National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



One of the perks of being on the NF staff is that you get to be among the first to read great monthly submissions like Roger Fitzgerald's "In Search of the Simple Life" column. Fitz's column is always a treat to read.

His latest offering, which you'll find on page 6 of the March issue that patiently awaits retrieval from your mailbox is entitled, "The art of fish." And it's equally enjoyable for the story Roger tells as for the artwork that accompanies it.

Roger trimmed a few words from his column because he wanted to make sure we had room to run the accompanying photos of Martha Brouwer's artwork. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

MarthaBrouwer HankOur humble writer recently attended a gallery showing of her work, which triggered his memory of what proved to be a career-altering meeting with the artist. However that meeting 40 years ago didn't take place in an art gallery.

Rather, Roger bumped into Brouwer, whom he remembered as a graduate school lecturer in Massachusetts, on the waterfront in Ketchikan, Alaska. It turned out to be a fortuitous re-acquaintance that would kick start Roger's fish-writing career. He must like it — he's been doing it since 1976.

I won't deprive you of the fun of reading how running into Brouwer started Roger down the writing path. Instead, I'll switch gears and talk about Brouwer's work.

Not that I am particularly qualified to do so. One art history course in college does not an art critic make.

But I would be remiss if I didn't mention that her art is a fascinating collection of paintings that center around people, birds and fish. Here's the mission statement of her work that appears on her website:

MarthaBrouwer Acrobats"I want to convey the sense of wholeness and unity across all life. People of the earth, birds of the air and fish of the sea are all interconnected. I celebrate the wonder of these connections in my work," she writes.

"My design skills and my interest in patterns and textures are reflected in my approach. I enjoy layering different media to accomplish depth of tone and meaning. Primarily, I love to paint."

Fitz simply says her paintings capture "the inner fish." I know this much. I went to her website to check out examples of her work (you can, too). And I found them beautiful.

They strike me as having a dreamy quality. They made me think and feel. I suspect an artist is pretty happy if their work gets you to do that. Here's to the art of fish, and Fitz.

Photos: Martha Brouwer's paintings explore the interconnection of people birds and fish; Martha Brouwer

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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