Monthly Archives: May 2016

Fisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo, citing “addiction issues,” has resigned

hunter-tootooFisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo, citing “addiction issues,” has resigned from the federal cabinet and is leaving the Liberal caucus.Dominic LeBlanc, the government’s House leader, will assume Tootoo’s cabinet responsibilities.A statement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office says Tootoo is “taking time to seek treatment for addiction issues.”Tootoo, the first northerner to take on the role of fisheries minister, issued a brief statement saying he was stepping down in order not to distract from the important work of his colleagues.Tootoo said he has “decided to seek treatment for addiction issues” and asked for “privacy at this time.” Read the rest here 20:38

“It’s been a long time coming.” Lobster season in southwestern Nova Scotia may be best in decade

10-lobsters1A lobster fisherman in southwest Nova Scotia says this season, which ends at midnight tonight, may have been the best in a decade. Bernie Berry, captain of the lobster boat Ready To Go and president of the Coldwater Lobster Association, said it’s too soon to calculate official landing numbers. But he estimates fishermen in the two lobster fishing areas that make up southwest Nova Scotia — from Halifax all the way down the South Shore to just south of Digby Neck — likely landed almost 75 million pounds of lobster this season. The 2015-2016 season is “one of the best, if not the best” in the past 10 years, Berry said. “It’s been a long time coming.” Read the story here 15:34

A dwindling North Fork fishing community urge emergency measures to keep black sea bass season open

riverhead june closure of the black sea bass seasonAbout a dozen of them met at a Mattituck marina Thursday to vent their frustration at the measure, which one fisherman said would reduce his income by 80 percent. Meanwhile, the state’s top fishing regulator wrote a letter to federal fisheries managers urging them to expedite an assessment to improve the data upon which local quotas are based. State regulators are pushing federal regulators to fix the problem. In a May 17 letter to top federal fishing regulators, Basil Seggos, acting DEC commissioner, noted the fishery has been rebuilt since 2009, yet fishermen “continue to struggle under low catch limits and restrictive measures while black sea bass appear to be more abundant than in any time in recent history.” Read the story here 14:41

Sector Groups turning to technology to meet monitoring mandate

camera_view_of_skate_catchNew England fishermen are starting to use digital cameras to document groundfish discards and prove they are fishing within established quotas, turning to technology for a method that may prove more cost effective than hiring human monitors. With support from the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, The Nature Conservancy is overseeing a new project, which launches on Wednesday, June 1 and is being hailed as a “new era in fisheries monitoring.” Up to 20 groundfishermen from the Maine Coast Community Sector and Cape Cod’s Fixed Gear Sector will use three to four cameras to capture fish handling activity on the decks of their vessels. After completing their trips, crews will send hard drives to third party reviewers who watch the footage and quantify the amount of discarded fish.  Read the rest here 13:17

Damon Stuebner: USCGC Storis documentary was an 8-year ‘labor of love’

A Juneau man has made a film about the Storis, a dainty icebreaker by polar standards, that rescued mariners and enforced the law along Alaska’s coast for almost 60 years. It took Damon Stuebner eight years to make this documentary. “It was a labor of love,” Stuebner said. It traces Storis’ journey, from its work in World War II, to its long history in Alaska dating to 1948 when it came to Juneau. Stuebner said the story of the ship tells Alaska’s story. “Storis was there for the Exxon Valdez oil spill. It was there for the trans-Alaska pipeline construction. It was there for the 1964 Earthquake … It was the very first ship to have law enforcement seizures in the Bering Sea.” Perhaps most suspenseful is the story of Storis’ attempt to rescue the fishermen of the Alaskan Monarch in the Bering Sea in 1990. It’s a saga told with interviews and video from multiple cameras that were on scene. Movie trailer, Read the rest here 10:04

Two fishing vessels collide near Port Latour this morning, one sinks, both crews safe ashore

fishingboateditOne day before the winter lobster season comes to an end, a fishing boat sank off the coast of Shelburne County and all five crew members were rescued. Sub-Lt. Jamie Tobin, a spokesman for the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, said two fishing vessels collided near Port Latour around 9 a.m. on Monday. The Lois N 2 began sinking, but the other vessel was in better condition and was able to take on the crew of the sinking boat and transported them safely to shore. The JRCC didn’t send any rescue teams to the accident, but Sub-Lt. Tobin said, “we are very happy to hear that both crews are now safely on shore.” Joseph Williams of Port Latour owns the Lois N 2, which was built in 1979. The lobster fishing season on Nova Scotia’s south shore ends on Tuesday. Link 09:23

Salt in their veins and fire in their bellies: fishermen battling for Brexit

untitled brexitWilliam Whyte has a new flag flying from the rigging of his vast blue-hulled trawler, its fabric snapping in the brisk breeze coming in off the North Sea. It features the cartoon of a militant-looking fish wearing armour, a union jack shield at its waist and the legend “Fishing for Leave”. These flags are appearing on boats around Britain’s coast. The country’s trawlermen are placing themselves in the vanguard of the campaign to quit the EU. There is talk of a flotilla massing on the Thames, as the country’s fishing fleets press the case for Brexit. For Scottish trawlermen such as Whyte, the EU referendum is a godsend. Striding over long, brightly coloured coils of rope, netting and sun-bleached floats laid out on the quayside at Fraserburgh, north of Aberdeen, Whyte hopes the UK will vote to leave the EU, finally releasing his industry from the constraints, the wheeling and dealing, and complexities of the common fisheries policy (CFP). Read the rest here 07:54

