Category Archives: Mid Atlantic

A Lobsterman’s Tale of Survival

The darkest moment of John Aldridge’s 12 terrifying hours of floating alone in the Atlantic Ocean came in the first moments after he was flung off his lobster boat. “You hit the water, you’re in such disbelief,” he recalls. “Nobody in the world knows you’re missing. Their life is happening right now, but your life is done! Right now, in the middle of the ocean, today’s the day you’re going to die.” Not only did Aldridge survive — by pulling a James Bond-like maneuver to turn his boots into flotation aids — but, nearly four years later, he’s still working in the profession that put him in so much danger. And he’s retelling the remarkable tale in a book just released. Click here to read the story 10:37

Newport News’ harbormaster proves she’s got what it takes

According to a long-held nautical superstition, it is bad luck to have bananas or women on a boat. If that were true, Doreen Kopacz probably would have sunk a ship by now. Kopacz, Newport News’ harbormaster, has worked on boats since she was 8 years old and hardly took time to stop. In what is a largely male-dominated industry, Kopacz worked her way up from boat scrubber to boat captain and, now, harbormaster. She is the first woman since about 1913 to work as Newport News’ harbormaster — the person who patrols the docks and makes sure commercial fisherman are paying their city bills. She’s also expected to review design plans for construction that might happen at the dock, such as a recent mooring system replacement. click here to read the story 18:00

North Carolina shrimp catch soared to new record last year – why its a mystery

North Carolina shrimp trawlers caught more of America’s favorite seafood last year than any time on record. The verdict on why is unclear. Shrimpers in 2016 harvested a record 13.2 million pounds worth $28 million, a 45 percent increase over the previous year, according to state biologists. A warm autumn gets much of the credit leading to big hauls through New Year’s Day, some two months longer than usual, according to a release from the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries. Keith Bruno, owner of Endurance Seafood in Oriental, also credits mild temperatures.
“Weather makes all the difference,” he said. But weather does not entirely explain last year’s boom, said Steve George, a salesman at Willie R. Etheridge Seafood Company in Wanchese. Click here to read the story 14:31

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for May 26, 2017

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates, Click here 08:02

NOAA Forecasts Busy Hurricane Season for Atlantic

Less than a year after Hurricane Matthew raked the East Coast, killing 34 people and causing $10 billion in damage in the U.S. alone, coastal areas are once again preparing for the onset of the Atlantic hurricane season. This year, forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are expecting to see above-average storm numbers in the Atlantic, despite the uncertainty of whether an El Nino will develop over the summer. The forecast is currently for 11 to 17 named storms to form, of which five to nine are expected to become hurricanes, and two to four major hurricanes. The forecast, though, does not predict when, where, and how these storms might hit, Ben Friedman, the acting NOAA administrator said during a press conference, as he and other officials urged coastal residents to begin their preparations. Click here to read the story 10:38

Coastal lawmaker wants to create fish farming industry in North Carolina waters

A proposal moving through the state Senate calls for leasing waters off the North Carolina coast so people can farm fish. Senate Bill 410 would allow people to lease from 100 to 1,500 acres in the state’s sounds and the Atlantic Ocean, where they could build underwater pens to raise various species of fish that they could later sell to supermarkets and restaurants. “We’re creating an industry here,” sponsor Sen. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, told members of the Senate Finance Committee this week. “This is not something we’re doing in North Carolina. This will allow us to do fish farming and bring in some big bucks.” Sebastian Belle, executive director of the Maine Aquaculture Association, told lawmakers that fish farming is a $100 million business in his state, which has been leasing areas along its coast for 35 years. “The sector is growing worldwide,” Belle said, adding that fish farming “will help keep kids in those (coastal) communities working on the waterfront.” click here to read the story 13:23

Sad news: Barnegat Light Scalloper ‘Apparently Fell Overboard’ and Dies in Massachusetts

The Fishermen’s Story Memorial at the tip of Barnegat Light will have another name engraved in memory of commercial fishermen who died in their line of work, this one Pete Benya. “Barnegat Light is again mourning the loss of one of our own,” says the Facebook page of the Fishermen’s Story Memorial Fund. Capt. Pete Benya, 59, died the weekend of Sunday, May 14, when his body was found floating in Saquatucket Harbor, Mass., and later identified, according to the Cape and Islands district attorney’s office. Benya owned the Resolute and had been scalloping out of Barnegat Light for several years.“Pete was making a few trips out of Harwich, Mass., and apparently fell overboard while at the dock,” said representatives from Lighthouse Marina, his home port in Barnegat Light. “He will be sorely missed.” Click here to read the story. 19:33 We extend our deepest condolences to Captain Peter Benya’s  loved ones, and his community. Rest in Peace, Captain.

