Category Archives: New England

New rules aim to boost herring supply prized as lobster bait

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission adopted many of the same measures that Maine implemented last year to try to “stretch out” the limited quota of inshore Atlantic herring into late summer, when lobster boat captains in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts are clamoring for what many fishermen say is the best, and formerly cheapest, kind of lobster bait. The commission voted to allow regulators to set weekly herring quotas, to limit fishing to certain days of the week, and to give the three states that regulate the inshore herring fishery in the southern Gulf of Maine the ability to limit or ban the use of so-called “carrier vessels” that transfer herring landed by a licensed boat so it can keep fishing instead of heading back to port to unload its haul. click here to read the story 08:35

Fishermen, Conservationists Go Head To Head Over East Coast Underwater National Monument

New England fishermen are hoping President Donald Trump will reverse an undersea monument designation they say has cut them off from nearly 5,000 square miles of valuable fishing grounds off the coast of Cape Cod. Trump last month directed the Department of the Interior to conduct a sweeping review of national monument designations over the last two decades, including the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, which President Barack Obama declared the first undersea national monument in the Atlantic Ocean in September. But Joseph Gilbert, owner of Stonington-based Empire Fisheries, said since the designation, “we’ve been pushed to other areas” creating unnecessary competition and pressure as more boats are fishing in a smaller area. Fishermen, who have been using the area for 200 years, Gilbert said, were given just two months to get out. Though the area represents only 1.5 percent of U.S. waters off the East Coast, Gilbert said it’s another example of fishermen “losing, one nibble or bite at a time, access to historic, productive fishing areas.” click here to read the article 08:01

Massachusetts man nabbed with $21,700 worth of illegal allegedly poached elvers

A Massachusetts man faces up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine after he was caught with an estimated $21,700 worth of allegedly poached elvers, according to the Maine Department of Marine Resources. Joseph Starratt, 51, of Middleborough, Massachusetts, was arrested Friday and charged with possession of elvers, also known as baby or “glass” eels, without a license. The charge is a Class D misdemeanor crime, which is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a fine of $2,000. Marine Patrol officers, following up on a lead submitted through the Operation Game Thief tip line, located Starratt in Scarborough with 16.5 pounds of elvers and without any license to harvest them. Starratt was arrested and taken to Cumberland County Jail. Each pound contains about 2,500 elvers, click here to read the story 20:55

Waste Water Treatment Plants: Once home to thriving aquaculture, Great Bay is under great strain

GREAT BAY’S wonderful production of gourmet food has come to an unbelievable halt, and there’s bound to be a lot of uninformed debate on how to get those species such as clams, oysters, smelt, herring, white perch, crabs, lobsters and other multiple flora and fauna that may slip my mind.,,  We’ve lost just about all of this incredible fish and game resource gradually! We’re going to get some flack from the do-gooders as to why they are gone, but when you look at the changes that have been parallel to the loss of fish, it’s been the rebuilding or refitting of the many sewage treatment plants that have been put into service that seem to be the answer to this lack of fish and game. You can see it in the lack of eelgrass beds that used to cover thousands of acres of tidal flats. These new treatment plants have filtered or poisoned most of the nutrients from the Piscataqua River and the many other rivers that serve their municipalities that dump their now super-treated effluent into the tidal water, now so sterile and lacking in nutrients and full of poison that plants and animals cannot survive. Read this article! click here 08:43

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission meeting in Alexandria, Virginia May 8 – 11, 2017 – Listen Live

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will meet at The Westin Alexandria, 400 Courthouse Square, Alexandria, Virginia 22314, May 8 – 11, 2017  The agenda is subject to change. The agenda reflects the current estimate of time required for scheduled Board meetings.  Click here for details, Click here for webinar 12:37

