Category Archives: Mid Atlantic

In the middle of a socio economic disaster, Town of Riverhead cracks down on bunker fishermen

Even as Long Island’s commercial fishing industry reels from coronavirus-shuttered markets and restaurants, one East End town this week began cracking down on one of the few remaining viable sectors for local baymen: fishing for menhaden. Menhaden fishermen who launch their boats from a town ramp in Riverhead were greeted by a bay constable Wednesday morning who said the men would be cited for using seine nets that stretch beyond the 50-foot limit allowed by the town.  “I’ve been fishing there for the last 30 years, and they decide to pick now, in the middle of a socio economic disaster, to enforce a silly code that’s not even applicable?” said Will Caldwell, a Hampton Bays fishermen who received a summons with a 30-day court date. >click to read< 09:37

Coronavirus: Commercial fishermen scale back as market demand plummets

With restaurants only permitted to offer takeout and delivery, and many specialty seafood markets offering limited products or temporarily closing amid the COVID-19 outbreak, commercial fishermen are scaling back operations, too, and they’re feeling the impact. “It’s scary what’s out there, it really is,” said Ernie Panacek, 69, general manager of Viking Village, a commercial seafood producer in the borough. “The money that we get comes from those people going out to dinner and going to retail,” he said. “It’s going to be a hardship for a while. No one is going to flip a switch and have it go away immediately. We’re going to feel this for a long time.” 14 photos,  >click to read< 07:45

Coronavirus: CARES Act Helps Preserve New Jersey’s Commercial Fishing Industry, Coastal Economy

The recently passed CARES Act provides emergency loans and other forms of relief for American small businesses affected by the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The Act also included over $300 million specifically intended to help the domestic fishing industry, one of the many industries harmed by the ongoing closures necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19. This federal support is essential for the future of New Jersey’s fishing industry, which is a key part of the state’s coastal economy. According to statistics compiled by the Garden State Seafood Association, >click to read< 18:02

Coronavirus: Disruption in the seafood supply chain ripples from empty Philly restaurants to idle N.J. docks

“This is crazy,” says Mike Johnson, 53, a lifelong commercial fisherman who captains the Sea Farmer out of Barnegat Light. “[Stores] can’t put food on a shelf fast enough, so why can’t we move these fish? You got a fleet of boats sitting here, and you know, guys can’t move. You have a lot of battles as it is as a fisherman — the weather, not to mention catching the fish, overregulation and the insurance bills that don’t stop coming. And now you have a potentially three-month interruption of ‘don’t go fishing, period!’?” >click to read< 10:15

New England: Fishing Industry and offshore windfarmers no closer to finding solutions

The National Marine Fisheries Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, had refused to endorse BOEM’s draft EIS for Vineyard, complaining that fishing concerns were not addressed adequately. This helped trigger the government’s ongoing analysis of offshore wind’s cumulative impacts in the region.,, In public comments on the USCG port-access study, Meghan Lapp, fisheries liaison for frozen fish supplier Seafreeze, a subsidiary of Spain-based conglomerate Grupo Profand, called for the lanes.,, Lapp also called for an assurance of maritime safety that she said would be compromised by radar interference from wind turbines. >click to read< 08:34

Looking Back at FishNet USA – “New Conservationists” and the Flopping Flounder Fishing Club

In these days of seemingly unrelenting grim news I thought I’d try to lighten the atmosphere somewhat by sharing with you what I consider possibly entertaining piece I wrote and distributed twenty years ago. For those unfamiliar with Mid-Atlantic fisheries management, the striped bass (Morone saxatilis) fishery is managed by a per-state quota, and each states’ quota is divided into commercial and recreational components. Way back when the New Jersey Legislature passed a bill which made it illegal to sell striped bass so the commercial quota was added onto the recreational quota. The commercial was never – and still isn’t – very large, but the unfairness of the law and the fact that it on occasion it necessitates the over-the-side disposal of what would (should?) be perfectly saleable striped bass bycatch grates on a whole lot of commercial fishermen. Please stay safe and healthy, Nils >click to read< 11:38

Markey: Aid for fishermen only the beginning – Fishermen Getting Hammered By Restaurant Shutdowns

Sen. Edward Markey warned members of the fishing community Saturday that the country was just at the beginning of the coronavirus health crisis. “These numbers are mounting, the number of cases, and it could go on potentially for a sustained period of time,” Markey said to dozens of fishing industry leaders, state legislators and mayors on a weekend conference call. “Three hundred million is a great start, but it’s hard to imagine it will go very far,” said Jeffrey Reichle, president of Lund’s Fisheries of Cape May, New Jersey,,, >click to read< 07:27