In the Shadow of Memorial Day, 2016 – To All Fishermen: A Call To Action

Statue-of-LibertyWhen is enough, enough? As fishermen we have collectively stood by as we watch our livelihoods, families, communities, and businesses get destroyed by an out of touch, uncaring federal government that has been lying to this industry and to the American public for decades. The line has been that because fish populations were in decline something had to be done to bring them back to more sustainable numbers. The lie has been that once we did this, we as fishermen would be rewarded for our collective sacrifices and we would once again be able to return to the job of harvesting this God given resource and once again feed the American people the finest, purest, cleanest form of protein available to man. Well we all know how this plan has played out. It has been hijacked and redirected by phony environmentalists, corporate capitalist’s and unelected bureaucrats that were put into positions of power through political appointments. It is what the founders of this nation warned us about. When government gets too big it undermines our rights and freedoms that so many have fought and died for. They promote their destructive agendas at the expense of this industry and the American people who rely on it for their source of seafood. Have you had enough and are you willing to take a collective stand against this tyranny? Read-A Call To Action here  20:35

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Great Pacific Seafoods files for bankruptcy, shuts down operations in Alaska and elsewhere

G3R2X62CGreat Pacific Seafoods, a processor with three plants and hundreds of workers in Alaska, announced Sunday that it is filing for bankruptcy and shutting down operations. The company kept corporate headquarters in Seattle but plants in Kenai, Whittier and Anchorage that processed salmon from the Copper River, Prince William Sound and Cook Inlet, as well as cod from the Gulf of Alaska. It pulled out of an operation buying Arctic chum in Kotzebue last summer. The move comes days after Great Pacific’s Kenai plant suddenly closed. The company filed for bankruptcy in Washington State, the release said. “We believe we have no other choice given the financial performance we experienced last year,” the statement said. Read the rest here 20:48

Central Coast Crab fishermen making sacrifices to protect whales

dungenesscrabIt’s been a rough season for crab fishermen after a domoic acid outbreak kept them out of the water for months. And now that they’re finally allowed to fish, many are choosing to wrap-up early in an effort to protect whales in the Monterey Bay. It’s feeding time for humpback whales but because of the delay in crab season, whales are getting caught in fishing gear that’s normally not in the water this time of year. That’s why crab fisherman, ocean advocacy groups and governmental agencies are teaming up to prevent whale entanglements in the Monterey Bay. “We’re doing everything we can to reduce entanglements and working with the environmental groups and whale disentanglement teams to alter our gear types and ways we fish to reduce entanglements,” said commercial fisherman Walter Deyerle. Read the rest here 18:03

Cape Cod Gray seals’ impact comes into focus for students that quantified the numbers

seals, cape codIn April, Aaron Knight flew a small plane along the shore of South Monomoy Island off the Chatham coast, taking an aerial video of a seal-lined beach below him. Among the many who saw the film on Facebook was Peter Trull, field naturalist, author and a seventh-grade science teacher at Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School in Harwich. Like everyone, he was amazed. One Facebook post quipped there appeared to be “trillions of seals.” Maybe not trillions, but the images did beg the question, how many? But one unanswered question, Trull said, is how many seals are there? “There’s no number,” he said. “There are estimates and some speculation, but no number.” In the aerial images, Trull saw an opportunity to find the answer. Trull has done many aerial counts of various species for NOAA, the Center for Coastal Studies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service. Trull combined his expertise with a lesson for his students. Read the rest here 17:21

Repeat illegal fishing offences land B.C. Fisherman in jail — again

jail630x350A commercial fisherman who sold up to $100,000 in illegally-acquired crab and halibut has been given a rare sentence of 21 days in jail for breaching his probation conditions. Fisheries and Oceans Canada says Scott Steer was arrested at sea on April 10 for “failing to comply with a court order banning him from being on any vessel other than BC Ferries.” Jim Robson, the department’s acting area chief for the South Coast, said Steer was apprehended at sea with the help of members of the Canadian Coast Guard while he was en route to crab fishing grounds. He said Steer has a “considerable list of violations.” The DFO said this is Steer’s third jail term and that he was previously sentenced for various violations of “high volume, commercial quantities” of unauthorized crab and fish sales, each of them worth thousands of dollars. Read the story here 15:48

Dutch Baldwin sets snakehead record at 18.42 pounds

bal-record-snakehead-caught-20160528Over the past four years spent as a commercial boat fisherman, Dutch Baldwin has spent four or five nights per week on the water. Last weekend, though, brought a night that made history, when Baldwin caught a Maryland-record 18.42-pound northern snakehead. Baldwin and his fishing partner, Franklin Shotwell, were just about to head in for the evening when they made a detour toward an area where they usually find catfish. They turned their lights on, and Shotwell spotted a snakehead on Baldwin’s side of the boat. Baldwin used his compound bow to hit the fish near Marshall Hall on the Maryland side of the Potomac River.  “We have a quota that we need to sell, so we go out and do what we can,” Baldwin said. “If we get more, we have more. We keep it, or we give it away.” Read the story here 15:01

‘Deadliest Catch’ star Capt. Keith Colburn returns to Seattle with a Wizard’s brew

bilde special wizard brewCall it The Return of the Wizard. The crab boat helmed by Capt. Keith Colburn of “The Deadliest Catch” reality television show arrived in Seattle this month with a special cargo: a barrel of a traditional Scandinavian spirit. Bluewater Organic Distilling owner John Lundin was on hand to greet Colburn and take possession of the barrel, which contains a batch of akvavit. Lundin crafted the akvavit at his distillery on the Everett waterfront before sending it to sea to age aboard the F/V Wizard. Barrel-aging in the hold of ships is the traditional way to make the spirit. Sampling the akavit on its return to port, Lundin said it was fabulous. Read the story here 13:20

Winners and Losers – The politics of fisheries decisions in Lobster Fishing Area 25

hunter-tootooWith just about any political decision there are winners and there are losers. A tax break helps some while others pay through a reduction in service somewhere else. There are also winners and losers, or at least a perception of such, in the case of Federal Fisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo’s decision last week to increase the minimum lobster carapace size in Lobster Fishing Area 25. The Maritime Fishermen’s Union in New Brunswick can claim to be the winner, in that it had been lobbying for an increase, while the Prince County Fishermen’s Association in P.E.I. is taking the loss as it had been arguing in favour of leaving the size limit unchanged. Read the rest here  12:15

Exporting crustaceans a ‘crazy juggling game’ – Maine Coast Co. delivers lobsters around the world

EP-160529209.jpg&MaxW=650&MaxH=650Every day is a “crazy juggling game” for Tom Adams, owner of the wildly successful lobster wholesaler Maine Coast Company. His product is live and perishable. His customers are in Seoul, South Korea, Madrid, Spain, or San Francisco. He has to worry about Homeland Security regulations, endless paperwork for China exports, planes that don’t take off on time. “There’s a lot of risk when your product is controlled by Mother Nature,” said Adams. “We have to get it where it’s going in 48 to 60 hours. Any delay means it doesn’t get there alive. My strong point, I think, is that I have the gut instinct to most of the time play the market correctly. It’s no different than oil futures or some other commodity. It’s just that I’m dealing in lobsters.” Read the story here 11:44

LIFO panel gets personal stories at Gander hearings-Who will share the northern shrimp?

