Category Archives: New England

Building, wharf collapse on Gloucester waterfront

Cape Ann Ice owner Scott Memhard was one relieved man last night as he stood surrounded by fire trucks off Commercial Street and surveyed the wreckage of a wharf — originally reported as his — that had collapsed into the Inner Harbor some 20 minutes earlier. “It sounded over the scanner like it was ours,” Memhard said, although Cape Ann Ice’s wharf, located two buildings over, is in sound shape. More reports came in that the collapse was at the old FBI Wharf, which became the North Atlantic Fish wharf, before North Atlantic was bought out by Channel Fish Processing in 2012. There was also confusion about the actual address; fire Capt. Tom Logrande said the storage building was likely 80 Commercial St. but Channel lists its address as No. 88. click here to read the story 08:43

New Bedford among crowd staking claim to Carlos Rafael’s permits

Before Carlos Rafael uttered the word “guilty” last month, the judge made the New Bedford fishing mogul aware of the possibility of forfeiting his assets, which means permits, too. About two months remain before Rafael’s sentencing date, but cities and states have started to acknowledge that possibility as well. “The goal for me is to get ahead of the ball to make partnerships with people that have the same interests, which is keeping the licenses local,” Ward 4 Councilor Dana Rebeiro said. John Pappalardo and Maggie Raymond, the executive director of Associated Fisheries of Maine, expect the status of Rafael’s permits to be decided on the sentencing date. Still, Raymond is already lobbying for any forfeited permit to go to Maine. click here to read the story 08:16

Business Opposition Grows Stronger to Offshore Oil Exploration and Drilling

Today we are delivering our clear message to Interior Secretary Zinke—no offshore oil exploration and drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. With the addition of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce this week, BAPAC represents over 41,000 businesses and over 500,000 commercial fishing families opposing offshore exploration and drilling for oil in the Atlantic. We are building a green wall—business by business—to protect our vibrant tourism, recreation and commercial fishing economy that would be seriously threatened by the marine-life devastation of seimic airgun blasting and the inevitable destructive leaks, spills and industrialization that comes with drilling. We are not the Gulf Coast nor are we envious of the industrialization of the Gulf Coast. Their economy is oil. Ours is tourism, recreation and commercial fishing. The two economies are incompatible. click here to read the story 14:51

Not exactly a breeze: Offshore wind still faces challenges

Amid all of the challenges that could face offshore wind power along the East Coast — legal disputes from commercial fishing advocates, construction plans altered by whale migrations, President Donald Trump’s emphasis on revitalizing fossil fuels and more — some promising news for renewable industry supporters arrived in mid-March. That’s when a telling indication of how offshore wind power might fare under President Trump was delivered, after an uncertain, wait-and-see winter. Following months of silence about offshore wind, a statement by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke gave an early glimpse of the administration’s tone. click here to read the story 09:22

Trump Orders Review Of National Monuments, Including The First In The Atlantic Ocean

President Donald Trump this week ordered a review of the U.S. Antiquities Act. The move could impact the Atlantic Ocean’s first-ever marine national monument, created last fall. The monument covers nearly 5,000 square miles off the coast of Cape Cod. It’s home to a variety of wildlife and underwater landscapes. This week, Trump ordered his interior secretary to review dozens of monuments created over the last roughly two decades, which are larger than 100,000 acres. Trump said they represent a “massive federal land grab.” Lisa Dale, with the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, said the review isn’t trying to rescind or undo anything — yet. “It’s quite heavy on ideology, and rather light on realism,” she said. lol! we’ll see! click here to read the story 17:19

Deepwater Wind Confronted – Fishermen ask trustees to fight offshore wind farm

A representative of the Rhode Island company that is planning a 15-turbine wind farm 30 miles off Montauk faced sharp questions from fishermen and other residents at the East Hampton Town Trustees meeting on Monday, as well as from the trustees themselves. A lengthy presentation and a subsequent question-and-answer session occupied more than half of the nearly four-hour meeting, as fishermen voiced fears of disruption and even the outright destruction of their livelihood. “Most of fishermen I know, we are against this project from the beginning to the end,” Terry Wallace said to applause. Brad Loewen, chairman of the East Hampton Town Fisheries Advisory Committee, criticized Deepwater’s effort to hire fisheries representatives here. “You can try to buy advice, you can try to buy trawl surveys, you can try to buy scientific data,” he said. “I would suggest . . . that you don’t necessarily listen to somebody that was hired by them,” he told the trustees. “Listen to the people doing the job, somebody actually out trawling, running around that bay, trying to catch fish, and trying to make a living.” click here to read the story 14:18

Mysterious drop in prized bait worms threatens a way of life

Dan Harrington makes his living unearthing marine worms by hacking away at mudflats with a tool that resembles the business end of an old steel rake. He’s fine with the freezing weather, the pungent aromas and the occasional nip from an angry crab, but his latest problem is the big one – the worms just aren’t there like they used to be.,,, Scientists are struggling to figure out where the worms have gone. Among the factors that could play a role in the decline are rising temperatures in the Gulf of Maine, changes in currents that distribute worm larvae and increased harvesting pressure, said William Ambrose, a Bates College professor and marine researcher. It’s also possible a growing number of invasive green crabs is preying on the worms, said Brian Beal, a marine ecology professor at the University of Maine at Machias. click> (invasive green crab discovered in Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge) But Beal and Ambrose say more research is needed to understand what’s going on. click here to read the story 10:26

Division of Marine Fisheries Extends Trap Fishing Gear Closure in Cape Cod Bay

As a result of the ongoing presence of endangered right whales feeding in Cape Cod Bay, the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) today announced that most of Cape Cod Bay will remain closed to the setting of recreational and commercial traps and pots for an additional week, through May 7, 2017. Right whales are common in Cape Cod Bay during late winter and early spring, especially during the months of March and April, and usually depart before May 1, when the three month (February – April) trap closure affecting this area was scheduled to be lifted. However, over the past month an unprecedented number of whales have been observed, with mid-April counts demonstrating a presence of more than 200 whales. While the most recent survey suggests some whales may have departed the Bay, an estimated 100 to 200 individuals remain present. This late seasonal presence of whales corresponds with extraordinarily high densities of plankton (Calanus copepods), the preferred food of right whales.  Read the press release here with imagery 14:43

