National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



The World Wide Fund for Nature is seeing red over bluefin.

According to an Agence France-Presse article, WWF, sounding a tad like Regis Philbin ranting on his morning talk show, is asserting that Italy is "totally out of control" when it comes to fishing for bluefin tuna.

Usually, one raises an eyebrow when an environmental group starts barking that commercial fishing harvest practices are emptying the world's oceans of fish. But WWF tends to put its money where its mouth is. For example, they're the folks behind the International Smart Gear Competition, which awards cash prizes for the best ideas promoting sustainable fishing practices.

WWF's Italian chapter released a statement denouncing "widespread and repeated lawlessness over the course of years" on the part of Italian fishermen targeting the tasty and profitable fish that's so highly sought in Japan. Reportedly, the Italian fleet blew past its 2008 harvest quota by "at least 700 tons," WWF says.

This, of course, isn't news to American fishermen. U.S. fishermen for some time now have shouldered the brunt of efforts to fish sustainably for bluefin and swordfish. Their reward? They routinely have to fight tooth and nail just to hang onto their harvest quotas.

Meanwhile, member nations like Italy constantly thumb their noses at the harvest quotas the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas sets.

With the next ICCAT meetings looming in November, the U.S. delegation is girding its loins to do battle once more. Which makes one wonder, if ICCAT remains powerless to stop member nations from fishing irresponsibly, at what point do we say there's no point to being an ICCAT member?

Inside the Industry

The anti-mining group Salmon Beyond Borders expressed disappointment and dismay last week at Alaska Governor Bill Walker’s announcement that he has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with B.C. Premier Christy Clark.

This came just days after his administration asked members of his newly-formed Transboundary Rivers Citizens Advisory Work Group to provide comment on a Draft Statement of Cooperation associated with Transboundary mining.


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.

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