National Fisherman


A small but feisty fish conservation group is asking a federal judge Wednesday to take the unprecedented action of stopping Oregon's seasonal release of juvenile salmon and steelhead in the Sandy River.

The Oregon City-based Native Fish Society filed suit against Oregon fishery officials and the National Marine Fisheries Service two years ago, contending releases from the Sandy Hatchery harms threatened salmon and steelhead.

On Wednesday it will ask U.S. District Judge Ancer Haggerty to stop the hatchery's releases — scheduled to begin Saturday with 67,000 spring chinook smolts and 735,000 total fish this spring — until the lawsuit is fought in court.

While the debate whether hatchery and wild salmon and steelhead can co-exist has raged along riverbanks and in scientific journals, a broad legal challenge to a hatchery's is rare and asking a judge to stop smolt releases is a first in Oregon.

Started in 1995, the Native Fish Society has a $390,000 yearly budget, a staff of six, 80 volunteers and membership of 700 advocating for the recovery of wild fish and their habitat. Two years ago it started a project examining the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's hatchery practices, first focusing on the Sandy Hatchery. A year later, it filed a suit challenging the hatchery's operation.

Read the full story at the Oregonian>>

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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