National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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

 

President Obama's nominee for commerce secretary, John Bryson, has an interesting background, including a mix of business interests as well as the Natural Resources Defense Council.

I understand why many people in the fishing industry are concerned about how Bryson's history as a founder of NRDC would affect his leadership of the department that oversees U.S. commercial fishing. However, my biggest concern remains that just under the commerce secretary, Jane Lubchenco, head of NOAA, has already clarified her preference for environmental groups over American fishermen.
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Scientists in Florida this week are asking a question that has been on the lips of many Gulf Coast fishermen for more than a year: What are the long-term effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill?

A two-day meeting at the University of Central Florida among scientists whose efforts are being coordinated by the Florida Institute of Oceanography — using $10 million in grant monies from BP — gives me hope that someone is trying to get to the bottom of things.

The angle the scientists are taking is that some degree of ecological collapse could be taking place, but the scientific community may not yet have the knowledge and tools to predict and measure it.
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The news of five clam diggers who died in Alaska's Cook Inlet this week is a sad reminder that whether you're aboard a 20-foot skiff, as these men were, or a 220-foot processor, you are taking certain risks by working at sea.

According to the Anchorage Daily News, three of the five men were wearing life vests when they were found. The president of Pacific Seafood, the Oregon-based seafood group they were contracted to work for, says the company provides safety training. However, that training is provided by the contractor who hires the workers. He could not say whether these workers had received training.
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The wheels of government are turning slowly. But the fact that they are turning at all is a good thing for New England's groundfish fleet.

This week, representatives from the U.S. Commerce Department showed up in New Hampshire to hear what the fishing community had to say about the first year of catch shares and sector management.
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This week the California Public Utilities Commission endorsed the removal of four dams on the Klamath River.
Scheduled to begin in 2020, the dam-removal project should go a long way toward restoring salmon habitat along the California-Oregon border and ease the water battle between farmers and fishermen.

Fishermen and tribal leaders have been fighting for years to urge the removal of the PacifiCorp dams. Though it will be another decade or more before they see the benefits to be gained by restoring the Klamath River basin, I hope this is a lesson to fishermen across the country that no battle is fruitless.

I hope it may also be a lesson that Mother Nature is a force to be reckoned with.

PBS has a new Nature episode called "Salmon: Running the Gauntlet." (You can watch it streaming on the PBS website.)

While I disagree with the premise that salmon hatcheries have been essentially unsuccessful, I appreciate the overall message that our interventions with the natural process rarely fail to surprise us.

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For too long now, New England groundfish stocks have been the poster child for increasingly punitive management tactics.

At long last, an independent review of the management process in the Northeast and the data upon which fishery policy is based has raised important questions about the quality of the scientific data, as well as monitoring and enforcement methods.

The review simply says what fishermen have said for years: The system is not set up with the industry in mind. The impetus is to react immediately to save the fish from a perceived doomsday at any and all costs, but data collection does not allow for timely stock assessments.
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Though this phrase is best known for being Quebec's motto, the Acadian people in Canada and Louisiana are connected by more than language.

On this anniversary of the worst oil spill in our country's history, I hope our northern neighbors will lend us the French "I remember" to honor their distant relatives in the bayous of the Gulf of Mexico.

Today we celebrate the first Earth Day since the Deepwater Horizon well began spouting oil in the Gulf of Mexico.
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The word came yesterday from the Pacific Fishery Management Council: Salmon is back.

To be sure, any recovery would be a vast improvement for fishermen in California and Oregon who have been rigging their boats for other fisheries, trying to string together enough cash to stay afloat.

But beginning May 1, just three years after the West Coast fleet began receiving federal disaster assistance, salmon fishermen will again be granted a season for fall run chinook. And it ought to be a good one.
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With the federal government on the verge of a shutdown, budget cuts are looming over every national agency.

Unfortunately, a positive review of the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety landed its Commercial Fishing Safety Research Program on the chopping block for 2012.

As Gunnar Knapp, economics professor at the University of Alaska in Anchorage, pointed out in his op-ed for the Anchorage Daily News this week, cutting this program at a time when its effectiveness is most apparent is dangerously counterintuitive.
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This week we look to the West again, to Alaska and Japan, keeping an eye on the future of Alaska's fishing markets.

It remains to be seen what effect the fallout in Japan will have on Alaska's fishing industry. But for now, Alaska seafood businesses are doing all they can to help the citizens of Japan, the state's largest trade partner.

Last year, Alaska's seafood exports to Japan were valued at $523.4 million, including blackcod, king crab, sockeye salmon and, of course, herring roe.
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Page 17 of 29

National Fisherman Live

Brian Rothschild of the Center for Sustainable Fisheries on revisions to the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

National Fisherman Live: 4/8/14

Inside the Industry

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is currently soliciting applicants for open advisory panel seats as well as applications from scientists interested in serving on its Scientific and Statistical Committee.

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The North Carolina Fisheries Association (NCFA), a nonprofit trade association representing commercial fishermen, seafood dealers and processors, recently announced a new leadership team. Incorporated in 1952, its administrative office is in Bayboro, N.C.

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