National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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

 

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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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.
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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.
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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.
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Page 18 of 34

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 3/10/15

In this episode, Online Editor Leslie Taylor talks with Mike McLouglin, vice president of Dunlop Industrial and Protective Footwear.

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

Inside the Industry

The Gulf of Maine Research Institute is partnering with restaurants throughout the region for an Out of the Blue promotion of cape shark, also known as dogfish. Starting Friday, July 3 and running until Sunday, July 12, cape shark will be available at each participating restaurant during the 10-day event. Cape shark is abundant and well deserving of a wider market.



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As a joint Gulf of Mexico states seafood marketing effort sails into the sunset, the program’s Marketing Director has left for a job in the private seafood sector. Joanne McNeely Zaritsky, the former Marketing Director of the Gulf State Marketing Coalition, has joined St. Petersburg, FL based domestic seafood processor Captain’s Fine Foods as its new business development director to promote its USA shrimp product line.

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