Category Archives: International News

Brexit Leak: UK Fishermen May Not Win Waters Back

A leaked memo from the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries looks set to dash the hopes that British fishermen will “win our waters back” as part of Brexit negotiations. This document, as discovered by British newspaper the Guardian, suggests MEPs have drafted seven provisions to be included in Britain’s “exit agreement”, including a stipulation that there will be “no increase to the UK’s share of fishing opportunities for jointly fished stocks”, and instead the existing quota distribution in UK and EU waters will be maintained. The memo also states that “it is difficult to see any alternative to the continued application of the common fisheries policy”. Continue reading the story here 12:18

New Zealand: Underwater life in Kaikoura Canyon marine nature reserve entirely wiped out after earthquake

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake in November at Kaikōura, on New Zealand’s South Island, has destroyed all creatures living on the seabed in the Kaikōura Canyon marine nature reserve. On land the earthquake killed two people and caused massive damage to properties, roads and railways. It caused the sea-floor to leap up by two metres in some locations, exposing stretches of sea snails known as paua along the coast. Further out at sea, it caused a mudslide that destroyed a whole ecosystem. “While fish were still found in the area, this time didn’t record evidence of a single organism living on or in the seabed over a stretch of nearly six kilometres. Nothing. It was quite sobering, and a catastrophic event for the ecology of the canyon,” said Dave Bowden, who led a second exploration of the area. Continue reading the story here 10:49

Stunned chopper pilot finds castaways lost at sea on two seperate boats from Kiribati

The pilot, operating the chopper from a trawler off the Marshall Islands, came across the boats by chance last week, leading to the rescue of three fishermen and a teenage boy, the Marshall Islands Journal reported. It said both boats had set off from Kiribati, about 650 kilometres (400 miles) away. The one with three fishermen aboard had been adrift for 28 days, while the lone 14-year-old in the other had been lost for 11 days. Ocean currents had brought both boats within eight kilometres of each other but they were unaware of the other’s existence until they were spotted and rescued. The trawler Kwila888 picked up the drifters and cut short its tuna fishing trip to drop them in the Marshalls’ capital Majuro last weekend, the Journal reported. Link 15:53

Not Guilty – Judge clears Whitby skipper of sinking boat in harbour

A Whitby skipper accused of sinking a boat in the harbour has spoken of his collapse with tears of relief after the case was dropped. A not guilty verdict has been recorded on Trevor Cross, 49, of Mulgrave Place, Whitby, after the prosecution offered no evidence. Mr Cross, known as Gordon, has spoken to the Whitby Gazette about his ordeal. He said: “It’s a weight lifted off my chest. The night I got the phone call from my barrister telling me the case had been dropped, I just broke down in tears. I was in a pub, went outside and collapsed.” He added: “I maintained my innocence all along – I’m so relieved.”  continue reading the story here 11:09

Fishing inquiry calls for more money for adjustment and an urgent assessment of fishing stocks

An inquiry into commercial fishing in New South Wales has recommended the Government find more money to help fishermen adjust to reforms. $16 million dollars has been put aside to help fishermen buy extra shares to stay in the industry, but many have claimed that won’t be enough. Chair of the inquiry Robert Brown said about $20 million might be required. “No fisher, none of these small businesses should be left hanging,” he said. The reforms were aimed at removing a large number of “latent” licences from the industry but Mr Brown said those licences should have been handled differently from active licences held by working fishermen. continue reading the story here 20:21

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

“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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Study: Seismic Testing Disrupts Fish Behavior

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

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

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

Remembering the World’s Most Famous Sea Captain

Phil Harris died on Feb. 9, 2010 — but his spirit lives on. Fans and friends from around the world mourned the loss of their favorite TV sea captain when he died seven years ago today, on Feb. 9, 2010. Without him, “Deadliest Catch” may not have caught on with millions of TV viewers around the globe. None of us can order Alaskan king crab without thinking of him and the men he worked with, and the near-death experiences they endure doing their jobs. No screenwriter could have come up with a character Captain Phil, and no Hollywood set can match the setting the film crews captured in the long-running hit TV series. Without Captain Phil, though, none of it would have been possible. “Deadliest Catch,” which debuted in 2005 on the Discovery Channel, helped change the direction of reality TV. Continue reading the story here 17:31

Skipper knew he came across something special when he landed this rare and exotic Slipper Lobster

