National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



The sun is shining, the sky is blue and it's a beautiful 72 degrees here in downtown Portland, Maine, but today, I have winter on my mind.

And it's not because in Maine we generally have two seasons, winter and the Fourth of July. Actually, our neighbors to the north are responsible for my mindset.

That's because the Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters, which represents fishermen across the country, has posted the first of a series of short videos that feature fishermen from across Canada. And the first one, which can be found on the member-based non-profit organization's website and on YouTube, offers a beautifully filmed glimpse of a family's commercial ice fishing operation on Lake Winnipeg in Dauphin River, Manitoba, a community of 65 fishermen that contributes over $5 million to Manitoba's economy.

On a February day, third generation fisherman Helgi Einarsson, his wife, Dale, and his younger brother Kris show how they drill through the ice, setting 10 to 15 nets in a day to catch pickerel, the most valuable species, and whitefish.

image001Other videos in the eight-episode series will spotlight lobstering in Meteghan, Nova Scotia, oyster harvesting in the French River area of Prince Edward Island, fishing for crab and shrimp in Newfoundland, and catching finfish in Sept-Îles, Quebec and Prince Rupert, British Columbia. The last video will examine the fish harvesters council's role, its work, tools and products.

The video series is still being filmed and will be released throughout the summer, the council says. It could prove to be a powerful way of getting fishermen's stories out to the general public.

"We're very excited about this series," says the council's director, John Sutcliffe, in a council press release. "Our work at the Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters is seen in every aspect of the fish harvester's day, from safety to the best way to market their catch. It provides a seldom seen glimpse of the industry. It depicts the lives of harvesters and their communities. Few people have a chance to see challenges harvesters face and the pride they have in their work. I believe it may change people's perception of the owner/operator fish harvesting industry."

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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