Category Archives: New England

Coast Guard makes a push to curb harbor oil spills

Coast Guard Lt. Lynn Schrayshuen along with Marine Science Technician Third Class John Northrup peered into the dark water alongside Coal Pocket Pier at the city waterfront, looking for the tell-tale rainbow sheen of an oil spill. On this recent morning, they came up pretty much empty, with the exception of a small patch of oil alongside the hull of a fishing boat, too little and too dispersed after time elapsed to make an effective sample. It is not always this good. The previous morning, Northrup said, there were three spills that he discovered. In past years, there have been spills of hundreds of gallons of oil. Sometimes the Department of Environmental Protection or the Coast Guard can trace the spills, but oftentimes not. click here to read the story 18:41

Maine fishermen, scientists combine forces with goal to save shrimp fishery

For more than 20 years, Dana Hammond made close to half his annual income shrimping. But his shrimping profits began to dwindle in 2013. That season, regulators were alarmed by the lack of shrimp biomass in the Gulf of Maine, and the amount he was allowed to catch was cut 72 percent. The fishery was closed entirely in 2014. It hasn’t reopened since and Hammond, who fishes out of Portland on his boat the Nicole Leigh, has been trying to make up the deficit from his other main source of income, groundfishing. But Hammond isn’t ready to let shrimping go. click here to read the story 09:22

Don Cuddy: Blue Harvest a major new presence among city fish houses

New Bedford is the top-grossing fishing port in the United States and has been since 1999; an enviable record and a tribute to the vision and expertise of all those involved in sustaining an industry that is constantly evolving. While industry momentum has not flagged, the players come and go as markets shift, regulations change and fish stocks rise or fall. Seafood processor Blue Harvest Fisheries is a big presence on the waterfront today yet the company was unknown in the city until relatively recently. So last week I had a chat with CEO and Acushnet native Jeff Davis, a 30-year veteran of the seafood industry, to learn more about Blue Harvest and all that they do. click here to read the story 20:06

$8 lobster boat sells to Beverly man

A lobster boat for sale for $8 in Essex has found a home with a Beverly resident. Larry Stepenuck, a Rockport lobsterman, decided to cast off his 25-year-old wooden vessel, the middle Amie, when he purchased a new Amie, built by Brad Story. The older lobster boat was set at a low price, he said, as long as the new owner promised to put it back in the water. Stepenuck found that person in Larry Tamilio. Stepenuck said he didn’t expect the boat to “jump out of the yard.” click here to read the story 11:22

Fish Stocks And Our Balance Of Payments

Our balance of payments is overly burdened by our consumption of seafood: We import approximately 90% of the seafood that we eat. Given our natural resources, we should be net exporters of seafood. The total value of edible and non-edible fishery imports in the United States was $35.8 billion in 2016. The total value of edible and non-edible exports was $21.3 billion. The imbalance does not imply only a shipment of dollars abroad. It also implies a number of jobs exported, a number of jobs that could be created in this country, were we not to import that much more seafood than we export.,,, The reason for the imbalance in our accounts with other nations is not due to lack of fish in our waters. Not to put too fine a point on it, the imbalance is due to rules and regulations imposed by our National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) that prevent our fishermen from catching fish. click here to read the article by Carmine Gorga 09:21

New wooden lobster boat launched at Billings

As lobstermen have seen higher earnings, they have been keeping Maine boatbuilders busy, ordering new and, generally, larger boats at what seems to be a record pace. Most of the new boats are built of fiberglass, but last Friday Stonington boatbuilder Peter Buxton launched a handsome 32-foot wooden lobster boat for Brooksville lobsterman Kathy Lymburner. Christened Emma G, the new boat is one of just a handful of wooden boats that will enter the lobster fishing fleet. For the past several years Lymburner and her sternman, Meg Carton, have fished out of a 28-foot fiberglass lobster boat. When Lymburner decided she wanted a bigger boat she went to Buxton to build it. click here to read the story 17:21

