National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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


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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JHathaway2 I have to give credit where it is due.

The NOAA enforcement scandal has been lighting up the lines in fishing communities throughout the Northeast for months now.

Yet, there was very little movement on the results of the agency's internal investigation until yesterday.

Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke met with members of the fishing industry and local politicians in meetings in Boston and Portland, Maine.
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There would be no better way for NOAA to apologize to Northeast fishermen for years of targeted, excessive punitive fees than by punishing the man in charge of overseeing those retaliatory measures.

I simply cannot fathom how the leadership of this agency can justify not even suspending or demoting Andrew Cohen, but instead sliding him into another 6-figure job that is conveniently located at his "duty station in Gloucester," Mass., according to the Gloucester Times.
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Blogpic Commercial fishermen throughout this country and the world have a lot of reasons to thank the producers and captains of the Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch."

I used to think it was just a fun and easy way to give the average person a window into the lives of commercial fishermen: not just the daily dangers they face, but the fear of coming home empty-handed, the extended periods spent away from onshore family, boat and gear repairs, the camaraderie and hazing that go hand in hand with living with your co-workers.
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Page 26 of 36

Inside the Industry

NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.


A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.

Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species,  allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.

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