National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



Who wouldn't feel a 25 percent hit in their income?

Maybe professional athletes, movie stars or rock stars wouldn't. They wouldn't be happy about it, but they could withstand it. I mean, if Jim Carrey goes from making $10 million per film to $7.5 million, I don't think he's going to be worried about making mortgage or car payments and putting food on the table.

But new rules for the 2010 season approved at November's New England Fishery Management Council meeting (though NMFS must still give final approval) could slash scallopers' revenue by 25 percent. Despite a healthy, well-managed and monitored scallop resource, the total allowable harvest will be lower because regulators are required to factor in "scientific uncertainty" about population numbers when setting the harvest limit.

Furthermore, days at sea will be cut from 38 to 29. And the number of trips to restricted access areas will decline from five to four.

Given all this, scallopers say they could be facing a 25 percent cut in their revenue next year. Roy Enoksen, president of New Bedford, Mass.-based Eastern Fisheries, which operates 23 scallop boats, told the New Bedford Standard-Times this week the changes translate into a loss of $250,000 to $300,000 per vessel.

The scallop industry will survive the cuts. But in a down economy, they sure don't help.

Hence, it's all the more perplexing that Magnuson-Stevens Act requirements force regulators to largely ignore socioeconomic factors that could give fishery managers greater leeway and mitigate the hit fishermen would take in these tough economic times.

Perhaps persistent industry prodding could convince our esteemed congressmen and senators to amend Magnuson-Stevens to give regulators that flexibility. I'm inclined to believe they'd be sympathetic to the cause. After all, how do you think they'd react to any attempts to cut politicians' income by 25 percent?

Inside the Industry

Pink shrimp is the first fishery managed by Washington to receive certification from the global Marine Stewardship Council fisheries standard for sustainable, wild-caught seafood.

The state’s fishery was independently assessed as a scope extension of the MSC certified Oregon pink shrimp fishery, which achieved certification to the MSC standard in December 2007 and attained recertification in February 2013.


NMFS has awarded 16 grants totaling more than $2.5 million as part of its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.

The program supports the development of technological solutions and changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch and aims to to find creative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, seabird interactions, and post-release mortality in federally managed fisheries.

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