Kitty’s out of a job! Researchers Discontinue Annual Lobster Season Forecast After Complaints From Industry

A Portland-based research institute is dropping its yearly forecast of when lobster landings in Maine will begin their annual surge. The move comes after criticism from Maine’s lobster industry about the report’s timing and accuracy, and its effect on lobster prices.,, State regulators and lobster industry groups asked the institute whether it could develop a tool that would allow the timing of the annual uptick in lobster landings to be predicted. After a few years studying the issue, the institute started publicizing its statewide predictions in 2015 and again last year. But last year, and particularly in certain geographic areas, the prediction didn’t match conditions. click here to read the story 11:40

Maine fishermen could feel impact of proposed undersea cable

A Canadian company is proposing a 350-mile, sub-sea power transmission cable that could interfere with commercial fishing along the coast of Maine. If the project is approved, the Atlantic Link cable would be buried about 25 miles offshore of Harpswell, running between New Brunswick, Canada, and Plymouth, Massachusetts. It would affect about 400 lobstermen from Cape Elizabeth to Phippsburg, according to spokesman Gerald Weseen of the Nova Scotia-based energy services company Emera. Weseen and other project representatives, and staff from the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, conducted a meeting about the project April 21 that drew only two area lobstermen. click here to read the story 13:12

Meanwhile in the Straight of New Brunswick, Scallop fishermen worried about short- and long-term impact of electric cable installation. “Are we going to have a fishery there in the future, or are we going to have wait seven years to get it back up again?” Barlow asked. click here to read the story 14:20

Maine Lobstermen tired of conflicts, support bill to allow secretly installed tracking devices

Lobstermen fed up with cohorts who violate fishing regulations testified in favor of a bill to allow Marine Patrol officers to secretly install tracking devices on fishing vessels suspected of illegal activity without first obtaining a warrant. While a smaller faction opposed the bill, both sides agreed that Maine faces a growing “epidemic” posed by a small number of law-breakers fueling dangerous conflict and threatening the stewardship ethos within the state’s most valuable fishery. They also agreed that the Maine Department of Marine Resources needed more enforcement tools, but lobstermen differed on whether DMR’s commissioner should be allowed to authorize the installation of GPS tracking devices without getting a judge’s approval. click here to read the story 08:36

Lobster — Smoke That!

You may be familiar with smoked salmon and smoked trout. But Robert Young wants you to get to know smoked Maine lobster. His Vinalhaven Smoked Lobster company is named for Vinalhaven, a small island 12 miles off the coast of Maine, where Young fishes. For the past decade, he’s been catching fresh lobsters aboard his boat, then steaming them, before extracting the meat to smoke over either cherry or hickory chips. The flesh is then either preserved in oil or turned into a lusty dip. What is smoked lobster like? It’s denser in texture than just steamed or boiled lobster. And it doesn’t flake like smoked fish does. Instead, the bite-size morsels are firm with a chew to them. The taste is sweeter than smoked fish, too. The cherry wood smoked lobster is more delicate tasting, accentuating the inherent sweetness of the mollusk, while the hickory-smoked lobster is much more full-on smoky, savory tasting. click here to read the story 14:53

8 Things the Northeast Fisheries Observer Program Does for You!

Some of the largest, most profitable fisheries rely on fishery observers to collect, process and manage data and biological samples from commercial fishing trips for stock assessment and management purposes. But, that’s not all they do. Here’s a small behind the scenes look at some of the other things Northeast Fisheries Observer Program (NEFOP) observers do that directly or indirectly impact you, your family and friends, your wallet, your lifestyle, your community and more. click here to read the story. 13:02

No shrimp today: Maine’s waters are warming and it’s costing fishermen money

David Goethel wishes he could retire. At 63, he’s been fishing off the Gulf of Maine for over 34 years. Shrimp used to be plentiful there. Back in 2000, Goethel remembers seeing 100 commercial boats out in the harbor. Now, he’s just one of a handful of local fisherman struggling to make a living. “There was life on the docks, there were people working,” lifelong fisherman Arnold Gamage, 64, agrees. “Now, it looks like a ghost town.” Maine’s fishing industry has been declining for years due to factors like overfishing and increased regulation, but there’s another culprit eating away at profits: Maine’s ocean waters are warming — and it’s killing northern shrimp. Why is the Gulf of Maine warming? Scientists aren’t certain, but Appelman and other experts suspect climate change is playing a role.,, Shrimping used to account for around 30% of Goethel’s income. While he recognizes that the ban is necessary, he still misses that extra cash. Lifelong fisherman Gary Libby is also feeling the squeeze. He’s been trying to sell his shrimp boat but no one is buying. He’s lost between 30% to 40% of his annual income since the ban was instituted. click here to read the story 08:52

Fresh and Local: Community seafood program lure customers with fresh catch

The return of warm weather is sending commercial fishing boats back out into the ocean and re-awakening the growing local seafood movement, which seeks to help small fishermen, just as the local food movement has helped small farms. “Fishermen are facing many problems and this isn’t the only answer, but it helps,” said Erik Chapman, acting director of the N.H. Sea Grant program at the University of New Hampshire and a cofounder of LocalCatch.org, which coordinates hundreds of direct-to-consumer seafood operations around the world.,, This year, N.H. Community Seafood is adding some fish caught commercially on rod and reel as well as those caught by nets used by commercial dayboats, and is incorporating some oysters and lobsters along with groundfish species such as cod, haddock and flounder, plus less-known species such as hake and dogfish (which is sometimes called cape shark to increase its consumer appeal).  click here to read the story 18:09