WWII veteran reels in one more tuna

Frank Chase became the talk of the dock in Seabrook this week after the 91-year-old landed a 300-pound bluefin tuna and hauled it into Yankee Fishermen’s Cooperative. Chase, who lives on Railroad Avenue, landed the catch Saturday afternoon after a 35-minute fight with the fish. He caught the tuna on a 22-foot boat with just one friend to assist. .,,, Chase said it was 1:30 p.m. when he saw his rod on the side of the boat hook up to a fish that pulled so hard he thought it was a shark. Chase grabbed the rod from its holder there and carried it to a holder at the front of the boat so he and his friend could follow the tuna from behind. The tuna became caught at the boat’s anchor, where many fishermen lose their bluefins that are able to use the anchor to cut free from the line. Chase skillfully guided the boat around the anchor without breaking the line, and the battle went on. click here to read the story 12:13

Warming oceans: fish on the move

The oceans are getting warmer, and fish are adapting to rising ocean temperatures with their fins and swimming to waters that better suit their temperature preferences. Shifts in the distribution of important coastal fish species are resulting in changes to historical fishing options, new fishing opportunities and new fisheries management challenges.,, These northern shifts in fish populations have presented fisheries management challenges. Coastwide or regional Fisheries Management Plans (FMPs) are used to manage all of these species, but these FMPs have not always kept up with the changing distribution of these species. Take summer flounder and black sea bass as examples. click here to read the story 10:51

Another dead North Atlantic right whale found off Cape Cod

Another dead North Atlantic right whale has been spotted off Massachusetts, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths in North America this summer to at least 13. The U.S. Coast Guard documented and reported the latest carcass on Monday, Jennifer Goebel, public affairs officer for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Greater Atlantic region, confirmed on Wednesday. This is the third dead North Atlantic right whale discovered in U.S. waters, said Goebel. The news comes just one week after another whale was found floating off Martha’s Vineyard, the Massachusetts island south of Cape Cod. click here to read the story 09:04

Whale experts seek why of minke death – The whale had been found floating dead in Blue Hill Bay on Sunday. click here to read the story

Stock assessment meeting erupts into lively talk between NOAA scientists and fishermen

Diagrams, life-like statues and pictures fill the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center to depict the history and future of the industry. NOAA scientists and local fishermen filled the small building on Bethel Street on Wednesday night to discuss future stock assessments. The meeting, though, told another aspect in the story of the Port of New Bedford: the decades old tension that continues to exist between the groups. “We all have to pull in the same direction,” Executive Director of New Bedford Seafood Consulting Jim Kendall said. Instead a powerpoint presentation listing stock limits led to a discussion, which evolved into an argument and ended with two fishermen abruptly leaving. Russ Brown, director of the Population Dynamics Branch of NOAA, ended his presentation to meet with the fishermen outside. They spoke outside for 20 minutes before parting ways with a semblance of mutual respect. click here to read the story 20:44

Stanley launches wood-glass hybrid

A thunderstorm cell loomed on the horizon, but bright sunshine greeted the small crowd that gathered Sunday afternoon to celebrate the launch of National Pride, the first of a new design of lobster boat by Richard Stanley. The sturdy hull of the handsome 38-foot boat was built with Maine white cedar planking on oak frames. But the top is fiberglass, which Stanley said will be easier to maintain. The hybrid style also should make deck leaks less likely, a primary driver of rot and decay for a wooden hull. click here to read the story 13:48

Fishing vessel sinks in New Bedford Harbor

The fishing vessel Challenge sank early Wednesday on city’s waterfront, officials said. Fire Chief Michael Gomes said the Fire Department found the 65-foot fishing vessel had sunk by its stern and was leaking diesel fuel and lube oil into the harbor when they arrived. The Fire Department was notified about 4:30 a.m. Fire officials deployed 600 feet of containment boom to contain the spill and multiple bundles of absorbent to absorb the oils once they were contained inside the booms. click here to read the story 12:50

Coast Guard oversees fuel spill cleanup in New Bedford Harborclick here to read the story 17:43

