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Updates from the East Coast
Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries
The organization formerly known as the Penobscot East Resources Center is now the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries. They’ve been busy lately paying close attention to the state of the scallop industry, responding alongside the Fishing Communities Coalition to the Trump administration’s budget cuts to NOAA and other agencies that provide integral fisheries funding, and supporting accountability in Maine’s groundfish fleet.
Port Clyde Fresh Catch
While normal seasonal fluctuations dampened winter sales for Port Clyde Fresh Catch (PCFC), demand outstripped supply for Jonah Crab Claws over the holiday season, due in part to challenges around processing and a limited local catch due to bad weather. In addition to winter crab, PCFC participated in a small winter shrimp fishery, orchestrated as part of research being conducted in the area, and contributing to a boost winter retail sales. New customers for fish, scallops, and crab in a variety of quantities are anticipated to contribute to a summer-season bump in business, but PCFC is attributing much of their growth and success in recent months to providing a high quality product and a compelling story that draws retail and Community Supported Fishery customers. New services for CSF members include a ship-to-your-door option for customers who buy their product online.
Updates from the West Coast
San Diego Fishermen’s Working Group
The San Diego Fishermen's Working Group attended California’s Fishery Forum where fishermen from around the state testified on the state of the industry. CFN Member Pete Halmay spoke about the redevelopment project underway in San Diego during a presentation titled Continuing the legacy and culture of commercial fishing through improvements in fishing infrastructure. This article, published October 2016, paints a picture of the challenges and opportunities voiced by the fishing community in response to the development project.
Updates from Alaska
Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association
Earlier in March, Alaskan fishermen traveled to Washington, D.C., to advocate for sustainable fisheries and a bipartisan Young Fishermen's Development Fund. In addition, building on the success Sitka’s Fall Fishermen’s Expo, the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association (ALFA) hosted an event in March that featured educational workshops and technical assistance for local fishermen. Fishermen also received on-board seafloor mapping technical support, the latest Coast Guard safety updates, an overview of sablefish stock status (here’s a pot gear update for sablefish in the Gulf of Alaska), and an update from the Southeast Alaska Sperm Whale Avoidance Project (SEASWAP – Check out a new report about this work here). Courses on bathymetric mapping, a fire extinguishing, and a “financing your fishing business” session targeted towards young fishermen were also made available. ALFA hopes to build on this successful model with support from the Young Fishermen’s Development Fund, a fund proposed by Congress that will support similar workshops, trainings, and programs for young fishermen across the country. Legislation to establish the fund is pending, and already has broad bipartisan support. ALFA has traveled to Washington, D.C. three times in the past year to advocate for this legislation as part of a nationwide fishermen’s coalition. Finally, ALFA is working with filmmaker Emmett Williams on the We Are All Fishermen documentary, funded in-part by Patagonia.