Lobster Prices are Starting to Drop

It was tough cold weather season for local fish markets, but finally lobster prices are starting to drop. Schermerhorn’s Seafood in Holyoke has been in business for more than 100 years. They told 22News they’ve never seen lobster prices this high for this long. Low demand driven by high prices and low supply driven by cold fishing waters. Schermerhorn’s said this coming week, the lobster beds should open up and prices should drop. Video, read the story here 10:40

A Response – Speak plain English: Scientists can do a better job talking to fishermen

I have just read your recent article by Brett Favaro, director of the Fisheries Sciences at Memorial University’s Fisheries and Marine Institute. “Speak plain English, Scientists can do a better job talking to fishermen, CBC News”. It mirrors what the scientists at the Northeast Science Center at Woodshole have concluded. They are hiring someone to do exactly that, translate between the scientists and the fishermen. I can’t believe that so many brilliant scientists could be so very “intellectually challenged” and arrogant.
I have spent my entire adult life fluctuating between fishing and science. My husband is a full time commercial fisherman and my youngest son is a PhD bio mathematician. They understand each other perfectly well. My son fished with his father from the age of 12. He understands fishing and how to listen and how to explain science.
In my opinion the problem is not that the fishermen do not understand the scientists. It is that the scientists no longer understand fishing. The program that you need to add to the curriculum is a year on the back deck learning the ins and outs of actual fishing. How to garner the best data possible from a working fishing vessel. What we have lost is the ability of the scientist to really listen to the fishermen and value their observations.
We should take a lesson from the renown scientist, Henry Bigelow, who spent most of his working career on the back deck of fishing vessels and paying fishermen for their knowledge. Listening to their observations and carefully cataloging them.
Ellen Goethel
Biologist/Owner Explore the Ocean World,LLC
Hampton, NH USA 19:35

Downeast fishermen use old trick to battle higher bait prices

Two Washington County fishermen plan to invest in an ancient technology to combat a new problem — namely, the high cost of lobster bait. The Quoddy Tides reported that the fishermen will borrow pile-driving equipment to start creating a weir fishing system, the first used in that area in 15 years. Lobster bait, primarily herring, is selling for as much as $90 for a “tote” unit. The high costs last summer reportedly drove Maine lobster fishermen to start buying porgies from as far away as New Jersey. click here to read the story 11:53

Loss of ‘Codfather’ permits could hurt New Bedford

By late morning just before Easter weekend, three fishing vessels lined up at the docks to unload their catch, and they all belonged to one man — the local mogul known as the “Codfather,” Carlos Rafael. “It’s a good haul,” a passing auction worker at the Whaling City Seafood Display Auction said under her breath, as crew members, some still in their orange waterproof bibs, unloaded the ice-packed fish. But now, Rafael’s recent conviction on federal charges that he cheated fishing regulations to boost his profits is putting his many vessels and permits up for grabs — potentially distributing them to ports along the New England coast. That would deliver an economic blow to New Bedford and the people who depend on the business created by Rafael’s fleet. If his permits are seized as expected, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the regulatory agency known as NOAA, could reissue the permits to fishermen elsewhere in the region. “There are a lot more innocent people who could get punished by this,” said Jim Kendall, a former fisherman who runs New Bedford Seafood Consulting. click here to read the story 09:00

U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Decision on Reg That Will Put 60 Percent of New England Ground Fishermen Out of Business

On Friday, the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the District Court’s ruling last summer that a lawsuit filed by Cause of Action Institute (CoA Institute) on behalf of Plaintiffs David Goethel and Northeast Fishery Sector 13 against the U.S. Department of Commerce should be dismissed. In its opinion, the Court found that the fishermen’s suit was untimely and therefore did not consider the Plaintiff’s legal arguments that requiring fishermen to pay for monitors is against the law.  However, in a rare move, the judges highlighted the devastating economic impacts of the regulation in question, and urged Congress to clarify the law and who should pay for the at-sea monitors. “I am disappointed by the decision,” Goethel said. “But I’m hopeful that Congress will heed the Court’s direction and clarify the law. It is the government’s obligation to pay for these at-sea monitors.,, Northeast Fishery Sector 13 Manager John Haran said, “I’m disappointed that timeliness of the case was the Court’s deciding factor and not the merits of our arguments. The fishermen in my sector can’t sustain this industry funding requirement and many will be put out of business if this mandate remains in place.” click here to read the story 14:37

UPDATED: Coast Guard conducts medevac 65 miles south of Montauk, N.Y.

A Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter crew medically evacuated a 47-year-old man 65 miles south of Montauk, N.Y., Friday. At 8:25 a.m., the fishing vessel Braedon Michael notified Coast Guard Station Montauk, who then relayed to Sector Long Island Sound, of a crewmember aboard who was experiencing flu like symptoms and was in and out of consciousness. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter launched from Air Station Cape Cod, Massachusetts, at 9:50 a.m., and arrived on scene approximately an hour later. The crewmember was safely hoisted from the deck of the Braedon Michael and transported to Air Station Cape Cod, where local Emergency Medical Services were waiting. USCG Video click here to watch 14:20

Could the Gulf of Maine’s Ground Fishery Rebound?

