As the New England Fishery Management Council gathers in the Port City this week to discuss the fate of the region's fishing industry, lawmakers are advocating a softening of regulatory proposals they say could wipe out commercial fishing in New Hampshire.
Crews emptied all fuel and other pollutants from the 61-foot crab boat that ran aground last week on the Long Beach Peninsula.
Coast Guard officials said the owner of the vessel, Dennis Sturgell Jr., of Warrenton, hired a team to pump 100 gallons of oily water and 10 gallons of fuel off the Genesis A over the weekend. No contaminants leaked from the boat.
"The vessel is still there," Command Duty Officer John Dodd said. "But they're working with the removal team to get it out of the state park."
Read the full story at the Daily News>>
Today's challenges in sustaining our fisheries and communities touch all Alaskans. We all share concerns about diminishing returns of Chinook salmon and the declining trend in halibut. Salmon disaster declarations, significant reductions in the allowable halibut catch for commercial and recreational fishermen – these hit home in a big way. But while salmon and halibut fishermen are restricted to protect the resource, bycatch of the same species is allowed in trawl fisheries as a cost of business. To their credit, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council is taking steps to address these bycatch concerns.
One way the North Pacific Council has decided to do this is through a new management system for the Gulf of Alaska trawl fisheries called catch shares. The idea is to allocate fishing rights so that individual or groups of vessels have a set amount of the target fish and bycatch that they alone can catch, thus ending the "race for fish." In theory, this allows each fisherman to slow down the pace of their operation to avoid catching the wrong fish because they're guaranteed a set amount of the target fish.
Today it seems everyone from federal agencies to major banking institutions to some environmental groups is touting privatized access to our public resources as both an economic and ecological saving grace. But these claims ignore experience proving the dangerous effects that catch shares can have on fishing communities. How do you design a plan that is equitable, achieves ecological goals and is good for coastal communities as a whole?
Read the full story at the Peninsula Clarion>>
Come February, a federal fisheries council will continue to discuss catch-sharing programs in Alaska trawl fisheries — this time with a bigger voice from Southwest fishermen.
This winter the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council (NPFMC) has heard from concerned parties in the state's Southcentral ground fisheries, regarding a change over to catch sharing.
The Council took action in October, said NPFMC member Dan Hull, identifying the purpose and need for a Central Gulf catch share plan. Community members from Kodiak in particular were organized and vocal in their goals and ideas for such a plan, he said.
"The focus on the action was limited to the Central Gulf trawl fishery because it's the sector with the greatest issues to address in terms of bycatch," Hull said.
Fishermen hope that new fishery management will help them to work effectively with bycatch limits, hard caps that can sometimes bring fishing to a halt under the current system.
While a few Western Gulf fishermen spoke at the December meeting, Hull noted that they, in general, have been less organized and less interested when it came to rationalization than those on the south central coast.
Read the full story at the Alaska Dispatch>>
Five Massachusetts legislators are standing up to a recent decision to block further temporary steps to circumvent extreme cuts in groundfishing quotas for 2013.
As it stands, catch limits on Gulf of Maine cod could be slashed by between 76.8 and 82.6 per cent starting on 1 May, and the haddock quota would also be dramatically cut.
Democratic Senators John Kerry and Elizabeth Warren and Democratic Representatives John Tierney, Edward Markey and William Keating wrote a letter to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Regional Administrator John Bullard about his decision late last week, claiming that unlike what he stated, the Magnuson-Stevens Act actually does allow for more than a year of interim relief, and that the economic disaster declaration in the Northeast fishery by the Commerce secretary in September 2012 makes taking action a priority.
"I don't foresee that we're going to change our decision and, even if we did, it doesn't change the biology," Bullard responded, The Standard-Times reports.
"Interim measures don't create any fish. They don't change the situation that we're looking at -- a depleted fish stock -- and the measures we're going to have to take to rebuild those stocks," he continued.
In the letter, the legislators asked that Bullard "immediately provide a plan detailing actions you will take to mitigate the adverse economic impacts of these harvest reductions."
Read the full story at FIS>>
Halibut catches weren't slashed as much as people feared, although they still continue on a downward trend — and the outlook is grim.
A coastwide catch of 31 million pounds was approved Friday by the International Pacific Halibut Commission, a decline of 7.5 percent from last year and far better than a widely expected 30 percent cut. Alaska's share of the Pacific catch is 23 million pounds, down 2.5 million pounds.
The commissioners, three from the U.S. and three from Canada, each said the 2013 annual meeting last week was the toughest ever.
"I vote for the fish," said U.S. Commissioner Ralph Hoard at the close of the meeting. "Many questions remain about halibut bycatch and migration. While I am extremely sympathetic about the impacts on fishermen's economics, I am equally concerned about their future in this fishery. We don't want to end up like the East coast halibut fishery. There is none."
A feeding frenzy is expected at Jan. 26 at Manatee Pocket during the seventh annual Port Salerno Seafood Festival.
Organized by the Port Salerno Commercial Fishing Dock Authority, the festival offers the community a chance to experience the hospitality and hard work of the local fishing industry.
"We want to keep commercial fishing alive in Port Salerno," said Edward Olsen Jr., dock authority president.
Read the full story at TCPalm>>
Great swirling schools of herring converged in San Francisco Bay this month, drawing fishermen, sea lions, harbor seals and thousands upon thousands of birds looking to fatten up for the winter.
The menagerie of wildlife is a sign that the bay's once spectacular herring runs, which collapsed four years ago, are returning to their former glory. The San Francisco run is the last urban fishery in the United States in which people can actually sit on shore and watch commercial boats haul in the squiggling fish.
As many as 12,000 birds converged on Richardson Bay, in Marin County, this week as the herring arrived en masse to lay and fertilize eggs, or roe, a delicacy for a wide variety of species, including sushi-loving humans. Fishermen scrambled to cast their nets amid the swooping, honking, squawking hordes.
Read the full story at San Francisco Chronicle>>
McDonald's says it will be the first national restaurant chain to carry a label from a group that certifies sustainable fishing practices.
The blue "ecolabel" from the Marine Stewardship Council certifies that the Alaskan Pollock used in McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwiches come from suppliers with sustainable fishing practices.
Major retail chains including Wal-Mart and Whole Foods already use the council's label. The nonprofit group is paid a royalty fee from companies that use its label. For McDonald's, that means the fee would be based on sales of its fish offerings, such as the Filet-O-Fish and the Fish McBites that will be launched as a limited-time offer next month.
Read the full story at Anchorage Daily News>>
There is more bad news for New England fishermen in the lead-up to next week's highly anticipated meeting of the New England Fishery Management Council.
NOAA Fisheries Northeast director John K. Bullard informed the council in a letter that there is no room left under the law to allow anything but a total stop to overfishing for Gulf of Maine cod and haddock.
"The bad news is there are no fish," Bullard, a former New Bedford mayor, told The Standard-Times. "That's the bad news that we've got to face."
Read the full story at Standard-Times>>
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National Fisherman Live for March 11, 2014
Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today the appointment of John M.R. Bull as Commissioner of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. John Bull has been with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission since June 2007 and has been serving as Acting Commissioner since January 2014.
PORTSMOUTH, NH - The New Hampshire Fish and Lobster Festival, known locally as Fishtival, invites the community to Portsmouth's Prescott Park each September to honor, celebrate and rediscover the proud tradition of small-scale, local commercial groundfishing in New Hampshire and its valuable contribution to our local food system, local economy and local culture. Now, the mission continues with the announcement of small grants available from the proceeds of the 2013 event.