National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


California's San Joaquin Valley water battle heated up this week when fishermen and politicians gathered Thursday at the Salmon Summit in San Francisco to urge a change in Central Valley water policy.

It seems like it might take a full-on blaze to convince locals and politicians to find a solution to the region's water problem.

Two consecutive years without a salmon season has pushed local fisherman to fight for the water that once flowed into the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta but has long been redirected to irrigate farmland.

Salmon fisherman certainly have reason to believe the diverted water supply has depleted their own livelihood. In 2002, 800,000 salmon swam through the delta. But by last year, that number had dwindled to 39,000, according to today's article in the San Francisco Chronicle.

However, representatives of the farmers say they have cut back their water use as required since a 2007 court ruling, and the salmon population is still not returning.

It's a shame for the American fisherman to be pitted against American farmers for resources. Both industries certainly are beleaguered in this country.

Ultimately, there's not enough of this precious resource for the types of crops being grown as well as a robust chinook population. Our federal government has shown that when fish populations are down, they will do anything (including slashing and burning jobs) to bring them back.

And yet, when it comes to the salmon population in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, it has taken hordes of fishermen to make the case for bringing the local resources closer to their natural state.

Sadly, as has also been the case with waterfront development in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, the feds have a tendency to choose industry over fish, unless that industry is fishing.

Here's hoping the loud and proud voices of fishermen will finally be heard and heeded.

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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