Category Archives: Mid Atlantic

N.C. State Senate votes to delay changes to shrimping rules

The N.C. Senate voted Thursday to put up a hurdle to proposed rule-making by the state Marine Fisheries Commission spurred by a petition that calls for more limits on shrimping in coastal waters. SB 342 dictates that a collaborative shrimp gear study commissioned in February 2015 must be completed and reported by the stakeholder group created under a partnership of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries and North Carolina Sea Grant. The North Carolina Wildlife Federation asked the state to designate waters in the sounds and 3 miles into the ocean as primary nursery areas for various species starting Jan. 1, 2018. The request includes cutting the number of days shrimping is allowed, the amount of time nets can be in the water and the size of equipment that shrimpers can use. It would also set minimum size limits for croaker of 10 inches and spot of 8 inches. “Both of these actions would have a very detrimental impact on our shrimp fishermen,” a statement from the office of state Sen. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, said.  click here to read the story 16:35

Business Opposition Grows Stronger to Offshore Oil Exploration and Drilling

Today we are delivering our clear message to Interior Secretary Zinke—no offshore oil exploration and drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. With the addition of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce this week, BAPAC represents over 41,000 businesses and over 500,000 commercial fishing families opposing offshore exploration and drilling for oil in the Atlantic. We are building a green wall—business by business—to protect our vibrant tourism, recreation and commercial fishing economy that would be seriously threatened by the marine-life devastation of seimic airgun blasting and the inevitable destructive leaks, spills and industrialization that comes with drilling. We are not the Gulf Coast nor are we envious of the industrialization of the Gulf Coast. Their economy is oil. Ours is tourism, recreation and commercial fishing. The two economies are incompatible. click here to read the story 14:51

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for April 28, 2017

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates, Click here  12:20

Not exactly a breeze: Offshore wind still faces challenges

Amid all of the challenges that could face offshore wind power along the East Coast — legal disputes from commercial fishing advocates, construction plans altered by whale migrations, President Donald Trump’s emphasis on revitalizing fossil fuels and more — some promising news for renewable industry supporters arrived in mid-March. That’s when a telling indication of how offshore wind power might fare under President Trump was delivered, after an uncertain, wait-and-see winter. Following months of silence about offshore wind, a statement by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke gave an early glimpse of the administration’s tone. click here to read the story 09:22

Trump Orders Review Of National Monuments, Including The First In The Atlantic Ocean

President Donald Trump this week ordered a review of the U.S. Antiquities Act. The move could impact the Atlantic Ocean’s first-ever marine national monument, created last fall. The monument covers nearly 5,000 square miles off the coast of Cape Cod. It’s home to a variety of wildlife and underwater landscapes. This week, Trump ordered his interior secretary to review dozens of monuments created over the last roughly two decades, which are larger than 100,000 acres. Trump said they represent a “massive federal land grab.” Lisa Dale, with the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, said the review isn’t trying to rescind or undo anything — yet. “It’s quite heavy on ideology, and rather light on realism,” she said. lol! we’ll see! click here to read the story 17:19

Coast Guard suspends search for missing Tangier waterman

A search for a missing Tangier Island waterman was suspended, a day after his boat sank 5 miles off the island throwing him and is son into the chilly waters of the Chesapeake Bay and devastating their small island community. There was still no sign of Ed Charnock when the search was halted around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, said Petty Officer Berry Bena of Coast Guard Station Baltimore. “The whole island’s in mourning,” said Tangier Mayor James “Ooker” Eskridge, who called Charnock “a very likeable guy – very humble.” Charnock and his son, Jason, went overboard after broadcasting on marine radio that their 40-foot boat was taking on water around 2:30 p.m. Monday. Weather conditions were hazardous with high winds, rain and reduced visibility, but most watermen are used to working in those conditions, said Charnock’s brother-in-law, Dan Harrison of Crisfield. Charnock was a good waterman who took meticulous care of his boat, he said. Click here to read the story 16:50

1 man rescued as Coast Guard Searches for Missing Waterman off Tangier Island

The Coast Guard says one waterman is still missing after a boat went down with two people on board. The Coast Guard says a distress signal was sent out around 2:30 p.m. Monday afternoon from a 40 foot crabbing boat about five miles off the coast of the island. The boat said it was taking on water, before communication was lost. Tangier Island Mayor James Eskridge says the men on board the boat were father and son. Eskridge says the men went into the water without life vests and “every able body waterman on Tangier” went to help search for the missing men. The Coast Guard says one of the men was rescued by a good samaritan, who Eskridge later said was the son. link The release from the USCG click here  07:40

8 Things the Northeast Fisheries Observer Program Does for You!

Some of the largest, most profitable fisheries rely on fishery observers to collect, process and manage data and biological samples from commercial fishing trips for stock assessment and management purposes. But, that’s not all they do. Here’s a small behind the scenes look at some of the other things Northeast Fisheries Observer Program (NEFOP) observers do that directly or indirectly impact you, your family and friends, your wallet, your lifestyle, your community and more. click here to read the story. 13:02

New York Aquarium claims fishing groups distorted stance on Hudson Canyon National Marine Sanctuary

I am writing to correct the mischaracterization of the position and intentions of the Wildlife Conservation Society and its New York Aquarium regarding a proposed Hudson Canyon National Marine Sanctuary as reported in the Press. Contrary to the comments by Garden State Seafood Association Executive Director Greg DiDomenico (April 7 click here) and Recreational Fishing Alliance Executive Director Jim Donofrio (April 17 click here), WCS has always held that fishing in the proposed sanctuary should continue and that management authority should remain under the purview of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and other existing fisheries authorities. We remain committed to this position and to addressing the concerns of the fishing community. In addition to affirming our support for continued fishing in Hudson Canyon, we have also argued that there are pressing habitat threats that a sanctuary status would address. click here to read the story 18:02

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for April 21, 2017

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates, Click here 16:57

UPDATED: Coast Guard conducts medevac 65 miles south of Montauk, N.Y.

A Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter crew medically evacuated a 47-year-old man 65 miles south of Montauk, N.Y., Friday. At 8:25 a.m., the fishing vessel Braedon Michael notified Coast Guard Station Montauk, who then relayed to Sector Long Island Sound, of a crewmember aboard who was experiencing flu like symptoms and was in and out of consciousness. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter launched from Air Station Cape Cod, Massachusetts, at 9:50 a.m., and arrived on scene approximately an hour later. The crewmember was safely hoisted from the deck of the Braedon Michael and transported to Air Station Cape Cod, where local Emergency Medical Services were waiting. USCG Video click here to watch 14:20

When it comes to in the Atlantic east of Montauk, the Fishing Industry must be considered

Many in the commercial fishing industry are frustrated with the pace of planning a planned wind farm in the Atlantic east of Montauk. The project, they say, will hurt their ability to make a living and they are feeling left behind by public officials and by public sentiment, which appears largely supportive. Aware of these concerns, Deepwater Wind, the company planning the turbines, wants to hire a handful of local representatives to help smooth the waters. Balancing the needs of fishermen with the increasing call for renewable energy is a tough order. Seafood harvesters here have long expressed displeasure at what they see as excessive and unnecessary regulation. Now, with the industrialization of portions of their fishing grounds, they fear a slippery slope in which productive areas are put out of reach. Their concerns are important and have to be weighed carefully. click here to read the Op-Ed 17:14

Central Coast should look to Rhode Island for bad experience with wind turbines  

Our commercial fishermen met with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the bureau plans on putting hundreds of wind turbines off our coastline, taking hundreds of square miles of ocean away from fishing. We spoke with fishermen on the East Coast that had five wind turbines installed off Rhode Island, and they had nothing good to say. The installation required huge cement slabs on the bottom. The blades cause radar interference for miles. They are in squid and scallop fishing grounds, costing hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars lost to Rhode Island. They are placing them in navigation lanes, causing shipping vessels to travel around them. Also, most of the time they don’t work! They need repair constantly, and if the wind blows over 50 mph, they have to shut them down! They are being federally subsidized by millions of taxpayer dollars to mainly companies from other countries! It’s costing four times the amount it costs them for natural gas-powered electricity. Gov. Jerry Brown thinks using our oceans for energy is what we need. He is wrong. The ocean is a food source. It is wild and powerful and is not meant for industrialization. Tom Hafer, Atascadero link 09:19

Bucking rumors of a dying industry, young Lowcountry shrimpers take to the sea.

In pre-dawn’s inky stillness, brackish water floods the back roads leading to Haddrell’s Point near the mouth of Shem Creek on Charleston’s harbor, the full moon’s gravitational pull swelling tides to record heights. Where pavement turns to gravel, a lone street lamp illuminates old signage for the shuttered Wando Shrimp Company, a once vibrant seafood-processing warehouse that closed in 2014 after a sixty-five-year run. There, a ramshackle wooden walkway stretches toward the glaring floodlights of a shrimp trawler named the Miss Paula. Her tangle of furled nets, steel winches, chains, and ropes reach into the night sky. Water laps the dock as three young men pass buckets of ice up onto deck. One by one, their feet anchored in a scupper hole for leverage, they hoist themselves aboard. In an industry dominated by old salts, some of whom have been trawling shrimp for more than fifty years, the Miss Paula is remarkable for the youth of her crew. Captain Vasily “Vasa” Tarvin, at the time of this outing in late 2016, is 25. His deck mate, Franklin Rector, 23. Manning the wheel is Michael Brown, who at the age of 37, wryly pronounces himself “babysitter” on today’s run. click here to continue reading the story. 13:22

2016 GARFO Year in Review

The Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office (GARFO) is proud to announce the release of our second annual Year in Review report. The report highlights some of our key accomplishments for 2016, many of which were achieved through partnership and collaboration with the New England and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Councils, Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, and Northeast Fisheries Science Center. Printed copies are available upon request. Click here to read the report. 16:54

Three Off Shore wind article’s regarding Mass, Long Island and Maryland

Massachusetts Readies for First Offshore Wind Procurement in June – Massachusetts is drawing closer to its first solicitation for wind energy in state waters, with a call for bids due in June. Click here    Offshore wind farm may not meet peak summer demand on South Fork – An offshore wind farm at the center of a LIPA plan to address spiking electric demand on the South Fork will produce excess energy when it’s needed least, and fall short of a sharply expanding summer peak load, a recent analysis found. Click here US Wind Tackles Viewshed Concerns For Maryland Offshore Wind Project – In order to resolve concerns about the visual impacts of its proposed wind farm off the coast of Maryland, developer US Wind has offered to move the first line of turbines farther offshore, as far as five miles to the east. Click here 15:55

