Category Archives: Mid Atlantic

Have bluefish changed their habits?

What is causing them to change their behavior is puzzling fishermen and federal fishery managers who appear to have hit a wall trying to figure out the best way to utilize the fish.  By all indications the numbers of bluefish up and down the East Coast are not scarce, they’re just not where they’re expected to be. “There’s an abundance of them. They’re just 80 to 100 miles offshore where the longliners can’t keep them off the hook,” said Captain Lenny Elich, who runs the Miss Barnegat Light party boat. The two federal regional bodies that manage bluefish want to revise the allocation of bluefish between commercial and recreational fisheries by taking as much as 4 million pounds from the recreational harvest and giving it to commercial fishermen. >click to read<14:26

New York’s RE Debacle Deepens: Offshore Wind Power All-at-Sea Without Massive Subsidies

Where the cost of onshore wind power is staggering, the cost of offshore wind power is astronomical. Of course, in either case, in the absence of massive and perpetual subsidies, there would never have been a single turbine constructed on land or at sea, ever, period. New York State’ Governor, Andrew Cuomo is just the latest in a long line of politicians in bed with crony capitalists the wind and solar ‘industries’. His obsession with wind power is sending New York’s power prices into orbit. And his plan to spear thousands of turbines off the New Jersey coast has incensed local fishermen who are literally told developers to get f*%#@d: Deepwater in Deep Trouble: Fishermen Tell Off-Shore Wind Farm Developers to [email protected]*#K Off. >click to read<07:50

Life on the Bays – Stories of beauty and heartache

Once numbering in the thousands, independent baymen have worked in the public waters off Long Island for centuries. Now these clammers and fishermen, many in their 60s or 70s, go mostly unnoticed. So do their daily struggles. Whether in Peconic Bay, Hempstead Bay, The Great South Bay, or others, the baymen share common pains: declining clam and fish populations, lack of affordable docking, increased regulations and catch limits. They cite pollution, fertilizers, global warming and governmental disinterest as culprits. Of course, there is also the literal pain they endure from the repetitive physical stress of their jobs. And then there’s Oyster Bay. 40 minute video, >click to read<10:55

‘OC Shark Hunter’ arrested for unauthorized shark fishing off Assateague

A Wicomico County man who went by “OCSharkHunter” on social media was charged Sunday with guiding fishing trips without a license, according to Maryland Natural Resources Police. Nicholas Ager, 43, of Willards was arrested and charged after a two-month investigation of complaints about offers of paid shark fishing excursions on Assateague Island, Natural Resources Police said in a release. >click to read<16:08

PETA is coming after Baltimore’s beloved crab

The animal rights group selected the local crustacean as the mascot for its latest pro-vegan campaign. A billboard in Baltimore pictures a crab with the words, “I’m me, not meat. See the individual. Go vegan.” Danielle Ohl, a reporter for the Capital Gazette, tweeted a picture of the billboard Thursday, and it set off some strong reactions. Locals took to Twitter to share their reactions to the billboard that was erected yesterday on the corner of East Baltimore Street near the Shot Tower. Jimmy’s Famous Seafood chimed in, too. “I thought it was fake, honestly,” said Tony Minadakis, owner of the restaurant. “I was shocked. It was pretty tone-deaf.”>click to read<08:58

Hermaphrodite Crab Spotted Near Deal Island

A rare catch in the Tangier Sound left many watermen puzzled. The strange crab seemed to display both male and female characteristics. It’s almost as if you drew a line down the middle, the right side of the crab female– the left, male. A group of watermen discovered the hermaphrodite crab Monday morning. Tom Wheatley was sorting through hundreds of crabs when he quickly spotted the unique crustacean, unsure of which pot to place it in. “I was combing through a box of crabs and this one crab caught my eye. It threw me off for a second,,, Video>click to read<10:57

Senate MSA reauthorization a step back for fishing communities

In July, the House passed H.R. 200 the “Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act,” a much needed update of federal fisheries law that allows for both sustainable fisheries management and the long-term preservation of our nation’s fishing communities. Unfortunately, its counterpart bill making its way through the Senate would likely have the opposite effect. The Senate bill, S.1520, or the “Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2018,” introduces changes to the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA)—the main law governing U.S. fisheries—that would impose increasingly burdensome regulations on American fishermen and undermine H.R. 200’s goal of increasing flexibility in fisheries management. >click to read<17:51

Epizootic Shell Disease – New findings suggests earlier springs and hotter summers foster increase in shell infections

