Category Archives: Mid Atlantic

Oyster Prices Plummet As Diners Stay Home Amid Pandemic

With several hours of daylight to spare, Ronnie Robbins and his son, Jason, had already docked their 36-foot deadrise workboat on Hooper’s Island and started unloading their briny cargo.,,, It isn’t a supply problem. Watermen in Maryland and Virginia alike say they are having no trouble landing their daily wild oyster quotas.,,, “We got lots of oysters, and they’re excellent quality,” said Bill Sieling,,,  The problem is decreased demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic. >click to read< 09:31

Massachusetts Launches ‘Ropeless’ Fishing Feasibility Study

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) has launched a comprehensive scoping project to assess ‘ropeless’ fishing gear in the New England lobster fishery. A first of its kind on an accelerated timeline, the project will interview dozens of fishermen, technologists, policy experts, and scientists to fully evaluate the challenges and opportunities of the new gear type. The twelve-month project will evaluate fishing, legal, regulatory, technological challenges and opportunities of alternative lobster gear, which could reduce whale entanglements. >click to read< 12:47

6 Ocean Priorities for the Biden Administration from the Environmentalist

Since President-elect Biden was voted into office last November, he and his team have been sharing what they want to accomplish in their first 100 days in office.,, In the midst of any political transition, it is easy for environmental issues to be pushed aside in the name of more “urgent” issues.  Fortunately, the new administration has given us promising signals that environmental action is high on their to-do list. Here are six things that must be prioritized in the coming weeks and months,,, >click to read< 09:48

Public Hearings for Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Commercial/Recreational Allocation Amendment

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission) are seeking public comment on the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Commercial/Recreational Allocation Amendment. Comments may be submitted at any of five virtual public hearings to be held between February 17 and March 2, 2021 or via written comment until March 16, 2021. >click to read, click for links< 12:41

New York State more than doubles the number of foreign wind turbines planned off the coast of Long Island

New York State’s decision last week to award two “massive” offshore wind power contracts to Norwegian energy giant Equinor will more than double the size of a planned wind farm off the coast of Long Island. It also promises “substantial” upgrades to a section of the electric grid at Oceanside. The   plan, announced by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last week as part of an expansive post-COVID-19 green economy, would bring the number the number of turbines expected to be spinning off the South Shore by 2027 to around 170, encompassing some 80,000 acres from Jones Beach to Islip, the company said. >click to read< 08:50

Stocks head for weekly loss as economy’s coronavirus pain deepens – Seafood industry hit hard

A federal report says the coronavirus pandemic has taken away about a third of the commercial fishing industry’s revenue. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says revenues from catch brought to the docks by commercial fishermen fell 29% over the course of the first seven months of the year. The report says revenues declined every month from March to July, including a 45% decrease in July. The NOAA report says the seafood industry at large has been hit hard by restaurant closures, social distancing protocols and the need for safety measures. >click to read< 09:15

New York Selects Equinor for Largest US Offshore Wind Award

“Together, Equinor and the State of New York will create a robust offshore wind supply chain capable of manufacturing, assembling, and staging these projects at scale. As Equinor works to expand its renewable energy presence across the United States and the globe, New York’s leadership clearly illustrates the transformative benefits of offshore wind on climate goals and economic activity alike,” says Siri Espedal Kindem, President of Equinor Wind U.S.,,, “Governor Cuomo has taken the necessary actions to position New York as a national hub for the U.S. offshore wind industry, >click to read<09:34

Mid-Atlantic Council Flirts With Overfishing

The relationship between the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) and overfishing goes back a long way. In 1999, the Council adopted a summer flounder quota that had just an 18 percent probability of preventing overfishing, an action that led to the landmark court decision in Natural Resources Defense Council v. Daley, which established the principal that, to pass legal muster, a fishery management measure must have at least a 50 percent probability of achieving its conservation goals. Immediately after the court handed down that decision, the Council divorced itself from any management measure that might condone overfishing, and spent nearly two decades successfully rebuilding and conserving once-overfished stocks. At one point in the early 2010s, it was the only one of the eight regional fishery management councils that had completely ended overfishing, and didn’t preside over any overfished stocks. >click to read< 14:36