7 kinds of junk N.J. has dumped into the ocean to build reefs

For over 30 years, New Jersey marine officials have cultivated an underwater network of 15 artificial reefs to provide a home for fish and other sea life for the benefit of fishermen, scuba divers and the species themselves. And they do it by sinking a variety of objects that settle onto the ocean floor at locations from 2 to 25 nautical miles offshore, from Sandy Hook to Cape May. Here’s a look at the things that line the seabed off the Jersey Shore. Click to watch a couple of video’s, and view photo’s of different items used to build the reef network. 08:52

MAFMC Votes15-4 AGAINST Hudson Canyon Sanctuary bid

In their official nomination, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and their Coney Island Aquarium staff outlined their specific reasons for nominating the offshore Hudson Canyon as a National Marine Sanctuary. (We listened to the presentation online. It was pathetic, actually),,,  While claiming to have “community-based support for the nomination expressed by a broad range of interests,” the WCS marine sanctuary plan had actual fishermen and fishing industry leaders incensed. In a letter of opposition on behalf of coastal fishermen, Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) executive director Jim Donofrio noted that regardless of the WCS’s intention, recreational fishermen would not have any legal protection under the federal sanctuary law. Thank you Jim. click here to read the story 12:54

Maryland DMR says Chesapeake blue crab population grew by 35 percent over the past year

Marylanders could have an easier time finding — and affording — local crabs this summer, a survey of the Chesapeake Bay blue crab population suggests. There are more than 550 million blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay, an increase of more than a third over this time last year and one of the highest counts of the past two decades, according to state officials. They credit favorable weather and past harvest restrictions for a second straight year of strong crab population growth. “We fully anticipate a robust crab season this year,” said Dave Blazer, fisheries survey director for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Officials plan to explore whether the increasing numbers should prompt regulators to loosen harvest restrictions or lengthen the crabbing season. click here to read the story 17:18

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for April 14, 2017

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates, Click here 12:17

NMFS – Revised black sea bass quotas for the 2017 fishing year and projected specifications for 2018.

NMFS proposes revised black sea bass specifications for the 2017 fishing year and projected specifications for 2018. In addition, this rule proposes to remove an accountability measure implemented at the start of the fishing year designed to account for commercial sector overages in 2015. Updated scientific information regarding the black sea bass stock indicates that higher catch limits should be implemented to obtain optimum yield, and that the accountability measure is no longer necessary or appropriate. This action is intended to inform the public of the proposed specifications for the 2017 fishing year and projected specifications for 2018. Comments must be received by 5 p.m. local time, on May 1, 2017. continue reading the notice here 10:38

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke – Keep Offshore Oil Drilling and Seismic Testing Away From the Atlantic Coast

On April 6 Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told the National Ocean Industries Association that an executive order was forthcoming that would start the process of rewriting the five-year plan for the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. The next day an op-ed in Morning Consult by Carl Bentzel began Big Oil’s public relations campaign to paint oil/gas exploration and drilling off the Atlantic coast as safe and oil-spill free given new technology and safeguards. Mr. Bentzel argues that the “first steps should be responsible assessment of oil and gas resources in our South Atlantic Ocean.”  So let’s start with seismic airgun blasting that is the essence of this exploration. While proponents of seismic testing say the process is safe for marine life and will provide information for a public debate, neither point is factual. click here to read the op-ed 09:17

Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council Meeting in Avalon, New Jersey: April 11-13, 2017

The public is invited to attend the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s April 2017 meeting to be held April 11-13, 2017 in Avalon, New Jersey. The meeting will be held at the Icona Golden Inn, 7849 Dune Dr., Avalon, NJ, Telephone 609-368-5155. Briefing documents will be posted as they become available (click here).  For online access to the meeting, enter as a guest (click here) This link is now active! 09:56

NJ asks feds to drop limits on summer flounder

With their rows of sharp buck teeth, their downturned mouths, and both eyes on one side of their curiously flat bodies, summer flounder might seem beautiful only to one another. But this delicately flavored flatfish is the pinup girl, the heart’s desire, of thousands of New Jersey’s recreational fishermen — and has long been the source of many millions of dollars in tourism revenue each summer. For that reason the state has petitioned a federal commission to reverse its new restrictions on catching summer flounder in state waters in 2017. click to continue reading the story 07:06

Wildlife Conservation Society’s New York Aquarium wants Hudson Canyon National Marine Sanctuary designation

Fishermen not on board with Hudson Canyon Sanctuary – The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council will hear a proposal from New York Aquarium, which has nominated the canyon for a National Marine Sanctuary designation. The sanctuary program is run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In the program’s 40 years of existence 13 national marine sanctuaries and two marine national monuments have been established. The sanctuaries are to be tailored to the needs of its stakeholders. (This does not include you, Fishermen) New Jersey fishermen however, are raising concerns that they will be shut out of a prolific fishing ground. “We’re in complete opposition. We’re not going to be fooled by the notion that the aquarium doesn’t intend to severely restrict fishing over time,” said Greg DiDomenico, Executive Director, Garden State Seafood Association. (We also oppose this) click here to read the story 09:48 Little-known-Underwater-Canyon-off-New-York-and-New-Jersey-Nominated-as-National-Marine-Sanctuary 09:58

Striper Poaching Season Begins in Maryland!

