Category Archives: New England

Wendell’s Boy joins Tremont fleet

Wayne Seavey of Tremont started his fishing career when he was just 5 years old aboard his father Wendell’s lobster boat. Now 48, the lobsterman has made a name for himself, but there’s just one moniker he can’t escape: “Wendell’s boy.” So when it was time for Seavey to upgrade from his 37-foot Repco to a David Schlaefer-built lobster boat, the name just had to be Wendell’s Boy. click here to read the story 12:11

New Bedford Mayor Mitchell sends NOAA letter requesting Rafael permits stay in New Bedford

Mayor Jon Mitchell penned a letter to NOAA regarding Carlos Rafael’s permits, (click here to read the letter) a day after Maine’s congressional delegation signed a letter regarding the permits. In an argument consisting of four pages, Mitchell provided legal precedent for the Department of Justice and NOAA to punish Rafael, while also keeping the 13 fishing permits in question in New Bedford. He likens Rafael’s case to those cases involving wrongdoing by the head of a large business. He states, “It is common for the government to tailor punishment so as to avoid harm to others who were not involved.” Rafael’s business employ 285 fishermen. Mitchell suggested Rafael sell his entire business to other New Bedford companies, forfeiting the proceeds to the government. It would entirely exclude Rafael from fishing despite possessing more permits than the 13 in question.  click here to read the story 11:33

Brunswick Maine fish kill. The Real Story, not that Fake News stuff.

This is a real guy, talking straight like a real guy. Invest ten minutes and listen. 19:28

Boothbay Harbor Lobster Boat Races draw 34 boats – Photo’s and Results!

On Saturday, June 17, in Boothbay Harbor, spectators on boats, wharves and docks, and a prime spot on the lawn in front of the Department of Marine Resources (DMR) on McKown Point, watched as some of the fastest lobster boats in Maine vied for first place in their respective categories. The event was the 32nd annual Lobster Boat Race, renamed the Charlie Begin Memorial Lobster Boat Race in 2006, in memory of the well-loved and respected Boothbay Harbor lobsterman. Thirty-four lobster boats entered the competition this year. Categories included gas classes based on length and cubic inches, diesel classes based on horsepower and length, a wooden boat race, gas and diesel free-for-alls, and a grand finale: the “Fastest Lobster Boat of the Day.” Results of the 29 races, supplied by race announcer and former organizer Clive Farrin, are as follows: click here for photo’s and race results 13:10

Lobstermen here are gearing up for the seventh annual Bass Harbor Lobster Boat Races, which are set for Sunday, June 25click here to read the story

Chris Oliver Appointed to Lead NOAA Fisheries

Today, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, with concurrence from the White House, named Chris Oliver Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries. The Texas native assumed his new position on June 19, taking the helm from Acting Assistant Administrator Samuel Rauch who will return to his position as the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs.,,, Oliver most recently served as Executive Director of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, a position he held for the past 16 years. He has been with the Council since 1990, also serving as a fisheries biologist and then deputy director. During his tenure as executive director he led the way on several cutting edge management initiatives, including development of limited access privilege programs and fishery cooperatives and catch share programs, the North Pacific’s comprehensive onboard observer program, numerous bycatch reduction programs, extensive habitat protection measures, commercial and recreational allocation programs, and coastal community development programs. He was also responsible for all administrative and operational aspects of the Council process, and lead staffer for legislative and international issues. click here to read the press release 11:32

Offshore Wind Faces Stiff Test From Hurricanes

As new offshore wind farms are built off the Northeast coast, a new report suggests that the current models of wind turbines may not withstand the most powerful of hurricanes. The study, by the University of Colorado Boulder, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the U.S. Department of Energy, is intended to help the budding offshore wind industry as it expands into hurricane-prone regions, such as the East Coast. “We wanted to understand the worst-case scenario for offshore wind turbines, and for hurricanes, that’s a Category 5,” said Rochelle Worsnop, lead author and a graduate researcher in the University of Colorado’s Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (ATOC). click here to read the story 10:58