New Organizers Carry on Tradition of Bristol Lobster Boat Races

Lobster boats cranked into high gear in Pemaquid Harbor on Sunday, Aug. 13 for the 31st annual Merritt Brackett Lobster Boat Races – a competitive event that is “serious fun,” said co-founder Donald Drisko. New organizers Brent Fogg and Sheila McLain took the helm of the event in 2017, signing on more than 40 sponsors and raising $17,000-$18,000 for cash awards and other prizes, said Laurie Crane, who had coordinated the event for the past 15 years with Drisko. Months of preparation go into the event, which draws dozens of lobster boats into the harbor, Fogg and McLain said. Both said they were happy to take on the work to keep Bristol’s tradition of lobster boat racing alive. click here to read the story, and race results 11:18

Carlos Rafael files a motion of opposition to forfeiture

Carlos Rafael filed a court motion Monday opposing the government’s motion for preliminary order of forfeiture. The New Bedford fishing heavyweight made the request in light of “ongoing discussions” regarding the vessels and permits associated with the guilty plea he made four and half months ago. Rafael pleaded guilty to falsifying labels and fish identification, cash smuggling and tax evasion on March 30. In the plea agreement, Rafael admitted the vessels listed in the indictment were subject to forfeiture. The agreement reserved Rafael the right to challenge the forfeitures. Rafael took advantage of that right,,, click here to read the story 20:49

Seafood supplier sues over lobster heist

Seafood importer and supplier Maxfield Seafood sued Seneca Logistics over a major seafood theft from its warehouse in Boston, Massachusetts. In the complaint filed in federal court in Massachusetts, Maxfield – which is based out of City of Industry, California – claimed that Seneca was negligent when a truckload of lobster worth USD 318,000 (EUR 271,762) was stolen. In mid-December 2016, Maxfield called Seneca to request transportation of a truckload of lobster which was to be picked up at two locations in Massachusetts, including one in Everett, according to the complaint. click here to read the story 16:45

This article more than appalled me, I was hurt and offended. Genevieve McDonald, F/V Hello Darlin’ II

I am a commercial fisherman out of Stonington, Maine, and though I do not speak on their behalf I am the Downeast Region Representative on the Maine Lobster Advisory Council. I was utterly appalled by the article, What it’s like to kill hundreds of lobsters a day, written by “coastal reporter” Alex Acquisto. click here to read the story The Maine lobster industry is not only vital to the economy of coastal Maine, but is also one of the last natural resource revenue builders in the state of Maine. Through the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative fishermen have invested millions of dollars to promote Maine lobster. But it’s more than that – the Maine lobster industry is iconic. For many of your readers in Washington, Hancock, Waldo, and Knox counties lobster is integral to our culture, identity, and sense of place. click here to read the opinion piece by Genevieve McDonald, F/V Hello Darlin’ II, Stonington, Maine 10:59

Caught on Tape: Vinalhaven Man Formally Charged with Stealing 200 Lbs Lobster, Boat

A man from Vinalhaven accused of stealing more than 200 pounds of lobsters and a boat has been indicted by a Knox County grand jury. 48-year-old Jason Marriner is charged with theft and unauthorized use of property. The Maine Marine Patrol arrested him in April. Investigators started looking into reports of thefts at the Vinalhaven co-op last fall, then again in January – along with thefts at Linda Bean’s facility, Americanus Lobster. Video, click here to watch 10:11

BREAKING: Dead man found on commercial fishing boat in Portsmouth

State Police report an untimely death aboard a commercial fishing boat tied to the dock at the Portsmouth Fish Co-Op on Peirce Island. On Saturday, August 12, around 11 a.m., N.H. State Police Marine Patrol received a report of a deceased male identified as Seth M. Caron, age 29, of Brunswick, Maine. The circumstances surrounding his death remain under investigation. Assisting agencies include the N.H. State Police, Portsmouth Police department, and the U.S. Coast Guard. link 12:48

Groundfish: NEFSC to Hold Port Meetings With Fishermen to Talk About Upcoming Assessments

