National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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

 

The battle over New England's groundfish quotas rages on this week with Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) stepping up to bat and New Bedford, Mass., Mayor Scott Lang talking to Frank and Rep. Walter Jones (D-N.C.) in a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill.

The mission is to bump sector quotas in order to keep the little guys afloat. This is not an effort to overfish, but rather to fish just enough, to stay on the water without taxing the resource. That is the true definition of a sustainable fishery.
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Whenever a new scientific study on fishing is released, I'm generally torn between elation that people are studying fishing and concern that they are only getting part of the picture and/or are being paid by some private group to prove a political point.

And so it was today when I read the headline "Virus may have killed Fraser River sockeye" in the Vancouver (British Columbia) Sun.

I would love to hear that we are closer to some answer as to why the Fraser River sockeye has been in decline for years, only to surprise us all with a 2010 return of 30 million.
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New Year's has come and gone. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to raise my glass to Legal Sea Foods and its President and CEO Roger Berkowitz.

On Monday, Jan. 24, the Boston-based seafood chain's flagship location will host a meal featuring only "blacklisted" seafoods. That is, fisheries the Monterey Bay Aquarium and their ilk have called on chefs and patrons to boycott.

The problem with the blacklisted fisheries, as the organizers point out and most fishermen know already, is that their categorization often ignores the complexity of the oceans. The justifications for blacklisting (or greenlisting!) are varied, sometimes politically influenced, and even based on old data or perceptions.
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The end of the year is often a time of reflection and looking forward. This year I keep coming back to groundfish catch shares — looking back on the East Coast mess, looking forward to the West Coast's implementation.

I hope that when it's implemented that this system works better on the West Coast than it has in New England. NMFS announced in late December that it's briefly delaying the scheduled January implementation to prevent over-issuing quota shares. NMFS says doing so will keep early 2011 West Coast harvests low enough that it won't be necessary to require more drastic management action later.
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In the spirit of the season, I'd like to say that there is hope, promise and energy in the U.S. fishing industry.

We see it everywhere we go. Fishermen worry about new regulations, updating gear, maintaining their boats. But more than anything, they love to talk about fishing and think about the next time they'll be on deck.

There is nothing better than doing what you love for a living, except perhaps taking a break to enjoy your family and friends during the holidays.

Merry Christmas from all of us at National Fisherman.

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This week, our hearts go out to the surviving family and friends of a Maine lobsterman lost at sea.

Crew members of the lobster boat out of Newport, R.I. report that their crewman became entangled in pot warp, managed to free himself and resurface, but could not cling to the life ring long enough for rescue from icy winter waters off Maine's Matinicus Island.

The Coast Guard reports that the lost fisherman was not wearing a PFD. The hesitation to don flotation gear while working on deck is a persistent cultural problem in the fishing industry.
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This week, North Pacific halibut fishermen got some bad news with the release of preliminary recommendations to cut the overall quota by 19 percent.

However, fishermen in Area 2C, near Petersburg, Alaska, were devastated by a proposed cut of 47 percent, from 4.4 million pounds to 2.33 million. Area 3A, considered the breadbasket of the fishery, is seeing a 5.63 million pound recommended cut, as well. Meanwhile, Canadian fishermen who share a coastline with those in Area 2C will likely see a quota increase.

It strikes me as inexcusable to cut anyone's livelihood by 47 percent — especially in this economic climate — short of catastrophic or imminent stock failure.
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It's rare these days that a move by NMFS brings clarity and reason to the New England groundfish fishery.

However, yesterday the service did just that.

After banning midwater herring trawlers from groundfish spawning areas and then allowing them back into those areas with a gaping loophole that permitted the boats to dump catches before the observers could inspect them, NMFS has reached a happy medium.
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Three years ago, then-NMFS chief Bill Hogarth proposed a fishing moratorium for the Eastern Atlantic bluefin at a meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas.



Obviously and regrettably, he did not have enough support to push the ban through. However, what he did have was an understanding of U.S. fisheries and the state of global fisheries on the whole.



A lot of people in the industry grumbled about some of Hogarth's maneuvers. But with him as the leader of the U.S. fishing industry's regulating agency, fishermen at least had a fishing advocate who was working toward making things right for the industry, from stocks to docks.

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JHathaway2 The National Fisherman team is gearing up for Seattle!

We are arriving on the West Coast Tuesday and hope to see many of you Wednesday at Profitable Harvest — Direct to Market Forum. It starts at 8 a.m. and includes a full day of panelists and Q&A that runs the gamut from improving your processing to marketing your catch to the public.

After that, Pacific Marine Expo begins bright and early Thursday morning and continues through Saturday at 3 p.m. Come walk the floor, check out a conference or two, compete in the Fisherman of the Year contest and stop by booth 103 to say hi.

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Page 21 of 31

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 10/21/14

In this episode:

North Pacific Council adjusts observer program
Fishermen: bluefin fishing best in 10 years
Catch limit raised for Bristol Bay red king crab
Canadian fishermen fight over lobster size rules
River conference addresses Dead Zone cleanup

National Fisherman Live: 10/7/14

In this episode, National Fisherman Publisher Jerry Fraser talks about the 1929 dragger Vandal.

 

Inside the Industry

NOAA and its fellow Natural Resource Damage Assessment trustees in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have announced the signing of a formal Record of Decision to implement a gulf restoration plan. The 44 projects, totaling an estimated $627 million, will restore barrier islands, shorelines, dunes, underwater grasses and oyster beds.

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The Golden Gate Salmon Association will host its 4th Annual Marin County Dinner at Marin Catholic High School, 675 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Kentfield on Friday, Oct 10, with doors opening at 5:30 p.m.

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