National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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

 

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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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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Page 20 of 32

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 11/06/14

In this episode:

NOAA report touts 2013 landings, value increases
Panama fines GM salmon company Aquabounty
Gulf council passes Reef Fish Amendment 40
Maine elver quota cut by 2,000 pounds
Offshore mussel farm would be East Coast’s first

 

Inside the Industry

Fishermen in Western Australia captured astonishing footage this week as a five-meter-long great white shark tried to steal their catch, ramming into the side of their boat.
 
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EAST SAND ISLAND, Oregon—Alexa Piggott is crawling through a dark, dusty, narrow tunnel on this 62-acre island at the mouth of the Columbia River. On the ground above her head sit thousands of seabirds. Piggott, a crew leader with Bird Research Northwest, is headed for an observation blind from which she'll be able to count them.
 
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