Monthly Archives: January 2017

Lift cable snaps, boat slips at Port Townsend marina

A cable snapped on a Port of Port Townsend boat lift while it was lowering a boat into the Boat Haven Marina, causing minor property damage and a small fuel spill in the marina.The cable broke just after 9 a.m. Monday morning. The Port of Port Townsend’s smaller boat lift was being used to lower a 56-foot fishing vessel, Bernice, back into the marina waters, according to Rodger Slade of Towboat U.S., formerly Vessel Assist of Port Hadlock. “It didn’t drop the boat but it was kind of at an awkward angle,” said Abigail Berg, the port’s finance director, speaking on behalf of Greg Englin, port operations manager. Read the story here 16:11

Montauk Fishermen Worry About Impacts From Proposed Wind Farm

A 12-to-15-turbine wind farm still will have to navigate a long and arduous regulatory approval process before it can be constructed in the waters between Montauk and Nantucket. Some Montauk fishermen say they are worried about the impacts of the turbines to be built about 30 miles offshore of their home port. “The location is definitely a concern, because of the fishery that takes place there,” said Chris Scola, a Montauk sea scallop harvester. “The draggers do a lot of fluking there. They do a lot of yellowtail flounder there. It’s a very important place for sportfishermen, too— it’s really the only place that still has cod consistently.” Montauk fishermen say they were not included in the conversations held five years ago, when Deepwater Wind and federal regulators were discussing the regions that would be leased to the company for wind farm construction. “They created a fishery advisory group … and Rhode Island and Massachusetts fishermen said, ‘You can’t go here, because we all fish here—that’s important to us,’ and they removed all these certain [areas] from the map,” said Bonnie Brady, director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association. “They never talked to New York. No one from Long Island was invited, as far as I’m aware.” Read the full story here 15:53

Ventura FD put out Series of Arson Fires – Commercial fishing vessel a total loss

On January 31st at 1:46 AM,  Ventura City firefighters responded to a report of a boat fire in the Ventura Harbor. Upon arrival responding crews found a 50 foot commercial fishing boat 6 feet off the ground in dry-dock fully involved in. Fire suppression efforts initially concentrated on protecting an adjacent building and boat from the flames.  Firefighters were able to suppress the bulk of the flames on the burning boat within 20 minutes of arrival. The boat, however, was a complete loss. Three additional small fires were discovered in the same boat yard at varying intervals throughout the firefighting operations: A fire involving a propane tank of a fork lift, a debris fire in a workshop area and a smoldering rag on the stern of another boat in dry-dock. Read the story here 15:32

Two get death, 12 get life over Barguna fishermen murders

A Barguna court awarded death sentence to two accused in a case filed over the murder of two fishermen by drowning in the district. The court also gave life imprisonment to 12 others. Another suspect was given a seven-year prison sentence. The verdict was announced by Barguna Additional District and Sessions Judge Md Abu Taher on Monday, reports bdnews24.com. Sixteen fishermen had set out on a trawler to fish in the Bay of Bengal on Feb 14, 2010, said Assistant Public Prosecutor Akhtaruzzaman Bahadur qoting the case details. “Two of the fishermen were drowned after they were convinced a local ‘prophet’ could resurrect the dead,” he said. (lets just try this theory, right?)  The victims were Barguna Sadar Upazila residents ‘Aynal’, 24, and ‘Farooq’, 40. A total of fifteen suspects have been convicted over their deaths. Read the rest here 14:37

Monster winter storm expected to churn up 50-foot waves in the open Atlantic

A monster winter storm is taking shape along the East Coast this week, and the National Weather Service is calling for 50-foot waves in the Atlantic by Tuesday. That’s not just a shot-in-the-dark — if you add up all of the forecast data, there’s over a 90 percent chance that wave heights will exceed 30 feet. This storm is the same trough of low pressure that dipped into the Mid-Atlantic on Sunday and dropped a few inches of snow in the D.C. area. On Monday morning, the storm was just 1005 millibars — barely a low pressure system at all. But over the next 48 hours, the storm is expected to drop to 968 millibars. On its southern side, winds will easily reach Category 1 hurricane-strength. That will churn up waves of 16 meters, which is around 50 feet — at least that’s what the Ocean Prediction Center is forecasting. They’re calling the storm “extremely dangerous low pressure.” Click here for more imagery 13:55

‘Phenomenal’ shrimp season still playing out in the Lowcountry

It’s the cold end of January and that means the end of commercial shrimping is..umm..maybe not even going to happen. It’s phenomenal, said Mel Bell, S.C. Department of Natural Resources fisheries management director. “This is the latest I’ve heard us close. The size they’re bringing in out there we’ve never seen before” this time of year, he said. Not only that, but “provisional” waters will remain open another week. Those are waters roughly beyond two miles out, between the nearshore state waters and federal waters even farther out. And federal waters don’t close at all unless it’s a bad winter. Lowcountry boats have been slaying them in those provisional and federal waters. “Definitely,” said Shem Creek shrimper Tommy Edwards, who has been pulling in shrimp so big they’re weighing out at 13 to the pound. “We’re doing better now than we were when the season was going strong. Right now we’re looking at shrimping all the way through February. We’re not going to close if conditions are right.” Read the story here 13:40

Catch Share Program Review for the Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Individual Transferrable Quota Fisheries

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) is accepting proposals to conduct a Catch Share Program Review of the present and past social and economic conditions in the Atlantic surfclam and ocean quahog (SCOQ) fisheries which are managed using individual transferrable quotas (ITQs). Section 303A(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) includes requirements for the regular monitoring and review of the operations of catch share programs by the Council and the Secretary of Commerce. In 1977, the Council developed a fishery management plan for the Atlantic surfclam and ocean quahog fisheries in federal waters. These fisheries were initially managed using a combination of limited entry restrictions, fishing quotas, and time limits to constrain landings and distribute fishing effort throughout the fishing year. In 1990, the Council developed an ITQ program that was implemented by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries. The fisheries have been operating under this program since then. Read the Request for Proposals (RFP) – Closing Date: March 31, 2017  12:21

Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association gets another stab at Minas Passage tidal turbine

After an application it filed last July, the Bay of Fundy Inshore Fishermen’s Association is getting another day in court. Justice M. Heather Robertson is presiding over a hearing on Feb. 1-2 in Halifax that will review the environment minister’s decision to authorize an Environmental Effects Monitoring Program. The EEMP was the final requirement the proponents needed before they could deploy an in-stream tidal energy device, or turbine, in the Bay of Fundy’s Minas Passage. According to documents filed with the court, BoFiFA claims that environment minister Margaret Miller erred in the law and acted unreasonably in her decision on June 20, 2016 by proceeding contrary to the requirements of the original EA in 2009. Named in the application are the Minister of Environment, the Attorney General, the Fundy Ocean Research Centre for Energy Ltd. (FORCE) and Cape Sharp Tidal Ventures Ltd. Link 11:14

Nunavut fishery gets a big boost in turbot quotas, expects a $7M to $8M increase in revenue

Last week, the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans increased the total allowable catch for 2017 and 2018 by 575 tonnes in each of the two fishing areas adjacent to Baffin Island. “What it means, of course, if you’re looking at revenue on that amount of product, is somewhere between $7 million to $8 million of increase in revenue,” said Jerry Ward, the director of fisheries at Qikiqtaaluk Corporation. “Plus, it will also provide more jobs throughout the year and so on. So we’re quite pleased with it.” The limits on turbot in zone 0A, northeast of Baffin Island, was upped to 8,575 tonnes, with Nunavut fishermen receiving all of the increase. The limit in zone 0B, off Baffin Island’s southeast coast, was increased to 7,575 tonnes. Nunavut will receive 90 per cent of that increase, with Inuit fishers in Nunavik receiving the other 10 per cent. Read the story here 10:17

The early shift: New Jersey People working while you’re still asleep

The early bird may catch the worm. But it certainly isn’t catching enough zzz’s. That’s the moral of the story for those who work during the wee hours. We caught up with a few New Jersey residents who regularly rise before the sun – a commercial fisherman, a waitress and an ER nurse – to chat about the challenges that come with working while the rest of us are in bed and find out why they stick with it. To make a profit as a commercial gillnet fisherman, you’ve got to sacrifice sleep. For 35 years, Kevin Wark’s schedule has been roughly the same: two nights at sea, one on land. But no matter how many times he toils through his 30-hour shifts, with little more than a 15-minute nap, Wark’s body has never grown accustomed to the effects of sleep deprivation. Read the story here 09:25

Man charged with punching police canine during suspect pursuit

A 54-year-old Coos Bay man, one of three arrested on Friday afternoon after police responded to a report of criminal trespass in progress, is accused of punching a police canine as the animal was assisting in his apprehension. Deputies from the Coos County Sheriff’s Office arrived at an address on Gurney Drive, near North Bend, at 12:32 p.m. on Friday, and upon arrival learned of “an ongoing property line dispute.” One deputy saw a man, later identified as Steven R. O’Daniels, 38, of North Bend walk away from the deputy and into a shop-style building on the property. O’Daniels’ wife remained with the deputy “to explain her side of the story.” When a records check revealed O’Daniels had two outstanding warrants in Clatsop County for failure to appear on commercial fishing crimes, the deputy approached the shop and called out for O’Daniels to tell him he is under arrest. Deputies located O’Daniels near Waymire Lane with assistance from Odin and several callers. O’Daniels was arrested on two outstanding warrants and held at Coos Count jail on $1 million bail. Read the story here 08:46

Controversial flounder plan could get final approval Thursday

A proposal to drastically reduce this year’s summer flounder catch could get final approval at a federal regulatory meeting Thursday morning in Virginia. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Committee is scheduled consider strategies that would reduce the summer flounder harvest by up to 41 percent coast-wide and implement tighter restrictions on bag and size limits for recreational fishermen. It’s a proposal that has been met with widespread criticism in New Jersey—from recreational fishermen, both U.S. Senators, multiple other politicians and even the head of the state Department of Environmental Protection. In August, the ASMFC and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council set the summer flounder harvest limit at an all-time low in response to the most recent stock assessment, and, last month, the regulatory bodies approved a set of options to meet that goal. Read the rest of the story here 21:27

Southeast Alaska winter troll season slow

Commercial troll fishing for king salmon in Southeast Alaska this winter is not like it has been the last few years. The troll fleet catch and the number of boats out fishing are both well down from last year and also below the five and ten-year averages. By late January, the catch had neared 8,000 Chinook, with more than half of those kings landed in the waters around Sitka Sound. Eight thousand is just one quarter of what the catch was at this time last year.“I would say that the past three years have been phenomenal for the troll fishery so seeing a decrease now doesn’t necessarily mean that the fishery’s terrible, it just means that we’re going back to lower averages,” said Rhea Ehresmann is assistant troll management biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Read the story here 19:07

Price spikes for jumbo shrimp blamed on Gulf of Mexico dead zone

Every spring and summer when the low-oxygen dead zone forms off Louisiana’s coastline, the price of jumbo shrimp briefly spikes, affecting Gulf of Mexico fishers, consumers and seafood markets, according to a new study published Monday (Jan. 30) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. And the price for smaller shrimp generally falls. The positive effect of the price increase on jumbo shrimp for Gulf commercial shrimpers are fleeting, however. That’s because the rise often triggers increased imports of large shrimp from foreign producers, including farm-raised shrimp, which quickly drive down prices. The dead zone is an area of low oxygen — with levels of oxygen at or below 2 parts per million — that scientists define as hypoxia. Freshwater rich in nitrogen and phosphorus from Midwest farms and from nutrient-rich sewage from cities and rural areas enters the Gulf each spring and summer, forming a freshwater layer over the Gulf’s saltier sea water. Read the full story here 18:41

A Maine lobsterman brings up a serious issue. What to do with expired marine distress flares

