National Fisherman

Dozens of commercial mullet fishermen flocked to the St. Johns River this week after a Leon County judge allowed long-banned nets to be used in Florida waters, stirring up a decade-old controversy about balancing fish populations and commercial profits.
The nets, called gill nets, were banned in 1995 after voters approved a state amendment to outlaw the nets, saying they encouraged overfishing. Leon County Judge Jackie Fulford decided last week to stop the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission from enforcing this rule, saying in her ruling the fishermen had “lost the tools of their trade, and thus, their ability to earn a living.”
The controversy boils down to two schools of thought. On one side, the gill nets are said to be an essential instrument that spare baby fish and help fishermen make a better living. To the other side, the nets are considered an overly zealous tool that have the power to demolish essential fish populations, just to feed fishermen’s pocketbooks.
In some ways, the controversy is less about the fish meat, but what’s inside them.
Read the full story at St. Augustine Record>>

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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