“The English had discovered living resources that would attract, shape, and sustain the communities of the coast of Maine for the next four centuries,” wrote journalist and historian Colin Woodard of the bounty that once existed in the Gulf of Maine in the 17th century in his book “The Lobster Coast.” “Early explorers were flabbergasted by the largesse of the Gulf of Maine, a semienclosed sea stretching  from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia. They saw great pods of whales, acres of thrashing tuna, vast schools of salmon, herring and mackerel, clouds of puffins and terns, shoals of mussels and oysters, vast mudlfats infested with fat clams, cod and haddock biting at the hook, and enormous lobsters foraging in the rockweed. The waters off England and France seemed barren by comparison.” As Woodard noted, the geology and climate of the Gulf of the Maine with its 7,500-mile coastline made the area perfectly suited for a thriving fishery — a “fertile oasis in a world ocean that is, ecologically speaking, largely desert.” click here to read the story 09:27

NOAA Fisheries Approves Amendment 18 to Address Fleet Consolidation in Groundfish Fishery

NOAA Fisheries has approved Amendment 18 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. The Amendment establishes permit accumulation limits to minimize fleet consolidation in the groundfish fishery. Amendment 18 limits the number of permits and annual groundfish allocation that an entity could hold. Also, to increase fishing opportunities and promote fleet diversity, Amendment 18 increases flexibility for fishermen on limited-access handgear vessels. Read the final rule as published in the Federal Register, and the permit holder letter posted on our website.Questions? Contact Jennifer Goebel at 978-281-9175 or [email protected]

Lobster buyer gets his license yanked

A hearing examiner has upheld the one-year suspension of the license of a lobster buyer accused of failing to report a portion of the purchases made off a barge based in Seal Cove in Tremont. In August, Maine Marine Patrol officers summonsed Donald Crabtree Sr. of Crabtree Seafood in Brewer on a charge of violating the Department of Marine Resources’ (DMR) reporting requirements, a civil violation. Crabtree appealed his suspension. A hearing examiner last week determined that the suspension is justified, according to Sgt. Troy Dow of the marine patrol. Crabtree began using the town-owned Seal Cove Wharf as a base for his lobster business in the spring of 2015. He was mooring his 45-foot barge there and used the facility’s ramp to load bait before motoring into Blue Hill Bay to sell bait to fishermen and buy lobsters from them. The day’s catch later was offloaded at the ramp. click here to read the story 11:16

Lobster fishing in Gulf of Maine coral canyons gets initial approval

The New England Fisheries Management Council voted 14-1 to ban most fishing in the canyons and plateaus where slow-growing, cold-water coral gardens flourish in the dark waters of the Gulf of Maine. But pleas from Maine lobster fishermen who say a trap ban in fertile fishing grounds off Mount Desert Rock and Outer Schoodic Ridge would cost them millions helped sway an initially resistant council to grant a lobstering exemption. Fishermen also said closing these areas would have led to more traps, and fishing lines, being dropped in nearby waters traveled by endangered right whales, which can suffer injuries or die if they become entangled in lobster fishing lines. Opponents, including environmentalists and some who fish for other species that would not get an exemption in the coral zones,,,  click here to read the story. 14:50

From the Council – NEFMC Selects Deep-Sea Coral Amendment Preferred Alternatives, Click here to read 15:43

Central Coast should look to Rhode Island for bad experience with wind turbines  

Our commercial fishermen met with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the bureau plans on putting hundreds of wind turbines off our coastline, taking hundreds of square miles of ocean away from fishing. We spoke with fishermen on the East Coast that had five wind turbines installed off Rhode Island, and they had nothing good to say. The installation required huge cement slabs on the bottom. The blades cause radar interference for miles. They are in squid and scallop fishing grounds, costing hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars lost to Rhode Island. They are placing them in navigation lanes, causing shipping vessels to travel around them. Also, most of the time they don’t work! They need repair constantly, and if the wind blows over 50 mph, they have to shut them down! They are being federally subsidized by millions of taxpayer dollars to mainly companies from other countries! It’s costing four times the amount it costs them for natural gas-powered electricity. Gov. Jerry Brown thinks using our oceans for energy is what we need. He is wrong. The ocean is a food source. It is wild and powerful and is not meant for industrialization. Tom Hafer, Atascadero link 09:19

Northeast Cooperative Research Program Review

The Northeast Fisheries Science Center initiated an independent review of its Northeast Cooperative Research Program in 2016. The final reviewer report, NEFSC response, and action plan are now available and posted below. The review found that the NCRP has demonstrated success working with fishing industry partners on research that can improve fishery science and management. Examples include long-term efforts like the NEFSC study fleet, development of electronic reporting tools for catch and environmental data, enhanced sampling opportunities of fishery resources, and specialized industry-based survey collaborations. Click here to continue reading. 16:10

The Massachusetts fishing fleet confronts an opioid problem

A reputation for drug use has long followed the Massachusetts fishing fleet, whose fiercely independent crews often return to port flush with cash and ready to exhale after long and dangerous trips. Some fishermen link that reputation to a rugged cowboy culture; others to the pain medication taken by men and women whose bodies are battered by the job. But now, as opioid deaths rise relentlessly in Massachusetts, fishing captains from Cape Ann to Buzzards Bay are beginning to stock their boats with naloxone, a drug that reverses overdoses and is commonly sold under the trademark Narcan. click here to continue reading the story 09:46

Cape fishermen and environmentalists push to protect herring stocks from “Localized Depletion”

Local fishermen are hoping the New England Fishery Management Council will help protect tuna and other fisheries from the herring fleet by agreeing to have measures asking for year-round closures of up to 50 miles east of the Cape analyzed and included during a vote expected later this year. The council is meeting in Mystic, Connecticut, today through Thursday, when the board will work on herring regulations. “There’s a strong feeling that fisheries that used to happen here have been displaced by 10 years of intense herring removal,” said John Pappalardo, executive director of the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance, and a member of the New England council and its herring committee. “The haddock resource is robust, but there’s no meaningful haddock fishery close to shore.” Localized Depletion. Are they not considering that with the squid fishery too? Oh yes they are! click here to read the story 08:08

You can listen to all the council action by clicking these links. To read the final agenda, click here  Register click here to listen live via webinar.

Fishermen shot down in fishing monitor dispute.

