Monthly Archives: November 2016

Millennium Marine lawsuit claims lost sales

ar-161139998-jpgmaxw624maxh400Millennium Marine, the boatbuilding company in Eastport, is seeking $226,662 in damages and also claims to have suffered losses of $430,000 because of defaults by the city and county, including business interruption and lost sales caused by delays in repairs following a 2014 fire at its building, The Quoddy Tides reported. Disputes between the company and the city began earlier this year over disagreements around the company’s rent payments. The company’s attorney, Joseph Baldacci of Bangor, told the newspaper that the attorneys for the city and county have received the lawsuit. But city attorney Dennis Mahar said the case had not been filed in Washington County Superior Court and the city had not been served with the complaint. Read the rest here 19:20

Skull found in crabpot determined to be 2,300 years old

skullgraysharborScientists have determined that a skull found in a crab pot off the coast two years ago dates back about 2,300 years, Grays Harbor County Coroner Lane Youmans said Tuesday afternoon. The skull was discovered by fishermen in late February 2014 about three miles offshore and southwest of Grays Harbor and was turned over to the FBI for DNA analysis. A sample of it was sent to Beta Analytics in Miami, Fla. for radiocarbon dating. An earlier report indicated the DNA profile showed that the sample was from a female. “The lab analyzed the sample and determined it to be approximately 2,300 years old … around 360 to 400 B.C.,” Youmans said. “The remains will be turned over to Dr. Guy Tasa … the Washington State Physical Anthropologist in Olympia … so he can release them to the appropriate tribe.” Read the story here 15:50

Coast Guard escorts 4 to safety after heavy winds, seas damage fishing boat off Portland, Maine

The Coast Guard assisted four people to safety Wednesday after heavy winds and seas damaged a fishing boat about 40 miles southeast of Portland, Maine. A fisherman aboard the Gracelyn Jane sent a distress hail to Coast Guard Sector Northern New England watchstanders Tuesday evening and reported their fishing boat was disabled with four people aboard. The man reported the crew lost their GPS, the boat was losing power, and their windows had shattered. On scene weather at the time was 30 knot winds and 10-14 foot seas. The 270-foot Coast Guard Cutter Northland, homported in Portsmouth, Virginia, was approximately ten miles from Gracelyn Jane’s location and quickly diverted from their patrol to help. A helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod also deployed to provide assistance. After arriving on scene, Northland’s crew found the Gracelyn Jane regained power and made way toward shore escorted by the Coast Guard. Once closer to shore, a response boat crew from Coast Guard Station Boothbay Harbor relieved Northland’s crew from their escort and accompanied Gracelyn Jane into Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Link 15:27

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 160′ Catcher/Freezer/RSW Trawler

Specifications, information and 30 photo’s click here To see all the boats in this series, Click here 12:31

Catch Shares: NSW fishermen face difficult decisions as deadline looms for reform package

8078946-3x2-940x627Friday is a big day for New South Wales fishermen. Those that want to leave the industry and take advantage of a government buyback have to decide by that date. Those that want to keep fishing are anxiously waiting to find out if they can buy-up the other’s shares and they are wondering what it will cost them. Peter Ragno fishes out of Wallace Lake near Tuncurry on the Mid North Coast. His family have been fishermen since 1891, catching prawns and mud crabs, mullet, brim and whiting among other species. The government has reduced the quote linked to his shares so just to maintain his business he will need to buy licences worth close to a quarter of a million dollars, money he cannot afford to borrow. Read the rest here 11:54

Sport groups pressure Oregon governor to stop changes in Columbia River net plan

gillnetter, youngs bayFour powerful sportfishing groups have asked Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to keep the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission from significantly altering a plan to move gill-nets from the lower Columbia River in 2017. In a stern letter delivered Monday to the governor and commission, the coalition threatens to withdraw support from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife if a revision to the Columbia River Plan is adopted. It was signed by representatives of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, Association of Northwest Steelheaders, Coastal Conservation Association and the Northwest Guides and Anglers Association. Read the rest here 11:06

‘King Louie’, the 23-pound lobster bought by a vegan who wanted it returned to its watery home

A massive lobster taller than a toddler was caught in the Bay of Fundy and then bought by a vegan activist so it could be returned, alive, to its chilly home. Catherine MacDonald, co-owner of the Alma Lobster Shop in southern New Brunswick, said the 23-pound lobster, dubbed “King Louie,” was possibly a century old. “It’s beautiful,” said MacDonald in a phone interview Tuesday. “For a lobster to be 23 pounds and to be that large, there was nothing else that was going to be a predator, except man.” The lobster is very healthy, and about four feet long, said MacDonald. It was caught by a fisherman in St. Martins, N.B. MacDonald said the crustacean was sold for $230 to a Nova Scotia vegan who requested it be released back into the ocean. And so King Louie returned home on Tuesday, she said. Read the rest here 09:58

Willapa gillnetters losing grip

willapa gillnettersIt’s been a tough two years for gillnetters on Willapa Bay. Battered by increasing costs, stifled by stricter regulation and furious over fewer fishing days, commercial gillnetters have been gritting their teeth since 2015 when a new management plan was instituted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. As some in the industry were forced to sell their boats and find new work, others remain steadfast and galvanized in their resolve in calling for change in what they say has been mismanagement by WDFW officials in Olympia. Over the past three years, the commercial gillnetting industry on Willapa Bay has gone through a gauntlet of highs and lows. Record catches were celebrated during 2014 only to be followed by the devastating 2015 season that was largely stifled under new regulation. Read the story here 08:56

Oregons season delay doesn’t stop crab preparations

oregon-crab-prepAlthough Oregon’s crab season has been delayed indefinitely, many Brookings commercial fishermen on Tuesday continued preparing for the start of the season — whenever that may be.The season — which traditionally begins Dec. 1 — has been postponed due to elevated levels of the shellfish toxin Domoic acid found in crab off the coast of Garibaldi, a northern Oregon port. However, the season will open Thursday in and around Crescent City. “Some boats are fishing in California,” Brookings fisherman Willy Goergen, captain of the Catalyst fishing vessel, said Tuesday. “My crew’s on the gear pile, switching out pots and changing tags over, ropes — we’re going to have to fish a different area than we anticipated.” The California crab season is limited to the ocean from Crescent City to just north of Eureka. Some Brookings fishermen — those who have California permits — will go fishing over the border, but others will wait until the Oregon season opens. Read the story here 08:28

