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The Fish That Inspired a Woman to Help Save a Species

Shana Miller was fresh out of college in 1998 when she came face-to-face with one of the fastest fish in the sea. She and her friends battled for three hours to haul a 154-pound bluefin tuna aboard their boat off the Maryland coast. And when she finally looked the creature in the eye, she felt…

Congress Needs to Think Big About Fish

When you buy a house, do you inspect only the roof? Of course not. You look at the whole structure: the foundation, insulation, plumbing, and many other aspects that indicate the overall condition of a home. Taking a look at the big picture is wise when buying a house—and equally wise when making many other…

The ABCs of Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management Part V—‘Starting smart’

An old adage popularized by Benjamin Franklin says that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Many of us in the marine conservation community believe that would, indeed, be a good way to manage our nation’s ocean fish. But that’s not happening. Too often, fisheries begin in a new location, or target…

Building on Success

In late fall of 2006, Congress came together to strengthen the primary law that governs our nation’s ocean fisheries—the Magnuson-Stevens Act, originally passed in 1976. A push from leaders on both sides of the aisle, combined with strong support from President George W. Bush, helped overcome political differences. Now the House Committee on Natural Resources…

The ABCs of Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management—Part IV

Protecting essential fish habitat: Homes and nurseries On May 29, the House Natural Resources Committee met to refine legislation reauthorizing and amending the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the primary law that governs fishing in U.S. ocean waters. This is vital work: Our oceans are one of our nation’s most valuable natural resources. And…

The ABCs of Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management—Part III

Reducing and minimizing bycatch According to some estimates, as much as 40 percent of fish caught around the globe is discarded at sea, dead or dying. We can’t afford to continue this wasteful practice. Stopping the unnecessary squandering of nontarget fish in many U.S. fisheries and reducing the needless incidental killing of untold seabirds, whales,…

The ABCs of Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management—Part II

Forage Fish: The Oceans’ Little Heroes Most Americans don’t think about fisheries policy when eating fish. But in fact, the supply of popular species such as cod, tuna, and salmon depends very much on how we manage them in the sea. If anglers, chefs, and diners want to continue catching, cooking, and eating fish, we…

The Bottom Line: Protecting Real Estate for Fish

For businesses dependent on high foot traffic, location is everything. It’s much the same out on the water, where finding the right spot can make all the difference for commercial and recreational fishermen alike. Advances in technology make it easier to target fish more quickly, in deeper water, and more precisely than ever before. This…

The Bottom Line: Five Myths About Fishing

From the Chesapeake Bay to Florida’s Gulf Coast, recreational fishing is big business for many communities along the Eastern Seaboard. In fact, more than one-third of America’s 11.8 million saltwater anglers live in the region. I count myself among them. This national pastime is much more than throwing a line off a local pier. In…

The Bottom Line: Rebuilding Plans Work for U.S. Fisheries

A congressional hearing today on the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act examined a new report from the National Academies on the law’s effectiveness in rebuilding depleted fish populations. As a member of the peer-review panel for the report, I can attest to the amount of work that went into this study, which clearly recognizes…

The Bottom Line: Some Promising News for Bluefin Tuna

U.S. policymakers know they need to limit the number of Atlantic bluefin tuna caught and killed by surface longlines, which can stretch 40 miles with more than 750 baited hooks and float unattended for up to 18 hours. After all, the western Atlantic bluefin population is down 64 percent from its level in the 1970s,…

The Bottom Line: Time to Protect Pacific Forage Fish

I learned long ago that it pays to plan ahead before I hit the water for a day of fishing. Knowing the tides, watching the weather, and reading the fishing blogs for the latest intelligence can make all the difference. Similarly, my time at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and on Capitol Hill…

The Bottom Line: Embracing Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management

Fishing for shad on the Potomac River at Fletcher’s Boathouse is a spring tradition for many Washington-area anglers, including me. As a food source for larger fish, birds of prey, and other animals, shad provide a great example of the interconnectedness of nature—which for decades hasn’t received enough attention from fisheries managers. Although we’ve made…

The Bottom Line: Food Fit For a King

The annual arrival of spring chinook salmon to inland rivers makes March an eagerly anticipated time of year for fishermen and seafood lovers on the Pacific Coast. Anglers wait all year for the chance to land a hulking silvery chinook, commonly known as a king salmon, and consumers enjoy eating this tasty fish. When it…

The Bottom Line: Changing Course for America’s Oldest Fishery

“The fish just aren’t there.” This simple observation from Cape Cod fisheries manager Tom Dempsey to the Associated Press sums up the challenge of decreasing cod populations. Recent scientific studies estimate that cod populations are at or near record lows. But this serious problem has not stopped the New England Fishery Management Council from proposing…