Groundfish Monitoring: New England Council Seeks Initial Input on Amendment 23 at Six Scoping Hearings in March

The New England Fishery Management Council has scheduled a series of public scoping hearings from Maine to Connecticut to solicit ideas for potentially changing the region’s groundfish monitoring and reporting system.  The purpose of this initiative is to improve reliability and accountability of the monitoring program since successful management of the fishery depends on accurate and timely catch reporting.  The changes are being considered under Amendment 23 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan.  The Council is encouraging fishermen and other stakeholders to participate in this very early stage of the amendment development process. “The Council, fishermen, and the public recognize the groundfish monitoring program needs improvement,” said Council Executive Director Tom Nies. “This is the first and best opportunity for people to suggest ways to create a program that will give the accurate, reliable information needed to manage this fishery.” For locations, dates and times, click here 16:02

Chesapeake Bay advocates alarmed by plan that could open oyster sanctuaries to watermen

Some of the Chesapeake Bay’s most densely populated oyster sanctuaries could be opened to periodic harvesting under a plan being floated by state officials, setting up more conflict between alarmed environmentalists and watermen seeking to make a living. Neither side is pleased with the first draft of a new map of sanctuary boundaries in Maryland’s share of the bay. While watermen would gain some territory they ceded when a state oyster restoration strategy launched in 2010, dredging would be banned in other areas that are now open to harvesting. The net effect would be a loss of 11 percent of oyster sanctuary, instead opening up that acreage to watermen for undetermined stretches of time once every few years. Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration has supported what it calls “rotational harvesting” as a way to balance oyster recovery and bay restoration with the demands of the seafood industry. Continue reading the article here 15:17

A look back at the evolution of Catch Shares

In 2010 CSF board member Nils Stolpe conducted some exhaustive research into catch shares as a management tool and given what has transpired since it is worth looking over his findings today. Here, for example is a prophetic quote from the NEFMC’S June 2010 Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Amendment 15 to the Council’s Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan :  “…consolidation measures like ITQs, but also more generally leasing and stacking, tend to have their negative impacts on those less powerful segments of the fishing industry, namely the crew, or the small business owners without a fleet of vessels or vertically integrated business. Those who are better able to take advantage of measures like leasing or stacking are then increasingly able to exert control in various markets, such as leasing quota, hiring crew, or even affecting prices that fishermen receive for their product. These kinds of changes, in turn, affect the structure of communities—through changing relations between people and shifts in dominant values—and affect the viability of fishing communities as some are disproportionally impacted by geographic shifts in fishing businesses.” That was about the scallop fleet but the impact is now decimating single boat owners in our New England groundfishery. The complete report (three papers) is included here 14:28

The Five Trillion Dollar Plan to Save the Arctic Ice

Just in case you thought the climate community had run out of absurd ideas to waste taxpayer’s money, here is an academic plan to rebuild Arctic ice, by deploying 100 million wind turbines into the Arctic Ocean. Save the Arctic with $5 trillion of floating, wind-powered ice machines, researchers recommend With the Arctic warming faster than anywhere else on Earth, a new scientific paper is proposing a radical scheme to thicken the ice cap: millions upon millions of autonomous ice machines. Specifically, between 10 and 100 million floating, wind-powered pumps designed to spray water over sea ice during the winter. In the most ambitious version of the plan, 100 million devices would be deployed across the Arctic,,, Continue to read the absurdity here! 12:33

New York Wind farm’s long-term cost will be high for power projects

When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in a speech last month touted an offshore wind farm 30 miles from the coast of Long Island, he made special note of its “inexpensive energy,” saying it would “drive the economy.” While the project by developer Deepwater Wind promises many many benefits, including meeting LIPA’s green-energy goals and the state’s Clean Energy Standard, it’s hard to make the case that the power it produces will be inexpensive.  Power from the current crop of natural-gas fueled plants on Long Island costs around 7.6 cents per kilowatt hour. Commercial fishing groups have generally opposed offshore wind energy, but a Siena College poll last month found 76 percent of Long Islanders supported the concept when the projects were 10 miles or more miles from shore. Read the story here 12:03

Saving the whales – 19th-century hunting techniques now used to help, not kill humpbacks

To save whales tangled in netting and debris, rescuers take a page right out of the 1850s whale-hunting playbook. To catch and kill the animals, 19th-century whalers would harpoon the creatures, add a barrel to the line to slow and force them to surface. Then they’d lance captured whales and let them bleed out. Now, rescuers follow similar but nonviolent steps — tossing a hook to catch the debris on a whale, adding a buoy to slow it and using a knife rigged on a pole to cut away entangled fishing gear or other marine debris. Instead of a barrel of oil, their reward is watching the whale swim free. “We stole it from whalers in the 1850s,” said Ed Lyman, large whale entanglement response coordinator with the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. “Here we are using their technique to actually save whales.” Continue reading the story here 09:58

White spot threat: is fishing finished in Queensland?

The Logan River white spot epidemic could destroy all mainland fishing in Queensland, including a big slice of the Cooloola Coast seafood and tourism economy, industry leader Kev Reibel has warned. A Queensland Seafood Industry Association board member and Tin Can Bay trawler operator, Mr Reibel said the threat was credible and immediate. “To say we are worried would be something of an understatement,” he said in an exclusive interview with The Gympie Times on Sunday. “We don’t know if it can be stopped and we don’t know its boundaries within the crustaceans, or even if it has any boundaries. If it affects crabs, that’s another industry and another tourism factor wiped out. He backed claims by industry environmental adviser and Bay net fishing operator Joe McLeod that the apparently unstoppable virus is a threat to the food chains which sustain all kinds of fin fishing. Mr McLeod said the plankton that kicked off the fin fish food chain included juvenile prawns and other crustaceans. “If they’re not there, there is nothing for the fish to eat,” Mr McLeod said yesterday. Both said there was a fearful lack of knowledge of the virus’ boundaries, especially with the crustacean group.  Continue reading the story here 09:32

