National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


No matter what coast you're on, there is something big happening in fishing this weekend.

Tomorrow (Friday, Feb. 25) thousands of commercial and recreational fishermen will be gathering in St. Petersburg, Fla., for the Fishing Matters to Me rally to protest the Gulf of Mexico grouper closures. The crowd will convene outside of NMFS Southeast headquarters at 263 13th Avenue South.

Also beginning tomorrow, Astoria, Ore.'s Clatsop Community College will again play host to the three-day Fisher Poets Gathering. While the stories of the sea are the biggest draw, the festival includes vessel tours, knot-tying demos, workshops and a silent auction.

In the Northeast, if they're not out for the last sets of the Maine shrimp season, fishermen may well spend the weekend trying to figure out who is distributing an anonymous petition in support of catch shares.

I'm all for letting the people speak. And maybe it's just the Southerner in me, but I firmly believe that if you want to drum up support for your cause, you ought to do it without a bag over your head. It also strikes me as odd that a petition like this would go out the same week that a Gloucester (Mass.) fisherman is charged with assault for hugging and putting his tongue an observer's ear.

NOAA and NMFS have a lot of recovering to do to show that they are leading this industry. I sincerely hope the agency is not just finding new and creative ways to clamp down on fishermen.

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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