Category Archives: New England

Portland City Council freezes development along waterfront

A task force appointed by City Manager Jon Jennings could begin looking at how to protect the marine industry and manage contrasting uses of Commercial Street next week. “It is all just a plan right now,” Jennings said Monday as city councilors approved a 180-day moratorium on “the development of new non-marine structures and expansion of non-marine uses” in the Waterfront Commercial Zone on the sea side of Commercial Street. The moratorium drew unanimous council support and near-unanimous public support in the preceding 45-minute public hearing. It was passed as an emergency measure, making it effective immediately. It will remain in effect until June 15, 2019. >click to read<15:02

Gloucester: NOAA drops port’s rank in latest report, even as local fish landings, values rise

U.S. fish and shellfish landings increased incrementally last year in both volume and value, while Massachusetts ended the year with the second-highest value of commercial landings among the 50 states, according to an annual report on U.S. fisheries released Thursday by NOAA.,,, The report, however, reflected a reigning status quo for the port of Gloucester. America’s oldest seaport produced slight increases in volume and value of its landings, while its ranking among other U.S. commercial ports declined slightly. The volume of Gloucester landings rose 1 million pounds, or 1.5 percent, from the previous year to 64 million pounds. The value of those landings grew by $1 million, or 1.9 percent, to $53 million from $52 million in 2016. >click to read<20:44

Open Season: It might be time to ‘seal’ a deal to help fishermen

According to local lobstermen, the fishing in Buzzards Bay suffers a lull in the heat of late summer but usually picks up again around Thanksgiving when the water cools. But that’s not the case this year, according to my own experience. I have a recreational lobster license, which allows me to run up to ten pots with a stipulation that the lobsters can’t be sold. I run those ten pots in the Bay from spring through December and fished them as late as mid-January last year, but I hauled them for the season on Tuesday. It stopped being fun. For November and early December, my harvest was less than half of what I caught last year during the same period. Some say that the increase in ocean temperatures, due to climate change, is chasing the lobsters North to colder waters but it’s my opinion that the populations of lobsters, like any other wildlife species, are cyclical with highs and lows. Wildlife numbers are never stagnant. >click to read<18:33

LETTER: Clam fishermen put forth proposal that protects the resource

Last week, the New England Fishery Management Council voted to kick Massachusetts surf clam fishermen off of 80 percent of our historic Nantucket Shoals fishing grounds. Our fishery in these treacherous local waters grosses $10 million per year to the dozen or so boats and their crews, and multiples more to the South Coast fishing economy. Our catch is hand-shucked for a higher value. New Bedford, Fall River, Gloucester, and Bristol, R.I. families stand to lose hundreds of jobs. While the council’s decision was based on habitat considerations, it rejected an option that would have allowed us to fish on about 80 percent of the available surf clam resource while allowing access to less than 20 percent of the overall habitat zone. >click to read<19:45

NOAA Fisheries Approves Changes to Longfin Squid Permits and Possession Limits

NOAA Fisheries has approved Amendment 20 to the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan. The measures become effective on March 1, 2019. Specifically, the final rule:
Separates the current longfin/butterfish moratorium permit to create a new butterfish moratorium permit and a separate longfin squid moratorium permit;  Creates a “Tier 1” longfin squid moratorium permit for vessels that landed at least 10,000 lb of longfin squid in any year from 1997-2013; Creates a “Tier 2” longfin squid moratorium permit with a 5,000 lb possession limit fo,,, New longfin squid and butterfish permits will become effective on March 1, 2019 and will be issued by the Regional Administrator as follows:>click to read<13:36

Wind farms, fishing industry must co-exist?

A new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has highlighted the enormous impact of the fishing industry on the Massachusetts economy, with New Bedford topping the list of highest-value ports in the entire United States with a whopping $389 million worth of seafood landed in 2017. The report also highlights that fishing supports 87,000 jobs in the commonwealth,,,, This data could not come at a more critical time for New England’s fishermen, who are raising concerns about how new wind farms will impact marine life in the area. While reducing the state’s carbon footprint is a noble goal, the heavily taxpayer-subsidized wind projects have yet to prove themselves reliable and effective in the marketplace and come with a host of unanswered questions about the costs and long-term environmental outcome. Gov. Charlie Baker believes the state can find a way to make wind energy work for everyone, including fishermen. “Nobody cares more about the fishing community than this administration,”  >click to read<

