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ผู้เขียน หัวข้อ: Seafood auction asks fishers for help  (อ่าน 1811 ครั้ง)
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« เมื่อ: กรกฎาคม 27, 2010, 10:49:50 PM »


The Portland Fish Exchange is partly earning funds by storing lobsters traps and bait. (Photo: Stock File/ FIS)

Seafood auction asks fishers for help

UNITED STATES
Monday, July 26, 2010, 23:30 (GMT + 9)



The city-owned Portland Fish Exchange is asking fishers for help to keep operating with increased fish landings. It has also reduced its payroll by 70 per cent, leased a third of its warehouse space and begun earning funds by storing lobster traps and bait.

But the Maine-based city needs fishers’ help now that fish landings have fallen by 55 per cent due to the strict new federal regulations that became effective on 1 May to do away with overfishing.

"We have been your partners in the fish business for 25 years and you have been able to trust the Exchange for fair, open trading. Now more than ever before, your support is needed for this important institution to remain operational," reads a letter signed by Mayor Nicholas Mavodones Jr and Fish Exchange President Kate Varian sent by the city to 60 groundfish vessel owners, reports Maine Today.

Terry Stockwell, a deputy commissioner at the Maine Department of Marine Resources and a board member of the Portland Fish Pier Authority, and Commissioner George Lapointe met with Fish Exchange officials last week to discuss ways the state of Maine could aid the auction house.

"The exchange needs the industry to help them if the industry wants it to be in their future," Stockwell said.

Prior to the current crisis, the auction house weathered steep drops in fish landings resulting from the departure of numerous offshore fishing boats to Gloucester and Boston. The move granted fishers closer proximity to Georges Bank and the ability to make better money selling lobsters caught in their nets (which is banned in Maine), among other reasons.

The exchange needs some of the Bay State boats to take part of their landings to Portland, Mavodones told.

Fishers from the rest of Maine take their groundfish and shrimp to the exchange for sale. The auction house is necessary for the industry to survive through the current contraction, Stockwell warned.

The exchange was financially healthy until Congress in 2006 passed new federal rules designed to protect fish stocks from overfishing. The auction went from landing 17 million lb of fish that year to an estimated 4.5 million lb this year.

The rules that went into effect on 1 May allocate an allowable catch to a geographical area and grants local fishers a share. Although this gives fishers more flexibility regarding when they go out, there has been a drastic cut in the amount of fish that can be caught.

Jongerden said a lot of small independent fishers are not being allotted enough fish to earn a livelihood.

The restrictions are expected to loosen next year, he added.

The Portland Fish Exchange is the first all-display fresh seafood auction in the U.S.  It is a non-profit organisation owned by the City of Portland that launched in 1986.

It is managed by a Board of Directors representing seafood buyers and sellers, as well as city residents and government leaders.

By Natalia Real
editorial@fis.com
www.fis.com


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