National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

lincIn Mixed Catch, NF Senior Editor Linc Bedrosian spotlights a wide range of commercial fishing-related news items from coast to coast.

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?

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 11/06/14

In this episode:

NOAA report touts 2013 landings, value increases
Panama fines GM salmon company Aquabounty
Gulf council passes Reef Fish Amendment 40
Maine elver quota cut by 2,000 pounds
Offshore mussel farm would be East Coast’s first

 

Inside the Industry

EAST SAND ISLAND, Oregon—Alexa Piggott is crawling through a dark, dusty, narrow tunnel on this 62-acre island at the mouth of the Columbia River. On the ground above her head sit thousands of seabirds. Piggott, a crew leader with Bird Research Northwest, is headed for an observation blind from which she'll be able to count them.
 
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NOAA and its fellow Natural Resource Damage Assessment trustees in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have announced the signing of a formal Record of Decision to implement a gulf restoration plan. The 44 projects, totaling an estimated $627 million, will restore barrier islands, shorelines, dunes, underwater grasses and oyster beds.

Read more...

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