Written by Jen Finn
An 11th-generation Outer Banks fisherman, Jamie Wescott took a gamble recently in rough weather and worked until midnight netting 500 pounds of croaker. He hit the fish market the next morning, and workers sorted his paltry catch.
Even the pelicans under the fish conveyor belt were getting slim pickings.
On a better day, he would have caught closer to 3,000 pounds.
"It has not been really good," he said.
Tall, lean and weathered like many of his watermen ancestors, Wescott, 37, says he is up against more than bad weather these days when it comes to commercial fishing.
In 2011, North Carolina fishermen harvested 29.7 million pounds of finfish compared with 110.9 million pounds a decade earlier - down from the peak of 388.6 million pounds in 1981, according to state records.
The number of commercial fishing licenses issued remained steady at just over 9,000 in 2011, but the number of fishermen actually using them fell to 3,700 from 5,260 in 2002 and a peak of 7,198 in 1996.
Wescott says he doubts his 3-year-old son, who loves going on the boat and to the fish house, will be able to make a living on the water.
"I don't think the industry will be here," he said.
Read the full story at the Virginian-Pilot>>
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...