National Fisherman

Say cheese

It's that time of year again, and so we hereby invite your submission for publication in the "Crew Shots 2008" section of our January issue.

Last year your response was amazing. We got far more shots than we expected and did our best to use at least one photo from everyone who sent pictures, and we'll make every effort to do the same thing this year.

We're looking for digital pictures of your crew at work, at play — even at rest — taken this year. They should be moderately high-resolution images.

Last year we received several pictures that were quite small, and I think the published results probably disappointed the people they portrayed.

Our art director, Jen Finn, suggests that a digital image 1,260 x 945 (pixels) should work, but if your camera has a higher setting, that's OK, too. More pixels mean more details and allow us to faithfully reproduce an image. As was the case last year, we hope to put a sampling of pictures on the cover. (Hint: We find shots with fish as well as people especially heartwarming.)

Please e-mail them to me by Oct. 31 at and enter "crew shots 08" in the subject line.

Please include the name of the vessel, its home port, where the shot was taken (if not in the home port) and the names of all pictured crew members, from left to right (which will save us reordering them and reduce the likelihood of error.)

If you are a troglodyte who still shoots slides or, heaven forbid, prints, address them to me at National Fisherman, 121 Free St., Portland ME 04112 and write "crew shots" on the envelope. We will scan the shots right away and return them to you.

Although I went fishing for quite a few years, I worked at newspapers for several years after that. I hadn't been at National Fisherman too long when my old editor at The Boston Globe asked me how I liked it here, and without having to think about it, I said, "The fishing industry has a real pulse to it."

Because newspapers must react to events, they devote significant resources to covering stories that everyone involved knows (or should know) are jive. During my years at the Globe (1993-97) I spent far too much time reading about O.J. Simpson and Whitewater, to cite two of the low-water marks of my mainstream career, and I still am grateful to the good Lord for getting me out of the newsroom before Monica Lewinsky took center stage.

At NF we try to focus on stories for and about the people of our industry — its pulse — and that would be you.

So let's see what you've got. And please, no marlin shots.
* * *

Did you know it is possible to produce a kilo of farmed salmon with a single kilo of feed? That's according to Helga Pedersen, Norway's minister of fisheries, who spoke at AquaNor, in Trondheim, as reported recently on the Fish Update Web site.

Without putting words in Pedersen's mouth, she is clearly holding this ratio out as a glorious eco-bargain.

Would that it were so! One unanswered question is the matter of how many kilograms of wild fish it takes to produce a kilogram of feed that consists largely of fish oil and fish meal.

Then there is the issue of logic: Can we really get 2.2 pounds of fish out of 2.2 pounds of feed? After all, it's not as if farm-raised salmon never go to the bathroom!

Quite the contrary: The little buggers excrete waste in prodigious fashion. As Daniel Pauly, a professor of fisheries at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver who has likened salmon pens to floating pig farms, once told the Los Angeles Times "They consume a tremendous amount of highly concentrated protein pellets and they make a terrific mess."

(Pauly has also leveled criticisms at wild-harvest fisheries. He is, to be sure, an equal-opportunity antagonist.)

And although Norway clearly has become a world-class producer of farmed fish (the value of its aquaculture exports exceeds the value of exports from its traditional fisheries), Pedersen concedes that there are "problems" with escapement.

Scientists and others are fearful of disease and other consequences when escaped farmed fish mingle with wild stocks.

I mention this not to flog U.S. producers of farmed salmon; I am confident that eventually they will get their ducks in a row with respect to the ecological effects of aquaculture.

Until they do, however, it seems worthwhile to utter the occasional note of caution to our good shepherds at NMFS, who seem bound and determined — but ill-prepared — to go down the path of open-ocean aquaculture.

— Jerry Fraser

Inside the Industry

It’s no secret that fraud is a problem in the seafood industry. Oceana repeatedly touts a mislabeling epidemic. While their method has been criticized, the perception of rampant fraud  has been established.

Read more ...

The Center for Coastal Studies recently announced that Owen Nichols, Director of the Center for Coastal Studies’ Marine Fisheries Research Program, has been selected as this year’s recipient of the John Annala Fishery Leadership Award by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. 

Read more ...
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