Coast Guard suspends search for the Crew of the Miss Debbie

The Coast Guard suspended their search at approximately 8:20 p.m. Friday for three missing boaters one mile northeast of Tybee Island. “Suspending a case is never an easy decision, nor is it a decision that is hastily made,” said Captain Gary Tomasulo, Commander, Coast Guard Sector Charleston. “We remain ready to reinstitute a search if new information becomes available.” Click here for the press release 20:45

Maine Lobstermen Say They Aren’t Harming Threatened Coral Beds

The fragile deep-sea corals that populate the canyon walls and basins in the Gulf of Maine provide habitat for many species of fish as well as baby lobster, crabs and squid. But the New England Fisheries Management Council has concluded that the northeast coral beds are threatened when they are disturbed by commercial fishing operations and is weighing new restrictions that could affect Maine.  The council held a public hearing in Ellsworth Thursday night, where lobstermen spoke in support of a plan that protects coral colonies while still allowing them to haul their traps.  Most of the lobstermen who spoke agree that the coral beds in the Gulf of Maine play an important role in the overall health of the marine ecosystem. And most, such as Cranberry Isles fisherman Jack Merrill, think that Maine lobstermen and the coral beds have been getting along well for decades. Click here to read the story 18:21

Fishing Events Benefits Family of Luke Gurney

Last June, the Island lost Luke Gurney in a commercial fishing accident. This year the Fluke for Luke fishing tournament will celebrate his love of fishing and raise funds for his two sons college education. In addition to the fishing contest, the event will include a silent auction and raffle. The tournament will take place on Saturday and Sunday, July 8 and 9. Fluke and black sea bass will be eligible species. An awards ceremony and silent auction will be held on Sunday July 9, starting at 5 p.m. at the Portuguese-American Club in Oak Bluffs. The event is being organized by a group of Lukes friends, who also would like to recognize Peter Hermann and the VFW in Oak Bluffs for helping pass the torch after running the annual summer fluke tournament for many years. Link  For more information, please visit the Fluke for Luke Facebook page. 15:17

Austral Fisheries charged over electrocution death on prawn trawler

One of Australia’s largest commercial fishing companies has been charged over the electrocution of a young man on a prawn trawler in the Gulf of Carpentaria. Ryan Donoghue, 20, died in 2013 while cutting rusted shackles using a 240-volt angle grinder which was plugged into a socket without a safety switch on Austral Fisheries Newfish 1 trawler. Mr Donoghues father Steven has spent the past three-and-a-half years pushing for a prosecution and better regulation of Australia’s maritime industry.,,  Austral fisheries faces a maximum penalty of $1.5 million if found guilty. Click here to read the story 13:53

King fishery closed

Fisheries managers in Southcentral Alaska might still be wrestling with what to do about a weak return of king salmon to the Copper River, but their counterparts in Southeast Alaska have acted to protect kings returning to the Taku and Stikine Rivers. Officials with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game today announced commercial troll fisheries which catch most of the Southeast kings, or Chinook as they are otherwise called will close at midnight Sunday. Preseason forecasts for wild Chinook salmon production in Southeast Alaska are at an all-time low, a press release said.  Typically, in the Taku and Stikine rivers, nearly half the run has entered the river by the end of the third week of May; however, record low numbers of Chinook salmon are being seen in-river this year.  The Taku and Stikine are transboundary rivers, and Fish and Game runs research programs with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada to assess in-season run strength. Click here to read the story 13:13

Deadly White Spot Syndrome in Louisiana crawfish farms could imperil $300 million industry

The crawfish industry in south Louisiana is growing concerned by a deadly virus that threatens the crop. White spot syndrome virus was first discovered in farmed shrimp in Thailand and China in the early 1990s, but it was not known in Louisiana crawfish until 2007, the LSU AgCenter says. “Symptoms include sluggish crawfish that don’t move much once they are dumped from the trap. They do not pinch hard and most cannot walk,” the AgCenter says. How did the virus get to Louisiana? Here’s what the AgCenter says: “No one can say with any certainty. There are many possibilities. Many countries export both pond-raised and wild shrimp to the United States. A study of imported shrimp indicates occurrence of WSSV may be very high in these products. Here’s the rub –  “Imported frozen shrimp used as bait for coastal fishing is also a hazard. Leftover bait shrimp that is discarded could be picked up by wild shrimp or crabs, thereby creating immediate risks for those populations and spread to others. The same risk to wild crawfish exists when frozen imported shrimp are used for bait in inland waters.  Click here to read the story 11:26

