Category Archives: New England

Red Listing Monterey Bay Aquarium Act – Maine politicians call for defunding of Monterey Bay Aquarium

Lawmakers from Maine have introduced a bill that would defund the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Seafood Watch following the organizations red listing of the American lobster. Congressman Jared Golden and Senator Angus King announced on Wednesday that they were introducing the Red Listing Monterey Bay Aquarium Act in the House and Senate. The bill would prohibit federal taxpayer funds from going to the aquarium, Seafood Watch and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. According to a release from Golden’s office, the aquarium has received nearly $200 million in taxpayer money since 2001. >click to read< 15:45

Maine lobstermen fight back – ‘You have failed us’: Maine lobstermen face federal regulators

Maine lobstermen came face to face with federal officials out to impose stricter new rules to save the 350 remaining endangered right whales Wednesday. There have only been two whale entanglements in Maine, most recently in 2004, and no right whale deaths caused by Maine lobster gear. Despite that, NOAA insists these rules are necessary to further reduce the risk of a right whale death. >click to read< ‘You have failed us’: Maine lobstermen face federal regulators – There were some tense moments during a public hearing with Maine lobstermen and federal regulators Wednesday night a the University of Southern Maine in Portland.  The meeting comes after Gov. Janet Mills and members of Maine’s congressional delegation requested NOAA visit the state to discuss tougher rules on the lobster industry. >click to read< 07:51

Canada is doing its part to protect right whales

Since 2017, the Canadian lobster industry feels like it’s been trapped in a “South Park” episode. There has been a steady drumbeat eager to “Blame Canada” for the plight of North Atlantic right whales. Right whales were rarely observed in the Gulf of St. Lawrence until recently. All that changed in 2017 when a large number unexpectedly moved to the Gulf. Tragically, we lost 17 right whales: 12 in Canadian waters and five in the United States. Two of the 12 Canadian fatalities were found to be caused by crab gear entanglements. Our Maine peers have made huge strides and sacrifices in recent years to protect right whales. Canada has also been leading the way, with the most aggressive management measures in the world.  >click to read< By Geoff Irvine and Nat Richard 15:55

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 34′ Ernest Libby Lobster/Tuna Boat, 430HP Cummins

To review specifications, information, and 35 photos’, >click here<, To see all the boats in this series >click here< 11:50

The U.S. is not harvesting as many fish as it could, driving up imports

In 2020, the global fishing industry reached an all-time record of production worth an estimated $406 billion, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Fish is a key source of protein, making it essential in feeding the growing world population. In the United States, New Bedford, Massachusetts, is the country’s most valuable fishing port, bringing in a whopping $376.6 million worth of seafood in 2020. “Fishing stocks did have a collapse in the ’90s. It changed the species that we were offering. It changed the availability. It changed the pricing,” Laura Foley Ramsden, fourth generation “fish mongress” of Foley Fish in New Bedford, 15-minute video, >click to read< 09:52

Maine Elected Officials Rebuke “Seafood Watch” But Stay Silent on Endangered Species Act’s Threat to Lobstermen

Maine lobster was recently placed on the unsustainable “red list” by the environmental group Seafood Watch, a non-profit associated with the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Gov. Janet Mills, Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden all came out in defense of the Maine lobster industry, defending its sustainability bona fides. It was a nice photo op, but the truth is King, Collins, and Pingree had plenty of warnings that the environmental left was using the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to damage Maine’s economy and sovereignty. They chose to do nothing. >click to read< 09:14

Maine Lobster Union Points the Way for Organizing Gig Economy Workers

Lobstering is an inherently individualistic pursuit. Most boats are crewed by just two or three people, and some captains go it alone. They leave harbor before dawn, spend the day hauling traps up from the seafloor, then motor back to the dock to sell the creatures for the best price they can get. It’s hard work that draws rugged, self-reliant people, in other words, not your typical union members. That’s what makes Local 207, the only lobstering union in the US so unusual. The decade-old group in Maine represents about 200 lobstermen. The union more often referred to as “Lobster 207”, got its start after a crash in prices 10 years ago. >Video, click to read< 11:05

