National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


Today I'm preparing to head north to Rockport, Maine, for the Maine Fishermen's Forum. As is often the case for this show, I'll be driving through a late-winter snow storm, and quite possibly coming home in one. As usual in Maine, March is coming in like a lion.

But worse than the weather forecast is the outlook for fishermen in New England. Yesterday, we found that we will lose another senior member of Congress who has also been an advocate for fishermen and fishing communities.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) announced that she will not seek re-election this year, citing out-of-control political partisanship in Washington. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) stated late last year that he will be retiring from Congress.

These announcements have sparked excitement in some quarters, from folks eager to fill those long-occupied seats. But for many constituents, the loss of a senior member of Congress is worrisome.

New blood can be invigorating, but it also requires a breaking in period. And I'm not sure how much time the New England fleet has to invest in new relationships before its back is broken. Much of the fleet has been brought to its knees already.

My hope is that, come November, Americans' weariness of Beltway infighting will ring louder than political partisanship and we can finally get to some of the people's work.

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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