Daily Archives: November 17, 2016

Our opportunity: Modernization of the North Pacific Fishing Fleet

The fishing fleet in the North Pacific and Bering Sea, much of which is homeported here, needs to be replaced. Leaders are pushing for Washington to get its share of that business. Seattle’s homeowners aren’t the only ones getting grayer. The fleet that is the backbone of Washington’s fishing industry is getting older, too. Vessels average 40 years old, although their ages vary widely. Of the 5,000 ships at work off Alaska, 414 of these federally permitted vessels are more than 58 feet in length. A total of 175 were built in the 1970s. Replacing them will be a mammoth undertaking, but the state could see big benefits if it captures some of the action. Mark Gleason of the Maritime Federation said, “Our members see this as a huge opportunity, for ports, shipowners, seafood companies, labor, shipyards, naval architecture firms… It’s one of the biggest opportunities to come to this region in maritime in decades.” Read the story here Read the 63 page McDowell Report Click here 17:59

Sanctuary Idea Flawed – Renee Kelly

baltimore-canyon-smallI write in response to the recent story headlined, “Fishing Industry Voices Concern With Possible Offshore Sanctuary Idea; Official Provisions Sought Before Designation Considered.” My husband is a commercial fisherman who used to fish the Straits of Florida. This is exactly the tactics that were used and exactly how the procedure started in Florida. That area, within six months, became a National Sanctuary, closed to all commercial fishing. I am not sure about the sport or recreational fishing. The first article about this in The Dispatch noted something about [the National Aquarium] would allow “appropriate” commercial fishing and recreational fishing in the Baltimore Canyon after this designation (if approved by vote on their website). Who deems what “appropriate” means? They will shut down the entire commercial fishing area regardless. This is the beginning of the end. Commercial fishermen are already taxed, permitted and regulated to near death. Now they will be evicted from their place of work. Read the rest here (scroll down a bit when it opens) 16:18

Fisheries group wants PEI lobster marketed as Canadian product

lobsterDM0811_468x521The Eastern Kings Fishermen’s Association is determined to have PEI lobster marketed as a Canadian product rather than specifically Island sourced. The Lobster Marketing Board (LMB) is getting set to promote the sale of the PEI commodity through funds collected through the lobster levy. At the same time the Eastern Kings Fishermen’s Association (EKFA) is putting its support behind the Lobster Council of Canada (LLC), whose mandate is to promote the product regionally. Fishermen who attended Monday’s annual meeting of the EKFA unanimously agreed to make a $6,000 donation to the LCC and buy a membership into the organization, thus having the distinction of being the first PEI fishermen’s local organization to become a member. The motion, put forward by fisherman Michael MacDonald, was in part due to the concern fishermen have over PEIFA marketing PEI lobster on its own over the last couple of years under the Master Lobster Brand. Read the rest here 15:25

Editorial: Fish and Wildlife must continue gillnetting on the Columbia

gillnetter, youngs bayIt was good to see at last week’s Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting in Salem that Lower Columbia River commercial fishermen still have a fire in the belly to preserve their way of life. Jobs that produce original economic value are increasingly precious things in rural America. Salmon have been a source of family income in places like Astoria, Warrenton and Ilwaco, Wash., for generations. Fishermen have invested lifetimes and life savings in the boats, gear, permits and expertise needed to carefully tend gillnets, which have been fine-tuned for more than a century to catch their intended targets while preserving naturally spawning salmon and other nontargeted species. Read the Op-ed here 14:24

New Trawl Avoids Cod

ulot_webA new fishing net has been designed in New England, US, which avoids catching cod while retaining flatfish, reports Gulf of Maine Research Institute. The net was designed in response to the drastic reduction in catch quotas for Gulf of Maine cod. The reduced quotas have made it difficult to target other species that are more abundant. The ultra low opening trawl (ULOT) has a smaller vertical opening than a typical trawl net; just over 2 feet compared to the 6-foot opening in standard nets. This design allows for cod to swim up and over the net, escaping capture. Read the rest here. – Read more about this – Ultra-Low-Opening Groundfish Trawl Development This project is a collaboration with scientists (Mike Pol – MA DMF; Chris Glass – UNH; Pingguo He – SMAST), fishermen (Jim Ford – F/V Lisa Ann III; Dan Murphy – F/V Bantry Bay, Tom Testaverde – F/V Midnight Sun) and a net maker (Jon Knight – Superior Trawl). Click here to read 13:31

