National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



Someone stop the Europeans before they fish again.

Once again, European fishing nations have thumbed their noses at experts who assert that without reining in landings, Atlantic bluefin stocks could be fished into extinction in European waters before 2015. This week, a call for a moratorium on international trade of the highly profitable bluefin was scuttled when six of the 27 European Union member states blocked the European Commission proposal.

Such shortsighted thinking is maddening. Apparently as long as they're raking in the euros for bluefin sales, these countries are happy to keep fishing until they kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

Of course this isn't news to American tuna fishermen. For years at International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas meetings, they've watched the Europeans disregard recommendations to lower tuna quotas in one breath and in the next chisel away at catch shares allotted to the United States — the country that may be the most committed to fishing sustainably. My guess is that in the process, the U.S. ICCAT delegation has single-handedly kept stock prices for Rolaids and Excedrin high.

We hear that European consumers demand that the seafood they purchase bear the seal of the Marine Stewardship Council or another certifying agent that assures buyers that a particular fish species is harvested in a sustainable matter. Isn't it ironic that European harvesters don't seem to share consumers' concern?

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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Diversified Business Communications