Maine congressional delegation asks forfeited groundfish permits be redistributed through Northeast

Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin sent a letter Monday to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross asking that the 13 groundfish permits forfeited by Carlos Rafael — a New Bedford fisherman who has pleaded guilty to 28 federal counts of tax evasion, falsifying fishing quotas and conspiracy — be redistributed to fishermen throughout the Northeast, not only New Bedford. In their letter, the Maine congressional delegation said that groundfish permits embody a shared resource and, as such, should be returned to groundfish fishermen in “a fair and uniform manner.” click here to read the story 08:53

New England Fishery Management Council meeting in Portland, Me. June 20 thru 22, 2017

The New England Fishery Management Council will be meeting at the Holiday Inn by the Bay, Portland, ME., June 20, 2017 –
June 22, 2017  To read the final agenda, click here  Register click here to listen live via webinar. 16:52

Can offshore wind revive America’s ports? This town hopes so

New Bedford – This salt-caked fishing port has been flush with wind prospectors ever since Massachusetts legislators passed a law for massive wind development in the shallow waters south of Martha’s Vineyard.,,, States up and down the Atlantic coast are rushing to become the capital of America’s burgeoning offshore wind industry, hoping the massive turbines will breathe new life into ports mired by a shrinking fishing industry and a flagging industrial base. Maryland officials last month approved renewable energy credits for two developments totaling 368 megawatts off their shores in a bid to transform Baltimore and Ocean City into the industry’s manufacturing and maintenance hub in the Mid-Atlantic (Climatewire, May 12). Lawmakers in New Jersey are counting down the days until Gov. Chris Christie (R) leaves office early next year, when they plan to restore their own credits for offshore wind developments (Energywire, June 9). In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) wants to bring 2,400 megawatts of wind power online by 2030 (Energywire, Jan. 11). But few places are betting on offshore wind quite like New Bedford. click here to read the story 11:58

Opinion: Rafael’s assets could fund observer program

Any discussion of fishery management nowadays — official and casual alike — is likely to include musings on what should happen to the assets forfeited by Carlos Rafael as punishment for his recent crimes. Mr. Rafael pleaded guilty to charges related to his falsifying landing records and laundering cash, and is scheduled to be sentenced in late July. The courts are working to untangle the IRS and fisheries crimes, dealing with them at one time. A careful distinction between tax penalties and fishing penalties must be made.  The penalties for the tax crimes will be arrived at through IRS rules and laws. The penalties for fisheries crimes are stipulated in NOAA regulations. They provide great latitude in application, from a slap on the wrist to a permanent end of fishing for Carlos Seafood. The defense is making an argument that Mr. Rafael’s influence on the fishery is so important — due to his size — that economic harm to others would be too great if he were to be sanctioned too severely. click here to read the op-ed 08:42

Death of a dairyman: In the network of Maine farm families, Richard ‘Butch’ Clark was a common thread

On a gloomy Saturday afternoon in early May, the Canaan Fire Department shut down Route 2 in Canaan for a steady procession of tractors, dump trucks and vintage farm equipment. Up front was Karen Clark in a 1979 R model Mack truck. The Mack had been sitting in a field awhile  — seven years, she figures — but she made sure it would start and had given it a good wash because her dad loved the “iron.” This particular truck, one he’d used in the 1990s, had been his pride and joy because it never broke down. Her father’s ashes were in a red urn on the front seat next to her. The tractor parade to Fairview Cemetery, nearly 30 vehicles strong, might not be what you’d expect for a dairy man of steady modesty, but Richard Arthur “Butch” Clark had been hauling milk on these roads since 1968 and a driving tribute seemed in order. “This is Dad’s life,” Karen Clark said. Her Aunt Kathy, Butch’s sister, agreed. “That’s our redneck send-off,” Kathy Quirion said. “Those are the kind of people he touched. Truck drivers and farmers and people with tractors.” click here to read the story 16:33

