National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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

 

Today at 1:15 p.m., NOAA's Northeast Regional Administrator John Bullard announced a shift in the gillnet fishery closure to protect harbor porpoise. The closure will take place in February and March, rather than October and November in response to fishermen's requests.

Below is the full text of Bullard's announcement:

To provide greater protection to harbor porpoise, I have decided that NOAA is going to take steps to shift, for one year, the gillnet fishery closure in the coastal Gulf of Maine slated for October and November to February and March. The closure will be implemented on February 1, 2013. The location and duration of the closure will remain the same.
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I have a 2-year-old. I spend a lot of time asking him to use better manners and ask for things in a nice way instead of whining. When he whines, I tell him I can't understand him.

Today I have the same message for Oceana.

The group's response to a NOAA bycatch report on East Coast fisheries is terribly unproductive (except that it might help bring in some donations). It is, in effect, a lot of whining with no proposed solutions to the problem.
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Yesterday, the Commerce Department issued federal disaster declarations for two disparate fisheries — Alaska king salmon and Northeast groundfish.

What is it about a disaster declaration that garners huge headlines? And yet, the fact that small-boat fishermen are going out of business every day in the Northeast and slowly but surely crippling the working waterfront infrastructure their communities have been built on for centuries gets the occasional offhand mention.

Well that's just journalism. Big moves make big headlines. This is my gripe about our 24-hour news cycle and the somehow even more slowly grinding federal government. Too many people are eager to make a big splash. The result is no water left in the pool. Makes for a lot of irritated bystanders.

That's who we are today, as fishing industry stakeholders, as Americans, as humans in a global economy. So little of what we do is truly in our own hands. Some of that is even the result of people who purport to want to give us back our so-called freedoms.
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This week three groups who supported an Oregon ballot initiative to ban commercial gillnetting in the Columbia River have pulled their support from the ballot measure. They are instead throwing their weight behind Gov. John Kitzhaber's proposed solution to restrict fishermen using this gear type to off-channel areas. Ostensibly, this area closure would allow commercial fishermen to catch hatchery fish and reduce their catch of low-return wild salmon.

The tragic flaw of the ballot measure (#81) is that it does nothing to reduce fishing overall. First, it would simply allow recreational fishermen to exploit the same stocks through different methods and second, it would not restrict Washington-based gillnetters on their side of the river.
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Eric Haynes’ Cod Cakes

  • 2 pounds 8-oz cod fillets, fresh if available
  • 4 ounces fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 ounces onion, diced fine
  • 1 ounces celery, diced fine
  • 1 ounces red bell pepper, diced fine
  • 1 ounces green bell pepper, diced fine
  • 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 oz. heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
  • Cooking oil or clarified butter as needed
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Seven years from the day Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Isaac is back to test the fortified levees in and around New Orleans.

So far, flood waters are breaching 18 miles of levees in Plaquemines Parish, where many oyster boats were hurrying to return to port ahead of the storm earlier this week. Local schools have been closed since Monday, which also marked the start of an evacuation order for the East Bank and lower West Bank of the parish. Isaac is churning over Louisiana, moving very slowly and threatening to cause deep flooding.

The fall shrimp season opened on Aug. 13 in Louisiana's inshore waters and will likely run through December. It has been predicted to be a strong season for shrimpers, on the heels of two weak seasons, and it's also the time to catch more valuable white shrimp.
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You know you're invested when a story comes on the radio and you stop everything you're doing to listen and then raise your arms and cheer when a voice you trust comes over the airwaves.

If you guessed that I'm talking about this election season, then you must live in a different country than I do.

That was the scene in my kitchen yesterday morning when I heard coverage of the latest deadliest catch — Northeast groundfish — and heard the voice of one Jennifer Lincoln.
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In my morning headline perusal, the confluence of two stories got me thinking. First was about the Midwestern chain of grocery stores promoting Gulf of Mexico shrimp and then I saw a headline about a new jackpot lotto winner in Michigan. It got me fantasizing about winning the lottery — and selling fish.

What would I do if I won? The first thing I thought of was not a trip to the Mediterranean (though that would make the short list). I'd bankroll the National Seafood Marketing Coalition.

I went to the grocery store a couple of weeks ago hoping to find some U.S. shrimp to go with a grilled Caesar salad. We had used spot prawns a couple of weeks before and were itching to replicate the experience.
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This week, Portland, Ore.-based fisherman and photographer Corey Arnold is in the other Portland. And tonight in Rockland, Maine's Island Institute is hosting "Fish-Work," a presentation of Arnold's seafaring stories and images of fisheries from around the globe.

No doubt the discussion will cover lobster protests, groundfish cuts and ESA declarations, but more importantly, this is an opportunity to get a glimpse at the world of fishing through Arnold's guileless lens. This is fishing and seaside culture like you've never seen before.
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The Northeast groundfish fleet is on its knees and looking at a final, fatal blow in the form of severe cuts to key species and the possibility of closures relating to Endangered Species Act protections for some populations of Atlantic sturgeon.

It doesn't seem possible that the agency responsible for the management of the fishery would allow it to go down in flames like this. But it just might happen, and much sooner than many of us thought.

The standard response from people outside of the fishery is that the fishermen did it to themselves. They overfished and are now paying the price. It's true that cod was overfished after the federal government offered loan guarantees to build new boats, so people who had never considered fishing before grabbed the chance to make some money on the iconic and seemingly infallible species. We could never take too many, right?
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Page 13 of 32

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 12/16/14

In this episode, Bruce Buls, WorkBoat's technical editor, interviews Long Island lobsterman John Aldridge, who survived for 12 hours after falling overboard in the dead of night. Aldridge was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Pacific Marine Expo, which took place Nov. 19-21 in Seattle.

Inside the Industry

NOAA, in consultation with the Department of the Interior, has appointed 10 new members to the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee. The 20-member committee is composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experience who advise the departments of commerce and the interior on ways to strengthen and connect the nation's MPA programs. The new members join the 10 continuing members appointed in 2012.

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Fishermen in Western Australia captured astonishing footage this week as a five-meter-long great white shark tried to steal their catch, ramming into the side of their boat.
 
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