Category Archives: New England

Women of New Bedford’s Waterfront

Captain Jessica Walker, 34, first stepped foot on a commercial fishing vessel, which happened to be the Legacy, when she was 19. The college history major was looking for a summer job and this one was far from “potato country”, the place in Northern Maine she called home. She started with summer trips that eventually became full-time work. She worked her way up to mate and learned everything from the boat owner and previous captain, David Wilhelmsen. When he stepped down, Walker assumed the role of captain in the summer of 2013. Further up in the harbor, fishing vessel Reliance was docked earlier in the week for maintenance before departing for the next scalloping trip. Two men with welding helmets sat on the deck repairing the metal gear while Crystal Vaughan stood up in the wheelhouse attending to inventory. 21 photos, >click to read< 10:20

Obituary: Commercial Fisherman Anthony “Joe” Mattera, Jr

Anthony Joseph  Mattera, Jr. “Joe”, 55, of North Kingstown, formerly of Cranston, passed away Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at Philip Hulitar Hospice Inpatient Center in Providence surrounded by his loving family.  Born in Providence, he was the devoted son of the late Anthony J. and Florence C. (DeRise) Mattera. Anthony was a commercial fisherman for many years and was a proud member of the fishing industry. A celebration of his life will take place at a later date. >click to read< 07:10

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 49′ 6″ Fiberglass/Wood Lobster/Gillnetter, Cummins 855

To review specifications, information, and 28 photos>click here<, To see all the boats in this series >click here<11:21

US Marine Corp Vet, Commercial Fisherman, Paul Bettencourt, Dies at 80

Paul “The Baitman” Bettencourt, 80, of Pawtucket, passed away peacefully at home with family by his side on Saturday, April 10, 2021. He was the beloved husband of Barbara R. (Stuart) Bettencourt for forty-three years. Born in Providence, Paul was one of twenty-one children of the late John and Emelia (Pacheco) Bettencourt. He resided the majority of his adult life in Pawtucket. Paul was a United States Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam Era and went on to a lifelong career in the commercial fishing industry, where he gained the nickname and call sign, “The Baitman”. Paul was totally devoted to God, his family, and his community.  >click to read< 12:10

It’s Not Just Windmills – Nils Stolpe

Demand for undersea cables will only grow as more businesses rely on cloud computing services,,, “All of that data is going in the undersea cables.” I have known Captain Jim Lovgren for most of thirty years. I have worked with him on a number of issues,,, Based on this I have no compunctions about strongly recommending that you read the piece that he wrote and titled, “Its Time For A Fishing Industry Buy Out By Offshore Wind” And, unfortunately, I see the struggle that both recreational and commercial fishermen are facing with myriad huge windmills planned in our coastal waters as only the tip of the iceberg. >click to read, with links< 20:51

NOAA and its new “partner” Ørsted agree to share data on wind farm lease areas

NOAA has reached an agreement with leading offshore wind developer Ørsted to share physical and biological data from Ørsted’s offshore lease areas. The memorandum is the first of its kind between an offshore wind developer and NOAA, and the agency says that it paves the way for similar data-sharing agreements with other developers.  “This partnership with industry will deliver data Americans use for business, science, and education, while at the same time mitigating effects of climate change,” said Ben Friedman, NOAA’s acting administrator.,,, The partnership is one element of a wide range of offshore wind initiatives that the Biden-Harris Administration announced at the end of March. (what crap!!!) >click to read< 14:36

South County Museum honors the legends of the Point Judith commercial fishing industry

Imagine walking into a new exhibit at the South County Museum that lists as many local commercial fishermen as can be identified, past and present, and features stories of notable fishing families, artifacts of the fishing industry, a parade of historic photographs on large video screens, and even an oral history booth where present-day fishermen and their families can tell their stories. “Point Judith was once the No. 2 commercial seaport on the East Coast, and it needs to be celebrated and show how it’s changed. Commercial fishermen are the most adaptable, industrious individuals who are running a business, but are also doing it because it’s a passion in their life.”>click to read< 12:38

Lower and middle class Americans will pay for the Biden Administration offshore wind power “plan”

