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Fishermen Investing in Future of Industry Honored With Highliner Award.

Business Editors

Fish Expo WorkBoat Atlantic 2002


Each year since 1975, National Fisherman has recognized three active commercial fishermen for their contributions and commitment to improving the industry. For the fishing community, it's like being voted Most Valuable Player.

"In the fishing community a highliner is someone known for consistently catching a lot of fish. In selecting Highliners at National Fisherman we seek fishermen who have exceeded expectations, not just with what they put on the dock, but with what they give to their industry," said Jerry Fraser, editor of National Fisherman.

This year's Highliners differ in their background and vocation, but share several key characteristics. All have extensive experience in the commercial fishing industry, and all three have demonstrated an exceptional level of involvement in their local communities. Most importantly, all three Highliners award recipients share a fierce drive to ensure a future for their industry.

George Barisich of Violet, LA has a long history in commercial fishing, first as founder of the United Commercial Fisherman's Association and now as president of the fledgling Louisiana Shrimp Association. The issue most recently at the forefront for him involves the large quantity of imported, pond-raised shrimp that sent prices plunging in Louisiana and elsewhere in the United States. Early in 2002 Barisich played a leading role in bringing processors and fishermen together, putting differences aside to work out a unified response.

H. Russell Dize of Tilghman Island, MD has been a waterman all his life and is proud of his history of serving on the water. It is the future, however, that motivates his continuing activism in the industry. Dize has served as the second vice president of the Maryland Watermen's Association, on the state's shell committee and has worked with three other captains on the Save Our Skipjacks Task Force. His vision of the future includes a clean bay, restored oyster stocks and a rejuvenated skipjack fleet. His main object is to revive, sustain and secure the watermen's way of life.

Luis Ribas of Provincetown, MA, like other fishermen in New England, has faced the problem of throwing dead cod bycatch over the rail for some time now. Instead of waiting for the New England Fishery Management Council to find a solution, he used his extensive knowledge of nets, gained during his many years of fishing in Portugal before emigrating to the U.S., to design a "topless" net system that allows cod to swim up and out of an oncoming trawl while still catching flatfish. The net is still being tested, but so far results are good.

As part of the events surrounding Fish Expo WorkBoat Atlantic, the 2002 Highliner Awards, sponsored by National Fisherman, will include a special dinner held in Providence to honor the 2002 Highliners. To attend Fish Expo WorkBoat Atlantic register free online at or call 1-800-261-8925.

For more information or to receive press credentials for Fish Expo WorkBoat Atlantic contact Denielle Christensen at 207-842-5596 or
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Sep 27, 2002
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