New findings reveal that as coastal waters in the northeastern U.S. continue to warm — bottom temperatures in Long Island Sound have increased 0.7°F per decade over the last 40 years — resident lobsters are becoming increasingly susceptible to epizootic shell disease, a condition that has depleted the southern New England population and severely impacted the local lobster fishery.,,, As the name implies, epizootic shell disease occurs when the bacterial populations that normally inhabit the surface of a lobster’s carapace change and begin consuming the cuticle, causing it to erode. >click to read<09:18

This Summer Seafood Shack Isn’t Your Everyday Jersey Shore Restaurant

It’s Fourth of July, and Bill Bright, a 60-year-old commercial fisherman who owns the best seafood restaurant between Atlantic City and Cape May, hopes nobody wants to buy crabs today. Bright looks like Joe Biden’s outdoorsy younger brother and runs Hooked-Up Seafood in Wildwood, the southernmost barrier island of the Jersey Shore, with his wife, Michelle, and four kids.,, Bright’s boats, Retriever and Defiance, run up and down the coast from Virginia to Long Island, fishing off the continental shelf. Whatever they catch winds up on the menu at Hooked-Up: yellowfin and big-eye tunas, mahi, swordfish, once in a while some prized John Dory. Fueled by word of mouth and devoted repeat business, Hooked-Up has blossomed over the last nine seasons into the place in-the-know locals go for seafood.> click to read<16:30

You Don’t See This Everyday

It was a stunning visual – a powerboat sitting on top a J/105 while out on the Chesapeake Bay. This was the result of a violent collision in which, thankfully, no one was hurt. It was August 17 when the two boats were off the shore of Thomas Point Park when the commercial boat, part of a charter service, and a J/105 sailboat belonging to the Chesapeake Boating Club in Eastport, collided. There were nine people aboard the boats – 2 on the J/105 and 7 on the powerboat. The boats were perpendicularly stacked until emergency personnel arrived in the early afternoon and separated them and towed both to shore. Photos >click to read<12:17

LI farmers and fishermen outline problems for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Long Island farmers and fishermen on Saturday outlined many complicated and pressing problems to U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who sits on the Senate Agriculture Committee. Their to-do list included: cleansing polluted bays by reconnecting them to the sea, obtaining an emergency permit to use a banned pesticide, policing counterfeit seafood, and securing seasonal workers despite an immigration crackdown. Gillibrand, who stands for election in the fall and who might have presidential aspirations, vowed to “elevate” many concerns aired at a panel she convened that was hosted by the Ammerman campus of Suffolk County Community College in Selden. >click to read<16:37

MAFMC/ASMFC Public Hearings on Summer Flounder Commercial Issues Amendment

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission are seeking public input on a draft amendment to address several potential changes to the management of the commercial summer flounder (fluke) fishery, as well as modifications to the fishery management plan (FMP) goals and objectives for summer flounder. Ten public hearings will be held between September 10 and September 27. Written comments will be accepted through October 12, 2018. >click to read<19:25

Ocean City Officials Strengthen Their Opposition to Proposed Wind Farms

Over a year ago, the Maryland Public Service Commission approved the leases for two wind farms off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland—a resort town and commercial fishing mecca. The commission approved 62 turbines at least 14 miles off the coast of Ocean City to be developed by U.S. Wind—a $1.4 billion project—and a 15-turbine, $720 million project by Skipjack Offshore Wind LLC to be situated north of the U.S. Wind project. ,,  After a recent presentation from a noted expert on the impacts of wind farms on commercial fishing, the mayor and council decided to strengthen their opposition to the wind farms. >click to read<11:21

Former skipper gets deferred-prosecution deal in fisheries case

Thomas Kokell, a former commercial trawler-boat captain, was indicted in 2016 on four counts of mail fraud, conspiracy and filing false fishing reports in connection with an alleged scheme to illegally harvest nearly 200,000 pounds of fluke in 2011 and 2012. The fish were valued at nearly $400,000. Kokell was released Tuesday on his own recognizance after a court appearance in which the deal was approved by a federal judge, according to federal court documents and Kokell’s attorney. He will not enter a plea and the charges will be dismissed, avoiding prison time and fines, if he “avoids future misconduct” over the next year, according to his attorney Peter Smith and court documents. >click to read<07:56

N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission panel in disarray ahead of quarterly meeting

Just as the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission convenes on Wednesday for its quarterly meeting in Raleigh, there has been a complete turnover of the panel’s commercial fishing members.
By statute, the nine-member board must include three members representing the commercial industry. Sammie Corbett and Alison Willis, both of whom have served since 2014, submitted their resignations Monday night.,,, Both the N.C. Fisheries Association and N.C. Watermen United sent letters Tuesday to state officials asking that no action be taken on any issues that affect the commercial industry until there is full representation. >click to read< 08:44