After a lobsterman called her attention to unsafe and environmentally hazardous practices, a state representative is proposing a formal system for disposal of expired marine distress flares. It began with a simple question this past summer from Bob Perry, a Bailey Island lobsterman who was telling his sister over coffee one morning that he was not sure where he could dispose of old flares. The flares, which expire after 42 months, employ pyrotechnic chemicals and are classified as hazardous waste that cannot be buried in a landfill. “I was telling her, ‘I’ve got these flares, and I’ve got no idea what to do with them,’” Perry said last week. With the exception of smaller boats and specific recreational uses, existing law mandates that large vessels must be equipped with visual distress signals, most of which use pyrotechnic chemicals to emit a bright emergency flare, according to the Boater’s Guide to Maine Laws and Responsibilities. “I can’t be the only one on the coast of Maine that doesn’t know how to get rid of them,” he said. Read the story here 17:10

Feds Facing Order to Redirect Klamath River Water for Salmon

Two Native American tribes sued the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation last year, claiming its bungled management of Klamath River waterways allowed a deadly parasite to infect 91 percent of endangered juvenile Coho and Chinook salmon.  The Yurok and Hoopa Valley Tribes say they depend on the salmon for subsistence, income and for traditional ceremonies that define their people. Lawyers for the federal government and an industry group of farmers and ranchers argue that diverting water to help salmon will harm businesses that support local jobs and communities and threaten another set of endangered fish, the shortnose sucker and Lost River sucker. In separate complaints against the federal government, the tribes say infection rates caused by the deadly parasite C. shasta, should have required the bureau to review its Klamath Irrigation Project’s impact on threatened salmon two years ago, but the bureau failed to take action in violation of the Endangered Species Act.During a hearing Friday, U.S. District Judge William Orrick III agreed the bureau should have reviewed the project when infection rates climbed to 81 percent in 2014 and 91 percent in 2015, well beyond the maximum 49 percent estimated in a 2013 biological opinion issued by co-defendant National Marine Fisheries Service. Read the story here 16:47

Five fishermen rescued from trawler before it sank off Irish coast

Five crew members had to be rescued from a trawler after it ran aground off Balbriggan in north Dublin early this morning. The 12 metre vessel became disabled at sea and was blown ashore, becoming lodged on a sandbank. The alarm was raised at 5.20am and Dublin coastguard coordinated the rescue. One inshore lifeboat and two all-weather lifeboats were sent to the scene. The Rescue 116 Coast guard helicopter was also involved in the operation. This morning the boat, called the Atlantic Osprey, could be seen half submerged in the sea south of Balbriggan. The wooden hull vessel had been fishing for razor clams when the incident occurred. Read the rest of the story here 16:02

Further proof El Niños are fueled by deep-sea geological heat flow

The 2014-2017 El Niño “warm blob” was likely created, maintained, and partially recharged on two separate occasions by massive pulses of super-heated and chemically charged seawater from deep-sea geological features in the western North Pacific Ocean. This strongly supports the theory all El Niños are naturally occurring and geological in origin. Climate change / global warming had nothing to do with generating, rewarming, intensifying, or increasing the frequency of the 2014-2017 El Niño or any previous El Niño. If proven correct, this would revolutionize climatology and key aspects of many interrelated sciences such as oceanography, marine biology, glaciology, biogeochemistry, and most importantly meteorology. Information supporting a geological origin of El Niños is diverse, reliable, and can be placed into five general categories as follows,,, Read the article here 13:19

The idea that “the public” will use Global Fishing Watch seems doubtful

At John Kerry’s 2014 “Our Ocean” conference, a tuxedoed Leonardo DiCaprio introduced a new technology that promised to end illegal fishing across the globe. Global Fishing Watch boasted real-time monitoring of the world’s ships. This machine-learning spy tool was the result of a collaboration between the conservation advocacy organization Oceana, the satellite surveillance firm SkyTruth, and Google. After it collects and maps vessel location data transmitted from onboard satellite tracking devices, the program organizes all data points on a user-friendly Internet platform. For the first time in history, all fishing activity is recorded–even on the high seas that lie outside national jurisdictions. With Global Fishing Watch’s all-seeing gaze, states can adjudicate crimes to which they were previously blind. But the idea that “the public” will use Global Fishing Watch seems doubtful. The web platform lacks common features without which vigilantes would need a lot of training: pop-ups of helpful tips on what to watch for, alerts to specific hot-spots, built-in reporting mechanisms, or forums for users to share their experiences. Worse, those who the technology could most benefit–local fishers forced to compete with larger illegal ships–often do not have access to a decent Internet connection. If Global Fishing Watch is unlikely to be used by ordinary citizens of the countries most affected by illegal fishing, why is it marketed like a neighborhood watch tool? Read the story here 11:27

In 1895 a historian urged us to modernize our fish products and speed them to market

Lawyer, judge, historian and essayist — and son of Port de Grave — Daniel Prowse must surely have been smacking his lips when he wrote about our seafood in a concluding portion of his 1895 history. It was all about freshness and the abundance we had here and how we could access better markets. The railway, speeding from the east coast of our island to the west coast to meet a fast boat on the southwest corner would make it possible for us to earn big, new money from seafood hungry New Yorkers. Rapturously Prowse wrote: “Frozen cod and most delicious cod’s tongues, fresh every morning, will be transported from our shores!” I will admit that it stretches credulity to pair any judge with the adverb “rapturously,” however, I think it’s fair to say Prowse loved Newfoundland. And he always wanted us to do more and better with what we had. Good read! Read the story here 09:53

American Samoa Governor Lolo Moliga – US Sanctuary Program cannot dictate how territorial government uses local waters

The governor said he met with officials of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and explained to them the position of the legislature and the executive branch concerning federal oversight of areas included in the Sanctuary of American samoa. He said it’s not that American Samoa is against conservation, rather it’s the way that the federal government has taken over jurisdiction of local waters included in the sanctuary that he has a problem with. Waters included in the marine Sanctuary of American Samoa are not open for commercial fishing, and there are also restrictions on take for subsistence fishing. Speaking at a cabinet meeting the governor also said that the Attorney General will fight American Samoa’s lawsuit against the US government to take back control of local waters. link 09:20

