Category Archives: Caribbean

Oversight Hearing “Exploring the Successes and Challenges of the Magnuson-Stevens Act” Wednesday, July 19, 2017 2:00 PM

On Wednesday, July 19, 2017, at 2:00 p.m., in Room 1324 Longworth House Office Building, the Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans will hold an oversight hearing titled “Exploring the Successes and Challenges of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.”  Witnesses are Mr. Jeff Kaelin, Government Relations, Lund’s Fisheries, Inc. Cape May, New Jersey. Mr. Sean Martin, President, Hawaii Longline Association, Honolulu, Hawaii. Mr. Nick Wiley, Executive Director,  Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Tallahassee, Florida. Mr. Charles Witek, Recreational Angler and Outdoor Writer, West Babylon, New York. click here at 14:00 Wednesday to watch the proceeding.  If you need further information, please contact Calvin Frauenfelder, Clerk, Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans at (202) 225-8331.

Hearing Memorandum detailsclick here  19:35

Chris Oliver Appointed to Lead NOAA Fisheries

Today, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, with concurrence from the White House, named Chris Oliver Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries. The Texas native assumed his new position on June 19, taking the helm from Acting Assistant Administrator Samuel Rauch who will return to his position as the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs.,,, Oliver most recently served as Executive Director of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, a position he held for the past 16 years. He has been with the Council since 1990, also serving as a fisheries biologist and then deputy director. During his tenure as executive director he led the way on several cutting edge management initiatives, including development of limited access privilege programs and fishery cooperatives and catch share programs, the North Pacific’s comprehensive onboard observer program, numerous bycatch reduction programs, extensive habitat protection measures, commercial and recreational allocation programs, and coastal community development programs. He was also responsible for all administrative and operational aspects of the Council process, and lead staffer for legislative and international issues. click here to read the press release 11:32

Proud Nova Scotian fishing trawler abandoned amid mysterious claims

It’s embarrassing for an old Nova Scotian fishing ship: tied up, gutted, disappeared in the night, denied port and now anchorless, run aground and abandoned in full view of vacationers at a white-sand Caribbean resort. The ship — once called the Esther Boyd and later the Cape Chidley during her proud days as a trawler — went out of service about 15 years ago. Now labelled the Yacht Hop, the ship spent a decade tied to the wharf in Lunenburg, until, in 2014, captain Joe Outred came to town, promising big things for her. “Everybody in town helped Joe, because he was going to do these mega-projects and give the boat a new life,” said Peter Richardson, who lived in Lunenburg for 15 years and now runs Peggy’s Cove Boat Tours. “Alan Altass, he’s a marine consultant, he appraises vessels. These old vessels down in Lunenburg — whenever one comes up for sale, they hire Alan as the go-to guy. Alan was running around, helping this guy, lending him his car, running here, running there for him. “And then the guy skipped out of town,” he said. continue reading the story here 12:39

Photos: Fishermen Catch Large Blue Marlin

“It’s a total shock!” – That was the reaction from brothers Allan and Delvin Bean when they caught a huge Blue Marlin earlier this week.The Beans were in the boat Nothing’s Easy in between Argus and Challenger Banks when they received a tug on their line. Delvin told Bernews, “We knew we had something special form the beginning because the line was screaming on the 130 reel. We actually had the line out trying to catch a blue fin tuna. This fish just started going and going and going. “My brother was scrambling around trying to control the fish. While he was controlling it, I was trying to bring it in. I’m fighting this fish and it got about 50 yards off the boat and it just took off again. At this time of the year it’s supposed to be a blue fin tuna and not a blue marlin. continue reading the story, and check out the photo’s 18:54

North Pacific council director a possibility for Assistant Administrator position at NMFS replacing Eileen Sobeck

Chris Oliver, the executive director of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council for the past 16 years, didn’t ask for a consideration as the new assistant administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service; rather, the most powerful fishing industry voices in the nation’s most profitable region asked. He doesn’t know if the new administration will offer it or if he’d want it if it did. Still, looking at his history, knowledge and reputation, he seems in many ways a natural fit. Oliver said when it became known that the current administrator, Eileen Sobeck, won’t be staying with the new administration, parts of the fishing universe aligned. In the North Pacific and elsewhere, catch share systems are a contentious issue; Oliver said in an interview he’s already had fisheries stakeholders from other regions probing for what his intent would be with their respective fisheries. Oliver’s answer sums up both his attitude and in part that of the new administration. “It’s not my call,” he said. “What makes sense in the North Pacific…may not make sense in New England, or in the Gulf of Mexico. Read the story here 10:47