Northern_Pink_ShrimpGlen Best is a fifth-generation fisherman who lives on Fogo Island. Since 1990, he’s invested about $5 million in his fishing enterprise — buying new vessels and fishing licences, and transitioning his enterprise from groundfish to crab and, since 1998, to shrimp. He was one of about 100 people who came to Gander Thursday to present to the federal panel appointed by Fisheries and Oceans Minister Hunter Tootoo to review the (LIFO) policy on northern shrimp. Best’s story was similar to the one told by several other fishermen at the hearing. Read the rest here 11:28

Female blue crabs getting tagged in Gulf migration study

blue crab tagged1024x1024Their scientific name – Callinectes sapidus – means “beautiful swimmer.” But just where, when and how far do blue crabs – specifically, the Gulf of Mexico’s adult female blue crabs – beautifully swim? A just-started, Gulf Coast-wide research project involving affixing tags on as many as 30,000 adult female blue crabs aims to try answering those questions. Insights garnered through reporting of the recovery of those marked crustaceans should help fisheries scientists better understand the population dynamics of this key coastal marine species and translate that knowledge into sound, science-based management decisions. Those management decisions will be crucial to maintaining a healthy population of blue crabs, the Gulf Coast’s most abundant large crab – a vital prey/predator component of the marine ecosystem and an economically and socially important piece of the recreational and commercial fishery. There is a lot to learn about blue crabs. Read the rest here 22:45

Maine’s Elver harvest tops $13 million as the season winds down

elvers053015 016.JPGAs of 5 p.m. Thursday, May 26, elver fishermen throughout Maine had caught and sold nearly 9,270 pounds of the baby American eels for an estimated statewide gross revenue total just shy of $13.32 million, officials with Maine Department of Marine Resources indicated on the agency’s website. The annual statewide harvest limit for elvers in Maine is 9,688 pounds. The 2016 season is expected to end either on June 7 or when the statewide quota of 9,688 pounds is reached, whichever happens first. Jonesport fisherman Billy Milliken said Wednesday that despite the high value of the fishery this year, his elver income is about the same as it was in 2015, when only 5,259 pounds were caught statewide. Read the story here 21:14

Westport Blessing of the Fleet ceremony this Sunday

thYS9RJ1FHWestport’s 55th Annual Blessing of the Fleet Ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday. Community members and visitors are invited to join area clergy for a short ceremony at the Fishermen’s Memorial at the turnaround of Neddie Rose Drive in Westport’s Marina District. The program is given in remembrance of those whose lives have been taken by the sea and to ask the Lord’s blessing for those who continue to go out on the waters to make a living or to help seafarers in trouble. For the first time, as a part of the Weekend with the Fleet festival, commercial fishing vessels will also gather off Point Chehalis to form an offshore Nautical Honor Guard during the Blessing of the Fleet ceremony this year. Read the rest here 17:51

Louisiana Shrimpers – Big hauls, little profits caused by imported shrimp

louisiana shrimpWhen Lance Nacio recently walked into a Fresh Market grocery store, he made a beeline for the seafood as he always does. He found that only one type of shrimp was local out of the nine varieties. Nacio started work as a commercial fisherman in 1997. Changes in the industry affect his livelihood so the fact that 93 percent of shrimp is imported or farmed hurts his business. Nacio is one of 5,500 licensed shrimpers in Louisiana alone, according to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The first shrimping season of the year opened Monday and local fishermen said their early hauls are full of large white shrimp and average brown shrimp, but the imported shrimp hurts the prices regardless of the local quality. “Import shrimp is a lot of what drives global price,” said Nacio, who was recently featured on a Dr. Oz segment about imported shrimp. “We’re not considered a specialty anymore. We’re more of a commodity.” Read the story here 17:08

Crashed $450K scallop survey HabCam is recovered

AR-160529499.jpg&MaxW=650Scientists and crew members aboard a NOAA-chartered research vessel have recovered a $450,000 scallop survey camera that was lost a week ago when it apparently snagged on an underwater shipwreck southeast of Delaware Bay, a NOAA spokesperson said. “We are pleased, relieved, and preparing to move forward with our (scallop) survey for this year,” Susan Gardner, acting deputy director of NOAA Fisheries’ Northeast Fisheries Science Center, said in a press release. The camera appears to have only “minimal damage” on its exterior and is being tested by scientists, NOAA said. Read the rest here 16:04

Squid and Spiny lobster and were king in 2014 California Fisheries

AR-160529648.jpg&maxh=400&maxw=667While California’s seafood sales overwhelmingly relied on imported animals, commercial fisheries landed nearly 360 million pounds of fin- and shellfish in 2014, according to a federal report released Thursday with the most recent figures on the nation’s fishing economy. The state’s seafood industry, including imports, generated a whopping $23 billion — more than 10 percent of the nation’s $214 billion total sales in 2014 from commercial harvest, seafood processors and dealers, wholesalers and distributors, and importers and retailers. As such, most of California’s nearly 144,000 industry jobs came from the import and retail sectors,,, Read the story here 15:20

We went down hard, but FixMyWP.com picked us back up!