For fisheries regulations, a Trump edict signals uncertainty

New England fishermen and conservationists fear one of President Trump’s executive orders will have disruptive effects on fisheries management, although it will not affect routine seasonal fisheries regulation, as some had initially feared. The order prompted a fiery letter three days later from two prominent Democratic congressmen pointing out it could have “devastating impacts on commercial and recreational fisheries and the businesses and communities they support.” “Effectively what it means is that nobody can do anything because agencies will have to stop doing major regulatory actions because you can’t comply with this order, which may be the point,” says a former top federal fisheries management official, Andrew Rosenberg, who is now director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Drew Minkiewicz, a Washington, D.C., lawyer representing larger Eastern Seaboard scallop fishermen, says fishermen need not be concerned about most regulations. “This executive order has zero impact on 99.9 percent of the fishing regulations going out, so people who are wondering if the fishing season will be delayed don’t need to,” he says. “It’s much ado about nothing.” Read the article here 08:39

Opponents of proposed shrimp trawl limits not backing down from fight

There was one common point as local residents on opposing sides of a shrimp trawling issue reacted to news that additional restrictions for North Carolina shrimpers will likely be on the way. The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission voted 5-3, with one member abstaining, on Thursday to approve a petition for rule-making from the N.C. Wildlife Federation, setting in motion a lengthy process of reviewing the rules proposed in the petition before a final decision is made. For commercial fishermen and those who work in the seafood industry, the long road ahead is one they are prepared to follow. “They are going to have a fight on their handssaid Tim Millis of B.F. Millis Seafood in Sneads Ferry. “People are not going to stand back. (The petition) is going too far.”  Nancy Edens of Sneads Ferry, a North Carolina representative with the Southern Shrimp Alliance, attended the MFC meeting Thursday and was disappointed by the vote of the commission. Continued reading here 07:41

Local restaurant owners upset about North Carolina Wildlife Federation shrimping petition

The North Carolina Wildlife Federation brought forward a petition to protect juvenile fish, but many are arguing it puts their livelihood at risk. The North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission voted to approve a petition that would regulate where, how and when shrimpers could work. The final verdict has made a lot of people in the business upset. Fulcher Seafood in Oriental employees more than 200 people. Christina Fulcher-Cahoon said the new restrictions would jeopardize their large employee base and the seafood industry completely. While the petition was approved, this is merely the first approval. It must go through several steps before it is actually enforced. There is a chance the petition will not make it through all of these steps and will never go into affect. Video, read the rest here 14:11

Ireland should follow Britain out of the EU

County Donegal skippers like Michael Callaghan have long learned to contend with rasping North Atlantic gales and 30-foot waves — but nothing prepared them for the political shock of Brexit, and the threat it would pose to their livelihoods. Trapped in port by an approaching storm, the 44-year-old trawlerman has time to lament what he sees as bleak prospects for the Irish fishing industry. His latest haul of Atlantic horse mackerel was caught to the north, in Scottish waters, and his survival depends on continued access to those lucrative British fishing grounds. As he unloads a silver stream of fish into a chute from his 51-meter trawler, the Pacelli, he explains he has little hope of Irish politicians coming to his rescue, as Brexit raises existential questions about where he can catch and sell his fish. “Fisheries isn’t of huge economic value to Ireland Inc., so there’s no appetite in Dublin to look after coastal communities, especially fishermen,” he says, as he offers a tour of the boat. “We’d have to leave the EU to wrangle any of our power back.” Continue reading the story here 13:49

Todays Nuttery: Rogue Fishing Ops Call for Enforcement Led by U.S. Navy, a Primary Tenet of Global High Seas Marine Preserve

Pressure on coastal fisheries, from overfishing and pollution, is pushing more and more fishing trawlers into the high seas or to illegally poach on territories with no ability to enforcement their 200-mile territorial limits. One of the primary tenets of the Global High Sea Marine Preserve, a non-profit dedicated to saving the oceans founded by Danny Quintana, is to ban industrial fishing in international waters for the United States Navy to take lead role with other maritime forces to enforce the ban. The Law of the Seas Treaty needs to be renegotiated and approved by the United States Senate to facilitate such an eventuality.,, According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of endangered species, 1,414 species of fish, or 5 percent of the world’s known species, are at risk for extinction. While habitat loss and pollution are significant factors in the decline of these species, the greatest threat by far is overfishing. (wow!) Continue reading the stuff here 11:32

Maine lobstermen oppose increase in cost of commercial fishing licenses

A proposal to increase the cost of commercial fishing licenses to fund scientific research in a lean budget year is drawing fire from Maine lobstermen. Julie Eaton, a 30-year lobster boat captain from Deer Isle, told a legislative panel at the State House on Friday that a 30 percent increase in lobster license fees would be too much on top of all the other costs of doing business, ranging from $125 to replace lost traps to $185 for monthly oil changes to bait bills that have doubled in the last year alone. The Maine Department of Marine Resources is seeking to increase lobster license fees about 30 percent, which would generate roughly $600,000 in new revenues. That money would be used to expand state lobster research and protect other department units, like the Maine Marine Patrol, despite budget cuts ordered by Gov. Paul LePage to offset the anticipated effect of a new minimum wage law and state school spending initiative. Continue reading the article here 09:24

N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Board stacked with special interests, votes to “Crack Down” on Shrimp Trawling

Carrying out a very transparent agenda to support special interest groups, the Marine Fisheries Commission voted Thursday to accept a petition from the NC Wildlife Federation (NCWF)  that warrants rules to the commercial trawl fishery – including a 3-day work week, day-time only fishing and drastic gear restrictions – that will shut down the state’s shrimping industry. The action took place at the MFC business meeting in Wilmington, Feb 13-15. Turning out in good numbers to side with the NCWF petition was the NC Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association, a group known nationwide for its mission to shut down commercial fishermen in the name of protecting public trust waters. They repeatedly discredited the state’s commercial fishing industry during the meeting, accusing fishermen of non-compliance and charging they don’t care about the resource. They even had a conference room next to the MFC meeting, where they held a membership drive and passed out propaganda. Continue reading the article here 08:54

