National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco departed before the Oct. 3 Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing in Boston on New England's groundfish sector management system was over, angering fishermen and politicians alike. The news today that she left the hearing to promote the agency's fisheries management policies to a newspaper editorial board won't lessen that anger.

Lubchenco's lack of concise answers to the questions panel members posed at the recent Senate hearing that Sen. John Kerry (D.-Mass.) organized irked the politicians, who have been frustrated in their dealings with the NOAA chief. Then Lubchenco left the hearing two-thirds of the way through, reportedly to keep an afternoon appointment in Washington.

Her departure angered fishermen and politicians, who say the catch shares management system is having a severe negative economic effect on New England's groundfish harvesters and coastal communities. They say Lubchenco needed to hear the testimony of all witnesses.

According to the Gloucester (Mass.) Times, when Lubchenco left the hearing, before heading back to Washington, she met with the Boston Globe's editorial board and reporters to talk about progress made and challenges remaining in rebuilding fish stocks and strengthening the health of coastal fishing communities.

Leaving a Senate hearing to promote your agency's policies to a newspaper is unacceptable. It's flabbergasting to see the lack of respect, maybe even contempt, Lubchenco has for Congress and for the fishing industry. Never mind Wall Street. Maybe fishermen should Occupy NOAA until the president finds the agency a new leader.

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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