Gear up

Though our cover says it’s January, this issue will be dropping in your mailboxes just in time for some winter holiday shopping. NF Products Editor Brian Hagenbuch has compiled an all-star collection of favorite products featured in the Boats & Gear section over the course of 2018. Check out his top tier in new gear before you send your Christmas list to the North Pole. Find NF’s Best of Boats & Gear on page 22.

In Maine, as in most coastal states, fishermen are fighting to maintain access to the working waterfront, hoping the tariffs on Chinese imports and exports won’t affect their ex-vessel prices, and working to improve access to shifting species as local water temperatures warm.

Portland fishermen have declared that they can fight city hall and are petitioning for a referendum that would retighten restrictions on waterfront development, essentially reverting to the working waterfront referendum the city voted in back in 1987. The initiative is seen as a gateway movement for coastal zoning across the state, as fishermen up and down the coast are seeing similar pressures to develop more of shoreside Vacationland.

To that end, the citizens of Maine have just elected the first woman commercial fisherman to the statehouse. Genevieve McDonald, a lobster captain from Stonington, is just what the state needs, as well as our working waterfronts and fleets. Though she has been hauling lobster traps throughout her fishing career, McDonald does not turn a blind eye to other fisheries in the state that need help holding on. Read the full story on page 12.

A big part of the working waterfront is boatbuilding, repair and maintenance. The Landry family, of Bayou La Batre, Ala., has a long history of building the region’s wooden shrimp boats. Roy Landry began the family’s legacy about 80 years ago, and it became a tradition for members of the family to find a career at the Landry Boat Works.

During the Gulf of Mexico shrimp heyday in the late 1970s, the yard employed 50 people and launched several 65- to 85-foot wooden shrimp boats, as well as some 35- to 45-foot oyster boats and snapper boats, every year. After the bottom fell out in the ’80s, Rena Landry has kept the yard running on repairs and diversifying his skillset to include steel and fiberglass. Read Boats & Gear Editor Paul Molyneaux’s feature on p. 18.

Last but not least, we are heading out to Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle, where we will see many of your faces live and up close. The Crew Shots spread — starting on page 24 — always gets me in the mood for Expo.

Like most of you, I attend the show to get caught up on new gear and tech developments; updates on political, management and marketing changes; free drinks and snacks at receptions and in the ZF Marine Beer Garden. But hands down the number one reason to go to a live event is for the people.

By the time you get this issue, you’ll be home from the show and still recovering from your Thanksgiving indulgences. So this is a not-so-gentle reminder to get cracking on all the show swag you picked up. Something in that bag just might change your life!

About the author

Jessica Hathaway

Jessica Hathaway is the editor in chief of National Fisherman. She has been covering the fishing industry for 12 years, worked in maritime publishing for 17, and has served on the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s Communications Committee for two years.

© Diversified Communications. All rights reserved.