National Fisherman

For old timers' sake

I am a Southern transplant to New England with a passion for baseball and a soft spot for old things. As such, I must admit I get a little puff of pride in my chosen home when I think about Boston's Fenway Park celebrating its centennial this year. The owners of the Red Sox have opted in recent years to make minor changes to the park in order to accommodate modern contrivances and comfort for baseball fans. I love that park for its history and longevity, and I especially enjoy packing in like sardines onto classic wooden seats in the grandstand to watch a ballgame with serious fans.

When it comes to boats, much like ballparks, the sweet spot for me is anything made of wood with historic carriage. Yes, I love a shiny new aluminum netter or seiner, too. Anything with a bulbous bow is impressive. And tugboats have a place in most everyone's heart, I believe.

But when I see a classic boat from shore, I have to fight the urge to wave a hanky at it. Something about those stately creatures makes you stop and look. Old things that are still relevant are truly awe-inspiring. They give me hope in a fast-paced world.

This month we find inspiration in the story of La Ola (the wave) from boat carpenter David Peterson. Peterson first saw her at the dock in Eureka, Calif., back in 1992. He was taken with her odd appearance and started asking questions to get a glimpse of her history. He's since pulled up every strake in search of her story. Just like Fenway, a long string of owners of the 100-year-old La Ola kept working with her and tweaking her here and there to keep her viable. You can enjoy the trip back in time on this boat's journey from a motor yacht in San Francisco Bay to salmon troller and tuna longliner on page 28.

On page 22 NF Assistant Editor Melissa Wood profiles the young and lively crew of a fading fishery. Some of Glacier Bay National Park's commercial fishing grounds were shut down in 2000, following a 1991 a petition to make the waters a reserve for marine life. A few licenses were allowed to remain active as long as the permit holder is on deck. Now only two or three permit holders still climb aboard boats that pot for tanner crab. It's a historic Southeast Alaska fishery thriving on youth who will see its end in their lifetimes.

Down in Louisiana, some industry groups are looking into a possibly risky route toward stability in their own landmark shrimp market — exports to China that would cater to that country's burgeoning middle class. Longtime NF contributor John DeSantis delves into all aspects of what a deal with China would look like, and what some of the biggest risks could be. Is this the future of wild American fish? Find out on page 18.

- 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