Monthly Archives: December 2016

Storm damages fishing boat, raises Holy Hell in western Newfoundland

High winds tore through a home in Lark Harbour, Nfld. on Friday, ripping off the roof and leaving the building in shambles. The RCMP said Friday night the community was experiencing “hurricane force winds,” and warned residents to stay inside. “High winds are blowing large pieces of debris through the air,” the RCMP wrote in a news release at about 8:30 p.m. Friday. “[We ask] people not travel to the area as it’s proving unsafe to do so.” A fishing boat that was featured in Discovery Canada’s Cold Water Cowboys reality series was heavily damaged during severe weather in Port Saunders, on Newfoundland’s west coast. Conway Caines’s fishing vessel, called Sea Doo, was washed into the beach after high tides and heavy winds caused it to break away from a wharf Friday afternoon. More images, Videos, Read the story here 18:56

West Coast Crab Strike Set to Expand Further South

Crab fishermen from San Francisco and Half Moon Bay are set to join Humboldt Bay fishermen in a crab strike that has now spread from Bodega Bay to Westport, Washington. The strike is over a 25-cent price drop proposed by one of the largest seafood companies on the West Coast, Pacific Group, which owns Humboldt-based buyer Pacific Choice Seafood Inc. When the strike expands to Half Moon bay, it will account for approximately 824 miles of the West Coast and according to Ken Bates, vice president of the Humboldt Fisherman’s Marketing Association, could potentially tie up 400 to 500 boats. Bates said no action or progress was expected to take place over the New Year’s holiday — although the meeting is set for 11 a.m. Saturday — and that smaller fish companies are waiting to continue to buy crabs at $3 a pound, which has been the original negotiated price since November, but they are unwilling to risk buying crabs if Pacific Group, the company behind the price drop, is successful in lowering the price. Read the story here 13:06

US Doubles Down On Wave Energy, $40 Mil For New Test Bed

It looks like the US is about to get much, much more serious about developing its vast wave energy potential. Researchers have been working at several relatively modest sites in Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest, and now the Energy Department has announced funding for a new, $40 million utility scale test site in the waters of the continental US, off the coast of Oregon. The new wave energy test site will be built and operated under the auspices of Oregon State University’s Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center. In a press release announcing the plan to invest up to $40 million in the nation’s first utility scale wave energy test site, the Energy Department noted that more than half of the population of the US lives within 50 miles of a coastline. All things being equal, coastal populations are expected to grow, but getting zero emission energy to coastal regions is becoming more complex and difficult. Aging coastal nuclear power plants will most likely not be replaced, and population density limits the potential for utility scale wind farms and solar arrays on land. Another limitation for land-based renewable energy in coastal areas is the need for new long distance transmission lines. Plans have been in place for years to bring wind power from the wind rich midwest to points east, but the new lines have had to battle against fossil fuel interests as well as local stakeholders. One solution is to tap the waters of the US coastlines. Read the rest here 12:40

3 reasons the FFAW says FISH-NL can’t be trusted

Friday morning in St. John’s, FISH-NL formally filed for union certification with the Labour Relations Board so its members can leave the FFAW. The board will review the signed membership cards to determine if FISH-NL has enough support to trigger an official certification vote via secret ballot. FFAW secretary-treasurer Dave Decker outlined the reasons his union feels FISH-NL, led by former NDP MP Ryan Cleary, cannot be trusted. Cleary will not reveal how many fish harvesters have pledged their support to FISH-NL by signing the membership cards submitted to the Labour Relations Board Friday.  Decker said that shows they don’t have enough support. He said roughly 10,800 harvesters are registered with the Fish Harvesters Certification Board, a provincial body, so FISH-NL knows how many there are.  “I don’t think actually that they do have several thousand cards signed,” said Decker. Read the rest here 10:51

There are more fish in the sea – A high-tech battle for the future of the New England fishing industry

The high-tech battle for the future of the Massachusetts fishing industry is being waged aboard a western-rigged stern trawler named the Miss Emily. Onboard the commercial groundfish vessel, in addition to the satellite positioning system and other sophisticated tools that have become standard in the industry, are at least five computer monitors and a $14,000 fish-measuring board that has halved the time it takes to gauge the catch. State officials say it’s money well spent. Federal catch limits — caps on how many fish each boat can catch — have devastated the state’s most iconic commercial sector, fishermen say. In response to an outcry from the struggling local groundfishing industry, environmental officials are now using the Miss Emily to try to come up with a new — and, they say, more accurate — estimate of codfish in the Gulf of Maine. Under a survey launched last April, local fishermen hope new technology and an aggressive timetable will yield what they have concluded based on their own anecdotal evidence: There are more fish in the sea. Read the story here 09:59

‘F/V Western’ removed from Coos Bay, Marine Board to seek reimbursement from owner

After many months of planning, the F/V Western was removed from Coos Bay on December 21, Oregon State Marine Board said. The work to remove the vessel occurred over the last two weeks by Billeter Marine. The Western, a 70 foot long, 78 gross ton wood-hulled fishing vessel built in 1934, sank near the Empire boat ramp in January, 2015. In August, the Marine Board was awarded a $55,000 grant from the NOAA Marine Debris Program. The project, titled, “A partnership for the removal and prevention of abandoned and derelict fishing vessels along the Oregon Coast,” includes $17,500 matching cash from the Marine Board and $22,500 from the Department of State Lands, as well as in-kind services from Oregon SeaGrant, and staff from the coastal public ports and marinas. Billeter Marine successfully lifted the F/V Western from the water and disposed of the vessel through approved methods on land, officials said. The Marine Board says it will be seeking reimbursement from the owner for the disposal costs. Read the story here 09:25