Coast Guard issues temporary safety zone near Morro Bay Harbor Entrance

coast guardThe Captain of the Port will be enforcing a temporary safety zone due to hazardous conditions in the vicinity of the Morro Bay Harbor entrance from November 29 –December 13, 2016. The safety zone will encompass all navigable waters from the surface to the sea floor near the inside and outside of the mouth of the Morro Bay Harbor entrance. This action is necessary to reduce significant hazards subject to the vessels, the harbor and the public during periods of poor weather conditions. The Coast Guard will energize the Morro Bay “Rough Bar Warning Light” to signify that rough bar conditions exist at the harbor’s entrance. No vessel or person is permitted to operate in the temporary safety zone unless authorized by the Captain of the Port or her designated representative. Read the rest here 20:18

Narragansett Fishermen Part Of New England Photography Exhibit at Fishing Heritage Center in New Bedford

hauling_twineConnecticut-based photographer Markham Starr has dedicated almost a decade to documenting New England’s fishing industry. His photos, featured in an exhibit at the Fishing Heritage Center in New Bedford, include a type of fishing unique to Rhode Island. Starr photographed fishermen across New England and says he took a special interest in the trap fishers of Point Judith in Narragansett. “It’s an ancient type of fishing,” said Starr. “They’ve been doing it probably 150 years in Rhode Island, and other traps like it go back even earlier. But there’s only three practitioners left, really, because it requires a lot of manpower.” The Fishing Heritage Center exhibit features black and white photographs of the Point Judith fishermen, as well as the commercial fishermen of Massachusetts and Maine. The exhibit at the Fishing Heritage Center in New Bedford is on display through January 17th Read the rest here 19:39

What went wrong on the Kaipara bar?

eight_col_francie_chartersOn Saturday, Francie captain Bill McNatty took what one local described as a ”coin toss” risk – to cross the Kaipara Harbour bar with 10 passengers on board. The result was deadly. Mr McNatty died along with seven of his passengers as the boat capsized. With a series of investigations under way, more details about the accident are emerging. They raise questions not just about Mr McNatty’s role, but the rules that govern charter fishing boats and lifejacket use. Another Kaipara Harbour boat charter operator, Tony Walles, claimed Mr McNatty was a “cowboy” who took “dangerous” risks. “Bill was a cowboy … bloody crazy,” he said. Read the story here. Then, there is , ‘the Queen of the Kaipara’. Flora Thirkettle has seen a lot of shipwrecks but none like this. The 88-year-old said last Saturday’s capsizing of The Francie charter boat has stunned the community and sounded a warning of just how “roaring” and “wild” the Kaipara seas could be. She has spent her life fishing by the old wrecks of the Kaipara Harbour, near the sandbar area known as the ‘graveyard’. Read the story here 15:54

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for November 28, 2016

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates, Click here 14:33

FISH-NL challenges FFAW to public debate

ffaw-clearyFISH-NL’s Ryan Cleary is challenging the leadership of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW) to a public debate, in the latest salvo between the two groups vying to represent the province’s fish harvesters. “Fish harvesters deserve answers, honesty, and a clear vision for the future — not yet more FFAW lies and deception,” said FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary in a news release on Monday. “Most fish harvesters do not trust the FFAW, or, as the union is better known these days, the ‘saltwater mafia.’ Cleary wants a debate to quash what he calls the “smears and fear mongering” by the FFAW around several issues, including that FISH-NL supports an end to the northern cod stewardship fishery. “The union has mutated into a business that prospers as the fishery dies at its feet,” Cleary said. The FFAW is gaining the support of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour in its ongoing war of words with FISH-NL. Read the rest here 11:37

Trawler crew vanishes without trace off Fraser Coast

missing-fisherman-grant-saintyThe Sunshine Coast prawn fishing fraternity fears a trawler and its crew that vanished without a trace off the Fraser Coast met a sudden and catastrophic end. The search for Mooloolaba-based Night Raider, which has not been heard from since November 12, was scaled back by authorities on Monday after an extensive operation that involved helicopters, police and volunteer marine rescue vessels and patrols of the shoreline and inlets. Veteran professional fisherman Grant Sainty, 60, has been identified as the skipper and devastated relatives and colleagues say it is out of character for him not to be in touch. Industry insiders told The Courier-Mail their game can be dangerous and a rollover while fishing, sudden sinking or fire could be to blame for the disappearance. One of Mr Sainty’s two crew has been revealed as Port Macquarie father-of-six Doug Hunt, 38, while a 24-year-old man also was on board. Read the story here 10:52

23-pound lobster caught in N.B.

23-pound-new-brunswick-lobsterA whopping 23-pound lobster was caught off the coast of St. Martin’s, New Brunswick. He’s estimated to be more than 100 years old. Alma Lobster Shop is home to the king critter but it might not be for long. “We’re not sure what we’re going to do with him yet,” Elizabeth Macdonald, who works at the shop, told CTV Atlantic. She suggested they may auction him or sell him and at $11 a pound, so he could fetch more than $230. Video, read the rest here 10:33

Sonoma Coast Dungeness crab season delayed

crabber-dick-ogg-bodega-bayThousands of crab traps, stacked six feet or higher, line the sides of Westshore Road surrounding the Spud Point Marina, a clear indication this year’s commercial Dungeness crab season along the North Coast is off to another rocky start. “Look at what’s happening at Spud Point — there’s probably 10,000 pots sitting out there. Those are guys who aren’t going out,” said Charlie Beck, a Bodega Bay fisherman who has been crabbing in the waters off the Sonoma Coast nearly 40 years. “Our small fishing fleet is getting destroyed. Last year was the worst season that we’ve ever seen, and this year it’s looking pretty bleak, especially for the smaller boats.” State health officials last week recommended an indefinite delay for Dungeness along a 180-mile stretch of coastal waters along Northern California, from Point Reyes in Marin County to Humboldt Bay in Mendocino County, dealing another blow to the North Coast’s lucrative wintertime crabbing season following last year’s 4½-month delay. Read the story here with 12 images 10:01