A meeting with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke – Concerns aired about Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument

Fishing groups from around New England met with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Friday to air complaints about former President Barack Obama’s designation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument last year. The monument, the first marine national monument in U.S. Atlantic waters, protects about 4,000 square miles of ocean 150 miles southeast of Cape Cod. Fishermen say the protected area in which fishing is prohibited hurts their business and places an undue burden on an already heavily regulated industry. But Priscilla Brooks, vice president and director of ocean conservation at the Conservation Law Foundation, said the former administration did take fishermen’s concerns into account. Obama reduced the size of the original proposed monument by 60 percent and allowed lobster and crab fishermen a seven-year grace period to continue fishing there. “There was a robust public process,” she said. (BS!) click here to read the story 08:25

A Message from John Bullard, Regional Administrator – There Is No Silver Bullet for Groundfish

The great philosopher Yogi Berra said, “You can observe a lot by watching.” You can also learn a lot by listening. I try to do a lot of listening. I think it’s the most important part of my job, and of all of our jobs at the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center. With all of the activity in the last couple of months, there has certainly been a LOT to listen to. For example, we held recreational roundtable meetings in New Jersey and New Hampshire and a commercial roundtable in New Bedford. We also attended the New England and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council meetings and an Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission meeting.  click here to read the rest 16:14

Searching for Atlantic bluefin tuna larvae and more in the Slope Sea

The NOAA Vessel Gordon Gunter departed on June 10 from Newport, Rhode Island, and immediately headed off the continental shelf to water deeper than 1,000 meters (about 3,300 feet) known as the Slope Sea.  The Slope Sea is an area of the ocean that is bounded to the north and west by the northeast United States Continental Shelf and to the south by the Gulf Stream, whose dynamic currents provide a strong influence over the area.,,, In recent decades, the common view of Atlantic bluefin tuna was that they spawned only in two places, the Mediterranean Sea in the Eastern Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico in the western Atlantic.  However, in the summer of 2013 two cruises sampled the Slope Sea, both of them achieving noteworthy catch rates of early-stage bluefin tuna larvae.  These collections were consistent with a hypothesis first put forward in the 1950s that the Slope Sea was a third spawning ground for this species.  Follow up sampling in 2016 again achieved notable catch rates of bluefin tuna larvae. click here to read the story 15:37

NOAA Fisheries Announces Reimbursement Rate of 60 Percent for 2017 At-Sea Monitoring Costs in Groundfish Fishery

Effective at-sea monitoring (ASM) programs are essential to the success and sustainability of Greater Atlantic Region fisheries. Groundfish vessels in the Greater Atlantic Region that participate in the sector program are required to carry a fisheries observer or an at-sea monitor for a portion of their trips. Fisheries observers are provided and typically paid for by the Federal government in the Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology (SBRM) program and at-sea monitors are partially paid for by industry in the at-sea monitoring program. In 2016, industry began paying their portion of at-sea monitoring costs and NOAA Fisheries was able to reimburse 85 percent of industry’s expenses for July 2016-April 2017. Read the press release here 13:01

Hearing on new shrimp rules draws tiny crowd in Ellsworth

Fishermen barely outnumbered representatives of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission last Thursday at a public hearing in City Hall on proposed rule changes that would reshape shrimp fishing in the Gulf of Maine. Three fishermen — John Williams and Ricky Trundy, both of Stonington, and James West of Sorrento — offered comments on a proposed amendment to the ASMFC fisheries management plan for northern shrimp. Department of Marine Resources External Affairs Director Terry Stockwell and Resource Management Coordinator Trisha Cheney dutifully recorded those comments on behalf of the ASMFC. Although a somewhat larger crowd was on hand for a hearing the previous evening in Augusta, the sparse audience reflected the state of the fishery from Downeast waters.  click here to read the story 12:34