On April 5, 2017, Maryland DNR reported that officers had charged nine men with possessing 87 striped bass from the waters of Dorchester County. On Saturday, an officer watched as four men caught striped bass and hid them in storm drains on Fishing Creek Bridge. The officer recovered 14 fish. Charged with possessing striped bass in a closed season were: Juan Manuel Bravo, 34, of Hyattsville; Emerson DeJesus Vargas Campos, 26, of Riverdale; Jairo Dario Ramierez, 22, of Upper Marlboro; and Elmer Antonio Castillo Araniva, 23, of Upper Marlboro. The next night, officers watched as five men from Prince George’s County caught fish and placed them in the trunk of an SUV. When officers stopped the vehicle and searched it, they found 73 striped bass in a duffel bag. There’s more! Lots more! continue reading the story here 17:03

Montauk 1915: When the Village Was on the Arc of Fort Pond Bay

The wooden shacks composing this village had all been built around 1895 by people who did not own this land. They were squatters on this arc of the bay on land owned by the Long Island Rail Road. The railroad did not stop this village from being built. In fact, they encouraged it. Probably it was because money changed hands between these people and the railroad. The people were commercial fishermen and their families. And they brought in tons of fish from the sea to that single pier and paid for the railroad trains nearby to transport their daily haul of fish to the thriving markets in New York City.,, These fishermen were not even Americans. They were Canadians. They were out of port towns in Nova Scotia, a long way from home, and they had full holds of fish to bring to market. And here, along the arc of this bay, was this nearly abandoned railroad station in the middle of nowhere. There was even a long pier. They’d tie up and meet the stationmaster there. Yes, the tracks led 110 miles straight into Manhattan. A very interesting read! click here to read the story, and click the link to the Pelican The Single Worst Fishing Disaster in the History of Montauk 09:40

Thiele Acts for Fishermen ‘Under Siege’

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. has introduced a package of legislation intended to aid the commercial fishing industry. Two of the three bills were introduced in the 2015-16 legislative session. One would direct the state attorney general to bring legal action against the National Marine Fisheries Service, or any other federal agency, to challenge existing quotas that the bill calls inequitable and discriminatory against New York State commercial fishermen. The bill is now in the Assembly’s environmental conservation committee. A second bill, also introduced in the 2015-16 legislative session, adds a new element in its current form. It would establish a commercial fishing advocate and, in its new version, create a commercial fishing jobs development program under State Department of Economic Development jurisdiction. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo vetoed the bill last year, Mr. Thiele said yesterday. continue reading the story here 15:11

Brooklyn Seafood Dealer Pleads Guilty for Illegally Trafficking American Eels

Tommy Water Zhou pled guilty in federal district court in Norfolk, Virginia, to trafficking more than $150,361 worth of juvenile American eels, aka “elvers” or “glass eels,” in violation of the Lacey Act. As part of his guilty plea, Zhou admitted to illegally selling or purchasing elvers in interstate commerce, which had been harvested illegally in Virginia. This plea was the result of “Operation Broken Glass,” a multi-jurisdiction U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) investigation into the illegal trafficking of American eels. To date, the investigation has resulted in guilty pleas for eleven individuals whose combined conduct resulted in the illegal trafficking of more than $2.75 million worth of elvers. In 2013, the defendant obtained a Maine elver dealer license, authorizing him to purchase and resell elvers harvested in Maine. Thereafter, using his Maine dealer license to cover his illegal activity,,, Click here to read the story 14:23

Defining our future Down East

William Chadwick’s speech captured first place at the NCTSA conference in Greensboro April 5, 2017. His speech is about government regulations and conservation groups putting local fishermen out of business in Down East Carteret County. Government regulations our killing our communities, schools and churches, this is not just a Down East issue, this is happening all along the east coast. 11:22

Representative Beverly Boswel is passionate about commercial fishing

I recently read the article, “The Boswell Backlash” by Michelle Wagner, dated March 21. As one who spends a considerable amount of time in Raleigh, representing our state’s commercial fishing families, I would like to offer some comments about Representative Boswell’s responsiveness and attentiveness to the issues facing that very important constituency in Dare County. Over the course of my 30 years of involvement in the legislative process while representing commercial fishing interests, I have found very few with the appreciation and zeal for assuring that commercial fishermen are represented in our General Assembly. Beverly Boswell is at the head of that list in the short time that she’s been in office. continue reading the letter here 09:05

“Eat the Invasives” – New catfish reg threatens watermen’s livelihood, Chesapeake Bay

