National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


The National Marine Fisheries Service took another step away from serving fisheries yesterday.

Doug DeMaster, a research director at NMFS, announced on Thursday that the service is rejecting the North Pacific Fishery Management Council's recommendations on restrictions and closures in Pacific cod and Atka mackerel fisheries of the Western Aleutian Islands and will instead hurry forth with its own drastic measures to completely shut down these fisheries.

The goal, they say, is to adhere to the Endangered Species Act to protect Steller's sea lions. However, the protection efforts, resulting from a "jeopardy finding," are based on two of seven subpopulations of the western population of Steller's sea lions.

So by no means is it clear that this species, or even its western population, is in serious danger.

Yet, we are in such a bind, apparently, to protect a minority of a population of this species that we are shutting down an entire jobs sector in Alaska.

If NMFS wanted to shut down these fisheries entirely, and the council wanted to avoid closures altogether, why can there be no middle ground?

Inside the Industry

The anti-mining group Salmon Beyond Borders expressed disappointment and dismay last week at Alaska Governor Bill Walker’s announcement that he has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with B.C. Premier Christy Clark.

This came just days after his administration asked members of his newly-formed Transboundary Rivers Citizens Advisory Work Group to provide comment on a Draft Statement of Cooperation associated with Transboundary mining.


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.

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