National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



An important point is being obscured in the furor over NOAA fisheries enforcement practices in the Northeast.

This week Congressmen learned more about allegations that in November, enforcement documents were improperly shredded while the Commerce Department inspector general's office was conducting its investigation of enforcement practices. Reportedly as much as 75 percent of the material in then enforcement chief Dale Jones's files were destroyed.

People are rightly outraged over the enforcement mess — a Gloucester (Mass.) Daily Times editorial even calls for obstruction of justice charges to be brought against Jones should it be found that the shredding allegations are true.

But it seems like the fishermen whose fines apparently were excessive in relation to the violations that were committed are getting lost in the shuffle.

What recourse is there for fishermen who were fined so heavily that they were driven out of the industry? Can they be reimbursed for any amounts they paid that were over the average nationwide for similar offenses?

It's an idea that bears consideration. Doing so could be an important step in restoring balance to the relationship between fishermen and the fisheries enforcement branch.

Inside the Industry

NMFS has awarded 16 grants totaling more than $2.5 million as part of its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.

The program supports the development of technological solutions and changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch and aims to to find creative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, seabird interactions, and post-release mortality in federally managed fisheries.


Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.

Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.

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