Save Right Whales from Radical Environmentalists Who Exploit Them

Americans agree with protecting the endangered Northern Atlantic right whale. But true conservation efforts don’t necessitate displacing lobstermen and recreational anglers in the process. With fewer than 350 whales left, ambulance-chasing opportunists masquerading as conservationists conveniently swoop in on the whale’s behalf only to leave economic —and environmental—destruction in their paths. This endangered whale requires protection from radical environmentalists who exploit them. Preservationists purporting to care about its well-being, however, distort the threats posed to the whales. >click to read< 08:06

In-Person Scoping Meeting for Modifications to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan on Wednesday, October 5 at 6-9 pm in Portland, Maine

We will be conducting an in-person scoping meeting to collect public input on modifications to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan to reduce the risk of death and serious injury caused by U.S. commercial fishing gear to endangered North Atlantic right whales in compliance with the mandates of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. We are seeking suggestions for measures for all U.S. commercial fisheries regulated by the Plan (U.S. East Coast gillnet, Atlantic mixed species trap/pot, and Mid-Atlantic and Northeast lobster and Jonah crab trap/pot fisheries) that would reach a 90% minimum risk reduction needed to bring mortality and serious injury below the potential biological removal level for this species. >click to read the notice< 07:38

Atlantic sea scallops at lowest biomass in over 20 years and what that means for New Bedford

A Scallop Survey Report presented at the NEFMC meeting Tuesday showed the Atlantic Sea scallop fishery is facing its lowest biomass in over 20 years. Throughout the NEFMC jurisdiction, the survey estimated a biomass decrease of almost 30%. The Georges Bank region saw the largest drop, around 36%. Tyler Miranda, a scalloper Captain and owner who came to prominence during the recent scallop license allocation debate, said that though it is of concern, the announcement does not worry him too much. “Obviously I worry, but what I’ve come to realize about the scallop industry is it fluctuates year to year,” Justin Mello said he felt similarly. “I’m only gonna go into the areas they allow us to, that’s why they call it fishing and not catching.” >click to read< 14:20

Local fisherman make their pitch to governor

Fishermen like Jon Williams, who call Galilee home, have depended for too long on the port’s aging docks and rusty bulkheads. Williams’ Narragansett Crab Company brings in millions of pounds of fish per year, but he’s hamstrung by a dock that dates back to 1948 and can’t be used because it’s in such poor shape. But he struck a hopeful tone Friday when Gov. Dan McKee came to his business to learn how Williams and his brethren would benefit from a multi million-dollar project to get the port ship-shape through repairs and modernization. >click to read< 08:00

Fishermen reeling as further whale protection measures fast tracked

Maine lobstermen worry that their fate is sealed. Dozens gathered Tuesday evening in the Ellsworth Elementary-Middle School cafeteria for a livestream of a NOAA Fisheries scoping session on modifications to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan. Hundreds more participated online. Spurred by a recent court ruling, federal regulators are fast tracking plans to achieve a 90 percent reduction in entanglement risk. “These are measures that are going to really hurt and there were measures that were put forth that look really bad that didn’t come close to 90 percent, so I want people to realize that this is real, that this is coming and it’s not going to be pretty,” said Kristan Porter, president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association and an Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team member. >click to read< 10:15

Island’s fate tied to fishing, residents say: “I think we’re being pushed out”

