National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



Today's New England Fishery Management Council meeting is an excellent reminder that management changes to protect our nation's fish stocks come with a human cost.

That's something that doesn't always come across in media coverage of the move to sector management in the New England groundfish fishery. Numerous fishermen will be damaged by that change.

This morning, the council began working to finalize Amendment 16 and bring sector management to the groundfish fishery. And as the council and fishermen wrestled with how best to allocate fish to each sector, it was never clearer that there is no way to do so without some fishermen getting substantially hurt in the process.

They aren't just taking a pay cut. Fishermen who have spent their whole lives catching fish — and made substantial financial investments to keep doing so — will be finished.

Fishermen's opinions (and those of council members) differed on the critical issue of what baseline should be used to allocate fish to sectors. But everybody was finding that trying to come up with a way to do so that would be fair to everyone was an impossible task.

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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