Category Archives: New England

Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team to Focus on Right Whale Survival This Week

On April 23, a group of approximately 60 fishermen, scientists, conservationists, and state and federal officials will come together to discuss ways to further reduce serious injury and mortality of endangered North Atlantic right whales caused by trap/pot fishing gear. The group will meet in Providence, Rhode Island for four days. At the end of the meeting, they hope to agree on a suite of measures that will reduce right whale serious injuries and deaths in fishing gear in U.S. waters from Maine to Florida to less than one whale per year, the level prescribed by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. >click to read<10:01

Forget Offshore Windfarms! How Canada’s other major energy export could light up New England states

Last week, Maine’s Public Utilities Commission approved a new transmission line connecting Quebec’s hydroelectric projects to the eastern United States. The US$950-million New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) project still needs approvals from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and a U.S. presidential permit from the U.S. Department of Energy. If approved, the construction of the 1,200-megawatt transmission line will provide power to consumers in the six New England states at a time when the region’s ageing power plants are set to retire. Maine’s approval of the project — which also faced criticism from environmental groups,,,Another stalled project includes the Access Northeast natural gas pipeline, backed by Enbridge Inc., Eversource Energy and National Grid. >click to read<09:27

New super sturdy lobster trap goes into production

The Lobster Trap Co., which aims to build a more robust trap than what is now available, is making its first commercial manufacturing run of its plastic product this lobster season. The Yarmouth-based company started taking orders three weeks ago and plans to produce at least 10,000 lobster traps for the 2019-20 lobster season along the southwestern shore of Nova Scotia. The new trap design, which meets regulations for use in Canada and the U.S., would replace the wire-mesh components of current traps with polyethylene-based plastic. >click to read<11:41

Canada says no to Asian carp as lobster bait

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is throwing cold water on the prospect of importing Asian carp from the United States for use as lobster bait.
With bait prices on the rise, the invasive species was promoted as a cheaper bait source for the lucrative fishery. “The CFIA is aware that the industry has expressed interest in importing Asian carp for bait for the lobster fishery,” agency spokesperson Christine Carnaffan said in an email. The position is news to promoter Patrick Swim of lobster.ca, who said he has spent months seeking permits from both countries to import Asian carp from the Illinois River as bait for the lobster fishery in southwest Nova Scotia and Maine. >click to read<08:46

More crew means more opportunity for fishermen to make good

As interstate and federal agencies move to cut use of Maine’s chief bait source — herring — by 75 percent and put in new rules to protect right whales, many of us who have fished lobsters through good times and bad face some very scary times in the next couple of years if we do not figure out a way to get the most out of every trap we put in the water. There’s talk of a trap reduction, of reducing the amount of bait we use, even of closing off valuable fishing areas for part of the year to men and women who have fished Maine waters since they could barely see over the side of the boat. Each of these will hurt Maine’s blue-collar fishing families and the towns we live in without giving anyone much hope for the future. >click to read< by Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham11:39

NOAA scientist: Offshore wind projects will likely affect viability of fishery surveys

At a special session of the New England Fisheries Management Council covering offshore wind, Wendy Gabriel, of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, outlined a wide number of concerns for the organization regarding the development of wind power along the coast. Chief among the concerns was the organization’s ability to continue conducting viable fishery surveys – which provide much of the data that the council uses to establish fishing quotas. “The bottom-line here is, nearly all of the long-term fishery independent surveys that have coverage will be affected,” she said during the session. >click to read<10:06

In Northeast, more research needed on offshore wind’s impact on fishing

As plans for wind farms across New England’s waters progress, fishermen continue to express concerns about the impact of the burgeoning offshore wind industry on their livelihoods. And while wind development is moving rapidly, (into your old fishing grounds) scientific research on the impacts on fisheries has struggled to keep up. But the tides may soon be turning, thanks to the collaborative efforts of the fishing industry, offshore wind developers, and government agencies. Last week, the Responsible Offshore Development Alliance announced a new initiative to advance regional research on fisheries and offshore wind called the Responsible Offshore Science Alliance. >click to read<15:52