The extremely rare Slipper Lobster was found recently off Ros a Mhil near the Aran Islands and is now being cared for by Galway Atlantaquaria. This is the first recorded landing of this species this far into the Atlantic north. Slipper Lobsters are bottom dwelling creatures usually found throughout the Mediterranean. Over the last decade there has been a couple of reports of the species being caught off Kerry and a pregnant Slipper lobster was landed off Cork in 2007. Skipper John Connolly of the ‘Connacht Ranger’ from Kilronan on Inis Mor, and landed this exotic catch off Ros a Mhil. The Skipper knew he had landed something rare and so he contacted the Marine Institute to report his find. Read the story here 14:44

Open Letter to George Soros, Help Us Kill Industrial Fishing

Dear Mr. Soros: The Global High Seas Marine Preserve, when established, will effectively ban industrial and commercial fishing in international waters and thus allow stocks of major marine predators and other species to return in numbers sufficient to permit “some” fishing. My name is Danny Quintana and I conceived of the idea of the GHSMP when writing my latest book, Space & Ocean Exploration: The Alternative to the Military-Industrial Complex. During research for the book I realized how dire the situation of ocean wildlife had become in the last 50 years during a technological boom in the fishing industry and the sushi craze which is still in full swing throughout much of the world. Read the rest here (if you can stand it!) 08:30

Fishing For Litter: We’ve got ‘healthier’ fish after success of the sea litter scheme

It may be a load of rubbish but for the fishing industry, the discarded waste being piled up at harbours across Scotland is netting them a prize catch. Fishing boats once dumped junk they hauled up in their nets back overboard. Now they bag the refuse and take it to port to be disposed of. The Fishing For Litter scheme has just reached the milestone of pulling 1000 tonnes of potentially dangerous refuse from the seabed. Jimmy Buchan, who starred in the BBC TV series Trawler-men, documenting the work of fishermen, said: “When we first started it, we would maybe lift a tonne of rubbish in a trip but I know it is working because now we hardly fill the bottom of a bag. “What we have done means that we are having an environmentally positive effect.” Read the story here 12:07

Killer virus that devastated Gold Coast prawn farmers is on the doorstep of Moreton Bay’s multimillion-dollar fishing industry.

More than 100 wild prawns just south of the Logan River in Southern Moreton Bay have tested positive to the virus responsible for the deadly white spot disease. The virus can kill whole ponds of prawns within days and experts fear it could easily spread to other crustaceans such as mud crabs and Moreton Bay bugs. Announcing the positive testing of 108 wild prawns yesterday, Biosecurity Queensland confirmed the outbreak that ravaged prawn farmers for the past two months had been found outside the Logan River for the first time. Griffith University ecologist Professor Michelle Burford said the disease could move into the main part of Moreton Bay, threatening a large chunk of Queensland’s $120 million wild-caught fishing industry. “There is every potential for the disease to move into other areas,” Prof Burford said. Read the story here 09:41

New Man Overboard Prevention and Sea Survival Course for Fishermen

A ground breaking new pilot training course for fishermen aimed at preventing man overboard incidents and improving survival and recovery procedures has just been completed at the RNLI’s Training College in Poole, Dorset. The RNLI, working in conjunction with the UK fishing industry, has developed the two-day training course to better reflect real-life sea conditions so as to ensure fishermen are fully aware of the dangers and challenges of man overboard situations. The training pilot featured a variety of different scenarios, including enabling the participants to compare the differences of being in the water with and without survival gear. The challenges of recovering a man overboard wearing a personal flotation device were also practised, including self-recovery for the single boat fisherman and for those who work as part of a crew. Skipper Peter Bruce from the fishing vessel Budding Rose, who took part in the training, said that the two day course had been incredibly useful. “I hope that I can pass on some of the knowledge gained to my own crew and I believe that fishermen’s training should change to be more in line with the environment we work in,” he said. Read the story here 10:23

Boris Worm The Jellyfish Guy says New York turns into some kind of modern Venice with Sea Level Rise

Coastal communities, including those in Newfoundland and Labrador, could be drowned by significant sea level rise before the end of the century according to a new report released by the U.S. government (NOAA). Boris Worm, a marine scientist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, N.S., says a report by the American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggests sea levels could rise by 2.5 metres by the year 2100. “They were asking the question, how will any given amount of sea level rise be felt in the U.S. and what are the likely scenarios for sea level rise given current emissions,” he told CBC Radio’s The Broadcast. “They’ve come up with a range of projections, and the notable thing here is that that range of projections is a lot larger than it used to be.” Worm said less than a decade ago, the expectation was between one and two feet of sea level rise by the end of the century.  “They’ve now corrected this and said it’s going to be a lot more, and it could be up to 8.2 feet,” he said. “If that comes true, it means New York turns into some kind of modern Venice, Venice turns to some kind of Atlantis, and I don’t know what it means for Newfoundland … it really means a complete rethinking of how we live close to the coast.” Read the story here 13:45