Commercial salmon disaster funding awaiting congressional approval

When Washington’s congressional delegation pressured U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker into signing a disaster declaration for the state’s commercial salmon fishery, local fishermen were hopeful those funds would be making their way into local wallets by the middle of February. However, bitter battles concerning President Trump’s cabinet nominees have dominated Congress for more than a month, and the funding will not be distributed until Congress approves the funding and designates an entity that will be in charge of doling out the relief money. “My best guess is that until the turmoil in Congress settles down concerning President Trump’s cabinet nominations and Congress returns to a normal schedule, that’s where it will sit,” said Greg Mueller, president and executive director of the Washington Trollers Association. Continue reading the story here 08:11

Vineyard Power vying for offshore wind farm

This June, the state will solicit bids seeking offshore wind farms to produce 400 megawatts of electricity. It’s the first of four phases of what state officials hope will be 1,600 megawatts of offshore power; 15 percent of what the state uses annually, enough power to replace what will eventually be lost when Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station shuts down. Submitting a bid in June will be the first tangible step for a group of Martha’s Vineyard residents who started the Vineyard Power energy cooperative six years ago in response to a lot of the things they didn’t like about the now defunct Cape Wind project. It has 1,400 members and claims the cooperative represents 5,000 people on the island. Richard Andre, president of Vineyard Power, said their prospects improved dramatically when Gov. Charlie Baker signed legislation in August that required that power utilities solicit and contract for 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind power as part of their energy portfolio by 2027. Continue reading here 18:07

A Big Decline of River Herring – Tiny stones in fish hold clues to help restore populations

Many New Englanders still recall the vast springtime runs of river herring. Millions of the small silvery fish swam up coastal freshwater streams, returning from the sea to spawn. Two species of river herring, alewives and blueback herring, are critical components of marine food webs, right up to the fishermen on shore and at sea who harvest them. But in the late 1960s, herring populations sharply declined to as little as one percent of their historic size. Ever more-efficient commercial fishing fleets have swept them up in coastal waters. But even after states banned or limited catches, the fish have not rebounded. To expand access to historical spawning habitats, some communities have also begun removing dams. In 2014, Joel Llopiz launched a project, funded by Woods Hole Sea Grant, with colleagues at the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. The researchers are collecting and examining larval herring in four coastal river/pond systems of different sizes in Massachusetts. The systems also vary in their impacts from pollution, urban development, and agriculture. Continue reading here with more images 15:42

Grundens Deck-Boss Boot wins Miami Boat Show Innovation Award

Grundéns, producer of the world’s leading foul weather gear, was recognized with an Innovation Award today at the 2017 Miami Boat Show for its new 15-inch Deck-Boss Boot. The boot, which will be available at retail locations in April 2017, is Grundéns’ first foray into performance footwear for professional fishermen. “We are elated to receive this honor and overwhelming positive reaction for our new boot,” said Mike Jackson , Grundéns president. “For more than two years, we worked hard to design a boot for fishermen on decks around the world, from Alaska to the Bahamas.” Read more about Deck-Boss Boots, and see more images here 14:17

Louisiana Regulators to Close Blue Crab Fishery for Thirty Days

Crabbing in Louisiana comes to an abrupt halt Sunday night when a state imposed 30-day prohibition goes into effect. In an effort to protect against over-harvesting Louisiana’s crab population, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is shutting it down for a month. Many crab fishermen fear for their livelihood. “Six to eight weeks of no paychecks from crabbing,” said crabber Alvin Royes.”Maybe more depending on the weather. Traps have to be in by midnight Sunday night.” For about 1,500 Louisiana crabbers, that’s it in a nutshell. All crab traps are being picked up and stacked. Sunday night, crab fishermen will be out of work for a while. The 30-day prohibition is not a surprise to Louisiana crab fishermen, even if it is to a lot of other people. Last year, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries determined too many crabs were being harvested and the crab population was getting low. New regulations were instituted including restrictions on the harvest of immature female blue crabs and the 30-day ban on crabbing, beginning the third Monday in February of 2017, 2018 and 2019. Continue reading the article here 11:52

Financial Support for Amanda Hawkins, in Memory of Kai Hamik, F/V Destination

Amanda lost her sole mate Kai Hamik suddenly on Saturday February 11th. Kai who travels as a commercial fisherman in Alaska was King Crab fishing with his crew on the boat Destination when the U.S. Coast Guard received a signal from their emergency beacon.  Rescuers searched in the water and from the sky for nearly 70 hours. Before suspending the search Monday, the Coast Guard found a debris field, including an oil sheen, tarps, buoys, even a life ring from the vessel. They did not find the ship nor any survivors. Our hearts go out to Kai’s friends and family and the friends and family’s of the entire crew of the Destination. They were to start their family upon Kai’s return. Please click here for the gofundme page, and please, donate any amount that you can. 11:17

Update – Sweden’s Request to Ban American Lobster in the EU Risks Violating the Rules of the WTO

In July 2016, we reported that the Swedish Government had requested that the European Union impose a ban on imports of U.S./Canadian live lobster (Homarus americanus). Sweden argues that Homarus americanus should be designated an “alien invasive species” under EU law because it is not native to the EU, it poses serious risks to European lobsters through the spreading of disease, and because once the American lobster is established, it will be impossible to eradicate. An expert group of the European Commission’s Directorate of Environment, the Scientific Forum on Invasive Alien Species, has assessed Sweden’s request in terms of the sufficiency of the scientific evidence presented. In September 2016, it confirmed the validity of the risk assessment and found there was enough evidence to move forward with a full scientific review of Sweden’s request. This broader review of the request to ban live American lobster in the EU is expected to be completed by spring 2017, at the earliest. If that review approves the request, the motion would go to the full European Commission for a final vote. Continue reading the article here 10:25