Regulators unveil new tool designed to help reduce right whale entanglements

Federal fisheries regulators demonstrated a new risk-assessment tool on Tuesday aimed at helping the survival of the North Atlantic right whale. It comes on the eve of regulatory decisions that could affect the fate of the endangered species — and the lobster industry, as well. Federal scientists said the new data model should help lobstermen and conservationists make collaborative decisions about reducing dangers that fishing gear poses for the endangered. >click to read<12:49

New boat design, New opportunities for success loom off the coast of Maine

Amidst the lobster traps, blue and barren berried rolling hills of Harrington, Maine, forager, artist and engineer Dave Olson is re-imagining the rockweed harvesting scene.,,, This new boat is built around the notion of an independent harvester. It’s five feet longer with higher gunwales (sides). A hydraulic system powers offloading machinery and two rollers which assist with reeling in the loaded rake.,,,I asked him why he decided to build this boat. “It was clear from the first day that their operation was sloppy…and it was affecting my bottom line.   >click to read<16:58

This summer crisis could take the steam

This year federal authorities are imposing a steep reduction, and a few regions of the East Coast are restricted to fishing, months prior to the lobster season gets rolling. East Coast herring fishermen brought over 200 million pounds of these fish to docks lately as 2014, but the catch of this year will be limited to less than a fifth of that total. The cut scrambling for fresh lure sources, is leaving with herring for generations in Maine lobstermen, who have baited traps and concerned about their capacity to find lobster. >click to read< 12:40

CLF OVERRULED! New Fishing Rights in Gulf of Maine Upheld by Judge

A federal judge upheld a rule Monday that opens up a portion of the western Gulf of Maine to commercial and recreational fishing for the first time. The Conservation Law Foundation had challenged the rule last year, claiming the National Marine Fisheries Service wrongly prioritized economic considerations over its conservation duty when it reduced the protected area in that portion of the Gulf by about 25%. While the rule offered habitat protection in the eastern Gulf of Maine for the first time, the conservation group said the agency and the New England Regional Council should have closed more of the Gulf to fishing. >click to read<17:28

Late post! New England Fishery Management Council meeting April 16-18, 2019 in Mystic, CT

The New England Fishery Management Council will be meeting at Hilton Hotel, Mystic, CT, Newport, RI, December 4, 2018 –, To read the final agenda, >click here< Register for webinar >click here< to listen live. Our apologies for being late, and Wednesday, April 17, 2019 Kicks Off @8:30 a.m. Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management (EBFM) Committee Report, Atlantic Herring @11:30!

April 24th, 25th – Fishermen safety training planned in Newburyport, Gloucester

Fishing Partnership Support Services, which was founded in 1997 and maintains offices in four Massachusetts port communities, announces the following training schedule: April 24: Safety and survival training, U.S. Coast Guard Station, 65 Water St., Newburyport, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 25: Drill conductor training, U.S. Coast Guard Station, Newburyport, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Safety and survival training, U.S. Coast Guard Station, 17 Harbor Loop, Gloucester, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 26: Drill conductor training, U.S. Coast Guard Station Gloucester, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lunch is provided. Safety and survival training will cover: man-overboard procedures, onboard firefighting, emergency communications, flood and pump operation, survival suits, life raft deployment and boarding, and basic first aid. >click to read<12:30

This day in Stamford history: 10 years ago – Lobster catches keep falling

The state’s commercial lobster catch fell to its lowest level in 25 years in 2008, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection. The continuing decline in the Long Island Sound lobster population is likely to lead to new size restrictions as the state grapples with the lobster die-off that started in the late 1990s, the DEP said. State lobstermen took in 387,306 pounds of lobster last year, a 31 percent drop from 2007 when fishermen pulled in 568,169 pounds, according to the DEP’s statistics, and barely a tenth of the 3.7 million pounds hauled in when measured catches topped out in 1998, >click to read<13:20

Gloucester Captain offers classes for aspiring Fishermen

Capt. Joe Sanfilippo fished out of Gloucester for more than 20 years alongside siblings and family members. For much of that time, a seed was germinating.,,, Which brings us to the germinating seed. Sanfilippo, as the industry evolved, often thought there might be a better way to give aspiring commercial fishermen a head start entering the profession. Now he is trying to pass along the very mechanics of working on a commercial fishing boat,,, “My goal is to have a commercial fishing training center in Gloucester, almost like a vocational school,” Sanfilippo said. >click to read<21:20