Devon fishing port invited to twin with America’s top port

America’s top fishing port has approached Brixham, which was recently crowned the UK’s port of the year for the second year running, to see if it would be interested in twinning. The port of New Bedford, in Massachusetts, USA, has much in common with the South Devon port. Torbay councillor Vic Ellery gave a presentation to Brixham Town Council at its meeting on Thursday evening. Cllr Ellery said he had been approached by South Western Fish Producers Organisation chief executive Jim Portus, at the request of the director of New Bedford Harbour Development Commission, to enquire whether Brixham Town Council would be interested in setting up a twinning arrangement. “The mayor’s office of this city of New Bedford is very keen to arrange a civic, tourism and economic partnership to the benefit of both ports.” click here to read the story 09:48

Interior secretary set to visit Boston as enviros launch marine monument campaign

When Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke visits the Boston area on Friday, environmentalists plan to greet him by rallying for the preservation of national monuments that are under review by the Trump administration. The former Montana congressman has an 11 a.m. press event at a Legal Sea Foods location, according to his office. The Bay State visit could also afford the interior secretary a chance to meet with the state’s top Republican, Gov. Charlie Baker, although nothing has been announced. The fishing industry opposed President Barack Obama’s 2016 designation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument on a roughly 4,900 square-mile area south of Cape Cod. According to a Zinke press aide, the secretary on Friday will meet with a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials and officials from the New England Aquarium about marine wildlife around the monument. The secretary will then attend a roundtable meeting with lobstermen and fishermen about the impact of the monument designation on their industry. click here to read the story 18:36

Cause of Action Digs In: Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Designation: Some Stakeholders Are More Equal Than Others

This week we review the procedural history of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument (“Atlantic Monument” or “Monument”) designation, which was made by President Obama on September 15, 2016 (“Proclamation”), and show that certain, privileged, non-governmental entities were granted access to detailed information on the forthcoming monument and allowed input into the designation, while other stakeholders—notably those with specific legal authority, such as Regional Fishery Councils—were denied input and access.,,,  The following history, derived from the partial responses to CoA Institute’s FOIA requests and other publicly available documents, is illustrative: In March 2015, the Conservation Law Foundation (“CLF”) and Natural Resources Defense Council (“NRDC”),,, click here to read the story. Hang onto your Sou’wester. 17:53

CATCH SHARES – NOT A VIABLE OPTION FOR THE NORTHEAST

Theoretical constructs that might hold together logically and appear sound often quickly disintegrate in the atmosphere outside their esoteric bubble. This was certainly the case for catch shares or transferable quota management in the New England groundfishery. Catch shares in New England disintegrated almost upon entry. What are catch shares and where did they come from? Catch shares or the commoditization of the fish poundage to be caught, or the ownership of the “right” to harvest a certain portion of the government managers’ scientifically sanctioned total yearly catch, is a construct of “free market environmentalism” theory. The “enviropreneurs” or “enviro-capitalists” claim that ownership equals good stewardship, equals profitability. This privatization push is actually an idea of economics, claiming production “efficiency”, and not one of fishery conservation—although the sales pitch promotes this scheme as the answer to “overfishing”, and just in the nick of time. Click here to read the article 14:58

At U.N. Ocean Conference – Brett Tolley Touts Small-scale Fisheries

Fisheries activist Brett Tolley of Chatham has told many people about the plight of small-scale fishermen like his father, who left the industry because he couldn’t compete with big corporate interests. Last week, he told that story to world leaders in a special forum at the United Nations in New York.,, “We can’t buy our way out of this problem,” he said. The government rules that regulate commercial fishing tend to empower large corporations, and Tolley said that needs to change. Fisheries management that’s based on the allocation of shares (catch shares) or quotas of a particular catch tend to privatize the oceans, rather than treating them as shared public resources, he argued. Those policies tend to concentrate access to fisheries to a few big players. click here to read the story 13:47

