Bad hull, flooding led to fatal sinking of Orin C

The deadly sinking of the Gloucester-ported Orin C nearly 15 months ago probably was caused by structural problems with the vessel’s wooden hull and subsequent flooding, according to reports from the National Transportation Safety Board and Coast Guard released Thursday. The two reports detailed the marine tragedy that resulted in the drowning of 47-year-old Capt. David C. “Heavy D” Sutherland during the final stages of the Coast Guard’s rescue that saved crewmembers Rick Palmer and Travis Lane on the night of Dec. 3, 2015. Neither Palmer nor Lane could be reached Thursday for comment. The Coast Guard report did not recommend any changes to its training, rescue procedures or the equipping of its rescue vessels. That, however, does not mean it won’t make changes in the future, according to District 1 Deputy Commander Brad Kelly. “That is something the Coast Guard is always looking at in trying to determine what should be included into all of our rescue platforms,” Kelly said. “That is an ongoing process.” Continue reading the article here 21:01

FISH-NL wins first battle against salt-water mafia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, Feb. 23rd, 2017 The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) has won the first battle in its bid to represent the province’s inshore fish harvesters. The province’s Labour Relations Board issued a ruling Thursday afternoon rejecting an application by the FFAW that FISH-NL is not an association under the Fishing Industry Collective Bargaining Act. “If you were listening closely Thursday afternoon you would have heard the collective cheer of thousands of fish harvesters around the province,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The ruling by the Labour Relations Board legitimizes our movement. FISH-NL has now been legally recognized as an official organization of fish harvesters, despite the best efforts of the salt-water mafia.” The FFAW has made another application to the Labour Relations Board that the membership list of inshore fish harvesters not be released to FISH-NL. “We’re hopeful the Labour Relations Board will schedule a hearing on that application as soon as possible,” says Cleary. It’s expected that once the Labour Relations Board rules on the release of the membership list to FISH-NL, an investigator with the Board will begin the review of FISH-NL’s application and membership cards. On Dec. 30th, FISH-NL presented an application to the Labour Relations Board to represent the province’s inshore fish harvesters, breaking them away from the FFAW. The application included 2,352 membership cards signed by inshore harvesters around Newfoundland and Labrador. FISH-NL argues that number represents more than 50 per cent of all inshore harvesters, the amount required to force a vote by the Labour Relations Board to ultimately decide which union will represent harvesters.

A veteran commercial fisherman’s invite to fish for giants came along and I wasted no time in accepting.

Catching a giant bluefin with rod and reel has been on my bucket list for a long time. I grew up on the water and spent several summers as part of a crew that fished with handline or harpoon. My life’s path led me away from the ocean, and for years I’d wanted to go back and do it again with more sporting tackle. Decades passed without an opportunity and my desire was relegated to the back burner until a recent series of events rekindled the flame. Several more years passed as I tried unsuccessfully to mooch my way onto a boat until I eventually connected with fellow Mainer, Don Fletcher. A veteran commercial fisherman, Don switched over to tuna fishing after he acquired an Ocean Yachts 55 SS he named the Blue Bandit. When the invitation came to join him, I wasted no time in accepting. Continue reading the story here 16:52

Hawaii bill would ban licenses for some foreign fishermen

A bill in the Hawaii Legislature aims to change rules for how fishing licenses are issued to foreign crew members that make up the majority of the state’s commercial fleet. Now, boat owners or captains bring foreign crew members’ passports and customs documents to a state agency to get their licenses – without the fishermen present. A federal legal loophole allows foreign fishermen to work off the coast of Hawaii, but they are technically not allowed to enter the country. The bill would require anyone seeking a commercial fishing license in Hawaii to appear in person. State Sen. Karl Rhoads says he wants to change the law so people who are not permitted to enter the U.S. cannot get a license to fish on American-flagged boats sailing from Honolulu. The Hawaii Longline Association opposed the bill, saying the industry is already regulated and additional requirements are unnecessary. Read the story here  16:00

Fishermen at odds over impact of Trump executive order

An executive order by President Donald Trump designed to radically cut back on federal regulations has spurred disagreement among fishermen about how it will affect them — and lawmakers and regulators aren’t sure what the answer is. Groups that represent both commercial and recreational fishermen are divided over whether Trump’s “one in, two out” approach to federal regulations will benefit their industry, harm it or not affect it at all.,, Several fishing groups, ranging from the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association to the Massachusetts Striped Bass Association, are joining Democratic Reps. Jared Huffman of California and Raul Grijalva of Arizona in asking Trump to rescind.,, Other industry interests, including the Fisheries Survival Fund, said the order will likely leave fisheries unaffected. The order would apply only to financially significant regulations, and that would not include things like opening fishing seasons and enforcing catch limits, said Drew Minkiewicz, an attorney for the fund. “All this talk about how you’re not going to be able to manage fisheries — not true, doesn’t apply, not going to happen,” he said. Read the full story here 15:04