Last week, the Biden administration announced “a bold set of actions” that it said will “catalyze” the installation of 30,000 megawatts of new offshore wind capacity by 2030. A White House fact sheet claimed the offshore push will create “good-paying union jobs” and “strengthen the domestic supply chain.” One problem: It didn’t contain a single mention of electricity prices or ratepayers. The reason for the omission is obvious: President Biden’s offshore-wind scheme will be terrible for consumers. >click to read<,,, Offshore wind is a bad deal for the marine environment, ratepayers and taxpayers. Biden’s plan should be torpedoed before it leaves the harbor. 17:28

Tight-Knit Fishing Communities Navigate Drugs

Johnnie*, a salt-and-pepper fisherman in his late 50s, is smiling as he tells me what happened one dark night last year. “It was like a movie star, dropping down from the sky off the helicopter to get to my crewmate, pitch of night,” he says. “The Coast Guard—this handsome guy, my wife would’ve loved him, like Rock Hudson—dropped down from the moon. Felt like hours after we had given him all the Narcan we had. The Coast Guard still didn’t carry it back then, did you know that? So they pulled him up into the clouds and we all were left below at sea.”, “It’s not the first time that’s happened on our boat,” Johnnie says. “If we didn’t have that Narcan on board though, kid probably wouldn’t have made it.”  >click to read< 19:13

Coast Guard medevacs an injured fisherman 113 miles southeast of Cape Cod

The Coast Guard medevaced an injured fisherman 113 miles southeast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Wednesday. At approximately 3:34 p.m., Coast Guard District One watchstanders received notification from a crewmember of the commercial fishing vessel Motivation, home-ported in Cape May, New Jersey, reporting a 50-year-old crewmember experiencing shortness of breath and a fever and requested assistance. video, >click to read<15:24

Parading in protest – Lobstermen call for abolishment of closures

About 40 lobster boats participated Wednesday in the boat parade protesting Massachusetts’ current closure of virtually all of its state waters to commercial lobstering as a protection for the North Atlantic right whales. The boats, which primarily hailed from Gloucester, Manchester and Rockport, staged around Ten Pound Island in the late afternoon and then headed in single file toward the head of the harbor. Nancy MacDowell of Rockport was at the state fish pier to support her lobstering family in its effort to bring awareness to the closure and the negative impact its is having on those who lobster in state waters. photos, >click to read< 09:05

Gloucester whale protest

Today about forty lobster boats went by my dock in Gloucester to protest against rope entanglement. They were headed to the Fisherman statue in town. They must have gone by over ten times hoping their message would get the presses attention. I can understand their their frustration. Photos, >click to read< Sam Parisi 19:15

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 49’2″ X 22’6″ Millennium Marine Lobster Boat, 1000HP Cat C-18

To review specifications, information, and 37 photos of this vessel, and watch the video, >click here<, To see all the boats listed here with the Boat of the Week feature,  >click here<11:36

PEI fishermen to integrate ‘weak rope’ in 2023

Gear adjustments regarding the North Atlantic Right Whale for the 2021 fishing season are consistent with last year. Rope markings on fishing gear, first implemented in 2020, are designed to help pinpoint where right whale entanglements in gear take place. The fact there haven’t been any entanglements since the marking became mandatory is positive, Melanie Giffin, Program Planner with the PEI Fishermen’s Association, said. “It is kind of a good news story that we don’t know if they are working or not,” she said. According to Barre Campbell, DFO Media relations, there were no North Atlantic Right Whale entanglements or deaths reported in Canadian waters in 2020. However, there is a plan to follow,,, >click to read< 23:08

ITS TIME FOR A FISHING INDUSTRY BUY OUT BY OFFSHORE WIND

If Offshore wind farm companies want the commercial fishing industry to support the construction of massive wind farms on their long time historical fishing grounds, then those companies must offer a vessel buy out option to fishermen before they are put out of business by these same wind developers.,,, While the Biden administration is busy throwing billions of dollars to people who aren’t even citizens, how about throwing a few billion to the commercial fishermen that your green new deal is about to destroy. If multi national corporations are allowed to just prance right into our territorial waters and take them over from the local fishermen leaving them bankrupt and out of work, then the federal government ought to own up to the damage it is creating to the fishing industry and create a voluntary buy out program, jointly financed by them and of course the Windmill companies,,, >click to read< By Jim Lovgren  21:37

Harbormaster amends lawsuit – Mayor, admins accused of free speech, civil rights violations

