Article Category: From the Editor

California Worker Classification

California Worker Classification

Some important news for professional fishermen and women in California occurred in September: the state’s governor signed a bill that provides anglers a two-year exemption from the state’s so-called ABC test, which is used to determine whether workers are employees or independent contractors. Under the ABC test, a person being paid to provide labor or services is considered an employee rather than an independent contractor unless the hiring entity can prove that the person is an independent contractor. A worker is considered an employee and not an independent contractor unless the employer satisfies all three of the following conditions: The worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for...
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 ...
From the Editor: Onboard AI

From the Editor: Onboard AI

Could artificial intelligence soon play a substantial role when it comes to counting catch and bycatch onboard commercial fishing vessels? Well, it might not be right around the corner, but it’s something that appears to be on the horizon. A startup co-founded by three people—two former University of British Columbia students and one from Dalhousie University—is working on a monitoring system that uses video and artificial intelligence to better calculate catch and bycatch for commercial fishing boats. The startup, called OnDeck Fisheries AI, is the brainchild of former UBC students Alexander Dungate and Sepand Dyanatkar, along with ex-Dalhousie student Matthew Leighton. Alexander holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science + Biology from the University of British Columbia, while Dy...

From the Editor Cook Inlet Fishing

A decision that was finalized by federal regulators a couple of months ago is likely to have very negative ramifications for anglers in Cook Inlet, and in my opinion, should be rescinded before it goes into effect during the upcoming salmon season. In November, a rule was finalized by NOAA Fisheries that prohibits commercial salmon fishing in the federal waters of Cook Inlet during the 2022 salmon season. The area, which is three nautical miles to 200 nautical miles off Alaska, is referred to as the Cook Inlet Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The State of Alaska would continue to manage Cook Inlet salmon fishery sectors within state waters, from the shoreline to three nautical miles out. The measure will be in place for the 2022 Cook Inlet EEZ commercial salmon fishery. It affects the Coo...
From the Editor: ‘A Scallop Disco’

From the Editor: ‘A Scallop Disco’

According to a recent article in the British newspaper The Guardian, a new and unorthodox fishing technique is not only effective when it comes to catching scallops, but could also help preserve fragile seafloors. And it involves use of disco-like LED lights to attract fish. The article, which was published May 18, says the discovery occurred when marine scientist Dr. Rob Enever and his team at Fishtek Marine, a southwest England-based fisheries consultancy, designed small underwater lights to help protect fish stocks by replacing the need to use fish to bait crab and lobster pots. “The lights were supposed to attract crabs into the pots. But quite unexpectedly, scallops, which can have up to 200 eyes, were more attracted to the LED lights, the article states. “It’s like a scallop ...
Banning Russian Seafood Imports

Banning Russian Seafood Imports

In case you missed it, on March 11, the Biden Administration imposed a federal ban on U.S. imports of Russian seafood in response to Russia’s invasion of neighboring country Ukraine. While the President’s action is to be applauded, it should not have taken a literal war for it to have been executed, in my opinion. In fact, it was something that the seafood industry has said was years overdue, because after all, Russia has banned imports of U.S. seafood since 2014. And the reason that came about was that in early 2014, while much of the world was focused on the winter Olympics at the time, Russia invaded and annexed Crimea, a peninsula that had been part of Ukraine. Following the annexation, the U.S. placed economic sanctions on Russia, and Russia retaliated by banning imports of America...

From the Editor: Safety First

As anyone who’s worked on a fishing boat, or has spent a substantial amount of time around the commercial fishing industry knows, good safety practices are vital for a working vessel. It should come as no surprise to regular readers of this magazine that the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has long stated that commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous occupations in the U.S. “Many commercial fishing operations are characterized by hazardous working conditions, strenuous labor, long work hours and harsh weather,” a statement on NIOSH’s website declares. The institute maintains the Commercial Fishing Incident Database (CFID), a surveillance system for workplace fatalities in the commercial fishing industry in the United States. And data from the data...
From the Editor: Omicron

From the Editor: Omicron

Just as things in the commercial fishing industry seemed to be getting back on track and trending in the right direction, up pops the obstacle known as the Omicron variant, pulling everything backward again. Omicron, as you hopefully know by now, is a mutated form of the dreaded COVID-19 disease that has cause havoc within global fishing community, as well as most other industries, not to mention nearly everyone’s daily lives. Among the issues the virus and its latest variant have caused are costly shutdown, drops in revenue and manpower shortages. Many of these ongoing problems are detailed in an article on page 24 of this issue of Fishermen’s News by our Alaska bureau chief, Margaret Bauman. In the story, she details how the pandemic has affected commercial fishing over the past couple...
From the Editor: SoCal Commercial Fishing  is In Crisis

From the Editor: SoCal Commercial Fishing is In Crisis

Before this summer, commercial fishing in Southern California was already at a disadvantage compared to other areas along the West Coast due to various factors. But the massive oil spill off the coast of Orange County in early October, in addition to an acute backlog of dozens of container ships anchored near the Long Beach and Los Angeles seaports, may be helping put the SoCal commercial fishing industry in a state of crisis. It truly doesn’t bode well for commercial fishing communities in Los Angeles and Orange counties if the fishing waters off the coast are soiled by thick globs of oil. Not to mention the fact that shipping lanes are so clogged that ultra-large container vessels have to drop anchor in and around those lanes several nautical miles before they arrive at their desti...
From the Editor: Learning to Share

From the Editor: Learning to Share

As some of the people who have been part of the commercial fishing industry on the West Coast for a length of time can attest to, it’s not just luck and Mother Nature that fishermen and women have to contend with while plying their trade, but sometimes furry and winged creatures, as well. And with so much competition for fish within the animal kingdom, particularly sockeye salmon returning from the ocean, sometimes there isn’t enough to go around for everyone, as some parties take more than their fair share. Such a scenario led to the Wuikinuxv (pronounced “Oh-wee-key-no”) Nation indigenous people on the coast of British Columbia teaming up with scientists to collaborate on how to strike a balance between the needs of people and the needs of grizzly bears when divvying up the annual supp...