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.

Bipartisan efforts to get U.S. fishermen health insurance continue to gain traction.

This week, the California state Senate in a 22-14 vote approved a resolution by Sen. Patricia Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa) urging Congress to pass the Commercial Fishing Industry Health Care Coverage Act of 2008. Wiggins' resolution now moves to the state Assembly.

The act would create a health insurance fund and provide affordable health care coverage for commercial fishermen and their families.
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Today started out rather nicely. Summer has arrived, even here in what has been damp and cool Maine. The sky is blue, it's a warm and sunny 80 degrees, and I could feel my mood brightening by the minute.

Then I saw the news. The Supreme Court voted 5-3 to reduce the punitive damages resulting from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill from $2.5 billion to $507.5 million.

That pretty much killed the good mood.
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Is there a better example of someone keeping the faith than Job, the Biblical character who steadfastly endured numerous afflictions, yet never wavered in his beliefs?

In a test of his faith, Job loses his wealth, his livestock, his house, his servants, and his children — and that's just for starters. Somehow Job maintains his faith throughout it all, and he eventually gets all that he lost back with interest.

Had Job been one of the 32,000 plaintiffs still awaiting punitive damages checks from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, he might now, however, be raising an eyebrow. Were he still anticipating a Supreme Court decision over Exxon's challenge of the $2.5 billion punitive damages verdict, he might well cast his eyes heavenward and say, "OK, enough already. Lord knows I'm a patient guy, but this is a little too much."
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Back in the 1970s, when "Saturday Night Live" was considered groundbreaking and, well, funny, they did a spoof of a phone company commercial starring Lily Tomlin as her telephone operator character Ernestine.

Apparently Ma Bell was lacking in the customer service department. At the end of the skit, the camera cut to Ernestine, sitting at the switchboard.

"We don't care," Ernestine said, smiling smugly. "We don't have to. We're the phone company."
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I have spent the better part of this week sniffling, sneezing and coughing. I would say I've gone through a box and a half of Kleenex and have downed my fair share of Robitussin cough syrup.

Nonetheless, I consider myself a lucky guy. The common cold aside, I'm pretty healthy; I don't think I've had even a handful of sick days since I came to NF in late 1994.

And if I do find myself in need of medical attention, I'll be able to take advantage of our company's health care plan. You almost start to feel better just knowing that you're not going to have to worry about how to pay that bill that could easily drain your finances.
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It's bad enough that the vast majority of seafood consumed in this country is imported. But what's worse is that it seems harder to know whether the fish you buy at the supermarket or order at the restaurant is actually the species listed.

Just last week, the Miami Herald published an opinion piece by Bob Jones, executive director of the Southeastern Fisheries Association, regarding the problem. "Seafood industry experts believe at least 20 million consumers are ripped off each year through the illegal practice of seafood product substitution known as bait and switch," Jones wrote.
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The whirring numbers at the gas pump are putting the squeeze on everyone these days.

This morning I read in the Portland (Maine) Press Herald about a convoy of commercial truck drivers from 25 states that's bound for Washington, D.C. Truckers are protesting the rising fuel costs that they say are evaporating their profits.

According to U.S. Department of Energy data, U.S. average gas prices have jumped from $2.86 a year ago to $3.50 as of April 21 this year. On the diesel front, prices skyrocketed from $2.85 last year to $4.14 this year.
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Several years ago, I met a guy who played in a garage band, and when he learned I play guitar, he invited me over to jam with them. When I arrived, one of the guitarists asked me if I knew any Beatles songs.

“Yeah,” I said. “All of them.”

I wasn’t boasting. Back in the day, I largely taught myself how to play guitar by sitting down with Beatles albums. I’d drop the needle on our portable record player and try to figure out how to play each song. It was a wonderful musical education.
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Here at the National Fisherman offices, we're getting ready to shove off to Fish Expo Atlantic in Providence, R.I., tomorrow.

Our fearless leader, Editor in Chief Jerry Fraser, has packed up all the goodies for the NF booth, including plenty of copies of our May issue for all our adoring fans to peruse. The May issue, of course, salutes our 2008 Highliner Award winners, Tilman Gray, of Avon, N.C., Rodney Avila, of New Bedford, Mass., and Craig Pendleton of Saco, Maine.
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You just never know who'll be on the other end of the line when the phone rings around here.

This gives me hope that one day it will be actress Evangeline Lilly (Kate on "Lost") professing her undying love for me and informing me that there is a first-class ticket waiting for me at the Portland International Jetport so that I can join her in Hawaii immediately.

So understandably my hopes rose when the phone rang last week. It wasn't Evangeline (rats!). Instead, a man named Tedd Schermerhorn introduced himself as the senior casting producer for the CBS reality television show "Big Brother".
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Page 26 of 27

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 7/17/14

In this episode, National Fisherman's Boats & Gear Editor Michael Crowley talks with Mike Hillers about the Simrad PX Multisensor.

 

National Fisherman Live: 7/8/14

In this episode:

  • Obama proposes initiative on tracking fish
  • Council retains haddock bycatch limit
  • Columbia River salmon plan challenged
  • Virginia approves reduction in blue crab harvest
  • Ala. shrimpers hope to net some jumbo profits

 

Inside the Industry

PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative has appointed Matt Jacobson as its new executive director.
 
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The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will convene its Red Snapper Advisory Panel Wednesday, July 30, 2014, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the council office — 2203 N. Lois Avenue, Suite 1100, in Tampa, Fla. 

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