I didn’t grow up in a commercial fishing family or even on a waterfront. My journey to this industry was paved with serendipity and good timing. But having spent 16 years at National Fisherman and Diversified, I feel like I grew up here in many ways.

It has been a gift to work at something I love — even though I had no idea back then how much it would become a part of my life.

Although it’s hard to leave this post because NF has been my baby for more than a decade, and we’ve been through a lot of changes together, I’m buoyed by the fact that I’m not leaving the industry behind. I feel especially lucky to be able to say “until we meet again” instead of “goodbye.”

I will be taking on a different role that may be less public but hopefully not less effective in representing the needs of the industry.

This work has never been just work for me. The commercial fishing industry is a family — a big (sometimes dysfunctional) family that takes care of each other. It’s been my honor to bear witness to your lives. Thank you for trusting me with your stories. I take with me so many memories of your celebrations, hard conversations, devastating losses and, yes, even some major victories.

And up next for National Fisherman — it is my biggest hope — is the next generation of steady and driven leadership that can keep the light on at home for all of you who work so hard to keep us fed and our working waterfronts thriving.

I’ve still got your back, though it may come in a different package.

Until next time!

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Jessica Hathaway is the former editor in chief of National Fisherman.

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