Alaska commercial fishing picks and pans for 2016

The start of 2017 marks the 26th year for this weekly column on Alaska’s seafood industry that aims to make readers aware of the economic and cultural importance of our state’s oldest industry. Alaska fishermen and processors provide 65 percent of our nation’s wild-caught seafood; it is also Alaska’s most valuable export to more than 100 countries around the world. The bulk of Alaska’s fishing fleet of nearly 10,000 vessels is made up of boats less than 50 feet long. Each is a small business that supports several families. For fishing towns like Kodiak, Cordova and Homer, where 500 to 700 vessels are home-ported, those boats are essentially the majority of our downtown store fronts. Call it a mall in a marina. Here are my fishing picks and pans for 2016 — a look back at the best and worst fish stories of 2016, in no order, plus my choice for the biggest story of the year. Laine Welch  Read the story here 08:51

STRIKE!!! – Commercial crabbers strike on West coast

Commercial fisherman from Morro Bay, California, all the way to the Canadian border have gone on strike. Crab pots are piled on boats still tied up in the harbors all along the West coast because Bandon Pacific and other wholesale buyers want to pay 25 cents less than the negotiated price to fishermen on the southern Oregon cost. “This is all over a quarter,” said Charleston fisherman Jim Thornsberry. “Thousands of people are out of work because processors don’t want to pay us what they are already paying fishermen in California.” John Corbin, fisherman out of Columbia River and the chairman of the Dungeness Crab Commission, explained that $3 per pound was the negotiated price prior to the Brookings and Port Orford crab opening. “But then the processors dropped their price on Monday and we went back to the negotiation table, but they drew a line in the sand at $2.75,,, Corbin said there is usually solidarity among fishermen, and is glad “we are all tied up together.” Read the story here 19:11 Crab Fishermen in West Coast Ports Pull Pots in Solidarity with Humboldt Read the story here 20:35

Japan sees crab prices surge as poached Russian imports sink

Prices of crab, a sought-after delicacy in the year-end and New Year’s period, are surging because of a sharp fall in imports, especially from Russia and Alaska. Imports provide most of the crab distributed in Japan, and wholesale prices are some 30 to 50 percent higher than a year ago. Imports of red king crab, a popular variety, came to about 4,270 tons from January to November, less than half the annual record set in 2012. “This year’s red king crab imports could be on par with the level in 2015, which was the lowest in recent years,” said an official of a major fisheries company. Imports of snow crab, another popular species, have also been falling recently, industry officials said. Crab from Russia has been dwindling due to tighter regulations on poaching and illegal exports that began about two years ago. Before that, more than 50 percent of Russian crab distributed in Japan was poached, the fisheries company official said. Ports in Hokkaido that used to be busy handling crab from Russia are now quiet. Read the story here 16:50

DFO says nothing out of the ordinary with the environment where sea creatures washed up dead

The distressing amount of sea life and diversity of species found dead on some beaches along the Bay of Fundy over the past few weeks has been puzzling. So far, tests haven’t revealed what’s killing the sea life. Federal scientists went out on the water Thursday to examine the physical environment, taking water samples, testing dissolved oxygen, salinity and temperature — all of which were normal. They also scanned images of the bottom of St. Marys Bay off the Bay of Fundy. The video showed normal conditions with no masses of dead organisms that one would expect if the cause was an ongoing environmental problem. “We have ruled out the usual suspects,” said Kent Smedbol, manager of population ecology for DFO. Read the story here 15:31

‘Don’t worry, I can do it’ – Tragic final words of experienced fisherman who drowned at sea

A Fisherman with ten years experience downed at sea while trying to untangle a line after telling crew members “don’t worry I can do it”. Darren Brown was swept away while trying to pull free a whelk pot and his body was never found, despite an eight-hour search by lifeboats and a coastguard helicopter. The 37-year-old was lost in the 13C waters in June. A report into his death found a lifebuoy which could have helped to save his life was not “readily available”. On June 9 this year, deckhand Darren and his crewmates were on board the whelk boat, ‘Our Sarah Jane’, which had set sail from Shoreham, West Sussex, in good conditions. Just before midday a fishing line attached to one of the whelk pots became caught in the propeller, tying the boat to the seabed. The skipper radioed for help, but Darren said “I’ll be alright. I can do it, don’t worry” before jumping overboard with a knife in his hand. Read the rest of the story here 14:20

Banana Republic of Mexico and Sea Shepherds Round Up Fishermen to “save” the critically endangered Vaquita

Crew from six fishing boats in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez were arrested by the Mexican Navy, after they were caught using illegal fishing nets to poach banned fish in a marine reserve. The fishermen had been spotted by the Sea Shepherd vessel scow Farley Mowat, which tracked the six boats until navy officials could arrive on the scene. According to Sea Shepherd, a nonprofit marine wildlife organization, the fishermen were using banned gill nets to catch totoaba bass, a rare fish Mexican law has protected since 1975 but one that is nonetheless poached for its swim bladders, which, at an estimated US$20,000 per kilo, fetch a high price on China’s black market. The fishing boats were stopped and their crews apprehended without incident. Read the story here 12:25

Governor John Bel Edwards Appoints Jack Montoucet as Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Chief

Acadiana lawmaker Jack Montoucet has been appointed secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries by Gov. John Bel Edwards. Montoucet, 69, represents District 42 in the statehouse, which includes Acadia and Lafayette parishes. He has been a fierce ally of Edwards in the House. He officially takes over Jan. 16. Patrick Banks, assistant secretary of the office of fisheries, will serve as interim secretary until then. Montoucet will replace former Secretary Charlie Melancon, who was forced out by the administration. Melancon, a former congressman, clashed with recreational fishermen and U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge, over fisheries management since taking over as secretary. He also had a fractious relationship with some lawmakers for changes within the agency. Read the story here 11:23

