National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


I must admit I get a little nervous when I see "NMFS" and "economics" in the same sentence. As far as I can tell, NMFS rarely makes decisions based on economics. (Except, possibly, the economy of scale, as it seems the agency is no friend of the independent fisherman.)

Earlier this month, the fisheries service released "Fisheries Economics in the United States, 2006," a statistical report with economic data on a decade of fishing. That's right, 2006.

Therein lies one of the primary problems with the management of American fisheries. We get quarterly jobs reports, so why can't we access 2008 fisheries data in 2009?

Commercial fishermen face a new landscape every year. So how can we fairly assess new fisheries management based on what was happening in fisheries three years ago?

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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