DC Circuit Sinks Challenge to Fishing Bycatch Rule

The D.C. Circuit on Friday upheld the government’s method of counting fish and other sea life that are unintentionally swept up in commercial fishing nets. The NMFS changed its method for counting bycatch in 2015,,, The 2015 change puts trained reporters, typically biologists, on a sample of fishing boats to count bycatch. Their numbers are then extrapolated across entire fleets, giving the government an estimate to work with. Conservation group Oceana challenged the new rule,,, >click to read<19:25

You should read this. Right whale extinction crisis gains momentum on Capitol Hill

Leaders from industry, science and advocacy convened on Capitol Hill this week for a congressional briefing and panel discussion on the North Atlantic right whale extinction crisis. Despite being a busy week in Congress, the room was packed with attendees interested in learning more about the status of the right whale and opportunities for Congress to support the recovery of the species. NRDC cosponsored the briefing and I had the pleasure of presenting on the panel, which was held in cooperation with Representatives Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Jared Huffman (D-CA). The panel provided a compelling overview of the severe threat posed by entanglement, ongoing and future actions aimed at reducing right whale deaths, and the international cooperation needed to secure the whale’s future. >click to read<20:51

Ipswich editorial: Green crabs – Time to chomp down on the threat

They look so small and creepy, almost like tarantulas — about the size of a palm, with their legs and two front pincers wriggling. It’s hard to imagine the crabs could destroy a multi-million dollar local businesses and the 20,000-acre Great Marsh, spawning grounds for many local fish. But the green crabs can. More importantly, the voracious, invasive green crabs are. The crabs destroy both the Great Marsh — because they uproot the eel grass that anchors the marsh — and fisheries, such as the clamming industry, oystering and even lobstering because the crabs eat clams, oysters and juvenile lobsters. >click to read<14:07

With an acquisition in Nova Scotia, lobster dealers expanding into Canada to shore up their business

Ready Seafood in Portland is joining a handful of U.S. lobster companies that have opened Canadian operations, locking down year-round access to hard shell lobsters that can be exported to both China and Europe without the tariffs that have crippled other U.S. dealers. Ready is following in the footsteps of other American lobster dealers, ranging from Boston Lobster Co.,,, Dealers from both sides of the border who attended the Canadian-Maine Lobstermen’s Town Meeting in Portland last week said that having a footprint on both sides of the border is necessary >click to read<09:30

Resolutions Introduced in 3 States to Designate 2019 as International Year of the Salmon

State representatives from three states are introducing resolutions and a joint memorial this week to recognize 2019 as International Year of the Salmon.,, Rep. Geran Tarr of Alaska, Rep. Debra Lekanoff of Washington, and Rep. Ken Helm of Oregon are working on the initiative in concert with the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission and the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization. >click to read<20:01

DFO – Atlantic mackerel stocks down 86% over past 20 years

The latest stock assessment for Atlantic mackerel contains grim news for one of the region’s most iconic fish. Scientists say the spawning population is now at 86 per cent of pre-2000 levels, and the number of fish surviving to breed is at all-time lows. An assessment by DFO says mackerel are in the “critical zone” where serious harm is occurring and recovery is threatened by overfishing. Adding to the uncertainty are changing environmental conditions in the Gulf of St. Lawrence where mackerel spawn. >click to read<09:30

Lobsterman accused of witness retaliation in headless tuna case

Harold E. Wentworth, 41, with listed addresses of 28 Revere St. and 24 Liberty St., was arrested Wednesday by officers from Massachusetts Environmental Police and Gloucester Police on charges that on March 12 he retaliated against the prime witness against him in the tuna case..,,, According to police reports of Wednesday’s arrest, the prime witness against Wentworth contacted Environmental Police Officer Ryan Lennon on March 28 that he suspected Wentworth dumped some of his gear into Pigeon Cove earlier in the month and may have committed other retaliatory acts, such as cutting his lobster trawls. On Monday, Lennon and the witness reviewed security footage of Pigeon Cove from March 12. >click to read<21:57