A new lobster boat gets launched in Rockport Harbor and the town cheers

The Cummins inboard engine rumbled to life like a charm Saturday afternoon, June 10, and Rockport fisherman Kenny Dodge gave a slight smile and nod. Inside, though, you knew he was grinning big. He stood on the deck of his new 47-foot lobster boat, the Hemingway, reached through the window for the wheel, and reversed the vessel into the Goose River Channel. It was a boat launching of magnificent proportions for a town that prides itself on supporting its working waterfront.,, The day culminated five years in the making: Dodge had worked through past winters building the Hemingway in his West Rockport boat barn. Click here to read the story and see a bunch of nice images! 09:55

Inside the Multi-million-Dollar World of Eel Trafficking

The alleged kingpin of one of the biggest domestic wildlife smuggling operations ever to hit the East Coast is exactly where you’d expect to find him on a rainy evening in early May: firmly planted in a swivel chair at a big green metal desk inside his renovated Quonset hut on Foster Street, in Ellsworth, Maine. At this post Bill Sheldon waits day and night for fishermen to come and fill his bowl with writhing masses of baby eels. The 72-year-old fisherman wears glasses, a blue flannel shirt, jeans, duck boots, and a brown L.L. Bean baseball cap. His cell phone goes quack, quack, quack when it rings. The sign above his head reads, “Buying Glass Eels Here,” with the day’s market price: $1,250 per pound. (so much more about the fishery in this article than “trafficking”) click here to read the story 09:26

Monument review includes Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, Papahahanoukuakea National Marine Monument’s

President Donald Trump’s call to review 27 national monuments established by three former presidents,,, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke made his first recommendation Monday: Proposing a reduced size for the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah. He is set to issue a final report in late August for all the monuments. A closer look at five of the monuments that are being re-examined: Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument, The designation closed the area to commercial fishermen, who go there primarily for lobster, red crab, squid, whiting, butterfish, swordfish and tuna. A coalition of commercial fishing groups filed a lawsuit in March to overturn the designation. They argued the creation of the monument would bring economic distress to fishermen and their families. Papahahanoukuakea National Marine Monument,The decision to expand the monument was the subject of fierce debate within Hawaii, with both sides invoking Native Hawaiian culture to argue why it should or shouldn’t be expanded. click here to read the story 08:30

Fishing for hope and faith

Many mornings the trucks of fishermen and lobster-men can be seen parked on Country Way in front of the North Scituate Marylou’s Coffee. Recently one truck had a new bumper sticker added that proclaims, “PRESIDENT TRUMP MAKE COMMERCIAL FISHING GREAT AGAIN!” After last week’s decision by the president to pull the US from the non-ratified Paris climate accord, perhaps there is some hope for commercial fishermen that other actions will mitigate the burdensome regulations and ineffective quota restrictions that have practically destroyed the industry. Now most commercial fisherman will not disagree that the climate is changing, along with seawater temperatures. Many of those that make their living harvesting the sea’s bounty respect the phenomenal force that is our environment and have faith that the system is naturally self-correcting. In other words, trying to control nature is like shoveling sand against the tide.  Speaking of hope and faith, a well-known member of the Scituate community who happens to be recreational fisherman had his own reminder of the importance of hope and faith. click here to read the story 09:31

A mystery is born: Where are all the baby lobsters?

