National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


JHathaway2 I have to give credit where it is due.

The NOAA enforcement scandal has been lighting up the lines in fishing communities throughout the Northeast for months now.

Yet, there was very little movement on the results of the agency's internal investigation until yesterday.

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke met with members of the fishing industry and local politicians in meetings in Boston and Portland, Maine.

After NOAA head Jane Lubchenco's failed attempts to distract the industry with platitudes about moving forward (while keeping arguably and allegedly the biggest offender on a six-figure salary), it seems a full-court press from Northeast representatives and the industry has gotten Locke's attention.

To his credit, he seems knowledgeable about the industry, according to coverage by the Standard-Times of New Bedford, Mass., and was engaged with his audience.

Even better, the secretary is encouraging new cases to come forward and has pledged to establish a confidential platform for fishermen to report unfair enforcement actions or breaches of conduct by NOAA enforcement agents or attorneys. Reports can be sent via e-mail to

Most people in the industry understand this is the tip of the iceberg. Let's hope the federal government is prepared to dig deep.

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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