Monthly Archives: February 2017

Commerce Secretary Wibur Ross’ side project: Make America first on seafood

Wilbur Ross is expected to emerge as the Trump administration’s leading voice on trade after the Senate votes tonight to confirm him as Commerce Department secretary. He’s already singled out a surprising pet project: Reducing America’s reliance on seafood imports. “Given the enormity of our coastlines, given the enormity of our freshwater, I would like to try to figure out how we can become much more self-sufficient in fishing and perhaps even a net exporter,” the 79-year-old billionaire businessman said at his confirmation hearing in January. That would be a big job for anyone, since 85 percent, or some $20 billion, of seafood consumed in the U.S. comes from abroad. America is the second-largest seafood market after the 28-nation European Union, and the U.S. seafood industry runs an $11 billion trade deficit. continue reading the rest here 20:39

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for Februay 27, 2017

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates, Click here 17:32

National Marine Fisheries Service Policy Directive – Catch Share Policy

PURPOSE The purpose of this policy is to encourage well-designed catch share programs to help maintain or rebuild fisheries, and sustain fishermen, communities and vibrant working waterfronts, including the cultural and resource access traditions that have been part of this country since its founding.  DEFINITION “Catch share” is a general term for several fishery management strategies that allocate a specific portion of the total allowable fishery catch to individuals, cooperatives, communities, or other entities. Each recipient of a catch share is directly accountable to stop fishing when its exclusive allocation is reached. The term includes specific programs defined in law such as “limited access privilege” (LAP) and “individual fishing quota” (IFQ) programs, and other exclusive allocative measures such as Territorial Use Rights Fisheries (TURFs) that grant an exclusive privilege to Continue reading this here 15:50

Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association names Bobby Jenkins new president

The new president of the Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association is entrusting the decision-making responsibilities of the 1,280-member organization in the hands of his board of directors. “You’ve got to work with your board of directors and take your direction from them,” Annandale fisherman Bobby Jenkins said Monday following his weekend election. He takes over from Craig Avery who did not re-offer following two and a half years at the helm. “I congratulated Craig for doing the same thing. I felt Craig took great direction from the board, and I said I don’t intend to do it any differently,” Jenkins said in reference to comments he made to membership during the association’s annual meeting. continue reading the story here 15:35

Next Labour Relations Board hearing on fight between FFAW and FISH-NL set for Thursday

The Labour Relations Board has another hearing scheduled this week in the ongoing battle to represent inshore fish harvesters in the province. Last week, the board ruled the Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is indeed a legitimate organization after the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor) union had challenged the legality of the group. The board will next decide on whether or not FFAW-Unifor’s membership list of inshore harvesters should be made available to FISH-NL. The number of inshore harvesters is vital in determining whether FISH-NL’s submission of 2,352 signed membership cards meets the 50 per cent required to force a vote by the board to determine who will represent the fishers. Ryan Cleary is urging all harvesters to attend the Thursday hearing.  Link 14:52

Farage takes centre-stage in fishers’ Brexit policy launch

Nigel Farage will team up with former UK Government minister Owen Paterson for the launch of Fishing For Leave’s Brexit manifesto in London today. A spokesman for the organisation said it would make clear the “constitutional realities and extrication process” needed to make sure UK control over fishing is “automatically repatriated and not betrayed as negotiating capital a second time”. He added: “This policy advocates a radical new approach of a fit-for-purpose days-at-sea management regime suitable to the UK’s rich highly mixed fisheries. “It ends the cause of the abhorrent practice of mass discarding caused by EU quotas and provides a framework to rejuvenate coastal communities that have suffered so much.” continue reading the article here 13:23

Alaska asks US Supreme Court to overturn decision giving Cook Inlet salmon management to feds

The state is asking the US Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court decision putting the federal government in charge of the salmon fishery in Cook Inlet rather than Alaska. The case began in 2013 when two commercial fishing groups — the United Cook Inlet Drift Association and the Cook Inlet Fishermen’s Fund — sued the National Marine Fisheries Service. They argued that the state had not adequately managed the fishery and that the federal government should exercise more control as designated in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. A U.S. District Court judge initially ruled in favor of state management. But in September, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the federal government — not the state — should exercise management of the Cook Inlet salmon fishery in federal waters. continue reading the story here 12:19

Latest DFO stock assessment unveils a poor outlook for snow crab

It’s not a pretty picture. In a technical briefing Monday, Darrell Mullowney, lead scientist for snow crab in the NL region for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) said the latest stock assessment on snow crab in the Newfoundland and Labrador region shows an overall 40 per cent decline in exploitable biomass from 2015-16. Since 2013, the decline of exploitable biomass has been 80 per cent. Exploitable biomass refers to the crab that are adult, and of legal size — a shell size greater than 95 mm — for commercial fishing. The DFO numbers come from their own trawl surveys — one in fishing zones off the south coast each spring, and the other in northern fishing areas in the fall — as well as from reports from observers on commercial fishing vessels, the log books of the crab fishing fleets, and trap surveys conducted by DFO in inshore areas. The decline in crab stocks, explained Mullowney, is due to two major factors: warming water temperatures and groundfish. continue reading the story here 11:04