Oregon did the right thing in backing off gillnet ban on the main Columbia River. Washington state should too.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission is to be commended for recognizing that a 2013 policy dictated by former Gov. John Kitzhaber to kick commercial salmon fishing off the Columbia River has failed. It isn’t just Lower Columbia River residents who think so. Bobby Levy, former commission chair, commented on Facebook, “Oregon Fish and Wildlife commissioners did the fair and right thing! I applaud you!!” Levy led the commission in 2012 and 2013 when the two fish and wildlife commissions of Oregon and Washington state headed down the path to implementing the Kitzhaber scheme. Never fully thought out, gutting a centurylong tradition of supplying local consumers with some of the salmon we support with our taxes and electric rates was largely the product of intense lobbying by one subset of recreational fishing, embodied by the Northwest Sportsfishing Industry Association. A long-successful alliance between different salmon-fishing interests was cast aside, resulting in a loss of important unified advocacy for salmon recovery in the Columbia estuary and basin. Evicting gillnetters from the main stem of the Columbia by the end of 2016 was premised on a number of assumptions, including: Read the rest of the op-ed here 08:29

Labour Relations Board Hearing Tuesday into release of FFAW membership list

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) welcomes a hearing called by the Labour Relations Board over the FFAW’s failure to release its membership list of inshore fish harvesters. “The lengths the FFAW has taken to inflate and withhold its membership list is yet another act of crookery,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “We look forward to being able to dig into their list.”The hearing is scheduled to take place from 9:30 to 12:30 on Tuesday, Jan. 31st at the Labour Relations Board Hearings Room, 1st floor, Beothuk Building, 20 Crosbie Place in St. John’s. Read the full press release here 07:49

Study says predators may play major role in chinook salmon declines

A new study shows that increased populations of seals and sea lions are eating far more of Puget Sound’s threatened chinook than previously known, potentially hampering recovery efforts for both salmon and endangered killer whales.  Seals and sea lions are eating about 1.4 million pounds of Puget Sound chinook each year — about nine times more than they were eating in 1970, according to the report, published online this month in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. Most of these chinook are small fish migrating to the ocean, which ultimately reduces the number of adults returning to Puget Sound. The study estimates that seals and sea lions are decreasing potential returns by about 162,000 adult chinook each year. That’s twice the number eaten by killer whales and roughly six times as many as caught in Puget Sound by tribal, commercial and recreational fishers combined. Read the rest of the story here 21:16

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council Meeting in Seattle, WA January 30 thru February 6, 2017

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will begin their meeting week on Monday, January 30, and continue through Monday February 6, 2017 at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel, 515 Madison Street, Seattle, WA. The AGENDA and SCHEDULE are now available.  Meeting FAST FACTS. The Council’s meeting will be broadcast live beginning February 1, 2017 via Adobe Connect  Listen Online.  Visit the NPFMC Website, Click here 20:35

ASMFC Winter Meeting – January 30 – February 2, 2017 in Alexandria, Virginia

Final Agenda, Click here For ease of access, all Board/Section meeting documents, with the exception of the Shad & River Herring Board materials and the submitted public comment portion of the Atlantic Menhaden Board materials, have been combined into two documents – Main Meeting Materials 1 and Main Meeting Materials 2. Main Meeting Materials 1 includes all boards/sections meeting on January 31 and Main Meeting Materials 2 are materials for the remainder of the week. Additionally, supplemental materials have been combined into document – Supplemental Materials. Links to individual board/committee materials can be found below. Board/Section meeting proceedings will be broadcast daily via webinar beginning at 8:00 a.m. on January 31st and continuing daily until the conclusion of the meeting (expected to be 3:00 p.m.) on Thursday February 2nd. The webinar will allow registrants to listen to board/section deliberations and view presentations and motions as they occur. Click here for access. 19:57

Trawler Damaged – Two suffer minor injuries in large fire in downtown Hampton

Hampton firefighters battled blazes at a seafood packaging warehouse and commercial fishing boat in the 100 block of King Street in downtown Sunday morning. Two people suffered minor injuries as a result of the blaze, and the warehouse was heavily damaged, according to a fire official. The flames coming from the warehouse reached nearby boats, Chittum said, and one boat was damaged by fire. However it was moved from the warehouse, protecting it from the further burns. After the flames on the boat were under control, firefighters used the boat as a platform to fight the warehouse blaze, Chittum said. The boat had visible charring to its right side, which was facing the warehouse. (Trusted sources confirm the vessel is the F/V Darana R out of Wanchese N.C.) Photo gallery, read the rest here 19:13

BREAKING: 2nd alarm warehouse and boat fire in Hampton Va.

Hampton Fire crews are battling a heavy 2nd alarm warehouse fire at Amory’s Seafood in the 100 block of South King Street Sunday morning. Dispatch received the call around 8:18 a.m. Hampton Fire tweeted a commercial fishing boat has also caught fire. This is a breaking story. More details when available! Click here for photo’s 11:38:03

When the water turns wicked

When it comes to being on the ocean – whether you’re a commercial fisherman out there making a living, a sport fisherman on the briny blue for a day of rod-and-reel action, or a diehard powerboat cruiser – there is always one factor that plays a crucial role in everything you do: the weather. We asked four well-known and seasoned professional captains how they plan for and handle heavy weather when at sea. All four are showcased on National Geographic Channel’s hit television show, “Wicked Tuna,” and each is a top-notch giant bluefin tuna fisherman and consummate seaman. Here’s what they have to say about managing their vessels in the often-nasty conditions of the North Atlantic Ocean. And here are their respective preferred tactics and strategies, stored in their memory banks after years of sea time in their rugged little tuna boats. Read this article by Shelley Fleming-Wigglesworth click here 10:13