Make way for windmills. That was one of the worries aired by Deer Isle-Stonington fishermen and small business owners who attended a breakfast economic development meeting at the Stonington town office Friday. A few residents and small business owners said they think the fishing industry is being pushed out to make room for windmills, thus further advancing green energy agendas that Governor Janet Mills and the federal government have adopted. Mike Shepard said he started fishing at age 10 in a “little outboard.” “I’m almost 70 now,” the lobsterman said. “I fished all my life out here. All that time I’ve been fishing. I’ve never seen a whale. It has nothing to do with the whale, it has to do with what they want to do with our waters out here. They want to go green and it’s killing the lobster industry, which is our way of life.” >click to read<  19:36

During lone scoping webinar, lobstermen tell NOAA cuts will devastate communities

State officials and Maine lobstermen were not shy when they addressed officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Tuesday night in a scoping webinar held to take public comment after NOAA accelerated the timeline for cuts to the industry. The scoping webinar was the only opportunity provided by NOAA for stakeholders to communicate directly with the agency during the development of additional new measures meant to protect right whales. NOAA accelerated the timeline for risk reduction over what was initially presented in the finalized biological opinion. That document spelled out major cuts to the industry over what was supposed to be a decade. Now, the lobster fishery will need to achieve a 90% risk reduction under phase two of the plan, instead of phase three…much earlier than previously expected. >click to read< 09:14

Fishing regulators shoot down scallop leasing plan

In a ballroom overlooking Gloucester Harbor, the council regulating New England’s fisheries rejected a controversial proposal on Tuesday to develop a leasing program in the region’s lucrative scallop fishery after failing to agree on the presented motions. The New England Fishery Management Council deliberated on three motions for more than two hours, with all three failing. The latest leasing push comes 12 years after a proposal to allow it was defeated in a close 9-to-7 council vote, with one member abstaining. New Bedford fishermen and permit owners were at the hotel hours before the council took up the leasing issue. The opposition has been largely centralized in the city, driven by the crew and some vessel owners who fear leasing is the first step toward further consolidation. Photos, >click to read< 07:40

Group that claims catching lobsters is harmful to whales draws sharp rebuke in Gloucester

Nothing says “Massachusetts, or really “New England”, like a lobster. But our iconic crustacean just got a failing grade from an environmental group. The Seafood Watch Project, which operates out of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, put lobster on their red list. This is devastating news at Cape Ann Lobstermen, a Gloucester facility that processes up to 40,000 pounds of locally caught lobster a day. “The lobster industry is probably the biggest fishing industry left in this area,” said company president Tessa Browne. “There’s probably 150+ boats in this harbor that come and go on a daily basis who have 1-2 crewmen who support their families.” “We’re being unfairly targeted when the main culprit is ship strikes,” said lobsterman Richard Black. Video, >click to read< 14:00

Letter to the Editor: The big-money green-lie

Dear Editor: It’s the big-money green-lie. Maine lobstermen are not killing whales. Progressive, woke Democrats climate change scams are killing the heart and soul of Maine. No evidence. Zero whales have been killed in this century by lobster gear entanglements. Solar and wind equal a financial bonanza for politicians, long-standing innocuous traditions are standing (fishing) in their way. No leadership. Elected officials sworn-in to represent and protect are cashing-in on special interest, new-green deal-threats that do not exist. >click to read< By Dave Gregg

Reminder: Scoping Meeting for the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan on Tuesday, 4:30 PM

We will be conducting a virtual scoping meeting to collect public input on modifications to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan to reduce the risk of death and serious injury caused by U.S. commercial fishing gear to endangered North Atlantic right whales in compliance with the mandates of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Register to attend the virtual public scoping meeting. >Click to read the notice< and access the links. 16:45

It’s now or never for Maine’s lobster industry

Driving through and around Belfast on Sunday, I was struck by the half-dozen or so desolated chicken farms. In my youth, Waldo County’s poultry business had gone belly-up. But it seemed more poignant now. Maybe it was because I’ve been stewing over the threat Maine lobster’s industry today faces from an unholy alliance of the federal government and out-of-state special interest groups. Killing Maine’s iconic lobster-fishery is both immoral and unnecessary. Unlike Waldo County’s chicken industry, which in the late 1970s and early 1980s succumbed to competition from Arkansas and Delaware, it is not market forces that Maine lobstermen fear so much as boycotts and excessive regulation based on unproven science. >click to read< By Sam Patten 12:26

