National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


Forget labeling yourself "conservative" or "liberal." These days it seems everyone wants to be identified by the food they eat: local, organic, sustainable, seasonal.

I read yet another article this week promoting the use of pocket guides from the likes of the Monterey Bay Aquarium to steer your seafood purchases.

Even better, just shop at stores that are certified for their "environmentally sound seafood purchasing practices."

While I certainly admire all efforts to promote buying your fillets from well-stocked fisheries, it's nearly impossible for the average consumer to keep up with the species' movement on these lists. And just who are we trusting to tell us where to shop? Where do they get THEIR credentials?

Here's my advice to all U.S. seafood buyers (and from the sounds of it, our president would back me up): Buy American, and don't sweat the rest.

American fisheries are, without a doubt, sustainably managed (for the fish, at least, perhaps not for the fishermen); New England groundfishermen might say they are managed within an inch of their livelihoods. (Check out more on IFQs and the year in fishing in our 2009 Yearbook cover story.)

If you are buying wild American seafood, you can be sure the fishery and the gear are both vetted and constantly assessed for environmental impact and sustainability.

So on March 16, when the FDA expands the country of origin labeling program, look for Old Glory and rest assured you're buying wisely.

Note: Fish sold in fish markets will not require labels, so in those establishments you'll have to ask if the product is American-caught.

Inside the Industry

Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.

Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.


The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is teaming up with leading shark-tracking nonprofit Ocearch to build the most extensive shark-tagging program in the Gulf of Mexico region.

In October, Ocearch is bringing its unique research vessel, the M/V Ocearch, to the gulf for a multi-species study to generate previously unattainable data on critical shark species, including hammerhead, tiger and mako sharks.

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