Trial begins to settle $2.8M fishing tourney prize

It started in the open ocean off Maryland last summer and it’s likely to conclude in a federal courtroom in Baltimore. The battle over $2.8 million in prize money from the White Marlin Open fishing tournament went to trial Monday in U.S. District Court. On the line for three New Jersey men is $2.3 million of the pot.Trenton police officer Brian Suschke, Trenton firefighter Rich Kosztyu and Ocean County boat owner Damien Romeo were ecstatic after winning $767,091 for catching a 236.5-pound tuna at the August competition in Ocean City, Md. Then, the friends and fishing partners found out their catch might actually be worth millions. Click here to read the story 17:44

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission rejects NJ’s proposed flounder regulations

The drama surrounding New Jersey’s summer flounder regulations continued Monday, as a regional fisheries management board rejected the state’s adopted regulations for the popular marine catch just days before the fishing season is scheduled to start. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, a regional agency that helps set fishing quotas for the 15 East Coast states, found New Jersey’s regulations for the upcoming season were not sufficiently strict to reduce the catches needed to keep the stock healthy and compensate for past years of overfishing. New Jersey’s Marine Fisheries Council adopted those regulations last week, in anticipation that they might be an acceptable compromise. The commission’s rejection means the state is “out of compliance,” a designation that could prompt federal regulators to shut down the entire flounder fishery for recreational and commercial anglers. click here to read the story 15:14

Coast Guard medevacs Fisherman 60 miles east of Atlantic City, NJ

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Station Atlantic City medevaced a man from a fishing vessel 60 miles east of Atlantic City, New Jersey, Monday. Sector Delaware Bay watchstanders in Philadelphia received notification from the 90-foot fishing vessel Settler that a 51-year-old male crewmember was experiencing chest pains at about 8:38 p.m. A helicopter crew launched from Air Station Atlantic City and arrived on scene at approximately 11:45 p.m. The helicopter crew hoisted the man into the helicopter and transported him to Air Station Atlantic City, where EMS personnel transferred him to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center for treatment. USCG Click for video 14:40

How Maine came to play a central role in an international eel smuggling scheme

Years after officials launched an investigation into baby eel poaching on the East Coast, the first of several men to plead guilty to participating in the wildlife trafficking ring was sentenced last week in a federal courtroom in Maine. Michael Bryant, 40, a former Baileyville resident who now lives in West Yarmouth, Massachusetts, is one of more than a dozen men who the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service says poached thousands of pounds of the baby eels, also known as elvers or “glass” eels, from 2011 through 2014. Since 2011, elvers on average have fetched around $1,500 per pound for fishermen, and netted more than $4 million total for the 12 convicted poachers who have pleaded guilty to federal charges in South Carolina, Virginia and Maine. Maine found itself at the center of a criminal enterprise that illegally netted elvers along the Atlantic seaboard, where most states ban their harvesting, and then shipped the eels overseas to feed East Asia’s voracious seafood appetite, according to investigators. click here to read the story 14:43

Offshore exploration and drilling back on table for Georgia

The Trump administration announced earlier this month that it is moving forward on seismic surveys in the Atlantic Ocean, the first step toward offshore drilling in a region where it has been blocked for decades. The Interior Department plans to review six applications by energy companies that were rejected in January by the Obama administration. Local and state environmental groups as well as many coastal municipalities oppose the surveys, saying loud sounds from seismic air guns could hurt marine life. Sen. David Perdue, R-Georgia, and Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Savannah, remain in favor of seismic testing and offshore drilling. “With a vibrant commercial fishery industry and the only known calving ground for endangered North Atlantic right whales just off our coast, Georgians oppose seismic testing for offshore oil exploration and the risks it poses to our state’s wildlife, wild places, and quality of life,” said Alice Keyes, vice president for coastal conservation at Coastal Georgia-based One Hundred Miles. Click here to read the story 19:19

