Category Archives: International News

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

Man-Overboard Transmitter becomes new standard

Emerald Marine Products announces the release of the ALERT418™ Man-Overboard Transmitter. Made in the USA, the enhanced unit is based on the company’s proven ALERT2 Transmitter, and is compatible with its Man-Overboard alarm system receiver and portable direction finder. Designed for working mariners, the ALERT418 Man-Overboard Transmitter is smaller and lighter than its predecessor: only 4.25″ L x 1.5″ W x 1″ D and 3.6 oz. For normal working conditions, it’s worn attached to a PFD. When it’s immersed in water, the reliable ALERT418 Man-Overboard Transmitter automatically sends a signal to the receiver. There’s no delay, as with AIS, so crew are instantly notified and can initiate an immediate man overboard rescue. The system can also set a waypoint or other digital action, and can be wired to kill the engine(s), making it ideal for solo fishermen. Link 13:01

Zhengzhou Airport welcomes charter flight with live lobsters from North America

Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport welcomed a charter flight from Halifax, Canada Airport, on the evening of January 9. The United States National Airlines charter flight was full of live lobsters from Canada. With this, Zhengzhou Xinzheng Airport imports North American seafood. The security units at the airport geared up to handle 156 one hundred tonnes of live shrimp. The customs inspection and quarantine departments were also immediately involved to check and release. It is understood that these Boston lobster are from Canada, Boston lobster, meat is more tender and detailed, the product has a variety of trace elements rich and delicious. Mainly grown in the North Atlantic Ocean near the Arctic cold sea waters, very cold water, so the growth was particularly slow, the “century lobster,” said. These exotic lobsters from Zhengzhou will be delivered directly through the air transport to the domestic Guangzhou, Fujian, Shanghai, Shandong and other provinces and cities. Link 13:52

NFI sues NOAA over new IUU rule

The National Fisheries Institute (NFI) has sued the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of Commerce over a recently enacted rule that could cost the commercial fishing industry as much as USD 1 billion (EUR 946 million) annually. NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service issued a final rule on 9 December that requires U.S. seafood importers to trace the origin of the fish they import to either the specific boat that caught the fish or to its collection point, as well as the location and date the fish was caught. The regulation was designed to combat illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing regulation, but it will cost the industry at least USD 100 million (EUR 95 million) per year, NFI said in a press release. Read the story here 14:11

All the President’s Fishermen? Who’s Standing Behind Vladimir Putin!

In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev took a trip to Ilmen Lake in Novgorod Oblast, about 500 kilometers northwest of Moscow, where they “accidentally” met and ate soup by the fire with a group of “local fishermen.” The trip, which was clearly staged, was supposed to highlight Putin and Medvedev’s connection to Russia’s “simple people,” and was reported on widely in state media. RuNet users had a good laugh about the idea of Putin and Medvedev stumbling across a group of fishermen in the course of their daily work, but it wasn’t until Orthodox Christmas last week that the fun really got started, Read the story here! 13:17

Man gets harpooned on fishing trip

A fisherman is lucky to be alive after he was shot in the head with a harpoon during a fishing trip in Brazil. The 27-year-old man — identified in local television reports as Hugo Pereira da Silva — was on a fishing trip with a friend at the Rio Paranaiba dam in Araguari when the 3-foot spear pierced his face on Tuesday, according to officials. “Unfortunately, they were not careful with the positioning, the distance,” Araguari fire department Deputy Lt. Lucenildo Batista Alves told the site. “And the waters of the river in our region are murky, especially in the very dirty rainy season.” The metal shaft — which was just inches away from causing more serious injuries or even death — was removed and the man was released from a hospital Wednesday. Read the story here 14:42

Indefinite ban on prawn imports after outbreak of white spot disease in Queensland

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has this morning bowed to pressure from prawn farmers and indefinitely banned importation of the frozen crustacean, following an outbreak of the devastating white spot disease in Queensland. Farmers have been lobbying for the suspension of Asian prawn imports following the discovery of the disease in five separate locations of the Logan River, south of Brisbane, last month. Mr Joyce said he was concerned the prawns infected prawns could make it into the waterways, further spreading the disease in Australian prawn farms. The biosecurity minister urged people who have bought raw green prawns not to put them in water ways, like using them as bait for fishing, with fears it could contaminate local prawns. Mr Joyce said a white spot disease outbreak could devastate Australia’s $360 million prawn industry.  Read the story here 09:44