As anniversary nears, reports on deadly F/V Orin C sinking unfinished

Saturday will mark the one-year anniversary of the sinking of the Orin C and the death of Gloucester fisherman David “Heavy D” Sutherland, but the final federal reports on the deadly incident still will not be released until January. Representatives of the Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board on Monday confirmed the new timetable for releasing the findings of the separate investigations and restated the government’s intention to release the reports simultaneously. “We were really pushing to have a completed report before the anniversary of the tragedy to help bring some closure up here,” said Lt. Karen Kutiewicz of the Coast Guard’s District 1 Headquarters in Boston. “That was our goal. Unfortunately, it’s not the reality.”The draft of the Coast Guard’s internal casualty investigation was completed earlier this year and forwarded during the summer to Washington, D.C., for review by officials at Coast Guard headquarters. In July, the NTSB said it expected to release the conclusions of its investigation “sometime in the fall.” An NTSB spokesman on Monday said the agency has not yet concluded its investigation and does not expect to have the final report until mid-January. Read the story here 09:01

“Operation Broken Glass” – Three Men Plead Guilty for Illegally Harvesting and Selling American Eels

elversThree individuals pleaded guilty in federal district court in Charleston, South Carolina, to trafficking more than $740,000 worth of juvenile American eels aka “elvers” or “glass eels,” in violation of the Lacey Act.  Harry Wertan, Jr., Mark Weihe and Jay James each pleaded guilty to selling or transporting elvers in interstate commerce, which they had harvested illegally, or knew had been harvested illegally, in South Carolina. The pleas were the result of “Operation Broken Glass,” a multi-jurisdiction U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) investigation into the illegal trafficking of American eels.  To date, the investigation has resulted in guilty pleas for ten individuals whose combined conduct resulted in the illegal trafficking of more than $2.6 million worth of elvers. Operation Broken Glass was conducted by the USFWS and the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section in collaboration with 17 state and federal agency’s. Read the rest here 08:28

Dec. 1 – Scallop season opens with high hopes

smr_scalloping-042After an eight-month hiatus when, like summer tourists, the only scallops in local stores are “from away,” the Maine scallop fishing season is finally opening, at least for a handful of harvesters. All along the coastline, licensed scallop divers are allowed to start fishing for the succulent bivalves today, Thursday, Dec. 1. Dragger fishermen will have to wait to wet their gear until next Monday, Dec. 5. The season opens on an optimistic note. Over the past five years, scallop landings have increased steadily, from just over 175,000 pounds of scallop meats (about 1.5 million pounds in the shell) during 2011 to almost 453,000 pounds in 2015. According to Trisha Cheney, a resource management coordinator at the Department of Marine Resources, 635 harvesters—77 divers and 558 draggers–had licenses to fish for scallops last year and are eligible to get licenses in 2016. Of that group, Cheney said, 445 licensed harvesters actually participated in the fishery. There were, she said, 52 active divers, 373 active draggers and 20 “unknown” harvesters who DMR can’t identify as working in either category. In 2009, only 168 harvesters fished for scallops in Maine. Read the story here 21:32

North Carolina Commercial Fisherman Pleads Guilty to Illegally Harvesting and Selling Atlantic Striped Bass

The department-of-justice-logoannounced that today in federal court, James Ralph Craddock, 71, of Manns Harbor, pleaded guilty to federal charges regarding the illegal harvest and sale of Atlantic Striped Bass from federal waters off the coast of North Carolina in 2010. According to information in the public record, in February 2010, a Special Agent with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) received information that commercial trawlers were illegally fishing for Atlantic Striped Bass in federal waters off the coast of North Carolina. A single patrol vessel in the area intercepted one of 17 commercial trawlers in the EEZ, the fishing vessel Lady Samaira, boarded the vessel and found 173 Atlantic Striped Bass.  The captain later admitted to taking the fish from the EEZ. Given the other commercial trawlers in the same area, NOAA conducted an analysis of electronic data and written reports from those vessels.  Based on its review, NOAA determined that during the North Carolina 20-day ocean trawl season in January/February 2010, Craddock, then Captain of the 74-foot commercial fishing vessel Capt Ralph, harvested over 12,000 pounds of Atlantic Striped Bass. Read the rest here 19:50

The Bahamas: No Chinese Commercial Fishing Allowed

prime-minister-of-the-bahamas-perry-christieSpeculation having been rife for several weeks about the remote possibility of large-scale fishing in Bahamian waters by Chinese fishing vessels. The Prime Minister of The Bahamas, the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, has put the matter to rest in a statement released on November 22, 2016, unequivocally stating: “We are not going to compromise and no discussion will lead to a conclusion that this government would have contemplated or agreed for that to happen.” Christie emphatically stated in reports in the Nassau Guardian and Tribune daily newspapers that no mass commercial fishing will take place under foreign ownership. Christie said commercial fishing is reserved only for Bahamians, that there are no fisheries negotiations with the Chinese. The Prime Minister reiterated his government’s policy of conserving the Bahamas’ fisheries and natural resources. Read the rest here 18:47

FFAW claims harvesters revoking signed support for FISH-NL

ffaw-clearyThe president of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW) says some fish harvesters are having a change of heart about FISH-NL. In a news release Monday, Keith Sullivan said his union is being contacted by people who want to revoke their signatures on membership cards that supported Ryan Cleary’s breakaway group. “It’s become very clear that harvesters are not buying the hollow agenda of anger and division with no plan that FISH-NL is trying to sell,” said Sullivan. The release states the “surge” in requests to revoke signatures “comes at the same time as Cleary questioned whether there should be an inshore northern cod fishery at all this year.” Read the rest here 16:37

2017 Bristol Bay sockeye forecast in line with recent average

bristolbaysockeyesBristol Bay can look forward to a regular season in 2017 after two years of hard work, if the forecast is to be believed. Alaska’s largest sockeye run has blown past projections the last two years, but next year the Alaska Department of Fish and Game predicts an average harvest. “A total of 41.47 million sockeye salmon (range 31.20–51.73 million) are expected to return to Bristol Bay in 2017,” according to an ADFG report released Nov. 15. “This is virtually identical to the most recent 10-year average of Bristol Bay total runs (41.39) and 27 percent greater than the long-term mean of 32.76 million.” For commercial fishermen, this means next year’s harvest will also be average, with a commercial harvest of 29 million. “A Bristol Bay harvest of this size is 2 percent lower than the most recent 10-year harvest which has ranged from 15.43 million to 37.53 million, and 34 percent greater than the long-term harvest average of 20.52 million fish (1963 to present),” the report states. Read the rest here 15:14