NOAA Forecasts Busy Hurricane Season for Atlantic

Less than a year after Hurricane Matthew raked the East Coast, killing 34 people and causing $10 billion in damage in the U.S. alone, coastal areas are once again preparing for the onset of the Atlantic hurricane season. This year, forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are expecting to see above-average storm numbers in the Atlantic, despite the uncertainty of whether an El Nino will develop over the summer. The forecast is currently for 11 to 17 named storms to form, of which five to nine are expected to become hurricanes, and two to four major hurricanes. The forecast, though, does not predict when, where, and how these storms might hit, Ben Friedman, the acting NOAA administrator said during a press conference, as he and other officials urged coastal residents to begin their preparations. Click here to read the story 10:38

California and Oregon Governors request Salmon Disaster Assistance

With the West Coasts salmon fisheries in crisis, on Thursday California Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross requesting declaration of a catastrophic regional fishery disaster and commercial fishery failure for salmon in their states. Officials report that there has been an unprecedented collapse in the salmon population in California and Oregon.  Tribal allocations are at an all-time low, and the proposed closures and minimal open salmon fishing seasons will have significant negative impacts on thousands of West Coast residents. The declaration the governors are seeking begins the process for requesting federal aid to assist commercial salmon anglers and salmon-dependent business who continue to suffer from declining salmon populations. Click here to read the story, and read the governors letter 09:38

Canadian Coast Guard warns Fishermen – Too dangerous to go fishing due to ice

The Canadian Coast guard is telling Newfoundland fishermen not to go fishing because of sea ice that’s packed into bays on the northeast coast of the island. “I would definitely say don’t go out,” said Trevor Hodgson, superintendent of ice for the Atlantic region. “If you’re in port, that’s the safest place for you to be. If you’re out of port, in open water, don’t try and get back through that ice pack to get into port. Choose another, alternate route,” Hodgson added. It’s particularly bad now because of the storm that hit the island over the long holiday weekend pushing thick, heavy ice into shore. Hodgson said he’s fearful fishermen are going out not realizing the potential danger. Click here to read the story 08:04

Recreational IFQ’s? Louisiana wants to give 150 anglers almost unlimited access to red snapper

Despite vehement opposition from recreational-fishing advocacy groups, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says it has worked up a pilot program that will award a significant portion of the state’s red snapper haul to select recreational anglers. The department announced the plan in a Thursday afternoon press release, just one day after meeting with pro-recreational fishing groups and mentioning nothing about the program. The structure would be similar to what exists in the commercial sector, where fishers have been awarded percentages of the overall commercial quota, and may harvest their red snapper at any time during the year. The system, called individual fishing quotas, has been panned by recreational-fishing organizations as well as good-government groups because it has set up so-called Sea Lords, who own quota and make hundreds of thousands of dollars on a public resource without ever leaving the dock. click here to read this story 20:20

Beaufort shrimper brings damaged trawler home: ‘It’s life or death. It’s what we do’

If not for opening day, a shrimp fleet might have been spared the dings, bruises and brokenness the boats were nursing at a private dock on St. Helena Island on Thursday. But opening day for a shrimper is a hallowed date. South Carolina waters are open to trawling and those who make a living in white rubber boots are on the water. Even when the weather this week churned up some of the nastiest conditions experienced fishermen had ever seen. It was during a storm early Wednesday morning, in the dark more than a mile off of Pritchards Island, that the shrimp boat Gracie Belle was waiting for daylight and the 8 a.m. start of shrimp season. The boat and its crew wouldn’t make it to work, though all would be saved by the end of the day. Good Video, Great story!  Click here to read the story 18:12

Coast Guard identifies missing Fishermen, search continues for the Crew of F/V Miss Debbie

The search resumes Thursday for three men lost at sea when their fishing boat capsized as a result of a reported tornado. Hobo Seafood, which owns the capsized boat, Miss Debbie, put out a notice Thursday morning saying the search Wednesday – which was Day 2 of searching – was unfruitful largely due to uncooperative weather. “Weather has been too rough for divers to inspect the fishing vessel, but they are using other means for the search,” Hobo Seafood put out in a statement. Click here to read the story Coast Guard identifies missing fishermen, The Coast Guard identified Gary McGowen, Benjamin Dover and Isaac West as the three adult males that went missing about one mile northeast of Tybee Island on Tuesday evening. Click here to read the story 16:31