FISH-NL presents certification application to Labour Relations Board

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH NL) presented an application this morning to the Labour Relations Board requesting that the organization be certified as the new bargaining agent for inshore fish harvesters. The application includes membership cards signed by thousands of harvesters from more than 300 communities around the province. “We feel we have the support of more than 50 per cent of all inshore harvesters — we certainly had the support of more than 80 per cent of all harvesters we encountered,” said Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “What we’re attempting has been described — not as a raid of another union — but as a full fledged revolt.” Over the coming days and weeks, the Labour Relations Board will review FISH-NL’s application and verify the membership cards. The Board will determine whether FISH-NL has the support of at least 40 per cent of fish harvesters, which would trigger a secret ballot vote by the Labour Relations Board. That vote will ultimately decide which union will represent fish harvesters. 10:28

East Coast Fishermen: not so fast with that wind farm  

Could sea scallops and longfin squid be reason enough to stop an offshore wind farm on the coast of New York and New Jersey? The Fisheries Survival Fund, which represents the majority of the U.S. Atlantic scallop industry, claims the site picked for the farm is on documented fishing grounds for both commercially important species. It claims the wind turbines would shut fishermen out. The group is the lead plaintiff in a federal lawsuit filed against the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and Sally Jewell, the secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The BOEM has jurisdiction over the sea floor. Other plaintiffs include the Garden State Seafood Association, the Fishermen’s Dock Co-Operative in Point Pleasant Beach and the Borough of Barnegat Light. Read the story here 09:51

Scientists test water to narrow down what’s killing herring, sea creatures at St. Marys Bay

Federal scientists are testing water samples and scanning images of the bottom of St. Marys Bay, hoping to determine what caused thousands of herring and sea creatures to wash ashore near Digby, N.S. Staff aboard a vessel gathered samples Thursday and used an underwater camera to film and photograph the ocean floor. Kent Smedbol, manager of population ecology for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in the Maritimes, said the data will be examined to try to figure out whether an environmental factor caused the fish to die. “It could be an intrusion of very cold water very rapidly, it could be related to a rapid change in salinity with the storms that have gone through … due to the sudden influx of fresh water, rain or runoff from the land,” he said.  “Depending on what we find, then hopefully that will allow us to discount a number of possibilities and focus our efforts on some possible explanations.”  Read the story here 08:55

Fish Seek Cooler Waters, Leaving Some Fishermen’s Nets Empty

Studies have found that two-thirds of marine species in the Northeast United States have shifted or extended their range as a result of ocean warming, migrating northward or outward into deeper and cooler water. Lobster, once a staple in southern New England, have decamped to Maine. Yet fishing regulations, which among other things set legal catch limits for fishermen and are often based on where fish have been most abundant in the past, have failed to keep up with these geographical changes. Reflecting these tensions, Senators Richard Blumenthal and Christopher S. Murphy, both Democrats of Connecticut, noted in a letter to the acting inspector general of the Commerce Department in June that fishermen in their state were experiencing “extreme financial hardship” because the apportionment of resources was so outdated. Although such shifts in allocations are possible, said Tom Nies, the executive director of the New England Fishery Management Council, in practice they are difficult to execute. “If you’re giving fish to somebody, you’re taking them away from somebody else,” Mr. Nies said. Read the article here 08:03

FISH-NL leaders to meet with Labour Relations Board, address reporters on Friday

The leaders of an upstart union movement in Newfoundland and Labrador will reveal their strategy for a certification bid Friday, months after launching a bitter and divisive campaign to try and raid the province’s influential fisheries union. Representatives from the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters (FISH-NL) will visit the Labour Relations Board in St. John’s in the morning, and plans to speak with reporters at their office on Job Street at 11 a.m.  “All will be revealed tomorrow,” FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary said. The FFAW has also ramped up its criticism in recent weeks, accusing FISH-NL of having no real plan for the fishery and trying to weaken the bargaining power of harvesters. Read the story here 18:48

Ringing in new round of ‘fish wars’ as ADFG manages budget

In the face of yet another round of budget cuts, Alaska’s largest private employer, the seafood industry, will have entirely new management schemes to sort out and live under in 2017 alongside status quo projections for harvest in key fisheries. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game will take another budget cutback responding to the state’s multi-billion dollar deficit that has yet to be patched. Gov. Bill Walker released a proposed fiscal year 2018 budget on Dec. 15. Among other cuts, Walker proposes a budget of $28.9 million for ADFG. This is a 36 percent reduction from the fiscal year 2015. ADFG will have to find ways to deal with budget cuts to monitor key fisheries stocks, including the iconic king salmon that has fallen in abundance beginning in the late 2000s. Further, commercial fisheries management programs will suffer,,, Fish wars renewed – As usual, much of Alaska’s year will center around salmon. Among the biggest items for Alaska’s state fisheries will be the two-week 2017 Upper Cook Inlet meeting of the Alaska Board of Fisheries. Read the rest of the article here 16:25

Georges Bank said to be ‘paved with fluke! Fishermen Assail NOAA Quotas – Schumer fears major job losses

Commercial fishermen on the draggers seen offshore last week took advantage of calmer seas and the State Department of Environmental Conservation’s raising of the daily limit on fluke from 70 to 210 pounds. The higher limit was in effect from Dec. 18 through Friday as the state’s annual quota for the fish, highly sought by commercial and recreational fishermen alike, had not been reached.,, Mark Phillips, who fishes on the F/V Illusion out of Greenport, was once among the largest harvesters of fluke in the state, landing a few hundred thousand pounds per year, by his count. The problem, Mr. Phillips said, is that stock assessments are inaccurate because NOAA conducts surveys — such as with its ship the Henry B. Bigelow, which collects data in waters from Maine to North Carolina — when fluke are migrating from undersea canyons to inshore waters. Read the story here 14:49