Local crab hauls set to hit ports on Thursday; buying price set at $3 per pound

dungenesscrabThe following is a press release issued by the Humboldt Fishermen’s Marketing Association: fishermen in District 6 (North Jetty Humboldt Bay to Oregon Border) can begin setting crab pots today, but many local fishermen may stay tied up. Rough ocean conditions and a very large northwesterly swell forecast by the National Weather Service is expected to produce unsafe conditions on the ocean and Humboldt Bay Bar. Meanwhile, boats out of Trinidad and Crescent City will also begin setting pots. Dungeness crabs in District 6 have tested free of domoic acid (a naturally occurring compound) and are reported to be of exceptional quality with high meat recovery. District 6 is the only area north of Point Reyes, San Francisco open to crab fishing in California. Oregon could open as soon as December 15, and Washington State sometime later. Because of limited fishing area and high crab quality, the three local fishermen’s associations (Humboldt, Trinidad, and Crescent City) discussed the possibility of waiting to begin fishing in order to negotiate with crab buyers for a higher price. Unable to achieve consensus on the issue of price, the crab fleet will start fishing with an ex-vessel price of $3 per pound. The first local crabs of the season will be delivered to our ports on December 1st. Link 14:33

‘Dumping Day’ docked by blustery forecasts in effort to make lobster hunt safer

Safety is of the utmost importance to today’s lobster fishers. And safety holds special significance for old-timers to whom the precautionary measures are a mournful reminder of sailors who paid the ultimate price in pursuit of Canada’s most valuable sea-dwelling commodity. “We try to make Dumping Day safe as we can,” says longtime lobsterman Ashton Spinney. “Still, there’s danger … Unforeseen accidents happen. “Spinney is a member of the body that oversees Lobster Fishing Area 34 (LFA 34) in southwestern Nova Scotia — an approximately New Jersey-sized body of water that has the largest catches of Canada’s 41 lobster fishing districts. Canada’s billion-dollar lobster business remains the most lucrative fishery the country and a crucial economic engine on the East Coast, employing about 30,000 harvesters in the Atlantic provinces. Spinney, who is coming up on his 60th Dumping Day, says in his early years, fishers would set out to sea in up to 130 kilometre per hour winds, restricted only by time and nautical nerve. He says the rules have since changed to only allow boats to set sail if the weather permits safe travel. Contingencies like this have likely spared lives in recent years, Spinney says, but still today, every angler risks life and limb upon exiting the harbour. – Read the rest here 11:21

Fishermen’s federations adopt united stance on Brexit

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federationbertie armstrong (SFF) and the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) agreed the key outcomes they want from negotiations to leave the EU at a recent meeting in Edinburgh. The organisations say fishermen across the UK have welcomed Brexit as an opportunity to secure significant economic benefit for coastal communities once the UK regains control of its 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).  At the meeting it was agreed they would seek fairer shares of catching opportunity for UK vessels and full control over access to the UK EEZ by fishing fleets. They also want to see the creation of a “fit-for-purpose” management and regulation system, including a grass roots revision of fisheries management based on “sustainable harvesting and sound science.” The federations are calling for the establishment of mutually beneficial trading relationships with the EU and other countries. They also agreed that there must be no roll-over of the current Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and that negotiations regarding fisheries should not be entangled with non-fisheries issues. And they insist negotiations must benefit all sectors of the fishing industry, including inshore and offshore fleets, fish and shellfish. Read the rest here 09:52

Will Trump Be Able To Undo Papahanaumokuakea, Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monuments?

barry-obamaIn the months leading up to the Nov. 8 election, President Barack Obama signed a series of proclamations to dramatically increase the amount of land and water that is federally protected from commercial fishing, mining, drilling and development. On Aug. 24, he established a nearly 90,000-acre national monument in the Katahdin Woods of Maine. Two days later, Obama expanded Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands by 283 million acres, making it the world’s largest protected area at the time. And on Sept. 15, he created the first national monument in the Atlantic Ocean, protecting more than 3 million acres of marine ecosystems, seamounts and underwater canyons southeast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It’s mostly speculation at this point as to what Trump will do but groups on both sides of the issue are keeping a watchful eye on things. Advocates for commercial fishing interests on the East Coast have started nudging policymakers to consider what changes the next administration could make. But West Coast and Hawaii industry groups are still gathering information and developing plans. Read the rest here 08:47

Wanted: Lobstermen willing to try out life vests

ORA pfdThe Northeast Center for Occupational Health and Safety is asking New England lobstermen to help design a life jacket they would actually wear every day. It could be a matter of life or death. Researchers will visit Maine docks this winter to recruit fishermen to try out different kinds of personal flotation devices, or PFDs, for a month to determine which designs work best for daily use aboard a lobster boat. The lobstermen will be paid to test the life vest, and can keep it for their own use once they are done. “This isn’t about making lobstermen wear anything, telling them what to do or regulating anything,” said principal investigator Julie Sorensen of the Northeast Center. “It’s about making PFDs comfortable enough that fishermen want to wear them.” Statistics suggest it will be a hard sell, but well worth it. Researchers at the Northeast Center hope their PFD design study, which is being conducted with Fishing Partnership Support Services of Massachusetts, will help manufacturers tailor flotation devices to the lobster industry and convince fishermen a vest can save their lives without making them miserable or poor. In two years, they will return to the docks with the most popular design for nine-month trials. Read the article here 08:07

Commercial Fishing Boat Runs Aground in Montauk

dsc_0312A 55-foot commercial a commercial fishing dragger, the Miss Scarlett, based in New London, Conn., ran aground on the beach along Navy Road in Montauk at about 6 a.m. Sunday near high tide. There were no injuries reported. The crew of the Miss Scarlett remained onboard the stranded vessel until they were picked up by a skiff from another boat around noon. The stranded vessel, which was located just west of the Port Royal, became a destination for families who flocked to the beach to take pictures of it throughout the morning. Read the rest here 17:34

