Editor’s Log

Old is new again

Fifty years ago, National Fisherman acquired Pacific Fisherman magazine, making the publication national in both name and scope. The tradition continues all these decades later because although many aspects of the industry have changed dramatically, we still have a strong national fishing industry.


We are here, standing on the shoulders of giants, thanks to generations of fishing tradition and heritage.

Ten years ago, as you can read in Fishing Back When on page 4, NF eagerly took on the Crew Shots tradition that began in Alaska Fisherman’s Journal. In that time, we have seen steady participation from the Alaska and Pacific Northwest readership, which knew the tradition well. And over the years, growing participation from other ports across the country has given us an opportunity to follow your working lives and to watch your families grow. This issue reminds us that we are a part of your lives, and I thank you for continuing to bring us on deck from Alaska’s Bristol Bay to Bristol, R.I. Look for your mug in our six page-spread starting on page 20, or view the section online.

Our nearly 100 years of heritage in print is nothing to the industry we cover. And in that spirit, I have a soft spot for historic boats that still work the water in their trade. The oyster boom in Chesapeake Bay has led to a revival of many historic wooden buy boats, ideal for plying the shoal waters of an estuary fishery.

In Around the Yards this month (page 22), our former Boats & Gear editor, Mike Crowley, profiles a 122-year-old Grand Banks sailing schooner that is undergoing a three-year restoration project in Boothbay, Maine, to be used as a cadet trainer for the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. She won’t be catching 200,000 pounds of cod on the banks anymore, but she’ll be in her old stomping grounds and likely sailing under sextant navigation once again.

That’s right, this historic device is experiencing a revival of sorts, since the U.S. Navy began again requiring all of its officers to be trained in the art of celestial navigation. It might seem anathema to include an ancient device in a new product review, but we’re bringing sextants back. Boats & Gear Editor Jean Paul Vellotti reviews the latest from Davis Instruments on page 37. 

If we’re looking for clues based on military trends, I’d take the Navy’s move as a hint that the federal government is concerned about our reliance on satellites and GPS. Chalk it up to potential terrorism or Wikileaks threats if you like, but even a strong solar flare can disrupt navigation electronics. You’d be wise to have your bases covered if you work offshore.

Never underestimate the power of a long tradition.


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About the author

Doug Stewart
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