National Fisherman


CAPE MAY — For a long time, American fishermen really didn't really want to catch squid.

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For the past four years, trawlers on the West Coast have been hauling in vast amounts of pink shrimp, much of it destined for dainty salads and shrimp cocktails across the country. But although these have been boom times for shrimpers, many are uneasy.

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The state, while publicly saying the process has not been finalized, has told Gloucester city officials it is changing how it will identify and distribute the $750,000 in federal fishery disaster aid to shore-side businesses hurt by the current fishing crisis.

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Loopholes for bogus fishing boats and suspicious crustacean traps may be plugged by state fishing regulators Wednesday and Thursday.

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A move by state legislators throughout New England to address ocean acidification is an important first step in what will likely be a long journey toward improving the quality of our waters. By speaking as one, the lawmakers hope that their combined voices will resound all the louder at the federal level and perhaps command more attention and funding before it is too late.

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TRI-TOWNS – Tri-town herring populations seem to be slowly recovering but Mattapoisett selectmen opted to keep the state-imposed moratorium on harvesting the small silvery food and baitfish in effect for at least another year.

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PANAMA CITY BEACH — When officials announced their decision to make the federal recreational red snapper fishing season just 10 days in June 2014, it angered a lot of people, even becoming a campaign position for politicians seeking office.

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Gov. Bill Walker's latest nominee for the Alaska Board of Fisheries faced a barrage of critical questions at a hearing Monday over the depth of his support for sportfishing, even as a decision by the Senate majority caucus threw the whole appointment process into limbo.

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BOOTHBAY HARBOR — The schooner Ernestina-Morrissey is the state ship of Massachusetts, but for the next three years it will be docked at the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard undergoing a $6 million bow-to-stern retrofit.

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The sardine population along the West Coast has collapsed due to changing ocean conditions and other factors, including allegations of overfishing, prompting regulators Monday to cancel fishing next season and schedule a vote this week on an immediate emergency ban.

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Page 104 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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