National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



Top 5 Mixed Catch Stories

So is anybody jazzed that Exxon Mobil has been ordered to pay about $500 million in interest on the 507.5 million in punitive damages payments to plaintiffs in the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound?

Yeah, I didn't think so.

It's understandable. After all, Exxon can still appeal the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco's ruling. Given the years of protracted legal wrangling Exxon engaged in to whittle the punitive damages sum from $5 billion to $500 million, would it be surprising if the oil giant does so again?

If the appeals court's decision stands, average payments to Alaska natives, fishermen, related businesses and others harmed by the spill would double from $15,000 to $30,000. Considering the toll upon fishermen — years of lost income, families torn apart while waiting for years for the case to resolve — you can understand it if folks aren't jumping up and down for joy.

And if Exxon does appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, who knows how long it'll take to render a decision? Hence, readers commenting on the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News article announcing the court's decision were underwhelmed by the ruling.

Asked one reader, "Do we REALLY believe that these folks will ever see any more money from Exxon?"

After years of disappointment, the plaintiffs will believe it when they see it.

Inside the Industry

The Center for Coastal Studies recently announced that Owen Nichols, Director of the Center for Coastal Studies’ Marine Fisheries Research Program, has been selected as this year’s recipient of the John Annala Fishery Leadership Award by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. 

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Cummins  announced the opening of a new Alaska service location on Kodiak Island last week that will serve as a service and support location for commercial marine applications.

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