National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



For better or worse, when I think of Thanksgiving, I think of food. Football, too, but food popped into my mind first. Food, football, and the inevitable couch nap that follows.

Right now, though, I'm not thinking about turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, sweet potato, squash and turnip and pies. Well, apparently I am a little bit. But I'm thinking about seafood, too.

I'm thinking about lobster and haddock and blue crabs and spiny lobster and red snapper, and oysters, Dungeness crab, salmon, and king crab and so much more. More specifically, I'm thinking about the folks who go out and catch it all. That means I'm thinking about you.

I'm thinking about how you brave the elements every day to bring back a delicious and nutritious source of protein, and how you and your family have been doing it for generations. I'm thinking of folks like Maryland watermen Guy Spurry and his 19-year-old son Austin, who are featured in the video below. They go oystering every day, even though it's becoming harder and harder for them to do so. But they do it because — just like you — they love what they do.

Fishermen love being out on the water so much that they're willing to endure ever-mounting piles of government regulations, tackle the challenges poised by environmental groups, recreational fishing organizations, fluctuating market conditions and the whims of Mother Nature. That's pretty remarkable.

Suffice to say I'm thankful for the work you do, year in and year out. You may think that because you work on the water, out of sight of folks on land that no one notices all that you do.

But you're wrong. We do. Here's wishing our nation's fishermen a Happy Thanksgiving.

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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