Renewed calls for income bridging as harvesters and plant workers experience worst ice situation in decades

Severe ice conditions continue to affect people working in the fishing industry. Harvesters and plant workers have been without income for several weeks, some for over two months. Over the past few weeks, FFAW leadership has met with the senior DFO officials, Premier Dwight Ball and fisheries minister Steve Crocker to emphasize the dire situation hundreds of families are experiencing. Repeated calls by the FFAW, provincial government and affected individuals have resulted in the federal government acknowledging the situation, yet action has not been taken to provide income support. click here to read the press release 15:55

FISH-NL calls on Ottawa for ice compensation/gear replacement

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on Ottawa to extend EI benefits for fish harvesters on Newfoundland’s northeast coast impacted by severe ice conditions. FISH-NL also says harvesters who lost crab gear should be compensated because the federal government should not have opened the fishery in their areas. “Some harvesters and their families are having an extremely hard time of it,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL, in calling for ice compensation in the form of an EI extension. “They can’t go fishing because ice conditions haven’t improved, and they ran out of EI benefits weeks ago.”,,, John Gillett, an inshore fisherman from Twillingate, wrote the following letter today to federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc, click here to read the press release 15:44

Coastal lawmaker wants to create fish farming industry in North Carolina waters

A proposal moving through the state Senate calls for leasing waters off the North Carolina coast so people can farm fish. Senate Bill 410 would allow people to lease from 100 to 1,500 acres in the state’s sounds and the Atlantic Ocean, where they could build underwater pens to raise various species of fish that they could later sell to supermarkets and restaurants. “We’re creating an industry here,” sponsor Sen. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, told members of the Senate Finance Committee this week. “This is not something we’re doing in North Carolina. This will allow us to do fish farming and bring in some big bucks.” Sebastian Belle, executive director of the Maine Aquaculture Association, told lawmakers that fish farming is a $100 million business in his state, which has been leasing areas along its coast for 35 years. “The sector is growing worldwide,” Belle said, adding that fish farming “will help keep kids in those (coastal) communities working on the waterfront.” click here to read the story 13:23

Hybrid green crab species threatens N.L. lobster – also eat clams, scallops and even each other

They’re fearless. They can live for weeks out of the water. They will eat anything, even each other. “They were born ferocious,” said Cynthia McKenzie, a scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans based in St. John’s. McKenzie is one of a group of researchers who have identified a species of green crab that is ravaging parts of Newfoundland’s south coast. Fishermen in Placentia Bay, on the southeast coast, first noticed green crab in 2007.  “When a lobster spawns … the green crab is there to eat it,” said Clarence Marsh. “I think the green crab got a big effect on the lobsters, and that’s why there’s none here in this bay now.” The green crab are “numerous,” said Marsh, and they don’t stop at eating lobster. He has also found tiny green crabs inside scallop shells. Click here to read the story 10:42

Crew held against their will? U.S. Coast Guard investigating commercial fishing trip.

One captain, three crewmen with little experience, and two very different stories about what happened on a fishing trip that ended with a U.S. Coast Guard escort back to land. Bill Owen, one of the crew members, said he felt held against his will while working on a commercial fishing boat that left out of Ft. Pierce on May 11. Owen said he responded to an online job posting looking to hire fishing hands. He said the trip was to last six days but on the fifth day, things turned combative.  “Tuesday came and we were told we’re not going in [to land], [the captain said] I’m not going to tell you when we’re going in, I’m not going to tell you where we are,” said Owen. “It got progressively worse [going] from just aggressive talk to aggressive actions. That’s when it went from being not fun to this is a serious issue.” Saved by the Phone,,, Click here to read the story 09:38

Pacific Seafood/Trident deal back in the barrel? Suit against the sale alleges violation of monopoly laws.