Europeans Sweep Record US Offshore Wind Auction

A U.S. government auction for three wind leases off the coast of Massachusetts ended on Friday with record-setting bids totaling more than $400 million from European energy giants including Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Equinor ASA. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced the sale’s three winners – Equinor Wind US LLC, Mayflower Wind Energy LLC, and Vineyard Wind LLC, at the conclusion of the two-day sale that attracted 11 bidders and lasted 32 rounds. Mayflower is a joint venture owned by Shell and EDP Renewables, a division of Portugal’s EDP. Vineyard Wind is a joint venture between Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Avangrid Inc, a division of Spain’s Iberdrola SA. Equinor is the Norwegian company formerly known as Statoil. Equinor and Mayflower each bid $135 million for their leases, while Vineyard Wind bid $135.1 million, BOEM said. >click to read<21:57

Offshore wind developers ante up at auction of leases near Block Island

In what is sure to be seen as an affirmation of their industry’s prospects, a scrum of offshore wind developers is poised to pay an unprecedented amount of money for the latest set of leases being auctioned off in federal ocean waters near Rhode Island and Massachusetts. When the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management suspended its auction Thursday night for the three leases located in waters about 51 miles southeast of Block Island, the bids for each had reached between $91 million and $101 million — more than twice the highest amount paid in the past for an offshore wind lease in the United States and a range that compares favorably to payments for oil and gas projects. The bureau, part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, described the day as “historic.” In a tweet, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said, “We have something big going on off the coast of Massachusetts.” >click to read<10:13

On and Off Meeting at NOAA office last week

I received an email from the NOAA office last week concerning SKG money that is in their hands to decide on those who applied for the ten million dollars they grant to others each year. So I called fisherman, The Fishermens Wife’s and others in the fishing industry, even a couple of Senators about the meeting. I was told by NOAA you did not have to register, and anyone could speak.
The next email I got was the meeting was cancelled do to the lack of those that were going to attend the meeting. At about the same time of year, about two years ago, I had said the grant money is not going to our fisherman, and said the paper work was over forty pages to be submitted to NOAA. The average fisherman does finds it hard to fill it out. Sam Parisi>click to read<19:55

Dogfish harvest to stay same in ’19 as fishermen seek market

Federal ocean managers are allowing the same level of harvest of smooth dogfish, a small species of shark that members of the East Coast seafood industry have tried to find a market for. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the smooth dogfish quota will be a little less than 4 million pounds in 2019. Earlier this year, the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance received a Saltonstall-Kennedy grant of about $37,000 from NOAA for a marketing and promotion project centered on raising the profile of dogfish – including changing the name of the species – to make it more attractive to consumers. >click to read<19:29

Port of New Bedford ranks No. 1 for 18th consecutive year

Death, taxes and New Bedford ranked as the most valuable fishing port in the country remain certainties in life. NOAA announced its annual fish landings data on Thursday for 2017, and for the 18th consecutive year the Port of New Bedford topped all others in terms of value. The port landed $389 million in 2017, more than $200 million more than Dutch Harbor, Alaska, which landed $173 million. Scallops accounted for 80 percent of the seafood landed in New Bedford.>click to read<15:23

As Luke’s Lobster grows, its owner keeps an eye on sustainability

“It all starts with the fishermen,” he said. “Without them, we don’t have the great product to sell in our restaurants or through our retail partners. We’re a certified B Corporation, so it’s in our DNA to look for the win-win as we grow the business.”The co-op partnership model began in 2016, shortly after Tenants Harbor fishermen and Holden founded the Tenants Harbor Fisherman’s Co-op on Miller’s Wharf, according to a company news release. At that time, Holden started a restaurant on Miller’s Wharf and began returning 50% of the profits from the restaurant back to the co-op. >click to read<14:28

First major offshore wind project in jeopardy of being blocked

The warming waters south of Cape Cod have decimated the region’s lobster fishery. But it’s an ambitious effort to fight climate change that has lobstermen like Lanny Dillinger concerned for their livelihoods. Dillinger worries that the nation’s first major offshore wind farm, planned for the waters between Martha’s Vineyard and Block Island — a $2 billion project that will set precedents for the future of wind power in the United States — will transform the area into a maze of turbines and make it too treacherous to fish. As a result, Dillinger and the rest of the Rhode Island Fishermen’s Advisory Board took a unanimous vote last month that could threaten the project, which was designed to supply electricity to Massachusetts, and the Baker administration’s plans to curb carbon emissions. >click to read<11:05

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 55′ Fiberglass Dragger, 425HP Cummins, 20 KW Genset, Complete main engine rebuild

Specifications, information and 53 photos >click here< To see all the boats in this series, >Click here< Vessel is in excellent condition. November 2017: Complete main engine rebuild. 14:09

Barge, diver raise sunken lobster boat

The big winds that pummeled eastern Maine late in November did plenty of damage along the coast, including the sinking of the lobster boat Robin A. II in Prospect Harbor. Last Friday, Bar Harbor scuba diver Ed Monat joined Captain Wid Minctons and his Southwest Harbor-based crane barge Charles Bradley in a salvage operation to raise the 38-footer owned by local lobsterman Gary Jordan from the harbor floor, Minctons said Monday. The salvage operation was successful in recovering the sunken boat but, Minctons said, the vessel was a total loss. >click to read<10:43

