National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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

 

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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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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...Is a cod assessment.

The bipartisan pressure is on this holiday season for Secretary of Commerce John Bryson to respond to a recent Northeast cod stock assessment that declares the species severely overfished.

Despite years of attrition in the New England groundfish fleets, fishermen are still paying the price for depleted cod stocks without the long-promised payday.
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While most of Congress is steadily working toward the megabus solution that will keep the country running, Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) was tasked yesterday with the unenviable assignment of hearing testimony on genetically engineered salmon.

I must admit I am baffled that while environmental groups often fight tooth and nail to keep fishermen off the water, we are even debating the possibility of growing genetically engineered fish and mining at the headwaters of the largest sockeye salmon run in the world — Bristol Bay, Alaska. Where is the precautionary approach when you need it?

Pebble Mine and Frankenfish have no place in an eco-conscious country until or unless they are fully vetted and proven to pose no risk to wild populations.

But that's impossible, you might say.
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Page 19 of 35

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

NMFS announced two changes in regulations that apply to federal fishing permit holders starting Aug. 26.

First, they have eliminated the requirement for vessel owners to submit “did not fish” reports for the months or weeks when their vessel was not fishing.

Some of the restrictions for upgrading vessels listed on federal fishing permits have also been removed.

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Alaskans will meet with British Columbia’s Minister of Energy and Mines, Bill Bennett, when he visits Juneau next week and will ask him to support an international review of mine developments in northwest British Columbia, upstream from Southeast Alaska along the Taku, Stikine and Unuk transboundary rivers.

Some Alaska fishing and environmental groups believe an international review is the best way to develop specific, binding commitments to ensure clean water, salmon, jobs and traditional and customary practices are not harmed by British Columbia mines and that adequate financial assurances are in place up front to cover long-term monitoring and compensation for damages.

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