National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



Is it possible that a more commercial fishing-friendly era is dawning at NMFS?

Two candidates have reportedly emerged to become Bill Hogarth's successor as director of NMFS. And amazingly enough, fishermen have reason for optimism if either one is in the driver's seat.

According to the Gloucester (Mass.) Daily Times , Brian Rothschild, 73, professor of marine science at the University of Massachusetts/Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology in New Bedford, Mass., and Petersburg, Alaska, fisherman Arne Fuglvog, 45, the fisheries aide for Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), are candidates for the post. Both have been strong advocates for commercial fishing.

In the 1990s, Rothschild was instrumental in helping New Bedford scallopers prove that scallop stocks were robustly abundant in closed areas on Georges Bank and that those areas should be re-opened. Thanks in part to Rothschild's work, the Northeast scallop fishery is a thriving bright spot in the region.

Fuglvog, a 2003 NF Highliner Award recipient, didn't confirm that he's a candidate, but he, too, would make a good one. The fifth generation fisherman has 30 years experience in Alaska's salmon, crab, halibut and other fisheries.

He served on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council advisory panel for nine years and on the council itself from 2003 to 2006. In 2007, he moved to Washington, D.C., to become Murkowski's fisheries aide.

Appointing either man to head NMFS could give harvesters greater hope that the agency will recognize that the health of fishermen and fishing communities is as important as that of fish stocks.

But more importantly, we want to know what you think. Who would you choose for the job? Or would you like to see someone else considered? Click on the "Comments" link below and share your thoughts with us; inquiring minds want to know.

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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