Fishermen Getting Hammered By Restaurant Shutdowns – They are also looking for relief from government rules. >click to read< 07:30

Coronavirus: Letter from 200+ US seafood industry stakeholders to Trump Administration

March 24, 2020, Dear President Trump.  We write as participants in America’s seafood supply chain, a critical component of the country’s domestic food infrastructure and one of the major economic drivers in our country’s coastal communities and states. Empty restaurants, cafes, and dining halls are a visible reminder of the ongoing, unprecedented public health efforts to blunt the spread of COVID-19. The livelihoods of the chefs, cooks, servers, and other staff are obvious and direct casualties of those government efforts. The economic disruption caused by forced restaurant closures and active encouragement for Americans to “shelter in place,” however, extend far beyond the food service sector. >click to read< 19:37

Coronavirus: Fishing coalition seeks $4B in federal aid to cover lost restaurant sales

Commercial fishing industry members say they’re trying to stay afloat while the demand for fish dwindles as restaurants are reduced to take-out only amidst the coronavirus health crisis. Saving Seafood, a national coalition of seafood harvesters that includes New Jersey members, is now turning to the federal government for $4 billion in financial help.  “We have to manage our expectations right now. This is a national issue and it’s not going to be solved in a day or two,” said Greg DiDomenico, executive director of the Garden State Seafood Association, a commercial trades group that’s also a part of the Saving Seafood national coalition.  >click to read< 18:28

Coronavirus: Fishermen See Market Dry Out

Unable to sell a 1,000-pound catch of fluke last week, Capt. Chuck Morici of the dragger Act 1 spent three days filleting the fish at Montauk commercial dock and offering it for free straight from his boat. On Saturday morning, he gave it away from the back of his pickup truck in downtown Montauk, a big handwritten sign announcing, “Free Fish.”,, In addition to the closure of most domestic restaurants, foreign markets such as Spain and Italy, which before the pandemic were historically large buyers of squid landed on the East End, for example, have stopped all imports. As a result, many fish buyers have implored fishermen to stay ashore. >click to read< 15:10

To the Rescue! LI fishermen donate fish to feed hungry during the coronavirus crisis

Montauk fishermen came to the rescue of its local residents when they gave away more than 1,000 pounds of freshly caught fish to help those in need during the coronavirus crisis. “The stores were going empty and people were panicking,” says Chucky Morici, 56, of Montauk, who has been a commercial fisherman in the area for 30 years. “We thought we’d help calm people down by doing the right thing and giving the fish away.” Morici and his partner James Foley traveled 57 miles offshore on March 17 and had no idea about the pandemic panic happening on land. >click to read< 07:31

Coronavirus: Maryland seafood industry affected by outbreak

“Right now, the climate in the seafood business is absolutely horrific ever since the announcements that eat-in restaurants were shut down. We really took it on the chin. It virtually shut down the last two weeks that were left in the oyster season,”,  Out on the water, those who catch the oysters are feeling the pain, as well, on what was set to be one of the better oyster seasons on record. “It kind of put us out of business and now we’re looking at spring fishing and going into summer fishing, and the markets are slowed almost to a standstill for that and now we’re worried about the crabs,” said Jim Reihl, Maryland Oysterman’s Association president. Video, >click to read< 13:57

Coronavirus Adaption: So That’s What They Mean By Doormat: Fresh Fish At Your Doorstep

With the supply chain into Manhattan constricted, if not completely cut off due to the coronavirus crisis, the fishermen who ply their trade on the East End are facing a dwindling demand for their product. “If there is no call for fish, a fisherman may not go fishing,” said Pete Haskell of Haskell Seafood in Quogue. “If we can create enough of a market to keep him out there, it’s a win.” “We have a commercial fishing fleet that needs more outlets to get its seafood to people,” Deliveries have grown almost daily. >click to read< 15:15

Senate Democrats, Greens Seek Climate Mandates In Federal Stimulus Bills

Senate Democrats and environmentalists want to tack climate change mandates onto proposed federal aid to major airlines and cruise lines reeling from the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter to the House and Senate leadership, eight Senate Democrats said last week that any financial assistance to the travel industry “should be paired with requirements that companies act in a more responsible fashion” by reducing their carbon footprint. “Climate change damages will wreak havoc on a scale even greater than the coronavirus,” said the Friday letter headed by the Center for Biological Diversity. Democrats who signed the letter were Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Jeffrey Merkley of Oregon, Cory A. Booker of New Jersey, Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Tina Smith of Minnesota and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. >click to read< 10:12

Coronavirus: NOAA Fisheries is temporarily waiving requirement for vessels to carry a fishery observer or at-sea monitor.