FixMyWP wordpress support and maintenance servicesWhen you do what we do and things go bad, its always a problem trying to get things fixed. We depend on people to keep the boat afloat. This may sound like it should be non problematic, but nothing could be further from the truth. It is certainly problematic when you think things are all right and you discover they are not! We noticed when posting the other night that things were amiss. We kept losing connectivity and getting error message from our server. It made it impossible to run the website. We decided to upgrade the web hosting service and add another layer of security. When we did this, Holy Hell broke loose! We lost everything! After hours of phone time with the hosting service, and much anxiety, we learned that the service was not actually hosting fisherynation.com, and someone had redirected the info to another hosting service! This made it impossible for them to restore our website. I sent a message to Makis Mourelatos at FixMyWP.com who had debugged our website that had been hacked earlier in the month. He worked his magic, recovered the website, and we are now back. Thank you Makis for everything. 14:59

 

For Sale! 121-foot law enforcement vessel used for investigating commercial fishing violations

VesselWoldstadOne of four large vessels used by Alaska State Wildlife Troopers for commercial fishing enforcement will be sold for budget reasons. The Woldstad carries a civilian operating crew of four. Eliminating those positions will save more than $500,000 annually but will mean less enforcement, said wildlife trooper division director Steve Bear. “Us not being on the water, there will be more violations that go undetected,” Bear said. “There’s no doubt about that.” The state hopes to sell the vessel by July 1. The vessel is so specialized, “It’s going to take the right buyer,” Bear said. Read the rest here  18:14

Bristol Bay Fishermen prep for 2016 reg changes

akirabrooke_dillingham_harborThe Bristol Bay salmon fishery will see some changes this year, from when fishermen have to declare a district and how tenders accept deliveries from d-boats, to when the Wood River Special Harvest Area can be used. Among the changes made by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the State Board of Fisheries is one that will affect most fishermen early in the season, no matter their district. This year, drifters must register in the district in which they intend to fish right from the get go. Gone is the time to test the waters in different areas before committing to one. Once a fishermen is committed, there’s mandatory wait before they can switch. That change was made by the state Board of Fisheries in December, and was widely supported by public testimony and the Bristol Bay area advisory committees. But Dillingham drift fisherman Bronson Brito was one of few who opposed the change this winter, and said in mid-May that it’ll effect how he starts his season. Audio,  Read the rest here 16:46

Cormac Burke talks common sense about Leaving the EU

logo fishing for leaveFIGHTING FOR COMMON SENSE IN A SYSTEM WHERE A CORRECTLY ‘BENT’ BANANA IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN LIVELIHOODS, TRADITION AND HERITAGE

Although the final decision of a ‘Brexit’ will ultimately lie in the hands of voters who are looking at a wide range of economic impacts or possible benefits and not just one industry or sector, the ‘Fishing for Leave’ campaign believes that it is vital that these voters must be made fully aware of the destruction and decimation of the once ‘great’ British fishing industry since power of control was surrendered to the European Union. At the core of the anger of those wanting freedom and to break away from the EU is simply the fact that this is “not what we signed up for” — as a nation (indeed for all the individual nations who are members of the EU), the agreement was to join a European ‘common market’ which, in principle, was a reasonable proposal i.e. that a community of nations should work together as one to benefit the economy of each individual. Read the article here 15:33

BREAKING” Fishermen rescue F/A-18 Super Hornet Pilots, and Co pilots off NC coast

48809387.cachedTwo Navy jet fighters collided off the coast of North Carolina during a routine training mission on Thursday, sending four people to the hospital, officials said. The F/A-18 Super Hornet jet fighters, based in Virginia Beach, collided about 10:40 a.m. off the coast of Cape Hatteras, said Navy spokesman Ensign Mark Rockwellpate. Four crew members were taken to a hospital in Norfolk, but Ensign Rockwellpate said he didn’t have information about the extent of their injuries. A safety investigation will be carried out to determine the cause of the accident, he said. Coast Guard Fifth District Command Center watchstanders were notified at 10:30 a.m. that two planes collided and four people were in the water. The crew of the commercial fishing vessel Jamie recovered all four survivors.  An HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, hoisted the survivors and took them to Norfolk Sentara General hospital. 14:33

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for May 23, 2016

ncfa 3 finishedClick here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates, Click here 12:02

New hearing date for indicted “Codfather” Carlos Rafael, sheriff’s deputy

carlos rafaelThe next scheduled court date for indicted fishing magnate Carlos Rafael is a June 22 status conference in Boston, and a trial would have to begin by early September should the case go that far, according to court documents filed this week. The status conference also will include indicted Bristol County Sheriff’s Office deputy Antonio M. Freitas, a 46-year-old Taunton resident. The conference will be held at U.S. District Court in Boston, and signals the transfer of Rafael’s and Freitas’ cases from Magistrate Judge David H. Hennessy to District Court Judge William G. Young. This week’s documents also shed light on when potential trials for Rafael and Freitas could begin. Prosecutors’ indictment of Rafael and Freitas was unsealed May 9, and Freitas appeared in court that day, meaning the Speedy Trial Act would require a trial to begin within 70 days of that initial appearance. Young ruled this week, though, to start the 70-day clock at the June 22 status hearing, rather than May 9. A motion requesting the extension had been agreed upon by prosecutors and defense counsel. Read the rest here 11:26

Again we are treated to the absurdity that is “fishery management” in North Carolina

NCDMF_trnsprntSam Walker, writing for the outerbanksvoice.com, has what we think is an excellent article on the latest boondoggle from the NC Marine Fisheries Commissison. As with the Southern Flounder, they imposed restriction on cobia without any valid data and against the recommendation of the experts on their staff. Pure special interest politics and kabuki dancing with Federal bureaucrats. Click here to go to the original source to read the story. Commentary – Note that the article reports that the last “stock assessment” (that’s like a census) on cobia was made in 2012. Apparently, the justification for reducing the catch now is that “too many” had been caught recently. The Feds cut the take in Federal waters (three plus miles off shore) and pushed the states to do likewise. Our MFC capitulated but Virginia’s did not. Kudos to Rep. Walter B. Jones, Jr. for blowing the whistle on the Fed fish counters, demanding that a more scientific method of stock assessment must be found. Click here to read the letter Amen to that Walter! Note in the Outer Banks Voice’s article that the approach the NCMFC used was what is called euphemistically as “catch shares.” Think about this. Under the guise that certain species of fish are “overfished” they impose regulations on different kinds of fishermen according to what group you belong to…commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen and even in some instances imposing different regulations (amount that group can catch) on charter boats, while if you fish in the surf different rules apply.  Read the rest here 10:34