Two N.H. Fish and Game officers presented with Life Saving Award

url-1480266996Two New Hampshire Fish and Game officers were presented with the Fish and Game’s Life Saving Award for their courageous actions rescuing two fishermen from a burning lobster boat in June. “On behalf of the citizens of the state of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, we extend our sincere gratitude to these officers for their professionalism and exemplary performance under extreme circumstances. Thanks to their quick thinking and brave actions, two New Hampshire fisherman survived a life-threatening event,” said Fish and Game Law Enforcement Chief Kevin Jordan. On June 19, conservation officers Dale Gargac and Graham Courtney were patrolling the coast when they observed a boat on fire off the coast of Rye, officials said. When they arrived on scene, Gargac and Courtney found two fishermen in the water, suffering from the early stages of hypothermia while clinging to the stern of the burning boat, officers said. Read the story here 17:11

Threatened Catch

It’s the Sunday after Thanksgiving. And in case you’re tired of turkey, we have a helping of shrimp and a few questions. You may not think much about how the seafood gets to your plate.But the question of who’s catching it and where is at the center of a global controversy. To understand why, we head south to the Louisiana bayou. It’s where an industry that survived Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill is finding itself threatened with extinction by foreign competition. These fishermen could be Shrimpers Lost… and theirs could be a lesson for us all. Today we’re going shrimping in Venice, Louisiana. Acy Cooper is our guide. Sharyl Attkisson: How important is the shrimping business to your personally? Acy Cooper: It’s everything to me. You know, my family does it. My dad’s 80 years old, he still fishes. And my two boys has entered the business, and my daughter she married a fisherman. Louisiana’s shrimp industry has been a family affair for more than a century. Video, read the rest here 16:04

Fishing friends perrish aboard capsized New Zealand charter boat crossing the Kaipara Bar

eight_col_francie_chartersSeven men died and the search for one person who is presumed dead and the boat, the Francie, which capsized yesterday in Kaipara Harbour continued on Sunday. At a news conference this afternoon, Inspector Willie Fanene said everyone except for the skipper who was on board the capsized boat was of Pacific Island ethnicity. He said they were men aged between 31 and 59 and they were a group of friends who liked to go fishing together from time to time. One of the seven who died was the boat’s skipper, William McNatty, known as Bill. He said one person is still missing but it is likely this person has also died. Inspector Mark Fergus said three people who had been taken to hospital after the accident have now been discharged. He said one person is still missing but it is likely this person has also died. The vessel alerted the Coastguard that it was crossing the bar at 2pm yesterday afternoon, saying it was inbound across the Kaipara Bar with 11 people on-board, requesting a 60-minute watch. An hour later an alarm was sounded in the Coastguard Northern Region Operations Centre when the Bar Crossing Report expired. Read the story here 15:46

Lobster season on Nova Scotia’s southwest coast delayed by bad weather

ns-lobster-season-20121127-topixThe lobster season on Nova Scotia’s southwest coast has been delayed by one day due to high winds a rough seas. The season was supposed to start Monday but has been put off until Tuesday morning at 6 a.m., said Graeme Gawn president of local 9 with the Maritime Fishermen’s Union. “It’s always frustrating because everybody is ready to go and they want to go, but nobody wants to get hurt and nobody wants to see their crews get hurt.” Gawn said the Department of Fisheries and Oceans made the decision Sunday morning on a conference call. The first day of the lobster season, referred to as dumping day, is when fishermen first set their lobster traps, it’s considered one of the most dangerous days of the entire season. Most fishermen are more than happy to wait until the weather is more cooperative to head out on the water, said Gawn. Read the rest here 12:24

Effort to protect deep-sea coral has lobster industry on alert

10042762_h13584979-600x450Over 400 Maine lobstermen could lose their traditional fishing territory under a proposal to protect deep-sea corals in the Gulf of Maine. The New England Fishery Management Council is considering a plan that would ban fishing in four designated coral zones spanning about 161 miles of federal waters in the Gulf of Maine – Mount Desert Rock, Outer Schoodic Ridge, Jordan Basin and Lindenkohl Knoll. Here, often on steep rock walls deep under water where sunlight cannot penetrate, scientists have found dense, delicate and slow-growing coral gardens of sea whips, fans and pens. During the cold-weather months, when 52-year-old Jim Dow usually fishes for hard-shell lobsters in deep federal waters, his buoys will encircle Mount Desert Rock, where the lobster is so plentiful that boats will sail for hours to drop traps there. As a result, fishermen call it the Meeting Grounds. He said word is just starting to spread about the coral protection plan, but he said the fishermen he has talked with say they didn’t even know there was coral in the deep canyons below. Read the rest here 10:16

N.C. Wildlife Federation Rule Making Petition’s aim: Gear bans or resource protection?

5839c2dcc8bf6-imageA conservation organization’s request that the state adopt stricter rules for shrimping and recreational spot and croaker isn’t sitting well with a local seafood industry advocacy group. Jerry Schill, president of the N.C. Fisheries Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the state fishing industry, says the association thinks the petition for rulemaking from the N.C. Wildlife Federation, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the state’s natural resources, will lead to gear bans that could put shrimping in North Carolina in jeopardy. However, David Knight, NCWF policy consultant, said the petition is meant to protect fish and their habitat and actually assist fishing communities by doing so.  The Southern Environmental Law Center presented a petition for rulemaking, on behalf of the NCWF, to the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Nov. 17 in Kitty Hawk at the commission’s regular meeting. Read the rest here 08:57

How the privatization of our oceans is sinking fishermen

fish-market-bookThe town of St. George, off the Bering Sea near Alaska, was long home to some of the most robust pollock fishing in the country. But due to a fishing rights management scheme called “catch shares,” the town has no rights to fish its own waters and regularly watches their former industry literally pass them by. “Every year, the industry takes about $2 billion in gains out of this fish resource on the Bering Sea,” St. George Mayor Pat Pletnikoff tells Lee van der Voo in “The Fish Market.” “Not one plug nickel sticks to St. George.” Catch shares work by dividing our oceans just like any other physical property, creating theoretical property lines. Then the rights to fish different species in various sections are awarded to applicants — which could be individuals or companies — based on how much fish they catch over a certain period of time. While catch shares are credited with greater species management — the US government found in 2007 that of 230 species of fish, 92 were going quickly extinct due to overfishing — the catch-shares program has virtually privatized our oceans, destroying the livelihoods of many lifelong fishermen and other small businesses in the process. Read the rest here 08:14

Statute Unveiled – Brixham honours fishermen lost at sea

A statue to honour those lost at sea has been unveiled at one of the UK’s last fishing ports after a decade of fundraising. It took residents in Brixham, Devon, 10 years to raise the £76,000 needed. Artist Elizabeth Hadley was commissioned to create the bronze life-size Man and Boy statue. Eighty-three British commercial fishermen died in the past decade at sea, according to the Marine Accident Investigation Branch. Victoria Bowen, who helped fundraise said: “It’s a high-risk industry and it’s important people remember what these guys face when they are bringing home what they call ‘the silvery harvest’.” Read the rest here with 19:00

Coast Guard, Washington State Department of Ecology respond to sunken vessel in Westport, Wash.