‘A Speck in the Sea’ tells tale of boyhood pals’ brush with death on Long Island fishing excursion

After more than 10 hours in the frigid ocean 40 miles south of Montauk Point, John Aldridge didn’t know if there was any fight left in him. It was at that moment when the cruel sea taunted him with salvation — only to snatch it away. No more than 400 yards away he spied the Anna Mary, his lobster boat, the one he’d tumbled overboard from in the wee hours of the night. His crewmate Mike Migliaccio stood on the roof, binoculars plastered to his face, desperately scanning the sea. Migliaccio was a man possessed. He knew Aldridge’s time was running out. How was it possible Mike didn’t see him? Aldridge had spent all his energy affixing himself to a colorful buoy. But the ocean’s glare hid Aldridge from sight and the Anna Mary steamed away. “A Speck in the Sea” is the personally narrated account of Aldridge and his partner Anthony Sosinski about July 24, 2013, a day the unthinkable happened. click here to read the story 14:17

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for May 19, 2017

SOUTHERN FLOUNDER LAWSUIT SETTLED! Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates, Click here  11:50

New Jersey: Fisheries Council decides on flounder limits for season

The State Marine Fisheries Council decided Wednesday to go along with the new 2017 federal regulations for flounder fishing. The regulation, approved by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, allows a catch of no more than three fish at 18 inches or more for recreational fishermen. Flounder season begins May 25 and continues for 104 days to Sept 6. “It’s the best deal for fishermen,” said acting council Chairman Dick Herb. Click here to read the rest, we will update this as we find the articles 10:04

Sharp Cut to ’17 Fluke Harvest – NY Commercial harvesters are allowed to land fluke in state waters year round, subject to a daily limit of 50 pounds. Click here to read the story 15:04

Fishery managers weighing cuts in Bay crab harvest

Chesapeake Bay crabbers will likely face some harvest restriction this season to protect future generations of the iconic crustacean, a move managers say is necessary because of the low population of juveniles. Fishery managers for Maryland, Virginia and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission all say they are considering shortening the season and imposing stricter limits on the harvest of female crabs. They are not proposing changes in male crab catches. News of harvest cuts surprised some crabbers at Maryland’s Blue Crab Industry Advisory Committee last week. The latest winter dredge survey results released in April showed the highest number of female crabs in the 28-year history of the annual count. Female crabs clocked in at 254 million, a 31 percent increase over last year. But the Baywide survey, which counts the crabs in more than 1,000 locations as they burrow in the mud, estimated there were 125 million juvenile crabs in the Chesapeake, a 54 percent decrease from the 271 million found in 2016. That is the lowest tally since 2013 — a year when crabbers also had their catch curtailed — and one of the five lowest estimates since 1990, managers said. Click here to continue reading the article 21:38

Coast Guard medevacs fisherman 50-miles off Atlantic City, N.J.

The Coast Guard medevacced a fisherman who was reportedly suffering stroke-like symptoms approximately 50-miles off the coast of New Jersey, Tuesday. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay were notified that a fisherman aboard the 90-foot scallop boat Frank & Maria needed medical attention. An MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew was dispatched from Air Station Atlantic City and arrived on-scene and hoisted the man at approximately 8:40 a.m. Coast Guard rescuers brought the man to Atlanticare Regional Medical Center for medical attention. Click here for video  16:17

Pallone Supports Potential Compromise on Summer Flounder Cuts

This week, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) expressed support for a potential compromise between the State of New Jersey and Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) on Summer Flounder Cuts. ASMFC agreed to consider a proposal by the State for conservationally-equivalent management measures for the 2017 summer flounder fishery, and is expected to reach a decision in the next two weeks. In exchange for a 104-day fishing season and the 3 bag limit, the size limit would be decreased to 18 inches. The Commission postponed a decision on that until the next meeting of the Interstate Fisheries Management Program in two weeks. Pallone and Senator Booker sent a letter to NOAA Fisheries about its proposal to reduce the ABC recreational and commercial quotas for summer flounder in 2017 and 2018. The New Jersey lawmakers requested that NOAA Fisheries postpone any decision on reducing summer flounder quotas until it conducts a new benchmark summer flounder assessment.  Click here to read the letter 14:37

