National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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

 

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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Want to show solidarity with your fellow fisherman?

Get a sitter for Monday night and find a local restaurant that serves up Gulf of Mexico seafood — oysters, shrimp, snapper, whatever you can find.

Or heck, stay in and make some of your own.

On Dec. 1, more than 150 chefs from around the country are planning to show support for the region by participating in America's Night Out for Gulf Seafood.

Fishermen are hurting all over the country, but the Gulf Coast has been hammered since Hurricane Katrina came ashore five years ago.

"Our seafood was never tainted," Cliff R. Hall, of New Orleans Fish House, a supplier, told the Associated Press. "Only our image was tainted."

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Once again, an environmental group is using numbers from a study to push fishermen out of the water, while ignoring reports from fishermen that the waters are teeming.

So far this year, reports from the Atlantic bluefin season are consistent in one thing: It is gangbusters out there.

The commercial fleet in Prince Edward Island caught their annual quota in two days. Recreational fishermen in the Mid-Atlantic are saying it's more robust than ever.

And yet, the Center for Biological Diversity continues to insist on an Endangered Species Act listing to protect bluefin tuna from American fishermen.
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I love so many of the freedoms I enjoy as an American. But I think I could live with a society a little more appreciative of personal responsibility and a little less inclined to require taxpayers to dole out the funds to entertain the frivolous lawsuits brought by people who do outrageous things.

A man in New York has filed suit against Bumble Bee Foods for unspecified damages to compensate for his mercury poisoning, which resulted from his eating 10 cans of tuna a week for more than two years.

The suit alleges that his mercury level is twice the normal amount. But it does not specify what his level was before he began gorging on canned tuna.
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The National Marine Fisheries Service took another step away from serving fisheries yesterday.

Doug DeMaster, a research director at NMFS, announced on Thursday that the service is rejecting the North Pacific Fishery Management Council's recommendations on restrictions and closures in Pacific cod and Atka mackerel fisheries of the Western Aleutian Islands and will instead hurry forth with its own drastic measures to completely shut down these fisheries.

The goal, they say, is to adhere to the Endangered Species Act to protect Steller's sea lions. However, the protection efforts, resulting from a "jeopardy finding," are based on two of seven subpopulations of the western population of Steller's sea lions.
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Page 21 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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