National Fisherman


Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.

 

 

I hope everybody had a good chuckle over the April Fools edition of yesterday's newsletter. Certainly the folks in the historic but troubled Northeast groundfish fishery could use a laugh. But with massive cuts to Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank cod harvest quotas taking hold next month, I'm guessing that right now, nothing really seems funny to them.

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The Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu said the journey of a million miles begins with a single step. You'd almost think he had the lengthy Magnuson-Stevens Act reauthorization process in mind.

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It's been a long winter, but the calendar says spring has sprung. It doesn't look like it here in Portland, Maine, where Tuesday's storm brought the season's snowfall total in the city to 90 inches.

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It's pretty quiet in our Portland, Maine, headquarters today. That's because the office is closed thanks to what appears to be a nasty late winter snowstorm — apparently dubbed Ukko (pronounced YOU-ko) — that could dump about a foot of snow on our fair city and up to 18 inches to the north and west of us. Hence, most of our troops are working from home today.

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Many people don't really know what fishermen's work entails; if they live in a coastal community, they may see the boats leaving or returning to port or maybe even get to watch a vessel's catch being offloaded. Yet they don't know how fishermen go about their jobs once the boats steam out of sight.

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April 20 will mark the third anniversary of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon well killed 11 workers and some 200 million gallons of oil gushed into the gulf before the well could be capped. Fishermen are still dealing with the spill's effects, as we show in the April issue of NF.

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As NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco sails off into the proverbial sunset today, a question usually reserved for presidential candidates comes to mind. Are fishermen better off today than they were four years ago? Northeast groundfishermen would say, "No."

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eastofhagueline cover2East of the Hague Line
By Gordon Holmes
Trafford Publishing, 2012
676 pp., hardcover, $35.44; softcover, $25.44; e-book, $3.99
www.trafford.com

There isn't a lot of down time on a fishing boat at sea, so it may take a fisherman some time to get through the more than 600 pages that make up Gordon Holmes' novel "East of the Hague Line." The good news is it's worth taking that time.

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Norwegian cod harvesters are experiencing a problem that their New England brethren haven't for some years now: an overabundance of cod.

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The Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association recently helped a New York food writer, armed with a can and a plan, introduce youngsters in the Bronx to the tasty benefits of their Alaska product.

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Page 14 of 33

Inside the Industry

The Downeast Salmon Federation has received a major grant from the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities to ensure and improve the water quality of eastern Maine’s most important rivers, according to the Ellsworth American.

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Louisiana crab fishermen and their catch are feeling the pressure of a downturn in the state economy, and a resulting upturn of people entering the fishery.

“It’s a crazy business right now,” said Pete Gerica, the New Orleans fisherman who now serves as president or the Louisiana Crab Task Force, a legislatively-created board of industry voices that makes recommendations to state government.

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