Federal Court of Canada – Legal challenge threatening autonomy of inshore fishery opens today

The Federal Court of Canada will begin hearing a test case today in Ottawa that could overturn a decades-old policy that prevents a corporate takeover of inshore fishing licences in Atlantic Canada. The seafood processing industry, inshore fishermen’s groups and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) are all watching the case closely, albeit with very different expectations. “The stakes are important because we have seen other fisheries be taken over by corporations and it leaves less money in the hands of individuals and communities,” said Melanie Sonnenberg, president of the Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters Federation. The Federal Court case centres on Kirby Elson, a fisherman from the Labrador community of Cartwright, N.L. Elson was stripped by DFO of his snow crab licence in 2015 when he refused to exit a controlling agreement with fish processor Quinlan Brothers and a related company. Under the 2003 agreement, the company controlled the licence and the wealth it generated. Quinlan Brothers paid the licence fee, provided the vessel and crew, and paid for the insurance and maintenance. continue reading the story here 09:10

Potential coral protection rules could have big impact on Downeast lobstermen

The New England Fishery Management Council has put rules to protect deep sea corals on the fast track, rules that will have a major impact on lobstermen — primarily from zones A and B with some from Zone C — who set their gear around Mount Desert Rock and Outer Schoodic Ridge. The council is considering management measures to reduce impacts to corals from commercial fishing activities in three areas in the Gulf of Maine. One of the proposals would impose a total ban on fishing in the protected areas which, according to an analysis the Department of Marine Resources submitted to the council several months ago, are located in waters that produce about one-third of Maine’s lobster landings in terms of value. Now DMR is asking lobstermen who fish in the potentially closed areas for information that will help the department in its efforts to prevent the fishing bans. continue reading the article here 08:38

Sierra Club’s claims about Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary are deceptive

The local Sierra Club and other environmental groups are either ignorant or deceptive when they say the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary will not have an effect on the local fishing industry. They are asking us to simply “trust them” as they “promise” us that the new sanctuary won’t lead to more regulations on our overburdened fishermen and women. So, if they want us to “trust them,” let’s look at the way similar sanctuary designations have affected fishing industries along the coast. continue reading the op-ed here 08:01

Senate confirms Wilbur Ross as commerce secretary

Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross won easy Senate confirmation as commerce secretary Monday night, giving President Trump his top trade official who will be charged with leveraging U.S. interests in trade relationships with China and Mexico. Ross was approved in a 72-27 vote.Ross was a key economic adviser during Trump’s campaign who strongly influenced his views on trade, including his opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement and the now-scrapped Trans-Pacific Partnership deal.,, Trump has said he will rely on Ross to renegotiate NAFTA with Mexico and Canada, a role that would normally be left to the U.S. trade representative. The relatively strong support from Democrats is a response to Ross’s skepticism of major trade deals, which they share. Read the article here 20:31

Louisiana’s crab bans spurred by changes in climate and habitat

South Louisiana’s blue crab population is on the decline, pummeled by environmental and man-made threats. Increased trapping, less rainfall, no recent hurricanes, wetlands loss, predators, oil spills, closing of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet Canal and river-water diversions have taken their tolls. In response, Louisiana’s Wildlife and Fisheries Commission last summer decided to ban crabbing and trap use for thirty days, starting on February 20 of this year.,, The state’s diversions of Mississippi River water to fend off oil from the BP spill, and separately as a way to rebuild wetlands, have pushed crab larvae and babies into the sea where predators loom, Lively said. At this point, it’s unclear which factors are most to blame for a decline in the state’s blue crabs, Jeffrey Marx, LDWF marine biologist and crab program manager, said last week. Less rainfall and ongoing predation on crabs are negatives, he noted. Predators include red and black drum, sea catfish, sheepshead and spotted sea trout. (very interesting) Read the article here 17:47

Lobster thieves are back at work in Nova Scotia — two fishing boats were hit a week apart.

RCMP Const. Rob James says the first cache of crustaceans was taken from a boat tied up alongside the wharf in Port Mouton on Feb. 12. Another 135 kilograms was taken in a similar fashion at the same wharf on Feb. 18, bringing the total amount of stolen lobster up to 270 kilograms, worth about $6,000. James says it’s not clear if there’s a connection between the two thefts, and it’s not unusual to see people try to make off with the pricey delicacies. In an incident last January, police say 48 crates of live lobster were stolen from an outdoor pound at a business on Cape Sable Island. The theft followed a similar incident in late 2015, when 14 crates of lobster were stolen from a secure compound on Morris Island near Yarmouth, N.S. Link 15:54

