National Fisherman

Coastlines 

melissaNational Fisherman's Melissa Wood shares her stories as a writer and editor covering the U.S. fishing industry.

 

Though Alaska is the biggest player in the U.S. seafood industry by far, the small role it plays on a global stage is surprising. The state hauled up 5.5 billion pounds in 2011, but that was only a small fraction of the world’s 100 million metric tons of seafood.

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Next week I'll be going to the Pacific Marine Expo, the commercial industry's largest trade event. It's my first time at PME,which takes place from Nov. 27 to 29 at the CenturyLink Field in Seattle. There's a lot to do at PME so I've been trying to set priorities. In no particular order, here are five things I'm looking forward to at the show:

 

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News is often hit and run. Maybe it's because I'm nosy, but often I'm left wondering what the real story is and what happened to the people after the news cycle ends. That's what I like about writing for a magazine. I can explore issues in-depth. But sometimes there's even more to it — actually, there's always more to the story when you're writing about the U.S. fishing industry. That's where this blog, Coastlines, comes in.

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This morning, the editors of National Fisherman had a photo shoot, if you want to call it that. There was no make-up or hair people or special lighting. Instead of a photo studio we were at the fishing docks, where we made our way around stacks of green and yellow lobster traps, empty but still smelly fish holds, swarms of flies, and my favorite, a pile of freshly unloaded garbage bags to a beautiful background view of Portland Harbor.

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I've got two stories to share that somehow seem appropriate for a Friday afternoon. For the first, sometimes it's good to get a reminder about why certain things are important — even if that reminder is an unpleasant one. National Fisherman's editor Jes Hathaway is a huge advocate for eating wild U.S. fish. Here's a reminder why that U.S.A. label is important:

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His name is a familiar one in the seafood industry, yet Slade Gorton III turned away from the family business to make a name for himself in a distinguished military and political career highlighted by three terms in the U.S. Senate.

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Rivers teeming with spawning salmon like those in Alaska are a distant memory for East Coast fishermen, but it wasn't always this way. For ages, Atlantic salmon's run extended from Canada down to Long Island Sound. In Maine commercial production peaked with catches of 200,000 pounds in the late 1800s and ended soon after, with just 40 fish caught in the Penobscot fishery in 1948. Now Maine is the last place on the U.S. East Coast that salmon can now be found in the wild, and it is scarce.

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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.

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For some fishermen, catch shares have been a blessing. Buddy Guindon of Galveston, Texas, says they’ve changed his life for the better. Since the implementation of Gulf red snapper IFQs in 2007, the 30-year fishing veteran says he gets double the money for his catch, spending a third of the time — and fuel — at sea.

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Hooked
Hooked!: True Stories of Obsession, Death, and Love from Alaska's Commercial Fishing Men and Women
Edited by Leslie Leyland Fields

Everybody's a greenhorn at some point: Mike Crowley (National Fisherman's boats and gear editor) had been working dockside at Seward Fisheries when he got his chance to sail out of Petersberg on the halibut schooner Attu. The promise of a quarter share if he proved his worth was more than enough for Mike, who admits he would have gone for nothing (even though he spent the first part of the trip hanging over the railing, puking). Before they set gear, he was told to watch the water and "holler out" as soon as he saw the first halibut come to the surface. After hearing laughter from the fo'c's'cle, he very soon leaned that halibut are bottom feeders. Add a comment

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National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 7/17/14

In this episode, National Fisherman's Boats & Gear Editor Michael Crowley talks with Mike Hillers about the Simrad PX Multisensor.

 

National Fisherman Live: 7/8/14

In this episode:

  • Obama proposes initiative on tracking fish
  • Council retains haddock bycatch limit
  • Columbia River salmon plan challenged
  • Virginia approves reduction in blue crab harvest
  • Ala. shrimpers hope to net some jumbo profits

 

Inside the Industry

PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative has appointed Matt Jacobson as its new executive director.
 
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The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will convene its Red Snapper Advisory Panel Wednesday, July 30, 2014, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the council office — 2203 N. Lois Avenue, Suite 1100, in Tampa, Fla. 

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