Offshore Wind Power Will ‘Absolutely Cost Jobs’ Of US Fishermen

The fishing industry is worried the first offshore wind farm to come online in the U.S. will ruin their way of life and kill jobs. An offshore wind turbine three miles off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island, will kill large numbers of fish and potentially drive hundreds of small coastal enterprises out of business, according to a fishing industry representative. Fishermen fear offshore wind turbines will continue to pop up along Atlantic Coast, eventually make it impossible to be a commercial fisherman. “This will absolutely cost jobs in the U.S.,” Bonnie Brady, director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “If New York Governor [Andrew] Cuomo’s administration gets what it wants from offshore wind that’s thousands of fishing jobs. It’ll rip the coastal communities apart.” Brady says New York’s government is willfully ignoring fishing jobs in favor of the wind industry and thinks the consequences of Cuomo’s policy could spread economic devastation to fishermen well beyond the state. click here to read the story 10:46

LIPA, PSEG urged to disclose costs of green-energy program – “Of course they’re not going to give the numbers,” said Bonnie Brady, director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, which has joined a lawsuit to stop a wind farm off the South Shore. “I think the governor needs to rethink his mandate. He’s destroying fishing jobs for pie-in-the-sky [wind-energy construction] jobs that are not going to last.” click here to read the story 10:52

Interior Department Releases List of Monuments Under Review, First-Ever Formal Public Comment Period for Antiquities Act Monuments

The Department of the Interior today (5-5-17) announced the first ever formal public comment period for members of the public to officially weigh in on monument designations under the Antiquities Act of 1906, and the Department released a list of monuments under review under the President’s Executive Order 13792, issued April 26, 2017. A public comment period is not required for monument designations under the Antiquities Act; however, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and President Trump both strongly believe that local input is a critical component of federal land management. Comments may be submitted online after May 12 at http://www.regulations.gov by entering “DOI-2017-0002” in the Search bar and clicking “Search,” or by mail to Monument Review, MS-1530, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240. Marine Monuments under review are, Papahanaumokuakea, Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, Pacific Remote Islands, Rose Atoll, Marianas Trench. click here to read the press release, 18:03

Labor Council latest to make plea for Carlos Rafael permits to remain in New Bedford

The line of organizations with their eyes focused on the future of Carlos Rafael’s fishing permits continued to grow Friday. The Greater Southeastern Massachusetts Labor Council addressed a letter to John K. Bullard, NOAA’s regional director from Maine to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, as well as U.S. Attorney William Weinreb that urged the two men “to allocate the fishing permits now controlled by Carlos Rafael to the New Bedford area.” We sent a letter basically because of the fishing industry in New Bedford,” Cynthia Rodrigues, president of the council said. “(The permits landing elsewhere) will hurt the fishing in New Bedford.” Bullard said he couldn’t comment on matters under litigation but saw no issues with parties announcing their opinions on the matter. click here to read the story 16:56

Proposed new rules for lobstering up for vote amid decline in southern New England

Scientists have said populations of lobsters off of Connecticut, Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts have declined as waters have warmed. A board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is scheduled to vote on new management measures Monday and Tuesday. Fishing managers are considering tools like trap reductions, changes to the legal harvesting size of lobsters and seasonal closures to try to preserve the population. Some lobster fishermen have opposed the possibility of new measures, saying such a move would kill off what remains of a once-vibrant fishery. “Any further reductions in traps would be hard to accommodate, given that there are so few fishermen left in (southern) Massachusetts and Rhode Island,” said Beth Casoni, executive director of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association. click here to read the story 11:26

Attention US East Coast Fishermen.

On may 17th President Donald Trump will be giving the commencement address to the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London CT. We are seeking interested commercial fishing vessels to come together in a show of solidarity to ask our President to look into the management problems that have plagued our industry for decades. We all know the issues that are destroying our industry and we need to get the word out to his administration that we, like farmers, coal miners and a whole host of American small businessmen are struggling to hang onto our businesses because of the onerous regulatory situation that has plagued our industry. What we are seeking is if there are enough interested people to put together a flotilla of vessels to sail up the Thames River as a show of support for his plan to minimize industry and job killing over regulation.  We recognize this is short notice but this is a golden opportunity to show the President who we are and the importance of our industry to the fabric of our nation and our coastal communities. If we find enough support and a commitment to show up to form a parade of vessels we will announce more details as to the time we would need to assemble and also receive other ideas to get the message to the President on our desire to “Make commercial fishing great again”. This is not a protest of our President. It is a rally in support of his pro business agenda that would benefit all Americans. If interested please call Bob Guzzo @860-608-5988 or Joel Hovanesian @401-742-3162 Thank you for your consideration to this undertaking. 14:23

