National Fisherman


The Rudderpost 

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

 

Scientists in Florida this week are asking a question that has been on the lips of many Gulf Coast fishermen for more than a year: What are the long-term effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill?

A two-day meeting at the University of Central Florida among scientists whose efforts are being coordinated by the Florida Institute of Oceanography — using $10 million in grant monies from BP — gives me hope that someone is trying to get to the bottom of things.

The angle the scientists are taking is that some degree of ecological collapse could be taking place, but the scientific community may not yet have the knowledge and tools to predict and measure it.

What "it" is remains to be seen. However, this seems to me to be an exemplary case for the precautionary principle.

How many fishery management tools have been implemented without adequate data but with the understanding that we must protect one species or another "just in case"?

And yet, when it came to a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama administration's immediate response was to assume all was well.

The scientific community is increasingly eager and willing to work with fishermen. It's time for policy-makers to realize that fishermen's anecdotal reports have value, as well.

We need to stop trying to fit our management of fisheries and oceans into bar graphs and start treating them like part of a living, ever-changing, sometimes-unpredictable ecosystem.

The more information we can gather from a variety of sources, the closer we will get to truly managing fisheries.

Inside the Industry

The Downeast Salmon Federation has received a major grant from the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities to ensure and improve the water quality of eastern Maine’s most important rivers, according to the Ellsworth American.

Read more...

Louisiana crab fishermen and their catch are feeling the pressure of a downturn in the state economy, and a resulting upturn of people entering the fishery.

“It’s a crazy business right now,” said Pete Gerica, the New Orleans fisherman who now serves as president or the Louisiana Crab Task Force, a legislatively-created board of industry voices that makes recommendations to state government.

Read more...

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