The Northeast Fisheries Science Center has scheduled a series of port outreach meetings to talk with commercial and recreational fishermen about the upcoming operational assessments for 20 groundfish stocks. Below is the list of confirmed meetings to date.  August 15 in Chatham, 4 p.m, Aug. 16 in New Bedford, 4 p.m., Aug. 17 in Portland, Me. 3 p.m.  Aug, 18 in Gloucester,10 a.m., Aug. 28 in Point Judith, 4 p.m. Aug. 30 in Montauk, Details to be announced. click here for locations, and more information The Groundfish Operational Assessments Peer Review is scheduled for September 11-15, 2017 at the science center in Woods Hole, MA.  Additional information is available at NEFSC.  Need to know more?  Contact Stock Assessment Outreach Coordinator Ariele Baker at (508) 495-4741, [email protected]

Invasive seaweed threatens Gulf of Maine

A team of University of New Hampshire researchers working on Appledore Island at the Isles of Shoals and at off-shore sites in southern York County and Seacoast New Hampshire recently published a study that reaches some unsettling conclusions. Essentially, the ocean floor in the Seacoast is seeing a marked decline in the often tall, leafy native kelp populations and an inundation of short, shrub-like invasive seaweed. Key among those invasives is the short, red fiber-like seaweed Dasysiphnia japonica, a transplant from Japan that is taking over the ocean floor in this region – covering as much as 90 percent of some areas. We were very surprised by what we saw,” said Jennifer Dijkstra, research assistant professor in the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at UNH and the lead author of the study. click here to read the story 09:20

Despite guilty plea, ‘Codfather’ continues to fish

New England fishermen are wondering how the fishing fleet owned by New Bedford fishing mogul Carlos Rafael continues to fish nearly five months after he pleaded guilty on March 30 in federal district court in Boston to 28 offenses, including conspiracy, false labeling of fish, bulk cash smuggling, tax evasion and falsifying federal records. Those vessels include many Rafael agreed to forfeit in his plea deal for their role in his scheme to sell fish he didn’t have enough quota to catch, under the name of species for which he had enough quota. The fishing year starts May 1 and Rafael won’t be sentenced until Sep. 25 and 26. Many are angry that Rafael’s fleet has been allowed to operate through the summer months when fishermen traditionally catch most of their fish. click here to read the story 09:51

Police identify body found in Portland Harbor, investigating circumstances of death

Portland police have identified the body found Thursday morning in Portland Harbor as that of Paul J. Kirchhoff, a Portland fisherman. The state medical examiner’s office determined that Kirchhoff, 42, died from drowning, with no other source of physical trauma, according to Martin. Kirchhoff’s body was found in the water near Long Wharf.,,, Anyone with information about Kirchhoff’s final hours is encouraged to call the Portland police at (207) 874-8575. click here to read the story 09:27

Deadline soon for feds’ response to fishing monitor petition

A fishermen’s group says it’s still waiting on the federal government’s response to a petition it filed with the U.S. Supreme Court about the cost of fishing monitors. The government shifted the cost of paying for monitors to fishermen last year, prompting a legal battle. A group of fishermen led by David Goethel of New Hampshire filed a petition seeking a review of the case last month. A spokesman for the fishermen’s attorney says the government has until Monday to respond and has not done so. link 15:32

Gov’t Is Wiping Out the Lobster Population, But Blaming the Fishermen

Lobstermen along much of the New England coast breathed sighs of relief the morning of August 9, when they awoke to discover that, contrary to expectations, a regulatory commission decided not to impose new limits on lobster catches from New Hampshire to Connecticut. Despite this momentary breather, though, the threat of future arbitrary traps looms. But the decrease in lobsters along the New England coast is not the result to over-fishing — it’s all thanks to previous “feel good” government regulations.The meeting of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission took place August 8. Not in New England, of course, where the lobstermen and their primary clients live and work, but in — yeah, you guessed it — Washington, D.C.. .,,, In fact, according to fishermen on site, the real problem stems from previous federal and regional multi-state regulations that have decreased the fish catch — and, as a result, increased the fish population — around New England. click here to read the op-ed 15:59

Racing the past in Jonesport, Maine: 5 days aboard the world’s fastest lobster boats

