National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


It's nice to see that the New York Times finally got around to running a story on seafood that is less likely to scare its readers away from a healthful alternative to the standard American diet.

Last week, the National Fisheries Institute contacted the paper requesting corrections and clarifications to Marian Burros' Jan. 23 article "High Mercury Levels Are Found in Tuna Sushi." The Times staff promised something in writing, but would not commit to a date.

I guess today's "Taking Worry Off the Plate" is the response to the NFI's request. Author Nick Fox starts out by listing all the low-mercury options for frequent seafood consumption (nice, but a week overdue).

The first mention of scientific dispute in the mercury debate is buried in the eighth paragraph (after a long list of other seafood you shouldn't eat more than once a week if you're a child or a woman of child-bearing age).

"Not all scientists are convinced that mercury at the levels regularly found in fish causes health problems," writes Fox. "And many researchers as well as seafood-industry advocates believe that the benefits of eating fish far outweigh the risk from mercury."

These two sentences cover the dissenting voices, and the article quickly reverts to mentioning the FDA recommendations and the newspaper's own study of mercury in sushi tuna.

Is the Times really trying to take the worry off our plates? Because it smells like they've served up another pile of angst.

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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