National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



Last week, my lovely bride and a few of her work colleagues piled into her large white Buick and drove directly into the teeth of a monster snowstorm, determined to reach a business conference in Charlotte, N.C. Some 23 hours of white-knuckle driving through all manner of frozen precipitation didn't keep my fisherman's daughter spouse — a force of nature in her own right — from arriving on time.

It's been a brutal winter, on land and on the water, too. Just ask the fishermen working Lake Michigan for Susie-Q Fish Co. in Two Rivers, Wis. The company's two trawl boats and one gillnetter work Lake Michigan all winter long. But this year, extreme cold and ice have been a real problem.

"We've had the worst winter I've seen since 1977," Susie-Q Fish Co. president Mike LeClair told the Mantiwoc (Wis.) Herald Times Reporter.

We're talking wind chills on the lake reaching 20 below, folks. And then there's the ice.

"The ice is really taking a toll on us this year," Susie-Q skipper John Kulpa Jr., told the newspaper. "Every day we have to find a place to troll around in." The punishing trifecta of cold, wind and ice has made it difficult for the company's gillnetter to find its nets.

And of course there's the ice build up on the boats that needs to be hammered off. LeClair said it can sometimes be six inches thick. See for yourself what the boats are dealing with in this HTR Media video.

 Whether you're fishing on Lake Michigan or off Alaska or northeast waters, Old Man Winter makes your job a little more difficult and dangerous than usual. I tip my ski cap to all of you braving the winter elements to fill your holds with fish.

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