National Fisherman


The Rudderpost 

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

 

A study led by researcher Elena Finkbeiner, completed during her doctoral studies at Duke University and published in the November issue of the journal Biological Conservation, reveals confusing results on sea turtle interactions and bycatch rates in U.S. fisheries.

According to an Associated Press story, "This is one of the key messages — there's a lot of inconsistency in how the different fisheries are managed," said Elizabeth Wilson, senior manager for marine wildlife for the nonprofit Oceana, which was not involved in the study.

What some call "inconsistencies" I call "successful fishery management." Streamlining an approach to management in fisheries as various as Hawaii's pelagic longline fleet and Northeast scallop trawlers would be yet another a bureaucratic nightmare for fishermen and managers alike.

The big headline, of course, is that 4,600 sea turtles are killed annually in the U.S. fishing industry. Before you get up in arms, take note that sea turtle bycatch deaths fell 90 percent between 1990 and 2007.

It seems to me, we are succeeding in significantly reducing bycatch without putting undue strain on struggling fishermen. We are doing that by focusing on fisheries individually, a tactic the study criticizes.

I'm a strong proponent of improving gear and reducing bycatch, but let's go at it fishery by fishery if we want to continue a high rate of success.

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.

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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.

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