It’s a shark-eat-shark world off Bermagui, New South Wales

When you’re on the food chain, there’s always something bigger than you – even if you’re an apex predator it seems. A video shot by Bermagui commercial fisherman Jason Moyce shows the result of when a 150kg whaler shark caught on his line is seen as an easy meal for something much bigger. Mr Moyce was fishing off Cuttagee Beach Friday morning when he got more than he bargained for – or perhaps it could be said he got a lot less. The whaler had a large chunk missing, seemingly made by a single bite. In Mr Moyce’s opinion it was likely a tiger shark who enjoyed the easy meal. “It was a fresh bite, only a matter of hours,” he said. Continue reading the story here 09:35

Furuno’s Multi-Beam Sonar reaches new depths

The DFF3D Multi-Beam Sonar brings you the ability to see the underwater world all around your vessel in real time. Fish targets are shown in 3D within the water column, allowing you to pinpoint fishing hot spots and mark them as waypoints for later. Amazingly, the waypoint contains the depth data, so you’ll know right where to drop your line! With the triple beam sounder, you can even watch the fish swim from one side of the boat to the other. With the addition of the DFF3D, Furuno’s NavNet TZtouch and TZtouch2 MFD’s have just become your most valuable tool for finding and catching more fish! Read the article here 09:02

Another Look at Chris Crisman’s Women’s Work. This Time With Motion – Sadie Samuels

In our digital device controlled lives you only have seconds to grab eyeballs and it’s all about how many hits, hearts, likes, or friends you receive. So how do you tell a compelling human-interest story, a filmic portrait if you will, in two minutes or less? Chris Crisman knew that Sadie Samuels had a compelling story. He’d learned of her through a newspaper article and was intrigued by her personality and career choice. Accompanying the 23-year-old Maine lobster fisher, Crisman, his assistant and a director of photography set out for a day on the water. “The drone shot was a nice bonus. Ezra Migel, the DP who partnered with us, is a talented drone operator. Watch the video, and Read the story here 21:01

Legal Fight in New York Offshore Wind Farm Case Continues on Merits; Request for Preliminary Injunction Denied

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia decided late Wednesday not to grant a preliminary injunction in the lawsuit brought by a host of fishing communities, associations and businesses led by scallop industry trade group the Fisheries Survival Fund against the impending leasing of the New York Wind Energy Area to Statoil Wind of Norway. The suit alleges the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) leasing process did not adequately consider the impact of wind power development in the waters off Long Island, New York on the region’s fishermen. The fishing industry asked that the court temporarily halt BOEM from proceeding with the final ratification of a lease on the area, which was preliminarily awarded to Statoil, Norway’s state oil company, for $42.5 million. “Getting a preliminary injunction granted is difficult, given the high standards that the court applies,” said Mayor Kirk Larson of Barnegat Light, N.J., one of the plaintiffs in the case. “But our case will continue, and we are confident that we will succeed on the merits.” Continue reading the article here 17:55

NC shrimpers say new rules for trawlers will destroy industry

The state Marine Fisheries Commission voted Thursday to begin drafting rules that would limit trawling for shrimp in North Carolina’s inland coastal waters, a move that many on the coast say could destroy the shrimping industry. The decision came after months of wrangling between commercial and recreational fishermen, with the latter group arguing that trawlers are scooping up millions of young fish before they’re old enough to spawn, effectively killing off fish stocks in the region. The North Carolina Wildlife Federation petitioned the state – the only one on the East Coast that allows shrimp trawling in its sounds and estuaries – to reduce the size of trawler nets, limit how long nets could be pulled in the water, permit shrimping only three days per week and eliminate night-time shrimping. “What just happened today is appalling,” said Brent Fulcher, who owns Beaufort Inlet Seafood in Beaufort. “The state process is broken.” Continue reading the article here 16:56

Alaska fishing group flags concerns with income tax proposal

A trade group for Alaska commercial fishermen is flagging concerns with a state House proposal that would reinstitute a personal income tax. United Fishermen of Alaska says many fishermen will have “major difficulties” complying with withholding requirements on payments to fishing crew. Association leaders, in a letter to the House Finance Committee co-chairs, say withholding requirements would fall on skippers who don’t have the information they would need to estimate a crew member’s potential federal tax liability. The tax, as proposed, would be 15 percent of what a person owes the federal government in taxes. They raised other concerns, too. The association, which says it has not taken a position either way on the bill, suggested a fix that would treat fishermen the same as people who are self-employed. Link 16:15

Team examines the evolution of wooden halibut hooks carved by native people of the Northwest Coast

The Tlingit and Haida, indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast (NWC), have used carved wooden hooks to catch halibut for centuries. As modern fishing technology crept into use, however, the old hooks practically disappeared from the sea. But they thrived on land—as decorative art. The hook’s evolution from utilitarian tool to expression of cultural heritage is the subject of a paper by Jonathan Malindine, a doctoral student in UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Anthropology. In “Northwest Coast Halibut Hooks: an Evolving Tradition of Form, Function, and Fishing,” published in the journal Human Ecology, he traces the arc of the hook’s design and how its dimensions have changed over time. Photo’s, continue reading the article here 12:09

Kerrisdale Capital Slams Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd – Pebble Mine shares are ‘worthless’

A New York investment firm tore apart claims by the owners of the Pebble mine project that developing the prospect is economically viable in a no-holds-barred report released Feb. 14. Kerrisdale Capital called Vancouver-based Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., “worthless” in its 21-page report, contending sources directly involved in evaluating Pebble before Anglo American walked away from the project in 2013, despite spending roughly $500 million on it, said Pebble would cost close to $13 billion to construct, not the $4.7 billion capital cost Northern Dynasty arrived at in its preliminary project assessment. “In the past decade, Northern Dynasty has hired at least two major engineering firms to prepare preliminary feasibility studies of Pebble laying out its economics in detail, yet it has failed to publish their findings — because they were damning,” Kerrisdale alleges. Continue reading the article here 11:27

The online market in China is huge! The Province wants Nova Scotia’s lobster industry to get its share

Lobsters from Nova Scotia are already selling on China’s Alibaba massive e-commerce website but now the province is stepping in with a pilot project to ensure only the best of the best are sold on Alibaba’s retail sister site Tmall. It’s all part of plan to boost Nova Scotia’s lobster exports to China , valued at $113 million in 2015. Tmall.com says it is the biggest business-to-consumer retail platform in Asia. It already sells Cuban lobsters and parent Alibaba.com has more than 2,000 listings for lobster, including 76 offers to sell live Nova Scotia lobsters. Peng Song’s Hiyou Trading Company lists lobster for US$6 to US$10 — with a minimum order on Alibaba. And Charlie Jin’s World Link Food Distributors is asking between US$6 and US$16 with a minimum order of 20 cases. The province wants Nova Scotia’s lobster industry to get its share of what’s becoming a massive, online live lobster market. Continue reading the article here 09:24

Are big ups and downs normal for forage fish?

