Monthly Archives: February 2013

Questioning the Captain’s decision

What were they doing out there is those weather conditions?
It’s a question being asked over and over again in communities from Neils  Harbour to Wood Harbour, as Nova Scotians try to come to grips with the  death of five young fishermen.
At the same time, that same question was asked repeatedly at a U.S. Coast  Guard board of inquiry in Portsmouth, Virginia into the sinking of the tall ship  HMS Bounty.
Under scrutiny: the actions of a captain barely out of high school and a  captain who had decades of experience sailing the high seas.  Read more

New England offshore wind planning offers lessons for Great Lakes

When Scandia, a Norwegian wind company, announced its plans to install 200 turbines in Lake Michigan four miles from the tourist town of Ludington, Michigan, in 2009, they likely didn’t anticipate the controversy that would erupt. A similar brouhaha unfolded over the past decade in Nantucket Sound, off the southern coast of Cape Cod, over a proposed 468 MW wind farm known as Cape Wind. Residents of the area spent nine years fighting the project before the Interior Department approved it in 2010. Conservationists have their own set of what-ifs, as do commercial fishers.  A systematic mapping approach could help them meet their goals as well, said Sally McGee, who directs the Northeast Marine Program for the Nature Conservancy and serves on the New England Fishery Management Council, the major regional planning body for the fishing industry. Read more here

NOAA’s retreat to ‘Camelot’ – FOIA Docs spotlight $288,500 ‘workshop’ agenda

Last May, a month after a special judicial master’s second report on misdeeds by NOAA enforcement lawyers had been delivered to the secretary of commerce, NOAA General Counsel Lois Schiffer led her national staff of 145 lawyers on a three day training program in Philadelphia at a cost of $288,500, according to documents released to the Times under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. At the time of the conference, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was in damage control mode after news reports beginning in the publications Government Executive and Politico reported that another arm of NOAA, the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, had advertised for a magician as a motivational speaker for a June conference at NOAA’s general offices in Silver Spring, Md. That ad was posted on the day the Philadelphia conference began — and was withdrawn on its final day. –  Read more here

Commercial fishing industry alive and well in Steveston BC

Steveston Harbour Authority is the largest commercial fishing harbour in the country and is by far the most significant of the 571 harbour authorities in the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ harbour authority program. We are home to more than 350 commercial fishing vessels and have state of the art unloading, storage and moorage facilities and provide direct and indirect employment to many people in the area. Read more here

UFA seeks legal action against KRSA — Commercial fishing group alleges sportfishing association eavesdropped on teleconference

United Fishermen of Alaska leadership says the organization is prepared to see the process through as it awaits response in pursuit of recourse to its allegations that someone at the Kenai River Sportfishing Association eavesdropped on a teleconference of a UFA board of directors meeting. “We intend to follow it through to some sort of logical and final conclusion,” said Bruce Wallace, interim president of UFA, a commercial fishing trade association representing 34 member organizations in Alaska. Read more

Young Rye NH fisherman reels in National Geographic viewers

THE National Geographic show “Wicked Tuna” are already making plans to visit Rye Harbor this summer to spend a day at sea with one of the show’s local stars. Tyler McLaughlin, 25, has been fishing out of Rye Harbor during the summers since he was a child. Two years ago, after graduating from Nichols College, he purchased his own boat, the Pin Wheel, and began a career as a tuna fisherman. – Read more

Lawmaker attacks oil companies’ ‘free’ drilling in gulf

Once upon a time, the price of oil was so low — dropping under $11 a barrel in late 1998 — that Congress agreed that big oil companies needed incentives to drill for oil in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. So in 1995 it ordered the Interior Department to waive royalties on virtually all of the oil and natural gas that would come out of wells drilled between 1996 and 2000. Read more

Nova Scotia Fishing industry concerned about plans for undersea coal mine

The mine could create as many as 300 direct mining jobs, and the undersea  facility is believed to have enough coal to remain operational for at least 50  years. However, local fishermen are concerned that the method used to transport the  coal may kill their local industry. Last year, Xstrata revealed it planned to  transport the coal via barges, which would traverse local fishing grounds, to  waiting ships.  Read more   

NOAA shielding key legal document – “That information is attorney-client privileged!” Ciaran Clayton, NOAA’s director of communications

The legal document underpinning the decision of NOAA’s regional administrator against easing the 77 percent cod limit cuts seen as a death knell for the industry starting May 1 will not be shared with the public, the agency has advised the Times. According to NOAA officials, the office of NOAA General Counsel Lois Schiffer submitted a legal brief to Gloucester-based Northeast Regional Administrator John Bullard last month that gave the legal reasoning behind his decision against allowing the Northeast groundfishery, declared a disaster in September by the acting commerce secretary, to be allowed a second year of interim emergency relief from extreme cutbacks in Gulf of Maine cod. Read more


