Category Archives: National

SURETTE: Open-pen fish farming a mess: How the world is passing us by

There’s big stuff happening in the dirty world of open-pen salmon farming. World production of farmed salmon is declining and prices are rising accordingly. The main culprit is sea lice grown immune to the chemicals used to wash them off, helped by algae blooms, fish disease, pollution, damaged wild stocks, and finally political disgust with the whole mess in the more enlightened jurisdictions. The move now, worldwide, is to either haul production to dry land or otherwise insulate the at-sea operations from the surrounding environment,,, >click to read< 18:28

Fish and Wildlife Service official reportedly violated conflict of interest rules

Richard Ruggiero, chief of the Division of International Conservation at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, may have violated federal ethics rules by his involvement in agency grants that provided monetary benefit to a family member, according to a Feb. 20, 2018, Department of Interior Inspector General report. “We found that Ruggiero violated federal laws and regulations by participating in an FWS cooperative agreement that financially benefited his family member, and neither Ruggiero nor his family member disclosed their relationship in writing to the FWS,” the report said. >click to read< 17:22

Our fishing heritage has been gutted

“A nation that forgets its past has no future.”— Sir Winston Churchill. The Plains Indians of the American west, the bands of First Nations peoples in North America, were attacked by white settlers and the U.S. cavalry who eventually killed the buffalo herds, the one resource which was essential to the tribes’ existence and their culture.,,, When Canada took control of our fishery, its dominant activity was to produce wealth, power and position centrally as they sold, bartered and traded the resource, its licences, quotas and its processing jobs to foreign countries and elite industry players. >click to read< 08:00

Study reveals fishing’s startling global footprint: co-author Boris Worm, ‘It totally blows me away’

Global fishing efforts are so wide ranging that fleets covered more than 460 million kilometres in 2016 — a distance equal to going to the moon and back 600 times. That startling revelation is contained in a newly published study in Science that quantifies fishing’s global footprint for the first time. “I’ve been working on fishing for 20 years and it totally blows me away,” co-author Boris Worm, a marine biologist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, said of the findings. The study — which included researchers from Global Fishing Watch, National Geographic, Google and U.S. universities such as Stanford — used satellite feeds and common ship tracking technology known as the automatic identification system (AIS). >click to read< 15:47 

A conflict of interest and possible corruption

Benguela Global, the fund manager that raised concerns about Capitec’s loan policies at the same time as Viceroy published a critical report on the bank, has made public its objection to recent developments at fishing company Oceana, suggesting the developments are a “related party transaction entailing a massive conflict of interest and potentially even laced with corruption”.,, In a nutshell, Oceana acquired 100% of US fishmeal producer Daybrook Fisheries in July 2015 for $382.3 million as part of its bid to diversify its operations and grow globally as there were few options remaining in South Africa. >click to read< 13:14

Hit TV series ‘Wicked Tuna,’ filmed off Cape Ann, releases a new season

The fishing tales of six captains on the hunt for giant tuna swim through the airwaves starting next month, when National Geographic’s hit series “Wicked Tuna” premieres its seventh season. The stakes are always high at sea, as the Gloucester-based fishermen compete to pull in the most lucrative catch of “monstah” bluefin, which can be worth upward of $20,000 per tuna. Season seven kicks off with an extended 90-minute episode on Sunday, March 11, at 9 p.m. on the National Geographic Channel. >click to read< 10:10

What Does the Jones Act Mean for Offshore Wind?

