National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


Aside from the overwhelming fears of total ruin in the Gulf of Mexico, one of my biggest concerns about this spill is what it does to the perception of American seafood in general.

Just last weekend I was talking with some friends about overfishing and the film "End of the Line" (which I reviewed in the October '09 issue of National Fisherman), and one of these friends said her reaction to the problem had been basically to stop buying fish. She then said, "Isn't even Alaska salmon overfished?"

I almost choked on my popcorn.

If that's what an average American thinks about seafood already, then what hope does the industry have of recovering from the added burden of contamination?

I assuage my fears by hoping that a) some day Gulf Coast fishermen will have their heritage waters back and b) many fishermen and co-ops are getting involved in direct marketing to bring their faces (and truths) to market.

I told my friend what I often say on these virtual pages, "As long as you're buying American seafood, you're fine."

I'm not sure she believed me, so I'll be sure to make a fish stew the next time she's over.

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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