National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



Tough Island
True Stories from Matinicus, Maine
By Crash Barry
Maine Misadventures, 2011
Hardcover, 130 pp., $18.00

Author’s stint as sternman on Maine’s Matinicus Island turns a wanderer into a writer

Only the folks who live and fish on Matinicus Island really know what the remote Maine island, located 20 miles out to sea, is like. Maine author Crash Barry doesn’t claim to be a Matinicus expert. But “Tough Island,” his memoir on the two years he spent there working as a lobster boat sternman offers one man’s view of what life there was like.

From the picture Barry paints, it wasn’t an easy one. A state ferry visits nine times a year and airplanes only land when the weather cooperates, which is seldom. The island,
devoid of any police presence, has long enjoyed a roughand-tumble reputation.

At age 23, Barry, whose résumé includes stints as a demolitionist, alpaca herdsman, cow milker and blueberry raker, moved to Matinicus in 1991. The island’s solitary nature suited Barry well. As the book’s back cover notes, his stay allowed him to “study a
unique society with a wanna-be writer’s brain, filtered through a thick lens of drugs, youth and hard work.”

“Tough Island,” is a darkly humorous and unvarnished snapshot of the island and its inhabitants. Barry’s publisher describes it as “a guided tour of a unique society told through tales of danger and drugs, sex and violence, death and sorrow…”

All of that is there, true enough, but the book is more than that, really. It’s also a portrait of an author as a young man, searching for an identity and a way to turn himself into a writer.
— Linc Bedrosian

Inside the Industry

The anti-mining group Salmon Beyond Borders expressed disappointment and dismay last week at Alaska Governor Bill Walker’s announcement that he has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with B.C. Premier Christy Clark.

This came just days after his administration asked members of his newly-formed Transboundary Rivers Citizens Advisory Work Group to provide comment on a Draft Statement of Cooperation associated with Transboundary mining.


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.

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