U.S. Senator Collins ‘misinformed’ on Canadian lobster fishery

Canadian lobster fishermen are challenging the “misinformed” remarks of a U.S. senator. Susan Collins, a Republican senator from Maine, has accused them of undermining conservation efforts by Maine lobster fishermen in a disputed “grey zone” between the two countries.,,, Collins incorrectly claimed Canadian fishermen are allowed to catch egg-bearing female lobsters that are notched and tossed back by Mainers.,,, The claim rankles New Brunswick lobster fisherman Brian Guptill, president of the Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association. He said it is untrue. >click to read<09:01

Behind the Scenes with Wicked Tuna

The men on the dock were the tuna boat captains who head the cast of the upcoming eighth season of the National Geographic channel’s reality show Wicked Tuna, airing this year. They had spent the summer fishing—and filming—and had plans to ply the waters throughout the fall, but for the moment they were fulfilling the responsibilities of their other job: TV star. “We’re just fishermen who got a shot at doing something really cool,” says T.J. Ott, who captains the Hot Tuna on and off the show, which has developed a cult following. >click to read<21:27

Are scalloping’s days numbered on Nantucket?

Nantucket bay scalloping is a dying profession, town shellfish constable J.C. Johnson said this week, just days after commercial scalloping season came to a close. Fishermen brought in 13,000 bushels of scallops last season. That number was down by 10,000 bushels this year to around 3,000, making the season’s harvest one of the lowest ever, Johnson said. Along with the decreased harvest size, the fleet itself is aging, with only a handful of young scallopers now fishing. “We have a couple younger guys going out, but your veteran guys, Bill Spencer, Herkey Stojak, all those guys who have been scalloping for years are almost done, so what’s going to happen if you don’t have their kids following suit?” he asked. “Guys that scallop to the end are your veterans, your die-hards, guys who are out there. That’s their business,” he said. >click to read<15:49

April 8 – 1950: Eight fishermen drown in sight of Lightship Pollock Rip

On this day in 1950, a fishing boat with eight men aboard sank with no survivors off Chatham after its crew struggled for hours to remain afloat in a howling gale.”The William Landry, a 63-foot scallop dragger out of New Bedford, was smashed to pieces by pounding seas while struggling toward a lightship stationed at Pollock Rip in Nantucket Sound,” the Associated Press reported. >click to read<10:00

Our View: New NOAA administrator right to emphasize collaboration

Mike Pentony took over as the regional administrator for NOAA’s Northeast fisheries division about a year ago and he’s received good marks from some quarters of the local fishing industry since that time.Pentony, an engineer and environmental manager by education, has worked in the North Atlantic fishery for most of his adult life. First as a policy analyst for the New England Fishery Management Council and later for 12 years as a team supervisor in NOAA’s sustainable fisheries division. As assistant regional administrator since 2014, Pentony oversaw 14 fisheries management plans for 42 species valued at nearly $1.6 billion annually. >click to read<15:41

How big should a clam get? Maine eyes new harvest rules

Maine is the country’s leading producer of soft-shell clams, which are steamed or used to make New England staples such as fried clams and clam chowder. The harvest has fallen in recent years to the point where the nationwide haul for 2017 and ’18 was the lowest for any two-year period in more than 60 years. In Maine, the shellfish business is challenged by growing populations of predators that eat clams and a declining number of clammers. >click to read<12:07

How eating sea bass and crab can help Maine lobstermen

A group of Rhode Island fishermen who witnessed southern New England’s near-shore lobster fishery evaporate and its offshore fishery diminish dramatically in their time on the water came to last month’s Maine Fishermen’s Forum in Rockland to give lobstermen here a bit of seasoned advice: Embrace ecosystem change while you’re in a good position to do so.,,, “As the poster child for a fisherman who has had to adapt to sea change, I can tell you that black sea bass represents a huge opportunity,” said Norbert Stamps, a Barrington, Rhode Island-based offshore lobster fisherman. Even if fishing for black sea bass is only done on a small scale, Stamps said, it can make an impact. >click to read<09:58