National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



Occasionally you get reminders about why fishermen need to be vigilant about industry-related stories appearing in the mainstream media. For example, consider two news stories about Thursday's House Natural Resources Committee's Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife hearing on catch share management.

A Gloucester (Mass.) Daily Times story reports that in his testimony, Wayne Moody, a Morro Bay, Calif., commercial fisherman (and a 1999 NF Highliner) offered "cautionary tales of bureaucratic arrogance and the need of stakeholders to insist on their rights." The message: Moody clearly is against catch shares.

But the San Luis Obispo, Calif., Tribune story about the hearing gives one a different impression. Its headline reads, "Morro fishermen support idea of catch shares." The headline and story riled several readers who posted comments stating that Moody testified that Morro Bay fisherman are adamantly opposed to catch shares.

The problem is the Tribune's misleading headline. Its story says that Moody's testimony contained recommendations for catch share management, including the need to tailor them for individual communities and for NMFS to be flexible and adaptive in implementing catch-share programs.

I didn't get the impression from the Tribune story that Moody was embracing catch shares. But the headline certainly makes one think otherwise.

You can see and hear the testimony of Moody and other fishermen and the hearing as a whole for yourself. If you want to check out unfiltered hearing testimony free of the perceptions of news gatherers or, um, a blog monkey, check out the video on the NF home page.

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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