National Fisherman


SALEM — Commercial gillnetters said Oregon should halt its phased-in ban of their salmon fishing method in the main channel of the Columbia River.

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By now the local reaction to the waterfront arrests in New Bedford of one of the port’s major figures has begun to shift to inevitable questions of the role of the federal government in the regulation of commercial fishing. Operating under federal law, the current groundfish system of control, the so-called “catch shares” plan, began with Amendment 16 in 2009 by vote of the New England Fishery Management Council. This intricate system of allocating by fish species what can be caught and landed by licensed federal permit holders has clearly changed the market economics for New England fishing; a rapid concentration of fish permit holders has led to what functions as a government-created near monopoly. The fact that a single owner now controls at least 40 New England groundfish permits means that one person’s actions, whether driven by good or bad motives, reverberates through the regional economy.

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PASCAGOULA -- Moss Point Mayor Billy Broomfield defended his city's major industry, Omega Protein, to Jackson County supervisors on Monday.

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After a massive fire that destroyed five buildings in the Yukon River village of Emmonak last weekend, state officials are en route to investigate and managers for a local fisheries company are scrambling to replace the structures.

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NEW BEDFORD — The city’s commercial fishing industry — battered by last month’s arrest of magnate Carlos Rafael on federal conspiracy charges, last week’s drug raids on the waterfront and ongoing monitoring costs — took another punch to the gut this week, as government regulators proposed new cuts to cod catches that could take effect May 1.

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Criticism that the West Coast catch shares program is underperforming came to the forefront recently at the Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Sacramento.

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By now, plenty of people are familiar with fossil fuel subsidies — the hundreds of billions that governments spend to bankroll the burning of oil, gas, and coal. We've also heard plenty about farm subsidies that can promote unhealthy food or destructive practices. Scaling back these programs has been a major priority of reformers over the years.

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While commercial fishermen were on the water anxiously awaiting the next herring opening in Sitka, some residents gathered on land for a traditional Tlingit ceremony. The Blessing of Herring Rock happens every year to get the fish to come back to the Sound to spawn.

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NEW BEDFORD — Monday morning’s snow didn’t change plans for the demolition of the Naval Reserve building in the South End, as an excavator sorted through piles of rubble amid falling flakes to get work rolling on the $55 million expansion of UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST).

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Alaska shellfish farmers hope a new state mariculture initiative will help boost their businesses. But they warn it’s not an easy industry to expand.

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Page 46 of 467

Inside the Industry

The Northeast Trawl Advisory Panel working group is scheduled to meet Aug. 2 in Boston to discuss using commercial fishing vessels to supplement current stock assessment surveys conducted by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center.

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Pat Fiorelli, the long-serving public affairs officer for the New England Fishery Management Council, will step down at the end of July.

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