The Block Island Wind Farm, a 30-megawatt wind farm located just off the coast of Rhode Island, began operations in December 2016, fulfilling the goal of the project’s developer, Deepwater Wind LLC, to build America’s first offshore wind farm. The Block Island Wind Farm consists of only five wind turbines and is tiny in comparison to the large offshore wind farms operating off the coasts of Europe, but Deepwater Wind is planning larger wind farms off the coasts of New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland and New Jersey. Other developers are doing the same with other projects up and down the East Coast of the United States. >click to read< 14:37

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 65′ Blount Marine Steel Longliner, 400HP Iveco with Federal Permits

Specifications, information and 6 photos >click here< To see all the boats in this series, >Click here<13:27

Victoria Nuland speaks about her experience of living with 80 Russian fishermen on one boat

American diplomat Victoria Nuland said that she could understand Russian culture better after she had worked with Russian fishermen for six months. The reason for the story was a video posted by Aleksei Navalny, in which Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodkov said to businessman Oleg Deripaska that he considered Victoria Nuland a friend, even though she had an aversion to Russia for living with Russian seamen on a fishing boat for six years in her 20s.  According to Nuland, a joint US-Soviet enterprise allowed American sailors to fish in the 20-mile zone and deliver the catch to Soviet sailors, who were not allowed to fish in that part of the sea,” the diplomat said. >click to read<11:59

Lobster emoji is redesigned after backlash from crabby Maine residents

The company responsible for making new emojis had to change the design for their lobster after an outcry erupted over the number of legs it had. Unicode Consortium announced Wednesday that the crustacean emoji would be a part of the new 157 emojis, slated to be released later this year. But Maine residents soon had issue with the image’s eight legs, because lobsters have 10.  ‘Sen. Angus King from Maine has certainly been vocal about his love of the lobster emoji, but was kind enough to spare us the indignity of pointing out that we left off two legs,’ Emojipedia wrote. >click to read< 09:51

Simple fix for winch injuries not being used by seiners; Experts want to find out why

The most common gear on a seine boat is one of the most deadly – the rotating capstan winch used for winding ropes. Here’s a sampler “The deck winch is the most powerful thing on the boat. It’s the scariest piece of machinery that we work with.” “The corner of my raincoat caught under the capstan and started wrapping around. It snapped my head back and broke my neck.”,,, A simple E-Stop device has been available for over 10 years to prevent winch injuries. >click to read< 17:23

Alaska Fishing Delegation Heads To Washington

Representatives of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association and the Alaska Marine Conservation Council– both members of the nationalFishing Communities Coalition (FCC) – were in Washington, DC, this week urging lawmakers to resist shortsighted efforts to weaken fishing communities by undermining key Magnuson-Stevens Act accountability provisions.,,, “The MSA is working in Alaska and around the country because all sectors adhere to scientifically-sound annual catch limits. >click to read<09:54

To protect right whales, scientists propose major changes for lobstermen

Without prompt action to reduce entanglements in fishing lines, North Atlantic right whales could disappear from the planet over the next two decades, scientists say. In response, scientists here on Cape Cod are proposing a novel way to save the species — one that many New England lobstermen fear could destroy their livelihoods.,,, In one method, the signal would inflate a spool filled with rope that ascends to the surface, allowing the lobstermen to haul their traps similarly to how they do now. In the other, the signal would activate inflatable bags attached to each trap or at the end of the trawls. >click to read< 08:45

The Shutdown

The National Marine Fisheries Service shut down Sector IX because the majority of its boats and quota belong to Carlos Rafael. This came without warning last November 22 and the order also waived the customary 30-day delay in effectiveness. Far from resolving anything this has exacerbated a bad situation by throwing a widening circle of business owners under the bus as the weeks drag by. >click to read< 15:38

Crustacean Placation Nation

The Swiss are worried about lobsters. They are concerned that lobsters are sentient and can feel pain. So, if you want to eat a lobster in Switzerland, you can’t drop it, live, into a pot of boiling water, which is the preferred cooking method in Maine and other lobster-loving states. Instead, according to this article in USA Today, you need to either electrocute the lobster, or lull it into an insensate state by dipping it in salt water — and then stabbing it in the brain. I’m not sure, frankly, why those methods are viewed as more humane than,,, >click to read<12:54

On This Day: February 18 – 1952: Coast Guard rescues 32 sailors from stricken tanker Pendleton

