National Fisherman


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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Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is investigating multiple natural fish kills affecting thousands of Atlantic menhaden in the past week, including in the Quinnipiac River, Clinton Harbor and the lower Connecticut River, according to a press release from the DEEP.

Menhaden have also died off in the Thames River between Norwich and the U.S. Naval Submarine Base in Groton, the DEEP said.

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Twenty-five years ago, you could head offshore to deep water, drop anchor, fish all day and never catch a red snapper. But today, you can run 50 miles west, pitch bait over the side and hook 100 or more of these prized sportfish on just one spot.

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Inside the Industry

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced last week the sixth round of grant awards from its Fisheries Innovation Fund, a program launched in 2010 to foster innovations that support sustainable fisheries in the United States. 

The goal of the Fisheries Innovation Fund is to sustain fishermen and fishing communities while simultaneously rebuilding fish stocks.

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Alaskan Leader Fisheries will give Inmarsat’s new high-speed broadband maritime communications service, Fleet Xpress, a try on the 150-foot longline cod catcher/processor Alaskan Leader.

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