As many of you know, this is the last issue we will ship under the guidance of our longtime leader, Jerry Fraser.

Jerry came onboard with NF in 1997. He had a full career in the fishing industry under his belt — dragging, lobstering and tuna fishing — before he decided to try his hand at the artful pursuit of journalism. He came up through the hawsepipe for a second time, and made his way to the newsroom at the Boston Globe before landing back in Maine in a post that melded his two careers into one.

This story was first published in the June issue of National Fisherman. Subscribe today for digital and print access.

Jerry joined the Diversified family as senior editor for National Fisherman. As editor in chief, he hired me more than 13 years ago. And he handed off that role five years later when he was promoted to publisher of NF and our sister publication, WorkBoat magazine.

I felt like a greenhorn being handed the keys. What kept me steady was knowing I had Jerry’s full support and guidance. His seemingly endless faith in the competence of his crew and advice for those who seek it made him a natural leader. He has been our steadfast captain for all these years, and we will do our best to carry on his legacy of leadership. The body of work he leaves behind, which he writes about on page 6, will stand for itself.

Like any captain worth his salt, Jerry was a little terrifying, though unintentionally so. He has always struck me as utterly fearless, a master of all the elements as a fisherman, a pilot and a career journalist. He never rested on his laurels, making it a point to get back out on the water whenever the publishing schedule allowed. He also encouraged anyone new to the industry to get out on trips to cultivate their own perspectives on the commercial fishing life.

He did that for me, as well as for NF’s new skipper, Bob Callahan. Bob has been working with Diversified’s Commercial Marine team for almost 15 years, most recently as the group’s vice president. I have no doubt that his leadership, like Jerry’s, will bring us into a new era with a fresh perspective. Anyone who jumps at a chance to go winter shrimping in Maine has to be a hardy soul with just the right amount of crazy to take on this task.

It has been a gift, an honor and a pleasure to come up in this field under Jerry’s guidance. His leadership will leave a gap in the webbing. We will miss his guiding hand. But he is set to soar to his next adventure, and I am thrilled for him. I hope you will all join me in wishing Jerry fair winds, whether he’s at sea, in flight or hitting the links.

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

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