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.

Looks like Alaska can lay claim to being the nation's No. 1 fishing state for 2007.

So states a story in the Juneau-based Capital City Weekly, http://www.capitalcityweekly.com/stories/121708/bus_368669296.shtml citing a state Department of Labor report. Overall, the state's 5.3 billion pounds of seafood harvested was valued at a record $1.5 billion, according to NMFS data.

That total put them well ahead of the nation's No. 2 fishing state in value, Massachusetts, which NMFS data says recorded a harvest of 308.6 million pounds worth $457.2 million in 2007. Likewise, Alaska's volume of landings was comfortably ahead of Louisiana, which racked up 997.3 million pounds in '07.
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If a crew member on your boat fell overboard, what would you do?

Or what if that crew member is you? Even though you didn't see your fall coming, would you still be wearing the right clothing and gear that could vastly improve your chances of being seen and recovered?

These are just a couple of at-sea incidents that fishermen have learned how to handle by attending the New Bedford Fishermen Safety Training program. The program, held at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth's School for Marine Science and Technology, is free for fishermen. Since its inception in 2005, some 884 fishermen have attended the morning-long workshops.
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Can fishermen gain a greater voice in fisheries management?

One hopes so. But then again, fishermen — the folks who actually interact with finfish and shellfish regularly — don't seem to carry much clout when it comes to management or preservation of marine species.

So it'll be interesting to see whether the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and the New Hampshire Department of Fish & Game and Division of Marine Fisheries can convince a federal district court judge to provide relief from the Framework 42 regulations http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081209/NEWS/812090339 that barely allow groundfishermen to wet a net.
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Thank heavens for the Knights of the Lobstah Traps! They have saved us from a cruel fate at the hands — er, claws — of crafty crustaceans intent on exacting revenge on us all.

Perhaps, like me, you were too caught up in Thanksgiving festivities to notice. It's understandable, as we were so preoccupied with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, football games and half-time naps that we didn't realize that we were in peril.

But readers of the comic strip "Non Sequitur" by Wiley Miller learned last week that we were in danger of being overrun by angry, giant, talking lobsters, thanks to "The Curse of Luxury."
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Fishermen are being tarred with the same brush being used to blast the Bush administration regarding last-minute regulations that critics say aim to end environmental protections and erode our civil liberties.

Stories are starting to crop up in the press concerning what critics say is the lame-duck administration's 11th hour efforts to weaken the Endangered Species Act and expand the FBI's power to spy on ordinary Americans; they're among what a Baltimore Sun editorial calls "dozens of other controversial new interpretations of federal law that are being rushed through required administrative reviews with extraordinary haste."

The problem, the Sun and others say, is these new last-minute rules will bypass Congress and ignore the will of the people. Moreover, the media say, they will tie the hands of President-elect Barrack Obama and prove very difficult to undo.
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If you ever wondered about the value of survival suits, you need look no further than the sinking of the Seattle-based Katmai last week.

The 93-foot catcher processor, loaded with cod and heading for Dutch Harbor, Alaska, reportedly took on water in the stern and lost its steering before eventually sinking.

Four members of the 11-member crew were rescued. The bodies of five other crewmen were recovered; two other crewmen's bodies were not found.
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Like Michael Myers in the "Halloween" movies, the Exxon Valdez oil spill case refuses to die.

That seems appropriate with Halloween almost upon us. Horror movie buffs, welcome to "Nightmare on Prince William Sound." Freddie Krueger would, um, kill to have his slasher movie franchise last this long.

Apparently, legal wrangling over punitive damage payments to plaintiffs in the Exxon saga isn't over. Lawyers for Seattle-based Sea Hawk Seafoods, a processing company that had a plant in Valdez, are asking a federal judge to set aside an allocation plan for distributing the $505 million Exxon-Mobil must pay plaintiffs.
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The World Wide Fund for Nature is seeing red over bluefin.

According to an Agence France-Presse article http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iOx3Z__xvoOig-_pRzKBMLF7sLCw, WWF, sounding a tad like Regis Philbin ranting on his morning talk show, is asserting that Italy is "totally out of control" when it comes to fishing for bluefin tuna.

Usually, one raises an eyebrow when an environmental group starts barking that commercial fishing harvest practices are emptying the world's oceans of fish. But WWF tends to put its money where its mouth is. For example, they're the folks behind the International Smart Gear Competition, which awards cash prizes for the best ideas promoting sustainable fishing practices.
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All disasters aren't created equal in the White House's eyes.

Consider the West Coast salmon disaster, which this year left the region's troll fishermen without a commercial season. West Coast governors petitioned for a federal fisheries disaster declaration, which came in May.

In July Congress appropriated $170 million in federal disaster relief money that would be paid to trollers and related businesses affected by the salmon closure. It took until mid-September for the money to be released. Well, some of it.

You see, NOAA announced in mid-September that it was releasing $100 million of the aid package. The agency says the remaining $70 million will be disbursed later in the year as the $100 million is spent.
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It's not every day that Dame Fortune calls you.

I mean literally calls you. The phone rang, I picked up the receiver and there was Dame Fortune on the line.

I have, of course, been awaiting this call for years. I am not fussy; music, TV, movies, it's all good. All I ask is that my undeniable talent, good looks and awe-inspiring modesty are finally recognized.

Alas, the call wasn't actually for me. It was for you. Despite my disappointment, I took a message, which I am dutifully passing along.
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Page 23 of 25

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live is a web video series featuring the latest fishing news, product information and industry analysis by our editors. In this episode:

  • Ruling favors commercial red snapper fishermen
  • Fishermen file suit over Texas oil spill
  • Florida gov. announces oyster recovery funding
  • Hatchery salmon were 36 percent of harvest
  • Maine's new elver rules delay season start

Inside the Industry

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is currently soliciting applicants for open advisory panel seats as well as applications from scientists interested in serving on its Scientific and Statistical Committee.

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The North Carolina Fisheries Association (NCFA), a nonprofit trade association representing commercial fishermen, seafood dealers and processors, recently announced a new leadership team. Incorporated in 1952, its administrative office is in Bayboro, N.C.

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