Written by Jen Finn
Response to change is essential to success
Someone once said the only constant in the universe is change, and fishermen certainly can attest to that. It might be weather, which changes with or without preamble, or it might be price. Sometimes it's the fish, who change their minds and swim away. Maybe next time they'll swim right at you. The politicians are always changing their minds, so the bureaucrats are always changing the rules, and now you've got to change your gear. God forbid your spouse changes his or her mind, or next you time you go ashore, you'll be changing your address.
Times change along with the seasons. Fishermen once held sway over waterfronts largely regarded as undesirable neighborhoods. In some places today you'll do well to hold onto your mooring. You accepted the unpredictability of what you did, but you certainly would have predicted you'd always be doing it. Sometimes you regretted working so hard. Now they won't let you work enough.
Lately it seems like there's more change, and little for the better. Without a crystal ball, it's hard to be sure. What we can be certain of is that change is a force of nature, an energy to be harnessed.
Even the best fisheries management stories will have few positive outcomes for us if we're not in a position to profitably harvest; the best weather will do us no good if we're tied to the dock; the most efficient gear will do us no good if we don't set it on fish.
2006 may have been a tough year: continued consolidation, a rising tide of imports, and this relentless push to eco-colonize an ecosystem that's done a pretty good job on its own, to say nothing of a rewrite of Magnuson that paid little heed to much of this industry.
There'll be better years — and tougher ones. Keep the net in the water, as the Gloucesterman used to say, and you'll get a trip.
— Jerry Fraser
NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.
We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.Read more...
A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.
Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species, allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.Read more...