NOAA/NMFS Declines to List Thorny Skate as Threatened or Endangered

In response to a petition from Defenders of Wildlife and Animal Welfare Institute to list thorny skate (Amblyraja radiata) under the Endangered Species Act, we have now determined that listing is not warranted at this time. The May 2015 petition requested that we list a “Northwest Atlantic Distinct Population Segment” or a “United States Distinct Population Segment” of thorny skate as threatened or endangered. Thorny skate are at low abundance in U.S. waters compared to historical levels, primarily due to overfishing. However, declines have been halted throughout most of the species’ full range, and the species remains abundant throughout the North Atlantic, with hundreds of millions of individuals in the Northwest Atlantic alone. Read the rest here 12:21

Maryland’s veteran crab manager fired after watermen complain to Hogan

Maryland’s veteran manager of the state’s blue crab fishery was fired this week after a group of watermen complained to Gov. Larry Hogan about a catch regulation that they contend hurts their livelihood — but that scientists say is needed to ensure a sustainable harvest. Brenda Davis, crab program manager for the Department of Natural Resources and a 28-year state employee, said she was informed Tuesday that her services were no longer needed. In an interview Wednesday, Davis said Fisheries Director Dave Blazer gave no reason for her summary dismissal. But it came after Hogan met last week with about a dozen Dorchester County watermen who had been pressing Davis and the DNR for a change in a long-time regulation setting the minimum catchable size for crabs. Continue reading the story here 11:46

PETA takes credit for Linda Beans exit from the lobster industry

A PETA investigation showed workers at Linda Bean’s Maine Lobster slaughterhouse ripping fully conscious crabs and lobsters apart. After CBS released the footage, it wasn’t long before social media influencers did the same thing to Linda Bean. Faced with the negative attention, canceled business contracts, PETA protests, and a barrage of nearly 76,000 e-mails from our members, Bean began quietly slipping out the back door of the lobster shanty, as reported by The Boston Globe. Read the rest here, and by all means, Order Your FREE Vegan Starter Kit! 11:00

Cook Inlet Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting to kick off with new faces, old grudges

The Alaska Board of Fisheries has a full plate for its triennial Upper Cook Inlet finfish meeting beginning Feb. 23 and running through March 3 in Anchorage. The board will look quite different with three new members since the last meeting and so does the fishery after three years of restriction, tight markets, lawsuits, and accusations of disregarding the best science that revolve around the board decisions at its last Upper Cook Inlet meeting in 2014. Chinook, or king, salmon stocks on the Kenai River and around the state started to plummet in the late 2000s, and in 2014, the Board of Fisheries approved paired restrictions directing the Alaska Department of Fish and Game had to take certain actions when the Kenai king fishery was restricted, including limiting commercial fishing time. Sport representatives generally thought it fair to share the burden of conservation, while commercial fishermen said it hit them harder than the sportfishermen. This year, nearly 200 proposals from commercial, sport and subsistence fishermen will try to overhaul entire fishery management plans, revise escapement goals, expand or contract fishing areas and openings hours, add or remove new gear types and in general try to open up more fishing opportunity for each respective group. Continue reading the article here 08:54

Sebastian Inlet District to crack down on angry anglers defecating and spreading it on the rail to mark their territory

At Sebastian Inlet fishing pier, lines often cross. And tangled tackle ticks off fishermen so much, they often revert to territorial tactics, casting aspersions and sometimes other things at their angling adversaries, inlet officials and fishermen say. They hurl lead fishing weights, lures and other objects at folks fishing from boats. Or sometimes boaters are the primary aggressors.  Signs and video cameras haven’t tempered things much. Inlet officials say that in the past few years, the pier atmosphere has degraded into a state of constant territorial marking, as things just keep hitting the fan — and sometimes even the concrete pier and its cylindrical metal rails. “We’ve had reports of people defecating and spreading it on the rail to mark their territory so nobody will fish next to them,” said Martin Smithson, administrator for the Sebastian Inlet District. “There have been several citations for public urination.” Read the story here 08:14

Nantucket fishermen implore state to protect squid, DMF director balks!

