National Fisherman


The Rudderpost 

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

 

JHathaway2 As our editor in chief, Jerry Fraser, mentioned in his Fish eNews editorial this week, it seems like a lot of media folks out there are hunting for the next big story in a 24-hour news world and coming up with: Was the gulf oil spill over-hyped?

I suppose that means that — despite the fact that the leak is not permanently capped and no one has yet taken a single water column to test the long-term damage to any single ocean-dwelling species — it's time to declare an end to this disaster.
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I have to wonder that if Jane Lubchenco had known how catastrophic this year in fisheries management would be, would she have taken the job?

She got off to a widely publicized start by rushing to the coast of Massachusetts to talk to fishermen there about what was not working in their industry. Their answer: A lot.

Her shine started to dull pretty quickly when it became apparent she was in her leadership role not so much to lead but to tow the administration's line toward catch shares.
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JHathaway2 Today a BP official lauded the team who placed a sealing cap on the gusher in the gulf.

But don't get too excited, he warned, the oil giant is still conducting "integrity tests" to see if this cap will actually cap the well.

"People feel very good about what we accomplished in the last couple days," said BP Senior Vice President Kent Wells, according to a CNN report. "But the job is not over."
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JHathaway2 This week confirmed the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is seeping into New Orleans' Lake Pontchartrain.

The lake got a lot of press when it flooded neighborhoods during Hurricane Katrina, and in the '80s and '90s when great efforts went into cleaning it up and transitioning it into fishing grounds and an estuary for commercial species.
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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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Page 30 of 38

Inside the Industry

The Downeast Salmon Federation has received a major grant from the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities to ensure and improve the water quality of eastern Maine’s most important rivers, according to the Ellsworth American.

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Louisiana crab fishermen and their catch are feeling the pressure of a downturn in the state economy, and a resulting upturn of people entering the fishery.

“It’s a crazy business right now,” said Pete Gerica, the New Orleans fisherman who now serves as president or the Louisiana Crab Task Force, a legislatively-created board of industry voices that makes recommendations to state government.

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