National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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

 

Last week a little survey popped into my inbox, and I got very excited to fill it out.

This does not happen often (the excitement, that is).

However, this survey is about a whole slew of new and exciting aspects of seafood marketing that I pretty much can't believe is happening right now. The best part? You get a chance to submit your opinion, too.

The Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee is looking for input from people just like you on the possibility for a federally managed sustainability certification for U.S. seafood.

Some say this just makes perfect sense. NMFS already has all the information because they manage the fisheries. Why not tack on certification while they're at it?

This is a fair point. NMFS certainly has far more information on fisheries than most of the independent groups out there promoting traffic-light seafood lists. But does it make sense to saddle federal workers with yet more red tape?

When I put on my rose-colored glasses, my vision is that a certification system like this could help data-poor stocks become data rich (or at least data middle-class). If they go through the certification process, they will have to be studied and analyzed, which could generate critical information. Perhaps more importantly a national certification could help seafood retailers market U.S. seafood, thereby raising the demand and prices of our domestic products. Improved education, recognition and demand could slowly ratchet down the amount of seafood we import (most of which we don't test or manage for handling or quality).

What I would not want to see is well-managed fisheries being punished for factors beyond their control. The fact is, all of our fisheries are managed for sustainability. So can't we just label them as such? As far as I'm concerned, a federal sustainability label does not need to be encumbered by a certification process. Our management speaks for itself.

When I look at the American portfolio of seafood, I see that we have a bounty to offer. Why we're not promoting it as such is a true failing on our part. Perhaps some sort of certification program could help us close that gap. I'm certain some better marketing would.

If you would like to have your say, fill out the MAFAC survey today!

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 3/10/15

In this episode, Online Editor Leslie Taylor talks with Mike McLouglin, vice president of Dunlop Industrial and Protective Footwear.

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

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker is required by state statute to appoint someone to the Board of Fisheries by today, Tuesday, May 19. However, his efforts to fill the seat have gone unfulfilled since he took office in January. The seven-member board serves as an in-state fishery management council for fisheries in state waters.

The resignation of Walker’s director of Boards and Commissions, Karen Gillis, fanned the flames of controversy late last week.

Read more...

Keith Decker, president and COO of High Liner Foods, will take over for the outgoing CEO, Harry Demone, who will assume the role as chairman of the board of directors. The Lunenburg, Nova Scotia-based seafood supplier boasts sales in excess of $310 million (American) for the first quarter of the year.

Read more...
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