For the past couple of years, Nantucket fishermen have had a hard time finding striped bass in the rips and alongshore where they were accustomed to catching them. They think they know why: no squid. “This was where all the bass were caught. Now, no bait, no fish, no stripers to speak of,” said Pete Kaizer, a charter boat captain and commercial tuna fisherman. Kaizer and other Nantucket fishermen petitioned the state Division of Marine Fisheries to prohibit fish draggers and scallopers that tow nets or large metal dredges along the ocean bottom from state waters, up to 3 miles out from shore all around the island. The ban would run from May 1 to Oct. 31 with the idea of protecting spawning longfin squid.,, The Nantucket fishermen have an online petition, signed by over 1,200 people, asking state DMF director David Pierce to enact the Nantucket fishing prohibition. Pierce said there was little science to back up the proposal, and said he opposed it and would not forward it to his state Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission for approval. Read the story here 07:40

AK seafood earnings, poundage outpaced by Washington state

Alaska’s seafood industry puts more people to work than any other private industry, topping 60,000 workers in 2015. Of that, less than half – 27,600 – were Alaska residents. And while 71 percent of active fishing permit holders call Alaska home, most of the gross earnings go to the state of Washington. Based on numbers from the United Fishermen of Alaska’s annual Fish Facts, resident fishing permit holders made gross dockside earnings of just over $602 million two years ago. That compares to more than $904 million by nearly 6,580 Washington-based permit holders and crew. Fishermen  from Oregon took home more than $126 million from Alaska’s fisheries and Californians pocketed nearly $28 million. That adds up to more than $1 Billion flowing out of state by non-resident fishermen. Listen to the audio report, read the rest here 17:29

Fisherman pleaded guilty to social security fraud receiving over $157,000 in SSDI benefits

United States Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II announced that Daniel Fitzsimmons, 54, of Whiting, Maine, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court to social security fraud. According to court records, the defendant began receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) payments in 2002. SSDI benefits are paid by the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) to people with disabilities. From 2002 to 2013, the defendant and his dependents received over $157,000 in SSDI benefits.  In order to obtain those benefits, the defendant was required to certify that he could no longer perform “substantial gainful work.”  In numerous forms submitted to the SSA and at an in-person SSA interview, the defendant reported little work activity and very low annual earnings between 2002 and 2013.  An investigation revealed that, contrary to his statements, the defendant was actively and consistently engaged in commercial fishing over that period. The defendant faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He will be sentenced after the completion of a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office. The case was investigated by SSA’s Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Coast Guard. Link 17:08

The Sustainable Fisheries Act – January 11, 2000 Revisited

I’ve been reviewing my past writings to gauge which, if any, have aged gracefully and which haven’t. I’ll be redistributing those that I think were particularly noteworthy, either because they were – and perhaps still are – on target or because they weren’t – or aren’t. The following addresses some of the more onerous provisions of the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996, which at the time were being fully implemented. I’ll leave it up to you to determine whether I hit this nail on the head or not. I’d be really interested to hear what you think. Nils Stolpe.  From the article: Under the provisions of the federal Sustainable Fisheries Act (SFA), at any point when the populations of each of these competing species aren’t at MSY they are considered to be “overfished” and stringent harvest restrictions implementing strict rebuilding schedules (to MSY) are mandated. By requiring that all species be at their MSY, our coastal waters are expected in the SFA to support a level of overall production that is ecologically impossible, and fishermen, both recreational and commercial, are expected to reduce their catch to meet this impossible standard. Continue reading the article here 14:45

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 55′ RI Marine Steel Offshore Lobster Boat with traps, permit

Specifications, information and 28 photo’s click here To see all the boats in this series, Click here 12:05

Revisited: Americas Finest – Floating Steel Follow the construction of a Bering Sea Fishing Trawler from start to finsh

The Big Move! This image encapsulates this monumental event for me as Americas Finest moves laterally (West) to get into a northern launch position as she points towards Alaska, her destiny. How to move 2900 tons of steel on land, stay tuned! Here she is, Americas Finest, view Weeks 82 and next week (83). See her get prepared to be moved laterally (sidetracking) to a new position that will be her final orientation before her launch. To view an incredible assortment of photo’s and review the progress, click here floatingsteel.com 10:53

Ottawa to invest in ‘fisheries innovation’ for Atlantic Canada following EU trade deal