Coast Guard and Washington State Department of Ecology crews responded to a 41-foot vessel that sank at the Westport Marina, Friday. Coast Guard Incident Management Division personnel, from Coast Guard Sector Columbia River in Warrenton, are monitoring salvage and clean up efforts as Ballard Marine Construction response contractors start to remove fuel from the vessel Saturday. Watchstanders at Coast Guard 13th District Command Center in Seattle received a notification at 12:52 a.m., Friday, from the emergency position indicating radio beacon aboard the vessel Charlotte. A crew from Coast Guard Station Grays Harbor investigated the location of the beacon and found the sunken vessel, while watchstanders were able to contact the vessel owner and confirm they were safe elsewhere. Read the rest here 16:56

N.C. Commercial fishermen needed to help clean up fishing gear in coastal waters

ne_crabpot-900x506The North Carolina Coastal Federation is currently accepting applications from commercial fishermen interested in assisting with an on-water cleanup of lost fishing gear from coastal waters. To qualify, watermen must have a valid Standard Commercial Fishing License and guarantee availability for work during the period of Jan. 18 through Feb. 7. They must also attend a mandatory training session to learn general project protocol and how to use project equipment. Compensation is $400 per boat, per day. Each boat is required to have two people onboard for safety reasons. In some locations, more than one week of work could be possible for those accepted to this program. Read the rest here, including contact info 15:04

Dumping Day Update: Weather delays opening

American-lobsterForecast rain, snow and wind have delayed the opening of the lobster season in southwest Nova Scotia. A decision was made midday Saturday not to go ahead with Monday’s “dumping day” in lobster fishing Areas 33 and 34. Officials will decide on Sunday morning whether Tuesday should be dumping day. Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Halifax, Lunenburg and Queens counties because of a low pressure system that’s expected to bring rain and snow over the weekend. Boats piled high with lobster traps in area 34 were to leave the wharves at 6 a.m. Monday and at 7 a.m. Monday in area 33. The province is reminding people who make their living on the water to be safe. Read the rest here 13:35

Crab pots set to drop

dungeness-crabSpirits were high at the Crescent City Harbor as fishermen prepared crab pots and loaded gear onto boats Friday.  Del Norte’s commercial Dungeness fishery is scheduled to open on time next week despite a delay to the season between according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Local crabbers will be able to drop their pots at 8 a.m. Monday and retrieve their catch starting at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. “We’re very excited to go fishing after the catastrophe last year,” said Richard Nehmer, who was loading more than 400 crab pots onto his fishing vessel, “Resolution.” “The crab were excellent quality when they did the pre-season quality test,” Nehmer said. “They’re ready to harvest.” Last year’s delay to the crab fishery left many in the industry, including local fisherman Mike Diehl, struggling to make ends meet. “Right now I’m six months behind in rent,” Diehl said. “I used to have a pickup truck and a couple cars; I’ve had to sell off most of that stuff. I’ve pretty much been living without any heat in the house for the last four or five months, which was OK until this last month. There’s no money to be spent on anything; no Christmas, reduced birthdays.” Read the story here 11:16

Prospect of “China” fisheries deal still of great concern for Bahamians

christie-peter_w300Since Agriculture and Marine Resources Minister V. Alfred Gray gave permission for Bahamian Ambassador to China Paul Andy Gomez to discuss further a $2.1 billion proposal for an agriculture/fisheries project with the Chinese government, the matter has been a hot topic in the country. The proposal, if approved would allow the Bahamas government to lease up to a total of 10,000 acres of crown land in Andros to 100 companies owned 50-50 by Bahamians and the Chinese. On social media and openly in public it is clear that this proposal has not struck home well, and as a result ‘Black Friday Marches’ have been organized to allow persons to show the growing concern with regard to this proposal that has sparked considerable fear. Grand Bahama resident and politician, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Member of Parliament for East Grand Bahama, K. Peter Turnquest expressed his views to The Freeport News. Read the story here 09:48

Weather may delay opening of lobster season

American-lobsterRain, snow and wind could delay the opening of the lobster season in southwest Nova Scotia. Lobster Fishing Areas 33 and 34 are expected to make a decision about whether to go ahead with Monday’s “dumping day” late Saturday morning. Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Halifax, Lunenburg and Queens counties because of a low pressure system that’s expected to bring rain and snow over the weekend. But if the weather is fine, boats piled high with lobster traps in LFA 34 will leave the wharves at 6 a.m. and in LFA 33, at 7 a.m. Whether or not fishermen will be setting their traps on Monday, the province is reminding people who make their living on the water to be safe. Read the rest here 08:52

Carlos ‘Codfather’ Rafael, Bristol County sheriff’s deputy seek seperate trials

carlos rafaellNew Bedford fishing kingpin Carlos Rafael and the Bristol County sheriff’s deputy indicted as Rafael’s co-defendant each are seeking to be tried separately in U.S. District Court in Boston. Rafael, known widely as “The Codfather” because of his vast New Bedford fishing assets and waterfront holdings, and Antonio M. Freitas, the Bristol County deputy sheriff, are scheduled to stand trial together on Jan. 9. Attorneys for both men filed separate motions with the court earlier this week to sever the cases. The motions also seeks to have the court try each defendant separately, each claiming the other’s statements to law enforcement officials would injure their own cases if tried together. Both men have pleaded not guilty to the charges. “A joint trial presents a serious risk of compromising Mr. Rafael’s Sixth Amendment confrontation rights in light of incriminating evidence made to law enforcement by Mr. Freitas,” William Kettlewell, Rafael’s defense attorney, wrote in his motion to U. S. District Court Judge William Young. “Moreover, severance in this case would not be administratively burdensome as the defendants are jointly named in only one of 28 counts alleged in the indictment.” Read the story here 08:14