Video: Coast Guard crew says goodbye to the Tamaroa

Forty-four boarded a boat in Cape May early Wednesday morning, including 10 former Coast Guards, to say goodbye to a storied ship with decades of service. The Tamaroa, a 205-foot Coast Guard cutter featured in the “The Perfect Storm,” was scuttled earlier this week 33 miles off of Cape May, becoming part of New Jersey’s artificial reef program. The sinking was delayed numerous times due to rough seas since last October when the state’s Department of Environmental Protection’s had originally planned to sink the ship on the storm’s 25th anniversary.  Click here to watch the video, read the story 12:29

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for May 12, 2017

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates, Click here   19:45

Seaview Crab Company Expands To Offer Online Ordering

Brothers Joe and Sam Romano and longtime friend Nathan King founded Seaview Crab Company as a simple roadside market along Carolina Beach Road back in 2006. Prior to opening the market, the three worked as commercial crabbers, hustling to sell their catch to other markets. But when a small seafood and tackle shop became available for rent just down the road from where they usually set up shop, the business really began to take off. Since that time, the company has gained a loyal local following, both as a wholesale and as a retail seafood outlet. But many of their customers are also folks who live outside of Wilmington and travel here to spend time at the beach. MacBride said that Seaview began taking orders for shipments over the phone and soon realized the need for online ordering. click here to read the story 08:33

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission meeting in Alexandria, Virginia May 8 – 11, 2017 – Listen Live

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will meet at The Westin Alexandria, 400 Courthouse Square, Alexandria, Virginia 22314, May 8 – 11, 2017  The agenda is subject to change. The agenda reflects the current estimate of time required for scheduled Board meetings.  Click here for details, Click here for webinar 12:37

Offshore Wind Power Will ‘Absolutely Cost Jobs’ Of US Fishermen

The fishing industry is worried the first offshore wind farm to come online in the U.S. will ruin their way of life and kill jobs. An offshore wind turbine three miles off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island, will kill large numbers of fish and potentially drive hundreds of small coastal enterprises out of business, according to a fishing industry representative. Fishermen fear offshore wind turbines will continue to pop up along Atlantic Coast, eventually make it impossible to be a commercial fisherman. “This will absolutely cost jobs in the U.S.,” Bonnie Brady, director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “If New York Governor [Andrew] Cuomo’s administration gets what it wants from offshore wind that’s thousands of fishing jobs. It’ll rip the coastal communities apart.” Brady says New York’s government is willfully ignoring fishing jobs in favor of the wind industry and thinks the consequences of Cuomo’s policy could spread economic devastation to fishermen well beyond the state. click here to read the story 10:46

LIPA, PSEG urged to disclose costs of green-energy program – “Of course they’re not going to give the numbers,” said Bonnie Brady, director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, which has joined a lawsuit to stop a wind farm off the South Shore. “I think the governor needs to rethink his mandate. He’s destroying fishing jobs for pie-in-the-sky [wind-energy construction] jobs that are not going to last.” click here to read the story 10:52

A Hudson Canyon-sized power struggle is developing 100 miles off N.J.’s coast

In November 2016, the Wildlife Conservation Society nominated Hudson Canyon to be designated a National Marine Sanctuary. The WCS selected the canyon, the largest submarine crevice on the Atlantic Coast, due to its wide biodiversity. The canyon is home to more than 20 protected species, including the North Atlantic right whale, according to the conservation group. “This is a canyon the scale of the Grand Canyon,” said Jon Forrest Dohlin, the Vice President of the WCS and the director of the New York Aquarium. “It seemed like something that could really benefit from awareness and protection.” But commercial fishermen see this as the latest in a series of moves that could lead to increased fishing restrictions from the Gulf of Maine to the Gulf of Mexico. Commercial fishermen in New Jersey fear losing access to a profitable fishing ground. According the Greg DiDomenico, the executive director of the Garden State Seafood Association, click here to read the story 09:54

Interior Department Releases List of Monuments Under Review, First-Ever Formal Public Comment Period for Antiquities Act Monuments

The Department of the Interior today (5-5-17) announced the first ever formal public comment period for members of the public to officially weigh in on monument designations under the Antiquities Act of 1906, and the Department released a list of monuments under review under the President’s Executive Order 13792, issued April 26, 2017. A public comment period is not required for monument designations under the Antiquities Act; however, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and President Trump both strongly believe that local input is a critical component of federal land management. Comments may be submitted online after May 12 at http://www.regulations.gov by entering “DOI-2017-0002” in the Search bar and clicking “Search,” or by mail to Monument Review, MS-1530, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240. Marine Monuments under review are, Papahanaumokuakea, Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, Pacific Remote Islands, Rose Atoll, Marianas Trench. click here to read the press release, 18:03

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for May 5, 2017

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates, Click here 16:25

Attention US East Coast Fishermen.