A federal appeals court has found in favor of the U.S. government in a challenge brought by a New England fishermen’s group over the cost of at-sea monitoring. The monitors are workers who collect data that help the government craft fishing regulations. The government shifted the cost of paying for monitors to fishermen last year. A group led by New Hampshire fisherman David Goethel sued the government over the rule change. Read the rest here 20:47

2016 GARFO Year in Review

The Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office (GARFO) is proud to announce the release of our second annual Year in Review report. The report highlights some of our key accomplishments for 2016, many of which were achieved through partnership and collaboration with the New England and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Councils, Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, and Northeast Fisheries Science Center. Printed copies are available upon request. Click here to read the report. 16:54

Three Off Shore wind article’s regarding Mass, Long Island and Maryland

Massachusetts Readies for First Offshore Wind Procurement in June – Massachusetts is drawing closer to its first solicitation for wind energy in state waters, with a call for bids due in June. Click here    Offshore wind farm may not meet peak summer demand on South Fork – An offshore wind farm at the center of a LIPA plan to address spiking electric demand on the South Fork will produce excess energy when it’s needed least, and fall short of a sharply expanding summer peak load, a recent analysis found. Click here US Wind Tackles Viewshed Concerns For Maryland Offshore Wind Project – In order to resolve concerns about the visual impacts of its proposed wind farm off the coast of Maryland, developer US Wind has offered to move the first line of turbines farther offshore, as far as five miles to the east. Click here 15:55

The New England Fishery Management Coucil will meet in Mystic CT. April 18 thru 20, 2017

The New England Fishery Management Council will be meeting in Mystic CT at the Hilton Hotel. To read the final agenda, click here  Register click here to listen live via webinar. 12:32

Researchers seek fishing ground closures off N.S., N.B., to protect right whales

Canadian researchers say they have a solution to a new U.S. government requirement that its seafood imports be caught in a way that minimizes harm to marine mammals. Sean Brillant, the report’s lead author, has recommended the summertime closure of Roseway Basin off southwestern Nova Scotia and areas around Grand Manan in the Bay of Fundy. Those are two areas where North Atlantic right whales usually congregate in summer. Closing them, the paper claims, would reduce the risk of gear entanglements by more than 30 per cent at a cost of 140 tonnes in lost seafood catches. click here to read the story 09:22

Coast Guard, locals help fishermen, dog after boat floods off Hampton Harbor, NH

The Coast Guard and Hampton Fire Rescue helped two people and a dog to shore Saturday after their boat started taking on water about three miles east of Hampton Harbor, New Hampshire. Aman aboard the fishing boat used a VHF radio to contact watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Northern New England at about 8:30 p.m. Saturday. The man reported the Patricia Lynn II was rapidly taking on water and the two men aboard were using buckets to dewater the boat. He also said they were using a bilge pump but it was not keeping up with the rate of flooding. The man said both men aboard had donned survival suits, and put a lifejacket on a dog that was also aboard the boat. click to continue reading the story 12:18

From Port to Plate: A journey of New Bedford’s most profitable product

Who knew that a silver dollar-sized scallop could provide such bang for a buck? As the most profitable item turned over in the most profitable port in the country, this milk-colored mollusk has almost been solely responsible for the re-birth of New Bedford’s working waterfront since the turn of the century. While other New England ports have shrunk or been gentrified from a working waterfront to high rise condos and upscale restaurants, New Bedford has thrived. OUT AT SEA- Captain Earl Chor Sr. described an early 12-day April trip to the Elephant Trunk Flex Access Area as “smooth” despite working around a few days of harsh weather.,, TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER- In the damp and hollowed display room of BASE there are dozens of tall cardboard bins filled with ice and bagged scallops, known as lots, lining the room.,, SPANNING THE GLOBE- click here to read this big story 08:51

Conecticut lobstermen fighting for survival

Connecticut’s Congressional Delegation wants to make sure that Connecticut Lobster Fishermen get their two cents in before they change any fishing plans for Southern New England. Lobster fishermen, fighting for survival, are being asked to speak up before federal regulators make a new lobster management plan for Southern New England.  U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy and the Connecticut Congressional Delegation want the local lobster industry to survive long-term.  But, lobstermen said new regulations could put them out of business at a time they see lobster catches growing. “Our records indicate it went up for the last three years not a lot, but a little bit,” Ted Whipple, who is a lobster buyer, said. Whipple said despite what government regulators claim, lobster fishing is improving. click here to read the story 08:49

NMFS – Revised black sea bass quotas for the 2017 fishing year and projected specifications for 2018.

NMFS proposes revised black sea bass specifications for the 2017 fishing year and projected specifications for 2018. In addition, this rule proposes to remove an accountability measure implemented at the start of the fishing year designed to account for commercial sector overages in 2015. Updated scientific information regarding the black sea bass stock indicates that higher catch limits should be implemented to obtain optimum yield, and that the accountability measure is no longer necessary or appropriate. This action is intended to inform the public of the proposed specifications for the 2017 fishing year and projected specifications for 2018. Comments must be received by 5 p.m. local time, on May 1, 2017. continue reading the notice here 10:38

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke – Keep Offshore Oil Drilling and Seismic Testing Away From the Atlantic Coast

On April 6 Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told the National Ocean Industries Association that an executive order was forthcoming that would start the process of rewriting the five-year plan for the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program. The next day an op-ed in Morning Consult by Carl Bentzel began Big Oil’s public relations campaign to paint oil/gas exploration and drilling off the Atlantic coast as safe and oil-spill free given new technology and safeguards. Mr. Bentzel argues that the “first steps should be responsible assessment of oil and gas resources in our South Atlantic Ocean.”  So let’s start with seismic airgun blasting that is the essence of this exploration. While proponents of seismic testing say the process is safe for marine life and will provide information for a public debate, neither point is factual. click here to read the op-ed 09:17

Gulf of Maine Cod: Fishermen protest conclusion drawn in first year of DMF multi-year study

