National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

lincIn Mixed Catch, NF Senior Editor Linc Bedrosian spotlights a wide range of commercial fishing-related news items from coast to coast.

Yes, New England groundfishermen, there is a Santa Claus. NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco says she's leaving the agency at the end of February to return to her family on the West Coast and academia.

It's likely a bittersweet Christmas gift for the region's groundfish harvesters. On one hand, many of them have been clamoring for her removal almost from the beginning, thanks to her zeal in forcing catch share management upon them.

On the other hand, her resignation won't improve their present lot. Next week, the New England Fishery Management Council has the unhappy task of discussing catch limit alternatives for 2013 and beyond. Given dire stock assessments for cod and yellowtail flounder, whatever catch limit alternative the council eventually selects, the news probably won't be good.

So who should Lubchenco's successor be? What we saw during her tenure was Lubchenco's desire to have NOAA rather than NMFS drive the fisheries management policy bus. Should that trend continue, would Brian Rothschild, the Montgomery Charter Professor of Marine Science of the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, School for Marine Science and Technology, be a good fit?

Certainly Rothschild possesses the scientific credibility and gravitas the job requires, and the ability to work with a diverse group of stakeholders. He also has fishermen's respect, which would go a long ways towards righting their relations with the agency.

Whoever becomes Lubchenco's successor must do a better job of working with fishermen, and U.S. senators and representatives, too. And most of all, the new leader must encourage a better balance to fisheries management policy to ensure that fish and fishermen thrive. That would be the greatest Christmas gift U.S. fishermen could ever receive.

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 11/06/14

In this episode:

NOAA report touts 2013 landings, value increases
Panama fines GM salmon company Aquabounty
Gulf council passes Reef Fish Amendment 40
Maine elver quota cut by 2,000 pounds
Offshore mussel farm would be East Coast’s first

 

Inside the Industry

EAST SAND ISLAND, Oregon—Alexa Piggott is crawling through a dark, dusty, narrow tunnel on this 62-acre island at the mouth of the Columbia River. On the ground above her head sit thousands of seabirds. Piggott, a crew leader with Bird Research Northwest, is headed for an observation blind from which she'll be able to count them.
 
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NOAA and its fellow Natural Resource Damage Assessment trustees in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have announced the signing of a formal Record of Decision to implement a gulf restoration plan. The 44 projects, totaling an estimated $627 million, will restore barrier islands, shorelines, dunes, underwater grasses and oyster beds.

Read more...

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