National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


Today the Gulf Coast recognizes the somber anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which began two years ago, taking the lives of 11 oil rig workers and the livelihoods of many fishermen.

Also this week, Gulf of Mexico fishermen are reporting snapper caught with lesions and other physical anomalies, as they have since fishing grounds reopened after the spill.

Last year, most people took the attitude of "wait and see." This year, the alarm bells are not softening.

NMFS hopes to be able to include some Deepwater Horizon oil spill information in its 2013 assessment of the snapper fishery.

In the meantime, many fishing businesses hang in the balance, and fishermen are being encouraged to settle with BP before anyone understands the scope of the damage.

How is one supposed to put an estimate on ongoing and unspecified damage?

And furthermore, with what entity should fishermen feel comfortable staking their claims? The government, which is administering the Gulf Coast Claims Facility; or BP, which is settling with claimants throughout the region?

Our thoughts and prayers are with our fellow fishermen and others affected by the spill, who have been left with far more questions than answers.

Inside the Industry

The anti-mining group Salmon Beyond Borders expressed disappointment and dismay last week at Alaska Governor Bill Walker’s announcement that he has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with B.C. Premier Christy Clark.

This came just days after his administration asked members of his newly-formed Transboundary Rivers Citizens Advisory Work Group to provide comment on a Draft Statement of Cooperation associated with Transboundary mining.


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.

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