Northern cod plan kept from harvesters, FISH-NL’s Ryan Cleary says, FFAW Fires Back

ryan-cleary-st-john-sAlmost six months after the FFAW and a number of seafood processors pitched it to the federal government, the breakaway group says it has obtained a copy of the 2016 Northern Cod Management Plan. Ottawa approved the plan in early August. Despite numerous public requests, the FFAW refused to release a copy to its membership, FISH-NL said in a news release Friday. “The stewardship plan is the most important document involving northern cod since the 1992 moratorium and not only weren’t fish harvesters consulted, the final plan was kept secret from them,” FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary said. Harvesters around the province have complained they weren’t consulted before the plan was handed down. Read the rest here. FFAW Press Release – Today, FISHNL’s Ryan Cleary called into question whether there should be an inshore northern cod fishery. Read the press release here 13:58

Provincial investment ‘absolutely necessary’ for massive Placentia Bay $230-million aquaculture project

aqua-maof-group-marystown-sea-cagesThe companies behind a massive aquaculture project proposed for say government investment is “absolutely necessary,” but Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Steve Crocker says the province will not be rushed into a decision. A spokesman for Grieg NL Nurseries and Grieg NL Seafarms told CBC News Thursday that an equity share in the $230-million project will be a “safe” investment for the province. “This is an excellent investment which will grow and pay the province back tenfold in both taxation and employment,” said Greig’s Perry Power.When asked if the project’s sanctioning hinges on an infusion of government money, Power said “my understanding has always been, in the position that I’m in, that the province’s involvement is absolutely necessary.” Grieg wants to construct the world’s largest salmon hatchery in Marystown, and create 11 “escape-proof” cage sites in Placentia Bay. Read the rest here 13:04

The real reason why you’re suddenly seeing whales in N.J. and N.Y. waters

menhadenWhales. They’ve been seemingly everywhere. Breaching just past the sandbars in Asbury Park. Swimming past groups of surfers in Rockaway Beach. Besides inspiring a chorus of oohs and aahs, the increase in sightings is adding a blubbery new wrinkle to a raging debate over a far smaller fish: the Atlantic menhaden. It’s the menhaden, also known as “bunker” — clumsy, multidinous, slow swimming virtual floating hamburgers — that those whales are chasing. But the story of why Atlantic menhaden is suddenly so plentiful is a complicated — and controversial — one, pitting environmentalists and anglers against commercial fishing operations, with both sides claiming science is on their side. Read the story here 12:33

Acclaimed British Biologist Birdwatcher Charged with Spying on Houseguests

courtney-stevenSteven Courtney — an acclaimed British biologist formerly associated with UCSB’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) — faces up to four years in prison for allegedly installing multiple hidden cameras in the bedroom and shower of a Montecito house he sublet to acquaintances. Last month, a tenant called the police after finding a miniature camera disguised as a household electronic device in the house she rented from Courtney, who is 61. A subsequent police search of Courtney’s computer and cell phone files showed he had been viewing the footage for apparent sexual gratification for about a year, police said. Courtney was not formally employed by the NCEAS, but he had rented a desk at its downtown collaborative space for two years; as such, he was granted adjunct status. After the case was filed, said Ben Halpern, the center’s director, he immediately severed ties with him. According to Courtney’s LinkedIn page, he also has offices in Washington, D.C. He has held leadership roles at nonprofits that seek to influence public policy. He is also an ardent birdwatcher, among other things! Read the rest here 10:07

What’s on a real roll? Demand for the Maine lobster

The demand for lobster is on a roll — often literally. And that is helping to keep the price that Maine lobstermen are getting for their catch near historic highs. The annual per-pound price first rose above $4 in 2004 and stayed there through 2007, then fell sharply during the recession. In 2015, annual price paid to Maine lobstermen reached $4.09 a pound, the first time it had topped the $4 mark since 2007. This year, dockside prices for lobster have been close to or above the $4 level throughout the summer and fall, when most lobster is caught and prices usually dip to reflect the ample supply. Isle au Haut lobsterman Payson Barter said that he has been getting prices this fall that are “about the same” as those in 2015. He sells his catch to Little Bay Lobster in Stonington for $4 to $5 per pound. He said the relatively warm water this fall has helped increase the number of lobsters close to shore but that the crustaceans are now making their seasonal migration farther out to sea. Read the rest here 09:29

Crabbing halted off Oregon coast

oregon-dept-agricultureState agriculture officials in Oregon have shut down commercial and recreational crabbing along the entire coast because of high levels of domoic acid found in the crabs’ flesh. The says the ban includes the harvest of Dungeness and red rock crab in bays and estuaries, off docks, piers, jetties and in the ocean. Consumption of domoic acid can result in dizziness, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea. More severe cases can result in memory loss and death. Closure of the crab season last year along the Pacific coast due to domoic acid contamination caused crabbers to lose millions. Despite the delay, crab and shellfish products sold in retail markets and restaurants remain safe for consumers. Link 08:40

Glow-in-the-dark rope a lifesaver at sea, Halifax maker says

night-saver-ropeMatthew Moore is no stranger to the Atlantic Ocean where he spent many days fishing for fun as he grew up in Halifax. But he has also seen just how treacherous the sea can be. When he was 20, he lost a friend to it. That tragedy instilled in Mr. Moore a keen interest in marine safety. He serviced lifesaving appliances such as life rafts and lifebuoys (personal flotation devices with a buoyant rope attached) on the East Coast before moving to New Zealand to run a marine-safety company for several years. When Mr. Moore heard about a Swiss-made synthetic, luminescent fibre, a light bulb went on. He secured the sole rights to that material and, along with his father, developed a buoyant rope that glows in the dark. With it, he’s hoping to propel his company, Canada Rope and Twine Ltd., to commercial success while saving lives at the same time. Read the story here 08:14

A father and son in St. Bernard Parish have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving

father-son-thanksgivingThey said they almost died after their shrimp boat sank. After being stranded for hours, they were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard when another boater called for help. WDSU obtained video shot by the Coast Guard of the moment Daniel Scott and his stepfather, Joseph Mitchell, were rescued on Lake Borgne in Hopedale Saturday. “I broke down night before last after we got home,” Mitchell said. “I cried and I cried thinking about losing my son’s life.” The two were out shrimping. Winds picked up, the waves started crashing and the boat started sinking. “In a matter of seconds, Jo, my stepdad said, ‘Grab the life preservers,’ which we did,” Scott said. “I climbed out the window pulled him out the window. By that time the boat was under and we climbed up and hung out for about five hours and realized there is nobody out there to help us.” Video, read the story here 17:23

