National Fisherman

The Sorting Table 

sorting table iconThe Sorting Table features stories from National Fisherman contributors and guest bloggers.

Top10 febEach day, our editors scour news outlets from across the nation and the globe to find and share with you the most interesting and most relevant stories about commercial fishing. We update our site each morning with the latest news on regulations, sustainability and market trends -- everything you need to make informed decisions about your business.

But we know it's not always possible for those who work at sea to check in with us daily.  So here's a handy list of the 10 most-read online news stories from the past 30 days. 

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By Andrew Minkiewicz and Anne Hawkins

Last week, the lawyers at the Conservation Law Foundation used a posting on their Talking Fish blog (“Industry Lawyers Wrong on Closed Areas Science: An Open and Shut Case,” Feb. 18, 2014) to attack our Washington Lookout column (“Wishing doesn't make it so,” National Fisherman, March 2014, p. 8). They accused us of “sending the council… misinformation regarding the science in an attempt to weaken the habitat plan.” In line with previous Talking Fish articles, the CLF lawyers provided little insight into the issues at hand when they attacked the position of the Fisheries Survival Fund on the Georges Bank area closures.

The reality remains: The peer-reviewed scientific recommendations developed over 10 years by New England fishery stock assessment scientists and habitat experts agree that the current closures are not meeting the goals that the New England Fishery Management Council has set for groundfish habitat protection.

CLF claims to stand with science but continues to misrepresent the facts guiding important processes to update fisheries management according to comprehensive scientific evaluations.

  1. A huge majority of the areas under review were never closed to protect habitat — they were restricted 20 years ago to prevent fish mortality under a system of management that is no longer in use. In 2010, most groundfish stocks in New England switched to a catch-shares system that limits mortality by capping the number of fish that can be landed.
  2. Changes to these closures are part of an overdue process to incorporate the most up-to-date science in order to enable better, more effective fisheries management.
  3. There is no evidence that the massive year-round Georges Bank closure has helped the recovery of vulnerable groundfish populations like cod and yellowtail flounder.
  4. Under the catch-shares system, the current closures are counterproductive to the council’s habitat goals. These large closed areas increase fishing pressure on unrestricted New England habitats by displacing fishing from high-yield areas. This ultimately increases contact between fishing gear and ocean habitat. The council’s Habitat Committee stated in an analysis: “We find that for nearly all area and gear type combinations, opening existing closed areas to fishing is predicted to decrease aggregate adverse effects.”
  5. Areas that have been identified by current models as important habitat for groundfish stocks and spawning behavior will remain restricted. This includes the unique kelp habitat in the Gulf of Maine closure as well as the Whaleback area, which is the only closure that has been identified by the council as containing a cod spawning site.

On Tuesday, Feb. 25, the council will meet to determine preferred alternatives to the current closures.

The research cited by CLF does not support the organization’s recommendation to maintain the status quo.

  • The 2005 study by Murawski et al. that is highlighted in the Talking Fish article concludes, “These findings emphasize that year-round closures did not have universal positive impacts on the abundance and spill-over potential of all groundfish stocks.”
  • The referenced 2012 study by Dean et al. looks at the behavior of six tagged codfish in association with gillnets, though gillnet gear is currently allowed in many areas of the current closures.
  • CLF conflates unique habitat in the Gulf of Maine closure with the closures in Georges Bank. These habitats have various area-specific features, and the council has recognized the importance of analyzing each closure separately.

When the current closed areas were designated over 20 years ago, scant information was available to determine where important fish habitat was located. Today, with the help and support of the scallop industry, scientists are working with a peer-reviewed Swept Area Seabed Impact model to both locate areas that are vital to groundfish spawning and stock health, and offer solutions that minimize potential adverse impacts from fishing.

In the council’s SASI analysis, large portions of the current closures were not identified as meriting protection. The models also indicate that many areas previously considered Essential Fish Habitat are not ideally located for habitat protection. Adjusting the present closures according to up-to-date and comprehensive analyses will best protect important fish habitat while eliminating the unnecessary and ecologically harmful restrictions that are currently in place.