Miss Ally’s final voyage recalled

Fisherman Sandy Stoddard

It was with fair winds that Woods Harbour fisherman Sandy Stoddard left the Port LaTour wharf on Sunday, Feb. 10 bound for the fishing grounds along the Scotian Shelf. “The weather was good,” said the veteran fisherman. “We had perfect weather for four or five days.”Stoddard, aboard the Logan and Morgan, his son Chrisjon on the Benji and Sisters, as well as Katlin Nickerson and the crew of the Miss Ally were among the boats on the fishing grounds that week.  “Others were fishing to the east of us in an area known as the edge,” said Stoddard. “We were in the Gully. The Miss Ally was about 110 to 115 miles away to the southwest.” Read more

Japan will never stop whaling – minister

Hayashi, a graduate of the prestigious Kennedy School at Harvard  University who first entered parliament in 1995, said Japan was  tired of being lectured by nations whose own culinary cultures can  seem a little off-colour. ‘In some countries they eat dogs, like Korea. In Australia they eat kangaroos. We don’t eat those animals, but we don’t stop them from doing that because we understand that’s their culture,’ Hayashi said in fluent English. Read more

Genetic study pursues elusive goal: How many humpbacks existed before whaling?

Scientists from Stanford University, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the American Museum of Natural History, and other organizations are closing in on the answer to an important conservation question: how many humpback whales once existed in the North Atlantic? Read more

Japan to take part in International Boston Seafood Show

BOSTON —Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries will be setting up a Japan Pavilion at the upcoming International Boston Seafood Show 2013 (IBSS), North America’s largest seafood trade event, to be held from March 10-12, at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Read more


Two opposing views of the Gulf Red Snapper Fishery

John Sackton —   Feb 11, 2013 — A new allocation fight is taking place in the Gulf of Mexico with recreational charters, backed by the Coastal Conservation Association, preparing to steamroller commercial interests, and further restrict dologomestic red snapper from restaurant menus. Read more here

TOM ADAMS -Mr. Sackton’s recent analysis of the red snapper allocation fight that appeared in the recent  News and  website is woefully inaccurate. First and foremost, Mr. Sackton pits two specifically named organizations – the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) and Gulf of Mexico Reef Shareholders Alliance – as being at opposite ends of the allocation battle for Gulf of Mexico red snapper. Read more here

Americam Samoa – Albacore fishery management under review Western Pacific Fishery Management Council

The American Samoa longline fishery is the second largest fishery in the US Pacific Islands. The fishery is based almost entirely on fishing for South Pacific albacore caught for the American Samoa canning industry, with only a small domestic market, and limited access to overseas markets. This South Pacific albacore is also important to the central South Pacific countries neighboring American Samoa, which also supply the American Samoa canning and fish processing industry.

Catches of South Pacific albacore by all fleets south of the equator have more than doubled in the past decade and are currently about 90 percent of maximum sustainable yield. This is due primarily to the doubling of vessels from China fishing under access agreements with the Solomon Islands and switching by Taiwanese longliners from targeting bigeye to albacore. Read more

Woods Harbour, N.S., plans funerals for missing fishermen

Families in Woods Harbour, N.S., are preparing funerals and memorial services for the five fishermen lost at sea after their fishing boat capsized on Feb. 17 in rough weather. Read more, watch video

New Jersey may get some reprieve on reduced flounder catch

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, a compact of East Coast states that regulates migratory fish, is considering an addendum to the fishery management plan to allow sharing between states. Such a management technique has been used on commercial fisheries but never for the recreational sector, said Interstate Fisheries Management Plan Director Toni Kerns of the ASMFC.  Read more

A Rich heritage: “All I wanted to do was build boats”

photo credit fenceviewer.comTREMONT – “I built boats from the time I could walk,” says Robert “Chummy” Rich. “Most of them wouldn’t float. If they did, they’d float upside down.”

If you are a wooden boat nut like I am, you’ll enjoy this article. Lots of Maine humor and history. Read more

Maine Voices: Plight of cod fishery should serve as wake-up call for policymakers By Peter Shelley, CLF

By Peter Shelley, senior counsel at the Conservation Law Foundation — Before New England’s most important fishery collapses completely and takes our codfish with it, solutions must start with the facts at hand: Many of New England’s groundfish, particularly Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank cod, are at historically low levels and may be in complete collapse. Read more

Not so fast, Councilor

Cod, NOAA, and Existence

Fishermen’s troubles are a direct result of mismanagement: inadequate science, unreasonable Maximum Sustainable Yield-crisis centric regulations, NOAA’s single species approach to a complex multi-species fishery, and then, of course, our beloved “returning profitability to fishermen” catch shares, a disastrous campaign to privatize and turn the fish resource into a Wall Street commodity at the expense and demise of working fishermen.  Additionally, NOAA has traditionally ignored environmental factors, such as climate change, predation, and natural cycles, focusing solely on managing the fishermen, not the fish in their environment. If this cod stock is indeed “collapsing”, it is certainly not due to “over harvesting”—the groundfish managers’ Total Allowable Catch has been under-harvested for years, sometimes by 75%, but consistently underfished by at least 50%.