Barta: President Trump Should Stop the Obama Attack on New England Fisherman

In the waning days of his administration, Barack Obama decided to seriously cripple the American fishing industry. By executive order, the former president designated a vast underwater expanse off the coast of New England as the nation’s first aquatic national monument. This decision, driven by evidence-free environmental concerns, effectively banned all commercial fishing in the area. It’s well within President Trump’s powers to modify this decision, and he ought to do so immediately. Left alone, this designation will undermine the regional economy and deprive countless families of their livelihoods. The monument, officially announced in September, covers about 5,000 square miles of ocean located 130 miles from Cape Cod. For over 40 years, commercial fishermen have harvested this area for crab, squid, swordfish, tuna, and other high-demand seafood. It’s particularly rich in lobster, of which some 800,000 pounds are caught every year. This order ends all that activity. Some fishing companies had just 60 days to leave the area. continue reading the story here 14:37

The Maine Fishermen’s Forum on tap March 2-4 in Rockport

The 42nd annual Maine Fishermen’s Forum is coming up March 2-4 at the Samoset Resort in Rockport. It will feature three days of commercial fishing industry seminars, a trade show, and socializing and networking opportunities. The forum will host fishermen, gear suppliers, scientists, government and other stakeholders to collaborate on all things fishing: markets, resource status, regulations, the latest in technology, the environment and more. Over 120 suppliers of commercial fishing equipment and services exhibit at the forum each year. Continue reading the story here, and visit the Maine Fishermen’s Forum website here 13:10

Brexit Leak: UK Fishermen May Not Win Waters Back

A leaked memo from the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries looks set to dash the hopes that British fishermen will “win our waters back” as part of Brexit negotiations. This document, as discovered by British newspaper the Guardian, suggests MEPs have drafted seven provisions to be included in Britain’s “exit agreement”, including a stipulation that there will be “no increase to the UK’s share of fishing opportunities for jointly fished stocks”, and instead the existing quota distribution in UK and EU waters will be maintained. The memo also states that “it is difficult to see any alternative to the continued application of the common fisheries policy”. Continue reading the story here 12:18

New Zealand: Underwater life in Kaikoura Canyon marine nature reserve entirely wiped out after earthquake

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake in November at Kaikōura, on New Zealand’s South Island, has destroyed all creatures living on the seabed in the Kaikōura Canyon marine nature reserve. On land the earthquake killed two people and caused massive damage to properties, roads and railways. It caused the sea-floor to leap up by two metres in some locations, exposing stretches of sea snails known as paua along the coast. Further out at sea, it caused a mudslide that destroyed a whole ecosystem. “While fish were still found in the area, this time didn’t record evidence of a single organism living on or in the seabed over a stretch of nearly six kilometres. Nothing. It was quite sobering, and a catastrophic event for the ecology of the canyon,” said Dave Bowden, who led a second exploration of the area. Continue reading the story here 10:49

Apalachicola Advocates, Fishermen Continue Fight For Water

At the end of a river system that feeds booming Atlanta, and farms throughout Georgia and Alabama, sits Apalachicola Bay. The Army Corps of Engineers decides how much water flows here, where the river meets the Gulf. For years, Florida has argued it’s not getting its fair share, and the Bay and surrounding Franklin County are struggling because of it. T.J. Ward is a third generation fisherman who works at his family’s business in downtown Apalach. Over the past ten years, he’s seen the lack of freshwater take its toll, in the form of oyster predators. “One of those are, they call them snails, but we call them oyster drills, the locals do. And they eat oysters. And they’re even cannibalistic, so when they run out of oysters they’ll eat themselves. I mean they’re devastating. That’s one thing that’s killed the end of the bay that our oyster company’s on,” Ward said. Audio report, continue reading the story here 10:15

Fishy-nomics

As a blunt reminder of the value of salmon to all Alaskans, businessmen and women from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough paraded before the Alaska Board of Fisheries on Saturday to talk business. Money and jobs have always been the rallying cries of commercial fishermen who catch the majority of salmon that make their way into Cook Inlet, the long fiord at the front door of Anchorage. And government, both state and federal, has long been receptive to their financial pleas. When weak king salmon runs in 2012 forced restrictions that put Kenai Peninsula commercial fishermen on the beach, then Gov. Sean Parnell asked for a federal disaster declaration. When it came, the Peninsula Clarion reported, “an estimated 443 permit holders from Cook Inlet’s eastside setnet fishery” vied for $4.6 million in aid. No government entity, however, has jumped in to bail out Mike Hudson, the owner of 3 Rivers Fly & Tackle in Wasilla, even though his business has in recent years been devastated by weak salmon returns linked in part to how Inlet salmon are managed. continue reading the article here 09:40

Pebble mine gets no better with time – Danielle Stickman

In early 2006, when George W. Bush occupied in the White House and the Republican Party was firmly in control of Congress, then-CEO of Canadian-based Northern Dynasty Minerals Bruce Jenkins spoke to several communities in Bristol Bay about the company’s plans to construct one of the world’s largest open-pit mines in the middle of the region we have always called home. In his mind, the mine was a done deal. In fact, there was little in the way of consultation or collaboration with the community – Jenkins stated emphatically that Pebble mine would be built. It was just a question of when, not if it would be built. Fast forward 11 years. The GOP once again controls the White House and Congress, promising to open lands to new development and roll back government regulations. Perhaps not surprisingly, a project many believed was dead has been given new life. Some investment blogs and websites are newly bullish on the proposed Pebble project. Northern Dynasty’s current CEO, Ronald Thiessen, is traveling the world to tout Pebble’s prospects, stating the Pebble Limited Partnership, a subsidiary owned and created by Northern Dynasty to develop the mine, will begin permitting this year. Forgive my skepticism about these claims. continue reading the op-ed here 08:59

