Category Archives: Caribbean

MSA Reauthorization – Fishing rule reforms debated on Capitol Hill

How large of a role should the federal government have in regulating fishing fleets? Republicans and Democrats on the House Committee on Natural Resources discussed this question Tuesday in Washington, D.C., as part of renewed efforts to reauthorize and potentially amend a 40-year-old law that works to prevent overfishing and provide aid to fishing fleets.,, Several changes to the law have been made since 1996, such as setting annual catch limits and a 10-year timeline to rebuild overfished or depleted fish stocks. Republican committee members such as Alaska Rep. Don Young said these changes have taken a one-size-fits-all approach rather than provide more flexibility for regional fishery management councils to manage their own fisheries. click here to read the story 09:47

Watch Legislative Hearing on 4 Fishery Bills – click here for video

Legislative Hearing on 4 Fishery Bills – Tuesday, September 26, 2017 10:00 AM

H.R. 200 (Rep. Don Young), To amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to provide flexibility for fishery managers and stability for fishermen, and for other purposes. click here  H.R. 2023 (Rep. Garret Graves), To modernize recreational fisheries management Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017 click here  H.R. 3588 (Rep. Garret Graves), To amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to provide for management of red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico, and for other purposes. click here  RED SNAPPER Act Discussion Draft of H.R. ____ (Rep. Jared Huffman), To amend and reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and for other purposes. click here To read the notice, click here 12:29

The Latest – Hurricane Maria and Tropical Storm Jose Updates 800 PM AST

At 800 PM AST, the center of Tropical Storm Jose was located near latitude 39.4 North, longitude 68.6 West. Jose is moving toward the northeast near 8 mph (13 km/h), and this general motion with a decrease in forward speed is expected through tonight. A slow westward motion should begin by Thursday night. On the forecast track, the center of Jose is expected to meander off the coast of southern New England during the next few days. click here to read the advisory

At 800 PM AST (0000 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Maria was located by an Air Force reconnaissance aircraft near latitude 18.9 North, longitude 67.5 West. click here to read the advisory 20:23

National Hurricane Center – Hurricane Jose – Hurricane Maria Public Advisory’s At 800 PM EDT

Public Advisory At 800 PM EDT, the center of Hurricane Jose was located by an Air Force reconnaissance plane near latitude 37.5 North, longitude 71.2 West. Jose is moving toward the north-northeast near 8 mph (13 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue tonight. A turn to the northeast is forecast to occur by Wednesday morning. On the forecast track, the center of Jose is expected to pass well offshore of the Delmarva peninsula later tonight, pass well to the east of the New Jersey coast on Wednesday, and pass offshore of southeastern Massachusetts by Thursday. click here to read the update 20:06

Hurricane Maria Public Advisory – 800 PM AST Tue Sep 19 2017 …EYE OF CATEGORY 5 HURRICANE MARIA MOVING CLOSER TO ST CROIX IN THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS …PREPARATIONS AGAINST LIFE-THREATENING STORM SURGE AND RAINFALL …FLOODING AND DESTRUCTIVE WINDS SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION click here to read the update 20:12

Trade groups want 10-year requirement removed from Magnuson-Stevens Act

As Congress gets ready to address reauthorizing the Magnuson-Stevens Act, representatives from commercial fishing interests are urging lawmakers to revisit some of the current law’s regulations they feel have hindered the industry. In particular, they’re urging officials to do away with language that caps rebuilding plans for overfished species to 10 years. It’s an arbitrary figure that has too rigidly applied across all federally managed species, said Lori Steele, the executive director of the West Coast Seafood Processors Association, at a hearing Tuesday of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard. click here to read the story 10:50

The Magnuson Stevens Act and its Ten Year Rebuilding Timeline: Science or Fiction? By Meghan Lapp – click here to read the article

Hearing! 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday – MSA Reauth – Oversight of Fisheries Management Successes and Challenges

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, will convene the hearing titled “Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act: Oversight of Fisheries Management Successes and Challenges” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 12, 2017. The hearing is the third of the series and will focus on the perspectives of commercial, charter, and recreational fishermen on the state of our nation’s fishery laws. click here to read the press release This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov. 23:24

Hurricane Irma Passed Over Barbuda as a Potentially Catastrophic Category 5 Hurricane; Dangerous Threat for Florida, Southeast

Hurricane Irma, a dangerous Category 5 hurricane, blasted the island of Barbuda, an island of 1600 residents, with gusts of at least 155 mph. Irma is now heading toward St. Martin, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispañola, the Bahamas and Cuba before posing a serious threat to Florida and parts of the Southeast beginning this weekend. Irma became the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic basin, outside of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, on record on Tuesday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center. click here to read the story 07:37

National Hurricane Center – Hurricane Irma Public Advisory – Discussion and 48-hour outlook  click here