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 88′ Master Marine Steel Scalloper, Cat 3412, Kort nozzle, 2 Detroit gensets

To review specifications, and information, and 16 photos, >click here<, To see all the boats in this series >click here<11:39

Lifejackets for Lobstermen Project works to get PFDs on every fisherman

From 2000-2016, the Centers for Disease Control charted 204 commercial fishing fatalities from falls overboard. None of the fishermen recovered were wearing a lifejacket, and 108 of the fishermen’s bodies were never found, according to a report of the Lifejacket Project, which was launched to identify solutions and increase fishermen’s interest in wearing lifejackets. In its recently published, 20-page summary report, the Northeast Center for Occupational Health and Safety in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing chronicles stories from the Lifejackets for Lobstermen Project and provides examples of the fishing community’s interest and engagement with the project. >click to read< 05:46

Capt. Willard Hamilton Norris, Deltaville’s Last Active Wooden Boat Builder Passes Away at 94

The Bay region lost a boatbuilding icon on Jan. 7 as Capt. Willard Hamilton Norris, 94, of Deltaville passed away. Norris built boats past age 90, best-known for his deadrise workboats. In a 2017 Chesapeake Bay Magazine story, he said he hoped to continue building until he was 100. During the    heyday of planked wooden deadrise workboats on the Chesapeake Bay, Willard was born in 1927 to a traditional boatbuilding family on Lovers Lane  in Deltaville.,,, With the help of his wife Shirley, he built his first “paid to build” boat in the footprint of his soon to be living room and used the profits from the boat to complete his home. >click to read< 10:29

Renewables and unions: Biden rounds out energy Cabinet

President-elect Joe Biden closed out his Cabinet picks last week with the choice of Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) for Commerce secretary and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for Labor secretary,,, Offshore wind insiders say Raimondo appears to be an answer to the growing friction between a burgeoning renewable sector and the fishermen who have long been the ocean’s dominant users.,, Raimondo would oversee NOAA Fisheries, a critical gatekeeper to the growing line of offshore wind projects awaiting approval from the incoming Biden government. >click to read< 17:08

Deadline to Apply for Seafood Trade Relief Program Coming Up

“U.S. fishermen affected by retaliatory tariffs need to file an application for this program by Friday, Jan. 15,” said Richard Fordyce, Administrator for USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). “We still have funding available, and these direct payments will help them recover from the effects of retaliatory tariffs on their ability to make a living.” STRP is available for the following types of seafood: Atka mackerel, Crab (Dungeness, King, Snow, Southern Tanner, Flounder, Geoduck, Goosefish, Herrings, Lobster, Pacific Cod, Pacific Ocean Perch, Pollock, Sablefish, Salmon, Sole, Squid, Tuna, Turbot. To apply, visit farmers.gov/seafood or call 877-508-8364. >click to read< 12:20

Proposal to help young fishermen becomes law

The bill, co-authored in the House by Rep. Seth Moulton and signed into law Tuesday by President Donald Trump, addresses the succession void that many traditional fisheries are experiencing as the pipeline of entry-level crew and prospective captains has dried up. The new law provides $2 million in funding to distribute grants of up to $200,000 to support and enhance local and regional training, education and technology development for entry-level commercial fishermen. >click to read< 17:14

North Atlantic Right Whales – Proposed Pot/Trap Fisheries Regulations – Available for Public Comment

Today, we released our proposed modifications to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan to further reduce the impacts of entanglement in fishing gear on right whales in U.S. waters. The proposed modifications focus on the Northeast Jonah crab and lobster trap/pot fisheries, which deploy about 93 percent of the buoy lines fished in areas where right whales occur. In 2021, the team will be asked to recommend risk reduction measures for other Atlantic trap/pot and gillnet fisheries. We also released the associated Draft Environmental Impact Statement. >click to read< 12:02

