Monthly Archives: August 2016

Fishermen in the north-east Atlantic: living at the pace of the trawl catch

Huge factory trawlers plough the various fisheries, depending on the product sought, to supply major distribution outlets. This large-scale commercial fishing, also known as industrial fishing, is heavily subsidised by public funds. The industrial trawlers of today are out-and-out floating factories where the work is wholly designed and organised around production line methods. The seafarers remain at their workplace for 27 days. During this time, their lives, eating and sleep patterns depend on the work to be done. The north-east Atlantic is the world’s fourth largest fishery. Mainly exploited by European ship owners, this area accounts for over 70 per cent of EU catches. Photojournalist Pierre Vanneste spent two 15-day stretches at sea with industrial fishermen, to report on the day-to-day reality of life on board. Read the story here 20:35

Zeldin: Congress needs to block president’s latest Marine Monument plan

112215_jpirro_zeldin_1280Recent Marine Monument designations proclaimed by the Obama Administration have been the largest in U.S. history. In 2016, President Obama declared a 490,000 square-mile area of water in the Pacific Ocean as a National Marine Monument after receiving little public input and through a process where transparency was severely lacking. As a result of this new monument, recreational fishing was severely limited and commercial fishing was completely banned, hurting fishermen in the Pacific Ocean. Now, important fishing areas in the Northwest Atlantic, where fishermen from Greenport, Montauk, and throughout the entire New York and New England region have worked for centuries, are under consideration for a National Marine Monument designation. As the president is pushing to apply this power to large areas of ocean in the Northwest Atlantic, he is threatening to shutdown thousands of square miles of ocean from Long Island fishermen. Read the rest here 15:55

Florida and Hawaii brace as hurricane season hastens

Florida braces for life-threatening floods and fierce winds as Hawaii’s Big Island stares down the barrel of an encroaching hurricane. Forecasters issued a tropical storm warning on Wednesday for the Florida Gulf Coast. National Hurricane Center: ”Persons located within these areas should be prepared to take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water.” Florida Governor Rick Scott: Flooding, storm surge, fierce winds and tornadoes were all threats to the region. Could make landfall on Florida’s north-central Gulf Coast on Thursday. Resident on Hawaii’s Big Island warned of an encroaching hurricane expected to bring strong winds and heavy rains. National Weather Service (NWS): Hurricane Madeline [CAT 1] swirling about 235 miles (380 km), forecast to “pass dangerously close” on Wednesday. County of Hawaii: “Preparations to protect life and property should be completed by nightfall today.” Read the latest here 15:27

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 37.5′ H & H Lobster boat, 300HP, 6 Cylinder John Deere

lb4175_01Specifications, information and 12 photo’s click here To see all the boats in this series, Click here 14:48

Bad outlook for upcoming Bering Sea crab fisheries

rawsurveydatacrab2016-300x215The summer survey results have not been good for either Bering Sea snow (opilio) or tanner (Bairdi) crab. For 2015-16, snow crab landings from both the IFQ and CDQ fisheries were 40.61 million pounds, a 40% cut from 67.9 million lbs in 2014-15. For Bairdi the 2015-16 quota was 19.64 million pounds, which helped make up some of the shortfall. But the snow crab market reacted quickly to the cut in Alaskan snow crab, and prices rose throughout the year, including when Canada’s larger fishery opened.  Industry participants think 2016-17 may be worse. This has now been confirmed with the raw survey data just released by Dr. Bob Foy of the Kodiak Fisheries Science Laboratory showing that legal male biomass has declined in all of the major crab fisheries. Legal male biomass in the crab fisheries declined across the board, with the largest declines in Opilio.  The survey also measures the abundance of female crabs; all these numbers go into determining appropriate fishing levels. Read the story here 13:43

 

As climate changes, so do fish populations – but not rules for catching them

The problem isn’t the fish. There are plenty of fish – but they’re the wrong fish. Warming water and other shifting ocean conditions have pushed the longtime mainstays of Connecticut fishing, like winter flounder and most notably lobster, north to deeper and colder waters. In their places are species that had been more common further south, also moving north in search of more hospitable conditions. But the way the fish management and quota systems work on the East Coast, fishermen in New England can’t catch many of those fish. Instead, trawlers from North Carolina are traveling all the way to the ocean waters in Connecticut’s backyard and catching what used to be off their own coast – summer flounder, scup and the very valuable black sea bass – while Connecticut fishermen can only watch; throwback tons of fish – most of which will die; or risk a costly, difficult and long trip to where the fish they are allowed to catch in larger numbers are now. Read the story here 13:21

Hawaii fishermen upset at Hawaii monument expansion

No-Fishing-e1449493453695President Barack Obama is to travel to Hawaii this week to mark the new designation of the expanded Papahanaumokuakea Marina National Monument which he signed despite strong opposition from the Hawaii fishing industry. President Obama who was born in Hawaii is expected to cite the need to protect public lands and waters from climate change. The Western Pacific fishery Management Council of which American Samoa is a member voiced disappointment with Obama’s decision, saying it “serves a political legacy” rather than a conservation benefit. Council member from American Samoa Taulapapa Willie Sword told KHJ News in a recent interview the territory should be concerned with the Hawaii monument expansion because “we could be next.” There was also opposition from the fishing industry in Hawaii. Sean Martin, the president of the Hawaii Longline Association, said his organization was disappointed Obama closed an area nearly the size of Alaska without a public process. “This action will forever prohibit American fishermen from accessing those American waters. Quite a legacy indeed,” he said in an email to The Associated Press. The Pew Charitable Trusts helped lead the push to expand the monument. Read the rest here 11:39

Northeast Fisheries Science Center is looking for one to three commercial trawl vessels

bigelow trawl doorsNortheast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) is seeking 1 – 3 commercial trawl fishing vessel partners to participate in a project related to NEFSC bottom trawl survey operations The goal of the project is to help assess the potential for collaborative industry-based trawl sampling to contribute to stock assessments of commercially important fish populations in waters of the Northwest and mid-Atlantic ocean. The project will investigate the use of industry vessels to supplement NEFSC survey sampling, and/or provide survey coverage if the FSV Bigelow is unavailable or competing uses restrict its availability for the standardized NEFSC bottom trawl survey. One to three vessels will be selected to help assess the capability of industry vessels to provide the standardized tow dynamics required to supplement the existing federal bottom trawl survey conducted on the FSV Bigelow. Read the notice, check the specs here 09:21

