National Fisherman


An 11th-generation Outer Banks fisherman, Jamie Wescott took a gamble recently in rough weather and worked until midnight netting 500 pounds of croaker. He hit the fish market the next morning, and workers sorted his paltry catch.

Even the pelicans under the fish conveyor belt were getting slim pickings.

On a better day, he would have caught closer to 3,000 pounds.

"It has not been really good," he said.

Tall, lean and weathered like many of his watermen ancestors, Wescott, 37, says he is up against more than bad weather these days when it comes to commercial fishing.

In 2011, North Carolina fishermen harvested 29.7 million pounds of finfish compared with 110.9 million pounds a decade earlier - down from the peak of 388.6 million pounds in 1981, according to state records.

The number of commercial fishing licenses issued remained steady at just over 9,000 in 2011, but the number of fishermen actually using them fell to 3,700 from 5,260 in 2002 and a peak of 7,198 in 1996.

Wescott says he doubts his 3-year-old son, who loves going on the boat and to the fish house, will be able to make a living on the water.

"I don't think the industry will be here," he said.

Read the full story at the Virginian-Pilot>>

Inside the Industry

The Obama Administration recently announced that it is looking for candidates to be considered for a sustainable fishing prize.

The White House Champion for Change for Sustainable Seafood designation will honor individuals for “contributing to the ongoing recovery of America’s fishing industry and our fishing communities.”

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The American Fisheries Society is honoring recently retired Florida Institute of Oceanography director Bill Hogarth with the Carl R. Sullivan Fishery Conservation Award — one of the nation's premier awards in fisheries science - in recognition of his long career and leadership in preserving some of the world's most threatened species, advocating for environmental protections and leading Florida's scientific response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

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