National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


It's summertime in Vacationland, so all should be fine and dandy. In fact, so far, this is one of the most spectacular summers I can remember.

But today is Friday the 13th, and vacationers headed toward the state face a frightening prospect, indeed. Maine lobstermen are threatening to leave their traps in the water, thereby ending the glut of lobster that has reduced its price below the bologna threshold at about $2.50 a pound.

According to NPR, the Maine Department of Marine Resources has fielded calls from lobstermen asking the state to shut down the fishery — an action for which they don't have authority.

But in the end, the market will sort itself out, much to the short-term delight of lobster eaters and the dismay of lobstermen. If it's not worth the dock price of lobster to go fishing, they'll let their traps soak until the glut has eased. I just hope the weather holds so they can at least enjoy the summer weather during their forced, unpaid vacation.

The West Coast also has some auspicious news for a Friday the 13th, regarding the federal budget in 2013, no less.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is scheduled to cut its commercial fishing program — a significant part of the NIOSH Alaska Pacific Office and one that has made a tremendous difference in commercial fishing safety nationwide in recent years — as a result of budget cuts to the overarching Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Program.

The same program was threatened in the 2012 budget, but was spared when the public and legislators came to its defense.

It's time to speak for NIOSH and fishing safety again. Call your legislators, and ask them to make sure the $1.5 million allocation is reinstated. It's a small price to save lives.

Inside the Industry

NMFS has awarded 16 grants totaling more than $2.5 million as part of its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.

The program supports the development of technological solutions and changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch and aims to to find creative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, seabird interactions, and post-release mortality in federally managed fisheries.


Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.

Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.

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