National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



So much for the John Bryson era as the U.S. Secretary of Commerce. It began with his Senate confirmation in October and ended yesterday when he submitted his letter of resignation to President Obama, less than two weeks after the car he was driving was involved in collisions with two other vehicles near his California home.

Commerce Department officials say Bryson's neurologists concluded after initial testing that he suffered a complex partial seizure. These seizures cause abnormal electrical activity in an isolated section of the brain; a person could still perform simple tasks, doctors say, but be unable to handle more complex tasks.

Bryson, 68, announced two days after the incident that he would be taking a medical leave of absence from the Commerce Department, NOAA's parent agency. He issued his resignation letter Wednesday, writing that, "I have concluded that the seizure I suffered on June 9th could be a distraction from my performance as Secretary and that our country would be better served by a change in leadership at the Department."

Hence, Rebecca M. Blank steps up to the plate as the acting Commerce Secretary. She takes over for Bryson, who was named to the post after Gary Locke stepped down to become U.S. ambassador to China. It remains to be seen whether the president will nominate a new secretary for confirmation in this presidential election year. Don't bet the boat payment on it.

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