Richard Turner Jr. maneuvered his Carolina Skiff around Gunston Cove in the Potomac River, then hoisted a hoop net out of the water that he’d left there hours ago. Inside wriggled a 12-pound blue catfish. These mustachioed menaces have been eating their way through the Potomac River and the rest of the Chesapeake Bay for the last decade. They can grow to 5 feet long and weigh up to 100 pounds while gobbling up other commercially valuable fish, such as menhaden and blue crabs. Turner and a growing number of fishermen are turning the tables on these invasive predators. Spurred on by a burgeoning market and the lack of any harvest limits, the blue catfish commercial fishery has taken off. But a new federal regulation could disrupt what many see as one of the most successful “eat the invasives” campaigns in the country. Under legislation passed by Congress years ago to protect Mississippi’s farmed catfish industry from foreign imports, sales of any type of catfish, including these wild-caught in the Chesapeake region, will be subject to inspection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The requirement takes full effect in September. continue reading the story here 11:51

Boswell, Cook sponsor bills aimed at shrimping rule petition

Two bills were introduced in the North Carolina General Assembly last week in response to the Marine Fisheries Commission’s recent endorsement of a petition for rule-making that could limit the shrimp industry in coastal waters. On Wednesday, Sen. Bill Cook (R-Beaufort) filed Senate Bill 432, which would require the completion of a study of shrimp gear. It also calls for gathering viewpoints from all sides. On Thursday, Rep. Beverly Boswell (R-Dare) introduced House Bill 545, which calls on the Fisheries Commission to follow the recommendations of advisory committees when exercising its rule-making powers. The bill would also require the commission to formally adopt a resolution of rejection when it acts against recommendations from the advisory panels. continue reading the article here 10:13

Mid-Atlantic Council to Hold Public Hearings for Squid Amendment

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council will hold nine public hearings in April and May 2017 to solicit public input on the Squid Amendment to the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan. The Council is also soliciting written comments on the amendment through 11:59 pm on May 18, 2017.The amendment considers measures to reduce latent longfin and Illex squid permits. Currently, a relatively small portion of vessels with limited access (“moratorium”) squid permits account for the majority of landings in most years. The Council is concerned that activation of latent permits in the squid fisheries could lead to excessive fishing effort, potentially resulting in shortened seasons and increased catch of non-target species. The amendment also considers measures to modify the management of longfin squid during Trimester 2 (May-August). The Council is considering this action because there is concern that the productivity of the longfin squid stock may be negatively impacted if excessive fishing in Trimester 2 does not allow sufficient spawning and/or successful egg hatching from egg mops. Locations of the hearings with time and date, public comment info, Click Here 17:54

Update: Missing Gloucester waterman found dead in Guinea Marsh

Virginia Marine Police found the body of a waterman in Guinea Marsh in Gloucester Sunday afternoon, according to Marine Resource Commission spokeswoman Laurie Naismith. The man, 31-year-old Tony West of Guinea, was reported missing Saturday about 11:15 a.m. after he did not return home from fishing Friday evening. Philip Brown, 47, of Guinea was also reported missing Saturday. A sunken vessel was spotted in Guinea Marsh around 1 p.m., and Brown was found dead, entangled in a gill net, Naismith said. The search for West resumed Sunday morning with marine police boats and an airplane. West was found around 4:45 p.m., Naismith said. continue reading the rest here 18:25

Great White Shark Baby Boom Expected Off Montauk

There’s a baby boom of great white sharks expected in the coming months — and the massive mama sharks are about to head to the nursery, located off the coast of Montauk, for the big event. Last year, researchers discovered the first North Atlantic nursery for the fearsome predator in the waters off Montauk, and this year, with the baby sharks tagged, more information than ever before is available to the public, who’ve taken to avidly following the sharks on social media. Right now, according to The Virginian-Pilot, there’s a “shark party” just off the southeastern coast, with 11 sharks tagged by Ocearch.org pinging and revealing their locations via satellite. continue reading the article here 13:43

1 dead, 1 missing in fishing tragedy in Gloucester, Va

One person is dead and one is missing following a commercial fishing and boating accident in the Swash Channel, Saturday morning. Virginia Marine Police were called at 11:15 a.m. by a family member who said the two fisherman did not return home. The two men were working a gill net in the Swash Channel near the Guinea Marshes in Gloucester. Around 1 p.m. marine police spotted a sunken vessel in the Swash Channel. The body of Phillip Brown, 47, was found nearby tangled in a gill net. Crews are still searching for the other fisherman, 30-year-old Anthony West, and will continue until dark. Read the rest here 20:08

Cable Under Gardiner’s Bay Sparks Debate – Trustees, baymen talk wind farm landing sites

When officials of Deepwater Wind, the Rhode Island company that plans to construct an offshore wind farm 30 miles from Montauk, presented its plans to the community at Clinton Academy in East Hampton on March 9, several commercial fishermen in attendance voiced opposition, fearing a negative impact on their livelihood. That concern resurfaced on Monday night, when the East Hampton Town Trustees heard from several residents. Mr. (Gary) Cobb wondered “what jet-plowing is going to do to the bottom of Gardiner’s Bay.” The Air Force veteran, who studied avionics systems technology, also questioned “the proximity of these transmission lines to not just significant coastal wildlife habitat, but essential fish habitat.” continue reading the story here 17:13