Forage fish stocks have undergone fluctuation swings for hundreds of years, research shows, with at least three species off the US West Coast repeatedly experiencing steep population increases followed by declines long before commercial fishing began. The rise and fall of Pacific sardine, northern anchovy, and Pacific hake off California have been so common that the species were in collapsed condition 29 to 40 percent of the time over the 500-year period from CE 1000 to 1500, according to a new study in Geophysical Research Letters. Using a long time series of fish scales deposited in low-oxygen, offshore sedimentary environments off Southern California, researchers described such collapses as “an intrinsic property of some forage fish populations that should be expected, just as droughts are expected in an arid climate.” Continue reading the article here 07:55

Fight for fishermen – European Union bid to grab UK fish stocks under Brexit revealed

Leaked reports claimed this week that MEPs in the European Parliament are drafting provisions to be included in the final Brexit agreement – including legislation that Britain should not be allowed an “increase to the UK’s share of fishing opportunities for jointly fished stocks”. EU countries want fishing rules which apply to all member states to continue to apply to Britain’s waters after the divorce. As such, the fish in Britain’s territory would be seen as a ‘shared resource’. The suggestion Britain could be overruled by the EU – once the split becomes official – has angered British politicians. Outraged Mike Hookem said Britain’s waters must return to “UK control regardless of what the EU want”. Continue reading the story here 06:54

Op-ed: E-mails continue a troubling practice on fisheries panel

With a critical vote pending on a petition to limit shrimp trawling in state waters, a member of the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission made no secret of his position in an e-mail to a concerned chef from Charlotte. The e-mail was among several by Commissioner Chuck Laughridge to people who had submitted written comments on the petition, which supporters say is aimed at protecting fish species that are discarded as by-catch after they are hauled in by shrimp nets. Laughridge wrote the e-mails despite warnings from the commission’s lawyer about conducting business outside of public meetings and expressing opinions on pending issues before the fisheries panel has fully debated and voted on them. We at Outer Banks Catch are troubled by these continuing private communications. The commission is already under the cloud of a 2016 audit that cited several potential violations of open meetings laws in e-mail communications among its members. With the potentially devastating impact of limits to shrimp trawling on commercial watermen and consumers up and down the East Coast, the commission more than ever must be above-board. Continue reading the Op-ed here 22:38

Please Donate to the Larry O’Grady Family Fund

Please help our Auntie Gail during this devastating tragedy.  On February 11, 2017,  Gail received a phone call that would forever change her life. Her beloved husband and best friend “Larry O” is missing at sea. On Saturday morning the fishing vessel ‘Destination’ sent an emergency distress signal to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard announced they would search for the missing vessel and crew members for 3  days.   With heavy hearts, the Coast Guard has suspended the search for the crew of the fishing vessel Destination. This fund will go to our Auntie Gail to ease the financial burden that this tragedy has left her with. Thoughts and prayers  to the owner, his crew members and  their families. Visit the Larry O’Grady Family Fund page, (click here) and please donate any amount you can.

Please donate to the Charles Glenn Jones Family Relief Fund

Saturday, February 11th the wife of Charles Glenn Jones received a phone call that no family member ever wants to receive.  The vessel, FV Destination, that Charles was working upon, and had been for many years, was considered missing.  As minutes rolled into hours, and hours felt like an eternity all signs are pointing to no possible chance of survival.  Coastguard Crews and volunteers have been searching for nearly 24 hours, the ship has been officially declared sunk, and no crew members are expected to have survived. As in all walks of life, Rosalie and her family believed they had time.  Time to plan, time to love, and time together.  Rosalie and Charles had decided when he returned from this trip that they would finally get a life insurance policy on him, just in case, unfortunately reality had other plans and the Jones family is left enduring much pain and anguish. Continue reading (Click here) at the Charles Glenn Jones Family Relief Fund page, and please donate any amount you can. 18:22

Governor Brown’s interference pits her against commercial fisherman

In an astoundingly ignorant and heavy-handed display of putting urban political correctness ahead of rural jobs, Gov. Kate Brown last week dictated that the citizen members of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission reverse their January decision that gave commercial fishermen a minimally fair share of the Columbia River’s salmon allocation. Addressing commissioners as if they are misbehaving children, Brown told Chairman Michael Finley the commission majority’s acknowledgment of reality is “not acceptable” and that “I expect” the commission to acquiesce to her interpretation of the facts by April 3. Fish and Wildlife Commission members are in an infinitely better position to judge the ineffectiveness of salmon policies than is the governor. Read the Op-ed here 17:03

Creation of a new marine protection area off British Columbia upsets fishing industry

Canada’s largest commercial fishermen’s union says the creation of a new marine protection area off British Columbia’s north coast will result in lost jobs and higher prices for seafood. The Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters’ Federation says the protection area goes too far in banning all fishing in several regions between Vancouver Island and the archipelago of Haida Gwaii. Jim McIsaac, the group’s Pacific vice-president, says the union supports safeguarding the region’s glass sponge reefs but he regrets that the Fisheries Department hasn’t followed the group’s advice after seven years of consultation. The federal government is expected to announce the new protection area on Thursday. Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc says the federal government does not believe preserving the glass-sponge conservation area is an either/or proposition and that it’s possible to do so while balancing the interests of the commercial fishing industry. Read the rest here 16:18

