National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


It sounds like the spawning grounds for Frankenfish are expected to dry up in January.

Massachusetts-based Aquabounty is crying foul over Food and Drug Administration delays in the company's approval process for genetically modified salmon.

Welcome to the world of fishery management, Aquabounty!

OK, OK, so they're dealing with the FDA. But it's the same deal, isn't it?

You want to make a change in your business, but it has to go through the long process of government approval. In the meantime, you may have to shut down completely.

Fishermen on every coast have faced the same fate. Just because you've poured money into manipulating nature rather than harvesting her bounty doesn't make you a special case. Well, it does, but probably not in the way you'd hoped.

In the meantime, all of this delay has some scientists worried that an Aquabounty failure would discourage investments in animal biotechnology.

Again, this is par for the course when it comes to introducing potentially hazardous food sources to the mainstream. Also, I'm not seeing the downside.

We've recently seen reversals on Canadian recommendations for salmon net pens. That technology was once heralded as a great scientific advancement. But it turned out to be infectious. Again, not in the way it was intended.

Maybe in this case the blessing of slow-grinding government wheels is that we get a window for hindsight before making a potentially disastrous first step.

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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