With Canada’s trade deal with the European Union on track to come into force provisionally within weeks, the federal government is set to announce a new fisheries innovation fund. But don’t portray this new money as a way to compensate Atlantic Canada, Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc told CBC News last week. “I didn’t say compensation. That was your word,” LeBlanc said after an announcement in Vancouver last week. “What I said is that we’re prepared to work with provinces to look for a way to make our fishing industry the most innovative, productive, sustainable and globally competitive that we can.” Compensation was what Newfoundland and Labrador was looking for in the face of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which will prevent Canadian provinces from placing any export restrictions on raw fish. Continue reading the story here 08:58

Women in Oregon fishing industry have important, but sometimes invisible role

Women have always played an important role in Oregon’s commercial fishing industry, even if they don’t actually fish or work on boats – but a new study indicates their roles are changing. The research, funded by Oregon Sea Grant and published in the journal Marine Policy, was based on a series of oral-history interviews conducted mainly with fishermen and their wives. The findings could help government agencies set policies that take into account their potential impacts on the well-being of entire fishing communities, said Flaxen Conway, a community outreach specialist with Oregon Sea Grant Extension and a co-author of the paper. Continue reading the article here 08:35

AMSEA to hold two Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor Workshops in South Carolina in March

Alaska Marine Safety Education Association workshops meet the U. S. Coast Guard training requirements for drill conductors on documented commercial fishing vessels operating beyond the federal boundary line. On Thursday, March 9, a workshop will be conducted in Murrells Inlet from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Murrells Inlet Community Center, 4462 Murrells Inlet Road. A second workshop will be conducted on Saturday, March 11 in McClellanville at the McClellanville Town Office, 405 Pinckney Street. Instructor Michael Lawson will cover man-overboard recovery and firefighting, emergency position-indicating radio beacon stations, flares and maydays, emergency drills, helicopter rescue, life rafts and abandon ship procedures, personal floatation devices, immersion suits and cold-water survival skills. The workshop will include an “in-the-water” practice session for participants to practice survival skills. Interested mariners may register for the workshops online at www.amsea.org or call AMSEA at 907-747-3287. Link 07:15

Insurance tips for fishing vessels – “Getting the Most Value When Buying Fishing Vessel Insurance”

It can be tricky to find the right protection coverage for fishing boats at the right price. How much a vessel is insured for is traditionally determined by a marine surveyor but boat owners also must protect against risk. A new guide called “Getting the Most Value When Buying Fishing Vessel Insurance” gives simple tips and outlines buying pitfalls. At least some boat owners new to the industry or new to owning boats  may not be fully aware of the responsibilities of a vessel owner  are under general maritime law and various versions of the Jones Act. Those two areas of law provide a high degree of protection not just to crew members but others who provide services to boats.  Audio report, read the rest here 19:04

Offshore drilling opponents re-gear for new round of battles

A little more than a month after seismic blast testing for oil and natural gas was stopped offshore of South Carolina, exploration companies are gearing up for a new try. A dozen anti-drilling advocates met Tuesday in Charleston to discuss expanding the opposition. They may look inland for more support in the vein of the massive coastal protest that in 2016 helped derail plans for testing and drilling. Frank Knapp, founder of the anti-drilling Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast, said he has heard the exploration industry is planning to approach the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management about reversing a testing permit denial adopted during the last days of the Obama administration. Knapp’s group represents more than 35,000 businesses and 500,000 commercial fishing families from Maine to Florida. Continue reading the story here 17:58

Irish Coast Guard rescues severely injured Russian fisherman 140 miles out at sea in heavy winds

The Irish Coast Guard helicopter has rescued a severely injured crewman from a Russian fishing vessel 140 miles off the coast of Kerry in difficult weather conditions. The Shannon-based Rescue 115 helicopter was assisted in a search and rescue operation by the LÉ Róisín naval ship and the Waterford-based Rescue 117 helicopter. Crew members from the LÉ Róisín boarded the Russian fishing vessel this afternoon and assisted in evacuating the crewman. It is believed he became injured in an accident involving fishing gear and may have suffered multiple broken bones. Weather conditions were difficult for the long-range mission, with a strong west to south west swell and gusts of over 35mph. Two additional images, continue reading the story here 17:05

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for Februay 20, 2017

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates, Click here 15:49

MARINE FISHERIES COMMISSION: by Jerry Schill – Disappointing is not quite the word to use to describe my reaction to the MFC vote, but neither is shocking. For anyone that is familiar with this particular commission, the vote to accept the petition isn’t shocking. click Weekly Update to read the rest

