National Fisherman


The Rudderpost 

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

 

In the midst of a nationwide peanut butter scare (which follows on the heels of a milk scare, a tomato and green pepper scare, and of course the ongoing fears of Mad Cow disease), I must admit I am skeptical of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council's conviction that offshore fish farms are a step in the right direction.

If anything, I think we have seen repeatedly that the corporate approach to food, though cost effective and resource efficient, often results in a substandard product when compared with the real, wild thing (or, at the very least, with the products of small-scale operations).

I certainly don't follow the logic of putting people out of business to provide them with different jobs, which is what farming advocates promise to do for commercial fishermen. It seems like a lot of trouble to come up with careers, training and infrastructure for people who already have work they love and don't want to give up.

Sure, fish farming looks good on paper. What that means is we're not going to discover (or prevent!) the negative effects that farmed grouper may have on the wild population (and all sea critters) until after the pens are in place and operating, likely for some time.

Salmon fishermen can do essentially nothing about sea lice, because the door to salmon farms has been opened and can't be shut. They must bear the introduction of a parasite to their wild fishery because the farmed and the wild both live in an uncontainable open ocean.

You can harness the fish, but you can't wrangle Mother Nature.

Inside the Industry

The American Fisheries Society is honoring recently retired Florida Institute of Oceanography director Bill Hogarth with the Carl R. Sullivan Fishery Conservation Award — one of the nation's premier awards in fisheries science - in recognition of his long career and leadership in preserving some of the world's most threatened species, advocating for environmental protections and leading Florida's scientific response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

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The Marine Stewardship Council has appointed Eric Critchlow as the new U.S. Program Director. Critchlow will be based in the MSC US headquarters in Seattle. He is a former vice president of Lusamerica Foods and has over 35 years in the seafood industry.

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