Massive monster sharks ‘as big as two buses’ still roaming seas, claim experts

Megalodons are huge prehistoric sharks measuring a massive 18 metres in length with razor sharp seven-inch teeth. That makes them almost twice as long as the average bus. Fossils of the gigantic beasts suggest the megalodon resembled a larger version of the modern day great white shark. But some accounts appear to prove that the real-life Jaws still exists today. Dr Karl Shuker, a leading cryptozoologist, has dedicated his life to finding and researching animals thought to be extinct or non-existent. “Unusually large, unidentified sharks are still being reported from time to time.” A video which surfaced in 2016 shows what looked like a 60-foot shark illuminated in the darkness of the sea. It was apparently filmed in the Japan’s Suruga Bay, deep down in the ocean beyond the reach of sunlight. The video sparked speculation that these absolutely massive behemoths could still be in the seas today. Video, Read the story here 11:54

Greenpeace Criticizes Contracting Onboard Monitoring Cameras and Analysis to Trident

Should a commercial fishing company be made responsible for monitoring what goes on board the commercial fishing vessels? Greenpeace leader Russel Norman says, it is like “the fox guarding the henhouses”. Greenpeace has criticized Ministry for Primary Industries for rolling out cameras on fishing vessel which is supplied as well as monitored by Trident for the fishing industry. The company is owned by Sanford and thirteen other seafood and fishing companies in New Zealand. The news was confirmed by Nathan Guy, the minister for MPI. So it is clear that indeed the fishing industry is responsible for analyzing the video surveillance that comes from its own trawlers and reports any suspicious behavior to the regulators. Executive Director of Greenpeace New Zealand, Russel Norman says that makes things worse as the government has given out the contract and analyzing task to the industry with Nathan Guy and Prime Minister John Key defending it. link  11:17

NOAA Says Its Hot As Ever? A NOAA Whistle Blower Turns The Heat Up On Them!!

A high-level whistleblower has told this newspaper that America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) breached its own rules on scientific integrity when it published the sensational but flawed report, aimed at making the maximum possible impact on world leaders including Barack Obama and David Cameron at the UN climate conference in Paris in 2015. The report claimed that the ‘pause’ or ‘slowdown’ in global warming in the period since 1998 – revealed by UN scientists in 2013 – never existed, and that world temperatures had been rising faster than scientists expected. But the whistleblower, Dr John Bates, a top NOAA scientist with an impeccable reputation, has shown The Mail on Sunday irrefutable evidence that the paper was based on misleading, ‘unverified’ data. It was never subjected to NOAA’s rigorous internal evaluation process – which Dr Bates devised. The report claimed that the ‘pause’ or ‘slowdown’ in global warming in the period since 1998 – revealed by UN scientists in 2013 – never existed, and that world temperatures had been rising faster than scientists expected. Launched by NOAA with a public relations fanfare, it was splashed across the world’s media, and cited repeatedly by politicians and policy makers. Read the full story here 20:55

SmartCatch: Net Management for Reducing Bycatch

SmartCatch is an IoT solution to a common problem faced by fishermen around the world: Bycatch. Bycatch refers to all of the unintended marine life that gets caught in a fisherman’s nets in addition to the target species. The SmartCatch system consists of three parts: DigiCatch, SmartNet, and DataCloud. DigiCatch is a real-time, remote-control HD camera and sensor system that stays in the net, allowing fishermen to monitor exactly what’s in their catch. SmartNet is a smart release system that allows fishermen to release rejected marine life in their trawl nets without pulling the net aboard. More information here 16:30

Fishermen fear a catch during negotiations over Brexit

Fishermen around the Kent coast are fearing for the survival of the industry after Brexit as they do not believe the government will deliver a clean break with the EU. The Thanet Fishermen’s Association and Whitstable Fishermen’s Association have thrown their weight behind a 90 page document by Fishing for Leave, an independent campaign aiming for withdrawal from existing EU fishing regulations in order to regain control over the country’s fishing waters and rejuvenate the industry. “When we went into the common market, we had the largest fish stocks and the largest fleet,” explains Mr West, who owns West Whelks on Whitstable harbour. “Now we have the smallest fish fleet and the smallest stocks left as our waters have been abused by other countries. “A lot of people that set the quotas are sitting in an office and haven’t got a clue about how our industry works. We’re told we are allowed to catch haddock, when we haven’t seen a haddock in almost 50 years. Read the story here 12:07