South Shore lobstermen dismayed by failed bid for longer season

Lobstermen are busy loading their boats with traps and buoys and getting their gear back in the water after a three-month closure lifted this week for most of the South Shore. But Marshfield lobsterman John Haviland said he is starting the season feeling more disenchanted than ever after federal regulators turned down a proposal to allow lobstermen to fish year-round with a new rope line designed to reduce the chance of entangling endangered whales. “I’m disappointed that we put three years worth of research and meetings into trying to do the right thing, and it was not successful,” Haviland, president of the South Shore Lobster Fishermen’s Association, said. “It makes you question if you should keep doing the one thing you’ve always done.” Since 2015, federal regulations have banned the use of lobstering equipment from Feb. 1 to April 30 off Cape Cod Bay and beyond, shutting down the local industry for the winter. The goal is to reduce the chances of whales becoming entangled in the gear. click here to read the article 12:09

A ‘Dock to Dish’ Effort Meant to Support N.H. Fishermen

Commercial ground fishermen on the east coast are struggling–so much so that there’s concern about whether they, and not the fish they catch, are an endangered species. An organization called New Hampshire Community Seafood is launching an effort to get more Granite Staters interested in eating local seafood, with the hope that it’ll provide a boost to fishermen.  Manager Andrea Tomlinson is trying to sign up 1,000 members who want regular deliveries of fresh seafood. “You know, the real reason we’re in business is to support the remaining ground fishermen here in New Hampshire. That’s our mission.” Tomlinson says there are far fewer fishermen off New Hampshire’s coast than there were two decades ago. The reason, she says, is cod catch quotas that are meant to prevent over-fishing. “In 2015, our sector was limited to catching approximately 62,000 pounds of cod, whereas three years prior to that, our sector was able to catch 2,000,000 pounds of cod,” Tomlinson says. click here to read the story 08:06

Trap Gear Closure Lifted; Right Whales Leaving Cape Cod Bay

The trap closure extension in Cape Cod Bay has been lifted  effective Friday May 5 because nearly all the whales that were aggregated in Cape Cod Bay have departed as expected.  DMF filed emergency regulations last week to extend the prohibition of trap gear within certain waters of Cape Cod Bay. This closure extension was enacted because in mid-April there was an unprecedented aggregation of over 200 right whales feeding on dense plankton, and more than 100 remained just days before the scheduled May 1 opening.  Feeding right whales are susceptible to entanglement in vertical buoy lines. click here to read the notice 22:55

No lobstering until right whales leave Cape Cod Bay

For the past three years there has been a ban on setting lobster traps and pots in the bay from Feb. 1 through the end of April, a ban intended to protect these whales from entanglement. Last week by some counts close to 200 of the estimated total population of 500 Atlantic Western Right Whales were still in Cape Cod Bay. Citing their endangered status and their surprising willingness to stay in the bay because of an abundance of the plankton they feed on, the state’s Division of Marine Fisheries announced that most of the bay would remain closed to setting recreational and commercial lobster traps and pots through next Sunday, May 7. For environmentalists involved in the protection of this species of whale the extended ban was a reasonable, measured action. For many lobstermen it was salt on an open wound. click here to read the story 07:56

Maine lawmakers endorse tougher penalties for lobstermen who cheat

A legislative committee voted unanimously Wednesday to toughen penalties on lobstermen who fish too many traps or use “sunken trawls” as part of an industry-supported effort to crack down on lawbreakers. “I do think this is going to get people’s attention and will hopefully make people realize that it doesn’t pay to cheat,” said Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. Lawmakers are considering a suite of requests from the Maine Department of Marine Resources for more enforcement tools and tougher sanctions against violators in an industry worth more than $500 million last year. A bill unanimously endorsed by the Marine Resources Committee, L.D. 575, would allow DMR’s commissioner to order longer license suspensions for lobstermen who violate the laws on the first offense and, in several cases, permanently revoke the licenses of repeat offenders. click here to read the story 19:49