Start of the wave? Sudden boatloads of Chinook salmon off Alberni raise hopes

start of the waveUp and down the West Coast commercial fishermen are filling harbours waiting and hoping for an opening to fish Chinook salmon. Despite preliminary estimates of a huge return, the best in decades, the fish haven’t shown up as predicted so nets that are many people’s livelihoods haven’t even gone into the water this season. But some optimism is showing up now for those who’ve been struggling. Surrounded by boats in Port Alberni’s harbour all waiting for the commercial opening for the Chinook salmon fishery Stephanie Cook is doing what she can to stop worrying. “It’s very stressful, very stressful wondering if you’re going to catch any or if there’s any out there,” says Cook aboard her boat. The 30-year-old from Alert Bay has never faced a year like this before. One that’s testing even the most experienced on this coast. Video, read the story here 08:47

Starving cod – Harvesters reporting catching thin cod with little in their digestive systems

cod-fishScientists with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans are keeping a close eye on cod stocks in southern Labrador, in the wake of reports from harvesters catching fish in rough shape this season. “What we’re catching here now, it’s very poor. There’s nothing in the puttocks [digestive tract] of the fish,” fisherman Warrick Chubbs told CBC’s The Broadcast. “Only little jellyfish, the size of your thumbnail, and not many of them. The very odd one, you’ll see maybe one or two rotten shrimp.” Chubbs isn’t alone in his concerns. “It certainly seems like this year in southern Labrador the cod are not in very good condition at all,” said DFO research scientist John Brattey, who is hearing multiple similar reports from the region. Read the story here 08:26

Never Frozen: Why It’s So Hard to Find North Carolina Seafood

Seafood_EnduranceSeafood-8Two and a half years ago, Sean Schussler quit a six-figure job as vice president of sales for a printing company to start a seafood market. Catch On Seafood is a small shop in Plaza Midwood, a trendy Charlotte neighborhood where people drive eco-friendly cars with bumper stickers that read “Eat Local.” Schussler started the business with one guarantee: Any piece of fish he sells has never been frozen. It’s an honorable promise that’s difficult to honor. As seafood moves from the coast to the city, it passes through several hands, and often the chain is littered with stories and lies. Even some of the most highly regarded families on the North Carolina coast have sold their businesses to big companies with big distribution operations that make tracing the product impossible. Read the story here 07:52

Undersea monument plan advocates hear fishermen’s concerns! But,,,,,,,,

blumy and peterU.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Peter Auster, retired University of Connecticut marine science professor and currently the senior research scientist at the Mystic Aquarium, made their case for declaring the New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts as a Marine National Monument during a program Tuesday evening at the aquarium. “This would be the first marine monument in the Atlantic,” said Blumenthal, who is leading the entire Connecticut congressional delegation in advocating for the designation. Blumenthal, saying he is “sensitive to the economic interests of our fishing industry,” But commercial fishing groups say the designation would cut off their access to productive areas for red crab, swordfish, tuna and offshore lobster harvests, among other species. “Those areas have been used for hundreds of years,” said Joe Gilbert, owner of Empire Fisheries,,, “We feel disenfranchised at this point,” Gilbert said. Read the story here 05:56

Deadliest Catch Captains Making Mischief for charity at The Captain’s Whiskey Slam

CaseyAndJosh_TM-300x200In what may very well be the most chest-hair-growing partnership in modern memory, Fremont Mischief Distillery has teamed up with Deadliest Catch celebrity crab captains Sig Hansen and Casey McManus, as well as co-captain Josh Harris, to make whiskey for charity at The Captain’s Whiskey Slam. Fremont Mischief’s new rye whiskey, Storm Tossed Rye, is a special batch that has been barrel-aged aboard Sig Hansen’s Northwestern and Casey McManus’ and Josh Harris’ Cornelia Marie. The whiskey batch, aged on the two different boats, is going head-to-head in true Deadliest Catch competition style. The goal is to sell all of the Storm Tossed Ryewhiskey between the release date, August 20, and October 1 in order to donate $40,000 to Seattle’s Fisherman Memorial and Sea Scouts’ Propeller and Yankee Clipper educational vessel efforts. The vision for the event comes from Doug Dixon, manager of Pacific Fishermen Shipyard, and Mike Sherlock, owner of Fremont Mischief Distillery and 29-year veteran of commercial fishing. Read the story here 20:34

Sea Shepherd launches new ship that can ‘outrun’ Japanese whalers

“For the first time we will have the speed to catch and outrun the Japanese harpoon ships, knowing speed can be the deciding factor when saving the lives of whales in the Southern Ocean,” Alex Cornelissen, Sea Shepherd Global CEO, said in a statement. The new ship — dubbed “Ocean Warrior” — is 54 meters (177 feet) long, displaces 439 tons and can reach speeds of 25 knots and higher. Japanese whaling ships are estimated to reach speeds of up to 22 knots, and Sea Shepherd’s previous ships could only reach 15 knots. A deck area also enables ship operators to dispatch small boat operations and support a helicopter. The ship was built in Turkey by Dutch shipbuilder Damen from an 8.3 million euro ($9 million) fund awarded to Sea Shepherd by the Dutch, UK and Swedish lotteries. Video, Read the rest here 19:34

We were here first

So this is what the future looks like in late August from the deck of a fishing vessel south of the Vineyard. This ship is doing a survey looking for good bottom in which to plant offshore wind turbines. Fishermen are looking at this in the same way the Plains Indians probably looked at the Iron Horse. They may not have been up on the marvels of technology but I believe when they heard that whistle blowing they had a gut feeling that there were going to be winners and losers in the new order and they had no illusions about which end of the deal they would probably be getting. This particular area of the ocean is important to squid fishermen and if the turbines go in the fishermen will no longer be able to fish there. These remaining groundfish boats have already been squeezed out of other fisheries given the small quota they are allowed to catch and this represents another threat to their livelihood and way of life.