Provincial fees could hurt Port Saunders fisherman’s business

Eugene Caines, a commercial fisherman from Port Saunders, hopes to continue operating a cod grow-out site. However, fees being imposed by the province, may shut him down. What was once just a $100 fee for cod grow-out, he says, has jumped to $500 to $2,000 in just a few years. The aquaculture renewal fee for cod grow-out operations, imposed by the province’s Department of Fishery, Forestry and Agrifoods, is $1000 for 2017. Then there’s the new annual fee, established by the province’s Department of Environment and Climate Change. That’s another $1,000. Given the fee increases, Caines hopes to be able to combine his cod quota with another harvester in 2017, to not only have more quota but to possibly reduce manpower costs. Cains also needs to know whether or not he will be able to use traps to catch cod. Read the story here 12:40

South Carolina Working Waterfront: Rural attitude, commercial fishing still embraced in McClellanville

McClellanville stands apart from other working waterfronts in South Carolina in a couple of important ways. Its geographic isolation has helped maintain a rural attitude, and commercial fishing remains the economic driver for the community. These days, the town that got its start as a summer resort for plantation owners has the least touristy feel of South Carolina coastal communities. The small commercial section of the Jeremy Creek waterfront is dominated by two commercial docks—at Carolina Seafood and Livingston’s Bulls Bay Seafood. A public boat landing with limited parking spaces gets crowded on weekends and during the public shrimp-baiting season in the fall, but most of those boats head into the Intracoastal Waterway and leave the working waterfront behind. Read the rest of the story here 12:06

2016 hauled in mixed bag for Alaska commercial fisheries

As with any season, 2016 had plenty of winners and losers in the Alaska commercial fishing industry. The year started off with a huge sigh of relief from Upper Cook Inlet salmon setnet fishermen when the Alaska Supreme Court over-ruled a decision by a Superior Court judge that would have allowed a ballot measure to ban setnets in “urban areas,” but was targeted at Cook Inlet. If the ballot measure had been allowed to go to a vote and had won, it not only would have made it more difficult to manage the sockeye fishery, but it also would have eliminated the livelihood of the 700 Upper Cook Inlet setnet permit holders, 85 percent of which are Alaska residents. At the beginning of the year, halibut fishermen were feeling optimistic,,, Salmon fisheries across the state fell far short of expectations,,, Read the rest of the story here 11:33

Police smash cocaine smuggling ring at Sydney Fish Market in Christmas Day raid

A former rugby league first grade player, a Bondi entrepreneur and several fishermen are among 15 men arrested on Christmas Day in a multimillion-dollar cocaine ring bust. Police will allege the syndicate imported more than a tonne of cocaine via NSW ports and included experienced fisherman, marine workers and company owners. Australian Federal Police Acting Assistant Commissioner Chris Sheehan described the alleged syndicate as “robust, resilient and determined”. Several of the men were arrested on Christmas Day on board a shipping vessel named Dalrymple docked at the Brooklyn Marina on the Central Coast. Read the story here 10:36

Baird government commercial “catch share” fishing reform will see Newcastle Fisherman’s Cooperative lose members

The head of the Newcastle Fisherman’s Cooperative says he doesn’t know how many members will leave as a result of the Baird government’s commercial fishing reforms. Robert Gauta has told a NSW parliamentary inquiry that the reforms had led to “uncertainty” over how many of its members “will stay and how many will go”. Set to come into play from the middle of 2017, the government’s reforms to the $90 million commercial fishing industry link fishing rights with catch levels. The government argues the reform will make the industry sustainable, but the introduction of minimum shareholdings will also mean commercial fishers may need to increase their holdings to maintain the same catch level. “The cooperative makes money when the fishers catch fish; it is that simple … fewer fisherman would mean fewer fish.” Read the story here 09:58

Search called off for missing crew member of capsized Belgian-registered fishing boat Assanat Z-582

The Coastguard has called off a search for a crew member missing at sea after a fishing boat (identified here through FiskerForum.com)capsized off the Kent coast. One crew member was winched to safety from the Belgian-registered boat, while another was also rescued from the water later, but has since died the other remains missing. UK Coastguard duty controller, Kaimes Beasley, told Sky News a “passing merchant vessel” had spotted an “upturned hull with a gentleman clinging to it” just after 7.30am. He said a Coastguard helicopter and three RNLI lifeboats, from Ramsgate and Harwich, had been involved in the search, focusing on an area from north east of Ramsgate to the mid-channel. He later told reporters: “This has been an extensive and comprehensive search of the area. “We are standing down the search this evening because of the fading light. “It is unlikely that the search will resume in the morning unless we get further information that will help us find the third crew member.” Link 08:45

Crab fishermen strike for higher price per-pound from Bodega Bay north through Oregon and Washington

Crabbers from Bodega Bay north through Oregon and Washington to the Canadian border went on strike Wednesday afternoon after wholesale Dungeness crab buyers sought to lower the per-pound price fishermen earn for the much sought-after crustacean. Fishermen have agreed to either cease crabbing in areas off the Sonoma Coast where the Dungeness crab season has already opened, or delay the start of their season in hopes of retaining the $3-per-pound price they have earned fishing in Northern California’s rich waters so far this year, according to Lorne Edwards, president of the Bodega Bay Fisherman’s Marketing Association, an industry trade group. Read the rest of the story here 07:48

President Obama Signs Water Bill With Big Ag ‘Poison Pill’ Rider

In a slap in the face to fishermen, Tribes, environmental justice advocates, conservationists and family farmers, President Obama on December 16 signed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act into law with its environmentally destructive Big Ag rider sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). The controversial rider in the bill, opposed by retiring Senator Barbara Boxer, taints an otherwise good bill that sponsors water projects across the nation. The last minute rider, requested by corporate agribusiness interests, allows San Joaquin Valley growers and Southern California water agencies to pump more water out of the Delta, driving Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon, Central Valley steelhead, Delta and longfin smelt, green sturgeon and other fish species closer and closer to extinction, according to Delta advocates. Read Dan Bachers article here 15:05

FFAW’s 5-cent-a-pound lobster ‘levy’ most shocking of all secrets uncovered in 2016

Of all the questions that have been raised about FFAW secrecy/conflict of interest in recent months, one of the most shocking discoveries was that the union had proposed a 5 cent a pound ‘levy’ on lobster. Fish harvesters didn’t know about the FFAW proposal (how unbelievable is that?) until FISH-NL brought it to light in early December, and it was the Seafood Producers of Newfoundland and Labrador who actually killed it (how’s that for the ultimate irony, processors standing up for harvesters — and not their union).  Find details of the FFAW proposal here.  The FFAW argued the 5 cent levy was to cover the union’s “management” of the fishery. To quote the union: “The bulk of the work once conducted by DFO is now being done by the FFAW, with no financial or in-kind support from the processing sector.”  Read the rest of the post here, and open FFAW proposal.