Fish Industry Says Tighter Monitoring Will Hurt Business

Several seafood and restaurant industry groups sued the National Marine Fisheries Service over its plan to more closely monitor where market-bound fish are coming from to thwart those who profit from illegal catches. In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, (Click here to read the complaint) the plaintiff associations claim the new policy would increase the costs incurred by their members and that those costs would further hurt their businesses when they were, of necessity, passed on to consumers. The fisheries service believes a large amount of the fish and other sea life consumed by Americans is being caught by illegal means or in ways that flout conservation and sustainable fishery management practices. For instance, plaintiff Alfa Seafood, a family-owned seafood importer and distributor located in Miami, Florida, claims they would need to hire three additional employees in order to comply with the Rule, which they say would cost them $195,000 per year, including benefits. If the cost of production were to go up, the cost of fish and other seafood to the consumer would also rise, Alfa says. Read the story here 10:53

Australian shark fin export sales showing signs of recovery

A West Australian seafood exporter says sales of shark fins are finally starting to pick up again, after a strong push from environmental groups to ban the global shark fin trade hit the industry hard. The long-standing calls from environmental groups stem from a concern of the sustainability of shark stocks and the prevalence of illegal finning. But fish processor Adam Soumelidis, who runs Great Southern Seafoods in Albany on the south-coast of Western Australia, said Australia had been unfairly dragged down in the bad press on shark fishing. He said while it was a relief that sales were recovering, industry needed to lobby more to make sure fin sales stayed afloat. “Now we’re just slowly, slowly starting to filter in through into the market.” Mr Soumelidis attributed the gradual increase to a better understanding of Australian fishing regulations. “Our practices aren’t like the rest of the world. We don’t fin the sharks and throw them back in,” he said. “Our practices are the whole fish comes in and it gets used. Read the story here 14:36

Fishing industry warns against “trading away” rights in Brexit negotiations

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation says there must be “no trading away” of UK fishing rights amid the Brexit process. It comes after yesterday’s white paper on leaving the EU was published. It shows in 2015, EU skippers caught over six times more fish in UK waters than British fishermen caught in Europe. The government paper also makes mention of a “mutually beneficial deal” for both parties post-Brexit. Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said: “The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation welcomes the Prime Minister’s stated approach to the Brexit negotiations as one of anticipating success. Delivery of the White Paper vision of a world leading food industry is an ambition fully shared by the fishing sector. Read the story here 11:15

Two get death, 12 get life over Barguna fishermen murders

A Barguna court awarded death sentence to two accused in a case filed over the murder of two fishermen by drowning in the district. The court also gave life imprisonment to 12 others. Another suspect was given a seven-year prison sentence. The verdict was announced by Barguna Additional District and Sessions Judge Md Abu Taher on Monday, reports bdnews24.com. Sixteen fishermen had set out on a trawler to fish in the Bay of Bengal on Feb 14, 2010, said Assistant Public Prosecutor Akhtaruzzaman Bahadur qoting the case details. “Two of the fishermen were drowned after they were convinced a local ‘prophet’ could resurrect the dead,” he said. (lets just try this theory, right?)  The victims were Barguna Sadar Upazila residents ‘Aynal’, 24, and ‘Farooq’, 40. A total of fifteen suspects have been convicted over their deaths. Read the rest here 14:37

Monster winter storm expected to churn up 50-foot waves in the open Atlantic

A monster winter storm is taking shape along the East Coast this week, and the National Weather Service is calling for 50-foot waves in the Atlantic by Tuesday. That’s not just a shot-in-the-dark — if you add up all of the forecast data, there’s over a 90 percent chance that wave heights will exceed 30 feet. This storm is the same trough of low pressure that dipped into the Mid-Atlantic on Sunday and dropped a few inches of snow in the D.C. area. On Monday morning, the storm was just 1005 millibars — barely a low pressure system at all. But over the next 48 hours, the storm is expected to drop to 968 millibars. On its southern side, winds will easily reach Category 1 hurricane-strength. That will churn up waves of 16 meters, which is around 50 feet — at least that’s what the Ocean Prediction Center is forecasting. They’re calling the storm “extremely dangerous low pressure.” Click here for more imagery 13:55

Five fishermen rescued from trawler before it sank off Irish coast

Five crew members had to be rescued from a trawler after it ran aground off Balbriggan in north Dublin early this morning. The 12 metre vessel became disabled at sea and was blown ashore, becoming lodged on a sandbank. The alarm was raised at 5.20am and Dublin coastguard coordinated the rescue. One inshore lifeboat and two all-weather lifeboats were sent to the scene. The Rescue 116 Coast guard helicopter was also involved in the operation. This morning the boat, called the Atlantic Osprey, could be seen half submerged in the sea south of Balbriggan. The wooden hull vessel had been fishing for razor clams when the incident occurred. Read the rest of the story here 16:02

