National Fisherman


Commercial fishermen off the coast of New Jersey will be able to continue to access portions of two artificial reefs, and a new reef is to be constructed for the exclusive use of recreational fishing, under regulations announced Wednesday by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

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Whether we like it or not, mining and fishing are connected over and over again in Alaska. Between the proposed Pebble mine in Bristol Bay and the new mines coming online in British Columbia in watersheds that feed into Southeast Alaska streams and waters, it’s hard to address one issue without the other.

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An ongoing campaign led by large, well-funded environmental organizations is urging President Obama to use the 1906 Antiquities Act to designate parts of the Atlantic Ocean—such as Cashes Ledge in the Gulf of Maine and the New England Canyons and Seamounts—as marine National Monuments. In September, I had the privilege of testifying before House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans about the aspect of this proposal that seeks to exclude historic fisheries from the designated area.

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Slaughtering a hog seems like a bargain at Ketter's Meats in Frazee, almost 200 miles northwest of the Twin Cities. The old school butcher shop charges $20 per pig. Cutting and wrapping the other white meat costs 40 cents more per pound.

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The Wild Fish Conservancy filed a lawsuit Wednesday against federal environmental and fisheries managers for allowing commercial salmon farms in Puget Sound.

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Because of Alaska’s budget crisis, state agencies cut spending this year and are planning additional reductions in the next few years. For the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, those cuts have meant less monitoring of fish runs, a change that will lead to more conservative management and less fishing opportunity. That was the message from Fish and Game officials to a commercial fishing industry organization that met in Petersburg in late October.

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The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment recommended late Tuesday that the state put off the start of the Dungeness crab fishing season because of a potentially fatal biotoxin, as state officials scrambled to alert consumers and fishermen to a public health threat.

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There was a mix of news about the Gulf of Maine last week. First, there were dire warnings about the role of rising ocean temperatures in the demise of cod in the North Atlantic. Then came what sounded like good news — Maine has surpassed Massachusetts to become the state with the second most lucrative seafood landings in the country. Finally, on Friday, federal regulators announced they would close the Gulf of Maine herring fishery this month.

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While former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s eleven-hour testimony before the 17-month-old House Select Committee on Benghazi took center spotlight on Capitol Hill, the House Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans met to a packed room filled with Gulf commercial and charter-for-hire fishermen to hear public testimony on H.R. 3094, the “Gulf States Red Snapper Management Authority Act” which gives Gulf States control of the red snapper fishery.

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The European Union is looking into reports that cheap seafood is often mislabeled as choice fish in some of the Belgian capital’s fine restaurants and even in EU cafeterias.

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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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