Scallop Survey halted – R/V Hugh R. Sharp Losing the HabCam will create uncertainty in the assessment

Shortly after dawn last Friday, the R/V Hugh R. Sharp was towing a sophisticated array of sensors and cameras along the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Then suddenly, the research vessel shuddered. Within seconds, the line went slack, and the team of scientists and volunteers realized the $450,000 camera system was lost, somewhere off the Virginia coast. Officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said they believe the cable connecting to the camera system, known as HabCam, snagged on the remains of the Bow Mariner, a well-known wreck in the area. “This will create uncertainty in the scallop assessment, meaning there’s a greater chance that we’ll catch too few scallops, which will be a short-term loss, or too many, which will be a long-term loss,” said Drew Minkiewicz, an attorney for the Fisheries Survival Fund, a trade group that represents scallopers throughout the Northeast. Read the rest here 10:12

 

South Atlantic Council, NOAA science gets ripped! Another crooked closure of red snapper

NOAA ScientistMany of you aren’t fishermen. But even if you don’t know a red snapper from gangsta rapper, this might still be worth a look. The South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council is as crooked and bloated a government bureaucracy as exists today. It perverts science. It feeds on special interests. More importantly, it squanders a natural resource. It announced this week the 2016 season for the American Red Snapper will be closed — as it was in 2015. During the three years prior, the season was open for a total of 12 days. It all began in 2008 when NOAA scientists determined that the red snapper stock in the South Atlantic was at just 3 percent of the biomass 50 years prior. That would have been 1958 when there was neither a NOAA, nor any other group counting red snapper. Perhaps 10 percent of all boats, recreational and commercial, could make the trip out 50 miles where the species thrives. There was no real sonar to find the hundreds of reefs where the fish spawned and no satellite positioning systems to find them again if you did hit a honey hole by accident or luck. So the “science” began as a fabrication, and that continues today. Read the op-ed here 07:45

Its here! The Alaska Marine Safety Education Association Spring 2016 Newsletter

b66831_ffcb0f8690134b069e0be33fa8a4b5f6~mv2The Spring newsletter is here! Along with daffodils and an early crop of salmon berries, this spring brings the first cruise ships of the year to Southeast Alaska. If you operate your boat in the vicinity of these behemoths, you’ll want to read Tomi Marsh’s newsletter article, Close Encounters of the Worst Kind. In addition, you can read up on the U.S. Coast Guard’s Automatic Identification System (AIS) requirements that came into effect for commercial fishing boats longer than 65 feet this past March. Also in this edition: that cheap Coast Pilot edition that you bought online might not meet your vessel’s carriage requirements. Click on the picture and read all about it and more! Click here to read it! 19:05

Northeast Regional Planning Body (RPB) releases draft Northeast Regional Ocean Plan

map regional planning areas nopThe Northeast Regional Planning Body (RPB) is proud to release the draft Northeast Regional Ocean Plan for public review and comment. Several years of public engagement, scientific study and data analysis, and collaboration has led to this draft, and the RPB looks forward to hearing the feedback of everyone who is interested in the future of New England’s ocean and its resources. The RPB wants your feedback on this draft Plan. The public comment deadline is July 25, 2016, and you can comment on each chapter electronically at each chapter landing page, in-person at any of our upcoming public comment meetings, through the comment form below, or by submitting written comments to: Betsy Nicholson, NE RPB Federal Co-lead National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Regional Office 55 Great Republic Drive  Gloucester, MA 01930-2276. You may also provide comments by sending an e-mail to: [email protected].  Here it is, all 198 pages of it click here 17:36

Mid Atlantic: National Ocean Policy threatens new regulatory burdens

oceanpolicy-crop-300x185Since its creation by Executive Order in 2010, the Obama administration has hailed its National Ocean Policy (NOP) as a non-regulatory, stakeholder-driven initiative that will lead to reduced burdens and less uncertainty for ocean user groups. In reality, it’s nothing of the sort. This was highlighted recently during a hearing held by the U.S. House Natural Resources’ Water, Power and Oceans Subcommittee on the implications of the NOP, where House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop summed up many of the concerns of stakeholders when he noted that “it’s creating more uncertainty, and it certainly is not helping the industry and it’s not helping the environment.” You know what? He’s right. The Long Island Commercial Fishing Association (LICFA) has been closely monitoring the development and implementation of the NOP since its establishment six years ago.  We’ve had no other choice, as we represent stakeholders in New York’s $1.4 billion boat-to-table seafood industry, with Long Island in particular landing 99 percent of the state’s wild-caught seafood. Read the rest here 16:42

Abandon LIFO: Fishermen ask for new deal on shrimp

Glen Winslow and the six-member crew of the Roberts Sisters II should have been fishing for crab Tuesday. Instead, the boat was tied up in St. John’s harbor. Winslow joined more than 150 other people, mostly fishermen, in trying to convince a federal review panel to recommend the federal government abandon the last in, first out (LIFO) approach on allocating northern shrimp quotas. The majority of those in the room asked the minister not continue to force smaller, inshore enterprises to take the greater share of quota cuts on the declining stock off Newfoundland and Labrador, when compared to larger, “offshore” enterprises. “We’ll be out of the (shrimp) fishery this year,”,, Read the story here 15:01

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 42′ Bruno & Stillman lobster boat, 8-V-71 Detroit Diesel

lb4132_01To see specifications, information and 15 photos Click here. To see all the boats in this series, Click here 12:28

