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Northern Crab Fishery Still Tied to the Docks -- 12/12/06
1 December usually marks the opening of the Northern Crab Fishery, from Fort Bragg to the Canadian coast, while the Central California crab fishery began on 15 November. However, disagreements regarding price and quality left most crab fishing boats tied to the docks as the season opened on Friday. Central California crab fishermen negotiated a $1.85 per pound and started the season on time. Northern crab fishermen came to the table asking for $1.85 as well but processors, lead predominately by Pacific Seafood, Co. out of Oregon, initially offered only $1.40 per pound.
Good news seemed to come moments before the season began as processors announced that if the crab quality met their requirements then they would pay $1.60. But what does that mean? Test boats from the state Departments of Fish & Game already went out and collected crab before the fishery opens. They cook and pick the crab to measure the percent of meat to their total cooked weight. Regulations require that from Fort Bragg to south of the Columbia River crabs must be 25% of meat or heavier, and from north of the Columbia River to Canada the crabs must at least...
Federal Agencies Fail to Promote Ocean Protection in Upcoming Aquaculture Bill -- 12/12/06
The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is currently finalizing a draft bill on open-ocean aquaculture. The NOAA bill should outline clear guidelines to ensure that aquaculture is practiced with environmentally safe and sustainable methods; however initial drafts lack this type of language. Instead it seems that NOAA is promoting open-ocean aquaculture for economic gain with little regard for the environmental impacts of current practices.
Not all aquaculture is harmful. In fact shellfish aquaculture can help clean local water systems. Herbivorous fish farming produces minimal effects on the local marine environment. However, most aquaculture is carnivorous, often non-native, fish such as Atlantic salmon, throughout the world. Such aquaculture programs greatly impact the water quality, environmental health, and nearby wild species population health. The Aquaculture bill could enact legislation to mitigate these issues; instead the bill shies away from its duty to protect the ocean environment while promoting the economic gain of a few.
The Food & Water Watch, a nonprofit consumer rights group, recently released their criticisms to the proposed Aquaculture bill. They stated that the bill, a 10-Year Plan, encourages Environmental Impact Statements that are insufficient for marine resource protection, lacks consumer protection...
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