National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



I'm guessing that if you ask fishermen, "What's wrong with U.S. fisheries management?" you'll get back a laundry list of suggestions.

For example, some might argue that stock assessments are, um, debatable (Hi, there, Gulf of Mexico grouper fishermen!). Others might challenge the idea that the answer to bolstering the nation's fish stocks is thinning (Whoops! I mean "rationalizing") the herd of U.S. fishermen.

Nope. I know exactly what's wrong with our system of fisheries management.

It's the fish.

Yup. Let's not dance around it anymore. The fish are the ones gumming up the works.

Here we have one spiffy 10-year timetable for rebuilding U.S. fish stocks, courtesy of the re-authorized Magnuson-Stevens Act. Yet, we have some species (and you know who you are) that are totally ignoring this timetable!

Sure, it's fine for Northeast cod and West Coast salmon stocks to take their sweet time building up their numbers. But — hello? — fishermen still have boat payments to make!

You, summer flounder! Think you're doing a good job of rebuilding? Wrong! You're still a long ways off from the spawning stock biomass number you're supposed to hit. Think the target is outrageously high? Too bad. Time to get busy gettin' busy, know what I'm sayin'?

Look, we're 21st century Americans; we don't do waiting. We stand impatiently in front of the microwave, grumbling about how long it's taking to nuke our food. So all you little finned, gill-breathing critters better stop whining about how unreasonable and arbitrary the 10-year rebuilding deadline is. Just suck it up and get with the program already, will you?

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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