Rhode Island tagged Bluefin Tuna gains 593 pounds, travels 3,865 miles before recapture in the Mediterranean

bluefin_recapture01The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Southeast Fisheries Science Center in Miami, Florida has been tagging fish for years with the help of fishermen and scientists throughout the world. A 9-pound bluefin tuna caught, tagged and released by Capt. Al Anderson of Narragansett in 2004 at the Mudhole (about 17 miles east/southeast of Pt. Judith) was recaptured recently in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Sardinia, weighing in at 602 pounds. Anderson, who has tagged more bluefin tuna than anyone else in the world, said, “This was the 13th bluefin tuna I caught, tagged and released. The tagging of fish caught by fishermen helps scientists determine their migratory pattern, define their populations and if possible, estimate their growth rates, population sizes and mortality rate.” Tagging programs also help scientists determine the need for conservation programs, as well as how to plan for conservation programs. “During the 11-year timeframe from point of tagging to point of recapture, this bluefin tuna traveled 3,865 miles,” said Anderson. Read the rest here 11:54

Gulf Shrimpers at odds with new AIS rules

coast guardSome shrimp boat owners are seeking an exemption from federal vessel regulations that took effect May 1, alleging that new rules require installation of computer systems that can render vital existing navigation equipment ineffective. The fishermen would also like the rules, which grew out of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010, to be more closely examined before enforcement begins. Alleging that the rules were promulgated with Pacific Coast fisheries in mind, the Gulf of Mexico fishing interests say they are not only inapplicable to the Gulf, but can actually do the opposite of what they were intended to do, which was to keep fishermen safer. Kimberly Chauvin has formally asked for a waiver of requirements that vessels more than 65 feet in length use AIS systems for vessel identification when in federal waters. She also asked – on behalf of all commercial fishing vessels in the Gulf – that enforcement of new rules be halted and, if need be, rewritten. Two members of the Bayou Region’s congressional delegation – state Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, and U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge – have staff members working on facilitating the requests. Read the rest here 11:35

Freedom, danger is in R.I. fisherman’s wheelhouse – Mark Patinkin

AR-160529654.jpg&MaxW=650&MaxH=500I got to wondering what it’s like these days for commercial fishermen so I drove to the Point Judith docks, walked up to the trawler Elizabeth & Katherine and asked the captain, Steven Arnold, if I could come aboard. It was at 11 a.m. and he’d already put in a long shift with plenty more to go — he’d steamed out for squid at 4:30 a.m. He was back because his net tore on rocks while dragging the bottom of Rhode Island Sound so the crew had come in to repair it. I climbed over the rail and followed Arnold, 52, to the wheelhouse. He wore jeans, boots, a sweatshirt, hadn’t shaved for a few days and seemed to belong there in the captain’s seat. Squid is his biggest species but that morning, they weren’t there. He mostly had scup when the net came up torn. You have good days and bad, Arnold said, but he still loves fishing for the same reasons that first drew him to it after a childhood in South County and two years at New England Tech. Read the story here 11:01

In Maine’s last open lobster zone, a feud over limiting newcomers

895284_713858-20150905_mcdonald_1In most of Maine, adults who want to make their living trapping lobster must wait until a licensed lobsterman dies or forgets to file a license renewal. There is only one place in the state, in the waters of eastern Penobscot Bay off Stonington, Vinalhaven and Isle au Haut, where a resident who completes the necessary training and safety classes can get a license to lobster without waiting for at least a decade. But the lobstermen who oversee Maine’s last open lobster territory are now fighting over whether to cap the number of lobstermen who can fish those waters, effectively closing the last open door to the state’s largest commercial fishery. The debate is pitting islanders who worry that a cap would eliminate an incentive for adult children to return home against mainland fishermen who want to protect this lucrative industry from outside exploitation. After years of debate, the local lobster council has tried to put the issue to a vote twice before, but the meetings have fallen through, with members missing meetings or walking out moments before a closure vote could be held. Read the story here 09:33

“Joint Law Enforcement Agreement” – Constrain Feds and Encourage Science for Fishermen

635713273782374596-north-carolina-NC-flagProgressive protection of the fisheries is needed but mostly against polluters and out-of-state special interests controlling NC legislators. Federal agencies are necessary to stop the destruction of fisheries by foreign and out-of-state special interests that defy the people’s will in NC. Federalism is not inherently bad and is needed for doing things (together, as a nation) that concern issues that cross State borders, like pollution and some fish stocks fall into that category, as well. Having said that, there are large, distinctly NC fisheries, that should not fall into Federal Management, like crabbing and any commercial fishing within the Sounds, inside the Barrier Islands, unique to NC. Read the rest here 08:40

How safe is the fishing industry in South Jersey? Training and tech improve safety

57339a23989a8.imageThe crew of the Barbara-Pauline offloaded 17,000 pounds of scallops, stored like jewelry in soft cloth bags. And for the Port of Cape May, they might as well be white gold. New Jersey’s fisheries were ranked 11th in total value nationwide at $152 million in 2014. The Port of Cape May, with its valuable scallop fishery, is responsible for much of that. The Barbara Pauline made its quota in eight days at sea, earning each crew member as much as $15,000. But it’s not easy money. Commercial fishing is one of America’s most dangerous jobs. Statistically, fishermen are far more likely to die on the job than those in virtually any other profession. In the decade of the 2000s, an average of 17 fishermen died at sea each year from sinking, capsizing, falls overboard or traumatic injuries sustained on pitching decks surrounded by heavy moving equipment. Read the story here 08:00