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By Susan Chambers

Sorting Table HI Purse seinersLike Hawaii-based longliners who will feel the sting of new rules from the December 2013 Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission meeting in Australia, U.S.-based purse seine vessels are frustrated with rules that will force them to lose fishing days.

“We’re not talking about conservation decisions,” says Brian Hallman, the San Diego-based American Tunaboat Association’s executive director. “These were high seas restrictions for the [U.S.] purse seine fleet that were strictly economic issues.”

The association represents the entire U.S. purse seine fleet — about 40 vessels — that fish for skipjack and other tunas in the Western and Central Pacific on the high seas. Last year, the vessels fished a combined 2,588 days on the high seas and within the Exclusive Economic Zone.

Fishery managers were concerned about the impacts to bigeye tuna, which is caught in association with skipjack, the primary fish in canned tuna products. That concern resulted in limiting the U.S. fleet to a total of 1,270 days on the high seas this year.

NMFS has yet to determine the number of days the fleet can fish in the EEZ. But it still won’t be enough to make up for losses imposed on them at the commission meeting, Hallman says.

Some other countries’ fleets also will be regulated, but not to the extent the U.S. fleets will be. The Hawaii-based Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council notes that other Western and Central Pacific countries may not comply with the rules and the commission has no way of ensuring compliance.

Photo: U.S. purse seiners at dock in Pago Pago, American Samoa; NMFS Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center

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Each day, our editors scour news outlets from across the nation and the globe to find and share with you the most interesting and most relevant stories about commercial fishing. We update our site each morning with the latest news on regulations, sustainability and market trends — everything you need to make informed decisions about your business.

But we know it's not always possible for those who work at sea to check in with us daily. So we're starting a new feature where each month, we will compile the 10 most-read online news stories from the past 30 days. Learn what your colleagues are reading and never miss a hot story with this handy list of our best-read content.

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By Charlie Ess

Alaska fishermen got a dose of business savvy when the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Summit convened in Anchorage in December.

The conference has been held five times in the past seven years in hopes of recruiting permanent entrants into the state’s fisheries. Studies dating back to 1977 show the average age of Alaska fishermen has crept from around 40 to closer to 50.

In a vein similar to previous summits, this year’s conference included sessions focused on fisheries management, marketing, politics and finance. Alaska Sea Grant organizers Sunny Rice , Torie Baker and Paula Cullenberg had lined up three days’ worth of presentations and added a fourth day to include CPR classes and vessel safety training.

About 60 fishermen attended this year’s event and took notes when bankers explained the finer points of a balance sheet, depreciation and tax consequences.

With the recent push to launch a ballot initiative that would ban set nets in Upper Cook Inlet , other presentations advised fishermen how to write and present proposals protecting their interests to the Alaska Board of Fisheries .

“The last time we did the summit, we were able to put it on in Juneau ,” says Baker, an agent with Alaska Sea Grant’s Marine Advisory Program, in Cordova . “There was a lot of excitement, and we were able to get the participants to go up and meet their legislators.”

Baker adds that last time, eight fishermen testified to the state’s sub committee on fisheries and that the next summit will take place in Juneau. Until then, you can learn more about the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Summit in the video below.

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Top2013stories2As a new year approaches, here's a look back at the most-read online news stories from the past year. From record catches to changing regulations, these are the stories your colleagues were reading in 2013. 

Top 10 stories of 2013

1. Fisherman pulled underwater by crab pot

2. Fishermen land 912-pound 'fish of a lifetime'

3. Massive marine protected area is a sham

4. 200-year-old fish caught in Alaska

5. Petition calls for drastic striped bass cuts

6. Fla. judge overturns ban on gillnet fishing

7. Shark jumps in boat

8. Crew abandons ship after skipper's alleged assault

9. Photos: Ready for Dungeness season

10. Shutdown may hit Alaska "Deadliest Catch" fishery


enews2Don't forget that you can get 
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The St. John’s, Newfoundland-based eSonar and Zhoushan Sound Ocean IT Co. of Zhoushan, China, signed a distribution agreement on Oct. 10 for eSonar’s sonar-based trawl monitoring systems to be marketed in eastern China through Zhoushan Sound’s distribution network. The two companies also agreed to collaborate on the development of new sonar products.

