National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


JHathaway2 A year and a half ago, I was standing in the hallway of the Rhode Island Convention Center discussing with the late Phil Ruhle Sr. the pitfalls of establishing groundfish catch shares.

I will never forget the voracity with which he attempted to plead the case of so many fishermen who were arguing at a recent New England Fishery Council Meeting that their catches were not recorded correctly and would, therefore, negatively affect their catch shares under the new program.

Today we find out that NMFS regional administrator Pat Kurkul has admitted to errors in the agency's data recording.

While I applaud Kurkul for beginning what I can only hope is an era of improved communication between the federal agency and the industry it regulates, I am disappointed in her attempt to spread the blame.

According to the Gloucester (Mass.) Daily Times, Kurkul wrote in 2007, "Given the amount of data we receive and process each year, currently exceeding 1 million records, errors do occur on both the reporting side by the fishing industry and on processing the reports submitted.

"The responsibility for ensuring that we do have this information rests on both parties."

Well, I'm pretty sure plenty of fishermen were saying almost two years ago that the data was wrong. Yet, the catch shares for 2010 are set.

Once again, the onus is on the fishermen to be the watchdogs of their own federal agency.

If you think your catch history is incorrect, you won't find relief for next May. But make sure you have your complaint in writing to NMFS by Oct. 31 for correction by the 2011 season.

Inside the Industry

NMFS has awarded 16 grants totaling more than $2.5 million as part of its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.

The program supports the development of technological solutions and changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch and aims to to find creative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, seabird interactions, and post-release mortality in federally managed fisheries.


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.

Try a FREE issue of National Fisherman

Fill out this order form, If you like the magazine, get the rest of the year for just $14.95 (12 issues in all). If not, simply write cancel on the bill, return it, and owe nothing.

First Name
Last Name
U.S. Canada Other

Postal/ Zip Code
© 2015 Diversified Business Communications
Diversified Business Communications