National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



Apparently, Mother Nature is a big April Fools Day fan. The calendar says it's spring, but Mama N. decided it would be hilarious to drop lots of heavy, wet snow on those of us residing in the Northeast. Ha-ha! Good one!

However, the work of Northeast fishermen and politicians to revise U.S. fisheries management policy is no joke. And it's gaining serious momentum.

Let's take stock of what we've seen over the last few weeks. The Commerce Department made a surprising about-face regarding fisheries enforcement. Where previously NOAA refused to hear fishermen's complaints, the Commerce Department announced it would review appeals of enforcement penalties after all. And it's implementing new practices designed to address problems listed in a federal report concerning enforcement practices.

Commerce has also announced plans to visit New England fishing ports to examine the economic wounds catch share management has inflicted upon fishermen and their communities. And next week, New Bedford, Mass., Mayor Scott Lang's Ocean and Fisheries Council travels to Washington, D.C., for an informational meeting to be held in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Room.

The meeting, expected to attract industry supporters from the Gulf of Mexico and the West Coast as well as a bi-partisan mix of Senate and House members, will outline industry concerns with fisheries management policy.

Fishermen's efforts to gain the ear of their Congressional delegates and affect change indicate that fishermen do indeed have a voice. And if they yell loud enough and long enough with that voice, they can restore balance to fisheries management.

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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