Bully-net lobster fishermen can get new commercial status

A new Florida commercial lobster license for bully-netters will come with a “Respectful Bully Netting” outreach campaign. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission members on Feb. 8 approved creation of a new bully-net endorsement for people who have a commercial endorsement for lobster.“Conflicts between waterfront homeowners and bully-netters” was cited as one concern about expanding the commercial lobster industry to include the netting technique. The increased use of bully nets for commercial lobstering “allows opportunities for young or new fishers and preserves the culture of participation in the Keys commercial lobster fishery”. Continue reading the story here 14:45

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 44′ 11″ x 21′ Novi Lobster/Scallop, 350HP Mitsubishi, Permits Available

Specifications, information and 45 photo’s  click here To see all the boats in this series, Click here 12:45

The Eli Seibold Destination Fund

Eli is the son of Darrik Seibold who is a crew member on board the Destination vessel that went missing in the Bering Sea Saturday. His family is devastated, the past few days have been unbearable for them and a heart breaking time for our community. So many people have asked how they can help during this very helpless time, so we have started a fund for Darrik’s son Eli. The fund will help ensure a brighter future for Eli, who will turn three this weekend without his father. By supporting Darrik’s son, we can help provide for his future now that his father is unable to do so. I would like to say thanks to all who have asked how to help Bill and Jan over the past few days, your messages have been forwarded to them.  Click here for the Eli Seibold Destination Fund, and please give what you can. 12:12

Door-to-door shrimp salesmen busted shorting customers

Most door-to-door shrimp purveyors volunteer to remove the heads from the crustaceans after a customer agrees to a sale. For many, that’s not just a nice thing to do. It’s so that the consumer can’t check the weight to see that he or she has been shorted. Complaints from customers about not getting what they paid for led to the bust of two door-to-door shrimp salesmen in Calcasieu Parish in the last week, according to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The department said its agents arrested Kenny Menard, 45, of Rayne, and Jessie Dupuis Jr., 43, of Lafayette, and charged them with theft by fraudulent sales, selling shrimp without a retail seafood license and failing to maintain records. Read the rest here 11:38

Study: Seismic Testing Disrupts Fish Behavior

Almost anyone who’s thrown a hook in the water to catch a fish in a quiet atmosphere probably knows intuitively that loud noises spook them: you don’t scream at fish to bite, after all, you wait patiently. But intuition isn’t science, and seismic airguns don’t make just any loud noise, so when University of North Carolina Institute of Marine Sciences doctoral student Avery Paxton and some colleagues got the opportunity to do some real science on an issue that’s germane to the hot topic of oil and gas exploration by seismic surveys, they jumped at the chance. What they found, back in September 2014 when they did a study during a U.S. Geological Survey seismic mapping effort in the Atlantic Ocean off Beaufort Inlet, not only confirmed intuition, but surprised them in its degree: 78 percent of the fish on a reef near the seismic survey “went missing,” compared to counts at the same time the three previous days during the evening hours, the peak time for fish, such as snapper, grouper and angelfish, to gather there. Continue reading the article here 10:27

How sustainable seafood can harm coastal communities

Kai Ryssdal: Tell me the story of how this book came to be. Lee van der Voo: Sure. Actually, I had just written a story about seafood and was in a bar with a bunch of writers loudly complaining about how I was never going to do it again. Somebody heard me and bet me, on the spot, one beer that they could get me to do it. And they started telling me about a new policy push to make seafood more sustainable in America and how it was starting to have some really significant downstream consequences for coastal communities and people who fish. Ryssdal: Long story short, you lost the beer. Van der Voo: Yeah, I lost that bet. It was worth it. Ryssdal: Do me favor and define a term for me, because it’s kind of at the root of this whole book, this idea of “catch share.   Audio report, read the rest here 09:08

NJ Fluke Fishing Industry in Flux

After a decision made last week aimed at protecting the Atlantic Ocean’s primary cash fish, New Jersey anglers now believe their industry is in dire straits. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission  (ASMFC), a federally regulated authority that oversees fishing management for the 15 states along the Atlantic Coast, has decided to increase regulations on summer flounder for 2017. “With what they’re proposing, it’s going to be the final nail in our coffin,” said Ron Santi, a head boat captain based out of Atlantic Highlands. “When looking at recreational and commercial fisheries on a whole, it seems as though for 20 to 30 years, we’ve been fishing at a higher level than the resources can sustain,” said Kirby Rootes-Murdy, a senior fishery management plan coordinator with ASMFC. Between recreational and commercial fishing, fluking generates nearly $2.5 billion for the state’s economy, according to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection. Continue reading the story here 08:00

‘These boys loved what they did’: Former crabber on missing Destination talks about lost boat, lost brother

Dylan Hatfield worked for six years aboard the Destination before leaving in 2014. He was tight with all of the crew, which included his older brother, Darrik Seibold, whom he had helped to get a job on the vessel. So last Thursday evening, Hatfield relished the chance for a brief reunion as he crossed paths with the Destination crew in the Aleutian Island port of Dutch Harbor. Hatfield had just ended his crab season aboard another Bering Sea vessel — the Kari Marie — while the crew of the Seattle-based Destination was about to depart to begin their later-winter harvest. He went down to the dock where the Destination was moored to greet the crew. Then, they all went out for pizza and beer, a night filled with hugs, laughs and tales of years past hauling in snow and king crab. Continue reading the story here 20:31

Deadliest Catch Captain Keith Colburn pays tribute to six fisherman lost in the Bering Sea

A Deadliest Catch star is paying tribute to six veteran fishermen lost in the icy Bering Sea after the U.S. Coast Guard called off the search for the men. The fishing vessel Destination went missing early Saturday after an emergency signal from a radio beacon registered to the ship originated from 2 miles off St. George, an island about 650 miles west of Kodiak Island. Castmember Capt. Keith Colburn said he knows their chances of surviving are slim and paid tribute to Hathaway and O’Grady, who he was close friends with for over 25 years. Family members of those missing identified the crew members as: Jeff Hathaway, Larry O’Grady, Charles Glenn Jones, Raymond Vincler, Darrik Seibold, and Kai Hamik.  The news about the vessel going missing has stunned the tight-knit community that spawned the hit Discovery channel show ‘Deadliest Catch’. Colburn said he heard about the missing boat, which was not featured on the show, from colleague Sig Hansen, who is the captain on The Northwestern on reality television show which is about crab and fishing boat crews working on the Bering Sea. Photo’s, Read the story here 18:43

