National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



A peek out the window at the message board on the Time and Temperature Building roof reveals that it's 96 degrees here in Portland, Maine. Now in Texas, folks would think a cold front was moving through, but in our little corner of the Northeast, this kind of heat is big news.

Fortunately, our air conditioning system is keeping the office comfortable. But on a day like today, it's hard to imagine that working conditions at sea are quite so pleasant.

The National Weather Service marine forecast covering coastal waters from Stonington, Maine, to Merrimack River, Mass., out to 25 nautical miles is calling for hazy conditions today, with southwest winds hitting 10 knots and seas running 2 to 3 feet. Does the breeze keep things cool enough when working the deck?

Let's hope so. Hauling strings of lobster traps in sweltering heat amidst the heady aroma of diesel fumes and a bait barrel filled with finely aged herring, for example, doesn't conjure up thoughts of an ideal working environment.

But fishermen work whether the weather is good or bad. They're fishing in bright sunshine or pelting rain, in summer heat or winter chill, or when winds are calm or punishing. They keep a watchful eye on the weather reports, but sometimes storms form quickly and they have to ride it out as best they can.

Their commitment to heading out to sea to catch fish, regardless of the weather — and the danger it may present — is just one of the qualities that make fishermen special. That commitment alone earns them the respect and thanks of seafood lovers everywhere.

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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Diversified Business Communications