National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

jesJes Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman magazine and


Our office was atwitter yesterday morning with the news that Linda Greenlaw had been arrested for allegedly fishing in Canadian waters.

Greenlaw (whose latest book, "Fisherman's Bend," is reviewed in the October issue) is a well-known fisherman-turned-author from Isle au Haut, Maine. Having survived the perfect storm of "Perfect Storm" fame, Greenlaw's name is super-glued to that of the ill-fated Andrea Gail as the last person in contact with the swordfish boat that went down with all hands.

When I heard she was swordfishing before her arrest, I was surprised. I knew that she had mostly been lobstering since her publishing career took off. (That's the idyllic life here in Maine: lobstering and writing. Where do I sign up?)

Greenlaw took a position on the swordfish boat when NBC approached her with an idea for an eight-episode series.

Little did she know then that she'd be the focus of another kind of drama.

What most of us are wondering is how far over that line could she have been to justify the Canadian Coast Guard taking her into custody in handcuffs?

An article in today's Portland (Maine) Press Herald explains very well why we were so baffled.

The explanation comes from maritime lawyer Michael Savasuk in Portland, who says the Canadian Coast Guard issues warnings and may get more aggressive if those warnings are ignored. However, according to the article, Savasuk "has never heard of fishermen being handcuffed as they're brought to court for a boundary infraction."

Did the Canadians know the trip was being filmed? Is this posturing from our friendly neighbors to the north? I would expect this (and worse) from Fidel's Cuba, but Canadians? Never.

Could it be that someone at NBC has strings to pull with the Canadian Coast Guard? At this point that seems the most likely explanation of this bizarre turn of events.

Stay tuned, though, folks. Greenlaw's hearing on the infraction is scheduled for the end of October.

Anyone know if they allow cameras in Canadian court rooms?

Inside the Industry

NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.


A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.

Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species,  allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.

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