National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


JHathaway2 Yesterday, a colleague of mine arranged for a screening of the upcoming documentary "A Sea Change" in our office.

I was excited to get a sneak preview of what I hoped would be a thorough documentary on ocean acidification.

Many have argued that the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere and absorbed by the oceans is damaging fish stocks far more severely than any other human activity (including commercial fishing).

The first part of the documentary covers some of the science involved. However, I am sad to say I can't recommend this film as a persuasive piece to anyone trying to convince skeptics.

It's a touching and personal documentary about one man's connection to the sea, some of the global effects on ocean life and moving beyond carbon sources for power. I'd say about half of the 86-minute film delves into alternative (and profitable) energy sources.

But there's a lot more drinking the Kool-Aid than asking hard-hitting questions.

As a journalist, I like to see more of the latter. In the end, I was craving more information on the subject — not because it's a new concept to me, but because I thought the film was lacking in the illustration of the catastrophe of ocean acidification.

If we are going to uproot our way of life and transition to alternative energies, we have to have undeniably compelling evidence to do so.

I still recommend the film, if only because its format is approachable and the scenery on the global road trip is breathtaking.

But I'm still waiting for the "Inconvenient Truth" of ocean acidification.

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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