Sonar revealing more river herring in Choptank River than expected

Scientists have a powerful new tool to help them “see” fish in the Chesapeake Bay’s murky tributaries, and it’s yielding some surprisingly good news about two of the estuary’s most troubled species. “Imaging sonar” uses sound to help them view, and count, passing fish in dark or cloudy water. For the past few years, scientists with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center have been deploying one of these underwater sound cameras in some of the Bay’s rivers to monitor spawning runs of alewife and blueback herring, collectively known as river herring.,,No one knows for sure how many river herring are in the Bay, as fisheries managers lack the staff and resources to do a comprehensive assessment. But a SERC-led team of scientists deployed an imaging sonar device in the Choptank River in 2014 that captured images of the fish as they swam by. Based on the rate at which scientists saw the shadowy blips cross their computer screens, they estimated that as many as 1.3 million river herring swam upriver that spring to spawn. That’s more than expected, and way more than state biologists had figured were there in the early 1970s, the last time anyone looked intensively at the Choptank’s herring runs. Read the article here 10:14

Ocean City Inlet shoaling problem continues

Problems with sand plugging up the Ocean City Inlet have persisted for decades. “There’s billions of dollars (of state revenue) here,” said fisherman Mike Coppa, owner and operator of a West Ocean City trawling operation. “This is a huge problem. It’s the biggest problem we have.” Local commercial fishermen were the guests at an open forum hosted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources at the Ocean City Marlin Club on Monday, March 27. The semi-annual gathering is held to discuss fisheries issues affecting local operations. Among the topics tossed around the room were several new draft regulations that may affect the take of specific species, the squeeze felt by local fishermen as restrictions are enacted to prevent overfishing in New England, pressures to maintain product quotas to retain valuable fishing permits and methods to attract new fishermen to the local commercial fishing district. continue reading the story here 16:14

A Brunswick County senator’s proposed resolution opposing catch-share fisheries management is drawing praise

In fisheries managed by catch shares, certain fishermen or companies are assigned individual limits for a given species during a season, a strategy the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says allows fishermen to make decisions based on market conditions and avoid hazardous weather conditions. Many North Carolina fishermen have expressed great concern about catch shares reaching their waters and are supporting Senate Bill 370. Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, introduced the bill, which would communicate to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, NOAA Fisheries and the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission that the Senate opposes catch share management off the N.C. coast. continue reading the story, click here 22:43

BOEM: Offshore wind farms impact ‘small’ on fishing

The development of offshore wind farms in the US Atlantic will have a minimal impact on commercial fishing, according to a new report from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). The BOEM report – ‘Socio-Economic Impact of Outer Continental Shelf Wind Energy Development on Fisheries in the US Atlantic – has been produced in conjunction with the National Marine Fisheries Service to better understand fishing activity in areas of potential offshore wind development. The only impact will be on permitted vessels using pots and gillnets in Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts, which could result in losses of up to $517,000, it found. However, the impacts are not distributed evenly with 20 permits fishing out of Rhode Island ports of Narragansett and Newport and Massachusetts ports of New Bedford and Fairhaven affected the most. link 11:53

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NEW JERSEY FILES FORMAL APPEAL OF SUMMER FLOUNDER QUOTA REDUCTIONS

New Jersey representatives to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission have filed an appeal requesting the commission reconsider its vote significantly reducing the state’s recreational-fishing quota for summer flounder this year, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced today (March 28, 2017). “We are appealing the ASFMC decision because of the numerous process, data, policy and regulatory issues that will significantly impact New Jersey’s fishing industry,” Commissioner Martin said. “The ASFMC decision will actually result in anglers in New Jersey having to throw more dead fish back into the water than they can keep to eat, and the fish they can keep overwhelmingly will be reproductive females. This is not sound fishery management.” Read the press release here 08:02

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for March 27, 2017

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates, Click here 07:21

On The Hot Seat! Dare GOP confronts N.C. GOP chair on shrimp vote

In the wake of the N.C. Fisheries Commission’s approval of a petition putting greater limits on shrimp trawling, the Dare County GOP has written a letter requesting that N.C. GOP Chairman Robin Hayes appear before its executive committee and “provide relevant information regarding his personal involvement and influence in the 2016 appointment process of members of the North Carolina Fisheries Commission.” In its letter to Hayes, dated March 16, the Dare GOP said the commission’s approval of the petition represented a decision to “ignore science and destroy our state’s shrimping industry,” and accused Hayes of intervening improperly in the process of selecting commission members. The letter goes on to say that, if Hayes does not comply with that request to appear before the local party, he should resign his post as state party head. The Dare County Board of Commissioners has also expressed anger,,, continue reading the story click here 21:44

Coast Guard medevacs fisherman 50 miles E of Chincoteague, VA

The Coast Guard medevaced an injured man 50 miles east of Chincoteague, Virginia, Sunday. Watchstanders at 5th District command center in Portsmouth received an Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon, (EPIRB) alert from the 75-foot trawler Capt Nathan with three people aboard. Watchstanders diverted the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba and an MH-65D Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City to the scene. The crew of the Escanaba established communications with the crew and discovered the captain was suffering symptoms of a stroke. The helicopter crew arrived on scene and hoisted the man and transferred him to Cape May Airport, Cape May, New Jersey, where another helicopter crew from Air Station Atlantic City transferred the patient to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. more images here 15:57