The Baker administration cabinet secretary in charge of the industry-based survey of Gulf of Maine cod agrees with commercial fishing interests that conclusions drawn from the initial findings of the multi-year study are premature. Matthew A. Beaton, secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, penned a letter to commercial groundfish sectors in which he addressed the most recent incident to fan the flames of discontent among fishermen regarding the validity of the science used to measure the Gulf of Maine cod biomass.,, But on April 3, a Boston Globe story proclaimed the initial results — which fall in line with the dire assessments by NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center of the cod stock’s imperiled state — “a milestone in the war over the true state of cod” in the Gulf of Maine. The story said the DMF scientists had “reached the same dismal conclusion that their federal counterparts did: The region’s cod are at a historic low — about 80 percent less than the population from just a decade ago.” Typical Boston Globe crap. click here to read the story. 22:54

Gloucester fish company’s owe workers $203K in damages 

Kristian Kristensen and his two Harbor Loop companies — Cape Ann Seafood Exchange and Zeus Packing — must pay more than $200,000 in liquidated damages to 132 employees in a settlement over violations of overtime and record keeping. The U.S. Department of Labor said an investigation by its wage and hour division unearthed violations from October 2011 through September 2014. The probe determined Kristensen and the companies owed $203,998 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are monetary compensations for a loss or a person’s rights or property, awarded by a court judgment. click to read the story here 19:08

Withdraw Unlawful Plan Forcing Fishermen to Pay for At-Sea Monitors – Cause of Action Institute

Cause of Action Institute (“CoA Institute”)  has submitted a regulatory comment to the New England Fishery Management Council (“NEFMC”) questioning the Council’s legal authority to move forward a controversial amendment that would force more fishermen to pay for costly at-sea monitors, which are the government’s responsibility.  CoA Institute advised the NEFMC to abandon the Omnibus Amendment, which would imperil an already hard-hit fishing industry by requiring certain fishermen to pay for monitors to police their at-sea activity.  The plan would also open more regional Atlantic fisheries to industry-funded monitors. “The Omnibus Amendment is unlawful and will make it virtually impossible for countless small-business fishermen to pursue their livelihood,” said Julie Smith, CoA Institute Vice President. “Many of these fishermen come from families that have fished American coastal waters for generations.  The federal government should not regulate them out of business. Congress has not authorized it and the economic consequences are too dire. If an agency lacks statutory authority or appropriated funds, it has no power to act. The New England Council should withdraw the Omnibus Amendment.” The cost for a monitor under the amendment is expected to range from $710 to $818 per day at sea.  That would exceed the revenue a fisherman typically lands from his daily catch. CoA Institute represents fishermen challenging another industry-funded monitoring program in the Northeast groundfish fishery.  In that case, a government study predicted that industry-funded monitoring would result in up to 60 percent of mostly small-scale vessels going out of business—a result that the government blithely characterized as a “restructuring” of the groundfish fleet.  Learn more about the case HERE 14:00

Auction of historic lobster wharf could change life on this Maine island

The first true sign of spring arrived Tuesday on Bailey Island, as temperatures hovered around 60 degrees and lobstermen painted buoys and repaired traps near Cook’s Lobster & Ale House, just over the historic Cribstone Bridge at the tip of Harpswell. Nick and Jennifer Charboneau were busy at the 62-year-old restaurant, readying for the second weekend of the new season following an “amazing” 2016, their first full season at the helm of the waterfront restaurant that has been featured on national television advertising campaigns and multiple travel magazines. Although the adjacent commercial wharf was still, with lobster boats not yet active for the season, it was the focus of much discussion in the area. Following a preview Wednesday and another next week, the wharf and associated docks and outbuildings will be auctioned “as is” to the highest bidder on April 25. The outcome of that auction could mean big changes for the fishing community on the island. click here to read the story 11:27

Troubled waters, heartfelt stories in ‘Sacred Cod’ – Tonight on the Discovery Channel

Of the two sacred emblems of Massachusetts — the bean and the cod — the cod gets all the glory but the bean is certainly more environmentally secure. For centuries fishermen from Gloucester have relied on cod — and the world has relied on them to provide it — but recently scientists have determined that the fish stocks are being depleted at an unsustainable rate and soon there will be no more cod to fish. The fishermen protest that because of the regulations imposed on them, soon there will be no fishermen left to do the fishing. “Sacred Cod,” premiering Thursday at 9 p.m. on Discovery, gives time to both sides. They offer warm, robust, and sympathetic portraits of these Gloucestermen with their powerful work ethic, fierce love of family, and faith in the American Dream. And they also thoughtfully and thoroughly present the point of view of the bureaucrats and scientists who are trying to do what’s best with the information they have. click here to read the story 20:12

Controversy over New England region’s cod population – Now fishermen spend more time avoiding cod than catching it

Three letters to the editor, one from from Jackie Odell, Executive director Northeast Seafood Coalition, Re “dwindling” cod population no fluke in Mass.” (Editorial, April 5): Small family-owned fishing businesses operating in New England rely upon sound science. In recent years, reports for stocks like Gulf of Maine cod have gone from being overly optimistic to overly pessimistic, seemingly overnight. This flip-flop has justifiably created doubt and suspicion among those who participate in the fishery.,, a joint letter from Reps Keating, Lynch, and Moulton, We represent the Commonwealth’s coastal communities and their hard-working fishermen and -women as well as the scientists working to better understand how the fishery is evolving. We share a common goal: understanding the science that can get us to a sustainable fishery.,, and Peter Dorfman. The cod, which used to be abundant and a staple of our economy, are now scarce and possibly on the verge of extinction. It is a genuine shame that the people responsible for this situation cannot bring themselves to accept what has long been scientifically established fact. Click here to read them, and check out the comments. 19:23

Connecticut Congressional Members Urge Lobster Regulators To Consider Impact of New Rules on Lobstermen

