National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



Retail giant Walmart announced this week ( that it invested some $36 million to a variety of environmental initiatives in 2010 with an eye towards supporting ocean privatization efforts via catch shares programs and networks of marine protected areas.

If there is a silver lining to the Walmart announcement, it is this: Recreational and commercial fishermen are standing together in condemning the retail giant's move.

The Recreational Fishing Alliance strongly criticized Walmart's announcement. In fact, RFA executive director Jim Donofrio says anglers should boycott Walmart.

"The Walton family created this huge corporate entity that has threatened the vibrancy of our local retail outlets," he told San Francisco-based Bay Area Indymedia, "and now they're essentially doing the same thing with our fishing communities. Much like Safeway has done with their financial investment in the environmental business community, Walmart apparently prefers customers buy farm-raised fish and seafood caught by foreign countries outside of U.S. waters, while denying individual anglers the ability to head down to the ocean to score a few fish for their own table."

Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, welcomed the RFA's comments.

"The privatization of public trust resources in the antithesis of conservation," Grader told IndyBay. "I've been boycotting Walmart for decades and it's absolutely great that recreational and commercial fishermen are together on this."

Imagine that — commercial and recreational fishermen hanging together on important marine conservation issues. Relations between the two sectors haven't always been cordial, but it's good to see them increasingly reaching across the aisle, so to speak. Republicans and Democrats in Congress who are more concerned with party platforms than actually acting for the greater good could learn something from the fishing community.

Inside the Industry

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.


The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is teaming up with leading shark-tracking nonprofit Ocearch to build the most extensive shark-tagging program in the Gulf of Mexico region.

In October, Ocearch is bringing its unique research vessel, the M/V Ocearch, to the gulf for a multi-species study to generate previously unattainable data on critical shark species, including hammerhead, tiger and mako sharks.

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