Category Archives: Mid Atlantic

Garden State officials make their case to feds as fluke battle rages on

With New Jersey’s summer flounder fishing industry on the line, Garden State officials made their case to fisheries on Tuesday afternoon. In a hearing with the federal agency, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection officials argued that the state’s regulations for summer flounder (or fluke) fishing reach conservation equivalency with new federal regulations. The cornerstone of New Jersey’s argument: That the state’s proposed regulations will actually preserve more of the summer flounder stock than the measures being put forth by the feds. Tuesday’s call was closed to the press, but in a statement following the call NJDEP spokesperson Bob Considine described it as a “good discussion.” click here to read the story 08:37

The Bunker Resurgence: The Good News Beyond Recent Fish Kills

According to Megan Ware, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission in Arlington, Virginia, “Results of the 2015 stock assessment indicate that the [menhaden] stock is not overfished, and overfishing is not occurring.”Joe Warren, an associate professor with the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University, agrees. Professor Warren’s lab uses acoustics to estimate the biomass (weight) of menhaden in the Peconic River and Flanders Bay. That’s essentially the same technology recreational fishermen employ using fishfinders.,,, Warren further observed that each of the surveys encountered anywhere from five to 25 schools that could range from hundreds to tens of thousands of fish. The professor cited anecdotal evidence that there are more bunker in New York waters as humpback whales off the Atlantic coast on the south side of Long Island have been observed feeding on bunker during the past several years. click here to read the story 15:37

New Jersey man convicted of attempted murder in fish boat shooting case – faces life in prison

A man who shot a Whitesboro woman aboard a fishing vessel docked at Lund’s Fisheries in October 2015 has been convicted of attempted murder, Cape May County Prosecutor Robert L. Taylor said. Ernest P. Davis, 44, also was convicted of possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose and hindering his own prosecution following a one-week trial in Cape May County Superior Court, Taylor said. On Oct. 3, 2015, Davis shot Doris Howell, 39, with a shotgun while aboard the fishing vessel “Storm,” which was docked in Lower Township. As a result of the shooting, Howell’s left foot and part of her calf were amputated, Taylor said.  Taylor said due to the charges and Davis’s criminal history, he faces a maximum of life imprisonment with an 85 percent parole disqualifier. click here to read the story 12:22

Chris Oliver Appointed to Lead NOAA Fisheries

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

Offshore Wind Faces Stiff Test From Hurricanes

As new offshore wind farms are built off the Northeast coast, a new report suggests that the current models of wind turbines may not withstand the most powerful of hurricanes. The study, by the University of Colorado Boulder, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the U.S. Department of Energy, is intended to help the budding offshore wind industry as it expands into hurricane-prone regions, such as the East Coast. “We wanted to understand the worst-case scenario for offshore wind turbines, and for hurricanes, that’s a Category 5,” said Rochelle Worsnop, lead author and a graduate researcher in the University of Colorado’s Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC). click here to read the story 10:58

Can offshore wind revive America’s ports? This town hopes so

New Bedford – This salt-caked fishing port has been flush with wind prospectors ever since Massachusetts legislators passed a law for massive wind development in the shallow waters south of Martha’s Vineyard.,,, States up and down the Atlantic coast are rushing to become the capital of America’s burgeoning offshore wind industry, hoping the massive turbines will breathe new life into ports mired by a shrinking fishing industry and a flagging industrial base. Maryland officials last month approved renewable energy credits for two developments totaling 368 megawatts off their shores in a bid to transform Baltimore and Ocean City into the industry’s manufacturing and maintenance hub in the Mid-Atlantic (Climatewire, May 12). Lawmakers in New Jersey are counting down the days until Gov. Chris Christie (R) leaves office early next year, when they plan to restore their own credits for offshore wind developments (Energywire, June 9). In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) wants to bring 2,400 megawatts of wind power online by 2030 (Energywire, Jan. 11). But few places are betting on offshore wind quite like New Bedford. click here to read the story 11:58

