Written by Michelle Gayton
This week I was pondering what makes me ineffective at playing politics (don’t ask). And though the answer seemed so obvious (my face can’t lie), it made me realize two things about the U.S. commercial fishing industry: 1) perhaps one of the reasons fishermen and federal managers have a history of strife between them is because most federal workers rise through the ranks by being at least tolerant of political doublespeak and backroom maneuvering; whereas fishermen are straight-talkers by and large when it comes to the details that define their livelihood; 2) that I am exceedingly lucky to have landed myself in a job with a readership that values the truth, even when it stings.
So let’s take a look back at fishing before management played a heavy role. British Columbia writer Rick Crosby profiles Joe Bauer, a Steveston old-timer. Bauer is a classic retired commercial fisherman — he’s passionate, knowledgeable and humble. But one thing that sets him apart is his journey to commercial fishing, which began in Scotland in 1945 after his mother was released from a Nazi prison. Joe’s unusual story begins on page 26.
The Tri Marine purse seine tuna fleet writes another chapter in U.S. fishing history. The company has been fishing the western Pacific for 40 years. The fleet has evolved to accommodate changes in fishery management, both global and stateside, but it’s still humming right along. Check out Alan Haig-Brown’s profile of the fleet on page 24.
On the flip side, Boats & Gear Editor Michael Crowley delves into the future of fishing — as far as engines go — and it is full of fuel options for fishing boats. What would it take to use LNG, (modern) diesel-electric or dual-fuel power on your boat? The answers are on page 34.
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My favorite time of year is approaching. We’re once again asking you to submit Crew Shots for our annual tribute to U.S. commercial fishing fleets. Please email photos taken this year to email@example.com, and be sure to include Crew Shots 12 in the subject line. Or submit slides or prints addressed to me at National Fisherman, 121 Free St., Portland, ME 04101 and write Crew Shots on the envelope. We will scan and return them to you.
We will also need to know names of those pictured (from left to right), the boat, home port, location (if not the home port), fishery and gear type. The more information you include and the larger your image, the better your chances are for getting into the magazine or on the cover!
This year, in honor of our good friends at the NIOSH Alaska Field Station (whose hard work has made a huge difference in the commercial fishing industry and is at risk of being unfunded again next year) and the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association, I encourage you to send photos of your crew working on deck in safety gear.
The deadline for Crew Shots submissions is Oct. 31, 2012.
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.Read more...
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.Read more...