National Fisherman

Give a man a fish

Recently, I was listening to a "Marketplace" piece on NPR about how the United States has moved away from the gold standard for our currency. The result being that our money is worth what we think it's worth. It's all a leap of faith.

Stories like this get me thinking about a world in which so many of the things we value now (Internet speed, cellular access, data and technology) cease to exist and we are forced to center our attention again on the basic needs of life: food, air, water, shelter.

I am proud of the magazine we put into people's hands every month. I'm glad I can point to something tangible as the culmination of my daily tasks. While I like to think that what we do here nourishes the soul, it does not sustain life.

Fishermen are part of a rare group of people who provide one of the necessities of life. It doesn't take a leap of faith to understand the value of the people who contribute to our basic needs every day.

Unfortunately, the federal agency that oversees fishing in this country seems content to lay impossible expectations on the industry and offer few incentives for success.

As I sat down to write this letter, the news broke of NOAA's proposed aquaculture policy, which includes this statement:

"Growing consumer demand for safe, local, and sustainably produced seafood, increasing energy costs, and the decline of fishing-related industries and working waterfronts are emerging drivers that support sustainable domestic aquaculture production."

The decline of fishing-related industries and working waterfronts is a direct result of national fishery policy. NOAA has the power to turn the tide. If 2010 was the first year since we've kept track that no fishery was experiencing overfishing, doesn't that make the fishing industry sustainable, as well? Why then can't the federal government pour a little energy into boosting fishing-related businesses?

Looking back on everything that happened in this industry in 2010 it's easy to say that the world was a tough place for fishermen last year. But it also goes to show you how resilient and vibrant are the people who make up American fleets.

Whether or not the masses understand what it's like to have the ocean for your office, fishermen can take pride and satisfaction in providing a necessity of life. They can point to their day's work and say without a doubt that they are contributing to the success of the human race.

The pages of this magazine stand as a testament to your lives' work. I hope you will always find inspiration here.

—Jessica Hathaway

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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Diversified Business Communications