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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…

The Bottom Line: Don’t Remove Protection When Cod Need It Most

New England is famous for cod fishing. But the industry is ailing—and the cure being proposed might be worse than the disease. Three months ago, the U.S. Commerce Department declared a “commercial fisheries disaster” off the coast of New England because populations of groundfish—cod, haddock, and flounder, among others—were still struggling to recover. Substantial cuts…

The Many Benefits of Marine Reserves: Q&A with Pew’s Jay Nelson

  Recently, while working on an article for National Geographic Traveler, I had the opportunity to interview Jay Nelson, director of the Pew Environment Group’s Global Ocean Legacy project. His group seeks to conserve and protect marine ecosystems by helping to establish large no-take marine reserves, where extractive activities like fishing and drilling are prohibited. To…