National Fisherman


Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.

 

 

Top 5 Mixed Catch Stories

We honored the 2010 NF Highliners last week at a dinner in New Bedford, Mass. They’re a special bunch of fishermen.

They don’t seek the limelight, but they never hesitate to take a stand on what they feel is right, either. Thursday's House subcommittee hearing, part of the investigation into the Deepwater Horizon disaster, served as a reminder of that on a couple of fronts.

On one hand was BP CEO Tony Hayward, testifying before a frustrated bunch of lawmakers. Sounds like Hayward’s testimony consisted largely of the following:

“I don’t know.”

“I don’t recall.”

“I can’t remember.”

“I wasn’t involved in the decision making process.”

Gee, thank you for clearing things up, Mr. Hayward.

Not that you really expected to hear anything different. Hayward’s testimony came off as stereotypical corporate cover-your-posterior behavior, where profit margins take precedence over everything else, people or governments be damned. You hear a lot of talk about risk and reward analysis, but the word “responsibility” never seems to crop up.

By contrast, we have NF Highliner Diane Wilson, a fourth generation Seadrift, Texas, shrimper. We named Wilson a Highliner in 1996; to say she’s committed to protecting the marine ecosystem is an understatement.

Would you believe so strongly in fighting for what’s right that you would try to sink your boat in protest? Would you go on hunger strikes? Wilson did. Would you keep fighting even after your boat was sunk twice? Wilson did.

It wasn’t a popular stand — precious land-based jobs were also at stake, and Wilson was picketed by 300 workers. But she waged a decade-long one-woman war to stop illegal wastewater discharge by chemical companies and others into the Lavaca-Matagorda-San Antonio Bay ecosystem, a breeding ground for much of the Gulf of Mexico’s fish, shrimp and oyster populations — and won. She did what she thought was right.

She still does. According to a USA Today story, http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2010-06-17-oil-hearing_N.htm Wilson attended the subcommittee hearing, interrupting Hayward as he uttered his first words by shouting, “You should be charged with a crime, Tony,” before being shown the door.

Once a Highliner, always a Highliner.

Inside the Industry

The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:

The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.

Read more...

Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.

Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.

Read more...
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