Autonomous Ships – If Rolls-Royce has its way, commercial vessels will soon have no crew on board

It’s midnight on the North Atlantic, where a massive container ship receives the latest weather report. There’s a nasty storm brewing ahead. Quietly, the ship changes course and speed, to skirt the worst of it and ensure an on-time arrival at its destination. The ship’s owners and the harbormaster at its next port of call are advised of the revised route. And as it nears shore, the giant ship must correct course once again, this time to steer clear of a fishing vessel off its starboard bow. Just another day for trans-Atlantic shipping, it might seem. In fact, it’s not. You see, this ship has no one aboard. It’s commanded from an operating center on the other side of the world, where technicians are monitoring and controlling this vessel and others like it through a satellite data link—that is, when the ship isn’t just controlling itself. Although robotic ships of this sort are some ways off in the future, it’s not a question of if they will happen but when. Read the story here 09:47

Russell Wangersky: Fish harvesters have the most to lose

The whole issue is in the hands of the Labour Relations Board right now, so this column is unlikely to sway any votes — and that’s fine. Because, really, it’s fight for those involved. (And just for clarity’s sake, I’ve known Lana Payne, with the FFAW’s parent union, Unifor, since we worked together at The Sunday Express in the late 1980s. I’ve known FISH-NL’s Ryan Cleary since 1997, when he worked at The Telegram, and we get along, on and off.) I understand why the fish harvesters might want to leave the FFAW. The union, representing harvesters and those who work in the processing sector, is juggling a variety of interests, from processing workers to inshore fish harvesters to offshore trawler workers. And that does create problems. Read the op-ed here 09:10

Steaming toward Seattle, New US factory freezer/processor vessel Araho

The new Araho is a 59.13 metres factory stern trawler with a 14.94 metre beam, built to a Skipsteknisk ST-115 design. It has been built for demersal trawling and is capable of processing and freezing approximately 100 tonnes of H&G flatfish per day. It has an 1100 cubic metre refrigerated hold. This is the sixth new build from Eastern Shipbuilding for the O’Hara Corporation over the last twenty years and by far the largest and most sophisticated vessel, as the first US factory freezer/processor vessel to be built in the USA for 25 years. Video, read the story here 08:18

Tim Rider’s small-scale commercial operation – the only full-time one in New England pulling in groundfish by rod and reel

Chef Benjamin Hasty, owner of Thistle Pig in South Berwick, was having a beer with a co-worker at 7th Settlement, a brewpub in Dover, New Hampshire, when he saw Tim Rider walk by, carrying fresh fish to the pub’s kitchen. “We kept seeing someone schlepping these big totes of fish going by us,” Hasty recalled. “I said, ‘I need to introduce myself because I need to get some of that.’ ” Hasty invited Rider, owner of New England Fishmongers, to join him for a cup of coffee. Rider told him he is one of the few New England commercial fishermen who still catches groundfish the old-fashioned way, with a rod and reel; experts believe he is the only one in Maine, and perhaps all of New England, who is doing so full time. Click to see 21 great images  Read the story here 07:49

Northeast Fisheries Science Center director steers a new course

It was last Halloween when Jon Hare took over as Science and Research Director for NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole. He was aware he was jumping into a cauldron but it hasn’t spooked him yet. “I knew it was going to be a challenge and that’s why I was interested in it,” the career NOAA scientist said. Hare does understatement well. The director’s job description includes managing “the living marine resources of the Northeast Continental Shelf Ecosystem from the Gulf of Maine to Cape Hatteras,” according to the NOAA website. If that in itself were not sufficient, these resources include commercial fisheries, and in New England that is synonymous with controversy. Federal fishery management in general, and the efficacy of NOAA’s survey work on fish stocks in particular, have been heavily criticized by fishermen in the Northeast, almost without cessation for the past 15 years and the NEFSC has been at the sharp end of much of this disaffection. Read the story here 20:22

Fishing chiefs insist the industry is doing all it can to adhere to the discard ban

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) insisted fishers were doing “everything possible” to comply with the rules following claims by conservation group WWF the ban is being undermined by poor enforcement. SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong said: “No-one hates discarding more than our fishermen, who are making a comprehensive effort to comply with this largely unworkable regulation. “Fishermen are doing everything possible to adhere to the rules, and industry and government are working closely together to develop more selective types of fishing gear that will reduce discarding even further. “Installing cameras on fishing vessels is no more than a side show and the presence or absence of them will not solve the problem. The real issue is getting the rules right and the proper refinements in place.” Read the rest here 16:57

Warren Maine man admits to helping sink lobster boat

A 21-year-old Warren man was sentenced Thursday, Jan. 26, to three months in jail for his role in the sinking of a lobster boat off St. George last summer. Devin Meklin pleaded guilty in Knox County Unified Court to aggravated criminal mischief and theft in connection to the Sept. 1 sinking of the 36-foot lobster boat Oracle owned by Joshua Hupper of St. George. Meklin was one of three people charged in the case. According to investigators, 47-year-old Alan B. Norwood Jr., a St. George lobsterman, paid his sternman, Vincent Hilt, 22, of Vinalhaven, $500 to sink Hupper’s boat. Norwood and Hilt have both pleaded not guilty to criminal charges. Norwood is charged with felony aggravated criminal mischief. Hilt is charged with felony criminal mischief and theft. Read the story here 15:52

Oregon details its Columbia River fee expenditures

Since 2014, Oregon has spent $2.4 million it collected from a $9.75 Columbia River Endorsement tag on largely recreational fishing enhancements and research. None went to the commercial gill-net industry. At the request of The Oregonian/OregonLive, the released a dollar-specific, detailed accounting of expenditures from the endorsement fund late Friday. Agency officials hope to have the information available soon on the department’s Web site. Also detailed is $2.5 million set aside by the Oregon Legislature — $1.5 million per biennium – for assisting a transition of commercial fishing away from mainstem gill-netting. None of that money went directly to the commercial industry either. There is an additional $500,000 biennial fund for commercial netters to invest in newer, alternative fishing equipment, but department officials said no one has yet applied for any of the accumulated $1 million. Read the story here 12:04