Bill to move Monhegan wind power project draws crowd to legislative hearing  

Lawmakers heard passionate, conflicting testimony Tuesday from dozens of people on a bill aimed at moving a nationally significant wind energy test site farther from Monhegan Island. Supporters said views of two massive floating turbines would jeopardize tourism, lobster fishing, migrating birds and the sense of serenity associated with Monhegan’s wild beauty. Some said island residents were being bullied and divided by the University of Maine and the partners of Maine Aqua Ventus, a project that is testing new technology for offshore wind turbines about 3 miles from the island. The project initially promised a small, brief test, but has now expanded it beyond anyone’s expectations. Opponents of the bill, which would move the test site at least 7 miles farther out to sea, said it is unneeded and unwelcome, adding that it would short-circuit the process by which islanders are evaluating the project’s potential benefits. Both sides said much is at stake. But representatives of the Maine Lobstering Union, which represents 500 fishermen, said wind power has no place on the Maine coast. Other lobstermen, though, spoke in favor of the turbines. Mary Weber, whose husband, Matt, fishes around the island, said they didn’t think the turbines would deter tourists, and might even draw a new set of visitors interested in clean energy. click here to read the story 15:30

Letter: ‘Codfather’ permits should be redistributed

To the editor: Carlos Rafael’s environmental crime spree, spanning two decades, will finally come to an end (”’Codfather’ faces $109K fine, loss of 13 vessels,” April 3). Rafael pled guilty to federal charges of falsifying fish catch reports, conspiracy and tax evasion. He will serve at least four years in jail and will forfeit millions of dollars in fishing assets.  For law-abiding fishermen, this day is long overdue. While other fishermen were complying with steep reductions in fishing quotas, Rafael decided those rules didn’t apply to him. click here to read the letter 09:22

What’s next for Carlos Rafael’s fishing permits?

New Bedford – Almost a week ago, City Council members asked for their names to be attached to a late file agenda pertaining to Carlos Rafael’s groundfish permits. Behind Ward 4 Councilor Dana Rebeiro, Council President Joseph Lopes and Ward 5 Councilor Kerry Winterson, the council requested “that the Committee on Internal Affairs meet with Attorney General Maura Healey and NOAA to discuss how current owners and mariners operating in New Bedford have the first right of refusal to acquire licenses to be auctioned as result of the plea agreement in the case of The United States vs. Carlos Rafael… The written motion was a bit premature. Following Thursday’s council meeting, Rebeiro acknowledged the measure was “to get ahead of the ball” in terms of where the permits may land. So what’s next? click here to read the story 19:11

Long List of Factors Stressing Out (poisoning) Narragansett Bay

The Narragansett Bay Estuary Program has developed a draft report on the status of Narragansett Bay entitled “State of the Bay and its Watershed.”  Numerous factors, beyond climate change, sea-level rise and legacy contaminants, stress Rhode Island’s most significant natural resource. Here is a look at some of the others detailed in the NBEP’s draft report.,, Population growth, Land-use changes, Impervious surfaces, Nutrient loading, Chemical contaminants of emerging concern (CECs). They include but aren’t limited to nonprescription and prescription pharmaceuticals, personal-care products, and industrial chemicals used in a wide range of consumer, commercial and industrial products. Some examples: antidepressants, antihypertensives, antibiotics, painkillers and synthetic hormones; antimicrobials such as Triclosan; UV blockers in sunscreens such as oxybenzone; DEET, a pesticide which is applied to human skin; fragrances such as synthetic musks; flame retardants such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers; additives to plastics; and synthetic materials such as bisphenol A, commonly referred to as BPA. click here to read the story 16:53

