National Fisherman


NEW BEDFORD — In a multi-media world, conducting fishery stock assessment surveys was stuck in the early 20th century until Dr. Kevin Stokesbury came along.

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PORTLAND, Maine — A White House pledge to veto proposed changes to federal fishing laws has divided fishermen over whether the rule changes should be saved or scrapped.

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The recent closure of 138 square miles of fishing grounds impacted by the Refugio oil spill has prompted commercial fishermen based at Santa Barbara Harbor to initiate claims against Plains All American Pipeline, the owner of the faulty infrastructure that dumped more than 100,000 gallons of crude along the Gaviota coastline on May 19.

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Defying a White House veto threat, the Republican-controlled House on Monday approved a bill to give regional fisheries managers more power to set local fishing levels in federal waters.

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A strong, early pulse of king salmon on southern and central Kenai Peninsula streams has runs off to a good start. But, managers say it is still too early to tell if the Cook Inlet’s ailing king salmon runs will rally from the last few years of poor returns.

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GEORGES BANK — It was May 14, a Thursday. The big yellow Caterpillar roared to life beneath us, throbbing through the steel deck plates; a signal that it was time to cast off the surly bonds of earth. Capt. Ron Borjeson backed the Justice down. The spring line came taut and groaned. From its Fish Island berth, the black 82-foot hull began to swing slowly into the shipping channel until the prow pointed directly toward the hurricane dyke. We bore away for Georges Bank, in the wake of generations of New Bedford fishermen who sailed from here before us, all bound for what Melville termed “the watery part of the world.”

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LOS ANGELES — The leader overseeing a massive oil cleanup along the California coast defended the initial response, saying there were workers on the ground after the spill that stained popular beaches.

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Seafood is more than just a staple in the American diet; it is the backbone of our coastal communities, a driving force in their economies, and an industry that provides jobs for 1.3 million Americans nationwide.

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When Skipper Bill Hayes brings up his trawl net from the bottom of the Bering Sea, he often finds halibut mixed in with the yellowfin sole and other fish he pursues with a Seattle-based trawler.

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The U.S. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced today that they have jointly approved a new definition of the key term "waters of the United States," a term that defines the limits of federal jurisdiction over surface waters under the Clean Water Act and several other federal laws. The rule containing the new definition will become effective 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register, which typically occurs within a week or so of the agencies' public announcement of a new rule.

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Inside the Industry

Ray Hilborn, a University of Washington professor of aquatic and fishery sciences, recently received the 2016 International Fisheries Science Prize at the World Fisheries Congress in Busan, South Korea.

The award was given to Hilborn by the World Council of Fisheries Societies’ International Fisheries Science Prize Committee in recognition of his 40-year career of “highly diversified research and publication in support of global fisheries science and conservation.”

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Legislators from Connecticut and Massachusetts complained about the current “out-of-date allocation formula” in black sea bass, summer flounder and scup fisheries in a letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce earlier this week.

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