Australia: Fears grow as white spot detected in crab in Logan River

The devastating white spot disease threatening the Logan River prawn farming industry has now been detected in a crab. If retesting confirms the virus, it would be the first time the disease has transferred between species in Australia. Biosecurity Queensland tested the crab, which was found in a drainage channel near one of the infected prawn farms, this week and confirmed it initially tested positive for the virus that causes white spot. White spot, which can cause 100 per cent mortality within 10 days in farmed prawns, was first detected at a farm in Alberton, south of Brisbane, on November 22. The disease has spread to four other farms, forcing each farm to completely de-stock, a move ­estimated to cost the industry $25 million. Until the outbreak, Australia was considered free of white spot, which has spread throughout Asia and the Americas but does not pose a risk to humans. The detection in the crab was the first time the disease has appeared outside of a farm since six wild prawns were discovered with “low levels” of the disease on December 8. Read the story here 12:13

Importing seafood to Australia is like the governor of Alaska deciding to import ice – With Julian Tomlinson

Importing seafood to Australia must rank among the most jaw-droppingly gormless decisions ever made by someone claiming to have a fully functioning brain. It’s like the governor of Alaska deciding to import ice – but from a producer who uses water from a stagnant lake that is rapidly drying out. The south-east Queensland prawn farming industry is on the brink of disaster after white spot disease infected stock right before the lucrative Christmas period. Far Northern prawn farmers are rubbing their hands together and worrying at the same time. Loss of supply from the south-east should drive up demand for their product, but there are fears the disease was brought in from overseas imports and is spreading via birds. Australia has the world’s largest exclusive fishable area, waters of excellent quality, and among the most sustainable and high-quality seafood in the world. But the Aussie fishing industry has the lowest wild-harvest rate in the developed world and has been demonised and regulated so much that our supplies can’t meet domestic demand. Read the op-ed here  If you’ve got time, a report also available (click here to read  Australia’s Unappreciated and Maligned Fisheries. 09:40

Bluefin tuna goes for $632000 in 1st Tsukiji auction of ’17

Kiyomura Co’s President Kiyoshi Kimura (C), who runs a chain of sushi restaurants Sushi Zanmai, poses with a 212 kg (467 lbs) bluefin tuna at his sushi restaurant outside Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, Japan, January 5, 2017. Kimura won the bid for the tuna caught off Oma, Aomori prefecture, northern Japan, with a 74 million yen (633,000 USD) at the fish market’s first tuna auction this year. Kimura bought the most expensive tuna for the sixth consecutive year during the annual auction held in the Tsukiji Fish Market. The winning bid for the first tuna on the market past year was just 14 million yen. According to local sources, the ginormous blue tuna was sold to a major restaurant chain known as Sushi Zanmai. Read the rest here 08:15

The Surprising Side Effect of Anti-Anxiety Medication — on Salmon

In a study out of Sweden’s Umeå University, researchers show oxazepam — a pharmaceutical prescribed to humans for the treatment of anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, and insomnia — affects the downstream migratory behaviour of Atlantic salmon. Exposing fish to anti-anxiety medication isn’t something that only happens in scientific studies: when humans excrete drugs, some can end up in wastewater effluent and subsequently in sensitive habitats where salmon may get an unintended dose. The researchers found that when fish ingest oxazepam, it makes them migrate faster and farther — potentially recklessly so. Leaving the freshwater nursery and heading out to sea is part of the salmon lifecycle, but landing in the big blue too soon can be risky. Fish may find ocean conditions unfavourable — too cold, too dangerous, or lacking food, for example. Read the story here 14:19

Ready for this one? Sustainable tuna fishing is bad for climate

What’s good for the ocean might be bad for the planet. Fishing boats that target specific species, leaving others free to swim away, use more fuel than vessels intent on simply scooping up all the fish in their vicinity. Eco-label initiatives and programmes like Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, meant to help hungry diners quickly select sustainably caught seafood, have been gathering public support in recent years, says Brandi McKuin at the University of California Merced. While those guides are helpful, their standards focus mainly on fishing-based factors, like leaving enough fish in the ocean to avoid decimating the population, and reducing the number of accidently caught fish, or bycatch, McKuin says. Other impacts, including the greenhouse gas emissions generated by using different types of fishing gear, are often overlooked. “If we’re including climate change in the sustainability criteria, it changes things,” McKuin says. Read the story here 13:31