Ludger Dochtermann of Kodiak – Reinstituting Reasonable Crab Pot Limits

Dear Board of Fisheries members: My name is Ludger Dochtermann of Kodiak, and I own two crab vessels, the F/V Northpoint and F/V Stormbird. Like all others in the fleet, we are deeply affected by the recent sinking of the F/V Destination off St. George Island and the loss of her entire crew.  The Stormbird is also fishing out of St. George this season. It is obvious that icing played a large part in that sinking, and word is that the vessel had an excessive number of pots aboard at the time.  Tarps were ripped off and found among the flotsam along with buoys and a life ring. The weather at the time made for severe conditions and risky business. It is challenging to parse between proposals, regulations, and policy, and just plain duty. The IFQ fisheries were instituted for privatization; and a federally imposed IFQ system came into being without NPFMC and U.S. Senate testimonies by vessel architects, load-line engineers, USCG safety officers, insurance experts and experienced captains discussing the specific concerns of safety. Continue reading the letter here 15:54

A Dungeness Dinner – Three recipes that dare to be different!

Oregon’s most valuable seafood is centerpiece of a recent dining experience that’s so easy, anyone can prepare a Dungeness dinner. Last month, we showed you how the Dungeness crab harvest was red hot and rolling as Oregon’s most valuable seafood. Fishermen visited a school to share the good news about seafood that’s worth more than $150 million to the Oregon economy. The program is called “Boat to School” and allows youngsters to learn from Oregon fishermen where seafood comes from – it was an entertaining and informative session, but as it turned out, it was only part of the story. The Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission wants consumers to try recipes that are simple, quick and delicious. Fisherman Steve Fick loves to share that good news with three recipes that dare to be different. Watch the video, view the photo gallery, and copy these three recipes! 12:36

Memorializing a fishing tragedy helps complete a family puzzle — 50 years later

About 200 Islanders gathered in Souris, P.E.I., on Saturday to remember the 10 fishermen who died when their boat Iceland II was grounded in a storm off Cape Breton 50 years ago. For one family, it completed a family puzzle that had been missing a piece all those years. “Out of tragedy, comes some good news today,” said Sandra Hodder Acorn, who was only two months old when her father, Capt. Tom Hodder, went down with the boat. “We’re remembering all the men that went down today and we’re making new connections and finding new family members.” The story goes like this: After the tragedy, Hodder’s mother got remarried to a man named Buddy O’Hanley. He had a son, David, a crewmember who was also killed that day. continue reading the story here 09:46

More restrictions proposed for Northern District setnetters

Setnetting on the beaches of northern Cook Inlet isn’t a very visible fishery, but participants argue it’s a viable one. The Northern Cook Inlet setnet fishery operates between a line between Boulder Point in Nikiski and the Kustatan Peninsula on the west side of the inlet and Fire Island. Fishermen can target all five species of Pacific salmon at different times throughout the summer, beginning May 25 with a directed king salmon fishery. As northern district setnetter Trevor Rollman put it in his testimony the Board of Fisheries on Friday, the fishery doesn’t have an official closure, but rather it’s the weather that closes them for the season. Most of the fishermen land in Anchorage. Many of them direct-market their catch, as Rollman said he intended to do with his site in the future. Direct-marketers, sometimes called catcher-sellers, harvest and prepare their catch themselves, selling it directly to customers.  Read the full article here 08:57

Cod an option in face of looming shrimp cuts, says FFAW

The Fish, Food and Allied Workers union says expansion into commercial cod fishing is a possibility for harvesters, as another cut to overall shrimp quotas looms for next season. Following revelations by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans this week that the shrimp stock in the crucial Zone 6 area off of Newfoundland has fallen again, FFAW president Keith Sullivan says it looks like another quota cut is coming — but there may be alternatives. According to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the landed value of shrimp in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2016 dropped to $276 million. Read the story here 08:29

Maine lobstermen’s union votes to buy Hancock County lobster business

The Maine Lobstering Union voted Saturday to buy a wholesale lobster business near Mount Desert Island to help its fishermen net a bigger share of the profit in the booming, $1.5 billion-a-year industry. At a closed-door meeting in Rockport, members voted 63-1 to buy the wholesale side of the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound, which includes a tank that can hold up to 180,000 pounds of lobster, for $4 million, said Local 207 President Rocky Alley. “We can’t wait to start buying and selling our own lobsters,” Alley said. “Right now, fishermen sell at the dock, and we get what we get, with no control. But there is lots of money made off lobsters after they leave the dock, and some ought to stay with us fishermen.” The vote enables the Maine union to borrow money from a Kansas City bank and to borrow $1.1 million from fellow locals in the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers as far south as Maryland to purchase the Lamoine-based wholesale business. continue reading the story here 21:36

