National Fisherman


Yearbook 2005

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

Inside the Industry

Pat Fiorelli, the long-serving public affairs officer for the New England Fishery Management Council, will step down at the end of July.

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The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced last week the sixth round of grant awards from its Fisheries Innovation Fund, a program launched in 2010 to foster innovations that support sustainable fisheries in the United States. 

The goal of the Fisheries Innovation Fund is to sustain fishermen and fishing communities while simultaneously rebuilding fish stocks.

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