Fisherman breaks own record with 1004lb Giant bluefin tuna

Third generation fisherman David Soares landed the biggest tuna caught in Bermuda’s waters on Saturday morning and he did so single-handedly in 15 minutes flat.The Bermudian, who said he has had it confirmed by the fisheries department that the 1004lb giant bluefin tuna that landed on his boat was the heaviest recorded in the island’s history, was also responsible for the previous record catch — a 1003lb tuna landed in the same fishing grounds in 2013. He was out fishing alone on Challenger Banks about ten miles southwest of the island on Saturday morning when he felt the tug. It was his first “bite” of the day after just five minutes with the lines out. Read the story here 09:32

The Bahamas: No Chinese Commercial Fishing Allowed

prime-minister-of-the-bahamas-perry-christieSpeculation having been rife for several weeks about the remote possibility of large-scale fishing in Bahamian waters by Chinese fishing vessels. The Prime Minister of The Bahamas, the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, has put the matter to rest in a statement released on November 22, 2016, unequivocally stating: “We are not going to compromise and no discussion will lead to a conclusion that this government would have contemplated or agreed for that to happen.” Christie emphatically stated in reports in the Nassau Guardian and Tribune daily newspapers that no mass commercial fishing will take place under foreign ownership. Christie said commercial fishing is reserved only for Bahamians, that there are no fisheries negotiations with the Chinese. The Prime Minister reiterated his government’s policy of conserving the Bahamas’ fisheries and natural resources. Read the rest here 18:47

Prospect of “China” fisheries deal still of great concern for Bahamians

christie-peter_w300Since Agriculture and Marine Resources Minister V. Alfred Gray gave permission for Bahamian Ambassador to China Paul Andy Gomez to discuss further a $2.1 billion proposal for an agriculture/fisheries project with the Chinese government, the matter has been a hot topic in the country. The proposal, if approved would allow the Bahamas government to lease up to a total of 10,000 acres of crown land in Andros to 100 companies owned 50-50 by Bahamians and the Chinese. On social media and openly in public it is clear that this proposal has not struck home well, and as a result ‘Black Friday Marches’ have been organized to allow persons to show the growing concern with regard to this proposal that has sparked considerable fear. Grand Bahama resident and politician, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Member of Parliament for East Grand Bahama, K. Peter Turnquest expressed his views to The Freeport News. Read the story here 09:48

Too broke for boats, Cubans inflate condoms to find big fish

cuba-baloon-condom-fishingJuan Luis Rosello sat for three hours on the Malecon as the wind blew in from the Florida Straits, pushing the waves hard against the seawall of Havana’s coastal boulevard. As darkness settled and the wind switched direction, Rosello pulled four condoms from a satchel and began to blow them up. When the contraceptives were the size of balloons, the 47-year-old cafeteria worker tied them together by their ends, attached them to the end of a baited fishing line and set them floating on the tide until they reached the end of his 750-foot line. After six decades under U.S. embargo and Soviet-inspired central planning, Cubans have become masters at finding ingenious solutions with extremely limited resources. Few are as creative as what Havana’s fishermen call “balloon fishing,” a technique employing a couple of cents worth of condoms to pull fish worth an average month’s salary from the ocean. Read the story here 09:21

Bahamas Considers Granting Commercial Fishing Rights to Chinese

baha-mmap-mdThe Bahamas government recently floated a proposal to give Chinese investors commercial fishing rights. Minister of Agriculture & Marine Resources, V. Alfred Gray authorized the Bahamas ambassador to China in writing to pursue talks with the Chinese. Gray’s letter was leaked and published in the Nassau Guardian. The Bahamian Embassy in China also produced a draft summary of the proposal for discussion purposes. The ambassador, Paul Gomez, broached the matter with the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) and the Bahamas Reef Environmental Education Foundation (BREEF) at an event this past October. The draft report prepared in July by the Bahamian Embassy in China calls for the creation of up to 100 partnerships with “the government of the People’s Republic of China or its substantial representatives.” Read the rest here 10:02

