Daily Archives: October 14, 2016

European Union backs off North American lobster ban

American-lobsterThe European Union is backing off a Swedish proposal to ban imports of American lobster into 28 member countries. Officials with the EU say the European Commission has informed Sweden it will not propose the lobster be listed as invasive. It will instead pursue measures less likely to disrupt trade. The EU decided last month to conduct an extensive review of a proposal to ban lobsters imported from the U.S. and Canada. A scientific panel had concluded Sweden raised valid points in requesting to declare the American lobster an invasive species. Fishermen in New England and Canada, congressmen and scientists opposed the ban. They said the proposed ban wasn’t based in sound science. The dispute started when Sweden announced it had found 32 American lobsters in its waters. The federal Liberal government expressed alarm at word the EU was considering a ban, vowing it would “vigorously” try to convince the European Union that American lobster did not pose a threat. Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc said Canadian and American officials had “compelling” scientific evidence that U.S. lobster is not an invasive species. Those who make a living fishing lobster could have lost $200 million in business if such a ban was imposed. link 18:19

Tri Marine: Tuna prices, supply concerns influenced its $70 million cannery cannery closure

Tri Marine Inaugurates Samoa Tuna ProcessorsFluctuating tuna prices, supply issues and other factors outside of the control of Tri Marine International led to the commercial demise of its $70 million cannery in American Samoa, the company said. The Oct. 13 announcement that the plant will cease canning operations as of Dec. 11 putting several hundred jobs in jeopardy came as a result of a series of factors, Bellevue, Washington-based Tri Marine said in a statement to Undercurrent News. “In truth, there were a number of factors outside of our control that influenced this difficult decision — the cost and abundance of tuna raw material in American Samoa, changes in free trade agreements, access to fishing grounds, the appeal of US-produced canned tuna in the market, market demand for higher quality sustainable and traceable tuna products, etc,” the company said. “To point to any one thing over another would miss the complexity of a challenging situation.” Read the story here 16:08

NPFMC progresses with halibut issues

alaska-halibut__frontFederal fisheries managers took additional steps at their October meeting on halibut issues ranging from leasing of individual fishery shares to prohibited species catch limits, and a review of the halibut/sablefish IFQ program. None of these issues, which were in the early stage of consideration, are on draft agendas for upcoming council meetings Dec. 6-14 in Anchorage or Jan. 30-Feb. 7 in Seattle, although final action on two other halibut issues is anticipated in December. They are charter halibut management measures and the charter halibut recreational quota entry program. On the matter of IFQ leasing of quota shares, which was up for an initial review, the council expanded its suite of options for proposed action to allow leasing of halibut IFQ to community development quota groups in low abundance years. Read the rest here 14:36

Non-profit group explores Nova Scotia for whale sanctuary project. Maine and British Columbia too!

lori-marino-400x300A U.S.-based group is exploring the coasts of Nova Scotia in hopes of finding a sanctuary where previously captive whales and dolphins could dive deeply in cold, North Atlantic waters. Lori Marino, director of the non-profit Whale Sanctuary Project, said Friday they are looking for a site where the creatures can roam a netted area roughly the size of 40 large sport fields. An alternative is needed for the captured whales and dolphins that are currently kept in marinas and spend their lives performing or being on display for the public, she said. “I want to give them back some of their welfare, some of their natural habitat and allow them to retire with freedom to do pretty much whatever they want without being imposed upon by people who want to ride on them and touch them and do tricks with them,” the Utah-based Marino said in an interview on Friday in Halifax. Read the story here 13:58

Alma Fleet Launch – A big party to see off the lobster fleet on season opener

The lobster fishermen of Alma will be cheered on by hundreds of spectators on Friday morning as they head off to work on the first day of lobster season. This morning a crowd of Alma residents gathered by the wharf to see off the boats that will bring back the delectable ocean-dwellers. Jane Chrysostom, the co-ordinator of the Alma Fleet Launch, said the launch has become a significant event in the community. “Last year at a very, very pre-dawn fleet launch we had over 600 people come. So, it’s a big draw,” said Chrysostom. The lobster industry is important to many small communities along the Bay of Fundy and Alma is no exception, which is why so many residents come out to send the ships off. There will be music, comedy and even food on hand for breakfast. And there is even an opportunity for people to experience the day from a lobster’s point of view. Read the rest here 10:25

A real fish war – not just another Alaska yelling match

A real fish war – not just another Alaska yelling matching about who gets to catch what – was waged in Prince William Sound this August with one boat nearly sunk, one crewman seriously injured, and the Alaska Department of Law now pondering whether to file assault or other charges. The weapons of choice in the case? 58-foot salmon seiners. The alleged aggressor? One-time state ski racer Kami Cabana from Girwood. She was at the controls of the F/V Chugach Pearl when it t-boned the F/V Temptation. “I got really lucky when she hit me,” Temptation skipper Jason Long said in a telephone interview with craigmedred.news this week. There were davits fastened to the side of the Temptation where the Pearl struck amidships. They absorbed some of the impact of the ramming. Had the Pearl hit just a little farther aft, Long said, it could have ruptured the Temptations fish hold and put his ship in serious danger. Had the Pearl hit just a little farther forward, it would have smashed the Temptation’s cabin. Long said he wanted at first to think the collision an accident, but Cabana’s behavior afterward – with a Temptation crewman down on the deck and bleeding profusely – argued otherwise. Read the full story here 09:51

Stone crabbers get ready for Saturday’s first pull of season

It might not be ideal stone crabbing weather, but the Meschelles are pulling their traps on Saturday no matter what. “My son said, ‘We’re going out Saturday, darn it, even if it’s windy,’ ” said Sheila Meschelle, who has been stone crabbing with her son, Nathan, and husband, Todd, for the past four years. Nathan Meschelle started crabbing in high school with a childhood friend’s dad and went straight into commercial fishing after he graduated. It’s a labor of love for the family, who take their 30-foot crabbing boat out each year to bring in the precious claws for diners across Florida. Stone crab season starts on Saturday and runs through May 15. Last year’s season was anything but a disappointment for crabbers and restaurateurs. At one point, the Meschelles were required to take days off because they were bringing in such a haul. Read the story here 09:15

Declining biotoxin levels – Some Down East shellfishing areas reopened

On Thursday, the Department of Marine Resources re-opened somedomoic-acid-mass of the coastline between Calais and Cutler for the harvest of clams, mussels and carnivorous snails, and said clamming will be allowed on a portion of the coast between Isle Au Haut to Winter Harbor. Shellfish harvesting on much of the Down East coast remains restricted because of an algae bloom that produces a toxin that can cause amnesic shellfish poisoning, or ASP, in humans. It is unclear if the limited reopening Thursday means the bloom is clearing up or if harvesting bans will be removed in other areas soon. “We can’t speculate, but we continue to test shellfish and phytoplankton along the coast, both inside and outside the impacted areas, and will re-open areas as soon as test results allow,” said Jeff Nichols, a spokesman for the department of Marine Resources. Lifting the emergency restrictions was a relief to clammers who have been kept off the flats for the last two weeks. Read the story here 08:32