Proposed Cut for Herring Harvest Could Affect Lobster Catch

Fishermen who seek one of the most important bait fish on the East Coast are likely to see a dramatic reduction next year in the amount they are allowed to harvest, and the change could have major implications for lobster consumers. The commercial fishery for herring is a major industry in the Atlantic states, where the little fish is important as lobster bait and is also eaten by people. The fish has been under the microscope of regulators and conservation groups recently after a scientific assessment said earlier this year that the fish’s population has fallen in the past five years. NOAA wants to cut the annual catch limit from nearly 110 million pounds (50 million kilograms) this year to less than half that in 2019. The agency said in a statement that the deep cut is needed to “prevent overfishing.” >click to read<23:16:

CoA Institute Highlights Deficiencies in Proposed Rule to Shift Burdensome Costs of At-Sea Monitoring to Commercial Fishermen

The New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC), in coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), seeks to approve and implement a controversial set of regulatory amendments that would create a new industry-funding requirement for at-sea monitoring in the Atlantic herring fishery and, moreover, create a standardized process for introducing similar requirements in other New England fisheries. Under the so-called Omnibus Amendment, the fishing industry would be forced to bear the burdensome cost of allowing third-party monitors to ride their boats in line with the NEFMC’s supplemental monitoring goals. This would unfairly and unlawfully restrict economic opportunity in the fishing industry. >click to read<14:29

Fishing industry says it doesn’t endorse Vineyard Wind’s ‘consensus plan’ for transit lanes

The fishing industry said Vineyard Wind distorted its words on Monday. A release by Vineyard Wind said the offshore wind company endorsed a “consensus” transit corridor plan supported by the fishing industry, but multiple people within the fishing industry told The Standard-Times they didn’t support or endorse the plan. The consensus within the industry is a 4-mile wide transit lane. Vineyard Wind’s endorsed plan called for 2-mile wide corridors. “It’s frustrating for the fishing because we’re coming with options even though we’re losing tremendous ground and we’re losing a lot of traditional transit (lanes),” said Meghan Lapp, a fisheries liaison for Seafreeze Ltd. “But we’re still trying to come to the table to make something work and in light of this press release, it doesn’t really seem like it’s being reciprocated.” >click to read<09:46

Jack Spillane: NOAA – A rogue agency gets set to shut down another New Bedford fishery

Scott Lang has been around fisheries issues for a long time. Both when he was mayor and afterwards. In 2013, Lang helped organize the Center for Sustainable Fisheries as a grassroots lobbying group to try to make sure New Bedford fishermen were not totally forgotten by NOAA. He’s worked for the industry for a long time and seen a lot of arguments from both sides back-and-forth over the years. But until last week, he said he had never seen NOAA make a decision to close a fishery with no science behind it. Not even questionable science, as for years NOAA has used for New England groundfishing limits in the opinion of many. >click to read<09:42

Au Revoir Angenette: Parting with an old friend

Forty-eight years is a long time to own a boat so there was no sweet sorrow when Capt. Ron Borjeson parted with his beloved Angenette, watching her steam over the horizon with a new owner at the helm. “My kids were devastated,” he told me. It was back in 1970 that Ron acquired the trim forty-five footer from the original owner. Built Down East in 1946 this stout wooden boat provided his introduction to commercial fishing. In those days Ron fished for cod, haddock and flounders out of Sandwich where he lived. “But then came all the regulations and rolling closures and we no longer had access to what was in our own backyard,” he said. “I had to go chase squid and fluke.” >click to read<18:05

Proposed salmon farm rattles some in Belfast. Another in Bucksport draws few objections.

Belfast and Bucksport are separated by just 24 miles, and both are closely connected to the Penobscot River and Penobscot Bay. But you would never know that from the very different way that two proposals for large, land-based salmon farms have been received by members of their respective communities over the past year. In Belfast, opposition to Nordic Aquafarms’ proposed $150 million salmon farm is fierce and outspoken,,, In Bucksport, there is virtually no vocal opposition as Whole Oceans works on building its own $250 million indoor aquaculture facility on the site of the former Verso paper mill. >click to read<12:42

Maine fisheries groups support DMR Commissioner Keliher

In what must be a first in modern history, virtually every commercial fishing organization in Maine joined together to urge Governor-elect Janet Mills to keep Patrick Keliher on the job as commissioner of Marine Resources after she takes office in January. First reported in the Maine Lobstermen’s Association’s Landings, shortly after the election, the MLA, Downeast Lobstermen’s Association, Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, Maine Aquaculture Association, Alewife Harvesters of Maine, Maine Elver Fishermen Association and the Independent Maine Marine Worm Harvesters Association signed a letter to Mills voicing the organizations’ unanimous support for the current DMR commissioner. >click to read<18:08

