National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



I don't know what's more chilling — the sub-zero temperature I woke up to this morning or NMFS' seeming insistence on gutting New England's small-boat fishing fleets.

I'm inclined to believe it's the latter. And that point was driven home by an article in the Gloucester (Mass.) Daily Times, which asserts that the goal of federal fisheries policy is to whittle down the small-boat fleets in New England ports.

I was a little stunned to see the assertion stated so plainly, although I'm not sure why, given the agency's love of quota-based management systems, which leave a lot of fishermen on the outside looking in. Certainly the increasingly onerous restrictions imposed upon Northeast harvesters over the past 15 years in the name of meeting Magnuson-Stevens groundfish stock rebuilding mandates have taken a toll on New England's small-boat fishermen — and their communities.

NMFS will say it's simply following the law. Maybe so, but in the process, too many small-boat fishermen are falling by the wayside.

If that's the intent, it's hard to fathom why. Our government is more than willing to give billions of dollars to save bloated, mismanaged financial institutions and automobile manufacturers. But it has no desire to help hardworking folks like the small-boat fishermen who have been providing food to American families for more than 400 years? That's a chilling thought, indeed.

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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