BAN ON LEAD SINKERS OVERTURNED
In his first day on the job, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke issued two orders to expand access to public lands and increase hunting, fishing and recreational opportunities nationwide. The first order overturned Obama’s ban on lead fishing tackle and ammunition, and his second order directed all bureaus and agencies to immediately identify areas where fishing and boating could be expanded.
COAST GUARD FISCAL 2018 BUDGET CUT $1.3 BILLION
Although President Trump said he will strengthen the military, he is cutting the Coast Guard’s 2018 fiscal budget by $1.3 billion. However, half of that cut comes from the cancellation of the order to build the Coast Guard’s ninth National Security Cutter. It is possible the President wants to renegotiate that contract to build the half billion dollar ship, but there is no doubt he wants the multi task Coast Guard force to cut back on some of its missions like its domestic fisheries’ law enforcement mission. Trump also pointed out that the Coast Guard falls under the Department of Homeland Security and not the Department of Defense. The money saved in the Coast Guard’s budget will be used to build up the Department of Defense.
ANOTHER NEW RECORD SET FOR MAINE LOBSTERS
Lobstermen in Maine set another record last year landing more than 130 million pounds of lobster valued at $533 million dollars. Both the pounds and dollars were record amounts according to the Department of Marine Resources. For seven years in a row, scientists have said that the lobsters were overfished and the stock would collapse, but for seven years in a row they have been wrong. Lobstermen claim that the stock is abundant because of their strong conservation efforts. They say the lobster industry is strong, representing 75% of the state’s commercial fisheries value, but they must always be watching for signs of change. Atlantic herring, the bait of choice for lobstermen, is the third most valuable species despite a decline in landings.
NEW VOICE TOOLS USED TO ARREST HOAX CALLERS
The Coast Guard has partnered with an academic research team from Carnegie Mellon University to study voice forensics and develop an audio analyzer that can positively identify a person who makes a hoax call. Search and rescue hoax calls disrupt and divert the Coast Guard’s operational response to mariners in legitimate emergency situations as well as put people’s lives at risk. The team has also developed enhanced direction-finding equipment that can trace phone and radio calls. With the combination of these new tools of law enforcement, hoax callers will be prosecuted and convicted to full extent of the law.
FT LAUDERDALE AND 4 OTHER FLORIDA BOAT SHOWS SOLD
And speaking of boat shows, five of Florida’s largest boat shows, including the Ft Lauderdale Boat Show, were sold to a London based company called Informa. The sale of Florida’s Boat Shows makes Informa one of the largest yacht and boat show organizers in the world. The company also owns the Monaco Yacht Show and produces a total of 200 consumer shows.
SCOTTISH FISH FARMERS SAY ANTIBIOTICS IN FISH IS SAFE
The Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organization and the Scottish Government insist that the use of antibiotics in salmon farming poses no risk to human health. A spokesperson for the Scottish government said the antibiotics and other drugs and chemicals are used for short periods of time up to a couple of weeks to control outbreaks of disease. However, scientists said the drug use is accumulative and eventually becomes ineffective as diseases and germs build a resistance to them. Also, recent studies have shown that the use of antibiotics in the salmon farms have contaminated nearby shellfish beds.