Working Group Nears Consensus on Transit Lanes for Fishing Vessels in Northeast Wind Energy Areas

Fishing industry representatives, offshore wind developer lease-holders, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the U.S. Coast Guard, among others, joined RODA to continue an attempt to develop fishery transit lanes through the large group of Wind Energy Areas in federal waters off of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The meeting was facilitated by the Consensus Building Institute. In addition to loss of access within the lease areas, commercial fishermen have concerns about their ability to safely travel across wind energy arrays to access other historical, traditional commercial fishing grounds. >click to read<21:26

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GLOUCESTER S-K GRANT MEETING WITH NOAA WAS CANCELED

Dear readers, I was very disappointed yesterday to find out that NOAA cancelled a meeting in Gloucester to do with SKG money. I had fishermen, and even invited my political delegation members, ready to attend and I wanted to ask NOAA these questions, only to find out that they did not have enough replicants to attend. To me something stinks. I would like a response from them with these three questions. Sam Parisi >click to read<10:30

NOAA’s treatment of wind industry called into question after closure of clamming areas

Offshore wind development appeared on Tuesday’s agenda at a New England Fishery Management Council meeting, however, it wasn’t expected to pop up during discussion on closures affecting the clamming industry. Peter Hughes, a liaison for the Atlantic Council, couldn’t digest the fact that an offshore wind leasing area identified in a similar region extends upwards of 1,400 square miles, while the clamming industry, which sought less than 300 square miles off of Nantucket Shoals, couldn’t receive approval. >click to read<09:34

Maine: Scallop season opens to positive early reports

The Downeast scallop season got underway this weekend and early reports are that the fleet was active, the fishing good and the price satisfactory. Divers got the first crack at scallops in Blue Hill Bay as their season opened on Saturday. Draggers had to wait until Monday to get out on the water. According to Marine Patrol Sgt. Colin MacDonald, plenty of them did despite less than ideal conditions. Saturday was a good day for diving. Though the temperature was chilly, scallop buyer Joshua Buxton said divers selling to him at the South Blue Hill pier all reported that there was no wind on the bay and that the water wasn’t rough. Monday was a different story,,, >click to read<10:20

Feds planning 2019 protections for North Atlantic right whales

How the federal government will confirm, modify or adapt protective measures for North Atlantic right whales in 2019 remains to be seen, but officials are sharing the initial findings of 2018’s scientific surveys and studies. After a catastrophic loss of 12 right whales in Canadian waters in 2017, no right whales died here this year, but at a technical briefing Tuesday, officials from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Transport Canada didn’t say whether protections put in place this year were enough — or too much. ,,, Instead they shared key results of a recent peer review of new science by researchers, industry representatives, government officials — as well as scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S. — who gathered in Montreal in an effort to reach evidence-based conclusions.>click to read<08:48

Vital surf clam harvesting grounds closed by New England Fisheries Management Council

Clamming captains, business-owners and attorneys huddled in the lobby of the Viking Hotel on Tuesday sharing disbelief and despair over a decision by the New England Fisheries Management Council that will close vital harvesting grounds. “A lot of these guys are going to go out of business,” owner and president of Nantucket Sound Seafood LLC Al Rencurrel said. “Obviously the economic impact, they didn’t view that, did they?” Heading into the meeting, the surf clam industry hoped for the approval of “Alternative 2,” which would continue an exemption in its fishing areas but would modify boundaries including seasonal areas. ,,“It’s sad to say but they’re putting a lot of people out of business right now,” Rencurrel said. “The Conservation Law Foundation drives the bus with these people, obviously. It’s plain as day. It’s too bad they couldn’t help the fishery out.” >click to read<20:34

Fleet of 5 Maine scallop and fishing trawlers sold to New York-based equity firm

A New York-based private equity firm will purchase a Portland scallop and groundfish supply company that manages five of the largest fishing vessels operating in Maine. Blue Harvest Fisheries, a U.S. scallop and whitefish supplier owned by equity firm Bregal Partners, will purchase Atlantic Trawlers Fishing, Undercurrent News reported. Bregal Partners is a private investment firm with $600 million of committed capital funded by a six-generation German-Dutch family. Its board of directors includes the CEO of Bumble Bee Foods, and the chief investment and strategy officer of the Central Bering Sea Fisherman’s Association, who is also on the board of American Seafoods. Atlantic Trawlers Fishing, owned by James Odlin, operates from the Portland Fish Pier and includes the fishing vessels Nobska, Morue, Harmony, Teresa Marie III and Teresa Marie IV. >click to read>16:57