Jes Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman magazine and NationalFisherman.com.
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
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.
Friday, 24 February 2012
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.
Friday, 17 February 2012
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.
Friday, 10 February 2012
Among the top things that make me cringe is seeing any government pour resources into a project for the sake of PR or remove public access to resources that provide valuable wages, especially in remote parts of the country.
Today I heard about a meeting that will take place this evening in Port Lavaca, Texas, between commercial oystermen and representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard and Texas Parks and Wildlife.
The reason for the meeting is an attempt to discover why state and federal authorities showed up in droves on the opening day of the state's oyster season — a season that has been delayed by three months because of a lengthy red tide outbreak.
Friday, 03 February 2012
This week, Alaska fishery managers proved once again why the region has such an excellent reputation for fishery management.
Halibut fishermen face another severe cut to their quotas this year, and within a week of the International Pacific Halibut Commission's announcement, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council is addressing the fleetwide concern about halibut bycatch and discards in other fisheries.
The commercial halibut fleet is of course also concerned about the effects of the guided sport industry exceeding the guideline harvest level year over year.
Friday, 27 January 2012
It appears that NMFS may have to tweak its policy from using the best available science to the most recently available science.
A 2008 study showed a very optimistic outlook for Northeast cod, which jived with what fishermen were reporting. But the most recent stock study indicates a drastically different picture of the stock, which is in sharp contrast with what fishermen are reporting.
When so many livelihoods are caught in the balance between contradictory assessments, managers must take care rather than taking drastic measures. Unexplainable swings in a biomass that fishermen have been avoiding in order to allow it to rebuild on the 10-year guideline are not the best available science. The current assessment saddles the entire industry, from bureaucrats to managers to fishermen, with question marks that could bring down entire communities.
Thursday, 19 January 2012
The big news out of Alaska this week is not snow but another perennial favorite: salmon.
The forecast is good for the Copper River, yes. But even more awe-inspiring is the decision on the part of the state's salmon processors to drop their financial support of the Marine Stewardship Council's sustainability certification.
The MSC has been at the forefront of eco-labeling and has led the charge to ease marketing and purchasing conundrums that developed as consumers were encouraged to ask whether the fish they were buying was the product of a sustainable fishery.
I can't say enough times that American seafood is sustainably managed. It is hands down the easiest choice for consumers who want to buy only "secure" sources of food.
Thursday, 12 January 2012
As I sat in the airport in Portland, Maine, this morning, ready to fly out to Maryland for the East Coast Commercial Fishermen's & Aquaculture Trade Exposition in what promises to be a sloppy mess of a snowstorm, I couldn't help but think of our friends and fellow fishermen in Cordova, Alaska.
It's been a tough road to plow in Prince William Sound this week.
Pummeled by more than 18 feet of snow, Cordova is running low on shovels and the capacity to manage the mounds that have now been covered by rainy slush that freezes when the temperatures dip again.
Thursday, 05 January 2012
Today in Raleigh, N.C., the state Assembly's Marine Fisheries Legislative Study Committee held its first public hearing session on a proposal to designate red drum, spotted seatrout and striped bass as gamefish.
The committee is the result of widespread opposition to a bill that attempted to make these fish off limits not only to commercial fishing but to any sale or barter.
So what does that mean? It means the Coastal Conservation Association-backed initiative would take these three species out of public hands and make them the sole property of the very small percentage of people who own and use recreational fishing licenses in North Carolina.
Wednesday, 28 December 2011
As I look upon the new year, I try to focus on new possibilities and the hope of things to come.
2012 is the year of the water dragon in the Chinese zodiac. Perhaps that presages the commercial fishing industry wresting some control of its future from a little knoll on the Potomac.
I know we're working to win the hearts and minds with a growing list of fishing reality shows.
This week, the Learning Channel will debut the show "Hook, Line and Sisters" about an Alaska seining family.
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National Fisherman Live: 2/26/15
In this episode, National Fisherman's Online Editor Leslie Taylor speaks with Rick Constantine, vice president of marketing, Acme United Corporation, about Cuda corrosion resistant knives.
National Fisherman Live: 2/24/15
In this episode:
March date set for disaster aid dispersal
Oregon LNG project could disrupt fishing
NOAA tweaks gear marking requirement
N.C. launches first commercial/recreational dock
Spiny lobster traps limits not well received
Today Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced legislation to extend a permanent exemption for incidental runoff from small commercial fishing boats.
The National Working Waterfront Network is now accepting abstracts and session proposals for the next National Working Waterfronts & Waterways Symposium, taking place Nov. 16-19 in Tampa, Fla. The deadline is Tax Day, April 15.Read more...