National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



Will the feeling of hope spurred by yesterday's inauguration of President Barack Obama extend to U.S. commercial fishermen?

I hope so.

I hope a new director for NMFS is named soon. I hope that the new agency head will establish a fisheries management policy that promotes sustainable fisheries, yet balances the needs of fish and fishermen.

I hope IFQs aren't implemented simply to shrink fleet sizes so that U.S. fisheries are easier to manage. I hope if they are implemented, that quota shares are distributed fairly and equitably to as many fishermen as possible.

I hope Northeast groundfishermen get to fish more than 20 days a year.

I hope that federal water policies will reflect the need for healthy water flows to enable Pacific salmon populations to rebound.

I hope hurricanes stay the hell away from the Gulf of Mexico.

Wishing and hoping won't make any of those dreams come true. But fishermen already know what it means to roll up their sleeves and work hard to complete difficult tasks. Those are qualities Obama is calling upon all Americans to tap into when tackling the nation's daunting problems in the days that lie ahead.

If that's the case, then here's hoping a greater era of prosperity lies ahead for all U.S. fishermen, regardless of boat size, fishery or gear type.

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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