Queensland Prawn importers under investigation for biosecurity breach

A number of prawn suppliers and importers are under investigation for not meeting biosecurity measures in the time leading up to a disease outbreak. The Department of Agriculture and Water Services had been investigating the suppliers and importers since August 2016, five months before it became public that white spot disease had been detected in Queensland. Since December five prawn farms had tested positive for the virus, which causes a high death rate in the crustacean, and the import of green prawns had been banned indefinitely. The maximum penalty if the suppliers and importers are found to have been illegally importing goods for a commercial advantage under the Biosecurity Act 2015 is 10 years in prison or $360,000 or both. Read the story here 10:06

COASTAL CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

Several private anglers and the Coastal Conservation Association, a group representing private anglers (collectively, CCA), appeal the district court’s summary judgment dismissal of their lawsuit, which challenged Amendment 40 to the Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan and the Final Rule implementing that amendment. Because we find that Amendment 40 is consistent with its organic statute and was properly devised and implemented, we AFFIRM the judgment of the district court. This dispute centers on the management of the red snapper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico. Read the complaint here 09:28

Shad: Following the history and biology of a East Coast transplant

Shad were one of the largest commercial fisheries in the East during the 19th century, but overharvesting and heavy pollution prior to the environmental enlightenment of the 1970s saw the population drop faster than heavy shad dart in a slow current. Commercial harvests on the East Coast declined from nearly 20 million pounds in the 1870s to less than 2 million a hundred years later. In 1871, forward-thinking individuals at the United States Fish and Wildlife Service decided to transport shad from New York’s Hudson River to the Sacramento River in California’s Central Valley. The reasoning for this move was, in part, to add commercial and sport fisheries, as well as add another plentiful food source to the quickly swelling population of a post-Gold Rush California. Read the story here 08:41

Value of Maine lobster exports to China on pace to triple for 2016

Live lobster exports to China are on pace to triple in value in 2016, despite the incursion of some new lobster suppliers to the growing Asian market. Final figures for 2016 won’t be known until February, but through November, the value of live lobster shipments from Maine to China climbed to $27.5 million, nearly tripling from the $10.2 million reported in November 2015. That’s roughly half the total export of live lobsters from Maine to date, excluding Canada, where many Maine lobsters are processed and then imported back into Maine for distribution. And those figures don’t include the traditional year-end surge leading up the Chinese New Year on Jan. 28, when Chinese celebrants have been serving up lobster from Maine, Massachusetts and Canada in ever-increasing numbers. Read the story here 08:17

Fishing industry backs Chris Oliver for NMFS director

A coalition of commercial fishing, Native and environmental entities is backing Chris Oliver, executive director of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, to become the next head of the National Marine Fisheries Service. The more than four dozen signers of a letter sent to the Trump administration on Jan. 23 included processors Trident Seafoods and Icicle Seafoods, Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers, Alaska Marine Conservation Council, At Sea Processors Association, Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp., Fishing Vessel Owners Association, Pacific Seafoods Processors Association, United Catcher Boats, and United Fishermen’s Marketing Association. Read the story here 07:42 More information can be found here

International Pacific Halibut Commission approves increases in halibut catch limits

Most parts of the Pacific coastline will see an increase in commercial and charter fishing catch limits for halibut this year. The International Pacific Halibut Commission Friday approved a coast-wide catch limit of 31.4 million pounds of the valuable bottom fish. That’s an increase from just under 30 million pounds last year. Several parts of the coast were facing catch limit cuts based on alternatives presented by IPHC scientists. However, commissioners voted to boost harvest limits instead of making reductions. There was some disagreement about the BC catch limit this year. Listen to the audio report or read it here 19:11

N.J. fishermen, officials demand feds back off of proposed flounder limits

In a unified show of support, New Jersey officials and leaders of the state’s fishing industry said Friday they are demanding the federal government abandon plans to cut the amount of fluke to be harvested this year. Insisting the proposed new limits will devastate an industry important to New Jersey’s economy, the government and industry representatives said they’re prepared to mount a legal fight, if necessary, to fight “ridiculous” limits that were based on “flawed” data. Jim Lovgren, a fishing boat captain and director of the Fishermen’s Dock Cooperative, said fishermen already experienced a 30-percent reduction in limits last year and face yet another 17- or 18-percent cut next year. The Point Pleasant Beach cooperative he heads pulls in about 2 million pounds of flounder annually. “Taking 30 percent of that last year hurt. It hurt me economically. It hurt everybody over there. It hurt everybody here,” he said to the crowd. Photo gallery of 21 images, Read the story here 16:54

DEP Commissioner Bob Martin Says Proposed Fluke Quota Cut Would Cripple Fishing, Kill Jobs

Proposals that would cut New Jersey’s share of the fluke fishing quota in by 50 percent would cripple the fishing industry, kill potentially thousands of jobs and damage the state’s tourism industry, state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin said Friday. Martin joined federal and state lawmakers, leaders of the state’s recreational and commercial fishing industries, anglers, and people whose livelihoods rely on fishing at a rally in Point Pleasant Beach to oppose the proposed drastic cuts to the recreational harvest of summer flounder, also known as fluke. The rally follows votes last month by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council that would likely result in an increase in the size of individual summer flounder anglers can keep, as well as a decrease in number of fish that may be kept each day, and a reduction in season length. Read the rest of the story here 15:36

These California and Oregon farmers lost water in 2001. Now they want to be paid.

