National Fisherman

The Rudderpost 

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

 

In the midst of a nationwide peanut butter scare (which follows on the heels of a milk scare, a tomato and green pepper scare, and of course the ongoing fears of Mad Cow disease), I must admit I am skeptical of the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council's conviction that offshore fish farms are a step in the right direction.
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I must admit I get a little nervous when I see "NMFS" and "economics" in the same sentence. As far as I can tell, NMFS rarely makes decisions based on economics. (Except, possibly, the economy of scale, as it seems the agency is no friend of the independent fisherman.)
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Near Jacksonville, Fla., the village of Mayport is twisting between the tides of commercial development and waterfront traditions.

On the one hand, you have a historic fishing village that was first explored by Westerners in 1562.
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366cc0eb5ec646e3a7930cfd72a84c03 hiresOne of the things Jennifer Finn (National Fisherman's art director) and I have in common is an affinity for tales of daring and survival. We have a lot of access to sea stories in our day jobs, so when one of us runs across a good one, we pass it on.

While reviewing the January 1979 issue of National Fisherman for the Fishing Back When page, I ran across an amazing story of survival out of Kodiak, Alaska.

Here's the excerpt from the January Back When, on page 6:
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I went to see the movie "Flow" this week. While I don't think the film's makers will be up for any Oscar nods, the overall point was pretty clear. That is, water resources are being bought and bottled up by international corporations, and at least in this country, there's no legislation to regulate it.
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Many of us will be eating turkey this week. But if you are in New England, you should consider at least starting the meal with lobster.

I was born and raised a Southern gal, but I moved to New England many years ago and have adopted some delicious Yankee recipes over the years.

Northern folks love their chowders. The ubiquitous clam chowder, corn chowder, lobster, fish, you get the idea. Corn chowder, as I understand, is a very inexpensive way to fill your belly and load up with some fat to help you survive the winters up here. My family turned to beans, rice and slaw in the lean times, and my in-laws pour a bowl of corn chowder. Add a comment

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Our Maine office is buzzing with travel plans and last-minute details on our trip to Seattle for Pacific Marine Expo this Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 20-22.

My anticipation starts to grow when I get thinking about my favorite aspects of the show, including meeting readers and industry leaders, watching the Fisherman of the Year Contest, and talking to authors whose books I've read over the last year.
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The National Fisherman crew has noticed an uptick in printed references to the magazine lately.

First there were several mentions of our esteemed Editor and Publisher Jerry Fraser's November editorial on Sarah Palin in an Ed Killer piece.

But the most surprising news alert I received this week was mention of National Fisherman in a story titled: "'Idol's' ultimate grad Carrie delivers enthusiastic, evolved performance."

Carrie Underwood and National Fisherman are an unusual pairing, to say the least. She's from cattle country with little to connect her to fishing, except perhaps some fans.

It turns out NF is the exception to Carrie's adoration in this story: "There were even photographs of magazine covers, and she seems to have graced everything except National Fisherman."

I guess that makes us the uncool kids. However, I'm putting out the call now: If Carrie would like to pose for our cover, we'd be happy to have her. Someone get this gal a Grundens t-shirt!

Just a few weeks ago, I was humming along through Michele Longo Eder's very moving memoir "Salt in the Blood" (see the review in NF's December issue) when I stumbled across a passage about Ginny Goblirsch's induction into National Fisherman's Highliner club (she received the honor in 2001). Goblirsch gushes over her phone call from Jerry Fraser.

The fact is, we are honored to be in the room with so many industry movers and shakers at every Highliner dinner.

As the only national commercial fishing publication (and one with a rich and long history), we pride ourselves on reaching out to our readership across this great land of ours.

If you're planning on coming to Seattle next month for Pacific Marine Expo, stop by the National Fisherman booth to say hi.

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Yesterday I had the opportunity to listen in on a press conference led by Pew Environment Group with participating speakers from Pew, the FDA, Oceana, and Consumers Union (the folks who put out Consumer Reports magazine), as well as a chef.

Apparently, farm-raised salmon is a threat to wild ocean populations, and some places where it's raised cross the line with feed and/or antibiotics, making their product unhealthy for the humans consuming it (not breaking news to anyone in the industry).