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Updated: Video available – Coast Guard medevacs wounded lobsterman

A Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station Cape Cod medically evacuated an injured 41-year-old lobsterman Tuesday 130 nautical miles east of Cape Cod. At about 10:15 a.m., a crewmember aboard the lobster boat Eagle contacted watchstanders at the First Coast Guard District command center requesting assistance for a crewmember who had accidentally been impaled. A Coast Guard flight surgeon recommended a medevac and Air Station Cape Cod launched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter at about 11 a.m. The air crew arrived on scene, hoisted the man, and is currently in transit to Cape Cod Hospital. More details when available. 14:51 Watch the video here

When it comes to fish and fishing Huffington Post is all wet – Nils E. Stolpe/FishNet USA

Last week Dana Ellis Hunnes, a Huffington Post blogger, managed to package in just 700 words more false, misleading, distorted and just plain wrong information about fish and seafood production than I’ve ever seen in works with far more words by professional anti-fishing activists. Addressing her inaccuracies on a point by point basis: Sustainable Fish Do Not Exist – Starting out with her title, the Merriam-Webster definition of sustainable is “able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed, involving methods that do not completely use up or destroy natural resources, able to last or continue for a long time.” The concept of renewable resources revolves around the sustainable utilization of those resources. Click here to read the full article 13:27

Meanwhile, in Tasmania – Drag fish farm regulation into 21st century

Sea based fish farms dump tonnes of faeces into the water. Think of them as a large toilet that does not flush. I cannot think of an industry in Tasmania other than aquaculture that is allowed to dump an unlimited amount of pollution in our waterways. Not only is there no limit on the amount of faeces salmon farms can dump in coastal waters, Tasmania also lacks science-based regulations to determine which parts of our coastline are suitable for salmon farms. International research shows that if you put fish farms in bays and harbours, where the water is shallow and current speed is low, fish faeces accumulates under cages, killing everything below them. Nitrogen discharged into the water column creates risk of harmful algal blooms, like the types we have seen worsening with increased salmon farms in the Huon and D’Entrecasteaux Channel. Other countries have responded to this research by offering incentives to move farming onshore. Read the story here 12:46

Controversial fish farm footage released

sick farmed salmonA B.C. environmentalist claims she has shocking new evidence that B.C. fish farms are carrying diseases that could potentially infect wild salmon. Earlier this summer, biologist Alexandra Morton and members of local First Nations visited a salmon farm in the Broughton Archipelago on B.C.’s central coast. “I had 10 minutes to stick my camera under the water and look at these fish and this is what I saw,” Morton said. “I was stunned. I saw a fish go by with a big tumour on his head.” Then she saw a salmon that was so emaciated that it hardly looked like a salmon at all. Video, read the story here 12:19

DFO seized, returned 1,350 pounds of lobster into the Annapolis Basin

article_large lobsters released dfoA half dozen officers with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada took a dozen crates of lobster onto a floating dock at the Digby wharf Aug. 26, took the bands off the lobster and put the crustaceans back in the water. Fishery officer Jacklyn Titus said officers seized the 1,350 pounds of lobster earlier on Aug. 26 after an investigation on board a fishing vessel in Margaretville involved with the Aboriginal Food Fishery. Six people were arrested as a result of that investigation. All were later released. Titus says charges are pending. Click here for more photo 12:00

UMaine scientist – population size of scallops affects fertilization success

scallops2Scallop gonads may seem like fun and games to Skylar Bayer given that her missing samples landed her on “The Colbert Report” in 2013. But scallops are no laughing matter to Bayer. “When I was deciding on a Ph.D. project to pursue, I chose to work on a species that is commercially important and relevant to people’s daily life,” says Bayer, who is based at the University of Maine Darling Marine Center in Walpole. “Giant sea scallops in Maine seemed extraordinarily relevant.” In 2015, Maine fishermen brought in 452,672 pounds of scallop meat valued at $12.70 per pound — the highest in years. But scallops haven’t always done well in Maine and beyond. In the 1990s, after huge reductions in multiple fishery landings, including giant sea scallops, NOAA regulators instituted large fishing closures to try to bolster groundfish stocks. After four years, scallop stocks had increased 14 times what they were prior to the closure. Seeking a similar success story, Maine followed suit in 2009 and instituted a three-year scallop fishing closure. Read the story here 10:38

Gov. Scott Walker Confident New Lake Superior Fishing Agreement Will Be Reached

ap-384664794516Gov. Scott Walker got a closer look at state and commercial fisheries Monday when his tour of northern Wisconsin made a stop at Lake Superior’s Apostle Islands. During the visit, Walker acknowledged recent discussions to reach a new fishing agreement between the state Department of Natural Resources and local tribes, after a 10-year-old contract expired last year. Fishing in the lake is jointly managed by the state, the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians and the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Some sport and commercial fishermen are frustrated by state rules that don’t apply to tribes. The chairman of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission has said any suggestion that tribes are depleting the resource is 100 percent false. Read the story here 09:40

Twitter users upset with the Cuomo brothers, saying the two fished a threatened species and should be ashamed of their actions.

cuomo-and-sharkjpgNew York Governor Andrew Cuomo faced quite a bit of Twitter backlash after posing with the more than 150-pound thresher shark he caught off the coast of Long Island. His brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, posted a photo of the fishing group on Instagram. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration determined threshers arenot at risk of extinction. But that didn’t seem to curb public opinion. In response to the controversy, a representative for Governor Cuomo told the New York Post, “This is an edible game fish that is indigenous to New York waters, and catching them is allowable under both state and federal regulations.” In 2013, Governor Cuomo was heralded for his decision to ban the possession and sale of shark fins — a popular delicacy in New York’s Chinatown. Read the rest here 08:43

More fishermen have lost their lives in 2016 than in whole of 2015

s_pottenSimon Potten, Head of Safety, Training and Services reacts to the publication of the MAIB’s Annual Report and the steps Seafish are taking to tackle its tragic findings. The publication of the Marine Accident Investigation Branch’s (MAIB) Annual Report for 2015 provides an opportunity for the fishing industry and all those actively trying to improve fishing safety to take stock of how well we are doing, he said. The two most reliable indicators of fishing safety are the number of fishing vessels lost and, tragically, the number of fishermen lost. In 2015, 13 fishing vessels were lost, representing 0.23% of the fleet. What is more saddening is that more fishermen have lost lives in 2016 already, than in the whole of 2015, which we revealed last month. This is unacceptable and it is vital that the industry as a whole do more to improve the safety record of the fishing industry. Read the story here 07:41