Port Clyde: Lobster, wind and recreation vie for waterfront property

Some residents have been raising questions about the well-situated, but empty and apparently unused, waterfront property on Port Clyde Harbor. The town has gradually begun to develop a concept for use of the property with help from a consultant, Noel Musson, of Southwest Harbor-based planning firm The Musson Group. The current vision-in-progress would split the property between a recreational portion for the public, and commercial space. Some of Port Clyde’s commercial fishermen, however, have their own ideas, and said they would at least like to have access to the property in a town where wharf space and the lobster-buying business have been consolidated into the hands of just a few owners. Continue reading the story here 14:05

Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell confirms Chinese firm eyeing other N.S. seafood products

Sumo-sized online retailer Alibaba is hungry to sell other Nova Scotia seafood products in addition to lobster, says provincial Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell. After inking a quality assurance agreement last week with the Chinese online retailer who is planning to sell Nova Scotia lobsters on its Tmall website, Colwell flew back from Shanghai. In an interview, he strongly suggested negotiations are already underway between the province and Alibaba to work out quality assurance agreements for other Nova Scotia seafood products. But the fisheries minister was tight-lipped about the details, refusing to divulge which products might be under consideration and when other quality assurance programs might be rolled out. Continue reading the story here 12:14

MAFMC & ASMFC Set Black Sea Bass Specs for 2017-18 – Benchmark Assessment Finds Resource Not Overfished & Overfishing Not Occurring

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission) have approved revised specifications for the 2017 black sea bass fishing year as well as specifications for the 2018 fishing year for the Northern black sea bass stock (Cape Hatteras, North Carolina to the US-Canadian border). The revised specifications are based on the results of the 2016 benchmark stock assessment, which found the stock is not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. The approved limits are consistent with the recommendations of the Council’s Science and Statistical Committee. The Commission’s actions are final and apply to state waters (0-3 miles from shore). The Council will forward its recommendations for federal waters (3 – 200 miles from shore) to NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Administrator for final approval. Read the rest here 11:23

Nantucket Sound location of most fatal turtle entanglements

By Aug. 1, Chatham fisherman Jamie Eldredge has pulled the 200 conch pots he has in Nantucket Sound. He has made the summer switch to fishing for dogfish in the Atlantic Ocean. In doing so, Eldredge has avoided what has become a major headache for conch fishermen – large leatherback turtles that get tangled up in conch and lobster lines while pursuing jellyfish. In NantuckeSound, a significant number of those turtles die, three times more than anywhere else in Massachusetts, and state fishery scientists are worried they may be targeted by a lawsuit charging they are not doing enough to protect an endangered species. In a series of public hearings held in coastal and island communities this month, they asked conch fishermen for input on how to deal with the problem. State Division of Marine Fisheries officials think they know the answer: pull all conch pots in August. Continue read the story here 10:35

Northern shrimp stocks still ‘critical’ – no improvement in spawning biomass

It’s the season to talk about the prospects for the shrimp fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador and the initial information for the new season does not look promising. In a media briefing this morning, Katherine Kanes, mathematician/stock-assessment biologist with Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) outlined the current picture from the most recent stock assessments, for northern shrimp in fishing areas 6, 5 and 4 — off the Northern Peninsula and the coast of Labrador. Data collected from the fall multi-species trawl survey by DFO, as well as information from fishers shows there’s not been much improvement from last year. In SFA 6 — the area that most inshore commercial fishers from this province depend on for their shrimp catches — the biomass of female shrimp is still in the critical zone, she said. Continue reading the story here 09:26

“Cavalier” skipper who sailed at night without navigation lights is jailed

A skipper who sailed at night without navigation lights or safety equipment has been jailed. Shane Barton was caught at the helm of the Nicky Noo on a number of occasions between May 22 2014 and October 20 2016 when the fishing vessel contravened safety laws. The 42-year-old was caught by enforcement officers in Christchurch, as well as Fowey in Cornwall and Castlebridge in Devon, operating without navigation lights, safety equipment or a properly-trained crew. In mid-October last year, the safety certificate for the Nicky Noo expired. A spokesperson from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said Judge Ian Lawrie, sentencing the defendant at Plymouth Crown Court, called Barton “complacent and arrogant” and had shown a “cavalier attitude” to the safety of his crew. Read the story here 08:57

Harvey Haddock on fisherman’s rights.