Dongwon Industries catches bluefin tuna for first time in waters off Iceland

Dongwon Industries Co., South Korea’s largest fishing company, said Tuesday it netted up tuna from high-latitude North Atlantic Ocean, a deep-sea area nearly monopolized by Japanese fishers well experienced against tumultuous sea climate and freezing waters. The company said it will put the first catches at its retail restaurants this month. The top-tier bluefin features thick fat and firm texture built to protect body temperature from cold exposure. The North Atlantic species represent only 0.4 percent of bluefin tuna caught around the world. Because of this rarity, a 400kg bluefin tuna caught in the sea sells at about 12 million won ($10,000) in the international market. The tuna fishing company has operated mostly in southern Pacific Ocean. The company said its advance into the high-latitude North Atlantic Ocean required 16 months of preparation. Ships were modified to shield against the waves and to allow better drainage. In addition, a veteran fishing foreman was recruited from Japan. The company sailed two fishing vessels to fish tuna throughout October in the waters off Iceland. The tuna caught weighs over 200kg on average and the heaviest one weighs nearly 300kg, the company said.  Link 12:47

Catch Shares – ‘I have no fingernails’: Paul’s distress as livelihood slips away

Those are the words of Illawarra commercial fisherman Paul Heron – spoken amid a heartfelt plea against planned NSW government changes that will likely see him without a job. Those reforms – part of the government’s Commercial Fisheries Business Adjustment Program, announced last year – include the introduction of minimum shareholding from July 2017.  That means fishers must hold a certain number of shares to be endorsed to fish. “It is basically going to make a small fisher like me, with a young family and a mortgage – I am two years into my mortgage – we are basically going to lose our house,” he told the inquiry. Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair told the hearing he had listened to fishers up and down the NSW coast. “The change is difficult, the change is hard, but it is necessary to have an industry going into the future,” Mr Blair said. A man in a suit. Video, read the rest here, including Paul Heron’s submission to the Senate inquiry into commercial fishing in NSW. 14:42

The latest craze in Japan is year-old used fisherman jeans!

No one breaks in a pair of jeans better than a man who breaks through the ocean. Now it seems a new obsession is sweeping the nation. No longer do people crave to spend their money on jeans meant for schoolgirls, instead they want to buy jeans that have been worn by fishermen for over a year. “Just think – you could be the proud owner of one of these pungent, salty pairs of pants!” {note from the editor: no problem, can I please get the uber-baggy jeans from that first guy on the left ;-)} The jeans come from the city of Onomichi in Hiroshima Prefecture. Fishermen are given free pairs of jeans to wear by the “Onomichi Denim Project ,” and the company takes them back after a year of being “aged” through their daily work. The jeans sell for up to 48,000 yen (US$408) each. Round up your old jeans, and read the rest here 09:31:12

Obama Administration Issuing New Rules to Curb Illegal Fishing, Seafood Fraud

The Obama administration is issuing new rules it says will crack down on illegal fishing and seafood fraud by preventing unverifiable fish products from entering the U.S. market. The new protections are called the Seafood Import Monitoring Program, and they are designed to stop illegally fished and intentionally misidentified seafood from getting into stores and restaurants by way of imported fish. The rules will require seafood importers to report information and maintain records about the harvest and chain of custody of fish, officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. The program will start by focusing on “priority species” that are especially vulnerable to illegal fishing, such as popular food fish like tuna, swordfish, Atlantic cod and grouper. The government hopes eventually to broaden the program to include all fish species, NOAA officials said. Read the rest here 17:50

Japan sees crab prices surge as poached Russian imports sink

Prices of crab, a sought-after delicacy in the year-end and New Year’s period, are surging because of a sharp fall in imports, especially from Russia and Alaska. Imports provide most of the crab distributed in Japan, and wholesale prices are some 30 to 50 percent higher than a year ago. Imports of red king crab, a popular variety, came to about 4,270 tons from January to November, less than half the annual record set in 2012. “This year’s red king crab imports could be on par with the level in 2015, which was the lowest in recent years,” said an official of a major fisheries company. Imports of snow crab, another popular species, have also been falling recently, industry officials said. Crab from Russia has been dwindling due to tighter regulations on poaching and illegal exports that began about two years ago. Before that, more than 50 percent of Russian crab distributed in Japan was poached, the fisheries company official said. Ports in Hokkaido that used to be busy handling crab from Russia are now quiet. Read the story here 16:50