Coronavirus: Coast Guard offers extension on credentials, medical certificates, and course approvals

Coast Guard officials have announced an extension of merchant marine credential endorsements, medical certificates and course approvals to meet challenges caused by the global novel coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, the Coast Guard advised that due to these changes there may be a backlog in the processing of credentials and course approvals, especially near the end of the extension dates.,, Under the Coast Guard’s current statutory authority, the expiration dates of merchant mariner credentials may be extended for no more than one year. >click to read< 14:34

Coronavirus has hit commercial fishing hard

With restaurants and supply chains disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic, two-fifths of commercial fishers from Maine to North Carolina did not go fishing earlier this year, a new study shows. The study, which covers March to June and included 258 fishers, also examined data on fish landings and found that the catch for some species, such as squid and scallops, decreased compared with previous years. The catch for other species, such as black sea bass and haddock, was on par with or higher than previous years, suggesting that many fishermen fished as much as they had been before the pandemic, while earning less income. “They may have kept fishing to pay their bills or crew, or to maintain their livelihoods or their quotas until markets rebound,” >click to read< 13:32

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 38′ Flowers Lobster Boat, 450HP Cummins

To review specifications, and information, and 10 photos, December 2020 – New engine gear, shatt cutlass bearing, prop, new deck, new rope locker and lobster tanks, all new Imron hull coating, new fuel tank, new hatches, >click here<, To see all the boats in this series >click here<12:15

Proposed Modifications revealed to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan

Today, we released our proposed modifications to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan to further reduce the impacts of entanglement in fishing gear on right whales in U.S. waters.,,, In 2021, the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team will be asked to recommend risk reduction measures for other Atlantic trap/pot and gillnet fisheries. We opened a public comment period on both of these documents. >click to read<  Statement from Commissioner Keliher on Today’s Proposed Whale Regulation Announcement by NOAA>click to read< 10:58

Legislation to help next generation of young fishermen passes in Congress

Congress passed bipartisan legislation on Dec. 20 that would establish a national program to train and educate the next generation of commercial fishermen. It must be signed by President Donald Trump before becoming law. The Young Fishermen’s Development Act, H.R. 1240, would create $2,000,000 in yearly grant funding, which would be dispensed to various organizations to provide mentorship and learning opportunities to fishermen just starting in the industry. >click to read< 12:19

As the New Year is on the horizon, please consider implementation of a U.S. Fish Bill

Greetings to all commercial fishermen, fish processors, equipment suppliers, politicians, and citizens, that are interested and supportive of creation of a U.S. Fish Bill. I mentioned it in a letter to the editor, Letter: Can a fish bill, like Farm Bill, aid fishermen? on January 9, 2015, and have continued posting about, hoping the idea will gain industry wide support. I have tried to get our local politicians to help me draft a U.S Fish Bill, which would serve the U.S Fishing Industry, like the U.S. Farm Bill does for the agriculture industry. >click to read< Sam Parisi, Gloucester 09:11

New Jersey seafood workers aim to ensure they’ll be among first round getting COVID-19 vaccine

The New Jersey Seafood Coalition told Gov. Phil Murphy in the Dec. 17 letter that the crews on New Jersey’s commercial fishing vessels help ensure food security. “All Americans depend on these women and men to harvest, process, and distribute healthy foods,” the coalition wrote. “Effective vaccination of food industry workers will help vital food industry supply chains, including our own, continue to function during what appears to be a resurgence of this dangerous virus.” >click to read< 18;15

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 67′ Steel Stern Trawler, 525 HP Cummins, with Federal and NY Permits

To review specifications, information, and 10 photos, with Federal and New York Permits, >click here<, To see all the boats in this series >click here<12:10