Catch Share Hell

Jane Lubchenco, Tony Blair, and Vladimir Putin eventually all died and (of course) went straight to Hell. Upon arrival, they spy a red phone and ask what the phone is for. The Devil tells them it is for calling back to Earth. Putin calls Russia and talks for 5 minutes. When he finished the Devil informs him that the cost is a million dollars, so Putin writes him a check. Next Tony Blair calls England and talks for 30 minutes. When he’s finished the Devil informs him that cost is 6 million dollars, so Blair writes him a check. Finally, Lubchenco gets her turn and talks for 4 hours. When she’s finished, the Devil kindly informed her that there would be no charge and to feel free to call Silver Spring or Washington DC anytime. Putin goes ballistic and asks the Devil why Lubchenco got to call Silver Spring for free. The Devil replied, “Since Lubchenco became NMFS’s Premier of Implementation for Catch Shares, the federal fisheries inside 200-miles has gone to hell, so it’s a local call.” 20:18

Department of Fisheries and Oceans Rejects COSEWIC’s Species-at-risk designation of Atlantic bluefin tuna

hi-852-bluefin-tuna-0074651Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans has rejected advice to list the Atlantic bluefin tuna as an endangered species. The long-awaited recommendation should preserve the region’s $10-million bluefin tuna fishery, industry representatives say. The department says western Atlantic bluefin tuna stocks have been rebuilding since 2011, when the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada said tuna should be listed as an endangered species under federal species-at-risk legislation. That would have made it illegal to kill, harm or capture the giant fish. Glenn MacKenzie of the Gulf Nova Scotia Tuna Association said he was “very relieved.” He’s one of 135 commercial tuna fishermen who fish from the Nova Scotia side of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. Read the story here 19:27

White Marlin Open Polygraph fail could boost N.J. fishermen’s Tuna $767,091winnings up another $2.3M!

20914471-mmmainA trio of New Jersey fisherman could land $2.3 million more in prize money for the record 236.5-pound tuna they caught earlier this month in Maryland. Brian Suschke, a Trenton police sergeant and Rich Kosztyu, a Trenton firefighter, already won $767,091 for the catch with friend and boat owner Damien Romeo at the White Marlin Open in Ocean City, Md. But last week, the tournament announced that a Florida boat that won $2.8 million in the white marlin category – the sole qualifying fish in the category – may have violated tournament rules. And last Friday, the tournament filed an action asking a Maryland court decide the matter. In court filings, the tournament alleged fishermen on the winning boat failed polygraph examinations – a requirement for collecting a prize greater of $50,000. Read the story here 19:06

Mid Atlantic: Coast Guard urges mariners, beachgoers to prepare for severe weather

The 5th Coast Guard District is advising mariners and swimmers throughout the mid-Atlantic region Monday to use caution this week. Tropical Depressions Eight and Nine are forecasted to impact beaches and waterways from North Carolina to New Jersey as they transit the Mid-Atlantic region during the next several days. Tropical storm-force winds are possible during the next 48 hours. “Our primary concern is ensuring the safety of life at sea,” said Capt. William Lane, Fifth District Chief of Response.  “We are encouraging all mariners, personal watercraft users, and beachgoers to make safety a priority as these two weather systems pass through the region.” Mariners are warned to take the following precautions to protect their vessels and their crews: Read the rest here 18:00

Is there really a Manatee swimming around Cape Cod??

manatee-off-cape-codThe International Fund for Animal Welfare says there have been several sightings of a manatee around Cape Cod. The manatee has reportedly been spotted off Nantucket, at Dowses Beach in Osterville and Oyster Pond in Chatham. “Here on the Cape it’s not very common,” IFAW research member Misty Niemeyer tells The Cape Cod Times. “We aren’t really quite sure what they are doing.” Anyone who spots the manatee should stay away and call the IFAW at 508-743-9548. Link 16:03

Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission discusses fishing limit of Pacific bluefin tuna

20160829KW___0021500010.PH.-.-.N.CI0004An international fisheries commission began discussing details of fishing restrictions for bluefin tuna in the northern Pacific at a meeting in southwestern Japan on Monday amid concerns about overfishing. At a subcommittee meeting of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission held through Friday in the city of Fukuoka, participants are discussing the possibility of invoking a catch limit based on Japan’s proposal. The panel is discussing specific control measures with an eye to reaching a formal agreement within this year. Meanwhile, nongovernmental organizations Greenpeace and the Pew Charitable Trusts have issued a statement requesting the WCPFC to immediately implement a 2-year moratorium on all commercial fishing for Pacific bluefin tuna. Read the rest here 15:10

Photo-Op Politician to speak Tuesday on New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts designation

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-112_sr_ct_blumenthal_richardENGO., will speak Tuesday night about the effort to designate the New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts area as the nation’s first Marine National Monument in the Atlantic Ocean at Mystic Aquarium. Also speaking will be the aquarium’s Senior Research Scientist Peter Auster, who is among those trying to convince President Obama to make the designation before leaving office. There will also be a question-and-answer session followed by a reception with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. The event will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Those wishing to attend the event should RSVP Dale Wolbrink at [email protected] or (860) 694-9011. Link 13:12

Connecticut’s traditional fishing catch is heading north – New England marine life on the move

There was a hefty irony to the announcement by Connecticut’s two U.S. senators earlier this summer that they were joining the sponsorship for a National Lobster Day next month. The iconic symbol of the state’s fishing industry for years, Long Island Sound was once flush with lobster, traps and people who made their livings from them. But no more. Connecticut’s lobster landings topped 3.7 million pounds a year, worth $12 million, in the late 1990s, but by 2014 had diminished to about 127,000 pounds worth a little more than $600,000. Instead of the picture of fishing success, lobster has become the face of climate change in New England: a sentinel of warming water, ocean acidification and other man-made impacts that have sent them and dozens of other marine animals scurrying in search of a more hospitable environment. Big Read. Read the story here  11:26

