National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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

 

It's the Fourth of July again already!

To celebrate this year, the salmon fishermen of Bodega Bay, Calif., will have an eight-day season.

Despite the fact that few boats are likely to be participating after two years of complete closure and little enthusiasm for the slightly more than weeklong season, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has gone to the trouble to add California and Oregon wild salmon to their "avoid" list.
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JHathaway2 I know the gulf oil spill has a lot of folks worried about supplies of local seafood and risk of contamination.

While I must admit that if forced to eat farmed shrimp, I'd prefer "freshwater" prawns from Indiana over any product from overseas (for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the distance Asia-raised seafood has to travel to reach my plate), what I can't stomach is the idea that farmed seafood is inherently safer than wild seafood simply because it's raised in captivity.
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The blessing and the curse of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is that people are still talking about it.

I remember two months after Hurricane Katrina, locals and their advocates were calling for more coverage in the press because it had become a passé subject.

In the last couple of weeks, I've traveled to New Bedford, Mass., for a commercial marine trade show and to central Kentucky for a family gathering. The spill was a major topic of conversation everywhere I went and no matter who I talked to.
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While it's difficult to think about anything but the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico these days, our staff is busy preparing for the Commercial Marine Expo next week in New Bedford, Mass.

It's a solemn time for the commercial fishing and commercial marine industries, but there's no better time to gather, discuss the future, and commiserate.
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Aside from the overwhelming fears of total ruin in the Gulf of Mexico, one of my biggest concerns about this spill is what it does to the perception of American seafood in general.

Just last weekend I was talking with some friends about overfishing and the film "End of the Line" (which I reviewed in the October '09 issue of National Fisherman), and one of these friends said her reaction to the problem had been basically to stop buying fish. She then said, "Isn't even Alaska salmon overfished?"
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JHathaway2 If you haven't seen the video posted on the NF home page, try to take 10 to 15 minutes to watch it.

Sadly, it gives clear insight into the problems fishermen, specifically New England fishermen, are having with NMFS.

The most telling quote, in my opinion, is from Pat Kurkul (NMFS Northeast regional administrator). In response to the problems fishermen and sector managers are having with the lack of preparedness and organization from NMFS on the May 1 implementation of sector (or catch share) management of the groundfish fleet, Kurkul says, "Change hurts."
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Blogpic It should come as no surprise that one of the first questions out of people's mouths after the Deepwater Horizon explosion and consequential oil spill is, "What's going to happen to the offshore drilling plan?"

I've heard a lot of folks pronounce this spill as the death knell to Obama's plan, but I find that hard to believe.
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JHathaway2 I almost fell off my chair laughing this morning while reading Chris Horton's latest musings about NOAA on ESPN.

Among my favorite quotes was this little jewel, "The agency's focus has always seemed biased toward the commercial fishing sector, while recreational anglers get the crumbs."

Commercial fishermen are feeding families besides their own. They are not out there for sport, but to make a living. Shouldn't they come first when allocating the catch?
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Yesterday, officials in Maryland and Virginia announced a second straight year of crab population increases in the Chesapeake Bay.

It's great news for baymen and blue crab lovers, alike.

I have to hand it to the local governments on Chesapeake Bay. While the crab restrictions have been extremely tough on crabbers, the fact that the fishery is on a major rebound speaks well to the management. And in the meantime, Virginia has kept baymen working by removing marine debris.
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Blogpic I find it quite curious that when it comes to the practices of American fishermen, we tend to get on a high horse (and rightfully so) about doing everything just right: the best gear that ensures the least bycatch (including, in the case of shrimpers, turtle interactions), leaving enough of the biomass to ensure the long-term survival of the species and bringing the catch to market when the processors and consumers want it the most.

All these factors often add up to high costs for fishermen, which they pass on in the form of dock price, as the market will bear.
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Page 24 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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