National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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

 

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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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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Page 19 of 31

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 9/9/14

In this episode:

Seafood Watch upgrades status of 21 fish species
Calif. bill attacking seafood mislabeling approved
Ballot item would protect Bristol Bay salmon
NOAA closes cod, yellowtail fishing areas
Pacific panel halves young bluefin harvest

National Fisherman Live: 8/26/14

In this episode, National Fisherman Publisher Jerry Fraser talks about his early days dragging for redfish on the Vandal.

Inside the Industry

More than a dozen higher education institutions and federal and local fishery management agencies and organizations in American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Hawaii have signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at building the capacity of the U.S. Pacific Island territories to manage their fisheries and fishery-related resources.

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PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative has appointed Matt Jacobson as its new executive director.
 
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