Measuring flounder a complex undertaking with a big impact

It’s likely few people have written more about summer flounder than Mark Terceiro. Terceiro has published a 44-page journal article about the science, politics and litigation surrounding the species from 1975 to 2000. A 32-page follow-up covered the period from 2001 to 2010, and another article regarding developments in recent years is in the works. But it’s Terceiro’s summer flounder stock assessment update, released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in December, that has him in the crosshairs of New Jersey politicians and recreational fishing leaders. Terceiro, a research fishery biologist at NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, said a lot of information goes into a stock assessment. “The catch is, from both commercial and recreational, very important — that it be accurate,” Terceiro added. “We try — the government, the states — (to) go to great lengths to make sure the catch reports are as accurate as they can get.” continue reading the article here 09:20

Is the ocean ‘land owned or controlled’ by feds? Antiquities Act lawsuit aims to find out

Despite a lifetime of fishing off the New England coast, Eric Reid was like a fish out of water when President Barack Obama grabbed a piece of his livelihood. “I’m just a fish guy but I learned a lot about politics in a big hurry,” said Reid, general manager of Seafreeze Shoreside Inc., a seafood processing facility in Rhode Island. He is referring to Obama’s September 2016 designation of nearly 5,000 square miles of ocean as the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument, using his unilateral authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906.,,, We’re losing opportunity as we speak,” Reid told Watchdog.org. “It could easily be millions of dollars just this winter.” Reid is part of a coalition of New England fishing organizations suing the federal government over the designation. The Pacific Legal Foundation is representing the coalition in Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association v. Ross. PLF attorney Jonathan Wood says the economic impact is magnified when considering the shoreside businesses that have grown up around the commercial fishing industry. “It’s not just the fishermen. It’s all the bait dealers, the mechanics and the marinas and all the businesses that only exist because there’s a commercial fishing industry,” he told Watchdog.org. read the article here 09:37

After a record run of squid, local fishermen warily eye competition, regulatory challenges

It was the best single run of longfin squid anyone on the East Coast had ever seen – and it happened fast and was over fast. In two months last summer, June and July, the East Coast-based squid fleet landed approximately 14 million pounds, with Rhode Island landing more than 50 percent of that quota, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration landing reports. “I’ve never seen anything like it. The squid just kept coming,” said Point Judith fisherman Jeff Wise of Narragansett. “I’ve never seen volume and catch rates that high before.”,,,Three policy issues surfaced in recent months that could affect Rhode Island squid vessels and processors. One concerns managing the number of squid permits allowed, an issue perennially raised by the commercial fishing industry. The other two concern the possible loss of fishing ground – one by proposed wind farms off Long Island, and the other from lobbying pressure for a buffer zone in a key squid area south of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Big read! Read the article here 07:47

T-shirts designed to help protect an endangered species: the fisherman.

Jason Davis, founder of Loggerhead Printing located in Sneads Ferry, is making waves with his new T-shirt that reads, Protect The Fisherman. Protect An Endangered Species. It’s his creative response to the new proposed regulations passed down by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission, which has the potential to limit when and where fisherman can collect their daily bread. Though these regulations are not formally enforced yet, their potential impact has many commercial fishermen and the fish markets that rely on them fearful. Across the board, popular fish markets from Sneads Ferry to Jacksonville and even Emerald Isle refuse to comment on this touchy subject. It’s an issue that could impact the way they and their families in our coastal community live their life. A portion of the sale proceeds will go toward the North Carolina Fisheries Association. read the story here 11:53

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for March 20, 2017

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates, Click here  10:15

UMass Dartmouth awarded $1M for scallop, flounder fisheries research

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth scientists will receive $1 million in federal research funds to improve management of the scallop and flounder fisheries.The funding, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Northeast Fisheries Science Center and New England Fishery Management Council Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Program, was awarded last week to the researchers at the UMass School for Marine Science and Technology.Projects will focus on bycatch reduction, scallop biomass and improving the understanding of scallop biology. The scallop survey research will be led by Kevin Stokesbury, while Daniel Georgiana will expand on previous sea scallop gray-meat research. Link 11:51

2017-2018 Sea Scallop Research Set-Aside Recommended Awards Announced – Click here to read about the projects

Problems surface at Fulton Fish Market

Late last month in the Bronx, one of the city’s oldest and largest seafood wholesalers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The problems of M. Slavin & Sons Ltd. and its 80-year-old patriarch, Herb Slavin, could affect far more than creditors and its 105 workers, who fillet fish, drive delivery trucks and handle sales at its headquarters in the New Fulton Fish Market. The century-old firm is the largest tenant of the Hunts Point market and the fourth in as many months to have hit a financial wall. The three previous casualties are gone for good, leaving the sprawling facility, which is run as a cooperative, with a 30% vacancy rate. Some of the 30 or so remaining tenants fear that Slavin’s misfortune could drag them down, as they would have to pick up its share of the rent. “If Slavin goes out, that will be a big hurt,” says Joseph Sciabarra, owner of Mt. Sinai Fish Inc. “They pay rent on 15% of the building.” continue reading the story here 08:06

Pamlico chamber to host meeting on shrimp proposals

The Pamlico Chamber of Commerce will hear Tuesday about the potential local effects from a recent Marine Fisheries Commission approval of changes to rules in the shrimping industry. The chamber membership will also hear about plans to start a new civic organization in the county. The meeting is at 7 p.m. at Pamlico Community College’s Delamar Center and it is open to the public. The major focus will be on the February MFC vote on a rule-making petition brought by the N.C. Wildlife Federation that could ultimately limit shrimping to three days on the Intracoastal Waterway and other estuaries and four days on the ocean up to three miles out, among other proposals. Jerry Schill, president of the commercial fishing lobby group North Carolina Fisheries Association will be the keynote speaker. continue reading the story here 20:41:1

