National Fisherman


The Rudderpost 

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

 

I spent a good part of yesterday walking around in the sad-music Charlie Brown pose after reading about Walmart's contribution toward privatizing our oceans.

The company's press release praised projects like catch shares, which have seriously consolidated fleets on the east and west coasts. I understand that Walmart feels the need to greenwash its reputation for profiting from poor labor practices, but must they do it by encouraging the loss of fishing jobs and infrastructure?

Meanwhile, the company has created a partnership with a South African wholesaler to import hake to their U.S. stores — from halfway across the world.
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Two federal decisions yesterday sent a wave of relief throughout the Gulf Coast.

First, NOAA dismissed three petitions attempting to punish shrimpers for turtle deaths that have not been proven to be caused by shrimping — and in fact occurred in the early days of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, when the fishery was not active.

Second, the federal agency increased the TAC for red snapper by nearly 350,000 pounds.
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This week four Mainers graduated from the Cod Academy, officially known as the Maine Aquaculture Association's Cod Farming for Maine's Commercial Fishermen program.

Reportedly, all four grads are now equipped to start their own small-scale cod farms on the coast of Maine.

While I admire the sentiment behind a program that specifically aims to train commercial fishermen at no charge, I'd rather see that money pay for cooperative research to improve the data upon which fishing livelihoods are made and broken.
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As I flew out of Petersburg, Alaska, Thursday morning, I watched the seascape below me until the clouds obscured my view of the Sockeye Islands in Frederick Sound.

I'm on my way home from a week in Alaska's Little Norway. Those kinds of titles are often just marketing ploys, but the moniker holds true in Petersburg.

This town of 2,800 (not including seasonal cannery workers) is fiercely proud of its Scandinavian heritage — which can be seen in its tidy homes and gardens — and the people are as closely connected to the sea as were their Viking cousins.
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This week fishermen in and around Alaska's Kenai Peninsula are scrambling to catch what the Alaska Dispatch referred to as a mushroom cloud of sockeye salmon.

Southeast seiners are hauling in pinks, as projected.

Last year's record return of 34 million sockeye to the once-beleaguered Fraser River had everyone scratching their heads and then whipping out their nets.

That return is expected to be about 3 million this year, but its collapse has long been theorized to be related to nearby salmon farms.
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Collaborative research has changed the face of data in the fishing industry.

Many fisheries have benefited from revised assessments and improved survey techniques, and research programs (like the Virginia Institute of Marine Science's Chesapeake Bay derelict gear retrieval) have benefited from fishermen's knowledge of fishing grounds.

But a new project in the Gulf of Mexico signals an important shift in the application of collaborative research. After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, fishing has been somewhat status quo in the gulf. However, many fishermen have been waiting for the other shoe to drop.
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In many ways over the last week, I've felt that a government of the people, by the people and for the people is a basic tenet lost in the court system. Unless, of course, we redefine "people" to mean "groups with money, power and influence."

Late last week, U.S. District Judge Rya Zobel handed down a judgment declaring a multiparty challenge to groundfish catch shares has no ground on which to stand simply because NOAA and the New England Fishery Management Council followed procedural protocols.
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There's a favorite story in my husband's family that his cousin was leaving their grandmother's house with a newly minted driver's license. Grammie said, "Be careful driving home." And the cousin replied, "Don't worry, Grammie. I'm not going to get into an accident!"

We like to giggle at how silly it is for a teenager to believe accidents don't happen unless you allow them to happen. But that attitude is not uncommon among adults, as well. All we can do is hope that when an accident happens, we have the wherewithal to respond quickly, decisively and appropriately.
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NOAA's leader is bound and determined to keep the Northeast fishing industry on its toes.

After extending a hand to fishermen as she entered office, Jane Lubchenco swiftly turned her back on that sector of her federal agency and opted seemingly to ignore the severity of New England fishermen's suffering under the newly implemented catch shares system and the quickly unraveling story of corruption in NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement.
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I am thrilled to hear today that the U.S. House is moving to bar genetically modified salmon before the Food and Drug Administration can approve it.

Alaska Rep. Don Young's amendment to a farm spending bill was approved by voice vote late Wednesday. And the House is expected to pass the bill this week. The amendment would prevent the FDA from spending money to approve the application from Massachusetts-based AquaBounty.

Despite pleas from many sectors, the FDA has appeared to be leaning toward approving the so-called Frankenfish (king salmon modified with a growth hormone that allows the fish to grow to market size in half the normal time) and has been considering whether it ought to be labeled as modified.
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Page 25 of 38

Inside the Industry

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced last week the sixth round of grant awards from its Fisheries Innovation Fund, a program launched in 2010 to foster innovations that support sustainable fisheries in the United States. 

The goal of the Fisheries Innovation Fund is to sustain fishermen and fishing communities while simultaneously rebuilding fish stocks.

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Alaskan Leader Fisheries will give Inmarsat’s new high-speed broadband maritime communications service, Fleet Xpress, a try on the 150-foot longline cod catcher/processor Alaskan Leader.

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