Former New Bedford Fisherman Manuel F. “Manny” Machado has passed away

Manuel F. “Manny” Machado, 77, of Fairhaven passed away unexpectedly Thursday, September 22, 2022 at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford. He was the loving companion of Diane E. Rocha of Fairhaven and the former husband of the late Bertha (Frias) Machado. Born and raised in Furnas, St. Michael, Azores, Portugal, son of the late Jose Manuel Machado and Teresa Maria (Vieira) Machado, he came to New Bedford in 1969 and settled in Fairhaven seven years ago. Manny served in the Army in Portugal and later worked as a commercial fisherman for many years on several fishing vessels from New Bedford Harbor. He was a member of the New Bedford Fisherman’s Club and was an avid bird watcher. >click to read< 11:29

NEFMC to decide next moves on scallop license allocation leasing in Gloucester Tuesday

Scallop allocation leasing, the practice of boat owners selling days and tonnage from a fishing license to other vessel owners to harvest in restricted zones, has been at the center of debate in the Port of New Bedford since the NEFMC held two scoping meetings at the New Bedford Whaling Museum on May 11 and May 25 respectively. NEFMC invited stakeholders to attend nine meetings in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, North Carolina, Virginia, and two webinars. According to the Council, the vast majority, 78%, of the 286 commenters (several repeated, inflating the total number to 305) spoke against the proposed allocation leasing project during the scoping process.  >click to read< 14:45

Regulators to vote on controversial scallop leasing plan Tuesday – After months of heated debate between scallop fleet owners, captains and crew, fisheries regulators are set to decide on a proposal to allow leasing in New England’s lucrative scallop fishery. More than 75% of the nearly 300 people who commented during the public process said they opposed leasing — most of them captains and crew out of New Bedford, >click to read<

These young black men catch more than lobsters. They also catch a break

At 15, Cristiano Silva thought he might spend the summer working at a McDonald’s near his home on the outskirts of Portland, Maine, and help with household expenses. Instead, he found himself on a lobster boat called the Sea Smoke, out among Casco Bay’s rocky islands. One breezy day on the boat last month, Cris scrunched his nose and placed a fist-size mesh bait bag full of smelly herring inside a wire lobster trap. This spring he and three other Black teens were recruited from area high schools to learn how to lobster in a new program called “Lift All Boats.” >click to read< 11:06

Southeastern fishery closures floated for 2023 federal right whale rule

Don’t call them “proposals,” but four draft packages arose this week in high-level brainstorming sessions among scientists and fishers on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team. The task force’s purpose is to lead the effort to save North Atlantic right whales from extinction. The ultimate goal is a 90% risk reduction to North Atlantic right whales in U.S. waters. “It’s mandated by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, so this isn’t optional,” said Colleen Coogan, branch chief for the Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Team in the Protected Resources Division of the NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office. “This is a legal mandate.” >click to read< 10:01

Maine lobstermen say ‘red listing’ a threat to their livelihoods without cause

“I truly believe the lobstermen have done everything we’ve been asked by National Marine Fisheries and the DMR,” said Gerry Cushman, who has been lobstering in Port Clyde for 38 years. “We’re not the bad guys here,” he said. “You ask us to do it, we do it. So why are you putting us on the red list? “ The Seafood Watch listing is recommending consumers not buy American lobster from either the U.S. or Canada. Maine is the primary producer of that lobster for the U.S. Cushman said he believes Seafood Watch has taken the action against Maine fishermen to pressure them to stop fighting proposed regulations in court. Steve Train, a lobsterman from Long Island in Casco Bay, echoed those points, saying Maine fishermen have followed all the whale protection rules, even though they have also been challenging them in court. Video, >click to read< 19:37

