National Fisherman

RYE — Crowds gathered Monday morning to witness a 45-foot humpback whale that washed onto rocks outside of Rye Harbor State Park and Foss Beach. Marine investigators quickly identified the whale as an 18-year-old female named Snow Plow.

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Fish used to be called “brain food”, but it may be heart food instead.

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EMMONAK — At the Yukon River's fish central, the warning on the door to the buzzing office of the big boss, whom everyone calls "Jack," says "Danger. Earache Area."

It's the nerve center for Kwikpak Fisheries — a small dockside processor with an outsized role in a region where jobs are scarce, the salmon are ultra-rich, and a unique commercial dipnet fishery provides early season jobs and money.

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This year's oyster harvest is almost nonexistent after weeks of heavy rains sent fresh water flooding into Galveston Bay. Local businesses are struggling to salvage what they can.

"My mother and father started [Prestige Oysters]," said Raz Halili, of Prestige Oysters in San Leon, Galveston County. "They started out as deck hands on a boat, worked their way up from the bottom. The American dream."

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Environmental activist groups continue to use misinformation targeting geophysical surveys in an effort to halt oil and gas exploration and development. As each of their unfounded claims is disproven, they adopt yet another baseless assertion to mislead the public. Among the latest efforts is the claim that geophysical surveys are harmful to fish.

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WANCHESE —— Dewey Hemilright has spent more than half his life in North Carolina’s commercial fishing industry, but he says he has never heard a bigger fish story than the claim by the Outer Banks Seafood Festival that it promotes the harvest he and his colleagues work so hard to haul in.

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CONCORD, New Hampshire — Attorneys for fishermen who oppose a new cost imposed by regulators say they will continue with a federal lawsuit despite a recent concession by the federal government.

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A leading Wisconsin sportfishing advocate is urging anglers to provide input as the Department of Natural Resources considers changes to commercial whitefish rules in Green Bay and Lake Michigan.

"If you enjoy catching walleyes, muskies, whitefish or other species in southern Green Bay, it's time to put your two cents in," said Mike Arrowood, chairman of Walleyes For Tomorrow. "Some things could be on the horizon that would be only negative to sportfishing."

Based on shifts in whitefish abundance, the DNR is mulling changes to its commercial fishing framework for the species.

Although the agency has yet to release a proposed rules change, commercial interests have been seeking higher whitefish quotas in southern Green Bay or the ability to use unfilled quotas from other zones in the lower bay.

Read the full story at the Journal Sentinel>>

As another early heat wave passes, we're reminded of last summer's devastating, record-hot river temperatures that closed down fishing opportunities and killed hundreds of thousands of returning salmon. With new rounds of record-high temperatures impacting Northwest waters, we're bracing our businesses in case we see a repeat of 2015.

Thankfully, those in the fishing industry and all who care about healthy rivers also have reason for renewed optimism about what's on the horizon.

Last month, a U.S. District Court judge in Portland opened the door to meaningful salmon and steelhead recovery efforts in the Columbia and Snake rivers after decades of failed plans by the federal agencies that oversee hydro and salmon management. The judge unequivocally rejected the most recent plan for managing threatened stocks of native fish runs for not taking into account the harmful impacts that climate change and dams have on salmon. The federal agencies have spent billions of dollars over the past two decades on a series of flawed federal plans that have been inadequate for the salmon and the commercial fishing and sport fishing businesses they support.

Read the full story at the Oregonian>>

The BP oil disaster cost the Gulf of Mexico's commercial fishing industry $94.7 million to $1.6 billion and anywhere from 740 to 9,315 jobs in the first eight months, according to a new study by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The $355,888 study measured the effect of the Macondo well blowout from May through December 2010, the same period of time that is being used to calculate claims being paid to fishers under a 2012 court-approved settlement agreement between private parties and BP.

The authors of the study, conducted by The Vertex Companies of Boston, say the economics of the commercial seafood industry in the Gulf of Mexico are complex, and that a variety of factors contributed to the low and high estimates in their study. In some cases, dramatically reduced catch was partially offset Gulf-wide by price increases driven by both the oil spill and by other factors, such as a disease that limited the availability of foreign farm-raised shrimp.

Louisiana's commercial fishing industry bore the brunt of the costs of the spill, compared to  the four other Gulf states, said the report, released Wednesday (June 22). The highest costs affected the catch of shrimp, oysters, crabs and menhaden.

For instance, the study found that in May 2010, 65 percent less shrimp was landed in Louisiana than in the previous year. Louisiana also saw a 54 percent decline in oyster landings in 2010, compared to 2009, the report said. And the state's oyster revenue also dropped dramatically, by 51 percent over the previous year.

Read the full story at the Times-Picayune>>

Page 42 of 497

Inside the Industry

It’s no secret that fraud is a problem in the seafood industry. Oceana repeatedly touts a mislabeling epidemic. While their method has been criticized, the perception of rampant fraud  has been established.

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The Center for Coastal Studies recently announced that Owen Nichols, Director of the Center for Coastal Studies’ Marine Fisheries Research Program, has been selected as this year’s recipient of the John Annala Fishery Leadership Award by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. 

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