Jes Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman magazine and NationalFisherman.com.
Written by Adrianne Madden
Friday, 09 July 2010
JHathaway2 This week confirmed the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is seeping into New Orleans' Lake Pontchartrain.
The lake got a lot of press when it flooded neighborhoods during Hurricane Katrina, and in the '80s and '90s when great efforts went into cleaning it up and transitioning it into fishing grounds and an estuary for commercial species.
The lake is no small potatoes for local fishermen. According to a piece in the Wall Street Journal this week, "Last year, the lake yielded more than 4.8 million pounds of blue crab, shrimp and fin fish valued at nearly $4.5 million for fishermen, according to the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. It often provides safe fishing when the Gulf is too rough."
Well I guess we knew fishermen on the Gulf Coast were running out of safe havens.
So now the question is what can we do for them?
I don't know the answer to that question, but I do know money alone is not going to solve this problem.
It's great to have a big fund to draw on, but just ask the fishermen in Prince William Sound if they are no longer heartbroken by the damages caused by the Valdez spill since they got their relatively meager settlements from Exxon.
At a meeting on the oil spill in Alaska this week, citizens called for drastic changes in our federal spill response management.
It is unacceptable that all we can promise right now is the hope that maybe this won't happen again.
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.Read more...
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.Read more...