310-pound bull shark caught in Southern Maryland waters

A commercial fisherman pulled an 8.6-foot, 310-pound bull shark from his pound net trap at the mouth of the Patuxent River in Southern Maryland on Monday — an uncommon catch that has been the buzz of the bay as the picture has made its rounds. Larry “Boo” Powley, 65, of Hoopers Island said he found the shark, which had swum into the trap just below Cedar Point to feed on the fish inside, when he checked his four pound nets at sunrise. It wasn’t the first shark he’s caught in the Chesapeake Bay. But he was astounded at its size. “I’ve been on the water for 42 years,” Powley said. “I’ve never seen one that big.” >click to read<17:40

Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council Meeting in Virginia Beach August 13–16

The public is invited to attend the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s meeting to be held August 13-16, 2018 in Virginia Beach, VA. The meeting will be held at the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront (3001 Atlantic Ave., Virginia Beach, VA 23451, Telephone 757-213-3000). Briefing Materials & Agenda Overview Agenda >click here< Attend Meeting with Adobe Connect >click here< Listen Live! 19:15

New Jersey – Governor Murphy signs bill for marine fisheries management

A bill to provide an extra $1.2 million to the state Bureau of Marine Fisheries for shellfish and fisheries management was signed into law Friday by Governor Murphy. It’s an increase to the $2.468 million allocated in the Governor’s proposed FY2019 budget, said bill sponsors, bringing the total appropriation to $3.668 million for the coming fiscal year. New Jersey has 6 major commercial fishing ports which this law would primarily affect, although the law would affect other ports as well: Atlantic City, Barnegat Light, Belford in Monmouth County, Cape May, Point Pleasant and Port Norris. New Jersey’s commercial fishermen catch more than 100 million pounds of seafood each year, worth more than $100 million, the sponsors said. >click to read<13:48

New England/Mid-Atlantic – Illex Squid Directed Fishery Closes August 15

Effective at noon on August 15, 2018, vessels are prohibited from fishing for or landing more than 10,000 lb of Illex squid per trip per calendar day in or from federal waters through December 31, 2018. Landings information analyzed by NOAA Fisheries projects the Illex squid fishery will meet 95 percent of the annual quota for the 2018 fishing year by August 15, 2018. NOAA Fisheries is closing the directed fishery in federal waters through the end of the fishing year, December 31, 2018. >click to read<09:18

Bay State Wind alters layout for offshore wind farm, but fisheries call foul

Bay State Wind LLC is changing the turbine layout of its 800-MW Bay State Offshore Wind Project to accommodate the U.S. commercial fishing industry’s ability to work between turbines. But fisheries say the changes are too little, too late and underscore their growing frustration with the offshore wind sector. However, the commercial fishing industry is not satisfied with Bay State Wind’s changed layout. Meghan Lapp, fisheries liaison for Rhode Island-based frozen seafood producer Seafreeze Ltd., said one-mile-wide transit lanes can make it dangerous for trawl vessels to fish with their nets without hitting other boats or project infrastructure. Buffer zones for each side of a transit lane are also needed due to potential radar interference from the turbines. >click to read< 09:48

Commercial Fisherman Plead With State Consultant For License System Overhaul

The young men who work the decks of Hank Lackner’s dragger, Jason & Danielle, spend up to three weeks at a time far over the horizon from their homes in Montauk, toiling in heat and high seas. “My crew just spent 13 days at sea, working 20-hour days—these are true commercial fishermen,” Mr. Lackner told a consultant who has been hired by the state to craft new licensing guidelines at a meeting in Southampton last week. “They spend 200 days a year on my boat, they don’t have a lot of chances to get out. They shouldn’t be eliminated from this process. We don’t want them to go away. We have to figure out a way where the [landings of] trips they worked gets them some kind of credit for being on the boat.” For years, young commercial fishermen have been stalled from setting out on their own by the state’s embargo on issuing “new” licenses, and by inflexible rules for transferring existing licenses from those who are leaving the industry to those trying to get in. >click to read<10:58

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Company accused of diluting Chesapeake blue crab meat with imported crab

Few things say local like the Chesapeake blue crab. It has scuttled its way into Maryland’s tourism slogan and is part of the region’s signature dish, proudly touted on menus and in markets as a taste of the Bay in an era when “eat local” has become the mantra of foodies. But a few years ago, a tipster reached out to authorities with an unsavory allegation: A major Virginia seafood supplier was selling packages of premium Chesapeake blue crab meat cut with cheaper foreign crab. It wasn’t even the same species. In an unusual probe, federal agents fanned out to markets across Virginia, Delaware and North Carolina, scooping up crab meat from Casey’s Seafood and sending it out for the type of DNA analysis more common in rape and murder cases. >click to read<11:23

Testimony: Young fishermen being driven from Long Island fishing industry

A generation of young fishermen are being driven from the industry by an antiquated licensing system that makes it difficult if not impossible to transfer permits, fishermen said at one of several state meetings last week. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has hired a consultant from Maine to meet with commercial fishermen across the metropolitan area over the next month to compile proposals for fixing the system.,, Norman Stiansen, a commercial fisherman from Hampton Bays, said his son Peter recently gave up on becoming a commercial fishermen because he couldn’t get the needed licenses. >click to read<08:50

Montauk Trying To Save Long Island Shore From Wind Farms – Residents are against it and need more support.

