National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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

 

Today the U.S. House made waves.

If the language in a budget bill gets through the conference committee with the Senate, then NOAA will have to hold off on implementing any new or pending catch share programs.

Fisheries already under catch share management would not be affected by this bill, including New England groundfish. However, the ongoing management difficulties and lack of protection (by the way of allocation caps) for small-boat fishermen under the Northeast groundfish program are ample proof that NOAA still has work to do on at least one existing catch share program before it declares success and charges ahead with the policy.
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The next swipe at the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska may not survive the political shell game.

Bristol Bay fishermen are concerned about the future of their salmon run and fighting the prospect of a gold and copper mine that could sully pristine salmon-spawning waters. But Alaska's attorney general, Michael Geraghty, has taken another tack in this epic battle and is now fighting the EPA assessment that could declare an end to development of the watershed.

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The fishing and seafood processing industries got great news yesterday when a federal district court judge in Florida handed down a decision to delay implementation of new H-2B guest worker program rules.

The new Labor Department rules threatened to shut down processing facilities from Alaska to the Chesapeake Bay by complicating the process that allows seafood processors to bring in foreign workers for jobs that are no longer appealing to American workers.

"The new rules force us to spend more time and money on recruitment initiatives that have proven almost worthless. They greatly complicate efforts to bring in employees who have demonstrated their willingness to do what American workers simply won't do," said Jack Brooks, president of the Coalition to Save America's Seafood Industry, in a press release.
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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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Page 15 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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