Category Archives: New England

Maine’s lobster industry braces for ‘catastrophic’ cuts to bait fish catch

For the second year in a row, federal regulators have dramatically reduced the amount of Atlantic herring fishermen can haul after scientists counted far fewer juvenile Atlantic herring in the waters from Canada to New Jersey. While determining that Atlantic herring, the chief bait used by lobstermen, is not overfished, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said “recruitment” — the number of juvenile herring — is so low that on Friday they finalized a rule reducing by more than half the amount of Atlantic herring that fishermen may catch in 2019, from 50,000 metric tons to 21,000 metric tons. >click to read<12:14

Let’s Take a Closer Look at This Big Fish Farm Proposal for the Samoa Peninsula

There have been lots of ideas in recent years for how to maximize the economic potential of Humboldt Bay. “More cruise ships!” some suggested. “More oysters!” “Less-restrictive zoning!” “How about a new railroad or two?” But as far as we can tell, no one even dreamed of suggesting that the Samoa peninsula could host one of the world’s largest indoor fish farms. No one imagined that Redwood Marine Terminal II, a contaminated brownfield site still littered with the rubble of an abandoned pulp mill, could be chosen to house a 600,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art aquaculture facility capable of supplying the West Coast with nearly 60 million tons pounds of fish per year. That concept, and the Norwegian company that plans to bring it to fruition, found us. >click to read<20:20

Lobster’s underbelly is as tough as industrial rubber

Flip a lobster on its back, and you’ll see that the underside of its tail is split in segments connected by a translucent membrane that appears rather vulnerable when compared with the armor-like carapace that shields the rest of the crustacean. But engineers at MIT and elsewhere have found that this soft membrane is surprisingly tough, with a microscopic, layered, plywood-like structure that makes it remarkably tolerant to scrapes and cuts. This deceptively tough film protects the lobster’s belly as the animal scuttles across the rocky seafloor. >click to read<11:10

Commercial Fisherman George Mendonsa, whose Times Square kiss became an iconic photo, dies at 95

George Mendonsa never doubted that he was the sailor in Alfred Eisenstaedt’s famous photo from Times Square, when news broke in 1945 that Japan had surrendered and World War II was ending. Eisenstaedt shot four quick frames of Mr. Mendonsa kissing a stranger, Greta Zimmer Friedman, and a photo of their brief embrace became one of the era’s most iconic images. It was unforgettable for Mr. Mendonsa, too. “This moment put magic into my life,” he told the Globe in 1988. Mr. Mendonsa, a well-known commercial fisherman in Rhode Island, was 95 when he died early Sunday from complications of falling a short time earlier in an assisted living center. He had lived in Middletown, R.I., most of his life and would have turned 96 Tuesday. >click to read<21:30

Connecticut’s Commercial Fishermen Express Interest In Two Bills

Two bills that could have a big impact on Connecticut’s multi-million dollar commercial fishing business were the subject of an Environment Committee public hearing Friday. The legislation would allow commercial fishermen to take one day’s catch and bring them across state lines — to Rhode Island and New York — not just Connecticut. The other bill would “prohibit the possession and trade of shark fins in the state.” The aim is to protect sharks from skinning for trade but commercial fishermen are worried that the bill may lead to a complete ban on shark. >click to read<18:30

Free training prepares fishermen because ‘every second counts in an emergency at sea’

Fishing Partnership Support Services is offering programs in New Bedford to make life safer for those who have one of the world’s most dangerous jobs, commercial fishing. Safety and Survival Training will be from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 7 at the School for Marine Science and Technology of the University of Massachusetts, 706 S. Rodney French Blvd. Drill Conductor Training will be at the same location from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 8. There is no charge for either program, and lunch is provided both days. A team of certified marine safety instructors will lead both programs, according to a news release. Safety and Survival Training will cover: >click to read<14:37

New England: Shrimpers hope industry lost to warm seas won’t be forgotten

Glen Libby looks back fondly on his days as a Maine shrimp trawler, but he’s concerned about what seafood lovers will think if the shuttered fishery ever reopens. “Shrimp? What are those?” he said. “There will be a market. But it depends how big of a market you’re talking about.” Maine’s historic shrimp industry has been closed since 2013 due to a loss in population of shrimp off of New England that is tied in large part to warming oceans.  And with a reopening likely several years away — if it ever happens at all,,, >click to read<10:44