Gloucester Harbormaster T.J. Ciarametaro’s attorneys have amended his lawsuit against Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, members of her administration and the city, broadening the counts under which Ciarametaro seeks damages and providing more detail on some of his more explosive charges of a  hostile workplace. The initial complaint, filed Feb. 9 in Essex Superior Court in Lawrence, charged that Romeo Theken and members of her  administration harassed Ciarametaro and created a hostile work environment as retaliation for the harbormaster serving as a plaintiffs’ expert witness in a lawsuit involving the 2015 sinking of the fishing vessel F.V. Orin C. >click to read< 08:33

Fishermen, DMR: New North Atlantic Right Whale regulations could cripple lobster industry

The proposal, released in late December 2020, includes measures like regional gear marking, breakaway rope, extra traps per trawl line and restrictions on certain fishing areas. But it is the emphasis placed on ropeless fishing traps that has officials at the Maine Department of Marine Resources most concerned. In its Biological Opinion regarding right whales and the fishing industry, NMFS identifies ropeless fishing as a solution, among others, to reduce whale entanglements that cause death or serious injury. DMR argues that ropeless gear is largely under-researched and unaffordable. DMR used EdgeTech traps to estimate cost increases associated with converting to ropeless fishing,,, An EdgeTech fishing unit costs $3,750,  >click to read< 19:36

New Bedford Port Authority Probed by Feds Over Grant Application

A federal grant application submitted by the New Bedford Port Authority is the subject of an investigation by the U.S. Commerce Department’s Office of the Inspector General. The probe was initiated in October of 2020, according to Port Authority General Counsel Blair S. Bailey. Bailey did not say if the investigation is continuing, or what findings, if any were rendered by the OIG. Another source confirmed that the probe is ongoing. >click to read< 09:37

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 44’11x 20′ Fiberglass Lobster boat

To review specifications, information, and 15 photos>click here<, To see all the boats in this series >click here<11:48

Just what we didn’t need now – Liz Warren

So the senator who has ignored the New Bedford fishing industry since being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2013 suddenly cares about seafood workers. What a joke. Elizabeth Warren cares about Elizabeth Warren. Period. Warren will exploit any opportunity that makes her look good. Gee, I wonder if our environmental queen will show up in an electric car? After all, New Bedford has become Green Acres under the Mitchell Administration. Warren was silent when Barack Obama declared fishing grounds off the New England coast a memorial, preventing local fishermen from earning a living there,,, >click to read< 10:05

John Gillett: Fishery mismanaged while people go hungry

Canada is doing the world a big injustice by mismanaging our Newfoundland and Labrador fisheries. If our fisheries were managed right, we could supply a million tonnes of fish protein to the world and still have enough for our own country. Canada refusing to address the predation of millions of tonnes of fish a year by 10 million seals is criminal to me. Canada, under the UN food security program, has an obligation to share food with the world, not let it be wasted by not controlling the seals that are destroying what fish harvesters harvest and causing an ecological marine disaster. >click to read<  09:10

#ShowUsTheRope – Blamed for Right Whale Entanglements, Lobstermen say Show us the rope!

Snow Cone has triggered an outcry of frustration from fishermen, who say they’re being unfairly blamed for the decline of the critically endangered species. On Wednesday, March 10, a team from Provincetown’s Center for Coastal Studies freed Snow Cone from 300 feet of rope. The center described the team’s success on its Facebook page, and used a photo from an aerial survey that shows the whale and the telltale rope from 1,000 feet in the air. “So, I remember seeing this,” said Nick Muto. The Facebook post said the retrieved rope likely came from a fishery, but there was no close-up picture. “So my hashtag, #ShowUsTheRope, is me trying to lay it right on the Center for Coastal Studies,” >click to read< 20:06

Commercial fishing binds communities, is dangerous livelihood

The Port Clyde fishing community is a tight-knit group with families and friends connected by the sea. That sea, however, can be cruel as it was March 26, when Travis Thorbjornson became the latest in a long list of fishermen to die in its waters. Thorbjornson died Friday, March 26. His lifelong friends, Gerry Cushman, Raymie Upham and Justin ‘Buzza’ Libby, recovered him from the sea. He is the second member of his family to die on the waters. In July 2005, his brother and best friend 40-year-old Gary Thorbjornson, captain of the fishing vessel Sirius, was lost at sea when his 50-foot wooden trawler sank 30 miles southeast of Rockland. A shiny, black granite memorial bearing the name of 11 fishermen lost at sea stands on the grounds of the Marshall Point Lighthouse. Gary Thorbjornson’s image is depicted on the other side of the monument that was dedicated in May 2008. >click to read< 12:27