Coast Guard still investigating F/V Alaska Juris sinking

alaskan-juris-1020x733It’s been four months since the F/V Alaska Juris sank in the Bering Sea, and the U.S. Coast Guard is still trying to figure out why its engine room flooded, forcing 46 crew-members to abandon ship near Kiska Island. Lt. Rven Garcia leads the investigations division for Coast Guard Sector Anchorage. He said investigators have scheduled two weeks of public hearings in Seattle to determine why the 220-foot trawler went down. “Since the sinking, the investigation team has identified witnesses and developed theories as to what caused it,” Garcia said. “So the hearing is a kind of public forum to interview those witnesses and fully explore those theories.” Those theories and the names of the witnesses won’t be made public until the hearings in December. But Garcia said there’s a reason the interviews are happening in Seattle. “That’s where the vessel was home-ported, the owners are home-ported there, and a lot of the crew-members are from Seattle,” Garcia said. Read the rest here 13:08

Major fire rips through Nova Scotia seafood plant

A major fire has caused extensive damage at a waterfront fish processing plant on Nova Scotia’s eastern shore. Brad Connors, a division commander with the Halifax regional fire department, said a call came in at about 9:20 p.m. Wednesday that the Capital Seafood plant in Fisherman’s Cove in Eastern Passage was on fire. He said firefighters initially had to stay outside the large structure and douse it with water because of the size of the fire, which quickly spread to the attic and breached the roof. He estimated the building was about 15 metres by 38 metres and contained equipment the international seafood retailer and exporter uses for processing fish. No one from the company was available for comment, but the Capital Seafood website says it does between $10 million and $50 million in sales a year and employs up to 50 people. Atlantic Canada Exports says Capital Seafood produces crab, halibut, lobster, shrimp, swordfish and bluefin tuna, with markets in Asia, Germany, Europe, the States, the U.K. and Canada. Read the rest here 10:21

Commercial Dungeness crab season under way in the Bay Area

After a fair amount of nail-biting about whether the season would open on time, commercial fishers brought their first haul of Dungeness crab to Bay Area docks Tuesday afternoon. The shellfish should arrive in restaurants as early as Wednesday and in fish markets later this week, meaning Bay Area families can return to the tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving with platters of freshly steamed and cracked Dungeness crab. Fishers and processors negotiated a price of $3 per pound to fishers, on top of which processors add delivery and labor costs. Crab boats began dropping their pots in the ocean Monday and were allowed to start pulling them up at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. “There’s some pretty good quality,” said Nick Gunnarsson, a deckhand on the New Rayann, while unloading 8,000 pounds of fresh crab on Pier 45. Read the rest here 09:24

Massachusetts Environmental Police mum on identity of accused lobsterman

lobster-sizeThe Massachusetts Environmental Police said Wednesday it is not naming the lobsterman for whom it is seeking a criminal summons for allegedly unloading 183 illegal lobsters last Tuesday at a local lobster wholesaler. Major Patrick Moran of the Environmental Police said it is the department’s policy not to divulge the name of the lobsterman or the vessel until its officers have the opportunity to go before the clerk magistrate at Gloucester District Court. “That is our policy and I don’t see it changing,” Moran said. “We still have to protect people who may be innocent.” Moran did confirm the lobsters were landed at Captain Joe & Sons Wholesale Lobster Co. in East Gloucester, but said the wholesale lobster dealer does not share any culpability in the alleged massive violations that included 183 illegal lobsters — 144 undersized, 37 v-notched and two egg-bearing — from the 550 lobsters the unidentified vessel landed. “We are not holding the wholesaler responsible, the reason being they hadn’t taken the lobsters into their possession,” Moran said. “There already was a federal officer on the scene and the vessel was gone by the time they started inspecting the lobsters.” Read the story here 08:02