Lobstermen Don’t Deserve Monterey Bay Rating

This past February Monterey Bay hinted it might consider red listing Northeast lobster, not because the fishery isn’t healthy but because of the danger of entanglement in lobster trap lines for the highly endangered North Atlantic right whales. The announcement, which became official on Sept. 6, has spurred an intense campaign to reverse this classification. Some of the data suggest this recommendation might be an overreaction. Another thing missing from this story is how much our fishermen are doing to avoid entanglements: removing “ghost gear,” doing 10 m.p.h. in the bay, and, most significantly, holding back until May, which keeps their gear out of the water when the whales are here. >click to read< 08:36

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 74′ Steel Scalloper/Dragger, Cat 3412

To review specifications, information, and 38 photos’, >click here<, To see all the boats in this series >click here< 13:00

Fresh Off the Boat: Dogfish Available to Local Fish Lovers for First Time

For a number of years now, the spiny dogfish has been a mainstay of the town’s commercial fishing fleet. Along with skate, it is by far the largest species by volume landed at the fish pier. Most of that fish, however, is shipped to Europe, where it is used for fish and chips, among other things. But folks can now buy fresh-off-the-boat dogfish filets, which fishermen say if processed correctly will rival the texture and taste of traditional whitefish such as cod. “It’s beautiful white meat,” said Doug Feeney, a commercial fisherman and member of the Chatham Harvesters Cooperative, which is now selling fresh dogfish fillets. The Coop’s permits and equipment allow consumers to get the fish in vacuum-sealed packs for $10 per pound the day after it is caught. >click to read< 09:24

Lobstermen vs Whales?

To: Scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. From: Uncle Joe. Subject: The Scientific Method. Dear scientific friends from away, I am not a scientist, although I did get pretty good grades in high school biology and chemistry. I am an old newspaper guy who learned my trade from elderly mentors who sipped cold beers at the loading dock after the giant presses rolled out the last edition. One of the questions I asked them was about verification. The other day, your public relations folks at the Sea Watch program urged the nation’s stores and restaurants to avoid Maine lobsters because they allegedly harmed right whales. Your pronouncement raised a big stink in our neighborhood as it threatens the livelihood of our lobster fishing friends who harvest lobsters in order to feed their families. >click to read< 07:48

This National Lobster Day, Sept. 25th, Help Support the Maine Lobster Industry

The Maine Lobster fishery is one of the most sustainable fisheries in the world, thanks to the hard work by generations of lobstermen to protect both the lobster resource as well as Maine marine environment for more than 150 years. This includes decades of proactive changes to protect endangered right whales, including weakening lines, removing thousands of miles of rope from the water, and converting all ‘floating’ rope to safer ‘sinking’ rope. Yet, this month, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program placed Maine Lobster on its “Red List” of seafoods to avoid, citing protection of right whales, ignoring decades of good faith conservation management and despite a lack of evidence of Maine Lobster fishery’s impact on the species. In fact, zero right whale deaths or serious injuries have ever been attributed to the Maine Lobster fishery. Here’s what you can do to do support the independent, hardworking fishermen of Maine: >click to read< 12:00

FFAW, N.L. government team up in push back against lobster, snow crab being labeled foods to avoid

Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program which runs what it calls a science-based seafood recommendation list to inform consumers, chefs, and business professionals, placed all Canadian lobster and snow crab on an “avoid” list because of what the group calls a potential impact for North Atlantic right whales to become entangled in fishing gear. But Jason Spingle, secretary treasurer of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW), says the snow crab and lobster recommendation is “totally unfounded.” Spingle said of the hundreds of harvesters he has heard from, none have actually seen a right whale while fishing. What’s more, Spingle said, he only knows of two sightings in Newfoundland waters, neither during lobster fishing season and zero reports of entanglements. >click to read< 07:37