National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


ChesapeakeAs editor of a commercial fishing magazine, I hear a lot of great stories. And quite often, those stories are told by captivating storytellers. But it's rare that I get a chance to meet someone who wants to tell the story of fishermen in stunning pictures.

That's what we found in photographers Jay Fleming and Fred Stocker. Jay contacted me out of the blue, and when I opened his attachments, I was simply blown away. I had already been working with Fred Stocker on the idea of a photo essay on the watermen of Chesapeake Bay. Sometimes things fall into your lap at the right time, and you just have to seize the opportunity.

I love the opportunity to promote the work of commercial fishermen in different parts of the country. I hope you'll enjoy it, too. Here's a PDF of those pages if you can't wait for your issue to arrive in the mail.

But these days fishermen don't just work hard on the water. There are threats to wild fisheries all over the country. One of the biggest threats looming right now is genetically modified salmon, also called Frankenfish.

East Coast stakeholders have been working hard to revitalize critical habitat for Atlantic salmon. And while Alaska salmon is certainly healthy, that fishery has seen its ups and downs, most recently with a king salmon slump.

But all of that could be moot if the Food and Drug Administration approves the sale of genetically modified salmon (the first GM meat available in this country), particularly if it's allowed to be sold without a label clearly stating its origin.

Many (if not most) salmon eaters are health-conscious consumers. They love wild salmon not just for the taste but for the remarkable health benefits. I know I would not want to eat Frankenfish, but how would I know if I had the real deal without an labeling requirement.

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee recently adopted an amendment sponsored by Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) that would make labeling mandatory for GM salmon.

Alaska Rep. Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage) has a compelling Northern Lights column in our August issue that speaks to the heart of the troubles with Frankenfish. Find her piece "Put the freeze on Frankenfish" on page 8.

As always, thanks for reading.

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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