National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


Blogpic Commercial fishermen throughout this country and the world have a lot of reasons to thank the producers and captains of the Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch."

I used to think it was just a fun and easy way to give the average person a window into the lives of commercial fishermen: not just the daily dangers they face, but the fear of coming home empty-handed, the extended periods spent away from onshore family, boat and gear repairs, the camaraderie and hazing that go hand in hand with living with your co-workers.

But now fishermen are getting national attention every year with reports of just how deadly their catch is. Everyone likes to quibble about the fact that, say, last year Bering Sea king crabbers didn't have it that bad; it was the Dungeness crabbers of the Pacific Northwest who were in the deadliest segment of the fishing industry.

This year, it's Northeast groundfishermen.

What this means is the American public is curious about fishermen's lives. It means at least some of the press about fishing is not just about disastrous stocks or searching for protection for one species or another, always because of overfishing.

It's not as easy to demonize and dismiss a fisherman as it is a factory trawler. It's easier to dislike a group of people until you get to know someone from that group.

Well, America has gotten to know Sig, Phil, Keith and their cohorts. Salty though they may be, they are people, and they have brought the focus of fishing to a personal level for many Americans.

Thanks, guys. And thanks to all the families out there who send your loved ones out to sea.

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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