“Big Lobi” the 22-pound lobster freed days ago in Chatham is found dead

EP-160829531.jpg&MaxW=650&MaxH=650On Thursday, a 22-pound lobster named Big Lobi scuttled away to freedom after twin brothers from New Jersey bought it at the Chatham Fish Pier Market and released it into Ryder’s Cove. On Saturday afternoon, Big Lobi was found dead. Ray Wilkes, a retiree from Chatham, had just moored his boat in Ryder’s Cove after a day of fishing and whale watching when a large shape caught his eye near the shore. “I was paddling back in a dinghy and saw a large thing over there in the muck,” he said. He picked up the mysterious object and realized it was one of the biggest lobsters he had ever seen, he said. He took some pictures of the deceased crustacean and sent them to the Center for Coastal Studies. Chris and David Schmidt, of New Jersey, purchased the huge lobster, which they named Big Lobi in honor of Red Sox star David Ortiz (aka Big Papi), at the Chatham Pier Fish Market for $210. David Schmidt did not return a call for comment by the Times deadline. Read the story here  09:20

Fred Wahl Marine Construction receives $3.4 Million state grant to expand Reedsport facility and workforce

A company that builds commercial fishing boats in Reedsport netted a $3.4 million grant from the state this month, positioning itself to expand its workforce by 50 percent in the coming years. Fred Wahl Marine Construction, currently the biggest private employer in the coastal city, won the grant through the Oregon Department of Transportation and its ConnectOregon program. Its award was the second highest monetary award after an $8.3 million grant given to Union Pacific for railroad improvements. The award allows the company to begin work on a nine-story facility on Bolon Island, between Reedsport and Gardiner. The new building will be designed to be large enough to take on a bigger workload. The new facility would also take shipbuilding and repair work out of the rain when necessary. The company recently bought a six-story, 200-ton lift to haul boats out of the water and carry them into the proposed building. Once it’s completed, the company expects its roster of 91 employees to grow to about 130. Read the story here 08:40

The Wild Blue Mussel is disappearing from the Gulf of Maine

BlueMussel_MtDesertIs_SorteGCB-1080x717New England is running out of mussels. The Gulf of Maine’s once strong population of wild blue mussels is disappearing, scientists say. A study led by marine ecologists at the University of California at Irvine found the numbers along the gulf coastline have declined by more than 60 percent over the last 40 years. Once covering as much as two-thirds of the gulf’s intertidal zone, mussels now cover less than 15 percent. The Sorte study focused on 20 sites along the gulf, using historical data to compare today’s mussel populations to those of the past. She said the decline of mussels isn’t due to just one factor — warming ocean water, increases in human harvesting and the introduction of new predatory invasive species all appear to play a role. Read the story here 15:40

Sport Fishing Tournament Controversy: “White Marlin Open” says winner from Naples lied, broke rules

636076468425698649-636064189831828136-M3R-3849-1--1-Polygraph tests on the big winner of the White Marlin Open have determined the angler and crew members lied about following tournament rules, according to court documents filed on behalf of the tournament. Polygraphs administered  on behalf of the tournament determined that Philip Heasley and others crew members of the Kallianassa, which  was announced as having the winning white marlin at the close of the tournament, were “deceitful.” Heasley, of Naples, had brought in a 76.5-pound white marlin, the sole qualifying white marlin vying for the grand prize of $2.8 million. However, examination of catch logs by the tournament brought suspicion that Heasley and the crew of the Kallianassa had not followed the rules of the tournament, so officials withheld the prize money. Read the story here 13:18

Further cut in fluke quota puts Stonington fishermen, wholesaler in peril

Imagine one of the breadwinners in a typical two-earner household is suddenly hit with a 26 percent pay cut. Then, just as the family has adjusted to the leaner budget, the same worker’s pay gets lopped another 30 percent. Their landlord already has reduced their rent, and the family has cut corners wherever they could, so how will they make ends meet now? That’s basically the question Mike Gambardella, owner of Gambardella Wholesale Fish at Stonington Town Dock, is asking himself. He faces a new 30 percent reduction in the supply of fluke, one of his main products, next year, following the 26 percent cut he’s already dealing with this year that’s cost him about $100,000 in revenue. It also forced him to lay off one of his workers and reduce pay for himself and his remaining six workers, and negotiate reduced rent on the building he rents from the town. “At this point,” he said Thursday, “we’re fighting a losing battle. If I lose another $100,000 next year, I can’t afford to stay in business.” The new 30 percent cut in the supply of fluke — also called summer flounder — was announced Aug. 15 by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, which regulates fluke and other species for the East Coast along with a larger body, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, but the council basically has the controlling authority. Read the story here 11:14

Down to the sea, as Gloucester remembers its own

manatthewheelWith the long line of American flags rippling above the crescent of Stacy Boulevard and the postcard of its harbor serving as the backdrop, Gloucester on Saturday once again wrapped its arms around those who went out to sea and never returned. The number of Gloucester fishermen who have perished harvesting seafood from the cauldron of the North Atlantic Ocean now reaches into the thousands — the most recent loss that of David “Heavy D” Sutherland last December during a rescue attempt after his boat, the Orin C, went down about 12 miles off Thacher Island. On Saturday evening, America’s oldest fishing community gathered to pay homage and remembrance to those who never returned to their hailing port from their last trip, with about 400 fishing friends and family circling the iconic Gloucester Fishermen’s Memorial for the annual Fishermen’s Memorial Service. Read the story here 10:53

A UConn Student’s Dramatic Rescue In The Bering Sea

hc-the-ambition-sinking-20160826Megan Potter mustered all of her strength to swim through 10 foot swells as the boat she had spent the summer on slowly sank into the frigid water of the Bering Sea off Alaska’s Aleutian Islands. A UConn student, she had spent the last two months on the Ambition, her father’s boat, ferrying thousands of pounds of salmon from fishing boats to canneries on the Alaskan shore. Now, with her family scattered in the water around her, Megan started to panic. Her rescuers were on another fishing boat, the Star Watcher, some 100 yards away. Megan had been working alongside her father, mother, brother and a family friend, Erin Tortolano, on the 75-foot fish transport boat. Recently, she recalled the dramatic events of July 23, an afternoon she will never forget. Read the story here 10:06