Into the Storm: The True Story of a Harrowing Ocean Rescue

The plane was cold and the engines were loud inside the cabin. Ben Cournia slipped in foam earplugs to drown out the noise. Tendrils of light were just starting to lace the morning clouds as the C-130 Hercules, gleaming white with the U.S. Coast Guard’s telltale orange bands near the cockpit and tail, climbed above Air Station Clearwater into the sky above Florida, heading south, then east. The heavy-browed Minnesotan glanced around the cabin, where guys were settling in for the three-hour flight to what had to be one of the loneliest outposts of the Coast Guard: a glorified sandbar otherwise known as Great Inagua Island, Bahamas. Their home for the last couple of weeks of September 2015. Cournia, 36 and married ten years, palmed his phone and looked at the last text from his wife: “Be safe,” she wrote. Video’s, Read the story here 15:21

National Marine Fisheries Service issues annual report on Fisheries of the United States, 2015

noaa nmfs logoThis publication is the annual National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) yearbook of fishery statistics for the United States for 2015. The report provides data on U.S. recreational catch and commercial fisheries landings and value as well as other aspects of U.S. commercial fishing. In addition, data are reported on the U.S. fishery processing industry, imports and exports of fishery-related products, and domestic supply and per capita consumption of fishery products. Information in this report came from many sources. Field offices of NMFS, with the generous cooperation of the coastal states and Regional Fishery Information Networks, collected and compiled data on U.S. commercial landings and processed fishery products. The NMFS Fisheries Statistics Division in Silver Spring, MD, managed the collection and compilation of recreational statistics, in cooperation with various States and Interstate Fisheries Commissions, and tabulated and prepared all data for publication. Sources of other data appearing in this publication are: U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Read the press release here, Read the full report here 09:34

Boat owner describes devastation when his 42ft Bruno get’s ripped apart

The owner of a boat that was ripped apart in Bailey’s Bay by Hurricane Nicole has likened the ordeal to “losing a family member”. The storm not only tore apart Aldo Pace’s boat but also his livelihood as a commercial fisherman and with upwards of $300,000 worth of damage, he has no insurance to fall back on. Mr Pace, 62, got the 42ft Bruno Stillman fishing vessel about 25 years ago, using it for his charter business followed by offshore commercial fishing. He had wanted to take it out of the water but all the boat yards were full. Mr Pace had already called the insurance companies but they said they don’t provide storm cover for boats for Bailey’s Bay as it is a high-risk area. It left him no choice other than to tie down the boat as best he could and hope for the best. Read the story here 09:14

Fishing Industry faces tough times – Sam Parisi

manatthewheelUS Fishermen from all over are feeling the effects of NOAA and conservation groups that are making it very difficult for our fishing fleets on every coast. Every day there is anther obstacle for our fishermen, the most recent on the East Coast. President Obama has designated a large area of Cape Cod, the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. I fished those waters back in the late 60,s for whiting and lobster. Fishermen depend on those deep waters for lobsters. Although the President, after up roars from the lobstermen, has given them seven years to vacate, in the end those lobstermen will lose their rich grounds. When does it end?  Every day some one else comes up with a brain storm and there are so many people out there that no idea of the effect, but think it is a good idea to protect whatever, not thinking of the harm to our fishermen. I believe the deck is stacked and our fishermen do not stand a chance to exist. We need help from our political leaders. I have heard over and over “we will help”, with good intentions but the fact remains NOAA holds all the cards. We have no say. We need political leader’s that will stand up to NOAA on our behalf, and follow through. We need help now. Here are the basic problems that need attention. Language written into MSA that would unlock the ironclad grip NOAA has on the “best available science” and accept other independent scientific data. SK Grant money needs to be removed from NOAA. Senator Sullivan of Alaska has such a bill pending and finally our fishermen should not have to pay for monitoring that is NOAA’s responsibility. Thanks for listing. Sam Parisi, Proud to be a fishermen. 19:24

