Article Category: Columns

Guest Column: Doing More with Less

Guest Column: Doing More with Less

It would appear that “doing more with less” could be the unofficial motto for today’s society, especially regarding the workplace. Restaurants, offices, tech companies and many other businesses are feeling the squeeze of being short staffed and finding it hard to recruit and retain qualified long-term help. What does this mean for the employees who are in the workforce? It means doing more than your normal duties in your job description. While it is a fact that sometimes you just do what needs to be done to perform the task at hand, this extra effort is creating an environment for workers that leads to extra stress, longer hours, fatigue and eventually burnout. This does not create a healthy and sustainable model for businesses to succeed and thrive. The COVID-19 pandemic was har...
Responding to Climate Change Threats to Fisheries

Responding to Climate Change Threats to Fisheries

Almost exactly a decade ago, in 2012, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations adopted and published a major policy statement explaining just what “global climate change” was all about, and why we as ocean commercial fisheries folks should be concerned. That landmark policy statement “Combating Global Warming & Acidic Seas (2012)” (https://pcffa.org/climate-change-and-fisheries) still stands as a beacon of good sense in a world where the threat of climate change has gone from scientific theory to grim reality—and will with certainty get a lot worse before it gets better. This column is to bring our fleet up to date on what is actually being done to help our industry continue to fish in the face of these scary (and sometimes seemingly overwhelming) worldwide changes. T...
From the Editor: Tackling Illegal Fishing

From the Editor: Tackling Illegal Fishing

In the June issue of Fishermen’s News, we ran a lengthy feature article on illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and how, for multiple reasons, such fishing is a leading global maritime security threat. Well, as a follow up to that report, I’m happy to report this news: the United States is strengthening its commitment to combating IUU fishing. In late June, at the United Nations Ocean Conference in Portugal, the U.S. made a series of announcements that elevates the country’s commitment to combat IUU fishing and the labor abuses associated with it. In conjunction with the announcements, President Biden signed memorandum addressing IUU fishing and related harmful fishing practices. Among the measures that the Biden administration spells out in the memorandum are that the ...
NOAA’s AOA Process

NOAA’s AOA Process

On May 7, 2020, then-President Trump signed Executive Order 13921, titled Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth. Two sections of that E.O. addressed aquaculture. Section 6 is titled Removing Barriers to Aquaculture Permitting and Section 7 is titled Aquaculture Opportunity Areas. This column is focuses primarily on Section 7. The E.O. required the identification of at least two geographic areas containing locations suitable for commercial aquaculture within one year from the issuance of the order. These would be identified by the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the secretaries of defense, the Interior, Agriculture, Homeland Security and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, along with other appropriate federal officials and Region...
Why Do I Need to Do Emergency Drills with My Crew?

Why Do I Need to Do Emergency Drills with My Crew?

Because you never know how your day is going to end, emergency drills are required to be conducted monthly on many fishing vessels during the season. Even if they are not required on your vessel, drills are a standard in the industry. In the event of a casualty, not conducting drills is a poor defense. Without regular drills, in an emergency the crew will be looking to the master to answer the big question: what do we do? Meanwhile, the master of the vessel is flooded with sensory information that is incomplete or unknown as well as dealing with conflicting emotions and the weight of responsibility for dealing with the emergency. This is not the best state of mind for someone to make the correct decision. A crew that is not trained in what to do makes it even more difficult for the ma...
Offshore Wind Energy:  Benefit or Boondoggle?

Offshore Wind Energy: Benefit or Boondoggle?

One of President Biden’s first acts in office was signing Executive Order No. 13990 on January 20, 2021. The order re-set the course of U.S. energy policy in response to the global emergency of climate change and growing energy demand. Since then, U.S policy has been to phase out greenhouse gas-producing fossil fuels in favor of non-fossil fuel “renewables” as soon as possible. As a result, there has been a massive political and PR push to develop new sources of wind energy, specifically in the oceans. Many other countries have developed offshore wind energy, but hardly any of that has been in the U.S. Unfortunately, the push to quickly develop offshore wind energy has become the latest political fad, even a cure-all in some minds, for meeting the nation’s vast renewable energy needs, at...
Fishing for Sleep

Fishing for Sleep

Getting enough high-quality sleep on a vessel is inherently difficult. The vessel has motion, noises, smells, is cramped and there is little privacy. There also can be lots to worry about. At times it’s a tense environment with lots of unknowns and demands, especially for those in positions of greater responsibility. Despite the fact that we spend 33% of our lives sleeping, it’s only in the last few decades of research that we have learned much about its impact in every aspect of our health, performance and safety. Hundreds of studies from all over the world have demonstrated that being sleep deprived negatively affects every system in the body. People who are chronically sleep deprived have shorter lifespans due to cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and many other health disorde...
The American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act

The American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act

At the time of the writing of this column, the American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act (S. 497) (the “act”) is sitting on the President’s desk awaiting a signature. We are operating under the assumption that the President will sign this bipartisan piece of legislation. The act would enable the fishing industry to have a say in how certain fisheries research and development funds are allocated, particularly funding opportunities available under the Saltsonstall-Kennedy (S-K) Program. In early May, NOAA Fisheries announced that it was funding 44 projects totaling over $11.8 million under S-K programs. Legislation passed in 1939 empowered the Secretary of Commerce to “carry out a national program of research and development addressed to such aspects of United States fisheries (including, ...
Discovery Health MD: Maritime Safety Preparedness Driven by Values

Discovery Health MD: Maritime Safety Preparedness Driven by Values

How calculated health and safety planning saves lives In recent years, preventative health methods and risk management practices have been front-and-center on the world’s stage. And for the maritime industry, one of the most daring and inherently dangerous industries in the world, new health and safety risks have been introduced, and the same approach rings true: Be aware, be prepared, and be safe. For years, marine-centric companies have adopted health and risk management methods ranging from pre-employment health screenings to medical emergency management. Varying levels of preparation impact both seafarers and the companies that they dedicate their efforts to. Different companies have different safety goals and the ultimate reason to achieve those goals is clear: caring for peo...
Use Ergonomics to Prevent Pains, Strains & Chronic Lames

Use Ergonomics to Prevent Pains, Strains & Chronic Lames

Ergonomics is about adapting the workplace and tools to fit you better, so that you have less strain and chronic pain. After interviewing 426 fishermen on the West Coast in 2015, the Fisherman Led Injury Prevention Program at Oregon State University learned that sprains and strains were the most common limiting injuries, with handling gear on deck the most common cause. For over 30 years Alaska Fishermen’s Fund data has demonstrated that muscular skeletal disorders are the main source of insurance claims. When fishermen think about inherent risks, we usually think of things like weather, loading our vessels, handling gear, etc. But the risks to our bodies from repetitive motion, strain on the back, lifting and other forces cause injury over time and can lead to chronic muscular/skeleta...