‘Don’t worry, I can do it’ – Tragic final words of experienced fisherman who drowned at sea

A Fisherman with ten years experience downed at sea while trying to untangle a line after telling crew members “don’t worry I can do it”. Darren Brown was swept away while trying to pull free a whelk pot and his body was never found, despite an eight-hour search by lifeboats and a coastguard helicopter. The 37-year-old was lost in the 13C waters in June. A report into his death found a lifebuoy which could have helped to save his life was not “readily available”. On June 9 this year, deckhand Darren and his crewmates were on board the whelk boat, ‘Our Sarah Jane’, which had set sail from Shoreham, West Sussex, in good conditions. Just before midday a fishing line attached to one of the whelk pots became caught in the propeller, tying the boat to the seabed. The skipper radioed for help, but Darren said “I’ll be alright. I can do it, don’t worry” before jumping overboard with a knife in his hand. Read the rest of the story here 14:20

Banana Republic of Mexico and Sea Shepherds Round Up Fishermen to “save” the critically endangered Vaquita

Crew from six fishing boats in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez were arrested by the Mexican Navy, after they were caught using illegal fishing nets to poach banned fish in a marine reserve. The fishermen had been spotted by the Sea Shepherd vessel scow Farley Mowat, which tracked the six boats until navy officials could arrive on the scene. According to Sea Shepherd, a nonprofit marine wildlife organization, the fishermen were using banned gill nets to catch totoaba bass, a rare fish Mexican law has protected since 1975 but one that is nonetheless poached for its swim bladders, which, at an estimated US$20,000 per kilo, fetch a high price on China’s black market. The fishing boats were stopped and their crews apprehended without incident. Read the story here 12:25

Police smash cocaine smuggling ring at Sydney Fish Market in Christmas Day raid

A former rugby league first grade player, a Bondi entrepreneur and several fishermen are among 15 men arrested on Christmas Day in a multimillion-dollar cocaine ring bust. Police will allege the syndicate imported more than a tonne of cocaine via NSW ports and included experienced fisherman, marine workers and company owners. Australian Federal Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Chris Sheehan described the alleged syndicate as “robust, resilient and determined”. Several of the men were arrested on Christmas Day on board a shipping vessel named Dalrymple docked at the Brooklyn Marina on the Central Coast. Read the story here 10:36

Baird government commercial “catch share” fishing reform will see Newcastle Fisherman’s Cooperative lose members

The head of the Newcastle Fisherman’s Cooperative says he doesn’t know how many members will leave as a result of the Baird government’s commercial fishing reforms. Robert Gauta has told a NSW parliamentary inquiry that the reforms had led to “uncertainty” over how many of its members “will stay and how many will go”. Set to come into play from the middle of 2017, the government’s reforms to the $90 million commercial fishing industry link fishing rights with catch levels. The government argues the reform will make the industry sustainable, but the introduction of minimum shareholdings will also mean commercial fishers may need to increase their holdings to maintain the same catch level. “The cooperative makes money when the fishers catch fish; it is that simple … fewer fisherman would mean fewer fish.” Read the story here 09:58

Search called off for missing crew member of capsized Belgian-registered fishing boat Assanat Z-582

The Coastguard has called off a search for a crew member missing at sea after a fishing boat (identified here through FiskerForum.com)capsized off the Kent coast. One crew member was winched to safety from the Belgian-registered boat, while another was also rescued from the water later, but has since died the other remains missing. UK Coastguard duty controller, Kaimes Beasley, told Sky News a “passing merchant vessel” had spotted an “upturned hull with a gentleman clinging to it” just after 7.30am. He said a Coastguard helicopter and three RNLI lifeboats, from Ramsgate and Harwich, had been involved in the search, focusing on an area from north east of Ramsgate to the mid-channel. He later told reporters: “This has been an extensive and comprehensive search of the area. “We are standing down the search this evening because of the fading light. “It is unlikely that the search will resume in the morning unless we get further information that will help us find the third crew member.” Link 08:45

Catch Shares: NSW fishermen allege “share barons” used insider trading to aggregate licences

