Daily Archives: November 23, 2016

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

Guest speaker Lobsterman David Spencer reviewed the state of the commercial fishing industry in Rhode Island

As the guest speaker at Seamen’s Church Institute’s annual meeting on Monday, Nov. 14, Newport’s David Spencer, David Spencer, a lobsterman and president of the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation, reviewed the state of the commercial fishing industry in Rhode Island. Spencer has run his 85-foot lobster boat Nathaniel Lee out of Newport’s State Pier since 1973, and graciously supplies free lobsters for Seamen’s annual Rock the Docks fundraiser. “Back then, this was a vibrant fishing port, from south to north. It had many boats that docked here,” he said. “It was a good place to fish out of.” According to Spencer, present-day fleets gather quahogs, lobster, crabs, conch and a little known kind of shrimp in these waters.  Working “out front” in Rhode Island Sound waters and beyond, the lobster and crab fishery becomes one, “with an explosion of Jonah crabs, which has been a godsend for much of the fleet,” said Spencer. “There is a tremendous demand for these crabs,” which augment a depleted annual lobster catch. In the Ocean State, squid, lobster and crab “are king,” he continued.  Squid fishing off Martha’s Vineyard was unparalleled this year. Fishermen can see the bottom almost daily in 12 feet of water, Spencer said, giving the impression that the local sea is sterile rather than filled with organisms. Is this an unintended consequence of the chemicals that treat wastewater? “I don’t know, and neither do they,” he added, noting that starfish are “now gone.” Read the story here 16:09

Fairhaven man sentenced for making hoax distress calls to U.S. Coast Guard

department-of-justice-logoA Fairhaven man was sentenced Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Boston in connection with sending three false distress messages to the U.S. Coast Guard over the radio. Roger Martin, 47, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns to one year of probation and ordered to pay $7,182 in restitution to the U.S. Coast Guard. In August 2016, Martin pleaded guilty to three counts of sending false distress messages to the U.S. Coast Guard and one count of identity fraud. Martin, in three separate calls, claimed that he was on a boat in the Cape Cod Canal that was sinking. During the calls he impersonated a resident of Fairhaven, providing a name, street address and, on one occasion, date of birth. Martin had obtained the date of birth through the improper use of a law enforcement database through his former employment as a Bristol Country Sheriff’s dispatcher. In response to the calls, the U.S. Coast Guard and local law enforcement expended resources ascertaining that there was no true emergency and attempting to track down the hoax caller. Link 12:57

Coast Guard rescues three Gulf fishermen from sunken vessel

The Coast Guard rescued three people from a sunken fishing vessel approximately 35 miles southwest of Cape San Blas, Florida, Wednesday. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Mobile received a mayday call on VHF channel 16 from the crew of the Marion J, a 38-foot fishing vessel, at 1:44 a.m. explaining that their vessel was taking on water. Sector Mobile received a call from a crewmember’s girlfriend who told watchstanders that there were three people aboard the vessel, and the boat was approximately 35 miles southwest of Cape San Blas. The fishing vessel sunk and the crew boarded a life raft. The MH-60 crew located the people in a life raft, hoisted them at 4:40 a.m. and transported them to Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater to emergency medical services in stable condition. link 12:35

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 140′ Raised Foc’sle Mid Water Trawler with Federal Permits

Specifications, information and 9 photo’s click here To see all the boats in this series, Click here 12:04

Commercial crab fishery delayed on Washington’s south coast

dungenesscrabState shellfish managers have delayed the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab fishery on a portion of Washington’s southern coast to allow more time for tests to ensure that crabs are free of marine toxins. The commercial fishery from the Columbia River north to Klipsan Beach on the Long Beach Peninsula was scheduled to open Dec. 1. This delay also includes the Willapa Bay commercial fishery. The delay doesn’t affect fishing in the Westport area, which was already expected to open later in December. The timing of that opening is tied to the catch of tribal crab fishermen as fish managers work to divide the catch based on treaty rights. Tribal crab fishing in the Westport area is already under way. State officials said there is currently no issue with toxins in crab along the Washington coast, but the opening is being delayed in order to coincide with Oregon’s schedule. Not to do so would mean fishermen would concentrate from Long Beach to the Oregon border and put too much fishing pressure on the area, fish managers said. Read the story here 11:23