The FDA, the speakers claim, does not have enough funding to inspect foreign facilities or even adequately test imported fish.

I kept jotting down "disastrous" figures and waiting for the action statement: Here's what we/you can do about it.

Unfortunately, that never came.

When Steve Hedlund, associate editor of SeaFood Business magazine, asked what consumers can do, the best answer was, essentially, talk to your fishmonger. "Begin the dialogue of sustainability," according to chef Barton Seaver.

I consider myself to be an actively green member of my community. I compost, recycle, use cloth bags at the grocery store, CFLs and low-flow everything, always opt for local foods, and the list goes on. Also, I consider myself to be pretty well-educated when it comes to buying fish.

But I have never, ever considered engaging my fishmonger in a dialog of sustainability. And if that has never crossed my mind, then I doubt that conversation is taking place in fish markets across the country.

If you want the masses to make environmentally friendly choices, you have to make it easy for them or make it financially advantageous.

I followed up Hedlund's question with a specific query: So what exactly can consumers do when they are in the store? Should they always choose wild over farmed, or never choose farmed salmon from a particular country?

With no hesitation, Urvashi Rangan, the Consumers Union representative, replied that this is unequivocally not about wild versus farmed (really? Because I'd choose wild over farmed any day of the week, for a variety of reasons.) Her best example? Hold on to your hat: wild tuna's mercury content.

Most of these speakers spent half an hour trashing Chile's salmon farming practices, but then none of them had the cojones to recommend that consumers avoid Chilean farmed salmon or farmed salmon altogether.

But the best recommendation is to "diversify" your fish purchases. Since your money is no good in stocks these days, this should be a fun, new way to diversify your portfolio (or your grocery list). Oh, and you should rely on the pocket guides to sustainable fisheries that are distributed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and other environmental outfits.

I felt like smacking my head against my desk.

Those pocket guides are often misleading, quickly outdated and actually kind of confusing. Why? Because there are so many exceptions to every type of fish (farmed vs. wild, gear type used, location of fishery, etc.), and fishery management and sustainability changes all the time.

Do they expect consumers to download a new pocket guide every few months, when something has been added to or taken off the list? Because that ain't gonna happen.

I guess Pew's effort was geared toward sounding the alarm in the hopes that someone will find it in their hearts to raise the FDA's funding for inspections. In the meantime, fish buyers, you're on your own!

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We all know the wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly. It can be infuriating, but sometimes it works to your advantage.

For example, my husband and I never thought we made enough money to owe taxes. But this year, we got slammed with state and federal. We were scrounging every penny to buy our first home, so it was quite a blow.

Fortunately, all we had to do was file an extension and wait until after our big purchase to pay a lump sum or figure out a payment plan.

Here's where our atrophied system comes in handy for you: If you are a Louisiana resident and a commercial fisherman, a commercial-vessel-license holder, or a seafood dealer with recorded sales or purchases of seafood during the year prior to Katrina (yes, the 2005 hurricane!), then you may well qualify for federal fisheries disaster aid.

The best part is you can still apply for it! That's right, this government molasses is trickling into Louisiana's storm-stricken coast until Oct. 31, thanks to the state's Wildlife and Fisheries Department, which set aside $28.2 million.

If you think you might qualify, contact South Central Planning and Development Commission at P.O. Box 1240, Gray, LA 70359-9902, or call (800) 630-3791 or 665-1051.

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Page 28 of 31

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 7/17/14

In this episode, National Fisherman's Boats & Gear Editor Michael Crowley talks with Mike Hillers about the Simrad PX Multisensor.

 

National Fisherman Live: 7/8/14

In this episode:

  • Obama proposes initiative on tracking fish
  • Council retains haddock bycatch limit
  • Columbia River salmon plan challenged
  • Virginia approves reduction in blue crab harvest
  • Ala. shrimpers hope to net some jumbo profits

 

Inside the Industry

PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative has appointed Matt Jacobson as its new executive director.
 
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The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will convene its Red Snapper Advisory Panel Wednesday, July 30, 2014, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the council office — 2203 N. Lois Avenue, Suite 1100, in Tampa, Fla. 

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