Atlantic Hurricane Season: What to Expect In 2016

hurricaneColorado State University edged up its seasonal Atlantic hurricane forecast to 15, three more than in an average year. The new prediction is that six of those storms will become hurricanes and two will grow into major systems with winds of 111 miles (179 kilometers) per hour or more before the season ends Nov. 30. The total includes the four storms that have developed already this year. “I still think we are looking at a near-average season,” Phil Klotzbach, the forecast’s lead author, said in a telephone interview. Klotzbach said the influences contributing to storm development are “a pretty mixed bag.” Odds are rising that a La Nina, a cooling of the equatorial Pacific, will develop later this year. That can influence weather patterns across the world and make it easier for storms to form in the Atlantic by cutting down on wind shear that can rip storms apart. To offset La Nina’s influence, air pressure across the basin has been higher than normal through June and at least one model shows those conditions could persist through a large part of the season. Read the rest here 11:53

U.S. Commerce Department announces 2016 regional fishery council appointments

commerceThe U.S. Commerce Department today announced the appointment of 19 new and returning members to the eight regional fishery management councils that partner with NOAA Fisheries to manage ocean fish stocks. One at-large seat on the Mid-Atlantic Council will be announced by the Secretary at a later date. The new and reappointed council members begin their three-year terms on August 11. Each year, the Secretary of Commerce appoints approximately one-third of the total 72 appointed members to the eight regional councils. The Secretary selects members from nominations submitted by the governors of fishing states, territories and tribal governments. Council members are appointed to both obligatory (state-specific) and at-large (regional) seats.  Council members serve a three-year term and can get reappointed to serve three consecutive terms. Asterisks preceding a member’s name indicate a reappointment. Read it here 17:24

Fishermen Using Experimental Lionfish Traps

Lionfish-Trap-with-lionfish-catch-Bermuda-June-10-2016The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is advising the public that several commercial fishermen will be using “experimental lionfish traps” this summer, and said boaters are asked to be careful to avoid these traps. Currently, traps are located east of St. David’s Head in approximately 25-28 fathoms [150-168ft] of water; however, traps will also be placed in other areas of the Bermuda Platform – South Shore, Southwest, East and North. Traps will be identified with flag buoys similar to those used on lobster traps. The lionfish traps are similar in design to lobster traps and have a fixed funnel so that large fish like groupers cannot get into the traps. They also have escape slots that allow smaller fish to get out but keep the lionfish in. Read the rest here 08:47

NOAA Office of Law Enforcement releases its first-ever Annual Report.

clip_image002_001From tackling seafood fraud nationally to helping crack down on illegal fishing internationally, we’re here to make sure that those who obey the rules reap the benefits of fair competition and an even playing field in the market. We protect marine resources and their habitat and help safeguard the health of seafood consumers and the livelihoods of coastal communities. OLE releases its first-ever Annual Report. Read the Report here 16:34

Thank You

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Smoked herring connects Cap-Pelé to Haiti – A million cases each year to the impoverished country

For the past century, one of New Brunswick’s most enduring trade partnerships has been with one of the world’s poorest countries. The fishing village of Cap-Pelé has sold millions of crates of smoked herring to the impoverished Caribbean nation of Haiti. A Radio-Canada crew recently followed the trail, from the smokehouses in Cap-Pelé to the kitchens of Port-au-Prince. The sights, and especially the smells, of smoked herring are part of life in southeastern New Brunswick.  Read the rest here 11:18

El Faro Wreck Missing Bridge and Voyage Data Recorder

Image: Cargo ship El Faro missing in Hurricane JoaquinA major disappointment announced today in the investigation into the El Faro sinking with the NTSB now saying that the wreck of the ship was discovered with the navigation bridge missing and no sign of the Voyage Data Recorder (VDR). A salvage team onboard the contracted  has been using the Curve 21 remotely operated vehicle to confirm and document the wreckage initially found Saturday off the Bahamas at a depth of 15,000 feet was in fact the missing El Faro. Read the rest here 07:39

NTSB: Wreckage Believed to be Missing Ship El Faro Found

Image: Cargo ship El Faro missing in Hurricane JoaquinA search team on board a U.S. Navy tug has found what they believe is the wreckage of the missing American cargo ship El Faro in the search area off the Bahamas, the NTSB said in an update late Saturday. The vessel was located at a depth of about 15,000 feet in the vicinity of the last known position. The NTSB said the target identified is consistent with a 790-foot cargo ship, which from sonar images appears to be in an upright position and in one piece. Read the rest here 09:25

