National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


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.


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.

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