Further proof El Niños are fueled by deep-sea geological heat flow

The 2014-2017 El Niño “warm blob” was likely created, maintained, and partially recharged on two separate occasions by massive pulses of super-heated and chemically charged seawater from deep-sea geological features in the western North Pacific Ocean. This strongly supports the theory all El Niños are naturally occurring and geological in origin. Climate change / global warming had nothing to do with generating, rewarming, intensifying, or increasing the frequency of the 2014-2017 El Niño or any previous El Niño. If proven correct, this would revolutionize climatology and key aspects of many interrelated sciences such as oceanography, marine biology, glaciology, biogeochemistry, and most importantly meteorology. Information supporting a geological origin of El Niños is diverse, reliable, and can be placed into five general categories as follows,,, Read the article here 13:19

The idea that “the public” will use Global Fishing Watch seems doubtful

At John Kerry’s 2014 “Our Ocean” conference, a tuxedoed Leonardo DiCaprio introduced a new technology that promised to end illegal fishing across the globe. Global Fishing Watch boasted real-time monitoring of the world’s ships. This machine-learning spy tool was the result of a collaboration between the conservation advocacy organization Oceana, the satellite surveillance firm SkyTruth, and Google. After it collects and maps vessel location data transmitted from onboard satellite tracking devices, the program organizes all data points on a user-friendly Internet platform. For the first time in history, all fishing activity is recorded–even on the high seas that lie outside national jurisdictions. With Global Fishing Watch’s all-seeing gaze, states can adjudicate crimes to which they were previously blind. But the idea that “the public” will use Global Fishing Watch seems doubtful. The web platform lacks common features without which vigilantes would need a lot of training: pop-ups of helpful tips on what to watch for, alerts to specific hot-spots, built-in reporting mechanisms, or forums for users to share their experiences. Worse, those who the technology could most benefit–local fishers forced to compete with larger illegal ships–often do not have access to a decent Internet connection. If Global Fishing Watch is unlikely to be used by ordinary citizens of the countries most affected by illegal fishing, why is it marketed like a neighborhood watch tool? Read the story here 11:27

Autonomous Ships – If Rolls-Royce has its way, commercial vessels will soon have no crew on board

It’s midnight on the North Atlantic, where a massive container ship receives the latest weather report. There’s a nasty storm brewing ahead. Quietly, the ship changes course and speed, to skirt the worst of it and ensure an on-time arrival at its destination. The ship’s owners and the harbormaster at its next port of call are advised of the revised route. And as it nears shore, the giant ship must correct course once again, this time to steer clear of a fishing vessel off its starboard bow. Just another day for trans-Atlantic shipping, it might seem. In fact, it’s not. You see, this ship has no one aboard. It’s commanded from an operating center on the other side of the world, where technicians are monitoring and controlling this vessel and others like it through a satellite data link—that is, when the ship isn’t just controlling itself. Although robotic ships of this sort are some ways off in the future, it’s not a question of if they will happen but when. Read the story here 09:47

Fishing chiefs insist the industry is doing all it can to adhere to the discard ban

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) insisted fishers were doing “everything possible” to comply with the rules following claims by conservation group WWF the ban is being undermined by poor enforcement. SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong said: “No-one hates discarding more than our fishermen, who are making a comprehensive effort to comply with this largely unworkable regulation. “Fishermen are doing everything possible to adhere to the rules, and industry and government are working closely together to develop more selective types of fishing gear that will reduce discarding even further. “Installing cameras on fishing vessels is no more than a side show and the presence or absence of them will not solve the problem. The real issue is getting the rules right and the proper refinements in place.” Read the rest here 16:57

Queensland Prawn importers under investigation for biosecurity breach

A number of prawn suppliers and importers are under investigation for not meeting biosecurity measures in the time leading up to a disease outbreak. The Department of Agriculture and Water Services had been investigating the suppliers and importers since August 2016, five months before it became public that white spot disease had been detected in Queensland. Since December five prawn farms had tested positive for the virus, which causes a high death rate in the crustacean, and the import of green prawns had been banned indefinitely. The maximum penalty if the suppliers and importers are found to have been illegally importing goods for a commercial advantage under the Biosecurity Act 2015 is 10 years in prison or $360,000 or both. Read the story here 10:06

International Pacific Halibut Commission approves increases in halibut catch limits

