National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



Fishermen have longed to get their story out to the American public for years. "Deadliest Catch," the hit Discovery Channel reality television series, is helping them do it.

The show has done an incredible job of giving the general public a real taste of what it's like to be an Alaska crab fisherman. Viewers finally get to see fishermen in their element — and the elements alone are enough to make fans shake their heads and tip their collective cap to the crabbers for doing so.

Viewers see what fishermen's jobs are like, and how hard the work is. But more importantly, they get to know the captains and crew members. Suddenly, viewers understand these guys aren't just fishermen, they're real people.

That the message is getting through to the American public became clearer to me this week. The latest episode of "Deadliest Catch" caught the attention of a nationally broadcast sports talk radio program, The Dan Patrick Show.

Patrick and the show's four-member crew, known as "The Danettes" normally talk about the latest sports stories of the day. But they found time this week to discuss the latest "Deadliest Catch" episode. The season's final six episodes deal focus on the passing of Cornelia Marie captain Phil Harris, who this season suffered a stroke that eventually claimed him.

Patrick's executive producer, Paul Pabst, who on the show's Website lists "Deadliest Catch" among his favorite TV shows, called the episode "powerful television." And his fellow Danettes likewise expressed their admiration for the dangerous, demanding work the crabbers do.

They only touched on the episode for a minute or two. But even a brief mention on a radio show that's heard nationwide (it's also shown on DIRECTV) raises the profile of commercial fishermen tremendously. So just think of the positive effect a full 60-minute episode of "Deadliest Catch" is having every week.

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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