Crab price spat delays season – Fishermen in District 7 not fishing until the buyer offers the original $3

Negotiations with Pacific Group failed to secure an acceptable price range for local crab fisherman in District 7, stretching from Humboldt Bay’s North Jetty to Point Arena in Mendocino. Crab prices have been set $3 a pound since the November opening of the season. Pacific Group, which owns Pacific Choice Seafood in Humboldt County, has proposed crab prices be reduced to $2.75 per pound. According to Ken Bates, vice president of the Humboldt Fishermen’s Marketing Association, if fisherman decided to fish for less, local boats would lose between $7,000 to $10,000 for the average medium to small boat. “Fisherman representatives have been meeting all (Tuesday) afternoon in Newport, Oregon, and as of 4 p.m. there have not been any resolutions. We may continue (Wednesday) and there’s a possibility that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will set a mediation, which is a compromised price on the crab,” Bates said. “The buyer wanted to drop the price and attempted to lower it by 25 cents.” Read the story here 13:53

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 42′ Sampson Lobster boat, Complete conch business with permit and traps, Cummins Diesel

Specifications, information and 35 photo’s click here To see all the boats in this series, Click here 13:08

Fishing in Gloucester 2016: The year didn’t go swimmingly for industry

The past year in the commercial fishing industry and along the city’s waterfront has been one of battles, as the city’s legendary fishing industry has fought to remain viable in the midst of regulatory, economic and environmental pressures. Groundfishermen spent much of the year dueling with NOAA Fisheries over who should pay for mandated at-sea monitoring. And fishing advocates, led by the Gloucester-based Northeast Seafood Coalition, continued their crusade questioning the quality of the science NOAA uses in its stock assessments.  Lobstermen, NOAA scientists and elected representatives such as U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, took on Sweden over the Scandinavian country’s attempt to convince the European Union to list American lobsters as an invasive species and ban their importation. Here’s a look at some of 2016’s premier stories: Read the story here 10:59

News report in France claims to produce world’s best lobster

A news report on Le 20h, a French television show, claimed its country produces a better lobster than Canada’s East Coast. The segment shows a Parisian couple comparing a lobster from Breton and a Canadian Lobster. The couple enjoys a few bites, then deems the Canadian crustacean  to be less firm, and more watery. They describe the French lobster to be, “beaucoup plus fin,” a finer choice. Local lobster lovers like Louis Leger disagree. Leger owns the Moncton Fish Market, and guesses that if someone is choosing Eurpoean lobster over Maritime fare, they’ve got the wrong person in the kitchen. Leger also argues that if East Coast lobster isn’t so hot, why do Europeans eat so much of it? Read the story here 10:13

Coast Guard, Oregon and Washington state wildlife officials monitor Dungeness crab fleet to ensure safety, enforce laws

The Coast Guard is teaming with Oregon and Washington state authorities to monitor the commercial crab fishing fleet across the Oregon and Washington coasts to ensure safety and enforce the laws and regulations associated with the opening of the Dungeness crab season. The Dungeness crab fishery officially opened Dec. 15 for pre-soak south of Cape Blanco and Oregon and Washington respectively set an opening at 9 a.m. Jan. 1 for commercial crabbing from Cape Blanco north to Klipsan Beach, Wash., and north of Klipsan Beach to Queets River, Wash., at 9 a.m. Jan. 7. Coast Guard aircraft have conducted numerous over-flights of Oregon crab fishing grounds to monitor the pre-soak and the opening in southern Oregon. The Coast Guard will expand patrols up the Oregon and Washington coasts as the season opens in all areas. These efforts assist Oregon and Washington state fish and wildlife officials monitor the state regulated fishery while enhancing Coast Guard search and rescue capabilities. Read the rest here 09:50

Catch Shares: NSW fishermen allege “share barons” used insider trading to aggregate licences

Donald Mowbray, a former bank manager who is chairman of the Clarence River Fishermen’s Cooperative, said in his submission to the inquiry that he had grave concerns about “share barons” who he described as “individuals who are part of the industry’s decision makers who hold considerable conflicts of interest.” He said the Government’s own share register showed a number of people with direct links to the reforms and to the department had accumulated huge numbers of shares. He claimed important commercial information was “withheld” from others outside the advisory groups. He said he raised his concerns with the minister and the department years ago, but said the trades were dismissed as “speculation” and not “insider trading”. Fishermen are worried about the emergence of big corporate players and fear it could result in the demise of their fourth and fifth generation family businesses and many of the cooperatives that rely on them. The Government, with some support from industry (the share barons), maintains that aggregation and corporatisation in the sector is an important step to economic viability and better environmental management. Read the story here, and listen to this audio report here 09:20

Shrimp net-making is still alive in Bayou La Batre

Steve Sprinkle still makes his shrimp nets in Bayou La Batre by hand, an art that has all but disappeared from the American scene. His small shop is full of character and age-old bits and pieces of what is needed for the ancient craft. Inside, you might spot Sprinkle seated and driving needles around green string over and over. Some things have to be made by hand if they are to stand the test of time and the test of the rough, deep Gulf. “It started in the early 1900s when rowboats would drop a net and catch shrimp; then they came out with combustion engines and started towing the net through the water to pick up the shrimp,” Sprinkle said. “My family was on Dauphin Island over 200 years ago. My great-grandfather would shrimp on his own feet wading in the water and pulling a net with his hands.” More images, video, read the rest here 08:50

