National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



Whether it's predicting weather or trying to assess fish populations, forecasting is a tricky business.

As the clock winds down on 2009, the snow is beginning to fly in earnest. It's looking like we're going to get socked with a snowstorm that will last into the new year by a day or two.

A couple of days ago, the weather forecasters told us it was looking like the snow probably wouldn't descend upon us until late Friday-early Saturday. Mother Nature has accelerated her timetable, which will likely make New Year's Eve festivities quite the adventure.

You could get ticked at the TV meteorologist, but weather forecasting ain't easy. Mother Nature doesn't often accommodate our desires, hence forecasts are bound to be wrong a fair amount of the time.

By the way, being a weather forecaster is the best job ever. You can be wrong the majority of the time, and not only keep your job, but be paid decently, too.

Likewise, fish don't readily accommodate federal stock rebuilding timetables. And it's equally difficult for marine scientists to accurately assess fish populations when the little buggers have the nagging habit of constantly swimming around.

Here's an area where weather forecasting and fish forecasting differ, though. My guess is far more dollars are devoted to studying the weather than they are to getting a more accurate handle on the health of fish stocks.

As for the likelihood that more federal dollars will be allotted for improving stock assessments? To quote Mr. Dylan, you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Here's wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Inside the Industry

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.


Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.

Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.

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