Protesters hope to change course of tidal project

Energy Minister Michel Samson, Emera representatives and members of FORCE weren’t the only ones to go to Parrsboro on Tuesday to witness flicking the switch to turn on an in-stream tidal power turbine. A group of 20 people, including fisherman, Mi’kmaw, scientists and community members protested on the West Bay Road on the way to the FORCE site. They blocked one side of the road with a tree so everyone attending the event would have to drive it and see them. Local RCMP were called but didn’t disband the group or ask them to leave. “We were peaceful but wanted to put our point across that we still do not consent to this,” said weir fisherman Gerry Taylor. Taylor fishes out of Parrsboro and his weir is closest to the FORCE site. He has a wife, four children and staff who rely on him. He’s also the president of the Fundy United Federation, representing fishers and driftnetters in the Minas Passage and Minas Basin. Read the story here 11:04

Gillnetters: Kitzhaber plan doesn’t deliver

kitzhaberLower Columbia River gillnetters told the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission Nov. 9 that fishery harvest reforms initiated in 2013 are not working economically, while salmon and steelhead anglers accused the commission of vacating its promise to get gillnetters off the river. As many as 150 people attended the Salem commission meeting and public forum on mainstem fishery harvest reforms, where comments were heard on a proposal by ODFW that would continue gillnetting in some areas of the mainstem river. The harvest reform package, also known as the Kitzhaber plan, is in its final year of transition and was to become fully effective at the beginning of 2017 when all Columbia River mainstem fishing would be allocated to recreational anglers and commercial gillnetters would fish in off-channel select areas, mostly in the lower river and mostly for hatchery chinook and coho salmon. However, the reform also promised to keep gillnetters economically whole, but the actual plan implementation is lagging in hatchery production of smolts, identifying additional off-channel areas and developing alternative gear that would allow commercial fishers to better target hatchery fish, among other issues. Read the rest here 10:41

Local crabs testing clean of neurotoxins prior to Dec. 1 commercial opener

 fishing boats sit in Eureka The commercial opener for Dungeness crab fishing is set to take place on Dec. 1, and to the relief of Humboldt County crabbers, there is little sign of domoic acid which caused disastrous effects of last season. Eureka crab fisherman David Helliwell said he is concerned the naturally-produced neurotoxin could make a return this year, but said only time will tell whether they will be able to haul in enough crab before then to make up for last year’s losses. “We were able to pay some bills, but not others,” Helliwell said describing the impacts of last season’s late start. “We didn’t have any income for five months. So the fact that we had income for two months doesn’t make up for all that lost time.” North Coast crabbers were supposed to have started their season on Dec. 1, 2015, but instead found themselves setting their pots in May this year. The season ended in July with the statewide crab fleet pulling in less than half of their average haul. Many crabbers fell into debt and are now waiting for federal emergency relief funds that may never come. Read the story here 10:16

LI fisherman indicted in connection with illegal fluke harvest

An East Northport commercial fisherman who was once an outspoken critic of federal regulators was indicted Tuesday on charges of conspiracy, mail fraud and falsification of federal records in connection with illegally harvest more than $400,000 worth of fluke, authorities said. A federal grand jury returned the indictment against Thomas Kokell, a North Shore clammer who once operated a commercial trawler at Point Lookout. Prosecutors with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environmental Crimes section charged Kokell was involved in a scheme to cover up the illegal harvest of 196,000 pounds of fluke by falsifying dozens of fishing trip and dealer reports, which are required as part of commercial fishing regulations. The case against Kokell was investigated by agents of the National Marine Fisheries Service. Read the rest here 09:39