National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



Several years ago, I met a guy who played in a garage band, and when he learned I play guitar, he invited me over to jam with them. When I arrived, one of the guitarists asked me if I knew any Beatles songs.

“Yeah,” I said. “All of them.”

I wasn’t boasting. Back in the day, I largely taught myself how to play guitar by sitting down with Beatles albums. I’d drop the needle on our portable record player and try to figure out how to play each song. It was a wonderful musical education.

I was, and still am, a big Beatles fan. I’ve formed great friendships with folks who share a similar love for the Fabs. Books, magazine articles, TV shows, movies, whatever; if they’re Beatle-related, I’ve probably devoured them.

So imagine my chagrin when I saw a story on the Web in which Sir Paul McCartney urged fish-eating “vegetarians” to give up seafood for Earth Day on Tuesday.

“When you consider the overfishing, the marine pollution and the huge damage to our precious oceans that are caused by commercial fishing,” McCartney is quoted as saying, ”it becomes obvious that a [complete] vegetarian lifestyle would greatly improve our environment and help to save our oceans.”

Ack! Say it ain’t so, Paul.

You hate to see such oversimplified generalizations bandied about. And it’s doubly troubling when you see how hard American fishermen work to promote sustainable fishing — and the devastating impacts increasingly stringent regulations have upon the folks who risk their lives to provide a protein-packed nutritious food to consumers.

Sir Paul, as you so nicely put it all those years ago, think of what you’re saying. You can get it wrong and still you think that it’s all right.

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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