National Fisherman


JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - A bipartisan group of Alaska state lawmakers have asked federal fishery managers to cut halibut bycatch in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands.

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The New England Fishery Management Council's long-awaited final deliberations on its habitat amendment got off to a rocky start Wednesday, when one council member was barred from voting because of potential financial conflicts and questions were raised about possible conflicts involving another member.

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Last month a small group of watermen appeared before the House Environment and Transportation Committee to testify in support of a bill they helped write.

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The New England Fishery Management Council votes this week on recommendations by the council's Habitat Committee to lift restrictions in three closed areas. NOAA Fisheries Regional Administrator John Bullard and at least one environmental group are arguing against it because NOAA scientists are saying it would harm important spawning areas for species like cod, haddock and yellowtail flounder.

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Another Board of Fisheries nominee has fallen victim to the aggressive politics of the Cook Inlet fish wars.

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Marine life seen swimming in unusual places. Water temperatures warmer than they should be. No snow where there should be feet of it.

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The Pacific Fishery Management Council finalized this year's salmon seasons — and the result is commercial salmon will hit the market on May 1 and sport anglers will have a season that lasts nearly 7 months.

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LOWER ELWHA KLALLAM RESERVATION, Wash. — The Elwha, like so many coastal Natives, are salmon people. Their history of dugout canoes and hundred-pound chinook is inseparable from the glacial river that shares their name.

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Last week, NOAA Fisheries Regional Administrator John Bullard submitted a nine-page letter to the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) critical of recommendations made by the Council's Habitat Committee on Omnibus Habitat Amendment 2 (OHA2). OHA2 is a decade-in-the-making overhaul of the habitat closures off the coast of New England, reflecting the best scientific understanding of the Northwest Atlantic seafloor.

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In its first report on trafficking around the world, the U.S. criticized Thailand as a hub for labor abuse. Yet 14 years later, seafood caught by slaves on Thai boats is still slipping into the supply chains of major American stores and supermarkets.

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Page 101 of 406

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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