National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



A pox upon you, Punxsutawney Phil!

Wait, I take it back. I mean, I want to shake my fist at Pennsylvania's prognosticating groundhog for seeing his shadow on Groundhog Day, dooming us to six more weeks of winter. But I don't want to incur the wrath of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

After all, PETA is already steamed at the fishing industry for — as they see it — cruelly capturing critters from the briny deep. Sure, seafood provides a wealth of health benefits and is an affordable and outstanding source of protein. But doggone it, PETA says, fish are people, too!

Actually, PETA says they're sea kittens. The organization recently unveiled its "Save the Sea Kittens" campaign. (You can check it out here, although that's exactly what PETA wants you to do.) The animal rights group explains that fish just aren't cuddly enough for the public — especially the children PETA appears to be targeting — to care about.

So the organization has taken it upon itself to give fish a serious makeover. Going forward, fish will be known as "sea kittens." Consider them The Artists Formerly Known as Fish.

Gosh, what kid wouldn't think a sea kitten is just too adorable to eat for dinner? Especially when PETA gives them the opportunity online to create their own fuzzy-wuzzy cartoon sea kitty?

Hmmm. Two can play at this game. OK, sea kittens it is.

Next time you're out for dinner, ask your server, "Is the sea kitten fresh?"

More importantly, is it domestic, wild-caught sea kitten? If the restaurant is hawking imported sea kitten, leave immediately. Ditto if it's farm-raised kitty.

If your server assures you the restaurant offers only domestic, wild-caught sea kitten, you're free to move on. Inquire as to how the sea kitten is prepared.

Those of us watching our waistline may opt for the broiled sea kitten. Others may prefer the baked stuffed sea kitten. Then again, sea kitten and chips is always tempting.

You get the idea. Tell everyone you know that American harvesters are all for sustainable sea kittening. Tell them that the vast majority of U.S. sea kitten stocks are healthy. Enlighten them as to the dangers of illegal, unregulated and unreported sea kittening. Teach them that sea kittening is one of the most dangerous and deadly of all professions.

Finally, ask them to support America's sea kitten industry. Generations of sea kitten harvesters and the coastal communities that depend on them need everyone's support.

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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