Report on Fishery Failures: Urgently Needed Disaster Declarations Act, S. 2346

Purpose of the Bill: The purpose of S. 2346, the Fishery Failures: Urgently Needed Disaster Declarations Act, is to clarify and expedite the disaster declaration process, establish certain deadlines for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), reduce delays, and clarify eligibility for assistance to ensure that charter, recreational, and Tribal fishers have access to disaster funds. Additionally, the bill would provide employment opportunities for fishery employees displaced by a fishery disaster by prioritizing their hiring to undertake restoration, conservation, and other fishery rebuilding activities funded by disaster relief funds. >click to read< 09:22

LI fishermen see ‘tough’ days ahead as NYC restaurants back in lockdown

With New York City restaurants back in lockdown, Long Island fishermen once again face the loss of one of the biggest markets for their fish as a choppy 2020 comes to a close. Hank Lackner, who operates the state’s largest commercial trawler, a 93-foot dragger out of Montauk, said he’s already applied for the relief. “It’s been really tough,” said Lackner, adding his revenue is down 40% to 45% this year. “It’s only going to get tougher,” with city restaurants in lockdown, and talk of a bigger statewide pause in January. >click to read< 10:39

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: Menhaden Business – 2 vessels, with permits, and quota

To review specifications, and information, and 60 photos, Turn key business includes 2 vessels, seines, and existing customers, permits and quota for New Jersey, MA permit >click here<, To see all the boats in this series. Seller is encouraging offers for a quick sale. >click here12:00

Tale of skipjack captain and caper still worthy of praise

This is the story of a gift of Chesapeake waters, no less important than any bounty of seafood. It’s about Art, the late Art Daniels, Jr., that is, legendary Deal Island oyster dredger, captain for more than half a century of the skipjack City of Crisfield. It’s also about the art of the oyster, which appears to be the least glamorous of Chesapeake seafood, no match for the blue crab’s colors, the sportiness of striped bass or the eel’s epic migration from Bay streams to Sargasso Sea. No method of harvesting the Bay was more artful than the wind filling the outsize mainsail of a skipjack as the captain drove her skillfully, >click to read< 09:35

Vineyard Wind Withdraws From Federal Permitting Process

The first announcement that Vineyard Wind would withdraw from federal review was buried in a public statement that went out Dec. 1 about the company’s selection of General Electric’s Haliade-X as its preferred wind turbine generator model. Vineyard Wind is a joint wind energy venture between Copenhagen Infrastructure Projects and Avangrid Renewables. The process had seen repeated delays and slowdowns, but had nearly reached the finish line late last month, with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) expected to release a final environmental impact statement by Jan. 15, five days before President Trump leaves office. Now Vineyard Wind appears to be betting on the Biden administration for a fresh start. >click to read< 08:40

(Vineyard Wind 1 Project) is no longer necessary and the process is hereby terminated>click to read<

Massachusetts Lobstermen Raise Concerns Over Proposed Whale Regulations

At a public hearing on Tuesday, the Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries (DMF) shared its recommendations to extend a seasonal commercial gear closure to areas north and east of the Cape from February 1 through April 30. “I’m just trying to plan for the future of fisheries. I mean, if we have a closure this will really close down the state to any type of income,” said Mike Lane, a fisherman who asked whether the state would require modifications to other kinds of fishing gear. Officials were unable to provide an economic impact report based on these recommendations,,, (someone that was there said there was a lot of ropeless chatter) >click to read< 07:30

Chesapeake Bay Says Goodbye to a Classic Virginia Deadrise Boatbuilder

Edward Diggs, an iconic builder of deadrise workboats, left the Chesapeake Bay for good on Thanksgiving after a long, well-lived life. He was 93 and had lived for many years in the home he built with his family on Mobjack Bay in Redart. Diggs began building boats with his father and later built with Alton Smith,,, Diggs boats were large (44-50’), high-sided, and built stout. Mr. Edward’s last large boat is a good example: Dutch Girl is 50’ x 15’, built in 1992 at Horn Harbor for Capt. Dave Thompson. Thompson took her to New York,,, >click to read< 18:20