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for June 16, 2017

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates, Click here Seafood Lobby Day this past Wednesday was a tremendous success! 15:02

A meeting with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke – Concerns aired about Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument

Fishing groups from around New England met with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Friday to air complaints about former President Barack Obama’s designation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument last year. The monument, the first marine national monument in U.S. Atlantic waters, protects about 4,000 square miles of ocean 150 miles southeast of Cape Cod. Fishermen say the protected area in which fishing is prohibited hurts their business and places an undue burden on an already heavily regulated industry. But Priscilla Brooks, vice president and director of ocean conservation at the Conservation Law Foundation, said the former administration did take fishermen’s concerns into account. Obama reduced the size of the original proposed monument by 60 percent and allowed lobster and crab fishermen a seven-year grace period to continue fishing there. “There was a robust public process,” she said. (BS!) click here to read the story 08:25

A Message from John Bullard, Regional Administrator – There Is No Silver Bullet for Groundfish

The great philosopher Yogi Berra said, “You can observe a lot by watching.” You can also learn a lot by listening. I try to do a lot of listening. I think it’s the most important part of my job, and of all of our jobs at the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center. With all of the activity in the last couple of months, there has certainly been a LOT to listen to. For example, we held recreational roundtable meetings in New Jersey and New Hampshire and a commercial roundtable in New Bedford. We also attended the New England and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council meetings and an Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission meeting.  click here to read the rest 16:14

Searching for Atlantic bluefin tuna larvae and more in the Slope Sea

The NOAA Vessel Gordon Gunter departed on June 10 from Newport, Rhode Island, and immediately headed off the continental shelf to water deeper than 1,000 meters (about 3,300 feet) known as the Slope Sea.  The Slope Sea is an area of the ocean that is bounded to the north and west by the northeast United States Continental Shelf and to the south by the Gulf Stream, whose dynamic currents provide a strong influence over the area.,,, In recent decades, the common view of Atlantic bluefin tuna was that they spawned only in two places, the Mediterranean Sea in the Eastern Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico in the western Atlantic.  However, in the summer of 2013 two cruises sampled the Slope Sea, both of them achieving noteworthy catch rates of early-stage bluefin tuna larvae.  These collections were consistent with a hypothesis first put forward in the 1950s that the Slope Sea was a third spawning ground for this species.  Follow up sampling in 2016 again achieved notable catch rates of bluefin tuna larvae. click here to read the story 15:37

NOAA Fisheries Announces Reimbursement Rate of 60 Percent for 2017 At-Sea Monitoring Costs in Groundfish Fishery

Effective at-sea monitoring (ASM) programs are essential to the success and sustainability of Greater Atlantic Region fisheries. Groundfish vessels in the Greater Atlantic Region that participate in the sector program are required to carry a fisheries observer or an at-sea monitor for a portion of their trips. Fisheries observers are provided and typically paid for by the Federal government in the Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology (SBRM) program and at-sea monitors are partially paid for by industry in the at-sea monitoring program. In 2016, industry began paying their portion of at-sea monitoring costs and NOAA Fisheries was able to reimburse 85 percent of industry’s expenses for July 2016-April 2017. Read the press release here 13:01

Cause of Action Digs In: Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Designation: Some Stakeholders Are More Equal Than Others

This week we review the procedural history of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument (“Atlantic Monument” or “Monument”) designation, which was made by President Obama on September 15, 2016 (“Proclamation”), and show that certain, privileged, non-governmental entities were granted access to detailed information on the forthcoming monument and allowed input into the designation, while other stakeholders—notably those with specific legal authority, such as Regional Fishery Councils—were denied input and access.,,,  The following history, derived from the partial responses to CoA Institute’s FOIA requests and other publicly available documents, is illustrative: In March 2015, the Conservation Law Foundation (“CLF”) and Natural Resources Defense Council (“NRDC”),,, click here to read the story. Hang onto your Sou’wester. 17:53