Bay of Fundy Fishermen raise cash for tidal power injunction

XAV101_20160519340671_highFishermen are building a legal war chest to launch a court fight against tidal power projects being tested this year in the Bay of Fundy. Chris Hudson, president of the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fisherman’s Association, says the rapid deployment of the test turbines is forcing the fishermen’s hands. At least two turbines are expected to be deployed in June. Hudson and a number of other sources confirmed the association is talking to legal counsel about an injunction to temporarily block the turbines from being deployed. “It’s not that we’re against it, but they shouldn’t be allowed to just jump over everybody,” Hudson said in an interview with the Chronicle Herald Tuesday. “They haven’t consulted with us and don’t have the proper studies in place,” he said. Hudson, who also started a petition last week, brought more than 60 of the highest-earning Bay of Fundy fishermen to the Digby fire hall Sunday night to discuss what to do. Multiple sources said members of the FORCE tidal power group also attended the meeting, but Hudson said the meeting was was to consult with fishermen. Read the rest here 20:44

‘Fraught With Defects’, Connecticut Lawmakers Urge Reforms To Fishing Regulations

excaliburConnecticut’s congressional delegation is leading a renewed push for reform of federal commercial fishing quotas critics say are out of date, wasteful, fail to respond to climate change and unfair to New England fishermen. Warming ocean temperatures are pushing vast numbers of fish like black bass, summer flounder and scup farther north into New England waters, according to the delegation’s letter to federal officials, but old fishing quotas severely restrict how many of those fish commercial boats from this region are allowed to keep. The out-of-date quota system means that fishermen from North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland are allowed to take much larger numbers of those types of fish, even when they come to New England’s offshore waters to net them, according to a joint letter by Connecticut and Massachusetts members of Congress. Read the rest here 20:15

Louisiana: Shrimp season’s start isn’t a happy one – Low prices and fewer shrimp

gulf brown shrimpShrimp season opened Monday. Observers say fishermen are caught between small catches and low prices. There are two shrimping seasons, spring and fall. Spring is considered the brown shrimp season, which opened Monday. “The season opened today, and the catch is way off from what it usually is,” commercial fisherman Rodney Olander said. “The grade is way smaller than what we usually open with and, as usual, the price is down on us.” Olander has worked as a commercial fisherman for 37 years. He docks his boat at Cypremort Point State Park and shrimps in Vermillion and Cote Blanche bays. That area usually produces more white shrimp than brown. “We’ve been sitting idle for the last six months, waiting for the season to open,” Olander said. “The season opens — there is not a lot of shrimp. The shrimp are small. And they plan on cutting the prices on us.” Read the story here 18:32

NEFSC, R/V Hugh R. Sharp Lose HabCam during Scallop survey, Fisheries Survival Fund takes them to task!

img03 hab camLast Thursday, May 19, 2016, while on the current scallop survey, the NEFSC crew lost the HabCam when it separated from the vessel. According to initial reports, it was inadvertently driven into the side of a known and charted shipwreck while being operated by a volunteer, losing at least a week of valuable sea time. Several knowledgeable sources have suggested that there could be as much as $100,000 in damage. Accordingly, the researchers must return to port to acquire a remote operated vehicle, which they will use to attempt to find the lost HabCam. The loss of a key piece of scallop survey equipment demonstrates the need for an overhaul of how the federal government assesses the species. The Fisheries Survival Fund (FSF), which represents the majority of the limited access scallop fleet, calls for reforms to how scallop surveys are conducted to prevent such an incident from derailing surveys in the future. Read the rest here 17:25

Tonight on the “Deadliest Catch” – Big Wave Bends the Northwestern’s Bow

b1764dd28683520042b46271e028665966e17872.png.cfOpi season begins on tonight’s episode of Deadliest Catch which means Sig Hansen is back in the Northwestern’s wheelhouse. While he avoided the last storm, when brother Edgar was at the helm for Bairdi, the weather doesn’t let up. When a captain as seasoned as Sig says, “Whoa…” at the sight of a wave, you know it’s a big one. Our exclusive sneak peek shows a 35-foot rogue wave slamming into the boat, causing Sig to duck in the wheelhouse and, as Edgar later notices, buckling the steel of the bow like a tin can. “Gotta pay attention,” Sig says. “Gotta pay attention,” Watch the trailer, read the rest here 15:00

The Fishermen’s Mission and its 130-year lifeline to Scotland’s coastal communities

image guardian angel fishermens missionFOR the communities which draw their livelihood from Scotland’s forbidding seas, the Fishermen’s Mission has been a steadying anchor for more than 130 years. And with tragedy and danger continuing to blight the fishing industry, the Fishermen’s Mission believes its work is as relevant now as it was in the late 1800s when the first staff set sail to deliver food, compassion and the gospel to Scotland’s fishing crews. The reach of its work is today as broad as it is deep, with the charity helping not only the men at sea but the families of those employed in what the mission describes as the ‘most dangerous peacetime occupation’. Read the story here 13:32

Regardless of legally caught sharks, California’s ban on possession and sale of shark fins stands

judgementCalifornia’s ban on the possession and sale of shark fins survived a legal challenge Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Bay Area suppliers and sellers of shark fin soup, a traditional dish in the Chinese American community. “The purpose of the (California) shark fin law is to conserve state resources, prevent animal cruelty, and protect wildlife and public health,” the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said in a 2-1 ruling. The court said opponents of the state law had acknowledged that it still allows the use of about 95 percent of any legally caught shark for meat, skin and oils. The Obama administration at first supported opponents of the state law, filing arguments in 2013 that disputed California’s authority to restrict the sale of sharks that had been legally caught in federal waters. But it later changed its position after discussions with state fish and wildlife officials and said the two laws could be harmonized, with federal rules governing shark fishing while California regulated commerce within the state. Read the rest here 12:29

Fishermen, Scientists Collaborate to Collect Climate Data

ShelfFleetTraining1_CFRF-800_428393Fishermen plying the waters off the southern New England coast have noticed significant changes in recent years.  Though generations of commercial fishermen have made their livings on these highly productive waters, now, they say, they are experiencing the impacts of climate change. “The water is warming up, and we see different species around than we used to,” says Kevin Jones, captain of the F/V Heather Lynn, which operates out of Point Judith, Rhode Island. To help understand the ongoing changes in their slice of the ocean, Jones and other fishermen in the region are now part of a fleet gathering much-needed climate data for scientists through a partnership with the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation (CFRF) and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). Video Read the rest here 10:02