The lobstermen who make up this strange party compete all summer long on a race circuit that takes them and their boats to 11 fishing communities up and down the Maine coast. A 26-foot boat really only needs a 250-horsepower engine, but in order to race, lobstermen and women trick out boats of that size with 350-500 horsepower and open up their throttles for little more than pride. Some of the vessels are over 40 feet long and pack over 1200 horsepower. The winnings are negligible; first place takes home $150, second place nets $100, and third wins $50. That’s nothing for people who pull in hundreds of thousands of dollars a year catching lobsters. The money doesn’t matter. The real prize is bragging rights.  Video, click here to read the story 10:29

Feds slash Red Hake possesion limit – BIG reduction from 3,000 lbs per trip to 400 lbs per trip

The northern red hake commercial possession limit is reduced from 3,000 lbs per trip to 400 lbs per trip. Effective immediately, federally permitted vessels may not possess on board or land more than 400 lb of northern red hake per trip for the remainder of the 2017 fishing year (i.e., through April 30, 2018). This reduction is required because the northern red hake fishery is projected to have reached or exceeded 37.9 percent of the total allowable landings. Vessels that have started a fishing trip when this possession limit reduction becomes effective may retain northern red hake under the previous possession limit of 3,000 lb for the remainder of that trip Dealers issued federal dealer permits for small-mesh multispecies may not purchase more than 400 lbs of northern red hake per trip from federally permitted vessels for trips started after August 7, 2017. Read the full notice click here 21:19

Drone images of the lobster fleet

Maine is known around the world for the iconic lobster boats that dot the coast and are the primary vehicle for the state’s renowned fishing industry. Portland-based photographer Mark Fleming has developed a new perspective on these boats by using a drone to capture them in an innovative, yet classic fashion. The Island Institute is celebrating Fleming’s extraordinary visual record of these working vessels by featuring his work on the covers of the new edition of the Island Journal, the Institute’s annual magazine.,,“Fishermen take pride in their boats,” said Fleming. “Not only do they often put their life savings into these vessels, but they put their personalities into them as well. It’s these details that become really important when you isolate the boat.”  click here to read the story 16:53

Honors planned for Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association president

Angela Sanfilippo, president of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association, will be the guest of honor at the Sea to Supper Celebration at 6 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Mile Marker One Restaurant & Bar, 75 Essex St., in the Cape Ann Marina Resort.,, Proceeds benefit nonprofit Fishing Partnership Support Services, which Sanfilippo helped found in the late ’90s, and on whose board of directors she has served ever since. Fishing Partnership Support Services helps commercial fishermen and their families through a variety of free services — from safety trainings, to health coverage enrollment assistance, to disaster relief support.,, While honoring Sanfilippo, the Sea to Supper Celebration will also highlight the contributions commercial fishermen have made to coastal communities and to the health of seafood consumers, according to J.J. Bartlett, president of Fishing Partnership Support Services. Tickets are available with links in the article 16:38

Don Cuddy: Port of New Bedford needs more dredging if it’s going to grow

It remains hugely frustrating that no one at the state level seems to recognize just how important this port is. When the Seastreak ferry recently broke down, it had to tie up at the State Pier for repairs. This in turn displaced the Voyager, a 130-foot fishing vessel, which had to move to Leonard’s Wharf, where boats are already moored five-deep. “We need updated infrastructure. When you have a 130-foot boat tied to a pier designed for 70-80 foot boats your infrastructure isn’t going to last long,” Ed Anthes-Washburn, the affable executive director of the Harbor Development Commission, told me as we toured the working waterfront in a HDC launch last week. “We also need to activate the rest of our waterfront.” click here to read the story 13:01

Canadian lobster in the pink thanks to European trade deal

The Comprehensive European Trade Agreement (CETA), soon to be implemented, will give a significant boost to Canada’s harvesters over those from Maine. Europeans will pay for Canadian lobsters tariff-free, while they pay a surcharge to Americans. Once freight and shrinkage fees are calculated in, lobsters can get expensive, so the CETA could make a significant difference to the prices charged for Canadian lobster in the European Union. Europe imported more than $150 million in lobster from the United States last year, slightly less than what they imported from Canada.,, CETA, however, could also benefit Americans since they send a good portion of their lobster catch to Canada for processing. Americans can rely on Canadian-based processing to increase sales by passing through Canada. click here to read the story 12:06