National Fisherman


Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.

 

 

Fishery management "logic" can make you scratch your head so much that you consider buying stock in Head & Shoulders shampoo.

Consider, for example, European Union efforts to have spiny dogfish listed with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Alas, dogfish stocks are in poor shape on the other side of the Atlantic.

Not that the U.S. dogfish population hasn't seen hard times. NMFS encouraged Northeast groundfish harvesters to target dogs and other "trash fish" that were deemed "underutilized." There wasn't much of a domestic market for them, and their toxin-loaded spikes made them literally and figuratively a pain to deal with.

But by the 1990s, harvests ramped up substantially, thanks to European dogfish demand. However, the dogfish population quickly dwindled as the larger females were scooped up.

A dogfish management plan was eventually created. And over the last decade, the dogfish population has rebounded significantly. Now, fishermen say, dogfish are so prevalent that the predator species may be hindering the cod population's recovery, one of the biggest bugaboos in the Northeast groundfish stock-rebuilding plan.

So of course the reward American fishermen receive for not targeting dogfish is Europe's push for the CITES listing, which could scuttle U.S. dogfish exports.

Likewise, U.S. bluefin tuna harvesters have made many sacrifices in the name of protecting the waning population of the popular and highly profitable fish.

So of course U.S. tunamen's reward for those sacrifices is to see the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas continually cut the U.S. quota while other ICCAT member nations completely ignore their catch limits and calls for conservation.

Hence, the message seems to be that if you fish sustainably, you will be penalized for the sins of the folks who don't. What kind of Bizarro World logic is that?

Hey, we wouldn't want to actually penalize and place restrictions on the nations actually responsible for damaging fish populations, would we?

Yeah, I didn't think so. Why, that's just crazy talk, right? Say, could you toss me that bottle of Head & Shoulders?

Inside the Industry

Governor Bill Walker has officially requested that the federal government declare a disaster for four Alaska regions hurt by one of the poorest pink salmon returns in decades.

Read more ...

The New England Fishery Management Council recently elected Dr. John F. Quinn of Massachusetts and E. F. “Terry” Stockwell III of Maine to serve respectively as chairman and vice chairman in the year ahead. The two have led the Council since 2014 but reversed roles this year. 

Read more ...
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