Stunned chopper pilot finds castaways lost at sea on two seperate boats from Kiribati

The pilot, operating the chopper from a trawler off the Marshall Islands, came across the boats by chance last week, leading to the rescue of three fishermen and a teenage boy, the Marshall Islands Journal reported. It said both boats had set off from Kiribati, about 650 kilometres (400 miles) away. The one with three fishermen aboard had been adrift for 28 days, while the lone 14-year-old in the other had been lost for 11 days. Ocean currents had brought both boats within eight kilometres of each other but they were unaware of the other’s existence until they were spotted and rescued. The trawler Kwila888 picked up the drifters and cut short its tuna fishing trip to drop them in the Marshalls’ capital Majuro last weekend, the Journal reported. Link 15:53

Declining worm harvest poses challenge for diggers, scientists

It’s a dirty job, but digging for blood and sand worms along the Maine coast can pay well, particularly in areas of the state where it can be hard to make a living. Maine’s annual harvest of these popular bait worms, however, continues to decline, posing a quandary for marine biologists who cite climate change and predation as possible factors. Wormers, as they’re called, would like to work with marine biologists to ensure a healthy and robust industry.,, Washington County worm diggers have their own theories. “You have biologists that come around, and I’m not taking away from people who go to school, but very few of them say, ‘Well, what do you guys think?’” says Fred Johnson of Steuben, president of the Down East chapter of the Independent Maine Marine Worm Harvesters Association. “They don’t see the changes in that inner benthic zone that we’ve seen over the years,” Bayrd says. Read the story here 14:27

Dream of Offshore U.S. Wind Power May Be Too Ugly for Trump

Offshore wind companies have spent years struggling to convince skeptics that the future of U.S. energy should include giant windmills at sea. Their job just got a lot harder with the election of Donald J. Trump. The Republican president — who champions fossil fuels and called climate change a hoax — has mocked wind farms as ugly, overpriced and deadly to birds. His most virulent criticism targeted an 11-turbine offshore project planned near his Scottish golf resort that he derided as “ monstrous.” Companies trying to build in the U.S., including Dong Energy A/S and Statoil ASA, are hoping to change Trump’s mind. They plan to argue that installing Washington Monument-sized turbines along the Atlantic coast will help the president make good on campaign promises by creating thousands of jobs, boosting domestic manufacturing and restoring U.S. energy independence. continue reading the story here 12:47

Not Guilty – Judge clears Whitby skipper of sinking boat in harbour

A Whitby skipper accused of sinking a boat in the harbour has spoken of his collapse with tears of relief after the case was dropped. A not guilty verdict has been recorded on Trevor Cross, 49, of Mulgrave Place, Whitby, after the prosecution offered no evidence. Mr Cross, known as Gordon, has spoken to the Whitby Gazette about his ordeal. He said: “It’s a weight lifted off my chest. The night I got the phone call from my barrister telling me the case had been dropped, I just broke down in tears. I was in a pub, went outside and collapsed.” He added: “I maintained my innocence all along – I’m so relieved.”  continue reading the story here 11:09

Carteret County board blasts MFC “draconian measures,” in resolution

Carteret County will join supporters of the commercial shrimp fishing trade, voicing opposition to the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission’s decision to pursue tougher restrictions for shrimp trawling, accusing the MFC of putting politics ahead of good management.  Commissioners passed a resolution Monday during their February meeting, casting a unanimous vote of “no confidence” on the MFC decision. “There’s some significant economic implications for Carteret County and for all of the tidewater (through granting this petition),” Commissioner Jonathan Robinson said in an impassioned speech in the county boardroom. He accused members of the MFC of politicizing the issue, rather than relying on scientific findings for rulemaking. “When you go in the face and eyes of all your advisers and take that kind of authoritative action, they’ve clearly demonstrated they don’t have the objectivity to make sound decision on this issue,” Mr. Robinson said.  continue reading the article here 09:20

Shrimp industry grant proposed

The Texas Shrimp Association may be in line for a $300,000 grant from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which will distribute a portion of the billions of dollars in RESTORE Act money generated by fines paid out by BP stemming from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster. The proposed grant is included in a draft project list of more than 200 Texas projects totaling $1.1 billion that were submitted for RESTORE Act funds. The list will go into creation of a draft “Multi-Year Implementation Plan,” which eventually will be posted in the Texas Register for a 45-day public comment period before a final MIP is developed. That document then will be submitted to the Treasury Department for final approval. In other words, the grant isn’t a done deal, though TSA Executive Director Andrea Hance is keeping her fingers crossed. TSA would use part of the money for marketing and promotion, part of it for consumer education and tourism — including shrimp tours for Winter Texans — and some of it for social media campaigns that market wild-caught Gulf shrimp directly to consumers as opposed to restaurants, she said.  Read the article here 08:53