As part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NOAA Fisheries is temporarily waiving the requirement for vessels with Northeast fishing permits to carry a fishery observer or at-sea monitor. The waiver will be in effect through April 4, and future extensions of this waiver will be evaluated weekly.
For details, please read the letter from the Regional Administrator Dear Partners and Stakeholders: As part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NOAA Fisheries is temporarily waiving the requirement for vessels with Northeast fishing permits to carry a fishery observer or at-sea monitor. The waiver will be in effect through April 4, and future extensions of this waiver will be evaluated weekly. >click to read the rest< 15:56

Small Business Relief Tracker: Funding, Grants And Resources For Business Owners Grappling With Coronavirus

Some 30 million American small businesses are high on the coronavirus’ list of victims. Nearly half of these companies say the pandemic is to blame for unprecedented revenue declines, and with no clear end in sight, the possibility of temporary closures has become a reality for many. In an effort to help business owners find financial relief, we’ve rounded up all of the government agencies, private companies and nonprofit organizations that are extending support. We’ll be adding to this list as the situation develops, so check back for updates. >click to read< 13:01

Coronavirus: NOAA closes Gloucester office to public, takes meetings to web

NOAA Fisheries is restricting access to its Gloucester office and the New England Fishery Management Council is converting many of its meetings to webinars as precautions against further spread of the novel coronavirus. NOAA Fisheries said its Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office in the Blackburn Industrial Park continues to operate, but it is limiting access to the building to employees, as well as to visitors and deliveries deemed essential to its mission. “This measure is taken out of an abundance of caution and our commitment to protecting the health and safety of our employees and constituents during the COVID-19 virus pandemic,” NOAA Fisheries said in a statement. Suspend the observer program, right now!  >click to read< 07:01

Coronavirus: The country is shutting down. Shutdown NOAA’s Fisheries Observer Program, nationally. Right Now.

I am writing this editorial today as a responsible, conscientious American fishermen and citizen, in complete disbelief of the irresponsibility of a U.S. government agency during the current international coronavirus crisis. While the nation is in national emergency mode, states are closing public spaces, schools, universities, daycares, restaurants, encouraging social distancing, putting people in quarantine, outlawing large gatherings, and taking unprecedented emergency measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, NOAA Fisheries is pursuing the complete opposite when it comes to the fishing industry and ignoring all public safety precautions. more by Hank Lackner, F/V Jason and Danielle >click to read<06:03

Haskell’s Seafood Keeping Baymen In Business-Market will deliver directly to homes in wake of coronavirus pandemic

As Jamie Hummel’s markets began shutting down, the Hampton Bays fisherman was genuinely worried what would happen when all avenues to sell his product officially closed. “Everyone is laid off right now,” he said. “With what we do, there’s no backup for us.” Southampton Town Trustee Scott Horowitz saw a Facebook post by his childhood friend and knew he needed to jump into action. He connected Hummel with Captain Peter Haskell, owner of Haskell’s Seafood in East Quogue, who consulted with other baymen, and Assemblyman Fred Thiele, to create a delivery service. >click to read< 09:56

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 35′ Gillnetter/Lobster boat, 300HP John Deere

Specifications, information and 5 photos >click here<, Vessel is in excellent condition! To see all the boats in this series, >click here< 15:23

Tell Your Congressmen and Senators: Our US Fishing Industry Faces The Coronavirus Disaster

With the Coronavirus being spread around the world and nations reacting to this threat in many different ways, from doing nothing, to closing the borders and full quarantines, the unintended effects of such government actions have yet to be fully felt. Granted the stock market has lost 30% in value in just 3 weeks time, the average American really doesn’t feel that unless he is living on his investment returns. With the closing of schools, and restaurants and any places of public gatherings an enormous crisis is being created because many people are being put out of work and some of them may not have a business to come back to when the crisis is over. The Coronavirus may topple an empire if we let it. >click to read< 06:17

Coronavirus: Long Island Wholesale fish prices drop as restaurants cut back

The wholesale price for lobsters, normally anywhere from $12 to $15 a pound this time of year, have fallen under $8, dealers say. Other normally pricey fish such as tuna and swordfish are also taking a dive, as restaurants in New York City cut back,, If there’s any silver lining right now, said Nino Locascio, co-owner of Mastic Seafood in Mastic, it’s the walk-in retail market in Suffolk, where business has remained brisk. He also sells wholesale to local restaurants, and that business is down “dramatically,” he said. >click to read< 16:29

