National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


Oftentimes when I talk to people outside the fishing industry, they ask me what the good news is in fishing because I always seem focused on what fishermen are kvetching about.

I would like to say that there always is some form of good news.

But anyone who follows this industry closely knows that we are barraged weekly (and sometimes daily) with stories from around the country about one fleet or another being targeted by one group or another.

It's tough to look on the bright side when you are fighting for your life.

The groups doing the targeting frequently have their own ideals in mind. And those ideals (whether they are wildlife protection, alternative energy development, marine conservation or many others) should not be swept under the rug.

However, what I like to remind people is that you cannot forget that when you fight fishing, you are fighting individual fishermen. You are fighting your own countrymen over the jobs that allow them to make a living and provide for their families.

This week in Virginia, a bill that would allow the Virginia Marine Resources Commission to ban crab dredging for "two or more consecutive" seasons, according to the Daily Press in Newport News, flew through the state House and is on its way to the Senate.

News of the bill comes as a surprise to the local industry.

So tell me how such a bill comes to be without the consultation of local fishing groups and processors? And if this were your livelihood on the line, wouldn't you be a little torqued?

I'm not saying the winter crab dredge ban is never in order. But what fishermen cannot and should not stand for is being treated as if they count for less than their catch.

There is a way to protect fish as well as fishermen. It might take a little more creativity than we're used to, but finding a new path to a better way of life is what makes this a great country.

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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