Judge strips $2.8M tournament prize from Fla. fisherman

A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that a Florida fisherman is not entitled to the $2.8 million in prize money he won in a Maryland fishing tournament last summer. Phillip Heasley and the crew of his Naples, Fla.-based boat, the Kallianassa, put their fishing lines in too early, violating the rules of the White Marlin Open in Ocean City, Md., the judge ruled. Three New Jersey men – Trenton police sergeant Brian Suschke, Trenton firefighter Rich Kosztyu and Ocean County boat owner Damien Romeo – could land $2.3 million of the money, but the judge’s decision did not yet rule on the awarding of the money. Because the matter is still technically pending, with a decision expected on the money, Suschke declined further comment, except to say the three men are “happy to have cleared one legal hurdle.” click here to read the story 09:49

Watermen, locals descend on Raleigh to fight fisheries bill – The true toll of a treacherous bill on commercial fishing

Hundreds of commercial fishermen and their families, along with local government and agency leaders spent Wednesday walking the halls of the North Carolina Legislative Building in an effort to battle a bill they say could shut down the entire industry. House Bill 867 would attempt to rewrite the Fisheries Reform Act, which is the body of statutes that provides the framework for fisheries management in North Carolina. The event was organized by North Carolina Watermen United and the North Carolina Fisheries Association.,, But just as opponents were arriving on Jones Street in Downtown Raleigh, many wearing white T-shirts and red buttons calling for a no vote, word trickled out that the legislation was being amended. click here to read the story 08:47

The true toll of a treacherous bill on commercial fishing – Sandy Semans Ross –  If he had bothered to come, I wanted to explain what is obvious to me but apparently less so to others. But he didn’t come, so I share my words with you. I would have told him that the coastal economy as a whole is unique because of its proximity to the ocean and the sounds. click here to read the story

Greenstick Tuna Fishing

Inspired by commercial tuna fishermen, a new generation of recreational anglers now targets tuna with a green stick. The boats around us, fishing commercially, were outfitted with a 40-foot vertical pole called a green stick. At the time, only a few commercial boats rigged this way. By the next season, half the charter fleet had joined the stick fight. Lately, green sticks are popping up on private boats, and smaller versions are available for boats less than 30 feet. But installing, rigging and using this deadly tactic is a major investment of time and money. Here’s how to do it right. click here to read the story 16:15

Monument review includes Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, Papahahanoukuakea National Marine Monument’s

President Donald Trump’s call to review 27 national monuments established by three former presidents,,, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke made his first recommendation Monday: Proposing a reduced size for the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. He is set to issue a final report in late August for all the monuments. A closer look at five of the monuments that are being re-examined: Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument, The designation closed the area to commercial fishermen, who go there primarily for lobster, red crab, squid, whiting, butterfish, swordfish and tuna. A coalition of commercial fishing groups filed a lawsuit in March to overturn the designation. They argued the creation of the monument would bring economic distress to fishermen and their families. Papahahanoukuakea National Marine Monument,The decision to expand the monument was the subject of fierce debate within Hawaii, with both sides invoking Native Hawaiian culture to argue why it should or shouldn’t be expanded. click here to read the story 08:30

Mid-Atlantic Council Approves Squid Amendment

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved the Squid Amendment to the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan during a meeting last week in Norfolk, Virginia. The amendment includes measures to reduce latent (unused) permits in the longfin squid fishery and modify management of longfin squid during Trimester 2. After considerable discussion and consideration of public comments, the Council selected preferred alternatives and adopted the amendment for Secretarial review and implementation. Below are summaries of the issues addressed and the Council’s preferred alternatives. click here to read the notice 16:55

President: “Fishermen for Trump, I like that,”