“Looking Back”: The Keep Fishermen Fishing Rally

Measured by any meaningful criteria the Keep Fishermen Fishing rally held on the steps of the Capitol on March 21 was a stunning success. It was attended by thousands of fishermen from as far away as Alaska, twenty one Senators and Members of the House of Representatives, and at least a half a dozen other VIPs made room in their busy schedules to come out and address the people who attended. From the most conservative of the conservatives to the most liberal of the liberals, these politically divergent speakers had one message; fix the Magnuson Act and bring back the balance between conservation and harvest. For the second time at the national level recreational and commercial fishermen – no matter what fisheries they participated in, no matter what their disagreements on allocation or lesser issues were, and no matter where they were from – were standing together and demanding a return to the original intent of the Magnuson Act;,,, >click to read< 08:09

Lawmakers kill SB948 bill threatening watermen’s oyster licenses

A bill that recently prompted hundreds of watermen to descend on the Maryland State House to protest threats to their ability to harvest oysters has been withdrawn from consideration. Senate bill 948’s axing marks a legislative victory for Maryland watermen, who have had to defend their livelihoods from state regulation on numerous occasions through the years. “We’re tickled that it was killed,” said Jeff Harrison, president of the Talbot Watermen Association. more, >click to read< 07:14

European Offshore Wind Takes Shape at Providence Innovation Hub

A new glass-and-steel office space is less about the number jobs or the company that will occupy it and more about the industry taking root there. Seven co-working desks at the Wexford Innovation Center on Dyer Street in the Jewelry District will soon be used by Ørsted U.S. Offshore Wind. (wonder if Bob gets a desk, too?!) The Danish company is joining seven other wind-related companies already there. And judging by the 200 or so attendees at the March 2 office opening, a nascent industry is on the verge of rapid growth. “This is a brand-new industry and it’s being born right here in the state of Rhode Island. It’s unbelievable,” Gov. Gina Raimondo said. more >click to read< 10:10

NCLA Sues Commerce, NOAA, NMFS over Its Unlawful New at-Sea Monitor Mandate

The New Civil Liberties Alliance today filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Rhode Island,,, The suit challenges the agencies’ unconstitutional and statutorily unauthorized effort to force fishing companies to pay for a new agency enforcement program. NCLA represents Relentless Inc., Huntress Inc., and their related company, Seafreeze Fleet LLC,,,  The at-sea monitor mandate for the nation’s Atlantic herring fleet violates the U.S. Constitution’s Article I, and the agencies have exceeded the bounds of their statutory authority because Congress never allowed these agencies to create or to require the industry to finance at-sea monitors or an at-sea monitoring program in the Atlantic herring fishery. more >click to read< 15:07

Notice Regarding Loss of Vessel Monitoring Service

The McMurdo (formerly Boatracs) Omnitracs Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) operated by vessels with Greater Atlantic Region (GAR) permits will not be supported by its satellite provider after March 31, 2020. All current owners of the Omnitracs unit were notified via a letter from McMurdo dated December 19, 2019 about this issue. What should you know if you own an Omnitracs unit? >click to read< 10:27

Watermen protest on Manokin River and call for Oyster Sanctuary to be re-opened

Watermen gathered on the Manokin River Wednesday, calling for the oyster sanctuary to be opened up for harvesting. In 2019, the Manokin River was chosen as the 10th Chesapeake Bay tributary for large-scale oyster reef restoration. According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement calls for the restoration of the native oyster population in 10 tributaries by 2025. The Manokin River is the final tributary to be selected for this Chesapeake Bay Program partnership effort. Video, >click to read< 09:00

Offshore Wind Farm: Clean, Green…Profitable?

In most lifetimes, there are only a few chances to participate in the birth of an industry,,, Ohleth is the senior manager for stakeholder engagement of Orsted, the Danish energy firm that has the contract to build Ocean Wind,,, According to Ohleth, big opportunities are on the way. Not everyone was as sanguine about the proposal. Jeff Kaelin, of Lunds Fisheries, presented a slide that showed the overlap of the project area for Ocean Wind with the path of fishing boats in the region. “The clam guys fish inside of there,” Kaelin stated that the fishing industry would face a disproportionate impact from the wind energy proposal. He described commercial fishing as a $6-billion industry that employs about 30,000 people in a half-dozen different ports, including the Lunds facility, near the Middle Thorofare Bridge, just in from Cape May Inlet.  >click to read< 17:27

It’s back out to sea for fisherman Billy ‘the Kid’ Carman

It was just 12 days since Billy “the Kid” Carman and his crew had been rescued after the fishing trawler New Age took on water in heavy seas 20 miles south of Fire Island Inlet. Now, on Feb. 24, Carman was back at the Montauk commercial fishing dock, preparing for another deep-sea trip. The need for income had forced him to change hats from captain of the New Age to deckhand on the longline fishing vessel, the Kimberly, Carman said during a break from a day of preparations for up to 10 days on the water.  >click to read< 06:23