National Marine Fisheries Service yearbook of fishery statistics for the United States for 2014 is here!

nmfs_logoThe report provides data on U.S. recreational catch and commercial fisheries landings and value as well as other aspects of U.S. commercial fishing. In addition, data are reported on the U.S. fishery processing industry, imports and exports of fishery-related products, and domestic supply and per capita consumption of fishery products. The NMFS Fisheries Statistics Division in Silver Spring, MD, managed the collection and compilation of recreational statistics, in cooperation with various States and Interstate Fisheries Commissions, and tabulated and prepared all data for publication. Read the report here 13:39

NTSB Provides New Details from El Faro Investigation

The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday issued an update on its continuing investigation into the sinking of the El Faro cargo ship in the Atlantic Ocean near the Bahamas. Unlike the NTSB’s first report on El Faro investigation, which provided little to no new information on the accident, this new update offers a wealth of new information on a number of key areas in the investigation, including the safety and maintenance of the vessel, the ship’s propulsion, the ill-fated voyage and weather forecast, the last communication from the ship,,, Read the rest here 08:41

Sunscreen is proven toxic to coral reefs

Lathering up with sunscreen may prevent sunburn and protect against cancer, but it is also killing coral reefs around the world. That’s the conclusion of a team of international scientists, which includes University of Central Florida professor and diving enthusiast John Fauth. The researchers found that oxybenzone, a common UV-filtering compound, is in high concentrations in the waters around the more popular coral reefs in Hawaii, and the Caribbean. The chemical not only kills the coral, it causes DNA damage in adults and deforms the DNA in coral in the larval,,, Read the rest here 19:40

28 Americans aboard cargo ship missing off Bahamas after hurricane

Image: Cargo ship El Faro missing in Hurricane JoaquinThe crew of the El Faro, 28 from the U.S. and five from Poland, reported that the ship was listing at 15 degrees before they lost contact with authorities as the ship passed near the lightly populated Crooked Island at the height of the storm. The vessel carried 685 containers and had an EPIRB on board, which transmits distress signals. An initial ping was received Thursday morning, but no new ones have followed,,, Read the rest here 14:09

Who’s really in charge of U.S. fisheries? – Nils Stolpe, FishnetUSA

An Oligarchy is defined as “a country, business, etc., that is controlled by a small group of people” –  Ancient City Shrimp is an eight minute YouTube video (Click here) produced by the St. Augustine Lighthouse Museum that examines St. Augustine’s past as one of several centers of commercial shrimping in Florida. Unfortunately – or perhaps tragically is a better fit – Florida’s shrimp fleet is only a shadow of what it once was. One of the reasons for this is the imposition of unrealistic regulations on U.S. shrimpers that has made the fishery much less profitable than it used to be. A history lesson or two. Read the rest here 16:27

Making the Seas Safer for Fishermen

After Congress passed the 2010 Coast Guard Authorization Act, which updated fishing industry safety standards for the first time since 1988, activists like Bartlett were grateful their concerns were being taken seriously: Life rafts would be improved, safety training would become mandatory for fishing captains, and new boats would be built to standards set and verified by independent third parties called “class societies.” But almost five years after the law’s passage, the Coast Guard has yet to translate many of its requirements into enforceable rules. Read the rest here 17:57

US Customs seizes bladders from endangered fish being shipped from Venezuela to China

U.S. officials in Puerto Rico have seized a load of fish bladders taken from an endangered species and stuffed inside packages that were shipped from Venezuela and destined for Hong Kong. Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection have seized 1,328 pounds of totoaba fish bladders. The swim bladders from the fish indigenous to Mexico’s Gulf of California are prized by chefs in China. The parcels with the bladders were labeled as “organic plastic samples.” Customs officials turned them over to the NOAA. Read the rest here 07:41

Department of Commerce announces 2015 regional fishery council appointments

The U.S. Commerce Department today announced the appointment of 30 new and returning members to the eight regional fishery management councils that partner with NOAA, and National Marine Fisheries Service to manage ocean fish stocks. The new and reappointed council members begin their three-year terms on August 11. Read the rest here 15:25