Farewell to the father of fisheries policy


Jessica Hathaway

Published on
August 16, 2010

In a generation known as the greatest, Ted Stevens was one of the standouts.

"My motto," he famously said, "has always been 'to hell with politics, just do what's right for Alaska.'"

As it turns out, of course, Stevens did right by a lot more than Alaska. He served his country in war and peace, raised a family, and as readers of National Fisherman know very well, was the visionary architect of U.S. fisheries policy.

He was a force behind the 1976 200-mile limit, which was the linchpin of the first blueprint for U.S. fisheries management that would bear his name. At the time, the 200-mile limit was not universally embraced (count National Fisherman among the "undecided").

Among others, the Pacific Salmon Treaty, the American Fisheries Act, Alaska's Community Development Quota Program and successive iterations of the Magnuson-Stevens Act all bear enduring witness to Stevens' fishery management vision.

Whether we think he got everything right or not is beside the point. His comprehension of the intersection of fisheries and public policy was second to no one's, and as much as we might wish otherwise, we are unlikely to see his equal.

Thank you for your time.

Jerry Fraser
Editor & Publisher, National Fisherman


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