July 11, at the Montauk Playhouse just beneath the Montauk Manor there was an open town hall meeting featuring representatives of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management concerning a project to produce 2,400 megawatts of power by 2030 (12 years from now.) The plan is to construct “eventually” clusters of wind farms along the 100-mile south shore of Long Island from 3 to 200 miles out. The project is to start off Montauk. The large hedge fund putting up a reported $560M has tried to frame the debate as “commercial fishermen worried about their fishing grounds versus clean wind power energy,” but that just is not the case. >click to read<07:53

Susquehanna River Debris Has Crabbers Concerned After Heavy Rains

The slew of debris from as far as upstate New York is now hitting our region after officials were forced to open gates on the Conowingo Dam in the Susquehanna River. This is due to the rain that pounded the area last week. For Blair Baltus, he’s bearing the brunt of that debris. “When that flood water came down, it killed most of the crabs that were in the pots.” President of the Baltimore Watermens Association, Baltus says these months are supposed to be the peak of crab catching season. “With these gates opening up it pretty much flushed away everything we had.” Baltus said. >click to read<11:07

Fishermen up in arms over plan to build windmills off Long Island coast

It’s before dawn on a recent July morning at Lazy Point in Napeague Bay, LI, and there is a slight chill in the air as the fishermen unload their boats into the water. Dan Lester, a 12th-generation bayman, and his son Daniel, 14, are among those heading to sea to check their traps. “This is the most sustainable fishing you’ll ever see,” Dan says as they begin hand-sorting the fish trapped in their nets, tossing whatever they can’t sell, including small spider crabs and stingrays, back into the ocean. On a certain level, not much has changed for these New York baymen since the 1600s, when their ancestors came from places such as Kent, England, and were taught to fish by native Algonquin tribe members. But these East End fishermen fear it soon will. They are up in arms over an agreement to build 15 massive windmills – each more than 650 feet tall, the height of Manhattan skyscrapers – off the coast of Montauk. >click to read<09:33

Deepwater in Deep Trouble: Fishermen Tell Off-Shore Wind Farm Developers to [email protected]*#K Off

Wind developers just ran aground off the New Jersey coast, with fishermen telling them to stick their wind turbines where the sun don’t shine. Gripped with a maniacal obsession with wind power, New York State, under Andrew Cuomo, is determined to wreck its once affordable and reliable power supplies, and much more, besides. It’s not as if New Yorkers are short of power. With tens of billions of dollars in subsidies up for grabs, RE rent-seekers have scoped out every last inch of territory in which they might get to spear a few more of these whirling wonders, and start harvesting those subsidies, in earnest. Like all forms of crony capitalism, the rent-seekers will do and say anything to win political favour. Building subsidised offshore wind turbines, is no exception. >click to read<07:56

Once in a blue moon: Crabber catches rare all-blue blue crab

Jim McInteer and his crew mate Alan Payne knew they had captured an oddity the moment they pulled their crab pot from the York River last Tuesday. “We were excited about it,” says McInteer. “Alan yelled, ‘Come look at this crab!’ He very carefully took him out of the pot and then I could see exactly what it was — I’d read about how they occur every now and then, so we knew what we had.” McInteer, who at 73 has been crabbing commercially for 10 years and recreationally for decades, says he’s caught blue crabs “with blotches of white, and some other slight discolorations, but never a solid-blue blue crab.”Recognizing its rarity, they donated it to the laboratory of Professor Rom Lipcius, an expert in crustacean ecology at William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science. >click to read<16:19

Devastating report has seafood dealer on his heels, angry – U.S. senator calls for an investigation

A national seafood distributor is defending its reputation as sales plummet after The Associated Press found it was not living up to a guarantee that all of its seafood was wild, sustainable, traceable and caught by local fishermen. Sea To Table owner Sean Dimin said most problems identified by the AP were honest mistakes or the result of miscommunication, and some supporters came to his defense. But four former employees said they raised concerns about mislabeling, the blending of imports and deceptive marketing practices years ago, and were ignored or silenced. A U.S. senator has called for an investigation, and a community-supported fishery filed cease-and-desist orders, demanding Sea To Table stop deceptive marketing. >click to read<13:25