Thirteen year old girl’s heartfelt plea in front of NSW Parliament House to save NSW fishing industry

A thirteen year old girl has fronted a packed room in NSW Parliament House to urge the government to rethink commercial fishing reforms which she said were destroying her family’s livelihood. Maddison Blanch spoke before a meeting of fishing professionals, industry leaders and politicians on Wednesday, although no one from the Liberal or National parties attended. She told the crowd her third-generation fisher father, Phillip Blanch, had been hit hard by a scheme forcing him to buy back his right to work. “My father, like the majority of fishers in NSW, goes to work rain, hail or shine,” she said. “My dad goes to work and provides Australia with fresh Aussie seafood and brings an income home for his family just like every other Aussie dad. “My dad loves what he does but, because of reforms, my dad needs to buy more shares to continue to work as he does now, for 2017. “So basically he needs to buy back his job, like most fishers.” Ms Blanch said her father could not buy shares because no one was selling them, and he should not have to take out a loan to be able to afford to do his own job. Read the story here 09:01

Hawaii Commercial Fishermen, Seafood Consumers Hit Again as President, Pew’s Ocean Legacy Closes Additional 442,778 Square Miles of Fishing Grounds in the U.S. Pacific Islands

“We do not believe the expansion is based on  the best available scientific information,” said Kitty Simonds, Council executive director. “It serves a political legacy rather than any conservation benefits to pelagic species such as tunas, billfish, sea turtles, seabirds and marine mammals. The campaign to expand the monument was organized by a multibillion dollar, agenda-driven environmental organization that has preyed upon the public’s lack of understanding of ocean resource management issues and utilized influential native Hawaiians and several high-level politicians to lead this initiative. Our government has chosen to follow the Pew’s Ocean Legacy.” Read the press release here 21:34

Brookings gets innovative seafood processing plant

57bf8f35c70ae.imageBC Fisheries owner Mike Manning cut the ribbon Aug. 19 on a $9.6 million seafood processing facility that will benefit southern Oregon coast crabbers and shrimpers. The facility will create 30 new jobs, eliminate the need for long-distance shipping of locally-caught seafood for processing, and is the first of its kind to use cool steam technology on the West Coast.  Established in 2007, BC Fisheries is a family-owned company that ships cold-water pink shrimp and crab worldwide, offloading about 1.5 million pounds per month. It was unable to process shrimp locally though, leading to high transportation costs. A $6.3 million loan from Craft3, a nonprofit that makes loans for business development, allowed BC Fisheries to build an insulated processing building next to the docks at the Port of Brookings Harbor, purchase equipment, and have adequate working capital. The new facility will be able to process up to 2.4 million pounds of shrimp per month. Read the story here 20:37

Marine Monument excerpts from Press Briefing by Press Secretary Josh Earnest, 8/26/2016

josh-earnest-620x43611:52 A.M. EDT MR. EARNEST:  Morning, everybody.  Happy Friday.  Before we get started I’ll just do a — one piece of news you may have seen already.  As part of the President’s commitment to protect the natural beauty of the United States, we announced today that President Obama is building on this leadership by taking an historic step in creating the world’s largest marine protected area just off the coast of Hawaii. The designation will more than quadruple the size of the existing marine monument, permanently protecting pristine coral reefs, deep-sea marine habitats, and other important ecological features and resources in the waters of the northwest Hawaiian Islands.,, a lot of scientists have talked about the importance of protecting areas closer to the continental United States — in New England, in the Southeast, in the Gulf.  These are proposals,,, Read the rest here 19:03

Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak calls for Pink Salmon Fishery Disaster Declaration

commercial vessel seen fishing for pink salmon near Furry Creek on WednesdayTwo measures of relief for Alaska’s pink salmon industry, reeling from the lowest harvest since the late 1970s, are being sought. Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, last week asked the Walker administration to declare the pink salmon season a disaster, which would open up access to federal relief funds. Pinks are Alaska’s highest volume salmon fishery, though the price tends to be the lowest. Hundreds of fishermen depend on pinks to boost their overall catches and paychecks. So far, the statewide harvest is just 36 million humpies, far less than a preseason forecast of 90 million. Last summer, 190 million pinks were caught. For pinks, every other year is typically a strong year, with a weak year in between. “This is the worst salmon year in nearly 40 years, and that’s huge,” she said. “It doesn’t just affect the fishermen — it’s a trickle-down effect on the cannery workers, the processors and nearly all businesses in the community. It’s a disaster, there’s no other way to describe it.” Read the rest here 17:17

J.J. The Lobster – The heaviest lobster to be found in UK waters in 85 years

106821214_giant-lobster-NEWS-large_trans++jJeHvIwLm2xPr27m7LF8maVev2aD5m0eWCA6z67PTLMThe heaviest UK-landed common lobster is settling into his new home. Weighing in at nearly 17lb (7.65kg), he is the heaviest common lobster to be discovered in UK waters since 1931. The lobster, which was initially called Lionel, was discovered earlier this month in waters off Lannacombe Beach , north Devon, by free diver Joe Pike. It was taken to the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth to be weighed and checked over by vets. The lobster has now joined the Aquarium’s Plymouth Sound tank with a brand new name, JJ – in honour of British Olympic silver medal-winning boxer Joe Joyce, a super heavyweight. Aquarium curator James Wright said: “After weighing JJ in at 7.65kg, it does indeed look like he is the heaviest common lobster to be discovered in UK waters since 1931. Read the rest here 12:25

It’s time for P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association to grow up

10-lobsters1‘Will fishermen assume their traditional role of bitching and complaining, and doing little else?’ General speaking, lobster fishermen fishing the spring season on the Island had a “pretty good year.” While catches were down from last year in some harbours on the north side and on the south-east coast, prices ranging from $6.50 to $8 a pound made up for it. There wouldn’t be many boats that grossed less than $100,000 and there’d be a good many that grossed well over $200,000.,, Recently the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) decided to gradually increase the minimum legal size for lobsters caught in District 25. Scientific and anecdotal evidence suggests that following an increase in the carapace size, catch sizes also increase. There seems to be general acceptance of this change. However, no one was surprised when PEIFA opposed the measure. Read the story here 12:00

That Sea Shepherd Promise To Stop Harassing Whalers? Don’t bet on it!

