National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



Dear Buddy the Elf,

Season's Greetings, Buddy. Bear with me — I know Christmas is Saturday and you and Santa and the other elves are out straight at the North Pole Christmas compound.

I already sent Santa my wish list, so I'm good. But I have a few more wishes — not for me, but for U.S. commercial fishermen. If you could put in a good word with Capt. Kringle, I'm sure they'd really appreciate it.

For example, could Santa bring more flexibility to the New England's groundfish catch share management system? How about a healthier lobster population for southern New England lobstermen?

Chesapeake Bay watermen might like blue crab stocks to continue their upward trend, and see the once-thriving oyster population start bouncing back. South Atlantic reef fish harvesters would love to see red snapper stocks declared healthy.

And in the Gulf of Mexico? I know it's probably a little much to ask Santa to cleanup the millions of gallons oil that escaped from the sunken Deepwater Horizon well. But could Santa find a way to erase consumer doubts about the safety of gulf seafood?

As for the West Coast, give fishermen a real commercial salmon season this year. Or give Pacific groundfishermen healthy quota shares for their new rationalization program that takes hold come Jan. 1. And maybe a marine reserve network that California fishermen can stomach.

And for Alaska fishermen, maybe Santa could provide some extra Steller sea lions to ensure that they don't require being placed on the endangered species list, thus keeping fisheries in the Aleutians open for business.

Am I asking too much, Buddy? Well, at the very least, please have Santa deliver the merriest Christmas possible to all U.S. commercial fishermen.

Happy Holidays,


P.S. – You know, subscriptions to National Fisherman make a great gift, too. Just sayin'.

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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