On this day in 1952, one of the most daring rescues in the history of the Coast Guard took place six miles off Chatham. The tanker Pendleton, en route to Boston from Baton Rouge with a cargo of oil, split in two during the winter’s worst storm. Eight crew members were trapped on the ship’s bow; another 33 sailors were stranded on the Pendleton’s stern. And in 1875: Twenty-four Cape Cod fisherman lost as two schooners fail to return from Grand Banks >click to read< 08:52

Moulton: NOAA cuts ‘recipe for disaster’

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration cuts more than $1 billion from the agency that manages the nation’s fisheries and coastal ecosystems, explores space and forecasts weather and changing environmental conditions. On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton of Salem criticized the proposed cuts, saying the proposed 14 percent decline reflects the administration’s shallow understanding of the importance of NOAA’s programs to coastal communities,,, He characterized the president’s budget proposal as a “a guideline” and said it will be up to Congress to determine the ultimate levels of funding through the appropriation process. >click to read< 20:31

Offshore drilling foes, denied microphone, hold rallies

With giant inflatable whales, signs that read “Drilling Is Killing” and chants of “Where’s our meeting?” opponents of President Donald Trump’s plan to open most of the nation’s coastline to oil and natural gas drilling have staged boisterous rallies before public meetings held by the federal government on the topic. That’s because the public cannot speak to the assembled attendees at the meetings. The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is meeting one on one with interested parties and allows people to comment online, including typing comments on laptops it provides. People also can hand bureau officials written comments to be included in the record. What they can’t do is get up at a microphone and address the room. >click to read< 08:29

I Tried to Find Love on a Sea Captain Dating Site

This Valentine’s Day, we’re celebrating strange and misfit love stories. Because love is weird, and weirdo love is the best love. We are all of us are beautiful and unique snowflakes, and it’s only right that dating apps cater to every possible community. If you’re into woke graphic designers, Bumble is the dating app for you. Fancy a freelance type who goes to the same coffee shop every day? Happn. Want the dregs of society to send you unsolicited dick pics? It’s Tinder. But what if you’re craving a man of the tides? A date who knows their stern from their bow? Enter Sea Captain Date. >click to read< 19:12 

How towns are affected by reduced fishing fleets

Over the years I have seen our fleet in Gloucester, Mass decline. As a former fisherman in the sixties we had about two hundred draggers, and times were good . Then the foreigners came with bigger boats using small mesh nets catching everything, and it was not until 1974 that we enacted the 200 mile limit. This was overdue. Now comes the good, the bad and the ugly. The good news was, we were rid of the foreigners! The bad news was NOAA took over. The ugly news is our fleet has dwindled to around fifty fishing vessels, thanks to the bad news part. NOAA, the unreliable science people, determines our livelihoods. >click to read<16:39

Letter: CCA wants to kill competition

Many years ago I believed in the need for a Coastal Recreational Fishing License, and after reading the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) mission statement written at that time, which included the benefits for ALL those involved in the coastal fisheries (recreational and commercial), I joined and became a lifetime member to help achieve the goal of a recreational saltwater fishing license. Over the years I have seen this association move more and more into just another political attack group. After spending three years on the Southern Flounder Advisory Council, I had seen enough. Doug Bolton >click to read<13:46:06

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 55′ Bruno Gillnetter/Lobster, 475HP CAT 3408, with permits

Specifications, information and 9 photos >click here< To see all the boats in this series, >Click here< 12:04 

“ammonium” – San Francisco’s love affair with Dungeness crab grows more toxic

According to a new study published by researchers at San Francisco State University, wastewater pollution also makes our relationship with Dungeness crabs more toxic. Waste doesn’t disappear with a flush. In San Francisco, wastewater from homes and streets drains to treatment facilities operated by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. The facilities clean the water according to federal and state standards. But a form of nitrogen, called “ammonium,” remains when SFPUC releases the water into the Bay and Pacific Ocean. >click to read< 09:05

Something Irritated Her Eye; She Pulled Out A Cattle Worm (Photo)