Donald Mowbray, a former bank manager who is chairman of the Clarence River Fishermen’s Cooperative, said in his submission to the inquiry that he had grave concerns about “share barons” who he described as “individuals who are part of the industry’s decision makers who hold considerable conflicts of interest.” He said the Government’s own share register showed a number of people with direct links to the reforms and to the department had accumulated huge numbers of shares. He claimed important commercial information was “withheld” from others outside the advisory groups. He said he raised his concerns with the minister and the department years ago, but said the trades were dismissed as “speculation” and not “insider trading”. Fishermen are worried about the emergence of big corporate players and fear it could result in the demise of their fourth and fifth generation family businesses and many of the cooperatives that rely on them. The Government, with some support from industry (the share barons), maintains that aggregation and corporatisation in the sector is an important step to economic viability and better environmental management. Read the story here, and listen to this audio report here 09:20

Race to find fishermen in freezing temperatures as boat capsizes near Ramsgate

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) confirmed it was searching for the missing crew members after the vessel overturned off the Kent coast on Tuesday night, around 11pm. One crew member was rescued after they were found clinging to the hull, but the search for the other three continued into Wednesday morning. They were spotted by a passing boat around 7.30am this morning and were airlifted to Ashford hospital. RNLI press officer John Ray said: “The man who was rescued said that he saw at least one of his crewmates washed over the hull. “He was spotted this morning by a passing ship, found him clinging to the boat and they got him off the hull and raised the alarm with the coast guard. “He said he had seen one person washed into the sea and there is a possibility that the other man is trapped under the hull itself. “We think there were three people on board in total.  Read the rest here 08:05

Chris Crisman’s “Women’s Work” Photo Series Shows Women Are Capable Of Any Profession

If there are certain jobs that come to mind when you think of “women’s work” or “men’s work,” Chris Crisman’s “Women’s Work” photo series will shatter those stereotypes to shreds. In order to prove your gender doesn’t have to limit your occupation, Crisman (whom we’ve reached out to for comment, which we will add if we hear back) photographed women in traditionally male jobs. The results are as empowering as they are visually compelling. The portraits are all of real women in roles that defy stereotypes, including a farmer, a brewer, taxidermist, and the operator of a rock hauler. See four images, and read the story here 16:58

High levels of compliance found in Irish Fishing Sector

The country’s marine watchdog has said that it has carried out almost 4,000 sea-fisheries inspections this year and found high levels of compliance with regulations. Independent regulator Susan Steele, who heads the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority, said controls and inspections of trawler owners, fish farmers, and factory processors are designed to support Ireland’s international reputation for the highest standards in food product. People can be confident that the Irish seafood they are consuming is safe and traceable, she said. Ms Steele said: “We are finding low levels of non-compliance which is testament to the real efforts of the majority of fishermen, fish farmers and fish processors to work within the law. Read the story here 12:38

NFFO Fights Back against Appeasement

The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, which represents fishermen in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, has launched a blistering attack on UK Fisheries Minister George Eustice, after he made quota concessions to appease nationalist pressure from Scotland during the annual quota negotiations in Brussels.  1500 tonnes of English quota has been taken from the Humberside based Fish Producers Organisation and promised to Scotland without consultation or notice. Also, George Eustice is “consulting” on a revised concordat between the devolved administrations. If implemented, the concordat would mean the transfer of almost the entire English North Sea whitefish fleet into Scottish administration, along with its licences and quota allocations. The NFFO regards as a bogus consultation because the Scottish minister has already announced that the concordat will be implemented as written. The NFFO statement says, “All this is being done behind closed doors, in secret. English fishing interests are being systematically traded away to appease the clamour from Scotland. It stinks. Read the rest of the story here 21:27

Russian deep-sea fisherman’s Twitter feed is filled with nightmares

Roman Fedorstov’s account began featuring images of blood-chilling bottom feeders, creepy crustaceans and other sorts of ghoulish sea creatures that he and his crew hauled in their nets while trawling the deep waters off Russia’s Barents Sea. Fedortsov works on a fishing trawler in Murmansk, Russia, and regularly comes in contact with deep-sea dwellers that look like the kind of weird creatures filmmaker Tim Burton would design. The English-language site Moscow Times posted a handful of the photos, but I’ve found even more on Fedortsov’s Twitter. “Such zones are normally undisturbed by commercial fishing, which is precisely why these unusual creatures have survived thus far”. “Some of the shallower living, lighter-colored fishes might be a couple of feet”, Professor James Childress, who researches the biology of deep-sea animals at University of California Santa Barbara. Read the rest here, and visit Romans twitter feed click here  11:24