National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


I kicked off the International Boston Seafood Show with a National Seafood Marketing Coalition luncheon on Sunday. Coalition Director Bruce Schactler spearheaded the event, with a menu featuring five iconic species from around the country.

The coalition is building momentum around a piece of legislation that would create a National Seafood Marketing Fund with a portion of Saltonstall-Kennedy coffers. The S-K grant program was established to promote U.S. seafood through marketing, but has primarily been used to fund fisheries research projects in recent years.

There is no doubt a dearth of data for many federally managed fisheries. But there is even less marketing and promotion. A national fund could help us sell U.S. seafood as a sustainable choice across the board, capitalizing on NMFS' high standards for U.S. fisheries.

Alaska salmon is a classic case of marketing being a game changer. Salmon from Alaska once was available only in a can, unless you were lucky enough to be in Alaska for fresh fish.

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute started telling a new story, and the processors and fleets responded in kind by shifting focus to improve handling and offer value-added products.

As we look at imported seafood increasingly infringing on our market share (around 90 percent of the seafood consumed in this country is imported), perhaps we need to focus less on volume and more on quality, as well as promoting the inherently high quality products of so many American fisheries.

We live in a global marketplace, so we will always eat imported seafood. But American seafood should be garnering a price worthy of its quality.

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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