National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


At 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 3, NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco will convene a national law-enforcement summit in Washington.

The one-day event will include representatives from environmental organizations, fishing groups industry lawyers and other interest groups, according to the Gloucester (Mass.) Daily Times. Attendees will discuss, according to Lubchenco, "improving compliance" and "developing forward-looking strategies to advance ... enforcement."

Presumably, this will include lessons learned from the ongoing inspection of the Office of Law Enforcement's misuse of funds, the fallout of which has inspired the gathering.

I suppose it would be difficult to come out of this summit without some positive momentum toward addressing the atrocious behavior of the OLE's agents. But without a single fisherman from Gloucester, the epicenter of this entire investigation, the summit itself has a ring of insincerity.

Ms. Lubchenco, I implore you: If you want to help the industry, talk to the fishermen. And after you hear what they say, take some action (even the tiniest gesture) to show you were listening.

Inviting all the power players you know to get together to solve the problem that slipped under their noses in the first place hardly seems like a big step forward.

I appreciate that this problem did not start under this administration, but it did go on for a year under their watch while fishermen's complaints were repeatedly drowned out.

The summit will be available as a podcast at

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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