Connecticut’s remaining lobstermen should be heard before regional fishing regulators  decide on a new plan to try and restore Long Island Sound’s lobster population, members of Connecticut congressional delegation urged Wednesday. Five members of the delegation signed a letter to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission asking that they get more feedback from Connecticut lobster operations before approving a final lobster management plan. Long Island Sound’s lobster population crashed in 1988-89. Marine scientists believe that climate change,,, Some Connecticut lobstermen argued that the dramatic population decline coincided with the widespread use of a particular pesticide used by Connecticut and New York to combat mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus. click to read the story here 17:43

How Did ‘The Codfather’ Rise? Some Say Fishing Rules Pull Up Big Fishermen

While Carlos Rafael waits to hear his fate, some wonder whether there could be another “Codfather.” Critics say fishing industry regulations pave the way for bigger and more corrupt fishing enterprises. But, some, like Janice Plante of the New England Fisheries Managment Council, disagree with those who blame the regulatory system, insisting the rules don’t “make somebody a criminal.” Joining Morning Edition is Niaz Dorry, of the Gloucester-based Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance. She explains why she believes Rafael’s success is connected to fishing industry rules. click here to listen to the audio report 08:32

On this Day: April 12,1977: “Mother ship of the Russian fishing fleet” seized by Coast Guard off Nantucket

On this day in 1977, a so-called “mother ship of the Russian fishing fleet” off New England was taken to Boston to join another Soviet vessel under guard at the Boston Coast Guard Station for suspicion of violating the new US 200-mile fishing limit. The 503-foot refrigerator-transport vessel Antanas Snechkus (shown below) was seized 100 miles southeast of Nantucket with 100 tons of fish believed to have been caught illegally under the new limit, which took effect March 1, 1977. A day before the Antanas Snechkus was seized, the Coast Guard boarded the 275-foot Russian trawler Taras Shevchenko about 240 miles southeast of Boston and 75 miles inside the limit under direct orders from President Jimmy Carter. click here to read the story 06:33

RI Fishing Industry Looks To Grow Local Demand Amid Changing Regulations

Fishing has long been a staple industry in Rhode Island. Over the last century ever more local seafood is shipped across the country and the globe. Now, as fishermen are working to grow the local market, in the face of changing regulations and technology.The Pawtucket indoor farmer’s market is bustling on a recent Saturday morning. Among the rows of vendors selling veggies, eggs, and homemade soaps is the Local Catch – purveyor of locally caught seafood. Laid out over shaved ice are fish like dabs, a type of flounder, John Dory, and Monkfish. It’s all readily available in local waters. Yet Rhode Islanders might be hard-pressed to find them in a neighborhood grocery store.  “Before we started the Local Catch I fished for about 35 years with my own boat,” said Local Catch owner Richard Cook. “We went to a couple fish markets at Stop and Shops and stuff like that and nobody had any local fish it was all from Alaska and China and all over the place.” click here to listen to audio, read the story 08:23

Coast Guard investigation into the death of commercial fisherman Walter Krupinski continues

The $300 in fines assessed to the captain of a 60-foot yacht that collided with Walter Krupinski’s 23-foot boat doesn’t sit well with Krupinski’s widow Peggy. “These $100 fines just don’t cut it with me. My husband died,” Krupinski said. “Hopefully the Coast Guard or the Justice Department can do something more.” Cooper Bacon, 76, of New Jersey was found guilty March 27 of violating three Coast Guard navigation rules resulting in the Sept. 22, 2015, death of Krupinski, 81. Bacon is licensed as a captain by the U.S. Coast Guard. Each of the violations — improper navigation or failure to have a lookout, failure to take action to avoid a collision and improper overtaking of another vessel — carries a maximum $100 fine. Dawn Hallen, chief of the U.S. Coast Guard Investigations Division, attended Bacon’s four-day trial. She said her division’s investigation into the collision is not done yet and Bacon has refused to speak with Coast Guard officials, which has made the process lengthy and more difficult. click here to read the story 07:45

Reality check – As they gear up for the season, Island fishermen receive two days of safety and survival training.

Don’t put the injured on the raft first, they can slow down the evacuation. Don’t stow survival suits below decks. Don’t leave port without a Nerf football. This was some of the wisdom imparted to a group of 35 commercial fishermen gathered at Coast Guard Station Menemsha on a gray, windy Thursday morning, where, appropriately, a storm front was bearing down on the Vineyard. It was day one of two training days for commercial fishermen — along with sailors, harbormasters, and shellfish constables — provided by Burlington-based Fishing Partnership Support Services (FPSS). The focus of the day one was safety and survival. Participants rotated among six training modules: man overboard procedure, firefighting and flares, survival suits, helicopter hoist operations, flooding and pump operations, first aid and CPR, and life raft equipment. seven images, click here to read the story 16:19

A Message from John Bullard – Looking Forward to Looking Back: Electronic Monitoring in New England Groundfish

Electronic monitoring (EM) is being used for catch monitoring and reporting compliance in fisheries worldwide, but use in the Northeast has been somewhat limited. There are always challenges with ensuring the accuracy of self-reported fisheries catch data, but EM represents a new suite of tools to improve reporting accuracy and increase catch monitoring. If we want to provide scientists with the best information possible and manage our fisheries sustainably, then we need to consider all of the tools in the toolbox. click here to read the story 07:27 (The tool box is full of monkey wrenches and ball peen hammers)

Coast Guard Medevacs fisherman knocked unconscious on 80-foot fishing vessel

A Coast Guard boatcrew medically evacuated a 48-year-old man who was knocked unconscious due to a fall on Sunday morning three miles south of Bellport Bay, New York. At approximately 8:30 a.m., watchstanders at Sector Long Island Sound received a distress call on channel-16 from the captain of an 80-foot fishing vessel (F/V New Sea Rover) stating a crewman aboard was found face-down and unconscious. A conference call was conducted with the on-call surgeon who recommended a medevac within a three hour window. The command center launched a rescue crew from Station Fire Island aboard a 47-foot Motor Life Boat at 9:15 a.m. West Islip EMS also came aboard to assist with the medevac.  The boatcrew arrived on scene at 10:30 a.m. where the patient was transferred to the life boat. The crew arrived back at the station at approximately 12:15 p.m., where he was transferred to an ambulance and then on to Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, New York. The man’s current condition is unknown. USCG 15:06