DON CUDDY: Local expert diver, Dartmouth’s Steve Cassidy, recalls 1975 Atlantic Sword tragedy

The recent passing of Harriet Didriksen, owner of New Bedford Ship Supply, signifies the loss of yet another link to the city’s long and rich fishing heritage. It was perhaps that sad news which inspired me to seek out another of the old-timers whose lives were spent on the city’s waterfront. South Dartmouth’s Steve Cassidy is a young 91 years of age. He has accumulated, and still retains, an encyclopedic knowledge of the boats, and the men who fished on them, from the SouthCoast area over the last six decades.,,,  As I sat in his living room this week he shared some of his memories with me and reflected particularly on a tragedy that is now long-forgotten but one that has never left him. >click to read<19:53

Efforts Underway to Reduce Lobster Fishing Gear to Help Rare Whale

Interstate fishing managers are starting the process of trying to reduce the amount of lobster fishing gear off the East Coast in an attempt to help save a declining species of rare whale. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission announced this month that it would consider options designed to reduce vertical lobster fishing lines in the water by as much as 40 percent. The commission said it would try to reduce the amount of gear with a combination of trap limits, seasonal closures, changes to gear configuration and other methods. The rules are under development and it will take months before they come up for public hearings. >click to read<10:45

Cushing fishing boat captain gets 4 years for causing deaths of 2 crewmen

Christopher A. Hutchinson, 30, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Portland by Judge D. Brock Hornby for two counts of seaman’s manslaughter. The bodies of 27-year-old Tom Hammond and 15-year-old Tyler Sawyer were never found. Hutchinson was the captain of the lobster boat No Limits, which sank near Matinicus Island in a storm on Nov. 1, 2014. He purchased 20, 30-milligram oxycodone pills from two separate drug dealers, smoked marijuana with Sawyer’s father, and drank a rum and coke at a Rockland restaurant on Halloween 2014, court documents say. He then departed for a fishing trip at 1 a.m. from Linda Bean’s dock in Tenants Harbor. Rain was beginning to fall, and the forecast called for a gale. >click to read<22:59

Investigating How Atlantic Sea Scallop Larvae Move Through A Fishery

A recent collaborative study from researchers at Rutgers University, Old Dominion University, University of Southern Mississippi, and NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center shows that scallop offspring – also known as larvae – can move among regions of the fishery, even though the fishery itself spans a huge area of the ocean off the east coast of the US. Scallops and other bivalves like oysters, clams, and mussels produce microscopic, free-swimming larvae. These larvae can, in some cases, traverse great distances,,, >click to read<21:19

CoA Institute Sends Letter to Secretary Ross Requesting Public Confirmation of Controversial Fishery Regulation

The importance of an open and transparent government is rooted in the federal government’s ability to choose winners and losers, create barriers to economic freedom, and limit personal liberties. Family-owned fishing firms in New England recently had their economic freedom put at-risk when it was revealed that the government had secretly approved a proposal to impose new, and statutorily unauthorized, costs on their fishing operations. That’s why Cause of Action Institute (CoA Institute) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross yesterday, criticizing his office’s lack of transparency and inadequate analysis surrounding the controversial fishery management regulations. >click to read< 10:46

Cut in herring quota bodes ill for lobster

Imagine running a trucking business and having your supply of diesel fuel cut by70 percent. For all practical purposes, that’s what happened to the Maine lobster industry last week. On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries arm announced that it was cutting the 2019 herring quota by about 70 percent. That’s bad news for lobstermen. While diesel oil is the fuel that powers most lobster boats, herring is the fuel that powers the Maine lobster industry. Herring is the most popular bait used in the Maine lobster fishery and with the cut in the herring quota from about 110 million pounds last year to about 33 million pounds this year, bait is going to be scarce, and expensive. >click to read<22:16

Scallops: NEFMC to Hold 10 Scoping Meetings on Northern Gulf of Maine, Limited Access General Category Amendment