Coast Guard helps dewater, escort troubled fishing vessel off Cape Cod

The Coast Guard is escorting an 83-foot fishing vessel Friday after it started taking on water 50 miles east of Chatham. At about 11:30 a.m., Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England watchstanders received a radio call from the crew of the Krystle James stating they had six people aboard and were taking on water, reportedly from a hole in the hull. Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod launched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew and Station Chatham launched their 42-foot Near Shore Lifeboat boat crew. The helicopter crew arrived on scene first and deployed a dewatering pump to the fishing crew. With the pump able to control the flooding, the aircrew stayed on scene until the 42-foot Near Shore Lifeboat boat crew arrived to escort Krystle James toward land. Coast Guard Cutter Tybee was diverted from an offshore patrol, relieved Station Chatham and is escorting the fishing crew safely to New Bedford. Video 08:04

Fishing inquiry calls for more money for adjustment and an urgent assessment of fishing stocks

An inquiry into commercial fishing in New South Wales has recommended the Government find more money to help fishermen adjust to reforms. $16 million dollars has been put aside to help fishermen buy extra shares to stay in the industry, but many have claimed that won’t be enough. Chair of the inquiry Robert Brown said about $20 million might be required. “No fisher, none of these small businesses should be left hanging,” he said. The reforms were aimed at removing a large number of “latent” licences from the industry but Mr Brown said those licences should have been handled differently from active licences held by working fishermen. continue reading the story here 20:21

Photos: Fishermen Catch Large Blue Marlin

“It’s a total shock!” – That was the reaction from brothers Allan and Delvin Bean when they caught a huge Blue Marlin earlier this week.The Beans were in the boat Nothing’s Easy in between Argus and Challenger Banks when they received a tug on their line. Delvin told Bernews, “We knew we had something special form the beginning because the line was screaming on the 130 reel. We actually had the line out trying to catch a blue fin tuna. This fish just started going and going and going. “My brother was scrambling around trying to control the fish. While he was controlling it, I was trying to bring it in. I’m fighting this fish and it got about 50 yards off the boat and it just took off again. At this time of the year it’s supposed to be a blue fin tuna and not a blue marlin. continue reading the story, and check out the photo’s 18:54

Farmed Salmon on the loose! Storm damages an aquaculture pen at the mouth of Shelburne Harbour

Provincial fisheries inspectors are investigating the escape of possibly hundreds of market-ready salmon from an aquaculture pen at the mouth of Shelburne Harbour. Employees at Cooke Aquaculture noticed a breach in one of the company’s enclosures last Wednesday and notified the province. They discovered some fish had escaped two days later, said Krista Higdon, a spokeswoman for the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture. Cooke spokeswoman Nell Halse said it appeared wind and waves associated with recent winter storms knocked over one of the moorings and that created a breach in one of the enclosures. She said the company was still trying to determine how many fish might have slipped free. continue reading here 17:34

US Coast Guard convenes Marine Board of Investigation into loss of F/V Destination

WASHINGTON- The U.S. Coast Guard has convened a Marine Board of Investigation into the loss of F/V Destination and its six crewmembers. A Marine Board of Investigation is the highest level of investigation in the Coast Guard. Upon completion of the investigation, the Board will issue a report to the commandant with the evidence collected, the facts established and its conclusions and recommendations. During the course of the MBI, panel members must decide: The factors that contributed to the accident,  Whether there is evidence that any act of misconduct, inattention to duty, negligence or willful violation of the law on the part of any licensed or certificated person contributed to the casualty.  Whether there is evidence that any Coast Guard personnel or any representative or employee of any other government agency or any other person caused or contributed to the casualty National Transportation Safety Board is participating alongside the Coast Guard in its investigation, but will produce an independent report with its own findings. Link  15:45

March 1 is Tax Deadline for some Farmers and Fishermen

Most Americans think of April 15 as the tax deadline, but for many farmers and fishermen, there’s another deadline and it’s almost here. Wednesday, March 1 is the 2017 deadline for taxpayers with income from farming and fishing to file their 2016 Form 1040 and pay the tax due to avoid making estimated tax payments. This rule generally applies if farming or fishing income was at least two-thirds of the total gross income in either the current or the preceding tax year. Since 2014, IRS Direct Pay has offered individual taxpayers an easy way to quickly pay the tax amount due or make quarterly estimated tax payments directly from checking or savings accounts without any fees or pre-registration. Continue reading the rest here with external links 13:55

Candied salmon ice cream, kelp salsa & halibut bisque baby food: Seafood contest shows off the new and unusual

In any supermarket, you’ll find dozens of pork, beef and chicken products. Not so for salmon. When it comes to sockeye, king or coho, U.S. consumers are largely limited to raw product and pre-cooked, breaded fish sticks. That’s a problem for the seafood industry, said Alaska Fisheries Development Foundation Julie Decker, co-host of Wednesday’s Symphony of Seafood new product competition at Centennial Hall. If Alaska wants to increase the value of its seafood industry, Decker said, it will have to take chances on locally-produced, shelf-ready goods like the kelp salsa, baby food and salmon leather wallets on display at the symphony. The AFDF has been putting on the symphony for 24 years now in an attempt to diversify the industry. Product development is key to helping the industry adapt to international competition. Continue reading the article here 13:20

