National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


I went to see the movie "Flow" this week. While I don't think the film's makers will be up for any Oscar nods, the overall point was pretty clear. That is, water resources are being bought and bottled up by international corporations, and at least in this country, there's no legislation to regulate it.

Fishermen have been grappling with water pollution, surface runoff and water access for generations now. This is not the time to get complacent.

As bottling plants continue to fight for access to the water flowing under the land they own (the use of which is both unprecedented and as yet unregulated in this country), court rulings and inevitable legislative measures may have an effect on fishermen's rights down the line.

On top of that, the chemicals used to make all those plastic bottles are very likely to find their way to the ocean and the creatures that live in it.

One thing you can do is pause to think before buying your next bottle of water (keeping in mind that tap water has far stricter standards than bottled water).

Fishermen all over this country are fighting for their water rights by opposing aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico, drilling in Bristol Bay, mining at Pebble and pollution in the Chesapeake, just to name a few high-profile cases. But this is just the beginning.

Water is a public resource, so what happens when corporations decide it is a commodity they can bottle and sell back to the communities from which it came?

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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