National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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

 

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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Earlier this week, the International Boston Seafood Show was bumping.

Although many exhibitors at the show were hailing the wonders of farmed seafood, the aisles also boasted a wide range of wild U.S. products.

The purveyors of the latter may get a second boost from the show, or rather from progress toward a National Seafood Marketing Coalition that took place at events surrounding the show.
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Spring is finally starting to peek through the snow banks here in Maine, and that means it's time for the International Boston Seafood Show.

With so much happening on every coast, I am eager to get together with folks from Alaska, the West Coast and the Gulf of Mexico early next week.

The big news on the Gulf Coast this week was that the International Trade Commission upheld tariffs on imported frozen warm-water shrimp.
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I wrote recently that some weeks in the news world of U.S. commercial fishing feel overwhelmingly gloomy.

I'm glad to report that sometimes the tide turns and brings with it a steady stream of good news — or at least improving news.

The mood at the Maine Fishermen's Forum last week was the best I've seen in several years. It was a tough year for groundfishermen, no doubt. But on the bright side, the state of Maine has made some efforts to improve conditions for its fleet. Nationwide, overfishing is no longer occurring, and Northeast stocks and quotas are up slightly.
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I'm heading north tomorrow morning to set up for the Maine Fishermen's Forum at the Samoset Resort in Rockport.

Though the trade show doesn't start officially until Friday, there is a full day of seminars on Thursday. I'll be presenting on National Fisherman's Profitable Harvest forum in the afternoon in the Rockport Room.

Former gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler will be presenting at the Marketing and Profitability seminar with me on Thursday, and the show's organizers have announced that Gov. Paul LePage will be attending the show on Friday. Friday also offers the opportunity to meet the new commissioner of Maine's Department of Marine Resources, Norm Olsen.
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No matter what coast you're on, there is something big happening in fishing this weekend.

Tomorrow (Friday, Feb. 25) thousands of commercial and recreational fishermen will be gathering in St. Petersburg, Fla., for the Fishing Matters to Me rally to protest the Gulf of Mexico grouper closures. The crowd will convene outside of NMFS Southeast headquarters at 263 13th Avenue South.

Also beginning tomorrow, Astoria, Ore.'s Clatsop Community College will again play host to the three-day Fisher Poets Gathering. While the stories of the sea are the biggest draw, the festival includes vessel tours, knot-tying demos, workshops and a silent auction.
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In some respects, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill must have looked like a blessing to Dr. Jane Lubchenco and her NOAA colleagues.

Of course, not right away, when no one knew what kind of toll it might take. But after the well was capped and wildlife seemed to have stayed afloat tolerably well, and tourism began to return to the coast, the federal agency ought to have looked upon the spill as a great public distraction from what their left hand was doing in the Northeast.

Just before the gulf spill, fishermen in New England were finally making headway after years of complaints that NOAA's enforcement arm was overzealous in its punitive measures against the fishing industry, from fishermen to a local auction house.
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Oftentimes when I talk to people outside the fishing industry, they ask me what the good news is in fishing because I always seem focused on what fishermen are kvetching about.

I would like to say that there always is some form of good news.

But anyone who follows this industry closely knows that we are barraged weekly (and sometimes daily) with stories from around the country about one fleet or another being targeted by one group or another.
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After reading an article this week in the Gloucester (Mass.) Times (Catch share group pushes private forum) about a closed-door meeting on New England's catch shares program, I got right on the horn to call the coordinator of the meeting to find out if members of the press would be allowed to attend.

I left a message and quickly received a call back from Jill Swasey at the MRAG Americas New England office, who explained that while the Monday morning workshop is, in fact, invite-only, observers are welcome, including the press.
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It's not difficult to imagine heading off to a summertime oceanside resort area on a day like today in New England. It's been snowing for a week straight (or so it seems), and today was no different.

As I sit in the airport, hoping I will make it to Ocean City, Md., today, I know I'm not headed to a warm destination. But from everything I hear about the Maryland Watermen's Association's East Coast Commercial Fishermen's & Aquaculture Trade Exposition, the warmth will be all in the people.
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Page 18 of 29

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 4/22/14

  • OSU study targets commercial fishing injuries
  • Delaware's native mud crab making recovery
  • Alaska salmon catch projected to drop 47 percent
  • West Coast groundfish fishery bill passes
  • Maine's scallop season strongest in years

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

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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