Five Years After His Indictment, Carlos Rafael’s Fishing Vessels Are Part of a New Era in New Bedford

It’s been a little more than a year since this vessel was among the last big group of fishing boats sold off from the fleet of Carlos Rafael, the man known in the New Bedford fishing industry as “the Codfather.” Rafael went to prison in 2017 for dodging catch limits, smuggling profits overseas, and evading taxes. Some of his former vessels have become part of a new era on the New Bedford waterfront that started before he was indicted but has accelerated in the five years since, Blue Harvest Fisheries bought 12 of Rafael’s groundfish boats, including the Glaucus, last year. >click to read< 09:01

Obituary: Captain Travis L. Thorbjornson, beloved husband, father, grandfather and son

Travis Lee Thorbjornson, beloved husband, father, grandfather and son, perished at sea tragically Friday, March 26, 2021 in Port Clyde. Born in Rockland, August 12, 1966, he was the son of Edward and Jacqueline (Kaler) Thorbjornson. Once you met Travis, it did not take long to realize that he was just as beautiful on the inside as he was on the outside. Travis met the love of his life, Renée Olsavick. They were married,,, Together, they would go on to raise three beautiful children in their Thomaston home. As a young man, Travis began his fishing career working with his brothers on the family owned fishing fleet. >click to read<  Travis Thorbjornson Family Support Fund – The funds collected will be given to Renee for funeral and living expenses to support her and Travis’s family as they mourn the loss of such an amazing man. >click to read< and please give if you can. 07:49

Biden – Harris Admin announces major offshore wind farm plan, fantasize about job creation numbers

To help meet that target, the administration said it would accelerate permitting of projects off the Atlantic Coast and prepare to open up waters near New York and New Jersey for development. The administration also plans to offer $3 billion in federal loan guarantees for offshore wind projects and invest in upgrading the nation’s ports to support wind construction.,, Officials made a similar case on Monday, saying offshore wind deployment would create 44,000 new jobs directly in the offshore wind sector, such as building and installing turbines, as well as 33,000 new indirect jobs. Liars. >click to read< 17:42  Of course, the old Obama gang is here!  “We are ready to rock and roll,” says OBiden climate adviser – To make this happen, Biden’s national climate adviser, Gina McCarthy, told reporters today in a press call that the administration would speed up the permitting process. while a crackpot Senator chimes in., >click to read< 

Coast Guard hoists injured fisherman 60 miles south of Nantucket, Sunday.

At approximately 3:30 a.m., Coast Guard District One watchstanders received a notification from the crew of the commercial fishing vessel F/V Furious, home-ported in Stonington, Connecticut, reporting a 41-year-old crewmember who had received a hand injury and requested assistance. A Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew launched, and safely hoisted the fisherman at approximately 7 a.m. >click to watch< 15:10

A Petition – Re examine the data of North Atlantic right whale entanglements and the Fishery closure

Meredith Cooney started this petition to Governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker and 4 others. Currently there is a 3.5 month Massachusetts state water lobster fishery closure. Commercial lobster fisherman  feel like we have been taking the brunt of blame on right whale deaths in recent years. The fact is that our lobster gear (bouy lines) have not caused any documented right whale deaths ever. Please >read, and sign the petition< 14:00

Marine Patrol Identifies Fisherman Whose Body Was Recovered from Port Clyde Harbor

Port Clyde Harbor – After notifying family members, the Maine Marine Patrol is releasing the name of the fisherman whose body was recovered last night from Port Clyde Harbor. The body of Travis Thorbjornson, 54 of Warren was recovered by Marine Patrol and local fishermen last night at approximately 9pm. Marine Patrol received a report earlier in the evening that Thorbjornson’s skiff was found adrift in the harbor with no one aboard. >click to read< 12:14

Lobstermen united against Monhegan offshore wind project

In one of Maine’s biggest lobster harbors, close to 100 fishermen and their supporters packed the town dock to stand, side by side, in opposition to offshore wind power development in the Gulf of Maine. For the fishermen, the events of the week have hardened their resolve to fight the wind turbine project, which they say will be just the beginning of more platforms being installed in years ahead. They insist the development will damage the Gulf of Maine, “It’s not about anti-wind, it’s not about anti-green,” said Friendship wharf owner Jim Wotton. “It’s about preserving the Gulf of Maine.” Video,  >click to read< 12:21