Northern California and Oregon farmers who lost irrigation water in 2001 for the sake of fish are plunging into a climactic courtroom battle for tens of millions of dollars in compensation. Years in the making, the trial set to start Monday in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims near the White House involves a lot of money, but that’s not all. For other Westerners, too, it can have broader implications, clarifying what the government may owe for water steered away from crops toward environmental protection. “It’s a civil rights case, at bottom,” farmers’ attorney Nancie Marzulla said in an interview. “It involves the protection of private property. We all expect the government to respect private property rights.” The same court ruled in 2001, for instance, that the federal government had taken water without paying compensation to California’s Tulare Lake Basin Water Storage District and others that had been deprived of water for the sake of the delta smelt and the winter-run chinook salmon. The judge later concluded the water districts were owed $13.9 million plus interest, and the case is still cited. Read the rest of the story here 15:10

Bumble Bee Pleads Guilty in Industrial Oven Death of Worker Jose Melena

Bumble Bee LLC pleaded guilty Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge stemming from the death of a Wilmington man who was cooked for two hours while trapped inside an industrial oven working at the company’s Santa Fe Springs plant. “I’ve … been a prosecutor for more than 20 years. I’ve tried more than 40 murder cases, and this is the worst circumstances of death I have ever, ever witnessed,” a deputy D.A. said. “I think any person would prefer to be, if they had to die some way … to be shot or stabbed than to be slowly cooked to death in an oven.” The pleas — which were anticipated under a $6 million settlement reached with the San Diego-based company in 2015 — stem from the Oct. 11, 2012, death of 62-year-old Jose Melena.  Melena entered a 35-foot-long cylindrical oven used to sterilize cans of tuna at the plant. Co-workers, who were unaware that he was inside the oven, loaded 12,000 pounds of canned tuna and inadvertently trapped him in the back of the oven. He was found dead after the two-hour sterilization process. After the 2015 hearing, Chun described the circumstances of Melena’s death as “about as bad as you can imagine.” Read the rest of the story here 13:31

On this day in 2007, The Search begins for Lady of Grace

On this day in 2007, the Coast Guard launched a massive search for the Fishing Vessel Lady of Grace after the 75-foot dragger failed to return as scheduled to New Bedford. The four-man crew of the boat was last heard from the night before, struggling to cross Nantucket Sound in a winter gale with 6- to 9-foot seas buffeting the Sound. Using side scan sonar, Coast Guard personnel located the sunken vessel 12 miles south of Hyannis one day after the search began. The bodies of Lady of Grace captain Antonio Barroqueiro and crew member Mario Farinhas were recovered, but two other crew members,  Rogerio Ventura and Joao Silva – were never found. Read the stories about this tragedy starting with previous problem with the boat click here 11:39 May they all Rest in Peace.

Coast Guard medevacs fisherman near Cold Bay, Alaska

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter crew forward deployed in Cold Bay, medevaced a man from the fishing vessel American Dynasty approximately 60 nautical miles north of Cold Bay, Thursday afternoon. The 59-year-old fisherman was hoisted and transported to Cold Bay where he was met by Guardian Flight personnel for further transfer to Anchorage. Watchstanders at Coast Guard District Seventeen received notification from Health Force Partners requesting a medevac for a crewmember  aboard the American Dynasty who was suffering from symptoms of appendicitis.  The duty flight surgeon recommended the medevac and the helicopter crew was dispatched. Weather on scene during the time of the medevac was reported as 20-mph winds with six to eight-foot seas and four miles of visibility. link 10:46

Federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc says Canada has a right to scientific analysis of Corexit

Canada’s fisheries minister is pushing back against a U.S. company that is refusing to let Canadian researchers test its oil spill dispersant. “We obviously have a huge concern about a potential corporate interest that appears to not want to have robust, thoughtful, independent scientific analysis of their product,” said Dominic LeBlanc. LeBlanc, speaking in Halifax, was talking about the months-long impasse over his department’s attempt to test Corexit 9580, a surface-washing agent used to clean beaches in oil spills. The product, along with Corexit 9500 — an open-water oil dispersant — were approved for use in Canada last year on a case-by-case basis if authorities determine there is a net environmental benefit. Read the rest here 09:57

Wakulla Fishermen Losing Traditional Harvest Areas, Call for End to Leasing

Fishermen in Wakulla County are concerned about the rise in the amount of leases on their waters. The leases provide boundaries as to where fishermen can and cannot go to get fish. Poles and barriers indicate assigned zones. Some fishermen say their boats have been damaged by them, claiming poor visibility due to a lack of lighting and the tide changing sea levels. Fishermen say the state keeps giving leases out, which zones off territory they’ve used for years. “It’s killing all of us up here,” said Albert Hartsfield, vice president of the Wakulla Commercial Fishermen’s Association (WCFA). “They’ve blocked up channels and everything.” “Don’t put my guys out of business,” said John Taylor, president of the WCFA. “They need this water to make their livelihood.”  Video, Read the rest here 09:01

Experts say BC salmon stocks not diminished by sea lice outbreak for now

The price of salmon has shot up more than 15 per cent over the last three months, thanks to fish stocks being hit worldwide by an outbreak of sea lice. In Norway and Scotland, two of the world’s largest suppliers of salmon, sea lice outbreaks have made prices rise by a full 50 per cent, coupled with a huge algae bloom in Chile, the world’s second biggest producer of farmed salmon, and global production is down by nine per cent. But the market for Pacific salmon is not likely to see the same price spikes, according to Glen Spain of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, who says that sea lice has so far been less of a scourge for Pacific Coast salmon. The tiny, naturally occurring parasite, found in both wild and farmed salmon, last proved to be a menace on the West Coast in 2015, when infestations were at their highest in five years.  Read the story here 07:49

Fisherman facing life in prison after finding 20 kilo’s of cocaine at sea, setting up a distribution ring

The question is often light-heartedly posited among friends in coastal towns of what one would do if he were to discover a bail of washed-up narcotics. Local fisherman Thomas Zachary Breeding, 32, chose to distribute for sale the 20 kilograms of cocaine he found – and he advises you not do the same. “This changed my life and way of thinking and also made me aware of some of the dangers that can be found off shore in the Gulf,” Breeding wrote recently in a letter to The News Herald from the Washington County Jail, where he is being held to await his sentence for conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. “I would like to let the public know the dangers and what not to do if this situation comes about.” Breeding was one of five individuals arrested in summer 2016 on charges of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. The group was indicted by a federal grand jury in September after Breeding found 20 kilograms of cocaine – the equivalent of about 45 pounds – while out at sea and set up a distribution network with the other people. Read the story here Another article, click here 16:16

