Written by Jen Finn
September 20, 2012
There is something about the spirit of the people in the fishing industry that keeps bringing me hope that things will work out all right. I don't mean to sound like Pollyanna, because I know every region faces major hurdles right now. But looking back on 2011 for this yearbook issue, I see hurdles being cleared.
More and more, managers are hearing the call for better data. It seems that even though some of our models and methods are outdated, we are less likely to shrug and say, "I guess that's the best science can do." Science alone should not lead the charge on gathering fishery data. Fishermen may not have degrees in science (though some undoubtedly do), but they know the oceans and more specifically fish behavior and habitats. If we want to know if there are fish and find out where they are, then we have an obvious source to tap.
Cooperative research and industry outreach are fishermen's best chance at surviving the modern age, when it seems like every day someone is pitching a new way to farm the ocean instead of maximizing our wild fisheries.
Another hurdle the industry faces is coping with catch shares. NF Assistant Editor Melissa Wood kicks off a two-part series on that subject, covering the topic from coast to coast. Her story begins on page 30. Our editorial team will continue to follow this story online and in the magazine, so check nationalfisherman.com for updates.
If you'd rather not focus on the industry's future, then Boats & Gear Editor Michael Crowley has a couple of treats for you, starting with iconic American boat designs on page 38 and continuing into three American boatshops that made a mark in different parts of the country (p. 42).
By the time this magazine shows up in your mailbox, fishermen from around the country will have gathered for the second time in three years on the steps of the Capitol for another rally in support of flexibility in rebuilding timelines. I hope to see many of you there. And if you can't be there in person but believe in the future of commercial fishing in America, make sure your voice is heard by reaching out to Congress. Whether you do that through a fishing organization or on your own, please do something.
– Jessica Hathaway
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