The New England Fishery Management Council has scheduled 10 scoping meetings from Maine to Virginia to gather public input on the development of Amendment 21 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan. This amendment is being developed to address three primary issues: • Northern Gulf of Maine (NGOM) Management Area measures; • Limited Access General Category (LAGC) individual fishing quota (IFQ) possession limits; and • The ability for Limited Access vessels with LAGC IFQ to transfer their quota to vessels that onlyhold LAGC IFQ permits.  >Click here for time schedules, locations, and other information<16:03

Vineyard Wind, Fishermen Set Compensation Deadline

Fishermen and Vineyard Wind have agreed to a deadline for settling their financial differences over a compensation package for the 92-square-mile offshore wind facility. After three months of stalled and at times heated discussions, Vineyard Wind, the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) and its Fishermen’s Advisory Board (FAB) agreed to negotiate a mitigation package last week with hopes of reaching an agreement by Feb. 25. In a deal signed Feb. 8, the three parties said they would abide by the new deadline and not argue for more time. >click to read<11:01

Man admits dumping headless bluefin tuna in woods

A Gloucester man admitted Monday that he dumped a decapitated bluefin tuna worth as much as $10,000 in a wooded area in Gloucester, after he’d caught it out of season in 2017. Harold Wentworth, 41, of 24 Liberty St., will spend the next year on probation and must pay a $1,000 fine, Peabody District Court Judge James Barretto ordered during a hearing requested by Wentworth’s attorney on the day the case was set to go to trial there. During the hearing, Wentworth’s attorney revealed that federal fisheries officials have also fined his client $15,000 for the illegal catch. >click to read<21:52

Somers introduces bill to help Stonington fishermen

State Sen. Heather Somers, R-18th District, has introduced a bill that she said Sunday would help Stonington fishermen stay afloat amid the sea of federal and state regulations that are hurting their businesses. The bill is scheduled to have a public hearing before the legislature’s Environment Committee on Friday. It would let Connecticut enter into agreements with bordering states to allow commercial fishermen from Connecticut to legally carry fish earmarked for one state into another state’s port without penalty — making the schedules and lives of fishermen economically and logistically easier. >click to read<08:18

Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative Executive Director Matt Jacobson To Step Down

Today, Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative (MLMC) Executive Director Matt Jacobson informed the organization’s board of directors that heExecutive Director Matt Jacobson effective Monday, February 25, 2019. “On behalf of the entire board, we want to thank Matt for his dedicated service in this role over the past five years,” said Frank Gotwals, MLMC board chairman and fisherman based in Stonington, ME. >click to read<19:17

Record Lobster Production Defies Alarmist Climate Scare

Marine fisheries data show New England lobstermen are benefiting from a new golden age of lobster, thanks in large part to a warming Earth. Yet Democrats in Congress and even lobster lobbyists asserted in House climate hearings earlier in February that global warming is causing a lobster apocalypse. Thankfully, facts and scientific evidence can help us put this latest global warming scare to rest. On February 7, Democrats in the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife held hearings with the purpose of raising concern about global warming. >click to read<14:33

Subcommittee Hearing: Healthy Oceans and Healthy Economies: The State of Our Oceans In the 21st Century – Video, >click to watch<

Harriet Didriksen remembered as an irreplaceable fishing industry ‘icon’

New Bedford — A procession of visitors entered a hospital room at St. Anne’s in Fall River last weekend to bid farewell to Harriet Didriksen. Her son, Dana, saw his mother. With each new person who entered the room, he began to see, in many ways, the matriarch of the waterfront. Didriksen died Sunday at age 76. Dana returned to his home in Manhattan on Thursday morning. With each day he spent in the SouthCoast, though, the bond between his mother and the fishing industry grew more and more visible. >click to read<21:00

Lobstermen face more gear restrictions to protect whales

Nearly everywhere but up inside Maine’s many bays, fisheries regulators have forced lobstermen to use sinking rather than floating rope for the groundlines that connect traps on the sea bottom, to limit the number of traps set on a trawl to reduce the number of vertical buoy lines in the water and to install “weak links” in those vertical lines so an entangled whale can break loose. All those mandates, which arose out of discussions at NOAA’s Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team (ALWTRT), were hard-fought, expensive and largely unpopular. >click to read<11:22