Unemployed? How ’bout a sweet gig at World Wildelife Fund!

World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the world’s leading conservation organization, seeks a Director of Seafood Engagement for Business and Industry. No mention of salary, though. Read more

We Paid for the Research, So Let’s See It – make public, without charge, all scientific papers

The Obama administration is right to direct federal agencies to make public, without charge, all scientific papers reporting on research financed by the government. In a memorandum issued on Friday, John Holdren, the president’s science adviser, directed federal agencies with more than $100 million in annual research and development expenditures to develop plans for making the published results of almost all the research freely available to everyone within one year of publication. Read more

American Samoa – Singapore-Based Shipping Company to Pay $2.2 Million for Covering up Oil Pollution

uscg logoAccording to the plea agreement, including a joint factual statement, the company operated the vessel Southern Lily 2 in American Samoa.  On June 22, 2012, the vessel was boarded by the U.S. Coast Guard for a routine inspection.  During the inspection the Coast Guard discovered that the ship’s oil water separator was not functioning.  The Coast Guard learned that the device had not been functioning for several months and, at the direction of the chief and second engineer, the oily waste water had been being discharged overboard in violation of international law. Read more

Petition urges NOAA Gloucester shutdown

With the regulated industry facing a virtual implosion based on a disputed legal ruling, an online petition campaign has been initiated to pressure Congress to close NOAA’s nearly new headquarters for the Northeast region in Blackburn Industrial Park and use the annual agency’s regional payroll — pegged at about $15 million a year — to provide relief for a recognized “economic disaster” in the groundfishery. Read more here

From the Deckboss

A leadership change at Icicle, Can hatcheries help?, Larger salmon haul expected this year.

Read more here, and as always, read the comments!

Timeline | Tragedy at Sea

The search for five young Nova Scotia fishermen, believed to have perished when their fishing boat overturned in rough waters about 12-hours steam off Nova Scotia, gripped the country and threw a small Nova Scotia commufishing vessel miss allynity’s grief into the spotlight.
A week of exhaustive aerial and underwater searches found no sign of the young men’s bodies. The search came to an end on Sunday — one week after the men went missing — after a dive team search the capsized vessel, the Miss Ally, and turned up nothing.  Timeline here  Video

Northeast Region Bulletin: ATLANTIC HERRING FISHERY Reduction in Area 1A Quota

Effective Date: March 27, 2013 Due to an overage in herring management Area 1A in 2011, we have adjusted the 2013 sub-ACL (annual catch limit/quota) in Area 1A. These sub-ACLs will be revised later in the year with the new 2013 sub-ACLs currently being developed by the New England Fishery Management Council. Read the Bulletin here

I’ve been getting lots of emails asking about that Close the NMFS Regional Office Petition!

My mail box is loaded with emails from people looking for the link to sign the petition! Here it is.

Dear Chairwoman Mikulski and members of the Senate Committee on Appropriations:

Disclaimer! neither supports, nor opposes this petiton.
We are providing information that is publicly available

Sea stories beckon large audience as Fishers hook the crowd with talent (they can very taleted!)

Wet Dog Cafe was full to the brim with diners Friday night; there was a waiting list to snag a table. Waiters weaved in between patrons, carrying trays laden with burgers and beverages. But Tele Aadsen’s soft voice rang clear as a bell above the low buzz of laughter and clink of dishes. It was the 16th annual FisherPoets Gathering soft voice rang clear as a bell above the low buzz of laughter and clink of dishes. It was the 16th annual FisherPoets Gathering, a weekend that saw about 70 commercial fishermen and women assemble from across the country in Astoria to read poetry, tell stories and sing songs about their occupations. Read more

John Bullard – No guarantees that fish stocks will come back

The big question is: Why has this happened? Over the years, quotas have been gradually reduced, but still the fish aren’t coming back as expected. It isn’t simply a case of overfishing. There are environmental forces at play such as predation from recovered populations of dogfish and seals, changes in ocean water temperature and increases in ocean acidity. So, while it may not be totally on the fishermen’s shoulders, it will be the fishermen who will have to pay the price. Read more

Please let NOAA know how you feel about them expanding their power and sanctuaries. Its not all rainbows and unicorns!

To provide public comment (must be received by March 1, 2013)

There are three ways to provide public comment: 1. Attend a Public Scoping Meeting (see below)  all these have already occurred

2. Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NOS-2012-0228external link, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. Note: this site will be down for maintenance Feb 16-18, 2013

3. Mail: Maria Brown, Sanctuary Superintendent, Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, 991 Marine Drive, The Presidio, San Francisco, CA 94129

or!submitComment;D=NOAA-NOS-2012-0228-0001  (this link seems easier to upload documents)