National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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

 

Today the Gulf Coast recognizes the somber anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which began two years ago, taking the lives of 11 oil rig workers and the livelihoods of many fishermen.

Also this week, Gulf of Mexico fishermen are reporting snapper caught with lesions and other physical anomalies, as they have since fishing grounds reopened after the spill.

Last year, most people took the attitude of "wait and see." This year, the alarm bells are not softening.

NMFS hopes to be able to include some Deepwater Horizon oil spill information in its 2013 assessment of the snapper fishery.
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I was thrilled to learn yesterday that a House committee is drafting a change to the Magnuson-Stevens Act in an effort to reinstate sound management practices on the federal level.

The U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources is attempting to write an amendment that would ensure "informed decisions based on sufficient scientific information," committee Chairman Doc Hastings told the Gloucester (Mass.) Daily Times.
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West Coast salmon fishermen are eagerly anticipating a huge season this year with the number of kings estimated at 1.65 million — that's triple the highest estimate in almost 30 years, since the Pacific Fishery Management Council began its forecasts.

After three years of shutdowns and a modest season in 2011, this kind of comeback has locals salivating for fatty pink fish and fishermen eager to get their gear wet come the start of the season on May 1.
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In downtown Portland, Maine, we're preparing for the bizarre vortex that will become of our Arts District when President Obama and rapper Snoop Dogg hold simultaneous events across the street from each other tomorrow evening.

While odd combinations like this often lead to major headaches with traffic, security and parking, they also give us an opportunity to re-evaluate our surroundings and see them with an outsider's perspective.

That's how I felt when I read that Gloucester, Mass., fishermen showed up on a red carpet for the premiere of "Wicked Tuna," the latest commercial fishing reality series. This one is available on the National Geographic cable channel, as well as online.
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The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Association released a statement this morning in response to the gathering of commercial and recreational fishermen in Washington, D.C., yesterday. Association president (and NF Highliner) Dave Bitts said the true problem in fishery management is not the Magnuson-Stevens Act but flawed policies that fail to properly fund fishery science, as well as the privatization of public fish resources.

Regardless of the specific reason many fishermen arrived at Capitol Hill yesterday, the result was a large crowd of American workers showing their strength in numbers and getting in front of federal policymakers.
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It's been a busy week in New England.

I kicked it off in Boston for the International Boston Seafood Show on Monday and Tuesday, where the big talk was sustainability and promoting healthy fisheries.

Oddly enough, I spent a lot of time in Boston talking about Alaska seafood. And specifically Alaska salmon, which in many ways is swimming upstream once again in moving forward with a third-party FAO-based certification program that's not the Marine Stewardship Council.
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I just can't imagine it's a coincidence that the day I open up a Roger Berkowitz blog about eating farmed seafood in moderation I also stumble upon an article about an Indiana man whose death may have been complicated by his consumption of tainted farmed shrimp.

I've long been on a personal crusade to encourage friends, family and even strangers to eat wild fish whenever they can. People complain about the watery taste of some farmed fish. My reply is, simply, "It's not natural, so why should it taste like it?"

For my friends who live in the middle of the country who can't always get local freshwater fish, I tend to recommend IQF or FAS wild American fish and shellfish because of the consistency in quality.
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Today I'm preparing to head north to Rockport, Maine, for the Maine Fishermen's Forum. As is often the case for this show, I'll be driving through a late-winter snow storm, and quite possibly coming home in one. As usual in Maine, March is coming in like a lion.

But worse than the weather forecast is the outlook for fishermen in New England. Yesterday, we found that we will lose another senior member of Congress who has also been an advocate for fishermen and fishing communities.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) announced that she will not seek re-election this year, citing out-of-control political partisanship in Washington. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) stated late last year that he will be retiring from Congress.
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Or a ticket. Or a ride. Whatever you do, get yourself to Washington, D.C., for the March 21 Keep Fishermen Fishing rally.

Fishermen from around the country, both commercial and recreational, will gather in support of sensible reform of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

The act's rebuilding guidelines require that any species designated overfished must be managed in such a way that the biomass is able to be deemed recovered within 10 years. That 10-year rule is arbitrary and has no basis in fishery science.
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The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission group that regulates the northern shrimp fleet voted Wednesday to shut down fishing for the season.

It's been a rough year for northern New England's shrimpers, most of whom are also suffering in their other fishery — Northeast groundfish.

Limited quotas in the groundfish trawl fleet, especially since the implementation of catch share management in 2010, have spiked participation in the winter shrimp fishery, which is open access.
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Page 15 of 32

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 11/06/14

In this episode:

NOAA report touts 2013 landings, value increases
Panama fines GM salmon company Aquabounty
Gulf council passes Reef Fish Amendment 40
Maine elver quota cut by 2,000 pounds
Offshore mussel farm would be East Coast’s first

 

Inside the Industry

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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EAST SAND ISLAND, Oregon—Alexa Piggott is crawling through a dark, dusty, narrow tunnel on this 62-acre island at the mouth of the Columbia River. On the ground above her head sit thousands of seabirds. Piggott, a crew leader with Bird Research Northwest, is headed for an observation blind from which she'll be able to count them.
 
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