National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


The word came yesterday from the Pacific Fishery Management Council: Salmon is back.

To be sure, any recovery would be a vast improvement for fishermen in California and Oregon who have been rigging their boats for other fisheries, trying to string together enough cash to stay afloat.

But beginning May 1, just three years after the West Coast fleet began receiving federal disaster assistance, salmon fishermen will again be granted a season for fall run chinook. And it ought to be a good one.

The council estimates 730,000 adult chinooks will return this year, triple the 2008 numbers and almost 20 times those of 2009.

Theories abound as to what has sparked this seemingly miraculous turnaround, but I don't think we can discount the value of water resources when it comes to fish.

Certainly, every species needs food to grow. But without water, you have no spawn. And I don't think I've ever heard anyone solve the chicken or egg conundrum with chicken feed.

I hope a good season of salmon fishing that provides fresh, local and wild fish into California and Oregon markets gives the locals something to consider with the next wave of battles over water rights.

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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