Most parts of the Pacific coastline will see an increase in commercial and charter fishing catch limits for halibut this year. The International Pacific Halibut Commission Friday approved a coast-wide catch limit of 31.4 million pounds of the valuable bottom fish. That’s an increase from just under 30 million pounds last year. Several parts of the coast were facing catch limit cuts based on alternatives presented by IPHC scientists. However, commissioners voted to boost harvest limits instead of making reductions. There was some disagreement about the BC catch limit this year. Listen to the audio report or read it here 19:11

Industrial grade corrosion inhibitor, lubricant and cleaner prevents and removes rust, protects engines and critical equipment

For ship and vessel owners that struggle with corrosion caused by water, humidity, condensation, salt air and environmental contaminants, Force5 Marine works as corrosion inhibiter, lubricant and cleaner to protect engines and critical equipment and keep it in good working order. The harsh marine environment costs an estimated $50-80 billion in corrosion related damage worldwide, and can lead to the failure of critical equipment including engines, fittings, valves, switches, lighting, and electrical gear if not properly maintained. The Force5 Marine spray protectant penetrates into metal parts to prevent rust and corrosion, while forming a bond that repels salt water and other contaminants. Read the rest here 07:20

The International Pacific Halibut Commission meeting is underway in BC

The International Pacific Halibut Commission will be deciding on catch limits, other proposed changes to management and season length though Friday in Victoria, British Columbia. “The way we apportion the resource it’s been probably the subject of the most dissatisfaction on the U.S. side over the past couple of years,” said U.S. commissioner and vice-chair Jim Balsiger at the start of the meeting Monday. “All the commissioners I believe on both sides are anxious to come to grips with that, find a harvest policy and apportionment method that works for everybody that we can explain to the people who use the resource and make some progress on that.”  Read the story here  For agenda details of the meeting and link to the webinar, click here 10:40

Kolkata: the city that eats fish reared on untreated wastewater sewage

It all started as an accident, if you believe the story that the fishermen of the east Kolkata wetlands tell. Around a century ago, a cultivator named Bidu Sarkar accidentally allowed untreated wastewater from Kolkata’s sewage pipes into his fish pond. Realising what had happened, Sarkar expected disaster. Instead of killing his fish, however, the water doubled his yields. When fishermen from the surrounding area came to find out more, they discovered that the combination of sewage in the water and sunshine broke down the effluent and allowed plankton, which fish feed on, to grow exponentially. Soon thousands of fish farmers had set up bheris, or fishponds, across 12,500 hectares on the eastern fringes of the city. Today, according to Dr Partha Prathim Chakrabarti, principal scientist at the Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture, the east Kolkata wetlands provide a living for some 50,000 cultivators and fish traders, most of them small-time private entrepreneurs who earn an income rearing 10,000 tonnes of wastewater-fed fish a year. Read the story here 09:50

Norwegian authorities arrest Latvian trawler with crew of 30 people

The Independent Barents Observer reported that the Latvian boat was detained last week as its crew was illegally crabbing in the Norwegian shelf in the Svalbard fishery protection zone. The Senator had reportedly put out 2,600 snow crab traps in the area without the Norwegian authorities’ permission. The crabber was subsequently forced to set course to the port of Kirkenes, where it today is awaiting police prosecution. A crew of 30 people was working on board the ship when it was arrested,” said Smits. According to the online publication, however, most countries licensed to fish around Svalbard do not support the Latvian vessel’s arrest and consider it to be politically motivated. Smits indicated that the Latvian boat was arrested in breach of the 1920 Paris agreement banning discrimination in trade. Read the rest here 20:43   Snow crabs raise conflict potential around SvalbardRead the story here

How Trade and Sanctions Made This Russian Fisherman a Billionaire

Peering into the mid-morning darkness from his sixth-floor office on Russia’s Kola Bay, Vitaly Orlov strains to see the new factory he’s just built across the water, his view obscured by a creeping cloud bank that shrouds the Arctic seascape in impenetrable gray. The $30 million structure is the crown jewel of Orlov’s Murmansk-based Norebo Holding JSC. Set amid rows of aging tenements and a wooden church, it was built to service Norebo’s fleet of fish trawlers that together hauled in almost 11 percent of the 4.75 million metric tons (5.24 million U.S. tons) the Russian Federal Fisheries Agency says were caught by Russian fisherman last year. “I’ve only ever been sure of one thing — that my life will always be tied to the north and the fishing industry,” Orlov, 51, polite and deliberate, pocket square tucked into a tailored suit, said in his first foreign media interview. Read the story here 14:42

White Spot Disease: Gold Coast prawn industry in ruins as 1500 tonnes of seafood left to rot

