National Fisherman


Halibut ecology, economics and policy, a community fish fry, a 5K run on the Homer Spit and were all part of the festivities Sept. 19-20 as the halibut fishing capital of the world celebrated its first Homer Halibut Festival.

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Congressional opposition seems to be growing against the method -- if not necessarily the intent -- of the conservationist effort to create the first marine national monument on the Atlantic seaboard.

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In early October, the Alaska Department of Natural Resources must make a precedent-setting decision. The agency will decide whether to grant the request of Alaska citizens and fishermen to leave enough water for salmon to survive in the Middle Fork of the Chuitna River in Upper Cook Inlet. To deny the request would increase the threat PacRim LLC, a Delaware-based coal mining company, would be allowed to dewater the Middle Fork in order to mine for coal. Make no mistake, if the water reservation is not granted, and PacRim receives the green light to begin operations, one resource will be traded for another.

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“One thing I like about being a girl out here is that they can’t pay me less than a guy,” Sadie Samuels shouted over the grinding sound of her lobster boat’s mechanical pulley as it hoisted a trap up from the bottom of the ocean. Samuels switched the pulley off and yanked the trap onto the side of her boat before lifting the lobsters out of their wire cage. Some hung on to the mesh with their pincers.

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Nearly 700 illegal crab pots were seized in the waters near Blaine in a two-day sweep conducted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Tulalip Police on Sept. 17 and 18.

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The Working Waterfront Festival takes place this weekend and features the traditional Blessing of the Fleet, to be held Sunday afternoon on the State Pier. This year, New Bedford welcomes NOAA’s Eileen Sobeck to the ceremony. Ms. Sobeck holds the title of Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, and in that capacity oversees the management and conservation of marine fisheries. According to the NOAA web site: “Her focus is on rebuilding the nation's fisheries and the jobs and livelihoods that depend on them by promoting management approaches that will achieve both sustainable fisheries and vibrant coastal communities.”

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New research from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) has found that around 47 per cent of the edible US seafood supply is lost each year, mainly from consumer waste. This huge amount of waste also adds to other problems threatening global seafood resources such as overfishing, pollution and climate change.

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A Cape Breton lobster boat captain who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of another fisherman has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

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Reps. Walter B. Jones (R-N.C.) and Don Young (R-Alaska) have cosponsored a bill that would prevent President Obama and any future president from unilaterally designating offshore areas as national monuments and restricting the public's ability to fish there. H.R. 330, the Marine Access and State Transparency Act, would require the approval of Congress and the Legislature of each state within 100 nautical miles of the monument before designation could take effect.

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Louisiana will get a windfall when the $18.7 billion fine the Gulf states negotiated with BP is finally meted out. The money is supposed to be used to rebuild the coast and mitigate damage from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill, but last week, Gov. Bobby Jindal petitioned the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority to divert some of the cash to a bridge project that would connect Port Fourchon and Golden Meadow.

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Page 129 of 487

Inside the Industry

Governor Bill Walker has officially requested that the federal government declare a disaster for four Alaska regions hurt by one of the poorest pink salmon returns in decades.

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The New England Fishery Management Council recently elected Dr. John F. Quinn of Massachusetts and E. F. “Terry” Stockwell III of Maine to serve respectively as chairman and vice chairman in the year ahead. The two have led the Council since 2014 but reversed roles this year. 

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