National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



Everybody can get behind the concept of sustainable harvest practices that ensure that fish and fishermen alike will always be in abundance. And industry-related businesses are stepping up and helping to bring that concept to fruition.

Case in point: Orlando-Fla.-based Darden Restaurants, which counts Red Lobster among its brands, was formally recognized at the Clinton Global Initiative's Seventh Annual Meeting for Darden's three-year commitment to rebuilding fisheries through fishery improvement projects.

Initial projects with partners Publix Super Markets and Sustainable Fisheries Partnership will focus on Gulf of Mexico species, including red snapper and grouper. Reportedly the projects will include testing fishing gear that's designed to be more sea turtle-friendly, developing better ways to assess stocks, and camera monitoring experiments to crack down on illegal fishing.

Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix also demonstrated its commitment to supporting sustainable fishing practices back in April when in recognition of Earth Day, it conducted a wild shrimp promotion in which it promised to donate 50 cents per pound from wild shrimp purchases (up to $40,000) to the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership. The donation would assist the Honolulu-based independent non-governmental organization in providing gulf fisheries with resources and tools needed to promote sustainable fishing practices.

It's heartening to see such seafood-industry-initiated efforts growing. They have the potential to find ways to improve fishing gear as well as the science upon which fisheries management policy relies. And they recognize that the commercial fishing industry's health is as vital as that of seafood species.

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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