About 1500 tonnes of poisonous prawns are rotting in ponds in the northern Gold Coast and the State Government has no idea what to do about it. The tiger prawns have been decaying in 112 ponds in Alberton and Woongoolba over the past month after Biosecurity ordered they be killed to help get on top of the white spot disease crisis that has ravaged the industry. Angry farmers say their hands are tied as they risk polluting major waterways and cruelling other industries if they release the dead prawns, killed by 2.8 million litres of chlorine. In addition to the prawns, some farmers were also worried small live crabs may have escaped the ponds when they were disinfected last month and carried the disease into rivers. Read the story here 10:27

‘Fish feel pain’ rhetoric is nothing but a myth

The anti-fishing brigade has once again rolled out the “fish feel pain rhetoric” in an effort to convince people that fishing is a bad thing to do. Any suggestion of equivalence between what fish and humans feel in relation to a hook lodged in the lip has been well and truly dismissed by science. The differences between humans and fish are pretty clear to most people. Fish live in a very different environment and have evolved a very different physiology to humans. Fish have tough mouths and eat hard, spiny and bony food including crabs, prawns, oysters, mussels and fish. It is simply not correct to accept that fish have a human-like capacity for feeling pain. Unfortunately this false argument is something that is continually peddled by groups with a vested interest in ending all recreational and commercial fishing. Read the story here 08:27

Fishermen Discover Crate Of 19th Century Rifles Off The Coast Of Canada

In 2011, fishermen working off Newfoundland’s Grand Banks pulled in a 600 pound catch. However, what they caught was not a fish. What they discovered was a heavily cemented and silt-filled crate of 20 Pattern 1853 Enfield muskets that date back as far as the 1850’s. The guns had been underwater at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean for more than 150 years. The archaeology department at Memorial University in St. John’s Newfoundland has been working ever since to restore the relics that have been placed in a large container filled with a chemical solution that includes a bulking agent and corrosion inhibitor designed to stabilize them.  After years of conservation work, things are looking good for the restoration process. The “3-band Enfield” got its name as it could get shots out to 500 yards if shot by a skilled marksman and the barrel was held to the wooden stock by three metal bands. Read the story here 16:26

New website gives you the real deal on sea level rise and rates

New analysis and graphing tools for sea-level data at SeaLevel.info which now has interactive regression analysis (line/curve fitting) and visualization (graphing) tools available for mean sea level (MSL) measurements from over 1200 tide gauges, plus spreadsheets which combine various subsets of that data. This article is intended as a primer, for how to use these new tools. But first, a few notes: Note #1: This is a work in progress. I already have a large “to-do list,” but suggestions & corrections are nevertheless very welcome. Note #2: These tools are my free contribution to the community. There’s no charge to use them. Note #3: These tools are ideologically neutral. Read the review here, and visit the website 12:49

Climate change and agricultural run-off top two threats identified in NSW marine threat report

Climate change and agricultural run-off are listed as two of the biggest threats to the state’s marine waters listed in a new report. The Marine Estate Management Authority’s threat and risk assessment report looked at beaches, estuaries, coastal lakes and lagoons to the limit of state waters three nautical miles from the coast. Wendy Craik, chair of the Authority, said they had used the best available scientific evidence and advice to work out what are the most significant threats and a management strategy would be developed based on the priorities that emerge from the report. Dr Craik said she was keen to have public comment on the findings. “We’ve put out this threat list so people can have a look at it and say ‘Have we got this right?’. Mary Howard, a partner in two prawn trawlers in the Hawkesbury region and a former director on the Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment Management Authority cited urban run-off as a problem. “Fishermen are being continually blamed for productivity issues and over-harvesting so to have a recognition that the wider community has an impact on the fish in our systems right across the state is important,” Ms Howard said. Read the rest here 12:34

Study: How China maintains large catches and what it means for fishery management elsewhere

China, the world’s largest seafood producer, has done something extraordinary. For the past 20 years, despite minimal management and some of the most intense industrial fishing in the world, it has maintained large catches of key species in its most productive waters. A new study from UC Santa Barbara, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests another explanation: By reducing the population of predatory fish, China has increased populations of preyed-upon species. “If you fish down the large predatory fish, then you can catch more small prey fish, because they are no longer being eaten before you get to them,” explained lead author Cody Szuwalski, a fisheries scientist in UCSB’s Sustainable Fisheries Group. Key to the success of this approach is that predators typically need to eat 10 pounds of prey to add one pound to their own weight, so fishing out predators tends to increase prey catches by much more than it reduces predator catches. Read the story here 12:09

