Last month, we featured the plight of California’s Dungeness fleet in facing a shutdown caused by a whale-protection lawsuit. This month, we offer the East Coast version of the story. Northeast lobster fleets are coping with strategies to reduce risks to whales, even though they may not be the source of the problem.

August Issue 2019 Cover

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

Whales are a key component of the marine ecosystem. But putting the onus of saving them on fleets whose gear is not clearly linked to their mortality perpetuates undue financial strain while potentially allowing mortality to continue unabated. U.S. lobster fleets have adapted their gear, methods and closures repeatedly over the last decade-plus with desired results — a right whale population on the (very slow) mend. But then that population began to shift its migratory pattern with warming waters, and that put them in proximity to the gear of fisheries not so well adapted. Read the story from outgoing Associate Editor Samuel Hill.

Seattle-based writer Brian Hagenbuch takes a deep dive into the Pebble Mine draft environmental impact statement, which he finished just as he was beginning seasonal preparations to fish Bristol Bay.

A team of University of Washington researchers took on the 1,500-page report, analyzed the data and science behind it, and found it lacking in some alarming ways. The team is expected to publish its feedback before the comment period closes on July 1.

The Kodiak City Council also submitted a letter on the draft statement, citing “a number of insufficiencies in the various analyses of the possible impacts of the Pebble Mine on Alaska’s fisheries,” according to the Kodiak Daily Mirror.

At press time, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council was submitting its own commentary in defense of essential fish habitat. Alaska’s commercial fishing communities are unifying in support of sustainable fisheries.

The working (for now) waterfront community in Portland, Maine, is hosting the next phase for a bustling commercial fishing family. Eric and Kate-Lyn Knight have had a big year. In 2018, they built a new lobster and tuna boat, and welcomed their first child into the world (both named Ivy Jean). Now they are launching a new business with Eric’s old boat, the Wild Duck. Kate-Lyn also coordinated our Pacific Marine Expo conference program before setting off on this new venture. I will miss having her in the office and at the show, but I am excited to see what they do next. Read Boats & Gear Editor Paul Molyneaux’s feature on the F/V Ivy Jean, and stay tuned online for updates from the Knight family.

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

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