On may 17th President Donald Trump will be giving the commencement address to the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London CT. We are seeking interested commercial fishing vessels to come together in a show of solidarity to ask our President to look into the management problems that have plagued our industry for decades. We all know the issues that are destroying our industry and we need to get the word out to his administration that we, like farmers, coal miners and a whole host of American small businessmen are struggling to hang onto our businesses because of the onerous regulatory situation that has plagued our industry. What we are seeking is if there are enough interested people to put together a flotilla of vessels to sail up the Thames River as a show of support for his plan to minimize industry and job killing over regulation.  We recognize this is short notice but this is a golden opportunity to show the President who we are and the importance of our industry to the fabric of our nation and our coastal communities. If we find enough support and a commitment to show up to form a parade of vessels we will announce more details as to the time we would need to assemble and also receive other ideas to get the message to the President on our desire to “Make commercial fishing great again”. This is not a protest of our President. It is a rally in support of his pro business agenda that would benefit all Americans. If interested please call Bob Guzzo @860-608-5988 or Joel Hovanesian @401-742-3162 Thank you for your consideration to this undertaking. 14:23

East Hampton Fisheries Advisory Committee Urge Study on Importance of Fisheries

Representatives of East Hampton Town’s Fisheries Advisory Committee this week again asked the town to help fund a comprehensive analysis of the socioeconomic importance of fisheries on the East End and reiterated fishermen’s concerns about the Deepwater Wind offshore turbine installation.  The committee would like to hire Cornell Cooperative Extension to conduct the economic analysis, and its members are seeking participation from East Hampton and other local municipalities in order to raise the $100,000 needed to pay for it. Brad Loewen, the chairman of the fisheries committee, who is a bayman and a former town councilman, said the committee has also been examining how — or if — the State Department of Environmental Conservation considers potential detrimental effects on fisheries when assessing the impact of proposed projects, such as the offshore wind farm. With unsatisfactory responses so far from the D.E.C. to requests for information, the committee, which is working with John Jilnicki, a town attorney, may ask the town board to submit a Freedom of Information Law request for the needed documents. click here to read the story 08:52

Offshore Wind Farm Costs $150,000 Per Home Currently Powered

An offshore wind farm in Rhode Island went online Monday, but building it costed $150,000 for every household powered. Three miles off the coast of Block Island, R.I., the wind farm is currently generating enough electricity to power 2,000 homes, but building the five turbines costed $300 million. That’s roughly $150,000 per household just to build the turbines, not to operate them. To put this in some perspective, the U.S.’s newest nuclear reactor, Watts Bar Unit 2, cost $4.7 billion to build but powered 4.5 million homes. The extremely high cost of offshore wind doesn’t worry environmentalists and progressives however, because, “it’s the precedent that counts.”  click here to read the rest 11:37

A new oyster war – Rich homeowners vs. working-class watermen

Oystermen, pirates and police clashed violently more than a century ago over who could collect the Chesapeake Bay’s tasty and lucrative oysters. As the shellfish makes a comeback, a modern-day oyster war is brewing, this time between wealthy waterfront property owners and working-class fishermen. Over the past five years, oyster production has doubled on the East Coast, driven by new farming methods, cleaner water and Americans’ growing taste for orders on the half shell. The resurgence has led to unprecedented resistance from coastal Virginians who want to maintain picturesque views from their waterfront homes and has fueled a debate over access to public waterways. “These people can’t have it all,” said Chris Ludford, an oysterman in Virginia Beach who sells to nearby farm-to-table restaurants. Ludford said he faces fierce pushback along a Chesapeake Bay tributary from people with “a $2,000 painting in their house of some old bearded oysterman tonging oysters. “But they don’t want to look out their window and see the real thing,” he said. click here to read the story 14:15