The True Story of the Fugitive Drug Smuggler Who Became an Environmental Hero

When Raymond Stansel was busted in 1974, he was one of Florida’s biggest pot smugglers. Facing trial and years in prison, he jumped bail, changed his name, and holed up in a remote Australian outpost. Even more remarkable than that? His second life as an environmental hero. –  Even before he arrived at the accident scene, sergeant Matt Smith knew it would be bad. Smith was in charge of the 12-person police department in Mossman, a speck of a town located along Australia’s remote northeastern edge. He knew from experience that there was a fundamental truth about car wrecks: drivers have a pretty good chance of surviving a crash that’s car versus car, but they rarely walk away from a vehicle that’s slammed into a tree. The call that came over the police radio on that May 26, 2015 afternoon said that a ­vehicle had struck a tree along a two-lane road hugging the coastline. Officers traced the registration to Dennis “Lee” Lafferty, age 75. Everybody knew Lee. Read the story here  Read Traffic accident in Australia ends 40-year-old mystery in Florida Click here 14:04

Australian Government ‘disappointed’ as minke whale slaughtered in our waters – Why the Hunt Goes On

The Federal Government has this morning condemned Japan after one of its ships was caught whaling in the waters off Antarctica. Anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd released photos showing a dead minke whale on the deck of the Nisshin Maru ship in the Australian whaling sanctuary. It appears the death was playing out at the same time as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s weekend meeting with Malcolm Turnbull in Sydney, at which the ABC reports whaling was ‘mentioned’, but focused on trade and defence. Japan is a signatory to the International Whaling Commission’s moratorium on whaling in force since 1986. But it exploits a loophole allowing whales to be killed for the purposes of “scientific research”. Read the story here What are the issues behind Japan’s whaling programme, and why has compromise been so difficult? Isn’t whaling banned? Not quite. The International Whaling Commission (IWC), which regulates the industry, agreed to a moratorium on commercial whaling from the 1985. But it did allow exceptions, enough for Japan to hunt more than 20,000 whales since. Read the story here 11:28

The Mysterious Disappearance of Fisheries Observer Keith Davis

A little over a year before Keith Davis disappeared at sea, he sent an ominous email to friends. In it, he linked to a video that shows four men being shot to death while they cling to debris in the ocean. After the gunshots ring out and blood spills into the water, the camera pans to the boat, reportedly a tuna fishing vessel from Taiwan, where men are laughing and posing for photos. The YouTube video describes the victims as Fijian, killed just beyond Fijian waters. Other commenters claim they were Somali pirates whose attempts at hijacking the tuna vessel off the coast of Somalia backfired. “One way or another, the video depicts murder,” wrote Davis. The 40-year-old was a fisheries observer—a member of a little-known profession tasked with traveling aboard the boats used to fish the world’s oceans to monitor and collect data from the catches—and spent much of his time far from shore. The nature of his work made him an outsider among captain and crew: a tiny, isolated speck in a vast ocean. Davis often confided to friends about his increasing unease over the lack of law enforcement at sea and the mounting dangers facing both fishermen and the observers who monitor them. The video is an extreme example of what sometimes goes on in the middle of the ocean, wrote Davis. “But know that there is other awful stuff that happens out there that goes unpublished.”  Read the story here 15:04

Safety first crossing the Kaipara bar after Francie tragedy

If in doubt, don’t go out. There are three types of bars on New Zealand coastlines, the Coastguard says – dangerous, very dangerous and extremely dangerous. Coastguard get called to around 15 incidents on bars around the country each year as boats head out to fish deeper offshore waters. The foundering of the Francie on the Kaipara Harbour bar last November, with the tragic loss of eight lives, was an extreme outcome of a fairly common incident. Coastguard Kaipara president Iain Guilliford said the Kaipara bar was easily the biggest in the country, covering nearly 10 km and stretching 8km out to sea. Waves catching up from behind pose the biggest threat coming in. They can lift the rear of the boat pushing the bow under water and causing the boats to skew around and roll, or swamp it. Read the story here 13:46

Quota Challenge as English Fishermen Claim They Are Being Sacrificed to Appease Scottish Nationalists

The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO), which represents fishermen in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, has railed against the UK government for adopting “a policy of appeasement” towards separatist politicians in Scotland, handing over 1,500 tonnes of England’s fishing quota to the devolved administration in Edinburgh. Scotland voted to remain in the United Kingdom in 2014, but the Scottish National Party (SNP) has retained its grip on the regional executive, albeit as a minority administration. While nominally concerned with achieving full Scottish independence, the leadership of the SNP are staunchly in favour of the European Union (EU). Following the Brexit vote last year, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has been pressuring Theresa May to either keep the UK in the Single Market or find a way for Scotland to remain in it while the rest of the UK leaves. Read the story here 11:26