Our annual tradition of hailing leaders of the commercial fishing industry began in 1975. An NF Highliner is a career commercial fisherman who is also known for giving back to the industry, locally, nationally or globally. This year, we include in the ranks a lifetime achievement award winner for a career of service to commercial fisheries.

I am honored to name the 2020 award winners, representing U.S. fishing communities on the East and Gulf coasts — Bonnie Brady of Montauk, N.Y.; Jerry Fraser of Wells, Maine; and Frank Patti Sr., of Pensacola, Fla.

Though Bonnie Brady knows the deck of a dragger well enough, this Lifetime Achievement Award is a result of her years of service with the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association in Montauk, and as a member of the board of the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance, an East Coast consortium.

Former NF Editor and Publisher Jerry Fraser was drawn to boats and fishing long before he led the NF crew. He came up harpooning tuna, dragging groundfish and landing lobsters off the coast of Maine, a witness to a world of change on the working waterfront.

And last but most certainly not least is Frank Patti Sr., a fisherman and devoted seafood ambassador, who will celebrate his 90th birthday this November.

Congratulations to the Highliner class of ’20!

Jessica Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman. She has been covering the fishing industry for 14 years, serves on the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute's Communications Committee and is a National Fisheries Conservation Center board member.

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