National Fisherman


WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of senators is pressing for an independent review of how the federal government calculates fishing stocks in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic.

Those stocks are used to determine catch limits and have long been a source of contention for the fishing industry and environmentalists.

Environmental groups concerned about dwindling stocks of vulnerable species say overfishing could affect the Gulf region's ecology and economy for decades.

Fishermen say current catch limits are based on flawed science and have cost coastal communities jobs and other economic benefits.

The senators, led by Republican Marco Rubio of Florida, want to settle the dispute.

They've asked the Government Accountability Office, Congress' watchdog arm, to look into how the National Marine Fisheries Service determines which fishing stocks to analyze, how often they're examined and how much it costs federal taxpayers to conduct the inventory.

They also want the GAO to address reports that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees the fisheries service, "may not be placing a high enough priority on conducting robust, peer-reviewed stock assessments on fisheries on the Gulf Coast and South Atlantic," according to the Feb. 28 letter asking for the review.

Read the full story at Florida Today>>

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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