Tensions between fishermen and the scientists and managers that oversee their industry are more than just unpleasant. They actually affect the quality of fishery research and management.
There's a catch phrase that's adorned the tailgates of pick-up trucks up and down the New England coast for years:
National Marine Fisheries Service: Destroying Fishermen and Their Communities Since 1976.
Joel Hovanesian claims to be the creator of the once-pervasive bumper sticker. He and long-time fishing compatriot Brian Loftes have other ideas for new bumper stickers, each of them more derogatory than the last.
The two say government fishery science is "garbage in, garbage out" and simply doesn't reflect the abundance of fish they see out on the water.
"We Don't Trust NOAA"
Some of Loftes' and Hovanesian's complaints focus on specific methods used by government researchers to assess the health of fish populations. Fishery scientists, on the other hand, say there are good reasons for using those methods, and that differences between fishermen's experiences and scientists' data are to be expected. After all, fishermen go where the fish are; scientists spread their effort around in hopes of getting the big picture.
But much of Loftes' and Hovanesian's disdain for fishery science stems from a deep mistrust of government and what they see as a conflict of interest - the fact that the scientists producing stock assessments are part of the government agency that sets fishing regulations, the same agency that's been found guilty of abusing the power to enforce those rules.
Read the full story at WGBH>>
National Fisherman Live: 12/16/14
In this episode, Bruce Buls, WorkBoat's technical editor, interviews Long Island lobsterman John Aldridge, who survived for 12 hours after falling overboard in the dead of night. Aldridge was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Pacific Marine Expo, which took place Nov. 19-21 in Seattle.
NOAA, in consultation with the Department of the Interior, has appointed 10 new members to the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee. The 20-member committee is composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experience who advise the departments of commerce and the interior on ways to strengthen and connect the nation's MPA programs. The new members join the 10 continuing members appointed in 2012.