Race to find fishermen in freezing temperatures as boat capsizes near Ramsgate

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) confirmed it was searching for the missing crew members after the vessel overturned off the Kent coast on Tuesday night, around 11pm. One crew member was rescued after they were found clinging to the hull, but the search for the other three continued into Wednesday morning. They were spotted by a passing boat around 7.30am this morning and were airlifted to Ashford hospital. RNLI press officer John Ray said: “The man who was rescued said that he saw at least one of his crewmates washed over the hull. “He was spotted this morning by a passing ship, found him clinging to the boat and they got him off the hull and raised the alarm with the coast guard. “He said he had seen one person washed into the sea and there is a possibility that the other man is trapped under the hull itself. “We think there were three people on board in total.  Read the rest here 08:05

Chris Crisman’s “Women’s Work” Photo Series Shows Women Are Capable Of Any Profession

If there are certain jobs that come to mind when you think of “women’s work” or “men’s work,” Chris Crisman’s “Women’s Work” photo series will shatter those stereotypes to shreds. In order to prove your gender doesn’t have to limit your occupation, Crisman (whom we’ve reached out to for comment, which we will add if we hear back) photographed women in traditionally male jobs. The results are as empowering as they are visually compelling. The portraits are all of real women in roles that defy stereotypes, including a farmer, a brewer, taxidermist, and the operator of a rock hauler. See four images, and read the story here 16:58

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for December 26, 2016

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates, Click here 15:14

Dead lobsters, crabs and herring are washing up along this Nova Scotia shore, and we don’t know why!

Halifax resident Eric Hewey was home in Digby, N.S., visiting for the holidays when he got a call from friends on Boxing Day summoning him to the beach below Savary Park in nearby Plympton. “They said we’ve got to come down and look at the beach.” On Tuesday Hewey described when he found when he arrived at the beach as sad: lots of dead herring — an ongoing and as yet unexplained problem — but also dead starfish, lobsters, bar clams, scallops and crabs. Ted Leighton is a retired veterinary pathologist who has been tracking the dead herring reports. He hadn’t been to the beach to see the most recent findings, but he’s seen Hewey’s pictures and noted it’s a place dead herring have been found before.  More photos, read the rest here 13:09

High levels of compliance found in Irish Fishing Sector

The country’s marine watchdog has said that it has carried out almost 4,000 sea-fisheries inspections this year and found high levels of compliance with regulations. Independent regulator Susan Steele, who heads the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority, said controls and inspections of trawler owners, fish farmers, and factory processors are designed to support Ireland’s international reputation for the highest standards in food product. People can be confident that the Irish seafood they are consuming is safe and traceable, she said. Ms Steele said: “We are finding low levels of non-compliance which is testament to the real efforts of the majority of fishermen, fish farmers and fish processors to work within the law. Read the story here 12:38

Concerns linger over Lake Superior’s historic herring fishery

Minnesota fisheries managers are concerned about the long term health of the lake herring fishery in Lake Superior. Biologists worry not enough young herring are surviving to sustain the fishery, while at the same time demand for the fish has spiked. Minnesota’s 25 or so commercial fishermen who ply the waters off the North Shore have caught a lot fewer cisco in recent years. The herring, or cisco, fishery is always unpredictable, said Steve Dahl, a commercial fisherman who works out of the Knife River marina on the North Shore of Lake Superior. The last few falls have been tough for Dahl, whose nets have yielded fewer herring at a crucial time of year. This year was different, though. “November was really good, one of the better ones I’ve had,” he said. “Towards the end I sort of got overwhelmed, it was just too much.” Read the story here 11:21

Southeast halibut catch limit may drop in 2017

The International Pacific Halibut Commission is considering a cut of 870,000 pounds to Southeast Alaska’s 2017 halibut quota. The IPHC, the joint Canadian-American body that sets annual halibut harvests, concluded its interim meeting Nov. 30 in Seattle. The IPHC will set the 2017 quota at its 93rd annual meeting from Jan. 23 to Jan. 27 in Victoria, B.C. During the interim meeting, IPHC staff recommended that the entire North Pacific halibut catch be reduced from 29.89 million pounds to 26.12 million pounds. Most of the reduction would fall in the eastern portion of the Gulf of Alaska and in Pacific Canada. Read the story here 09:50

Invasive Asian carp less than 50 miles from Lake Michigan

The news is mixed as Great Lake states and the federal government continue to devote money and brainpower to stopping a potential Great Lakes ecological disaster — invasive Asian carp species making their way from the Mississippi River into Lake Michigan. First the good news: The leading edge of the mass of bighead and silver carp hasn’t made much progress lately up the Mississippi and connected rivers toward Lake Michigan. Now the bad news: The younger fish — juveniles — are moving closer, the evidence shows. And they can do more damage. “The bottom line is that the juvenile front is advancing, and made a big jump last year,” said Joel Brammeier, president and CEO of the nonprofit Alliance for the Great Lakes. “And we still don’t have a permanent solution in place that’s going to solve this problem.” Read the story here 08:59

Floating factory vessel to process Invasive Asian Carp in Tennessee

Leaping from rivers and lakes like aquatic projectiles and ravaging the food base of native fish, Asian carp are loathed by outdoors enthusiasts and state wildlife officials alike for being not just a nuisance, but a threat to boating and fishing industries worth $2.9 billion and $2.1 billion, respectively, in Tennessee. Enter Joe Gillas. He sees the invasive fish as an opportunity. Gillas’ company, Riverine Fisheries International, plans to moor a factory fishing vessel at the Port of Cates Landing, located on the Mississippi River near Tiptonville, Tennessee, about 100 miles north of Memphis. The nearly 350-foot-long boat would process Asian carp caught in the Mississippi and other rivers and lakes into food products to be exported to some 20 countries, including China and Russia. “I think there’s a good business model here,” said Gillas, 53, who was born and raised in Alaska and has fished all over the world. “I think we can do something good and make money at the same time.” Read the story here 08:35

