Daily Archives: November 3, 2016

Veteran New Bedford fisherman Rodney Avila leads off speaking series at Fishing Heritage Center

rodney-avilaWith a lifelong career in commercial fishing and fishing safety, Rodney Avila is a man everyone on the waterfront knows. On Wednesday night, he drew on his considerable expertise in a genial and well-informed talk at the Fishing Heritage Center about life in the fishing industry. His was the first in what will be a series of talks on all aspects of commercial fishing at the fledgling center. He brought out about 20 people, some elderly, some in their 50s and 60s and almost all of them associated with the industry, to hear him explain just how a fishing boat worked. Avila, who began fishing at 9 years old, was so determined to go on a fishing trip to Georges Bank that he said he pestered his parents into giving him permission. At 13 he went to Georges Bank as a birthday present, setting him on a course that would last for 47 years. “They did it just to have peace in the house,” he said. Avila was asked to tell the step-by-step process that gets a boat to sea and gets it back again without trouble, which wasn’t always the case. Video, read the rest here 19:43

Britain’s High Court deals blow to UK Brexit hopes

Brexit-jpgBritain’s prime minister cannot trigger Brexit single-handedly, the country’s High Court has ruled, in a decision that embarrassed the government and gave new hope to ‘Remainers’. After a high-stakes argument over the balance of power between Parliament and the Crown, the court ruled unanimously that the ‘royal prerogative’ did not give the government power to start the legal process of taking Britain out of the European Union. Prime minister Theresa May had planned to trigger the ‘Article 50’ treaty exit clause by the end of March, but must now first seek the approval of parliament. This will open the door to Remainers who wish to dilute or even block Brexit. Read the story here 17:11

Scottish Fishermen’s Federation opposes compulsory wearing of lifejackets for commercial fishermen.

ORA pfdThe MAIB said that the four fishermen who lost their lives during three accidents off Orkney, the Western Isles and Pembrokeshire could all have survived had they been wearing personal floating devices (PFDs). With the loss of nine fishermen at sea so far this year, the MAIB said the rate with which fishermen were losing their lives by drowning was showing no sign of abating. Safety officer for the SFF, Derek Cardno said an industry-led a scheme to supply PFDs to every fisherman in Scotland had a strong uptake. He added: “We are not convinced that making the wearing of a PFD a mandatory requirement will make the sole difference that is required. “We believe it is much better to focus on education and creating a new mind-set among fishermen. Read the rest here 13:53

Fishermen urged to be prepared and train for emergencies even before leaving the wharf

When you’ve got someone overboard in the water, that’s not the time to find out you’re not prepared to get them quickly and safely back on the boat. It’s for this reason fishermen are encouraged to be prepared before even leaving the wharf. And it’s for this reason that man overboard drills have been held in some fishing ports in advance of the upcoming LFA 34 lobster season off southwestern Nova Scotia. “We call it ‘Are you ready?’ because as people are getting their boats and their gear and all of their equipment ready, we want them to also make sure all of their safety equipment and training and their crew is ready as well,” says Stewart Franck of the Fisheries Safety Association of Nova Scotia. “People need to be prepared in the event of an emergency.” Franck says PDFs are required to be worn and safety equipment needs to be on boats. Read the story here 11:18

Key FISH-NL organizer (alledgedly) threatened ‘bloodshed’ at union meeting, says FFAW employee

ffaw-fish-nl-threatsAn FFAW employee says she was threatened with violence after a man wearing a FISH-NL hat split a table during a meeting of union members in Fortune on Tuesday. “He repeatedly pounded on the table, yelling about inches from our faces,” said Dwan Street, a project coordinator for FFAW. “It then escalated to the point where he charged the table repeatedly into myself and a colleague.” Street said the man “uttered threats, very vulgar threats” during the meeting and shouted “I will rip off your head and shit down your neck.” She said the man also told her that “before this is all said and done here today there will be bloodshed and it won’t be mine.” Richard Gillett, vice president of FISH-NL, during an FFAW membership meeting in Twillingate on Wednesday night that was run by Street. He said he didn’t know if the threats were true and had to look into the FFAW’s allegations from the meeting in Fortune further.  “I’m sure some of these meetings get hot and everything – but to the extent of death threats?” said Gillett. Read the rest here 10:28

Wellfleet shellfish ban a blow to fishermen

domoic-acid-massThe ban on shellfish harvesting in Wellfleet Harbor issued on Oct. 13 because of a norovirus outbreak will continue through at least Nov. 17, according to last Friday’s update from the Mass. Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF). The initial closure notice, which also ordered the recall of shellfish harvested from Sept. 26 onward, said the ban would last at least 21 days. That period has now been lengthened to at least five weeks. “There are at least 200 families who depend directly on shellfishing,” said Alex Hay, who heads Wellfleet Shellfish Company, a large wholesaler. “Anyone who depends on shellfish for a living is feeling this. As wholesalers, we are being asked to issue credit on oysters we’ve had to withdraw. So, yes, we are losing money and even having to lay people off. Meanwhile growers are not seeing the income they count on to run their businesses.” Read the story here 08:39

Coast Guard crews rescue 4 people, dog from burning boat

The US Coast Guard rescued four people and a dog from vessel explosion near St. Simons Island Sound. According to the Coast Guard, the fishing vessel caught fire and exploded Thursday around 3:53 a.m. ” The fishing vessel Predator stated it was on fire and was going to abandon ship. The command center in Brunswick contacted station Brunswick crew and launched a 45 foot response boat to the location. When they left the station and got in the channel they saw the fishing vessel explode,” said Petty Officer First Class Luke Clayton. “They were able to hone in on the location immediately. They were able to recover the crew and their dog at about 4:25 a.m.,” said Clayton. EMS crews were on standby, ready to evaluate injuries to the crew members. “We’re concerned about smoke inhalation. But injuries were minor,” said Clayton.  Read the rest here 08:16

Marine Accidents Investigation Branch: Make wearing lifejackets on fishing boats compulsory

ORA pfdThe wearing of lifejackets on commercial fishing boats should be made compulsory, accident investigators have said. This year had been “particularly bad” for drownings, the Marine Accidents Investigation Branch (MAIB) warned. It had launched investigations into nine deaths of commercial fishermen who were on UK registered vessels in 2016 so far. The MAIB’s chief inspector of marine accidents, Steve Clinch, said: “The MAIB rarely recommends the introduction of new legislation to solve safety problems, but the rate that commercial fishermen are losing their lives due to drowning shows no sign of reducing. “Indeed, this has been a particularly bad year: the MAIB has investigated the deaths of nine commercial fishermen, and today is publishing three reports covering the deaths of four. But he claimed this message “is not getting home” despite a three-year campaign which has seen almost every commercial fisherman receive a free lifejacket. Read the story here 07:26