In late November, Jim Hall, eSonar’s managing director, and Don Vokey, director of marketing and sales, flew to Zhoushan to conduct training with Zhoushan Sound’s technical staff and sales people.

“At first, we were hesitant to enter the Chinese market because we were protective of our [intellectual property],” Vokey recalled, but with the assistance of the provincial government’s Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, he and Hall exhibited the company’s products at an inbound trade mission in St. John’s and then at Oceanology International in China.

“We were inundated with meetings,” Vokey said. They met Dr. Jun Han, who had taught at Tokyo University and was doing similar work in the development of sonar products. And after conducting due diligence through the Canadian trade commissioner’s office in Shanghai, they decided to partner with his company.

Two weeks after inking this agreement, on Oct. 24, Nautel, a marine electronics distributor headquartered in Lisbon, signed a distribution agreement with eSonar to sell the company’s products, TrawlVue and SeineVue, in Portugal. “Since then, they have installed both systems, on a trawler and a purse seiner,” reported Vokey. “Both are working extremely well.” He added that the sensors on these new systems are fully programmable in the field and have multifunction capabilities.

In addition to China and Portugal, eSonar has distributors in Ireland, Spain, the United States, Canada, the Faroe Islands, the UK and Belgium. — Andrew Safer

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Top10 novEach day, our editors scour news outlets from across the nation and the globe to find and share with you the most interesting and most relevant stories about commercial fishing. We update our site each morning with the latest news on regulations, sustainability and market trends -- everything you need to make informed decisions about your business.

But we know it's not always possible for those who work at sea to check in with us daily.  So here's a handy list of the 10 most-read online news stories from the past 30 days. 

Add a comment


Last week the National Fisherman team was in Seattle for Pacific Marine Expo.  We had a great time checking out the latest gear, attending conferences and catching up with our readers. Here's a slideshow of photos from this year's expo. 

Start the slideshow >>

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pmeAre you attending Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle? We hope to see you there! Besides all the equipment and gear showcased on the expo floor, the event offers a wide range of lectures, panel discussions and book signings. Here's what's happening on Thursday and Friday. For Wednesday's schedule, click here.

Thursday Nov. 21

11 a.m. - noon Falling Off, Falling In: Prevention and Surviving

During fishing operations, crew members can be exposed to many factors that may result in them falling off of the vessel. These include things such as sea conditions and fishing gear. There are a variety of ways to prevent the falls, as well as key steps that crew members and operators should practice to survive a fall into frigid water. Come to the session to refresh your knowledge about concepts for preventing falls and review ways to rescue crew members from a fall. Participate in demonstrations of man overboard alarms, personal flotation devices and man overboard recovery drills. These concepts will be illustrated with hands-on activities. Presented by: Jennifer Lincoln, NIOSH Alaska Pacific Office; Ted Teske, NIOSH Alaska Pacific Office; Jerry Dzugan, Alaska Marine Safety Education Association; Ken Lawrenson, United States Coast Guard; Dan Hardin, USCG District 13; Mallory Davis, NIOSH Alaska Pacific Office and; man 
overboard alarm manufacturers

11 a.m. - noon Understanding Diesel Fuel Performance Standards

Modern diesel engine performance is directly related to the fuel, and varies from fuel to fuel. This presentation helps the diesel user/fuel purchaser understand critical diesel fuel performance standards that help increase engine efficiency, reduce fuel consumption and reduce emissions. With domestic crude production at record levels and growing, the U.S. end user now has the ability to track from "well to wheel" the crude source and refinery technique used to produce ULSD that all produce different diesel fuels. Presented by: James Russo, founder, Leading Edge Sciences, LLC

