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.

Yesterday I saw something I wasn't sure I'd ever see: A letter to the editor written by a fisherman praising a daily newspaper's coverage of the commercial fishing industry.

But that's exactly what fisherman Russell A. Sherman of the Lady Jane did when he praised the Gloucester (Mass.) Daily Times for its coverage of the recent groundfish management battles that have taken place.

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Sometimes it seems like fishermen must spend more time off the water just to preserve their ability to stay on it.

For example, in California, the state's Marine Life Protection Act of 1999 calls for a network of marine protected areas along its coast. Consequently, Southern California's commercial and recreational fishermen have teamed up to craft a proposal for marine protected areas http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2009/mar/02/1s2outdoors201534-proposal-offered-start-fishermen/.

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Valentine's Day was Saturday, but NMFS wasn't feeling the love.

When NMFS announced its interim rules for the 2009 groundfishing season, angry Northeast fishermen roundly criticized the fisheries management agency. The combination of further whittling of days at sea and increased area closures, including most of southern New England groundfishing grounds, further handcuffed an already struggling fleet.

Even folks in the environmental community said the agency's restrictions went too far.

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A pox upon you, Punxsutawney Phil!

Wait, I take it back. I mean, I want to shake my fist at Pennsylvania's prognosticating groundhog for seeing his shadow on Groundhog Day, dooming us to six more weeks of winter. But I don't want to incur the wrath of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

After all, PETA is already steamed at the fishing industry for — as they see it — cruelly capturing critters from the briny deep. Sure, seafood provides a wealth of health benefits and is an affordable and outstanding source of protein. But doggone it, PETA says, fish are people, too!

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Will the feeling of hope spurred by yesterday's inauguration of President Barack Obama extend to U.S. commercial fishermen?

I hope so.

I hope a new director for NMFS is named soon. I hope that the new agency head will establish a fisheries management policy that promotes sustainable fisheries, yet balances the needs of fish and fishermen.

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I don't know what's more chilling — the sub-zero temperature I woke up to this morning or NMFS' seeming insistence on gutting New England's small-boat fishing fleets.

I'm inclined to believe it's the latter. And that point was driven home by an article in the Gloucester (Mass.) Daily Times, which asserts that the goal of federal fisheries policy is to whittle down the small-boat fleets http://www.gloucestertimes.com/fishing/x645317714/Feds-Fish-rules-goal-is-to-reduce-fleet?keyword=secondarystory in New England ports.

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Nothing says Happy New Year quite like earning more than $100,000 for a bluefin tuna.

Certainly the fishermen who landed the 282-pound Japanese bluefin would agree. According to an Associated Press report, on Monday, two sushi bar owners plunked down 9.63 million yen — $104,700 — at the Tokyo fish auction for the privilege of purchasing the prized tuna.

That's the most a bluefin has fetched at the Tokyo auction since 2001 when another Japanese bluefin commanded a record 20 million yen, which translates into approximately $214,000.

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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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Page 27 of 30

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 2/26/15

In this episode, National Fisherman's Online Editor Leslie Taylor speaks with Rick Constantine, vice president of marketing, Acme United Corporation, about Cuda corrosion resistant knives.

National Fisherman Live: 2/24/15

In this episode:

March date set for disaster aid dispersal
Oregon LNG project could disrupt fishing
NOAA tweaks gear marking requirement
N.C. launches first commercial/recreational dock
Spiny lobster traps limits not well received

Inside the Industry

Today Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced legislation to extend a permanent exemption for incidental runoff from small commercial fishing boats.

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The National Working Waterfront Network is now accepting abstracts and session proposals for the next National Working Waterfronts & Waterways Symposium, taking place Nov. 16-19 in Tampa, Fla. The deadline is Tax Day, April 15.

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