National Fisherman

A federal judge in New Orleans accepted an agreement for BP to plead guilty to manslaughter and other charges and pay a record fine in connection with the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which ranks as one of the nation's worst environmental disasters.

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Located on the property of H.A. Burnham Boat Building and Design sits a standard-size lobster trap, a fairly common sight on Cape Ann.

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WARRENTON —  A death off the Washington coast and two close calls, including one off Cape Arago, has prompted the U.S. Coast Guard to remind crabbers to avoid fatigue and wear life jackets. 

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After two lean years caused by summer drought and winter cold, it looks as if there will be plenty of crawfish for Super Bowl Sunday — one of the biggest days of the year for Louisiana’s crawfish dealers.

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The few fishermen who still ply New England's waters for cod, haddock and other groundfish are bracing for a double dose of bad news this week.

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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.

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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>>

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National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 9/9/14

In this episode:

Seafood Watch upgrades status of 21 fish species
Calif. bill attacking seafood mislabeling approved
Ballot item would protect Bristol Bay salmon
NOAA closes cod, yellowtail fishing areas
Pacific panel halves young bluefin harvest

National Fisherman Live: 8/26/14

In this episode, National Fisherman Publisher Jerry Fraser talks about his early days dragging for redfish on the Vandal.

Inside the Industry

More than a dozen higher education institutions and federal and local fishery management agencies and organizations in American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Hawaii have signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at building the capacity of the U.S. Pacific Island territories to manage their fisheries and fishery-related resources.

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PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative has appointed Matt Jacobson as its new executive director.
 
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