Harvesting flatfish in the Last Frontier

Docked in Seattle a few days after Thanksgiving, the F/T Constellation is still filled with the smell of coastal Alaska waters; briny ocean and fresh fish. It wafts up from the lower levels and covers the deck. The vessel has been scrubbed and scoured, but the aroma is impossible to shake. The 165-foot vessel spent the better part of 2016 trawling the Bering Sea. For months, it carried several dozen crewmembers, decks full of equipment and freezers full of fresh seafood. It motored in and out of Dutch Harbor, the fishing capital of the Aleutian Island chain. While it’ll spend the early winter in Seattle, the break is brief—the vessel heads north again each year when the fishing season resumes in January. Built in Louisiana and based in Washington, the Constellation is crewed by men from all over the world. But it’s also distinctly Alaskan; part of a hardy fleet fueling local economies throughout the Southwest. Read the story here 13:25

Fluke Cut Rally scheduled for Friday, 10 am at Fishermen’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach

A rally against the proposed cuts to the summer flounder harvest is planned for this Friday morning in the parking lot of Fishermen’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach. Along with members of the fishing community, the commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection Bob Martin and U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) will lead the rally and speak in opposition to the harvest reduction. Both Martin and Pallone have been critical of the Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management for their proposed drastic cuts to the summer flounder harvest. Pallone has been outspoken against the science used to count fish landings and stock biomass that has led those management bodies to conclude that anglers overfished their quota last year and the biomass of summer flounder is shrinking. Read the rest here 12:32

Canadian researchers denied samples of oil spill dispersant Corexit 9500, Corexit 9580 by Nalco Environmental Solutions

Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans says it will try again to secure samples of an oil spill dispersant for testing by government-funded researchers after the American manufacturer refused two requests in 2016. The impasse surrounds research by fish biologist Craig Purchase of Memorial University of Newfoundland in St. John’s. Purchase was working on a $75,000 project funded by DFO comparing two types of oil dispersant products called Corexit on beach-spawning capelin. But he never got the chance to compare Corexit 9500 — an open ocean oil spill dispersant — with Corexit 9580, a surface agent used to clean beaches. He was able to get a sample of the oil spill dispersant from DFO but the manufacturer, Nalco Environmental Solutions, refused to provide Purchase with a sample of the beach cleaning agent Corexit 9580 last April. Nalco refused again when DFO asked for a sample on his behalf. Read the story here 09:24 Read this Corexit’s Deadly Legacy

In Chesapeake Bay’s changing ecosystem, blue crab is king (and moving north)

In the face of an evolving ecosystem, experts agree many of the differences in Chesapeake Bay marine life can – at least in part – be attributed to a worldwide warming trend. Over the last three decades, water temperatures in the Chesapeake Bay have increased about 1.5 degrees Celsius, or about 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, said Rom Lipcius, professor of marine science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. The change means populations of many native sea creatures in the Chesapeake have moved or expanded north in search of cooler water temperatures, and other non-native creatures have moved in. As the warming trend continues, experts say some marine species will thrive as others struggle to survive in the face of temperature, environment and predator and prey changes. “It’s not all bad news, and it’s not all good news,” said Jon Hare, science and research director for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center. “There are both winners and losers in this situation.” There have been a number of species, including blue crab, scup and black sea bass, that have shifted or extended northward along the Atlantic coast, said Hare. Read the story here 08:35

ITS HUGE! Grey Sole limits nearly doubled as scientists use ’empirical approach’ to set new specifications

Meeting in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the New England Fishery Management Council approved an acceptable biological catch of 878 metric tons of witch flounder, also known as grey sole, for 2017. When adjusted for management uncertainty, the move will result in a 2017 annual catch limit of 839 metric tons — nearly twice the 2016 annual catch limit of 441 metric tons. The unanimous vote by the council also underscored the escalating distrust commercial groundfishermen reserve for the science NOAA Fisheries uses to fuel its stock assessments. In December, NOAA Fisheries scientists were forced to concede that the model being used to develop the witch flounder stock assessment was irretrievably flawed after it failed the peer review phase of the process. Read the story here 07:51

Industrial grade corrosion inhibitor, lubricant and cleaner prevents and removes rust, protects engines and critical equipment

For ship and vessel owners that struggle with corrosion caused by water, humidity, condensation, salt air and environmental contaminants, Force5 Marine works as corrosion inhibiter, lubricant and cleaner to protect engines and critical equipment and keep it in good working order. The harsh marine environment costs an estimated $50-80 billion in corrosion related damage worldwide, and can lead to the failure of critical equipment including engines, fittings, valves, switches, lighting, and electrical gear if not properly maintained. The Force5 Marine spray protectant penetrates into metal parts to prevent rust and corrosion, while forming a bond that repels salt water and other contaminants. Read the rest here 07:20

New SMAST camera can help assess cod stocks in Gulf of Maine

Researchers from UMass Dartmouth say they have successfully tested an underwater video-survey system that they hope will provide an accurate method to assess Atlantic cod stocks. In collaboration with fishermen, the research team recently placed high-resolution cameras in an open-ended commercial trawl net on Stellwagen Bank in the Gulf of Maine, known as one of the world’s most active marine sanctuaries. The cameras captured images of cod and other groundfish as they passed through the net. Periodically, researchers from UMD’s School for Marine Science & Technology closed the net for short periods to collect length, weight, and take other biological samples from some of the fish. The fish are unharmed and are returned to the sea. The system is design to be portable, so scientists can set it up on different fishing vessels. Professor Kevin Stokesbury, head researcher on the project, said the video system is an important tool at a time of uncertainty about the groundfish stock in the Gulf of Maine. Read the story here 17:57  Read the press release and watch the video here