New drive to reduce lobster fishing gear to help rare whale

Interstate fishing managers are starting the process of trying to reduce the amount of lobster fishing gear off the East Coast in an attempt to help save a declining species of rare whale. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission announced on Wednesday that it would consider options designed to reduce vertical lobster fishing lines in the water by as much as 40 percent. >click to read<13:48

Atlantic Lobster Board Moves Toward Reducing Rope In Effort To Save Right Whales

A consortium of Atlantic states fisheries managers is calling for broad changes to the gear lobstermen use, in an effort to reduce risks posed to the endangered North Atlantic right whale and to ward off potential federal action that could be even more challenging for the industry. At a meeting of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Council in Virginia, its lobster board voted unanimously to set in motion the process that could lead to major changes in the East Coast’s lobster industry. >click to read<12:43

Fisherman fined for fraudulent attempt to get disaster funds

A fishing boat captain, with a home port of Portsmouth, was fined $2,500 and placed on probation for falsifying fishing logs, filed with state Fish and Game officials, to fraudulently obtain fishery disaster-relief funds. David Bardzik, 56, of Ossipee, pleaded guilty in October and the U.S. Attorney’s office announced the sentence on Tuesday. “When the federal government spends money for disaster relief, the funds should only go to those who have been true victims of the disaster,” said U.S. Attorney Scott Murray in a press release. “Those who seek to cheat the system,,, >click to read<17:13

Fishermen Want More Time to Negotiate Over Wind

Lanny Dellinger, a Newport, R.I.-based lobsterman and chairman of the Fishermen’s Advisory Board, said fishermen are being rushed to accept a compensation offer for the harm they say will be caused by the Vineyard Wind offshore project. “It’s like being pushed into the (real estate) closing without seeing the appraisal,” Dellinger said.
There’s no doubt that the project developer is in a hurry. Vineyard Wind needs approval from the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) soon so that construction can begin on the 84-turbine project and qualify for a federal tax credit. >click to read<10:38

Coast Guard investigates sunken vessel in New Bedford Harbor

The Coast Guard is investigating what caused a 45-foot fishing vessel to sink early Sunday morning by steamship pier. The Coast Guard received a call from the owner of the fishing vessel Moonraker at 8:17 a.m., according to the agency. The owner discovered the vessel was submerged about a half hour earlier. >click to read<20:45

Lobstermen in Maine ready for debate over license wait list

There are few things in Maine as coveted as a lobster fishing license, and a proposal to bring dozens of people off the state’s license waiting list has fishermen in the state ready for a debate. More than 200 people are waiting in the wings for a lobstering license, which has long been a ticket to the middle class for working coastal Mainers. But a proposal before a state legislative committee would bring new people into the fishery who have been waiting for 10 or more years. >click to read<12:40

Lost trawler Mistress found on sea floor

The Point Judith, R.I., trawler Mistress, which sank in foul weather on New Year’s Day morning and triggered a large Coast Guard search for two of its crew, has been located, according to Richard Fuka, Rhode Island Fishermen’s Alliance president. Fuka said he’s been in regular contact with Michael Ansay, uncle of John Ansay, who along with the Mistress’s owner, Oscar Diaz, went missing when the trawler sank; both are presumed not to have survived. Diaz’s son, Tim, was the only member of the Mistress crew to be rescued.,, >click to read<16:24

Another Government Shutdown Could Sink Scallop Fishery Profits

The world is smitten with scallops. Their subtle sweetness and firm but somehow delicate bite has many wanting more. When I previously worked in seafood sales, I couldn’t believe how much chefs in Los Angeles would pay to put the great New Bedford sea scallop on their menus. We’re talking over $35 per pound for the big ones. I’d think to myself, “These chefs know there are scallops in the Pacific, right?” >click to read<15:39

Judge orders trio to pay $262,000 for setting fire to Maine shop, lobster boat

A judge ordered Tuesday that three men pay restitution of $262,000 for their roles in setting fire to a boat shop in Waldoboro nearly seven years ago. A lobster boat built specifically for a paraplegic lobsterman from Friendship was destroyed in the fire. Justice Daniel Billings ordered the restitution Jan. 29 after a hearing in Lincoln County Superior Court in Wiscasset. In addition, the third and final defendant in the arson case was sentenced. >click to read<14:17