A United States court ruling preventing the environmental activist group Sea Shepherd from harassing Japanese whaling boats will not stop the annual protection campaign in the Southern Ocean, according to the organization’s sea lawyers. Sea Shepherd Australia’s boss, Jeff Hansen, told reporters they are “committed to upholding the Australian federal court ruling banning the slaughter of whales in the Australian whale sanctuary. We are not concerned about the US court settlement as it does not have any effect on Australian law.” “What it means is Sea Shepherd USA cannot give money toward the Southern Ocean campaign, cannot be involved in the Southern Ocean campaign, and that’s fine.” said Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson who claims the settlement does not affect the group’s other entities. “Whether Sea Shepherd Australia or Sea Shepherd Global . . .  intend to return to the Southern Ocean that’s their business and I can’t control them,” he said of the settlement filed on Tuesday. Read the story here 09:52

Battle over Cashes Ledge and Seamounts continues between fishermen, environmentalists

map-boundaries2-1066Despite the Obama administration’s declaration that Cashes Ledge has been taken off the table as a possible location for a marine national monument, the divisive issue of the monuments continues to percolate nationally between fishermen and conservationists. From Hawaii to New England, the lines are clearly drawn. Conservation groups have sustained a steady lobbying campaign to convince President Obama to employ the Antiquities Act to create new marine national monuments in the waters around Cashes Ledge, about 80 miles off Gloucester, and the seamounts off southern New England and Monterey, California. “We’re pushing as hard as we can with elected officials and the White House on those areas that have been identified and confirmed by the scientific community as being of great interest,” Peter Shelley, interim president and senior counsel at the Conservation Law Foundation, said of two New England areas. “These areas need permanent protection and this is not going to go away as a priority for us.” “This is not going to go away as a priority for us,” Shelley said. “It is not going to change with (presidential) administrations.” Read the story here 08:17

Headed home to Gloucester – Coast Guard helps fishermen dewater, make repairs to flooding boat

1000w_q95 fv tylerFour people are safely making their way back to port Friday following a multi-asset response to a fishing boat taking on water Friday morning about 60 miles southeast of Vinalhaven, Maine. A person aboard fishing vessel Tyler, homeported in Gloucester, used a VHF radio to contact watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Northern New England’s command center at about 7:30 a.m. and reported their boat was rapidly taking on water with four people aboard. The hailer reported they were using pumps, but were unable to keep up with the flooding. “It was discovered Tyler’s shaft seal packing box had come off,” said Seaman Amanda Geber, a crewmember aboard Moray. “However, after dewatering the engine space, the crew was able to make repairs. After sea trials, it was determined Tyler could make it safely back to port on her own power. It was fortunate this case was concluded without loss of crew, vessel, or catch.” Link 17:59

The 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season So Far. Keep an eye on Hermine.

A quick note about the current Atlantic hurricane season. With resect to just the US, we’ve had a fairly low level season, and it is easy to become complacent about this time, but in fact, the risks from Atlantic hurricanes rise about this time of year, so pay attention. Watch for Hermine. More on that below. Gaston is the currently active named storm. It is likely to form into a hurricane over the weekend, veer right before coming too close to Bermuda, and remain pretty far out in the Atlantic. There are no clear predictions of what it will do by mid week, but it is likely to weaken a bit on Wednesday. Gaston will be in hurricane-hostile territory at that time, so may be it will just go away. Hermine is the name that would be given to what is now a tropical disturbance, should it form a tropical storm. Read the story here 17:17

Nils Stolpe: Marine Monuments – Don’t let your piece of the ocean be next!

No-Fishing-e1449493453695In an effort coordinated by the National Coalition for Fishing Communities (NCFC), thirty four domestic fishing industry trade groups have signed on to a letter to President Obama opposing a strong push by environmental groups and the billion dollar foundations that support them to create marine sanctuaries on both coasts during his last days in office. I don’t need to tell you how much industry effort has been expended over the last several decades to make fishery management under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act an effective and transparent science-based process. Anyone with an interest in our domestic fisheries, whether on the water, in a shore-based fishing-dependent business or in any way associated with fishing should be committed to improving this process, and President Obama is being urged to circumvent it to bolster his “environmental legacy.” Yesterday the White House announced that the President will be expanding the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument off Hawaii, which was originally created by President Bush in 2006. This will be a no-fishing zone of over half a million square miles. Needless to say, it’s a big hit with the enviros, but it was done without any public process.

The letter, with a list of the fishing organizations that are on board so far, is at a web portal set up by the NCFC > Click Here <. Even if you are a member of one of those organizations, please take the few minutes required to personally sign. If you are in a fishing organization that hasn’t, please encourage the leadership to do so. And please encourage as many other folks as possible. The time for top-down governmental dictates was over years ago. We have a system that is starting to work both for the fishermen and the fish and we can’t let it be short circuited. There’s too much at risk.

Cape Cod Fishermen Seek Buffer From Mid Water Trawlers

boat-e1364231633321On Aug. 17, the Herring Oversight Committee of the New England Fisheries Management Council voted to send the council two options for establishing a buffer zone prohibiting mid-water trawling off Cape Cod. The zone would extend either 12 miles or 35 miles from shore — significantly farther than the 6-mile zone proposed by the herring industry and closer than the 50-mile mark sought by environmental groups. The council will consider the options when it meets in September. Fishermen have been complaining for years about the industrial-sized ships landing on the back side of Cape Cod, scooping up millions of pounds of herring and leaving, they say, a temporary ocean “bio-desert” in their wake. In 2015, the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance collected hundreds of comments and individual letters from fisherman about the phenomenon called “localized depletion” — defined as “when harvesting takes more fish than can be replaced locally or through fish migrating into the catch area within a given time period.” Read the story here 16:22

