National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



As Fourth of July weekend approaches, what is more American than residents of a town reaching out to help a Louisiana fishing community that is suffering from the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill?

In Maine, a Bangor Daily News editorial this week relates the story of Down-East fishermen who found a way to help their Gulf Coast brethren, free of corporate or bureaucratic red tape.

Little Cranbury Island lobstermen organized a fundraising community dinner featuring local seafood donated for the dinner and an accompanying raffle. A true community effort, island residents turned out in full and raised $1,915.

Next, they got to work to determine how and where to send the money. A little Internet research led them to the fishing community of Dulac, La., which is about the size of the Little Cranbury Island community of Isleford. Isleford's postmaster then contacted Dulac's postmaster to inquire where to send the money.

The answer was to send the funds to the Dulac Community Center, a mission project of the United Methodist Church, which provides help to the area. And that's just what they did.

According to the editorial, the Isleford residents hope that other Maine communities will follow suit. We do, too. In fact, let's widen the effort.

There are fishing communities on all coasts that have the same kind of heart Isleford does. If such a movement catches on in fishing communities, then it can catch on in more landlocked towns, too.

And if enough towns follow Isleford's lead, then Gulf Coast fishing communities could receive some sorely needed assistance — not to mention a little love.

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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