Lobsters at core of a tasty China-US story

Lobsters caught by fishermen on Little Cranberry Island in Maine in the United States in the morning can be had for dinner by Chinese families the next evening. The lobster and shrimp farming industry in Maine, which despite its history of more 150 years faced an uncertain future because of overcapacity, has been revitalized by Chinese consumers’ strong demand. That China-US interdependence in trade is based on win-win cooperation and mutual benefit is evident in the “lobster story”. The volume of China-US trade was less than $13 million in 1972, the year when bilateral ties started thawing thanks to then US president Richard Nixon’s visit to China. Last year, the bilateral trade volume reached nearly $520 billion. In 1979, when the two countries officially established diplomatic relations, Chinese people’s impression of US products was largely limited to a “foamy drink called Coca-Cola”. Click here to read the article 18:20

Wake Up, Fishermen! Proposed closure of coral grounds in Gulf of Maine has lobster industry on edge

Over the past 10 years, the issue of how to protect endangered whales from getting tangled in fishing gear has been a driving factor in how lobstermen configure their gear and how much money they have to spend to comply with regulations. Now federal officials have cited the need to protect deep-sea corals in a proposal to close some areas to fishing — a proposal that, according to lobstermen, could pose a serious threat to how they ply their trade. “The [potential] financial impact is huge,” Jim Dow, a Bass Harbor lobsterman and board member with Maine Lobstermen’s Association, said Wednesday. “You’re talking a lot of the coast that is going to be affected by it.” The discovery in 2014 of deep-sea corals in the gulf, near Mount Desert Rock and along the Outer Schoodic Ridges, has prompted the New England Fisheries Management Council to consider making those area off-limits to fishing vessels in order to protect the coral from damage. According to Maine Department of Marine Resources, fishermen from at least 15 harbors in Hancock and Washington counties could be affected by the proposed closure. click here to read the story  Wake Up, Fishermen! 11:15:30

On This Day 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. The Landry‘s fate became known for certain when wreckage from the boat washed ashore on Nantucket and was identified by LeRoy Anderson, brother-in-law of Capt. Arne Hansen, the Landry‘s 37-year-old skipper. The Coast Guard told the AP that the Landry vanished “all at once” around midnight after Hansen and his crew battled for hours in the fierce conditions to make their way to the lightship. When towering waves knocked the vessel’s pumps out of operation, the crew bailed with buckets and at 7 p.m. was near the lightship, the AP reported. click here to read the story  More about F/V William Landry here 09:21

Two Vessels suspected of catching too many Monk fish are under investigation

From the Massachusetts Environmental Police: On Wednesday, March 29, 2017, a Massachusetts Environmental Police Officer was on patrol in Saquatucket Harbor, an area that has recently received several fisheries complaints regarding vessels offloading catch that exceed the legal limit. While on patrol, the officer observed two vessels offloading monkfish. The Officer subsequently approached the vessel Captains and began the process of conducting an inspection of the catch offload. The inspection resulted in each vessel offloading catch over the legal limit; Vessel 1 was 1293 pounds over, Vessel 2 was 977 pounds over. The case has been turned over to the National Marine Fisheries Service for further investigation. The Massachusetts Environmental Police remain committed to providing quality and professional enforcement of conservation laws. Link 08:09

Cape Cod gray seal population estimated at up to 50K

While the first day of the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission’s annual meeting, held for the first time on Cape Cod, dealt with threats to a tiny Mexican porpoise and massive Arctic polar bears, Thursday’s sessions brought the focus home with a profoundly local subject: gray seals. “These animals are reassuming their ecological roles,” said David Johnston, an assistant professor at Duke University. “And people freak out.” Seals are back in force, with between 30,000 and 50,000 living in the waters of Southeastern Massachusetts, primarily on and around Cape Cod, according to a new estimate produced by Johnston to be published in an upcoming report. Feelings about their return, however, are decidedly mixed.,, “They are unprepared that these predators are back in their environment,” Johnston said about people, comparing the gray seal’s historic comeback to that of the reintroduction of the gray wolf in the Western U.S. (I hate these people!) continue reading the story here 19:43

Lawsuit filed seeking $464,000 in lawyer fees, Former fish auction owners renew battle with NOAA

The long and torturous legal battle with NOAA that sent the former Gloucester Fish Exchange into bankruptcy and to its ultimate sale may not be over just yet. The owners of GFX — the forerunner to the Cape Ann Seafood Exchange on Harbor Loop — are suing NOAA in federal court to recoup about $464,000 in legal fees the company paid during its battle and ultimate settlement with the federal fisheries regulator. The action names current Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the Commerce Department and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as defendants. The suit, prompted by NOAA’s final decision on March 6 denying GFX any reimbursement for legal fees, rekindles the battle that began as far back as 2005. The long-running affair resulted in two NOAA enforcement actions against the former auction — and a subsequent apology by then Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco for the excesses of the agency’s law enforcement unit. Click here to continue reading the story 13:07

Fishermen oppose camera mandate – could potentially infringe on their Fourth Amendment rights

A proposed mandate from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration could require fishermen to purchase a camera monitoring system to ensure that they are adhering to regulations — a requirement that local fishermen and First Selectman Rob Simmons see as a violation of their rights. Based on a study done by the NOAA Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, electronic monitoring would potentially cost the fishermen around $500 per day per boat and require them to pay $60,000 for startup costs and annual maintenance of the equipment. While it’s less costly on a daily basis than the $700 per day cost of having a person doing at-sea monitoring on board a vessel, critics say the startup costs alone have the potential to put local fishermen out of business. Aside from the costs of the proposed mandate, many see it as a violation of privacy. click here to continue reading the story 08:07