National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



It was heartening to learn, especially on Valentine's Day, that there are folks out there who are showing fishermen a little love.

Massachusetts legislators are introducing a bill in Congress that would establish a national health care plan for fishermen. The program uses the Massachusetts Fishing Partnership Health Plan as a model for a national program.

The Massachusetts plan, adopted in the 1990s, gives low-cost health insurance to some 2,000 fishermen and family members who previously were without health care coverage or were underinsured.

The bill would authorize $50 million over five years for program planning, implementation and continuation grants in states with commercial fishing industries.

Even better, there's bi-partisan support for such a program. To wit: Sens. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), and John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and Reps. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), John Tierney (D-Mass.), and William Delahunt (D-Mass.) are the bill's sponsors, and co-sponsors are Sens. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Reps. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), Don Young (R-Alaska.), Tom Allen (D-Maine), and Wayne Gilchrest (R-Md.).

Wow. Democrats and Republicans find a worthy cause that they can all get behind. Fishermen will take all the love they can get.

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