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 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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