President Donald J. Trump came to New Jersey on Sunday to headline a fundraiser for the re-election of Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ 3rd District) at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster. While the event was closed to the media, cellphone video posted from the event shows the President speaking to assembled guests – who sources say helped raise more than $800,000 for the MacArthur campaign – and asking where his fishermen were seated as he reaches into his suit pocket and fishes out a Fishermen for Trump bumper sticker created during the 2016 election by the RFA. “Fishermen for Trump, I like that,” the President said on Sunday at Bedminster while holding up the bumper sticker in front of the audience, flanked by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Rep. MacArthur. click here to read the story  12:57

A crabbing boat sinks, a father is lost, a son rescued

In the final minutes of Ed Charnock’s life, he and his son clung to each other to conserve body heat in the frigid Chesapeake Bay. Jason Charnock handed his dad the only lifejacket he could grab from their fast-submerging crabbing boat. But the choppy water swept it away. “The boat sank, and Dad kept on floating away staring at me,” Jason Charnock told the Coast Guard in a statement he provided to The Associated Press. “I was looking for a helicopter to come,” he said. “I kept looking, and then looked back to see where my dad was, he wasn’t there and must have went under.” For this dwindling island community in the Chesapeake Bay, Ed Charnock’s drowning in late April struck a rare blow. click here to read the story 08:52

We must fight any plan to drill off the Jersey Shore

Drilling for oil and natural gas off the coast of New Jersey is a bad idea that never goes away.,,, Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, oil companies actually drilled exploratory wells off Atlantic City. They didn’t find significant enough deposits to continue the effort. But here we are again. New Jersey’s two U.S. senators and House members from coastal districts are opposing the latest push for offshore drilling, just as they have done every time this issue has bubbled to the surface, no matter their party. And the argument — a good one — against offshore drilling is always the same: Why endanger the state’s $44 billion-a-year tourism industry and the 500,000 jobs it supports? Half of that revenue is generated from counties along the coast. Offshore drilling could also threaten the state’s $7.9 billion-a-year fishing industry and the 50,000 jobs it creates. click here to read the story 17:54

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for June 9, 2017

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates, Click here  CALL TO ACTION!  The NCFA in conjunction with NC Watermen United are planning a Seafood Lobby Day on Wednesday, June 14 at the Legislative Building located at 16 W. Jones Street, Raleigh, NC. Transportation is available! click here for logistical details 16:28

New Jersey has good reasons to resist federal rules on fluke

If federal fisheries managers got fan mail from some flounder these days, would it side with their catch limits or New Jersey’s defiant alternate rules? State and local officials and the N.J. congressional delegation pushed hard against this year’s federal plan to reduce the catch of summer flounder, also called fluke, by 30 percent. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission wanted to require fish to be an inch bigger to be kept — 19 inches in the ocean and nearby waters and 18 inches in Delaware Bay. Since last year’s limits were already tough on fishers and marine businesses, the plan prompted an uproar. Rep. Frank LoBiondo said “unelected bureaucrats in Washington use questionable methodologies and outdated science to cut us off at the knees.” He and fellow Rep. Frank Pallone introduced bipartisan legislation to prevent the new flounder quotas from taking effect. click here to read the story 10:28

No free market in Maryland crab picking

I don’t doubt how productive and valuable Mexican immigrant crab pickers in Maryland are. Their bosses say they’re the heart of the crab industry. But upon closer inspection, it seems the seafood companies don’t really think this important work is worth a fair wage. The companies have lobbied tenaciously to make sure that the legal and regulatory framework of the H-2B visa program allows them to legally underpay their workers compared to what they would have to pay to attract workers in the free market …Maryland crab is delicious, if you can afford it. At $30 to $50 per pound, it’s certainly not cheap. That’s why I was curious to know just how much these H-2B workers were valued by their employers. click here to read the story 11:57

Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council Meeting in Norfolk, VA June 6 – 8, 2017