Clam Boats Test Paperless Reporting – eClams (Electronic Clam Logbook and Account Management Software)

NEFSC cooperative research and data management staff are offering to install equipment on commercial fishing vessels for electronic trip reporting in the surfclam and ocean quahog fisheries. So far, 35 vessels from New Bedford, MA to Atlantic City, NJ have been outfitted to voluntarily test the system, and more than 700 e-trip reports have been transmitted. Called eClams (Electronic Clam Logbook and Account Management Software), the system allows fishermen to electronically record all the information required on the paper-based fishing trip report. These data are transmitted to NOAA Fisheries after the trip using land-based communication services such as WiFi. Read the rest here 11:28

Louisiana: Des Allemands crab fisherman says state closure is unfair

With a fast flick of his hand, Whitney Curole sent a large blue crab sailing into a white plastic basket as he sorted the last of the prized crustaceans at his Des Allemands dock operation. The crab flipped itself upright and extended its open claws in attack mode for a fight it obviously didn’t win. But Curole said he opposes the politics that he maintained are hurting his business as a commercial fisherman. Curole continued sorting the catch just in from a Houma crabber, delivered shortly before the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) closed the season on Monday (Feb. 20) for 30 days. The move also came with a year round ban on harvesting immature female crabs for commercial sale. Curole and LWFC agree crab numbers are down, but they disagree on why. Reaching into a box full of crabs, he withdrew several crabs with numerous missing legs. “These legs were eaten by fish,” Curole said displaying a crab with all its legs gone. “You leave them overnight in the traps and it will be full of them.” Read the article here 09:50

TowBoatUS captains honored for saving lives

Ten TowBoatUS captains were honored by their peers for lifesaving actions at the annual BoatUS Towing Conference last week in San Diego. The captains serve TowBoatUS locations in Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island and North Carolina. The awards were given at the Feb.14-16 conference for actions they took last year. Meritorious Service Awards were given to eight recipients, including Capt. Clint Allen, TowBoatUS New Bedford, Mass.: rescued six crewmen from the 72-foot commercial scallop fishing vessel Captain Jeff after it began taking on water five miles south of New Bedford Harbor. Read the story here 08:53

N.J. Reps LoBiondo and Pallone talk tough, announce legislation to prevent absurd summer flounder quotas

Reps. Frank LoBiondo and Frank Pallone on Thursday, Feb. 23 announced plans to introduce new legislation to prevent the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 2017 and 2018 summer flounder quotas for recreational and commercial fishing from going into effect. In a press release, Pallone and LoBiondo said the rules would do damage to the economies of coastal communities and the state. Under the NOAA quotas, the allowed summer flounder catch for recreational and commercial fishing were both reduced by approximately 30 percent in 2017 and 16 percent in 2018. The Pallone-LoBiondo legislation would maintain the 2016 quota levels and require that NOAA conduct a new assessment before issuing new quotas. Continue reading the story here 07:31

Bad hull, flooding led to fatal sinking of Orin C

The deadly sinking of the Gloucester-ported Orin C nearly 15 months ago probably was caused by structural problems with the vessel’s wooden hull and subsequent flooding, according to reports from the National Transportation Safety Board and Coast Guard released Thursday. The two reports detailed the marine tragedy that resulted in the drowning of 47-year-old Capt. David C. “Heavy D” Sutherland during the final stages of the Coast Guard’s rescue that saved crewmembers Rick Palmer and Travis Lane on the night of Dec. 3, 2015. Neither Palmer nor Lane could be reached Thursday for comment. The Coast Guard report did not recommend any changes to its training, rescue procedures or the equipping of its rescue vessels. That, however, does not mean it won’t make changes in the future, according to District 1 Deputy Commander Brad Kelly. “That is something the Coast Guard is always looking at in trying to determine what should be included into all of our rescue platforms,” Kelly said. “That is an ongoing process.” Continue reading the article here 21:01

FISH-NL wins first battle against salt-water mafia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, Feb. 23rd, 2017 The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) has won the first battle in its bid to represent the province’s inshore fish harvesters. The province’s Labour Relations Board issued a ruling Thursday afternoon rejecting an application by the FFAW that FISH-NL is not an association under the Fishing Industry Collective Bargaining Act. “If you were listening closely Thursday afternoon you would have heard the collective cheer of thousands of fish harvesters around the province,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The ruling by the Labour Relations Board legitimizes our movement. FISH-NL has now been legally recognized as an official organization of fish harvesters, despite the best efforts of the salt-water mafia.” The FFAW has made another application to the Labour Relations Board that the membership list of inshore fish harvesters not be released to FISH-NL. “We’re hopeful the Labour Relations Board will schedule a hearing on that application as soon as possible,” says Cleary. It’s expected that once the Labour Relations Board rules on the release of the membership list to FISH-NL, an investigator with the Board will begin the review of FISH-NL’s application and membership cards. On Dec. 30th, FISH-NL presented an application to the Labour Relations Board to represent the province’s inshore fish harvesters, breaking them away from the FFAW. The application included 2,352 membership cards signed by inshore harvesters around Newfoundland and Labrador. FISH-NL argues that number represents more than 50 per cent of all inshore harvesters, the amount required to force a vote by the Labour Relations Board to ultimately decide which union will represent harvesters.

