National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


This week, Alaska fishery managers proved once again why the region has such an excellent reputation for fishery management.

Halibut fishermen face another severe cut to their quotas this year, and within a week of the International Pacific Halibut Commission's announcement, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council is addressing the fleetwide concern about halibut bycatch and discards in other fisheries.

The commercial halibut fleet is of course also concerned about the effects of the guided sport industry exceeding the guideline harvest level year over year.

The economic effects of a second round of deep quota cuts (Southeast fishermen will be allowed to catch 27 percent of what they harvested in 2007) remains to be seen. However, the outlook for Pacific halibut stocks stands its best chance of improving if the managers and the industry as a whole are willing to examine and address a variety of impacts on the fishery.

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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