Massachusetts Court Reverses Ruling in Rotten Scallop Coverage Dispute

The Massachusetts Appeals Court has reversed a lower court’s ruling in a case examining whether damage to scallops at a seafood processing facility, when the cause of damage is unknown, constitutes an occurrence within a commercial general liability (CGL) policy. A Superior Court judge previously concluded that defendant and insured, Raw 2 Seafoods Inc. (RSI), had no way of proving its claimed loss was caused by an occurrence and granted summary judgement in favor of the plaintiff and insurer, Hanover Insurance Group. This case, The Hanover Insurance Group, Inc. vs. Raw Seafoods, Inc., comes after a July 2011 event in which RSI-processed scallops were making their way through customs in Denmark, heading to an Atlantic customer. Upon inspection, the 37,102 pounds of scallops were found to be decomposed and were deemed unacceptable for human consumption. click here to read the story 15:51

Offshore Wind Farm Costs $150,000 Per Home Currently Powered

An offshore wind farm in Rhode Island went online Monday, but building it costed $150,000 for every household powered. Three miles off the coast of Block Island, R.I., the wind farm is currently generating enough electricity to power 2,000 homes, but building the five turbines costed $300 million. That’s roughly $150,000 per household just to build the turbines, not to operate them. To put this in some perspective, the U.S.’s newest nuclear reactor, Watts Bar Unit 2, cost $4.7 billion to build but powered 4.5 million homes. The extremely high cost of offshore wind doesn’t worry environmentalists and progressives however, because, “it’s the precedent that counts.”  click here to read the rest 11:37

Did catch shares enable the Codfather’s fishing fraud?

Carlos Rafael’s guilty plea late last month of falsifying fish quotas, conspiracy and tax evasion has prompted renewed criticism of one of the most contentious parts of the New England groundfish fishery’s management system: catch shares.Rafael, who dubbed himself “The Codfather,” owned one of the largest commercial fishing fleets in the United States, and for some community fishermen in New England, his case represents consolidation run amok. Consolidating fishing permits, they say, also centralizes power, making fraud more likely. But for environmentalists who support catch shares as a way to reduce overfishing, consolidation isn’t inevitable. They say Rafael’s case highlights the need for better monitoring and fraud protections to prevent the sort of cheating that can plague any fishery management system. click here to read the rest 19:09

How Lobsters Do It – Mating among lobsters is a tender, human-like affair

Between their hard shells and strong pincers, American lobsters are built to fight and keep other creatures away. But does this combative, standoffish nature extend to mating? There are two general groups of animals called lobsters: clawed lobsters, which live in high-latitude, cold-water regions; and spiny lobsters, which are clawless and live in warmer sub-tropical waters. Clawed lobsters and spiny lobsters are not closely related. Clawed lobsters, including the American (Maine) and European lobsters, typically live in small, hierarchical groups, said biologist Jelle Atema, who studies American lobsters at Boston University and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Males vigorously fight each other to be the dominant male of the group, though it’s a short-lived title given that lobsters remember whom they’ve fought for no longer than a week. click here to read the story 11:24

Series of coral protection hearings planned for New England

Federal fishery managers will hold a host of public hearings in New England and New York about a plan to protect corals in key East Coast fishing areas. The New England Fishery Management Council is hosting seven public hearings about alternatives it is considering about the protection of corals in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank. The hearings will take place from May 22 to 25 in Montauk, Narragansett, New Bedford, Gloucester, Portsmouth, and Ellsworth. There will also be a web-based hearing on May 26. The fishery council says it wants to collect feedback from fishermen and other stakeholders about the coral protection Link 21:28

41 humpback whale deaths in Atlantic force fed probe

An unusually high number of dead humpback whales washing ashore along the Atlantic coast has prompted marine mammal experts to open a federal investigation of the cause. But the cause may never be fully determined, according to experts. Since January 2016, 41 of the mammals have washed ashore from North Carolina to Maine. The only cause of death determined so far are cases in which the whales showed signs of being hit by a vessel. But ship strikes only account for a quarter of the deaths. The high number of deaths forced the country’s top marine agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to declare an “Unusual Mortality Event,” prompting the federal probe. click here to read the story 19:57

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