A lawsuit has been filed against Pacific Seafood and Trident Seafood Corporation for allegedly violating federal anti-trust laws by Trident earlier ignoring a $1.8 million offer to buy Trident – nearly $800,000 less than an offer made earlier by Innovation Marine and Front Street Marine. Attorneys for Innovation Marine and Front Street Marine contend the move was to solidify a fish processing monopoly along the Oregon Coast. Here’s a reaction by Pacific Seafood’s attorney Dan Occhipinti: Click here to read the story 08:25

Maine lobstermen worry about possible closure to protect coral

Charles Kelley began fishing for lobster on Outer Schoodic Ridge about 20 years ago, preferring the solitude of deep waters to the crowded inshore fishery.,, Kelley is worried that he could lose his winter fishing territory if interstate regulators decide to ban all fishing in a 31-square-mile area at the ridge and an 18-square-mile area southwest of Mount Desert Rock to protect deep-water coral gardens found in those waters.,,, Some environmental groups have banded together to oppose the lobster exemption, among other aspects of the proposal, including the Conservation Law Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oceana and The Pew Charitable Trusts. “Heavy offshore trap gear … poses a threat to long-lived and vulnerable deep-sea coral communities,” they wrote in an April 11 letter. “Trap fisheries directly damage corals.” Click here to read the story 07:58

‘High-level alarm’ could have alerted three fishermen on board ill-fated FV Jubilee

The deaths of three men on board fishing trawler FV Jubilee could have been prevented if not for “missing checks in the system”, a report has found. Terry Donald Booth, 55, of the Nelson area, Paul Russell Bennett, 35, of Motueka, and Jared Reese Husband, 47, of Timaru, died on the Ocean Fisheries trawler when it sank off the Canterbury coast on October 18, 2015. The fishermen issued a mayday at 4.20am, when they were about 22 kilometres from the Rakaia River mouth. They never made it to their liferaft. A Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) report, published on Thursday, found it was likely that flooding of the fish hold was the main factor contributing to the vessel’s sinking. It was possible the cause of the flooding was water from a deck wash hose that had been left running through an open hatch. click here to read the story 21:46

Court challenge of test turbine could cost fishermen’s association

Fishermen who took the government to court may have to pay for it. Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy wants their legal costs to be paid by the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association after a judge dismissed a judicial review the company was involved in. The review was requested after environment minister Margaret Miller’s decision last June to greenlight Cape Sharp’s turbine deployment in the Bay of Fundy. So far FORCE is the only respondent to follow Justice Robertson’s invitation to file for costs, made when she was making her ruling in early April after a full-day hearing in February. “We’ve been advised that Cape Sharp is not seeking its costs,” said the fishermen’s association’s lawyer, David Coles, in an interview Wednesday. But the provincial government is still unsure of what its position will be, he said. Click here to read the story 20:33

Area of Interest – Canada Identifies Large Ocean Area off the Coast of British Columbia for Protection

The Government of Canada is moving forward on its plan to reach its domestic and international targets of protecting 5% of Canada’s marine and coastal areas by 2017 and 10% by 2020 to ensure a healthy environment and economy for current and future generations. Today, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and Member of Parliament for Burnaby North – Seymour, Terry Beech, on the behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced a new Area of Interest (AOI) off the coast of British Columbia, with the intention of making it one of Canada’s largest Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) by 2020. click here to read the press release 17:09

Coast Guard rescues 4 Fishermen from disabled Fishing Vessel 2 miles east of Pritchards Island

The Coast Guard rescued four Fishermen Wednesday after their vessel became disabled two miles east of Pritchards Island. Coast Guard Sector Charleston Command Center watch standers were notified via VHF Channel 16 at 2:45 a.m., by the crew of the Gracie Bell, an 80-foot fishing vessel, stating they had become disabled due to a broken mast. An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Facility Charleston was diverted to assist at 3:11 a.m. The helicopter crew arrived on scene at 3:16 a.m., lowered a rescue swimmer and hoisted two crew members. The rescue swimmer and the remaining two crew members stayed aboard the vessel. The first two crew members were transported to Coast Guard Air Station Savannah at 3:30 a.m. The helicopter crew, after refueling, hoisted the remaining crew members and the rescue swimmer at 5:21 a.m., and landed at the air station at 5:36 a.m., where EMS were waiting. There were no reported injuries. USCG 16:22

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 35′ Duffy Fiberglass Lobster Boat, CAT 3208T, Permits, 400 +/- 3′ Lobster traps available

Specifications, information and 13 photo’s click here To see all the boats in this series, Click here 14:10

Coast Guard searches for missing Fishermen from Capsized Fishing Vessel 1 mile northeast of Tybee Island

