National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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

 

It's been about a decade since the big news in seafood consumption was alarmingly high levels of methylmercury in tuna — leading to warnings that children and pregnant women should limit their consumption or eliminate the fish from their diets altogether.

Those warnings have slowly softened over the years, and always in the background were some grumblings about the accuracy of the assessment and whether selenium might counteract the effects of mercury in ocean fish.

Now a study from the University of North Dakota shows that selenium does indeed affect the absorption of methylmercury and, therefore, must be gauged when recommending consumption restrictions.

Also a poll taken at the International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant shows a majority of scientists saying methylmercury contamination in seafood is not a serious health threat.

So what does this mean for consumers of seafood? Well, I can say anecdotally that the damage has been done. It could take decades for tuna's reputation to recover.

That's how it goes in our media frenzy of 24-hour news coverage. The big, breaking story gets coverage to the point of saturation. The corrections to that story, not so much — especially when they come years later.

That's why the beef people sued Oprah. One bad headline can seriously damage your industry for years (they might thank Dr. Atkins and his diet for early release).

But if tuna should get some sort of relief, it would have to be tempered by the fact that Eastern Atlantic bluefin stocks are in peril. My only advice, as it so often is these days, is to buy American.

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 11/06/14

In this episode:

NOAA report touts 2013 landings, value increases
Panama fines GM salmon company Aquabounty
Gulf council passes Reef Fish Amendment 40
Maine elver quota cut by 2,000 pounds
Offshore mussel farm would be East Coast’s first

 

Inside the Industry

Fishermen in Western Australia captured astonishing footage this week as a five-meter-long great white shark tried to steal their catch, ramming into the side of their boat.
 
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EAST SAND ISLAND, Oregon—Alexa Piggott is crawling through a dark, dusty, narrow tunnel on this 62-acre island at the mouth of the Columbia River. On the ground above her head sit thousands of seabirds. Piggott, a crew leader with Bird Research Northwest, is headed for an observation blind from which she'll be able to count them.
 
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