National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


West Coast salmon fishermen are eagerly anticipating a huge season this year with the number of kings estimated at 1.65 million — that's triple the highest estimate in almost 30 years, since the Pacific Fishery Management Council began its forecasts.

After three years of shutdowns and a modest season in 2011, this kind of comeback has locals salivating for fatty pink fish and fishermen eager to get their gear wet come the start of the season on May 1.

But fishermen are known for skepticism, so they'll believe it when they see it. "It definitely gives one hope for a good season, but there are no guarantees," said Duncan MacLean, of Half Moon Bay, to the San Jose Mercury News. And moreover, most people in the industry understand that this kind of resurgence is likely a result of wet winters and good ocean conditions.

U.S. fishery management is a noble cause, but we should never forget that Mother Nature is the ultimate boss.

In the meantime, let us give thanks for the bounty we have in whatever form it comes to us. Happy Easter!

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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