National Fisherman

It's great to come to a town in New England where there are actually fishing boats in the water. My own hometown of Portsmouth, N.H., still has a couple boats around, but they are overshadowed by the fleet of sailboats. In New Bedford, Mass., however, the fishing boats still rule the docks.

This week some of the staff members of National Fishermen drove down here from Portland, Maine, to check out the Commercial Marine Expo, which was held yesterday and Wednesday. At the expo, I learned about a very cool organization called the Fishermen's Partnership, which connects fishermen to insurance and some free health care services, conducts free safety training and acts as an all-around advocate for fishermen.

It sounds like such good work and I'll be talking to them again for possibly a follow-up story in the magazine.One thing I'd like to find out is whether there are other organizations like this in other states or if it is unique to Massachusetts. Their website,, is still under construction but does have phone numbers for their regional offices.

At the partnership's booth I met Debra Machie, who is a community health navigator and a fisherman's wife. She told me they have a few fishermen's wives working for the partnership, which is a wise move considering that fishermen's wives obviously love fishermen and will work hard to help them out.

Debra's husband is Shawn Machie, captain of the F/V Apollo. He and his crew are going to be on a History Channel show this fall about New England fishermen called Nor'easter Men. At first I was surprised to hear that there's going to be another show about fishing, but at the same time, fishermen's jobs/lives are more interesting than most, so why not?

Here's a view of the docks from yesterday evening:

Inside the Industry

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.


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.

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