National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



Congressmen Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and John Tierney (D-Mass.) are stepping up their battle with NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco by calling for her to step down, citing what Frank calls her "hostility" towards the fishing industry.

Frank and Tierney say fishermen are being treated unfairly by NOAA/NMFS on a couple of fronts. For one, the protests of Northeast groundfishermen and state and federal politicians that catch share management is unnecessarily devastating their industry have failed to sway Lubchenco.

"For too long our local fishing community has dealt with unfair regulations, treatment, and practices from officials at NOAA," Tierney said in a press statement he and Frank issued Friday, July 9. "As issues continue to arise, we question whether Dr. Lubchenco and NOAA leadership have done enough to increase responsiveness to the public and Congress, hold agency representatives accountable, and take a critical look at unfair catch share regulations."

Then there's the report by the Department of Commerce's Inspector General that questioned NOAA fisheries enforcement practices. A subsequent forensic audit conducted by the accounting firm KPMG revealed abuses of the $96 million Asset Forfeiture Fund, an account built from fishing fines.

Frank's frustration in trying to work with Lubchenco has reached a boiling point, culminating in the call for her resignation.

"I have for sometime been disappointed in Dr. Lubchenco's stance towards the fisherman, which seems to approach hostility," Frank said in the press statement. "This latest report confirms that the agency has been badly run without clear initiatives from her to correct the egregious problems at NOAA, and that is why I have called for her removal."

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Frank and other state and federal politicians have been commendable in their efforts to support the fishing industry. The question is how will Lubchenco respond?

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.

Try a FREE issue of National Fisherman

Fill out this order form, If you like the magazine, get the rest of the year for just $14.95 (12 issues in all). If not, simply write cancel on the bill, return it, and owe nothing.

First Name
Last Name
U.S. Canada Other

Postal/ Zip Code
© 2015 Diversified Business Communications
Diversified Business Communications