11 a.m. - noon Just for the Halibut

Examining changes to the Catch Sharing Plan allocations as well as the new NMFS observer program for Alaska’s commercial halibut fleet. Presented by: Kathy Hansen, Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance; Linda Behnken, Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association; James W. Balsiger, Ph.D., administrator, Alaska Region, National Marine Fisheries Service

11 a.m. Corey Arnold, "Fish-Work" at the Author's Corner & Bookstore

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. More than a Feeling: Vessel Stability, Part 2

During fishing operations, vessels are exposed to many factors that affect stability. These include things such as sea conditions, weather and changing loads. Since the state of the stability of a vessel is continually changing, understanding the combined effect of these factors is vital to a safe and profitable operation. Come to the session to refresh your knowledge about basic stability concepts such as the center of gravity, center of buoyancy, metacenter, and righting arm. Then participate in demonstrations illustrating these concepts with hands-on activities to reinforce these concepts. Afterwards, review a set of stability instructions and how to use them.  Presented By: Dan Hardin, USCG District 13; Jennifer Lincoln, NIOSH Alaska Pacific Office; Jerry Dzugan, Alaska Marine Safety Education Association; Ken Lawrenson, United States Coast Guard

12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association Update

This RSDA sponsored event will include a presentation and question and answer session led by Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Paul Salomone.  Salomone and other presenters will discuss fisheries management issues, over escapement goals (OEG), permit buyback plans and other topics important to Bristol Bay fishermen.  Presented by: Elijah Lawson;  Paul Salomone, Alaska Dept of Fish and Game;  Chris Boatright, University of Washington Fisheries Research Institute and; Beth Poole, Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association

1 p.m. - 2 p.m. Sponsored Session: Rotating Equipment

1 p.m. Mark Maricich, "The Greenhorn's Guide to Alaska Fishing Jobs" at the Author's Corner & Bookstore

3 p.m. Louis B. Boone, Jr., "Wrangell Narrows at a Glance" at the Author's Corner & Bookstore


2:45 p.m. - 3 p.m. Workboat and Fishing Boat Year in Reviews

Bruce Buls, technical editor for WorkBoat magazine and Jes Hathaway and Michael Crowley, editors of National Fisherman, will kick off our annual Boatyard Day with a 2013 Year in Review for both workboats and fishing boats. Then learn the 2013 National Fisherman Boats & Gear Award winners!

3 p.m. - 4 p.m. Keynote Address: Resurgence of the Pacific Northwest Maritime Industry

Frank Foti, CEO and President, Vigor Industrial LLC
Over the past 18 years, Frank Foti has led the company's transformation from a single, struggling shipyard to a thriving, increasingly diversified industrial company with 2,000 employees, seven locations and more than $500 million in annual revenue.

Friday, Nov. 22

8 a.m. - 9 a.m. Breakfast with the Editors  -Paid

10:30 a.m. James Cole, "Drawing on our History: The Fishing Vessels of the Pacific Northwest & Alaska" at the Author's Corner & Bookstore

9 a.m. - noon Profitable Harvest  -Paid

12:30 p.m. David Esson Young, "The Uchuck Years" at the Author's Corner & Bookstore

1 p.m. - 2 p.m. Fisherman of the Year

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Page 2 of 3

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 8/14/14

In this episode:

  • More cod cuts expected if NOAA data holds
  • Louisiana importing oysters to meet demand
  • N.C. sets new sturgeon bycatch rules
  • BP appeals to Supreme Court on spill settlement
  • Senate releases new Magnuson-Stevens draft

National Fisherman Live: 8/5/14

In this episode, National Fisherman's Boats & Gear Editor Michael Crowley talks with Frances Parrott about the Notus Dredgemaster.

Inside the Industry

PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative has appointed Matt Jacobson as its new executive director.

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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