Whale Protection & Crab Gear Retrieval Act, SB 1287, heads to Governor Browns desk

mike_mcguireNorth Coast Senator Mike McGuire’s legislation that will help permanently protect whales by removing lost and abandoned crab fishing gear from the ocean has been approved by both houses of the State Legislature and will now head to Governor Brown’s desk. SB 1287 received widespread and overwhelming support in the Senate and was approved Thursday by a vote of the full State Assembly. “We need this legislation, now more than ever. Whale entanglement numbers are skyrocketing off the California coast and we’re bringing together crabbers and environmentalists to get this common sense bill signed into law,” Senator Mike McGuire said. The Whale Protection & Crab Gear Retrieval Act, which was proactively initiated by the thousands of hard working men and women who make up California’s mighty crab fleet, would create a regulatory program with incentives for fishermen to retrieve Dungeness crab fishing gear that would otherwise be lost in the ocean. It’s estimated that thousands of pots are lost every season and these pieces of gear could have hundreds of feet of rope attached to a locater buoy. Read the rest here 16:04

Exterminated Alberta commercial fishermen sue province for $15 million over 2014 decision to end industry

alberta fishermenA group of former Alberta commercial fishermen are suing the province for $15 million over its 2014 decision to end the industry and no longer issue commercial fishing licences. Two statements of claim filed July 28 in Edmonton’s Court of Queen’s Bench allege the Alberta minister of environment and sustainable resource development was negligent for cancelling commercial fishing licences without adequate reasons and failing to give adequate warning of the impending cancellations. The statements of claim also allege the ministry failed to “act in a responsible manner,” breached its duty to continue to issue commercial fishing licences to the plaintiffs and failed to implement a program to compensate commercial fishermen for the loss of their licences and their businesses. Read the story here 14:25

Massachusetts man pleads guilty to making hoax distress calls to Coast Guard

coast guardA Massachusetts man has pleaded guilty to making hoax radio distress calls to the Coast Guard that prompted fruitless searches that wasted time and resources. Prosecutors say 47-year-old Roger Martin, of Fairhaven, made three calls to the Coast Guard in April and May 2015 claiming that he was on a boat on Cape Cod Canal that was sinking. In each case he provided another man’s name, address, and on one occasion, even birth date, that he had obtained improperly from a law enforcement database while working as a dispatcher for the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office. Martin pleaded guilty this week in federal court to three counts of sending false distress messages and one count of identity fraud. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 22. link 14:03

The Legendary Pig Nose the Sturgeon has been caught!

A young fishing guide based in Lillooet is enjoying some extra attention after he and some friends reeled in a huge white sturgeon known as Pig Nose this week. It happened late on Tuesday on the Fraser River near Lillooet after a long day without much to show for it. “The last hole of the day there, we pulled in and it happened right away,” he said. “The fish jumped right out of the river and I said, ‘Well, that looks like a 10-footer, so strap on, we’re going to be into at least a two-hour fight.’ And it ended up being two hours, two hours and 15 minutes.” Read the story here 12:15

NOAA Office of General Counsel, OLE Enforcement Actions January 1, 2016, through June 30, 20161

clip_image002_001During this reporting period, NOAA charged 45 civil administrative cases, as follows:3 ALASKA 1. AK1201773; F/V Susan ‐ Owner and operator were charged under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for allowing the vessel to approach within 3 nautical miles of the Stellar sea lion rookery site located off of Marmot Island.  NORTHEAST 15. NE1401038; F/V Janaya & Joseph ‐ Owner and operator were charged under the Magnuson‐Stevens Act for negligently and without authorization removing lobster traps owned by another person located in the EEZ.  A $2,000 NOVA was issued. 16. NE1403707; F/V Paulo Marc ‐ Individual was charged NORTHWEST 27. NW1200668B; F/V Ceres ‐ Operator was charged under the Magnuson‐Stevens Act for taking, retaining, possessing, or landing more than a single cumulative limit of a particular species ‐‐  sablefish ‐‐ and so on. Read the rest here 11:41

High expectation, a season of disappointment – Upper Cook Inlet commercial fishing winds down

upper cook inlet fishingThe boom of fish the commercial operations in Upper Cook Inlet expected never arrived this year. High preseason expectations made the 2016 season a disappointment for many commercial fishermen. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game originally projected about 7.1 million sockeye salmon to return to the Upper Cook Inlet streams, but by Wednesday, only 5.2 million had. The harvest of approximately 3,023,462 million fish wasn’t the lowest in the last decade — 2009 and 2006 both had lower harvests, with approximately 2.5 million and 2.9 million fish harvested, respectively. Altogether, the commercial fishery has harvested 2,382,167 sockeye salmon and 379,064 pinks, the two most populous species commercial fishermen harvest, as of Aug. 22. They also caught 127,971 coho, 124,648 chum and 9,612 king salmon, according to Fish and Game data. Read the story here 10:53

Lobstermen in Maine’s historically open Zone C vote to close their waters to newcomers

1030646_442532-20150905_lobster_4The lobstermen of Stonington and Vinalhaven, the busiest lobster ports in Maine, have voted to close their waters to additional fishermen, preferring that newcomers wait for others to leave before dropping traps there. Almost three of every four local lobstermen who voted in a referendum this summer supported the adoption of a waiting list system. The majority included many of the small island communities that had previously opposed making newcomers wait for lobster licenses out of fear that it would discourage people from moving to their far-flung communities. Of the nine districts within the regional lobster zone, only one, the district that includes Matinicus and Criehaven, voted against making newcomers go on a waiting list. Results show that local lobstermen of all ages, license types and business size support the closure. Read the story here 09:34

Lobster, from the Jersey coast to your dinner plate

It had been a long four days at sea aboard the Two Dukes, harvesting thousands of pounds of American lobster and a sideline catch of Jonah crab about 80 miles from the New Jersey coast in an area called the Hudson Canyon. Out where the water is deeper than a skyscraper is tall, the work days are 14 hours long and start at 5 a.m. There’s really no break aboard the 70-foot steel-hulled lobster boat until a crew member “cooks a nice dinner” – usually not lobster or crab – and then it’s finally time to find a bunk and grab some sleep until the next shift. The weather is an ever-present, relentless partner in the enterprise and, on any given voyage, can range from sunbaked heat to cold, howling winds and monstrous, stormy swells. No one wastes time talking about good weather. Read the story here 08:41