UPDATED 23:00 – Hurricane Irma now a powerful and dangerous Category 5 storm

Hurricane Irma is now a very powerful and dangerous Category 5 storm. According to the National Hurricane Center, Irma has winds of 175 mph and is expected to affect the northwestern Leeward Islands as an extremely dangerous hurricane accompanied by life-threatening wind, storm surge, and rainfall. The latest data shows the storm moving west but that would keep Jacksonville and the First Coast in the front right quadrant or the worst side of the storm. All of Florida is in the cone of concern. click here to read the story 09:06

UPDATED 23:00 National Hurricane Center – 1100 PM AST Tue Sep 05 2017 Hurricane Irma Public Advisory click here

Aquarium-Business Owner Admits to Trafficking Protected Corals

The owner of an aquarium business in Puerto Rico pleaded guilty Wednesday to harvesting protected reef creatures and selling them off island. Aristides Sanchez ran his saltwater aquarium business, Wonders of the Reef Aquarium, in his hometown of Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Prosecutors say native Puerto Rican marine species accounted for a large part of Sanchez’s business, and that he sent live specimens to customers in the mainland United States and foreign countries by commercial courier services. “From January 2013 to March 2016, Sanchez sent or caused to be sent at least 130 shipments of falsely labeled marine species that were illegally harvested in the waters of Puerto Rico,” the Justice Department says. click here to read the story 13:25

Magnuson Reauthorization, let’s get it right this time – Nils E. Stolpe/FishNet USA

When the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) became law 0n April 13, 1976, one of its primary selling points, along with reserving the fish and shellfish in our coastal waters out to two hundred miles for U.S. fishermen, was that the eight regional Fishery Management Councils that it established had as voting members both government employees who were involved in fisheries management and private citizens who were knowledgeable about fisheries. Ideally this made for balanced decision making, allowing for both the official view of what’s going on in particular fisheries and the on-the-water observations of people with an actual working knowledge of the fisheries, and with the Secretary of Commerce required to sign off on any fishery management actions. (It’s important to note that this was well before supposed environmental crises were supporting a multi-billion dollar industry.) click here to read this article. 12:21

The American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act: S-1322 – Sam Parisi, Gloucester

Last year I served on a panel to review applicants for S-K Grant money in Saint Petersburg, along with ten other experienced fisherman thru out the USA. After two days of reviews we graded those and our mission was done. We had no idea who was awarded the grant money at the end of the two days. After a month the ones that were chosen were published. I notice one recipient from the East Coast was awarded $375,000 dollars yet I never saw come before the panel. I called the head man in Saint Pete and ask why I never saw it, and he said it was on a different panel. I was on both panels and it never came up. I believe that NOAA decides who gets the funds and the panel is there to appease the public. A Senator from Alaska heard my story and told me he was putting in a bill to go back to an advisory panel like it had in 1954. Bear in mind, this a year in the making and he asked for my help by contacting our Politian’s in the North East which I did. Two days ago Commerce Department approved his bill S-1322. The vote was 26 to one. What this means is NOAA will no longer receive the SKG money. A panel will be chosen by the Secretary of Commerce. Perhaps our fisherman will now see some of this money. Thank You, Sam Parisi,  Gloucester Mass.  click here to read the bill  Commerce Approves Eight Bills and 10 Nomineesclick here Thank you, Sam!  10:46

Hearing: Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, will convene the hearing titled “Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act: NOAA and Council Perspectives” at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 1, 2017. This hearing is the first in a series to examine the state of our nation’s fishery laws and guide the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Witnesses: – Mr. Christopher Oliver, Assistant Administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service, – Dr. John Quinn, Chair, Council Coordination Committee and Northeast Fishery Management Council Hearing Details: Tuesday, August 1, 2017 10:00 a.m. Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov. link 09:20

US congressman wants imported seafood tracked like domestic products

For the second straight congressional session, a representative from Texas has introduced a bill he claims would level the playing field between American fishermen and their foreign counterparts. Late last month, U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold filed the “Protecting Honest Fishermen Act of 2017.” The legislation calls for all seafood sold in America to be traceable from the time it was caught to the time it was served. Under current regulations, importers do not need to provide the same level of information as domestic fishermen. “American fishermen shouldn’t be at a disadvantage to foreign fishermen especially here in the United States,” the Republican said in a statement. click here to read the story 17:44

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

Brad Gentner: It’s time to rethink ‘catch shares’

Catch shares in marine fisheries is a concept unfamiliar to most people, and it is probably completely alien to most hunters and anglers in this country. It is a system of wildlife management that bestows some percentage of a public marine resource, like red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico, to private businesses for free, to use and sell for their own profit. It was thought that by giving away ownership rights to individuals, the fishery would consolidate and ultimately become easier to manage. While the same number of fish would be caught, the benefits of funneling access to the resource through fewer entities was thought to remove some of the uncertainty in the industry and thus would be worth the price of privatizing a public resource for free. While catch shares are still the darling of some fisheries economists, there is a growing backlash against this management tool worldwide for a variety of reasons. At the heart of these complaints is fleet and wealth consolidation, extraction of public wealth for private profit, and failure to capitalize share-cost into production costs. click here to read the op-ed 21:46

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