Anti-Fishing Lies Exposed: Attorney General Releases Point by Point Debunk of Kaniela Ing

News Release from Hawaii Attorney General, Feb 13, 2017 HONOLULU – Attorney General Doug Chin today released a letter dated December 29, 2016, with the permission of the legislator who originally received it, responding to several questions regarding labor conditions in the commercial fishing industry at Honolulu Harbor. PDF: A copy of the letter is attached. (Must read: AG responds to 9 questions from Ing.  Short version of response: “No.”) Latest Anti-Fishing Hype from AP: Hawaii may be breaking law by allowing foreign men to fish Last Year’s Anti-Fishing Hype from AP: Hawaiian seafood caught by foreign crews confined on boats Read the news release here, with links to the AP articles. 16:21

Environmentalists Spend Big Money to Put Commercial Fishing People Out of Work

In an industry where commerce depends solely on the catch, commercial fishing is one of the most volatile professions in the country. From market prices to weather patterns, there are many factors that could result in poor landings and scant pay check. On top of these factors, an environmental group has proposed drastic rule changes for the trawl industry that could shut down a the NC shrimping business completely. And they’re spending big money to do it. While they claimed the rules would have an impact on the captains and crews, the environmentalists left out the many jobs generated by the trawl industry. From the shrimp headers and dock hands, to the welders and marine mechanics, to the transport drivers and seafood distributors, as well as the administrative employees, North Carolina stands to lose big bucks if fresh shrimp is taken from our tables. Even bigger, the tourism industry – which is has been a huge economic supporter in distressed coastal communities – would certainly take a financial hit.A fishermen can never clock in and be assured of a good paycheck, but environmentalists sure can. According to John Hopkins University there is huge money in being an environmentalist. In 2016, a it was reported a “chief sustainability environmental executive” will earn an average of $166,000 annually, while a general operations managers will start at $95,150. Read the complete article here 14:41

Prayers, messages for crew of missing Seattle fishing boat in Alaska

U.S. Coast Guard crews suspended the search Monday evening for a Seattle-based fishing vessel missing in Alaska’s Bering Sea since Saturday. On Tuesday, the owners of the Destination shared the following message: The owners of the DESTINATION understand that the Coast Guard has suspended its search for the DESTINATION and her crew.  We thank the Coast Guard, all of the Good Samaritan vessels, and people of St. George Island who worked so long and hard to try to find our crew.  These efforts were in the finest tradition of the sea. These men were professionals.  Our hearts are broken for their loved ones who are now left with the certainty of this tragic sinking.  We will work with the Coast Guard to attempt to understand what occurred with the hope that whatever can be learned will be used to help prevent such an event from happening again. Please keep these men and their families in your prayers. While Coast Guard officials have not released the names of the crew, family members have confirmed to KING 5 three members: 46-year-old Charles Glenn Jones, 29-year-old Kai Hamik and 55-year-old Larry O’Grady. Video, read the article here 13:18

Chandler, Arizona man missing at sea; Coast Guard calls off search for 6 fishermen on crab boat

A Valley man is believed to be one of six people on board a missing fishing boat in the Bering Sea off of Alaska.  Kai Hamik, of Chandler, is a commercial fisherman who neighbors say loves his job.  “I see him off and on, depending on the season,” said Gabriel D’Zordo, who lives right next door to Hamik. “Sometimes he tells me the season is bad so he comes back early. He loves it. He loves it. He always tells me he loves it.” The U.S. Coast Guard in Alaska said the crew sent out a beacon alert 2 miles northwest of St. George, Alaska, on Saturday morning. The boat, a 98-foot crab boat named “Destination,” had six people on it and is owned by a company based in Seattle. D’Zordo had no idea Hamik might be lost at sea. He said he will stay hopeful.  “My goodness, my prayers. Every time he goes out I always say a pray because I know what he does,” D’Zordo said. Read the story here 12:23

Council for Sustainable Fishing – First came ‘sea lords’ and now ‘snapper barons.’

About a year ago AL.com did an investigative report on the Gulf of Mexico commercial red snapper catch share program in which it called the top share holders ‘sea lords’ and those fishermen who had to pay them for the right to catch red snapper ‘serfs.’ Last week, WVUE-TV in New Orleans did a series of investigative reports on this same catch share program, one of which was entitled “’Snapper barons’ raking in riches from public resource.” These reports highlight what catch shares are all about — creating economic winners and losers, not fishery sustainability, with most fishermen and fishing communities on the losing end. A 2013 report by the Center for Investigative Reporting provides estimates that as many as 18,000 fishing jobs were lost and 3,700 vessels were no longer fishing in areas that had catch share programs. Read the press release here 11:18

National Weather Service suffers ‘catastrophic’ outage, stops sending forecasts, warnings

On a day when a blizzard was pasting Maine and northern California faced a dire flooding threat, several of the National Weather Service’s primary systems for sending out alerts to the public failed for nearly three hours. Between approximately 1:15 p.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern time Monday, products from the Weather Service stopped disseminating over the internet, including forecasts, warnings and current conditions. At about 4 p.m. Monday, a Weather Service spokesperson said the “system just came back up” and that more information about the cause of the outage was forthcoming. During the outage, the Weather Service’s public-facing website, Weather.gov, no longer posted updated information. Ryan Hickman, chief technology officer for AllisonHouse, a weather data provider, called the situation “catastrophic.” Continue reading the story here 08:53

Update 3 and final: Coast Guard suspends search for fishing vessel near St. George, Alaska

