National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



We all know eating fish offers many health benefits. Fish is an excellent (and darn tasty), low-fat, high protein food, rich in omega3 oils that researchers say can keep hearts healthy. Now comes word courtesy of the Vancouver (British Columbia) Sun ( of a new trend that may yield further health benefits: Fish spas.

Apparently this is a new service some spas are beginning to offer. You kick off your shoes and socks and dunk your tootsies into a tank of water containing live fish called garra rufa. The tiny toothless wonders, known as "doctor fish" in their native Turkey, exfoliate the feet of the customers (or are they cust-toe-mers?) as they nibble away the dead skin.

The treatment was being offered at Dixie Simpson's Purple Orchid spa in the town of Duncan on Vancouver Island. Alas, we may never know if doctor fish truly can get you on the good foot. Provincial health officials have nixed the foot nibbling, saying the service poses a potential health risk.

Health officials say the well-meaning fish can carry pathogens and spread diseases that are hazardous to humans. Hence, Simpson must toe the line or else face six months in jail and foot the bill for a $25,000 fine.

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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