The public is invited to attend the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s  Tuesday, June 6, 2017 – Thursday, June 8, 2017 Hilton Norfolk The Main, 100 East Main St. Norfolk, VA. Briefing documents will be posted as they become available (click here).  For online access to the meeting, enter as a guest (click here) 11:10

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for June 2, 2017

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates, Click here 11:59

Deepwater Wind accepts Maryland PSC approval; will move forward on Skipjack Wind Farm

Deepwater Wind LLC accepted the Maryland Public Service Commission’s approval of its Skipjack Wind Farm project, a planned 15 turbine wind farm 19.5 miles off the coast of Maryland the company announced in a press release in May. The plant will provide 120 megawatts, what the company says is enough power to support 35,000 homes. It is expected to cost $720 million. According to the Skipjack wind farm application in November, Deepwater Wind also committed to $6,000,000 into the Maryland Offshore Wind Business Development Fund. Deepwater Wind also signed contract to build a wind farm off the coast of Long Island earlier this year. click here to read the story 16:11

Feds threaten shutdown of N.J. Fluke fishery as showdown escalates

Call it the Great Flounder War of 2017. A simmering battle between New Jersey recreational fisherman and the federal agency governing fishing along the Atlantic Coast has now escalated — with potentially disastrous consequences for the fishermen. In a teleconference on Thursday morning, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) officially found New Jersey to be out of compliance with federal regulations.  The matter is now headed to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross for a final decision. If Ross agrees with the recommendation, both recreational and commercial fluke fishing could end up banned altogether in the Garden State. ,, And here’s where things get really sticky: If Sec. Ross finds New Jersey to be out of compliance, he’d have the option of imposing a moratorium on summer flounder fishing in the state — a moratorium that would also apply to commercial fishermen, who thus far have been in compliance with the feds. (Earlier this year, the state’s commercial fishermen agreed to lower fishing quotas imposed by ASMFC.)  click here to read the story 08:19

CBMM’s floating fleet gets a spring spruce up

Under the guidance of Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum Shipwright James DelAguila, the maintenance season for CBMM’s floating fleet of historic vessels once again is in full swing, with all work done in full public view. As is typical this time of year, work proceeds with the most-used and popular vessels, including the 1920 buyboat Winnie Estelle, which received some system upgrades and a fresh coat of paint, thanks to CBMM’s dedicated volunteers and staff. The Smith Island crab scraping replica Volunteer and crab dredger Old Point each are receiving minor carpentry repairs, along with fresh coats of paint in advance of their busy seasons. click here to read the article w/2 more images 18:30

Beached shrimp boat removed from North Carolina’s Bird Island

David Bartenfield first learned to sail when he was 12 years old and has continued to do so for over 40 years. Over Memorial Day weekend, he saw something on North Carolina’s Bird Island he probably won’t forget anytime soon – a shrimp boat beached on the shore. Over Memorial Day weekend, he saw something on North Carolinas Bird Island he probably won’t forget anytime soon, a shrimp boat beached on the shore. According to Chris Humphrey, a civilian controller with the U.S. Coast Guard in North Carolina, the boat was beached on May 25 after it lost power and ran ashore. Video,  click here to read the story 15:19 Here is a great collection of image’s and video of the Miss Carolyn Ann thanks to Bill Keziah, click here

Did you know Beaufort’s ‘Captain Billy’ North? A memorial Mass will honor him Wednesday

Woody Collins knew William North for years. He walked the shrimp docks in Port Royal on Wednesday recalling the man the Lowcountry came to know as “Captain Billy.” Captain Billy’s Lowcountry life on the water will be remembered in Beaufort on Wednesday. A memorial Mass for William North will be held at noon at St. Peter’s Catholic Church chapel on Carteret Street. North, known as Captain Billy, was a Beaufort native and longtime charter and commercial fishing boat captain. He died in Georgia on April 17 at age 70. click here to watch the video  12:24