The Coast Guard has suspended the search for the crew of the fishing vessel Destination northwest of St. George, Alaska, Monday afternoon. Watchstanders from Coast Guard 17th District received an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon alert from F/V Destination early Saturday morning and deployed the Kodiak aircrews to commence the search. The aircrews located a debris field in the general area of the EPIRB alert. Debris included the transmitting EPIRB, a life ring from the vessel, buoys, tarps and an oil sheen. The search continued through Saturday, Sunday and Monday. “We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the six crewmembers during this extremely difficult time,” said Rear Adm. Michael McAllister, Coast Guard 17th District commander. “The decision to suspend a search is always difficult and is made with great care and consideration.” The watchstanders at the 17th District Command Center in Juneau coordinated 21 searches, totaling more than 69 aircraft and surface hours and covering approximately 5,730 square nautical miles. Read the rest here 08:02

Extensive searches turn up no new sign of missing Bering Sea crab boat or crew

The search is still on for a crabbing vessel and its six crew members missing for nearly three days in the brutal waters of the Bering Sea, the U.S. Coast Guard said Monday afternoon. The fishing vessel Destination, a Seattle-owned, Sand Point-based ship with a reputation as a “battle ax” and a crew of veteran Bering Sea fishermen, was on its way to start the snow crab season when its emergency locator beacon activated at 6:11 a.m. Saturday. As of Monday, the boat has not been declared sunk and the men aboard are still considered missing. Search crews had combed an area of 5,073 square nautical miles, following currents southwest of the spot where the only sign of the boat was found, 2 miles off the northwest tip of St. George Island, according to Petty Officer 3rd Class Lauren Steenson. Some of the crew members have already been publicly identified by family members. Read the story here 23:30

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for Februay 13, 2017

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates, Click here 22:51

Coast Guard rescues three fisherman from vessel taking on water near Akutan, Alaska

A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew rescued three people from the fishing vessel Predator after it ran aground and was taking on water near Akutan Harbor, Alaska, Monday morning.The Jayhawk crew arrived on scene, hoisted the three crewmembers and safely transported them to Akutan with no medical concerns reported. Coast Guard 17th District Command Center watchstanders were notified by Coast Guard Sector Anchorage watchstanders that the Predator ran hard aground resulting in an eight-inch crack in the hull. As a result, the Predator began taking on water and the crew was unable to keep up with the flooding utilizing dewatering pumps. Watchstanders quickly diverted a Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter crew to the scene. “This case is a perfect example of the ever-changing dynamic of search and rescue in Alaska and how well trained our personnel are to respond,” said Lt. Scott Verhage, Jayhawk helicopter co-pilot. “The crew of the Predator was well prepared, having all the safety equipment necessary to help us find them and execute the rescue.” Weather on scene at the time of the rescue was 25 mile per hour winds and 10-foot seas. -USCG- 19:54

Petition: All Against Changes to Current Nantucket Sound Mobile Gear Regulations

This petition has been created to bring awareness to the state of Massachusetts from the people who would like regulations of Nantucket Sound mobile gear to remain at their current status. The town of Nantucket is currently petitioning the right to fish inside of three nautical miles from the coast with mobile gear. This will greatly impact the permit holders, long standing fishermen, and their families who have fished these waters for decades. There is no environmental proof that this closure will have any impact at all. The squid fishery is an ecofriendly industry that supports many fishermen, families, and shore side operations and should remain this way. Throughout the years, Massachusetts has continuously managed mobile gear within Nantucket sound successfully and drastic changes to its regulations will have a detrimental impact on the Fishing Community. Please sign the petition! Click here 17:04

Fisherman and landowners alleging harm from waste pits in lawsuit against owners of San Jacinto River superfund site

Rick Kornele and Charles Rayburn fished and crabbed as small boys on a sand bar near a popular boat ramp on the San Jacinto River- a site today blocked off by an imposing chain-link fence that’s plastered with warning signs in three languages. Rayburn remembers walking barefoot along the sand and wading into the murky water to catch crab. Kornele’s family often drove to the water’s edge in a station wagon and spent days long lazy days camping in the shadow of the highway bridge. As adults, both fished, boated and bought land near the river they loved. It wasn’t until 2005 that both men separately discovered that their favorite 1960s childhood fishing hole sat next to hidden pits where a Pasadena paper mill and its partners had deposited sludge laced with cancer-causing dioxins and PCBs. Continue reading the story here 16:22

American Samoa: Local fishing fleet shocked at killing of navigator

The apparent murder of a navigator on board a vessel docked in Pago Pago Harbor has come as a shock to the close knit fishing fleet. Commissioner of Public Safety Le’i Sonny Thompson would only confirm the death of a fisherman on board a boat, but information gathered from KHJ News shows that the deceased was found dead on board the vessel American Eagle. It’s believed that his neck had been slashed. Nearly all of the crew of the vessel, mainly Vietnamese and Taiwanese, were taken in for questioning at the police station yesterday. The local agents for the vessel is KS Shipping. A veteran stevedore agent was shocked to hear about the apparent killing. He said such a heinous crime is uncommon for this port which is  relatively peaceful and friendly. link 12:20

Search continues for Bering Sea fishing vessel missing with 6 aboard

Despite two days of searching, there was still no sign Sunday night of the Bering Sea crab boat or its six crew members that went missing just off St. George Island Saturday. The Destination, a 95-foot fishing vessel based in Seattle but operated mostly out of Sand Point, was on its way from Dutch Harbor to St. Paul Island for the start of the opilio crab fishery when the ship’s emergency beacon activated at 6:11 a.m. Saturday, said Michael Barcott, an Anchorage maritime attorney who is acting as a spokesperson for the ship’s ownership group. On Saturday, a Coast Guard search and rescue crew found the emergency beacon, a life ring, buoys and tarps in a small oil sheen on the water about 2 miles northwest of St. George Island. “The crew had sailed right by St. George within a half-hour of when the beacon activated,” Barcott said. Dylan Hatfield, a fisherman from Petersburg who has been working out of Dutch Harbor this winter, said his brother was aboard the Destination when it went missing. Hatfield did not want to identify his brother or any of the other crew members on the Destination by name on Sunday. The ship itself was a meticulously maintained “battle ax,” said Hatfield, who worked for six years aboard the Destination himself. Continue reading the story here 11:29