In light of the recent court decision in regard to the proposed New York windmill farm allowing the project to proceed despite its potential effects on long established fishing industries, this scene, excerpted from the in-progress novel, “Delusions of a Madman”, showcases an irreverent slice of life from the Fishermans Dock Co-op, which illuminates the question; What are a fisherman’s rights? On a cold windy morning at the Fishermans Dock Co-op, all the boats are in, and a couple of small groups of fishermen are scattered at the docks unloading spots, generally discussing the last few days of fishing, and invariably complaining about one regulation or another. Henry’s in a hurry to the office today, it seems the morning coffee has done its magic, and he needs to make a deposit for Alice and Lil, the office secretary’s. He hurries through the dock careful not to slip on the ice, and enters the warm office, heads right, passing  Alice sitting at her desk, and Lil, in the next room. “Again?” says Alice. Continue reading the story here 22:02

Study says seals eat more Chinook than Southern resident killer whales

Seals are eating more Chinook than Southern resident killer whales. That’s bad for both endangered species’ recoveries. “The seals might not be the enemy as much as the problem is that we’ve lost forage fish available to them,” said Joe Gaydos, science director of the SeaDoc Society on Orcas Island. According to a recent Canadian study, the amount of Chinook salmon eaten by seals in the Salish Sea has increased from 68 metric tons in 1970 to 625 metric tons in 2015. That’s double the amount Southern resident killer whales ate in 2015 in the same location, and six times more than commercial and recreational fisheries according to the study. Continue reading the story here 12:20

Scallops scuffle pitting small boats against big

A disagreement over the right to fish for scallops off New England is pitting small boats against big ones in one of the most lucrative fisheries in the U.S. The federal government maintains different rules for the small- and big-boat scallop fisheries, though they work some of the same areas. Small boat fishermen say the conflict has arisen in the northern Gulf of Maine, a critically important fishing area stretching roughly from Boston to the border of Maine and Canada. At issue is the fact that the northern Gulf of Maine is fertile ground for scallops right now, and rules allow the bigger boats to harvest more of them. The smaller boats have a possession limit of 200 pounds, while the largest boats have no such limit, because they are regulated instead by a limited number of days at sea. Continue reading the article here 11:48

Linda Bean once hoped to be to lobster what Perdue is to chicken. What happened?

Linda Lorraine Bean, the other L.L. Bean, has spent the last decade promoting her lobster empire, one that merged the cachet of her family name with the popularity of the state’s top crustacean.,, So what happened to the sprawling business venture that Bean hoped to make as synonymous with lobster as Frank Perdue’s empire is to chicken? Bean, now in her 70s, declined to comment despite repeated attempts to reach her and those connected to her. It’s been a quiet departure for a woman not known to shy away from the spotlight. Read the article here 11:13

DMC researchers test technique to determine lobster’s age

Research professor Rick Wahle and graduate student Carl Huntsberger are testing a technique at the University of Maine Darling Marine Center to determine the age of lobsters. Unlike fish, mollusks and trees, Wahle says lobsters and other crustaceans molt—or cast off their skeletons thereby discarding external signs of growth. That means a lobster’s age is estimated on size, but it’s a rough determination because ocean conditions affect the crustacean’s growth rate. Not knowing a lobster’s age is problematic for scientists and fishery managers seeking to measure the health of the fishery and the sustainability of the stock. Continue reading the story here 10:06

Thanks to the supervisors who protected SLO County fishermen

Many thanks to the San Luis Obispo County supervisors that support the fishermen, ranchers, farmers and our ports and harbor districts in the county regarding the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary issue. The supervisors that did not support us claimed that this was about oil. This issue has nothing to do with oil. It has to do with the livelihoods of those of us that make our living on land and sea. We are here to protect our livelihoods from federal intrusion and nothing more. One of the supervisors claimed they would not manage fisheries. Well, I can assure the public that neither he nor anyone in our county will be making that decision. It will be made in Washington, D.C., just like all of the hundreds of other rules that will be made regarding all national sanctuary management. Federal rules are not made by cities, counties or states. They are made only by the federal government. Link 09:53

Fisherman’s Strike Ends: “We Had A Gun To Our Heads”, Says Union Leader

The strike that went on for about two months has finally drawn to a close, but one union official says the deal was reached after the Minister of Fisheries essentially threatened to enact a law forcing the fishermen back to work. RÚV reports that the vote to go back to work was a close one: 52.4% voted in favour, with 46.9% voting against, and only 53.7% of eligible fishermen took part in the vote. As to be expected from such a close vote, opinion was mixed amongst fishermen reporters spoke to. A great many were simply pleased to be back to work, while many others were still unsatisfied with the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement. Continue reading the story here 09:10

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