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.Read more...