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

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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