Biologists and lobstermen are growing increasingly worried that the state’s most valuable fishery, which in recent years has boasted record volume and value and accounts for more than 80 percent of Maine’s fishing profit, is about to go bust, a doomsday economic scenario some call the curse of the “gilded trap.” At the center of their concern: The number of baby lobsters found in the Gulf of Maine continues to fall. “We call it the great disconnect,” said Joshua Carloni, New Hampshire’s state lobster biologist. “And as you can imagine, it has us concerned.”,,,  The Seabrook tows found a decline in copepods – tiny planktonic crustaceans that are most likely a staple of the lobster larval diet click here to read the story 08:14

Fish in the Northwest Atlantic Are Going Hungry – New Science From Maine’s Department of Marine Resources Helps To Explain Why. click here to read the article

A little story about my day at sea yesterday

So we leave to go fishing at 0330 with an observer that the government forces us to take. Now the young man is a likable enough guy who I have no problem with. The problem is we are forced to take these people with no exception. When they tell you they are going to put one on your boat you either take them or you deal with the wrath of NOAA law enforcement. So we go out with the plan of going to catch some scup, fluke and sea bass to unload in Connecticut. We had some nice scup the day before and figured we would get CT’s allowance which is a whopping 1200 pounds of scup, 75 lbs. of fluke and 10 sea bass in count. So we make a couple of tows and come up a bit light on the scup but have the fluke and sea bass. We go and unload ion CT. and on the way there, which happens to be a 2 hour+ steam each way I am informed that the scup that we landed the previous day which had been paying around 60 cents per pound had dropped to 10 to 15 cents per pound. Not even worth the fuel to catch. WONDERFUL. So we go all the way to CT. , unload our catch and head back another 2+ hours for home. After we get back to our dock, I and my crewman are cleaning up the boat and we notice someone on the dock with a camera taking pictures of us as he walks by. No big deal.,,, Click here to read the story 10:24

Controversial bill allowing secret tracking devices on lobster boats wins Maine Senate approval

A compromise has been reached over a controversial bill that would allow the Department of Marine Resources to secretly place tracking devices on lobster boats. The measure is aimed at cracking down on violators of lobstering laws. The Maine Lobstermen’s Union had been strongly opposed to the bill, saying it gave the commissioner too much authority by allowing him to covertly track boats. But after a discussion with the commissioner this morning the union now backs the bill. “So we have a lot more people fishing offshore, much more difficult to catch violators offshore,” said Patrice McCarron of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. McCarron said if allowing investigators to covertly place tracking devices on boats of suspected cheaters leads to more arrests, the industry will be better off. Video, click here to read the story 11:30

Maine Lobstermen Support GPS Tracking of Lawbreakers Fishing Vessels – Lobstermen from Swans Island are fed up with the bad behavior of fellow fishermen who violate regulations within the states most valuable fishery.  Video, click here to read the story 12:02

Scandinavian biologists see threat in crossbreeding by American, European lobsters

Scandinavian biologists say American and European lobsters are crossbreeding and their offspring can survive in European waters, but it is too early to tell if the hybrids can reproduce. Susanne Eriksson of the University of Gothenberg in Sweden and Ann-Lisbeth Agnalt of the Institute of Marine Research in Norway presented their findings on the threat that American lobsters found in the northeast Atlantic Ocean pose to their smaller European cousins Tuesday during the second day of the International Conference and Workshop on Lobster Biology & Management in Portland.,,, The EU said it might one day explore other protective measures that would not be so disruptive to trade if Sweden returns with further proof of an invasion. click here to read the story 08:38

Seafood supplier tries to make inroads with local eateries for Gloucester-landed fish

Frank Ragusa is making a point, leaning forward in his chair and punctuating each sentence by banging his hand on the conference table, producing thumps so loud they later sound like explosions on the recording of the conversation.  In between bursts of percussion, the chief executive officer and partner in Gloucester’s Finest Seafood makes the same impassioned point he has been making since he returned to Cape Ann two years ago from Seattle as the director of fresh seafood at Gloucester Seafood Processing. The point is this: The Gloucester story still plays in the farthest reaches of the nation. The saga of America’s oldest commercial fishing port, of slicker-clad, fishermen wrestling fresh marine life out of the cold waters of the Atlantic, still strikes a chord. Out there. click here to read the story 08:06