Pelagic red crabs return to Monterey, bad sign for fishermen

13240549-877999952346771-4836346465315033319-n--1--jpgMonday, millions of pelagic red crabs washed ashore on Del Monte Beach in Monterey. A rare sight for beach goers but bad news for fisherman. “When I was a tuna fisherman we used to see them down south, and down south near the equator, down there that’s a good sign to catch tuna, but up here seeing them it’s not such a good sign,” said Gaspar Catanzaro with the Monterey Fish Company. These crabs like warm water and this past El Niño has kept the Monterey Bay warmer than usual. These conditions are preventing nutrient filled water to mix up to the surface And as a result the commercial squid season has been a bust since it opened in April. According to Catanzaro, his 6 boats have had a tough time catching any squid locally. Read the rest here 09:39

Oceana wants the feds to require 2,400 skimmer trawls to use TED’s, increase observer coverage

dt.common.streams.StreamServerSkimmer trawls have been exempt from the requirement to use the devices while other nets on larger boats have been forced to comply since the 1980s, according to Tuesday’s Oceana report, “TEDs for All Trawls: A Net Positive for Fishermen and Sea Turtle.” The report calls on the federal government to require that all shrimp trawls use a smaller-spaced TED, require that trawls using the current TED to transition to a smaller spaced one, and to increase the number of federal observers for the shrimp industry. Currently, the TEDs have a 4-inch space between the bars, and Oceana would like to see shrimpers move to a 3-inch gap. Read the rest here 08:32

Getting CHOKED! Cod quota cuts, boats not fishing could interrupt New Bedford fish auction trading

AR-160529774.jpg&MaxW=650The fish auction that’s been a daily institution on the city’s waterfront for decades could see periodic closures over the next month or so, as a co-owner said Monday that this year’s significant cut to the cod quota is keeping many boats tied to the docks, rather than bringing in fish. Richard Canastra, co-owner of the Whaling City Seafood Display Auction since 1994, said Monday morning that in his view, “there won’t be” fish auctions on some days between now and July 4, when he expects commercial fishing activity to pick up again. “There’s not many fishermen fishing anymore,” Canastra said as he stood outside the auction building on Hassey Street. “A lot of the boats are just tied up — they’re not going to fish. Why would they fish if there’s only so much (allowable) cod?” Former New Bedford Mayor John Bullard, now regional administrator for NOAA fisheries, has said the new regulations create “about a 95 percent cut” since 2012 in catch limits for Georges Bank cod, a key species for New Bedford’s fishing industry. Read the rest here 06:43

Fishing town blasts EU for foreign boats fishing in British waters then selling fish back to the residents.

fish-546439Appledore, a town in north-west Devon, has claimed there are no British boats left in the harbour, blaming EU fishing quotas.  It is a sharp decline from “about 80 to 100 boats” in 2002, says Tony Rutherford, chief executive of North Devon Fisherman’s Association.  The Hannah Marie marked the end of an era of British ships sailing the costal waters, after she was sold five weeks ago bound for Denmark.  Mr Rutherford, owner of Bideford Fisheries which since 1979 has bought fish from fishermen to sell to wholesalers claims most of the boats are now BelgiumRead the rest here 16:00

Operation Black Glass – Spain to Asia network of Chinese elver smugglers busted

4b5e9d7a978896618e885f0d01cf2013_LEVERY operation undertaken by the Guardia Civil is given a special name and when the Nature arm, Seprona, started an investigation into the illegal export of Angulas (elvers or juvenile eels) it was inventively name Black Glass. Commencing in October 2015, officers became aware that large volumes of these elvers were being illegally obtained by Chinese traders, and smuggled out of Spain to Asia using false documents. Over a period of time and with the active assistance of Europol, various addresses near to the Madrid Barajas Airport were kept under surveillance and raids in various parts of the country netted 700 kilos of illegal elvers with an estimated value of €1 million. Having identified those responsible, 20 people, mainly of Chinese nationality, but including three Spaniards were arrested and the operation has been dismantled, although a further nine suspects are being hunted. Read the rest here 13:54

‘Aquatic cocaine’: Fish bladders are latest Mexican smuggling commodity

ivp-lucrative-fishsmuggling-trend-active-in-re-001One hundred twenty-one fish swim bladders lay before Garcia Pereda on the concrete floor, most of them white, some with shades of pink. The smell of fish guts was overwhelming, a stench Garcia Pereda never grew accustomed to, even as he went from bust after bust of the illegal smuggling. This was a huge haul of “aquatic cocaine”: 39 kilos of totoaba fish swim bladders, with a Hong Kong street value of $750,000. Not quite as big as a recent bust, thought Garcia Pereda, where they’d stopped 600 bladders from getting across the U.S.-Mexico border, flowing eventually to China. The fishermen – Jorge Garcia sat on the back of his truck, selling fish filets and shrimp to tourists wandering the boardwalk in San Felipe. He looked out at the water, disgusted that his two boats are not doing what Garcia was raised to do: fish big game like totoaba. “We’re being punished,” he said. “Young fishermen from out of town are coming in, fishing illegally in the water, making tons of money.” Read the story here 11:04

Will North Carolina give up even more sovereignty to the National Marine Fisheries Service?

81932EnWP2037163.lgNext week (June 1) will be a significant day if you are concerned about Federal control of our lives. There will be a meeting of an “advisory group” in New Bern to consider whether or not the state should sign a “Joint Law Enforcement Agreement” to impose greater Federal control over the regulation of fishing within the state’s waters. Note the last part…within the state’s waters. Click here to read the announcement. Most people, even including fishermen, will not be in New Bern on June 1. The decision of whether to recommend to give this power to the National Marine Fisheries Service will be made by a small group of people who serve on this panel representing various special interest groups who have a stake in fishing regulations. As always, the dominant special interests are recreational fishing interests vs. commercial fishing interests. Read the rest here 10:03