National Fisherman


Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.

 

 

In the wake of this week's increasingly disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill, your heart can't help but go out to Louisiana's long suffering fishermen, who must have the patience of Job.

What haven't Louisiana harvesters had to cope with in recent years? Foreign imports were already depressing dock prices when Hurricane Katrina came rampaging through the region in 2005, throwing fishing boats onto land and destroying the industry infrastructure.

And as if that wasn't enough, Hurricanes Gustav and Ike roared through in 2008, wreaking similar havoc. Between hurricanes, infrastructure problems, low dock prices and spiraling fuel prices, Louisiana fishermen have somehow coped with a lot of adversity.

Now comes this latest blow, courtesy of a BP oil rig that exploded and sank last week. The word today is that it's spewing an estimated 200,000 gallons a day and could eclipse the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill as the worst U.S. environmental disaster in decades.

If so, it's going to have a chilling effect on Louisiana fisheries and its fishing industry. One can only hope that lessons learned from the Valdez debacle will spare Pelican State harvesters the lasting pain Alaska fishermen have — and continue — to endure.

Inside the Industry

Governor Bill Walker has officially requested that the federal government declare a disaster for four Alaska regions hurt by one of the poorest pink salmon returns in decades.

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The New England Fishery Management Council recently elected Dr. John F. Quinn of Massachusetts and E. F. “Terry” Stockwell III of Maine to serve respectively as chairman and vice chairman in the year ahead. The two have led the Council since 2014 but reversed roles this year. 

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