South Shore charter fishermen oppose new federal Dusky shark regulations

The National Marine Fisheries Service, a federal agency that regulates fishing in U.S. waters, is proposing new rules to protect a vulnerable shark species off the East Coast. Some charter boat captains who fish off the South Shore, however, see a problem with that. They argue that the shark in question – the dusky shark – does not even exist in much of their New England fishing grounds. “There are no duskies north of Cape Cod. None, zero,” Capt. Mike Pierdinock, who sits on the board of the Marshfield-based Stellwagen Bank Charter Boat Association, said last week. His charter boat, “Perseverance,” fishes out of New Bedford. “It’s ridiculous,” he said. “It smells of someone sitting at a desk and not looking at the realities of how things really are.” The National Marine Fishery Service’s proposed regulations are a response to a lawsuit by the environmental advocacy group Oceana. Read the rest of the story here 07:56

NFFO Fights Back against Appeasement

The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, which represents fishermen in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, has launched a blistering attack on UK Fisheries Minister George Eustice, after he made quota concessions to appease nationalist pressure from Scotland during the annual quota negotiations in Brussels.  1500 tonnes of English quota has been taken from the Humberside based Fish Producers Organisation and promised to Scotland without consultation or notice. Also, George Eustice is “consulting” on a revised concordat between the devolved administrations. If implemented, the concordat would mean the transfer of almost the entire English North Sea whitefish fleet into Scottish administration, along with its licences and quota allocations. The NFFO regards as a bogus consultation because the Scottish minister has already announced that the concordat will be implemented as written. The NFFO statement says, “All this is being done behind closed doors, in secret. English fishing interests are being systematically traded away to appease the clamour from Scotland. It stinks. Read the rest of the story here 21:27

23 Wellfleet shellfishermen get relief funds

Shellfish Promotion and Tasting (SPAT), which established the Shellfisherman Relief Fund in the wake of this fall’s month-long closure of the town’s shellfish beds, distributed $1,000 relief checks this week to 23 commercial fishermen who submitted completed applications by the Dec. 15 deadline. SPAT is the nonprofit that sponsors the annual OysterFest. A small subcommittee of the SPAT board reviewed the applications on Friday to verify that they included documentation of lost income and of the proposed use of funds, Executive Director Michele Insley told the Banner on Monday. The reviewers decided that each approved applicant would get the same amount of money. The shellfish beds were closed because of a norovirus outbreak from Oct. 13 – two days before OysterFest – until Nov. 14, and shellfish harvested from Sept. 26 on were recalled. As a result, there were virtually no oysters at this year’s OysterFest, and individual fishermen lost $10,000 or more in income on what is normally their most lucrative weekend of the year. Read the story here 18:47

R.I. quota for menhaden the focus of debate

About 30 recreational and commercial fishermen, fish processors, environmental groups (like Save the Bay) and fish managers attended Monday’s public hearing on Atlantic menhaden at the URI Bay Campus held by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. The two main issues at the hearing were the use of ecosystem-based management strategies to determine stock status and allowable catch limits, and landing time frames, which would be used to determine allocation of quota. The Atlantic menhaden plan will be the first ASMFC plan that utilizes ecosystem-based management in this fashion. Meghan Lapp of Seafreeze, Ltd., North Kingstown (the largest producer and trader of sea-frozen fish on the East Coast) and a member of the ASMFC Atlantic menhaden Advisory Panel, said “Historically, Rhode Island has landed a lot more fish than the allocation reflects.” Read the column here 16:30

Menhaden are flourishing

A recent column by Chris Dollar (“Outdoors: The more menhaden the better,” Dec. 3) cites claims from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation that the current management of menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay has left the stock running low. The column also echoes the foundation’s position that the menhaden harvest cap should be lowered. The science suggests the opposite to be the case. In 2012, based on fears of overfishing, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission implemented a menhaden quota. Soon after the quota was implemented, scientists found the concerns of overfishing were misplaced. Further research found that menhaden are prospering coastwide. In fact, the ASMFC declared conclusively that menhaden are neither “overfished nor experiencing overfishing.” Read the rest here 15:58

Maple Ridge B.C. seeks restoration of federal Fisheries Act

Maple Ridge is talking tough to the federal Liberals when it comes to protecting fish – the same way it did to the Tories four years ago. A Nov. 28 letter from Mayor Nicole Read asks the Liberal government to restore the previous “ecosystems-based approach” to the Fisheries Act. Maple Ridge also wants “clear and meaningful definitions” in any new Fisheries Act and wants public involvement and disclosure of the scientific basis for changing the act. A parliamentary committee is reviewing the Fisheries Act, following drastic changes made by the preceding Conservatives, which removed fish habitat protection. The 2012 changes to the Fisheries Act removed general projection of fish habitat and focused on projecting  aboriginal, sport or commercial fisheries from “serious harm.” This fall, the new government asked for public input on how the Fisheries Act could be restored  Read the story here 15:22

Year in Review: Ocean changes upend North Coast fisheries

In any other year, the large bins of Dungeness crab that are loaded dockside in this busy fishing village and rolled out by truck to be sold and served during the holidays would seem like no big deal. But after an unprecedented delay in the 2015-16 commercial season forced local crabbers to leave their boats tied up through winter and on into spring, the tons of meaty crustaceans landed in port this month have been a welcome sign of normalcy restored, if only for a moment. For here on the edge of the Pacific, where commercial fishing remains a way of life, once reliable ocean rhythms have been seriously unsettled of late, confounding those who depend on predictable, seasonal cycles and highlighting future uncertainties. Even the current Dungeness season lurched off to a bumpy start, with the fishery opening piecemeal and mostly behind schedule, a symptom of widespread marine anomalies that have prevailed for the past three years, threatening everything from seabirds and sea lions to treasured catches such as salmon and abalone. Read the story here 10:04

