National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


Two federal decisions yesterday sent a wave of relief throughout the Gulf Coast.

First, NOAA dismissed three petitions attempting to punish shrimpers for turtle deaths that have not been proven to be caused by shrimping — and in fact occurred in the early days of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, when the fishery was not active.

Second, the federal agency increased the TAC for red snapper by nearly 350,000 pounds.

The first decision comes after NOAA was able to document high rates of compliance among fishermen with the federal requirement for turtle-excluder devices.

It is a victory for those who would protect non-commercial species as well as those who would protect fishermen. And it goes to show that the two groups can and often do intersect.

The decision to increase the red snapper TAC in the gulf is the result of years of fishermen reporting a significant increase in the biomass.

These two proclamations are victories for Southern fishermen, and I commend NOAA officials for keeping a clear head and seeking solutions of compromise without compromising the integrity of the fleets.

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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