The Coast Guard is searching Wednesday for missing boaters approximately one mile northeast of Tybee Island, Georgia. Coast Guard Sector Charleston Command Center watchstanders were notified by the District 7 Command Center at 6:22 p.m., Tuesday, of an emergency position indicating radio beacon activation registered to the 47-foot fishing vessel Miss Debbie. A Coast Guard Station Tybee Island 45-foot Response Boat – Medium boatcrew launched at 7:35 p.m. The RB-M boatcrew arrived on scene at 7:48 and discovered the Miss Debbie capsized and began a search for crew members.  A Coast Guard Air Station Savannah MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew and a Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew launched to assist in the search. Georgia and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources are also assisting search efforts. USCG 11:44

Cape Sharp Turbine blamed for fish gouges in the Minas Basin

Fishermen have been finding sliced up or gouged gaspereaux and herring in their nets and fear the run of mackerel swimming up the bay is next. “I’m just starting to get some mackerel now,” Parrsboro fisherman Gerry Taylor said in an interview, adding there is also concern around the June herring run. “Then (Cape Sharp) will show up again and mess that up, too.” Cape Sharp, a company testing tidal power possibilities in the Bay of Fundy, has deployed several tugs and vessels in the Minas Basin to assist in the recovery of their turbine since mid-April, much to the frustration of fishermen who say the activity is disruptive to their season and their catches.,, Meanwhile, the turbine’s blades are still turning with the force of the tides, even though it has no power flowing to it. Fishermen are finding evidence of what they feared with the catches they’re getting in their nets: what’s being described as an unprecedented number of damaged fish —currently gaspereaux and herring — in the Minas Basin. Click here to read the story 11:21

The $75 king fillet: Copper River salmon fetch big money at market

The first Copper River salmon of the year are fetching a hefty price on some market shelves in Alaska and Outside, thanks in part to what’s expected to be a weak run of the prized fish. At Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market, which draws tourists in droves to watch its famed fish-tossers, fillets of Copper River kings sold for $75 per pound this week. Jason Scott, a manager at the Pike Place Fish Market, said that whopping price tag on a king fillet is a little higher than it was last year, when it was around $60 to $70 per pound. That number drops as the season goes on and more salmon flow into the market. “Everything is crazy,” he said. “All of our orders are people who have been buying fish from us for a long time. They don’t bat an eye at the price. I’m not saying we know that and take advantage of it, but each of us has a customer here who wants the biggest one.” click here to read the story 10:26

A favorable forecast offered for 2017 South Carolina shrimp season

Commercial shrimp trawling will open in all legal South Carolina waters at 8 a.m. on May 24 and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) biologists are optimistic about the coming season. “So far we’ve seen indications that it should be a good year,” said Mel Bell, director of SCDNR’s Office of Fisheries Management. “Of course, after establishing the opening date, based on the condition of the resource, we have no control over how things will go. The success of the season will be up to the hard work of the fishermen and the environmental conditions they encounter throughout the year.” The present season comes on the heels of an unusual year. click here to read the story 09:47

Plansea casts off; Marilyn J to be painted

Two old boats are being upgraded and improved to provide many more years’ worth of service. Craftsmen United at the Port of Port Townsend boatyard is working on the 78-foot FV Plansea tender and 62-foot Marilyn J fishing boat. “It’s a thing of beauty,” said Dan Wiggins, president of Craftsmen United, of the bright blue Plansea, which was on blocks near Building 21 at the yard last Wednesday, May 17.  Several workers scurried in and around the ship to get it ready for a haulout that was scheduled later in the week. Wiggins said Plansea was built in 1954 in New Orleans by Higgins Industries as a military landing craft. Wiggins’ work on the ship has improved it tremendously since he acquired it in 2014, he said. Back then, the boat was on the verge of sinking in Port Orchard, he noted. He had the boat towed to Port Townsend and inspected the hull. click here to read the story 08:36

Donated, discounted traps going to lobster fishermen whose gear was destroyed

People in Cape Breton are rallying to help lobster fishermen after stormy seas drove traps onto the rocks over the weekend, destroying expensive gear and killing crustaceans. The weather station on St. Paul Island reported a northwest peak wind gust of 93 km/h. Bay St. Lawrence and Smelt Brook were especially hard hit. Stephen Bornais, a spokesperson for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, said the number of destroyed lobster traps is in the thousands. He expected to have more concrete numbers later this week. Osborne Burke, manager of Victoria Co-operative Fisheries in New Haven, said some fishermen lost as many as 150 of their 275 traps. Burke spent Tuesday trying to round up replacement traps. click here to read the story 08:00