National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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

 

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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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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Page 22 of 32

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 12/16/14

In this episode, Bruce Buls, WorkBoat's technical editor, interviews Long Island lobsterman John Aldridge, who survived for 12 hours after falling overboard in the dead of night. Aldridge was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Pacific Marine Expo, which took place Nov. 19-21 in Seattle.

Inside the Industry

NOAA, in consultation with the Department of the Interior, has appointed 10 new members to the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee. The 20-member committee is composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experience who advise the departments of commerce and the interior on ways to strengthen and connect the nation's MPA programs. The new members join the 10 continuing members appointed in 2012.

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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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