Leaking sewer pipes caused Shore river pollution, state says

State environmental officials say they’ve located and eliminated a major source of pollution of the Shark River, a popular body of water in Monmouth County where shellfish harvesting was suspended late last year because of health dangers there. Engineers and scientists have traced a major source of river pollution to two leaking municipal sewer lines that spilled sewage into a stormwater discharge pipe at West Sylvania Avenue in Neptune City, said state Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin. The city has since repaired those pipes, Martin added. But that doesn’t mean shellfish harvesting in the river will immediately reopen. continue reading the story here 13:03

Congressman Jones Testifies On Behalf Of North Carolina Shrimpers at the U.S. International Trade Commission

Today at the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) testified on behalf of Eastern North Carolina shrimpers in strong support of continuing anti-dumping duty orders against imported warmwater shrimp from Brazil, China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam. The ITC first enacted these orders more than 10 years ago to offset cheating by foreign producers, and to help level the playing field for American shrimpers. ‘Shrimping is an integral part of Eastern North Carolina’s heritage and economy,’ said Congressman Jones. ‘Hard working Eastern North Carolina fishing families have been devastated by unfairly traded foreign shrimp. If these orders aren’t continued, I have no doubt that producers from communist China, Vietnam and elsewhere will start illegally dumping shrimp into our market again. That is unacceptable, and I hope the ITC will stand up for American workers.’ Click here to read the rest 16:29

GARFO: At-Sea Monitoring 2017 Coverage Levels for Groundfish Sector Fishery

NOAA Fisheries announces that for fishing year 2017 the total target at-sea monitoring coverage level is 16 percent of all groundfish sector trips.  This target coverage level is a 2 percentage point increase from the 2016 coverage level (14 percent). As the target coverage level is set based on an average of at-sea monitoring data from the past 3 full groundfish fishing years, this level is set based on data from the 2013-2015 fishing years. Federally funded observer coverage provided by the Northeast Fishery Observer Program to meet the Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology (SBRM) requirements will partially satisfy the 16 percent coverage requirement. Sectors will therefore actually pay for at-sea monitoring coverage on less than 16 percent of their groundfish trips, but the total will depend on the SBRM coverage rates, which are not yet out. Read the press release here, For more information, please read the Summary of Analysis Conducted to Determine At-Sea Monitoring Requirements for Multispecies Sectors FY2017  13:59

UPDATED: GOP Kicks Off Effort To Roll Back Obama’s Monument Designations

House lawmakers kicked off their effort to push back against national monuments designations, targeting the large swaths of ocean the Obama administration made off limits to fishing. “I don’t believe the Antiquities Act should have ever been applied to oceans,” Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young said during a Wednesday hearing on marine monument designations. “There was never intent of that.” Republicans on the House Committee on Natural Resources have long criticized former President Barack Obama’s use of the Antiquities Act to put millions of square miles off limits to commercial fishing with little to no input from locals.  New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, who couldn’t attend the hearing due to a snow storm, is a Democrat who represents a Massachusetts community dependent on fishing. Mitchell wants to change how national monuments are designated to include more local input. Mitchell was not a fan of Obama unilaterally designating the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument in September. continue reading the story here 16:02

Fishing Industry Tells Committee Regulations Go Too Far – Allegations of bad science and lobbying by overzealous environmentalists dominated talks on marine sanctuary and monument designations during a Congressional hearing Wednesday. Read the story here 18:02

No sanctuary for fishermen

Sanctuaries are designated areas intended to provide a safe haven and protection. But for the watermen of the Chesapeake Bay and its surrounding tributaries, the word “sanctuary” is more often associated with anguish. So when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries initiated the designation process for Mallows Bay – Potomac River on October 7 of 2015, the watermen of the Potomac River began to grow wary of their future. On February 1, an assorted group of commercial fishermen from all across the Northern Neck of Virginia met with Maryland commercial fishermen at Mundy Point at Pride of Virginia Seafood and Trucking, Inc. to form together as the newly named Potomac River Working Watermen Association (PRWWA). One month later, on March 2, they held their second meeting to discuss their plan of action in opposition of the Mallows Bay – Potomac River sanctuary proposal. continue reading the story here 14:35

Fisherman badly burned in Jersey Shore rental house explosion files lawsuit

As he reached to turn on a light switch in the Point Pleasant Beach house he was renting in 2015, Kurt Wagner saw a spark, and then the small cottage exploded. Wagner, who authorities say suffered burns on 40 to 50 percent of his body, is now suing the owner of the cottage for injuries and property he lost in the blast that destroyed the home. Wagner spent 31 days in the burn unit at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, Epstein said. He said Wagner missed work and was unable to return to the commercial fishing job he had prior to the explosion. Epstein said Wagner had just returned to the Crooks Lane cottage after a three-day fishing trip. He awoke shortly before 2 a.m. to the smell of gas and went to turn on a light in the bathroom of the cottage. continue reading the story here 11:03