Southeast rivers are economic gold mine

An economic study commissioned by Salmon Beyond Borders concludes that transboundary watersheds facing potential adverse impact from British Columbia mines are valued at just under $1 million, when considering a 30-year horizon. The study by the McDowell Group, a Juneau research and consulting firm, measures the economic impact of the Taku, Stikine and Unuk river watersheds on the Southeast Alaska economy. The study found that, combined, these watersheds account for $48 million in direct spending, 400 jobs for the Southeast region and nearly $20 million in labor income. The study, released in late November, also estimated the exvessel value and first wholesale value of Mass and Skeena River sockeye salmon caught commercially as $620,000 and over $1.3 million respectively. Salmon Beyond Borders is a campaign driven by sport and commercial fish harvesters, community leaders, tourism and recreation business owners and concerned citizens, in collaboration with tribes and First Nations on both sides of the international border. Read the story here 12:44

Letter: We’ve seen the future, and it’s land-based – John McCarthy

nl-aquaculture-fish-farming-cage-open-water-20130927I write in response to a letter written by Leon Fiander from Marystown on Oct. 18, “Will Placentia Bay aquaculture affect native salmon?” Our group, Salmon Preservation Association for the Waters of Newfoundland (SPAWN), has met with Environment Minister Perry Trimper and provincial officials, executive director Mark Lane and other officials of the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association, Gudie Hutchings, MP for Long Range Mountains, and others. We have tried to establish exactly what is being proposed for aquaculture in Placentia Bay. We have a good track record of meeting and working with industry to mitigate potential environmental issues and have worked out of the public eye with Kruger and other industries successfully over the years. We continue to correspond with Mark Lane regarding the interaction between aquaculture and our environment. Fiander’s letter appears to us to be more like a job application than an actual letter of approval for Placentia Bay sea-cage aquaculture. Read the rest here 12:08

Queensland’s trawling industry under threat over low scallop numbers

6123326-3x2-700x467Scallop fishers have been told the Federal Government may step in and restrict fishing and exports for the entire trawling industry in Queensland if stock numbers do not dramatically improve. The warning came at a meeting at Bundaberg, which was the culmination of two days worth of talks between industry and the State Government about the dire state of the scallop stock. Fisheries Minister Bill Byrne announced last week he would close stock replenishment areas (SRAs) and introduce a winter spawning closure, in the wake of a stock assessment that put the biomass level at 6 per cent of 1977 levels. But emotional, frustrated and at times hostile fishermen and processors disputed the assessment. The industry has questioned how a fishery that had been managed for decades could end up in this position. Stephen Murphy, from Hervey Bay Cold Stores, said the fishing industry should not bear all the blame for the situation, saying climate and environmental issues also played a part. “Especially things like the Gladstone dredging. As soon as they started that dredging for the LNG project, they dumped millions and millions of tonnes of spoil from that harbour on to pretty well the best scallop grounds in Queensland,” he said. Read the article here 11:18

Sometimes the opening of lobster fishing off southwestern Nova Scotia goes off without a hitch. And sometimes not.

lobster-startsIn the present day, there are 979 licences in Lobster Fishing Area (LFA) 34, which is slated to see its season start with Dumping Day on Monday, Nov. 28. The neighbouring LFA 33 along the province’s south shore also opens the same day. As fishermen gear up for the start of another lobster season, he’s a look back at some season starts of years gone by. 2015: Good start, good price Last year’s lobster season got off to a good start with decent opening day weather and better yet, a better price than in previous years. Fishermen were being paid around $6 a pound for their landings. 2014: Six-day weather delay,,, Read the rest here 10:05

Baltimore Canyon Urban National Marine Sanctuary process will go forward

baltimore-canyon-smallA month ago, the National Aquarium launched a petition to establish the 28-mile long underwater rift as its first Urban National Marine Sanctuary. The designation would help protect the rare deep-sea coral and ecosystem in the Baltimore Canyon by restricting offshore exploration for minerals, oil and gas. Since the canyon is one of the cornerstones of Ocean City’s fishing industry and, hence, its tourism market, sports fishing advocates have been pushing back on the designation. That culminated in a two-hour forum last week. Charter boat captain Franky Pettolina, the Ocean City Marlin Club president, saw the summit as a symbol of goodwill, but thought that the marine community argued in vain. Under the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, any action that removes, injures or damages any sanctuary resource, fish included, are prohibited. National Aquarium Director of Conservation Laura Bankey, who attended the meeting, said people will still be able to fish if the Baltimore Canyon is made a marine sanctuary. “Unlike land conservation areas, everything is allowed to continue until it is closed off [in a marine sanctuary],” Bankey said. “Sanctuaries are supposed to be multi-use areas. It’s our intention that recreation and commercial fisheries will be able to use these just like they do today.” Read the rest here 09:14

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving  For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, For love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends. – Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Enviros Stressed! How We Can Defend the Ocean now that Trump Will Be at the Helm of the Ship of State

helvarg-pic-militant-kayakersLike a rogue wave the Election Day victory of Donald Trump for President has left about half the nation stunned and the other half giddy. Among those most worried – environmentalists who are girding for a long series of battles around climate and expecting attacks on keystone agencies, executive orders and legislation including pollution emission standards, the Clean Water Act and the EPA. As Ocean conservationists we face huge challenges including the prospect of the National Ocean Policy being deep sixed. President Obama launched this in 2010 with the intent to encourage closer collaboration between federal agencies and to coordinate ocean uses at the regional level. What former Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen called, “putting urban planning into the water column.” Still, some Republicans consider it the Obamacare of the Ocean so there’s a strong likelihood it will be scuttled. We can also expect continued Senate inaction on ratifying the Law of the Seas Convention, the UN treaty by which most of the world’s nations agree on issues relating to navigation, scientific exploration and territorial claims on and below the ocean.  Hillary Clinton had pledged to see it passed if she became President but some Senate Republicans see it as a UN power grab. Because of this, we expect the U.S. to remain a non-signatory power. Read the rest here 16:54