During the summer of 2016, Abby Beckley was working as a deck hand on a commercial fishing boat near Southeast Alaska when her left eye started feeling irritated. It was probably just an eyelash that had become trapped, she thought, so she rubbed and poured some water over her eye in hopes of extricating the errant hair. But when that didn’t work, she took a closer look into the mirror. There she saw it: something a kin to a small piece of fuzz. She pinched at it and pulled it out. It wasn’t a fuzz. And there wasn’t just one. >click to read< 09:09

HR 200 – 24 Fishing Groups from Around the Nation Call for Magnuson-Stevens Act Reforms

Twenty-four members of Saving Seafood’s National Coalition for Fishing Communities (NCFC) are calling on Congress to enact broad reforms to the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), including allowing for greater flexibility in how stocks are rebuilt and changes to how new management programs are implemented. The proposals, delivered in a letter to Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan, would, according to the signers, lead to a reauthorization that “allows for both sustainable fisheries management, and the long-term preservation of our nation’s fishing communities.” >click to read< 13:22 

For longtime Wakulla fisherman, mullet is still the perfect catch

About 8:30 a.m. in 20-degree weather on 2018’s first Saturday, 80-year-old commercial fisherman Jonas Porter was catching mullet along Wakulla County’s coastline. Nothing stops him from fishing for a living, and since 1994, nothing has stopped him from challenging Florida’s net ban that dealt a life-altering blow to commercial fishing. “I told him not to go,” said Jonas’ wife, Bernice, handing him a cup of coffee,“ but he wouldn’t listen and now he’s sick.” And that’s the way it’s been throughout the Porter’s 57-year marriage,,, >click to read< 14:43

Congress passes spending bill after brief government shutdown

Congress approved a $300 billion, two-year spending bill and an additional $90 billion in aid for victims of hurricanes and California wildfires early Friday and President Trump signed it, ending a brief partial shutdown of the federal government.,,, of interest, tucked in the bill is $200 million for nine declared fishery disasters from Alaska to California dating to 2014. Reps. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, and Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, have been urging approval of funds to aid fishermen affected by the 2015-16 closure of the Dungeness crab season and several salmon fisheries going back to 2014. The administration would decide how to allocate the money. >click to read< 15:14

One Year After The Sinking, Crab Fishermen Remember The F/V Destination — And Take Extra Precautions

This Sunday, Feb. 11 marks the one-year anniversary of the loss of the F/V Destination. Its sinking ranks as the Bering Sea crab fleet’s deadliest accident in more than a decade. While the cause remains a mystery, memories of the crew are inspiring fishermen to stay extra safe this winter.,, Almost a year later, the tragedy is still fresh in the minds of many fishermen, especially crabbers who are out dropping pots in the same area the Destination went down. “Do I think about it?” asked Captain Rip Carlton of the F/V Patricia Lee. “Yes.” >click to read< 13:58

Conservation Law Foundation files Lawsuit to protect right whales

After a year of major losses for North Atlantic right whales, a local environmental advocacy group filed a federal lawsuit against the National Marine Fisheries Service Thursday, arguing that the agency should do more to protect the critically endangered mammals.  But lawyers at the Conservation Law Foundation in Boston, which filed the suit, argued that the agency should be doing more. “Regulators are not just morally mandated to act . . . they are also legally required to ensure fishing efforts do not cause harm to these animals,” said Emily Green, an attorney at the foundation. >click to read< 20:47

One Square Mile: Opioids In New Bedford’s Fishing Industry – Parts 1 and 2

Captain Mario Gonsalves drove up to the docks one December morning to find his fishing boat caked with ice. Gonsalves and his five-man crew fish for whiting, squid and scup year round — in all kinds of weather.“Right now we drug test all the time,’’ Gonsalves said. “We never used to do that but since a couple months back we started drug testing everybody…. Part 1 >click to read< Andrew Dillon has had a front row seat to the opioid epidemic in New Bedford. His dinner is a favorite for local fishermen. Sometimes he sees customers come in so high they can barely stay awake. Part 2>click to read< 10:01