Three years running for free lobster from the Ames family

For his third year now, Matinicus lobsterman Noah Ames has parked his truck in front of Midcoast Marine Supply at 153 New County Road in Thomaston on Christmas Eve and given away free lobsters to anyone who stopped. His whole family was involved this year and Ames put it simply – “This is what Christmas is all about.” Ames said that this year he was also doing a fundraiser for a good friend of his who’s daughter is battling cancer. Ames was proud that his whole family was involved with the free lobster giveaway this year. Also other lobstermen had donated crates of lobsters to give away as well. Read the story here 10:23

Coast Guard medevacs seasick, unresponsive man from fishing vessel in the Gulf

The Coast Guard medevaced a 28-year-old male aboard the fishing vessel Captain David 40 nautical miles southeast of Venice, Louisiana, Saturday. The Eighth Coast Guard District watchstanders received a report at 3:16 p.m. that Andrew Carl had been suffering from seasickness and had become unresponsive. Watchstanders from Coast Guard Sector New Orleans were notified and launched a Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-65 Dolphin aircrew at 4:26 p.m. The MH-65 aircrew arrived on scene at 5:22 p.m. and transported Carl to Louisiana State University Hospital in New Orleans at 7:46 p.m. He was reported in stable condition but still unresponsive.  Link 09:34

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

A leaking pipe may have started Alaska Juris demise

Flashlight in hand, a stunned Chief Engineer Eddie Hernandez peered into the darkness to survey the swamped engine room of the Alaska Juris. The cold seawater was waist-deep, and more was bubbling up from a leak, possibly from a busted pipe on the starboard side of the factory trawler. “I wasn’t afraid or anything. I just felt helpless,”  Hernandez was a key witness for Coast Guard officials seeking to unravel the mystery of the Alaska Juris’ demise on a calm, summer day. Officials also are investigating the tangled operations of the vessel’s owner, Fishing Company of Alaska, which teams with a Japanese fish buyer and still operates three factory trawlers whose large crews in remote North Pacific locations net, process and freeze the catch. The hearings offered a gritty look at conditions aboard the vessel, which had benefitted from millions of dollars in investments in maintenance — yet still appeared so unsafe, one engineer said, that he quit this year after spending just a day at port. “The biggest thing that was bugging me was that if I take this job, I’m going to have to lie to my wife and kids about the condition of this boat,” said Carl Lee Jones Read the story here 22:34

Russian deep-sea fisherman’s Twitter feed is filled with nightmares

Roman Fedorstov’s account began featuring images of blood-chilling bottom feeders, creepy crustaceans and other sorts of ghoulish sea creatures that he and his crew hauled in their nets while trawling the deep waters off Russia’s Barents Sea. Fedortsov works on a fishing trawler in Murmansk, Russia, and regularly comes in contact with deep-sea dwellers that look like the kind of weird creatures filmmaker Tim Burton would design. The English-language site Moscow Times posted a handful of the photos, but I’ve found even more on Fedortsov’s Twitter. “Such zones are normally undisturbed by commercial fishing, which is precisely why these unusual creatures have survived thus far”. “Some of the shallower living, lighter-colored fishes might be a couple of feet”, Professor James Childress, who researches the biology of deep-sea animals at University of California Santa Barbara. Read the rest here, and visit Romans twitter feed click here  11:24

Craziest lobster contest

There are blue lobsters, spotted lobsters, bi-colour and rainbow ones. That’s in addition to the bizarre versions with extra appendages. Billy Mole, marketing manager for Murray GM, says he certainly didn’t expect such a huge response to their Craziest Lobster Contest. “Coming up on three weeks into the contest, we’re close to 150 submissions,” he said,, noting at that time the lobster in the lead for the win had over 800 votes and they expected it to easily reach 1,000-plus votes. The contest is being run through the dealership’s Facebook Page, with the winner being determined by the most likes. The contest was created and organized by Mole and sales consultant Shawn Doucette. “Fishermen are a huge part of our customer base and we wanted to do something special just for them,” said Mole. Read the story here 10:12

The Flying Santas Who Airdrop Christmas Cheer to America’s Lighthouse Keepers

Christmas Morning, 1929. Rockland, Maine airfield – Not one speck of snow danced in the calm breeze. For miles, blue heavens lined the clear horizon. Captain William Wincapaw checked the gauges on his single-engine floatplane and inhaled deeply. After a flip of a switch, the propellers began to whirl. Across the seats behind him, a dozen festively wrapped presents awaited their special delivery. Wincapaw, his cheeks rosy from the nippy air, smiled as he glanced at the assembly of Yuletide spirit bouncing in tune with the motorized beat of the engine. As the plane caught altitude, families along the northeast coastline were just beginning to stir. Soon they’d circle around decorated trees, exchange gifts, and turn small moments into treasured memories. But Wincapaw would not be among them. Instead, he embarked on a mission of gratitude that to his pleasant surprise turned into an 87-year tradition. It was the maiden flight of “The Flying Santas.” Read the story here 09:31

Oregon: Entire coast open to commercial crabbing on Jan. 1

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Department of Agriculture announce the opening of the commercial crab season from Cape Blanco (just north of Port Orford) to the Oregon/Washington border starting Jan. 1. Fishery managers and food safety specialists consistently exercised caution in opening the crab season this year due to elevated levels of domoic acid found in crabs along Oregon’s central coast. The almost month-long delay in opening the season allowed for additional testing for domoic acid to provide confidence that crab harvested from Oregon waters are safe to consume and of excellent quality. Testing of crab in recent weeks show the elevated levels of domoic acid in the central section of the state have decreased and are all below U.S. Food and Drug Administration alert levels for at least two sample periods in a row. Read the story here From Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife click here   08:52