National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



Here's a humble suggestion for the first order of business new NMFS chief Eric Schwaab should tackle: Pick a name for your agency and stick with it.

Granted there are many problems more pressing that Mr. Schwaab must address — the mess that fisheries enforcement policy has become leaps to mind, among others — than this one. But it would be good for the agency to have a single identity.

Industry members are of course familiar with the name "National Marine Fisheries Service," as the agency has been around for many years. But over the past few years, NOAA officials have developed a taste for referring to NMFS as "NOAA Fisheries."

There's never been an announcement or proclamation that henceforth and going forward, NMFS would now be known as NOAA Fisheries. Somehow the new name seemed to just develop a life of its own.

Which is not to say that NMFS has gone gently into that good night (though rogues in the peanut galley probably like that idea). At least I think it's still around.

If you go to the agency's Web site, the banner at the top screams "NOAA Fisheries Service." You are greeted on the home page with the following sentence: "Welcome to NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries Service).'"

Oh. Gee, that's not confusing at all.

NOAA seems desperate to have its name attached to NMFS. Click on the "About Us" button, and it refers to the agency repeatedly as "NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service."

But it's kind of like trying to give yourself a nickname, isn't it? And anyone who's a fan of "Seinfeld" knows that others thrust nicknames upon you (Hi there, George "Cocoa" Costanza).

In the end, it doesn't matter which name the agency chooses. Just ditch the dual personalities and settle on one as the official name.

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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