A veteran commercial fisherman’s invite to fish for giants came along and I wasted no time in accepting.

Catching a giant bluefin with rod and reel has been on my bucket list for a long time. I grew up on the water and spent several summers as part of a crew that fished with handline or harpoon. My life’s path led me away from the ocean, and for years I’d wanted to go back and do it again with more sporting tackle. Decades passed without an opportunity and my desire was relegated to the back burner until a recent series of events rekindled the flame. Several more years passed as I tried unsuccessfully to mooch my way onto a boat until I eventually connected with fellow Mainer, Don Fletcher. A veteran commercial fisherman, Don switched over to tuna fishing after he acquired an Ocean Yachts 55 SS he named the Blue Bandit. When the invitation came to join him, I wasted no time in accepting. Continue reading the story here 16:52

Hawaii bill would ban licenses for some foreign fishermen

A bill in the Hawaii Legislature aims to change rules for how fishing licenses are issued to foreign crew members that make up the majority of the state’s commercial fleet. Now, boat owners or captains bring foreign crew members’ passports and customs documents to a state agency to get their licenses – without the fishermen present. A federal legal loophole allows foreign fishermen to work off the coast of Hawaii, but they are technically not allowed to enter the country. The bill would require anyone seeking a commercial fishing license in Hawaii to appear in person. State Sen. Karl Rhoads says he wants to change the law so people who are not permitted to enter the U.S. cannot get a license to fish on American-flagged boats sailing from Honolulu. The Hawaii Longline Association opposed the bill, saying the industry is already regulated and additional requirements are unnecessary. Read the story here  16:00

Fishermen at odds over impact of Trump executive order

An executive order by President Donald Trump designed to radically cut back on federal regulations has spurred disagreement among fishermen about how it will affect them — and lawmakers and regulators aren’t sure what the answer is. Groups that represent both commercial and recreational fishermen are divided over whether Trump’s “one in, two out” approach to federal regulations will benefit their industry, harm it or not affect it at all.,, Several fishing groups, ranging from the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association to the Massachusetts Striped Bass Association, are joining Democratic Reps. Jared Huffman of California and Raul Grijalva of Arizona in asking Trump to rescind.,, Other industry interests, including the Fisheries Survival Fund, said the order will likely leave fisheries unaffected. The order would apply only to financially significant regulations, and that would not include things like opening fishing seasons and enforcing catch limits, said Drew Minkiewicz, an attorney for the fund. “All this talk about how you’re not going to be able to manage fisheries — not true, doesn’t apply, not going to happen,” he said. Read the full story here 15:04

NOAA/NMFS Declines to List Thorny Skate as Threatened or Endangered

In response to a petition from Defenders of Wildlife and Animal Welfare Institute to list thorny skate (Amblyraja radiata) under the Endangered Species Act, we have now determined that listing is not warranted at this time. The May 2015 petition requested that we list a “Northwest Atlantic Distinct Population Segment” or a “United States Distinct Population Segment” of thorny skate as threatened or endangered. Thorny skate are at low abundance in U.S. waters compared to historical levels, primarily due to overfishing. However, declines have been halted throughout most of the species’ full range, and the species remains abundant throughout the North Atlantic, with hundreds of millions of individuals in the Northwest Atlantic alone. Read the rest here 12:21

Maryland’s veteran crab manager fired after watermen complain to Hogan

Maryland’s veteran manager of the state’s blue crab fishery was fired this week after a group of watermen complained to Gov. Larry Hogan about a catch regulation that they contend hurts their livelihood — but that scientists say is needed to ensure a sustainable harvest. Brenda Davis, crab program manager for the Department of Natural Resources and a 28-year state employee, said she was informed Tuesday that her services were no longer needed. In an interview Wednesday, Davis said Fisheries Director Dave Blazer gave no reason for her summary dismissal. But it came after Hogan met last week with about a dozen Dorchester County watermen who had been pressing Davis and the DNR for a change in a long-time regulation setting the minimum catchable size for crabs. Continue reading the story here 11:46

PETA takes credit for Linda Beans exit from the lobster industry

A PETA investigation showed workers at Linda Bean’s Maine Lobster slaughterhouse ripping fully conscious crabs and lobsters apart. After CBS released the footage, it wasn’t long before social media influencers did the same thing to Linda Bean. Faced with the negative attention, canceled business contracts, PETA protests, and a barrage of nearly 76,000 e-mails from our members, Bean began quietly slipping out the back door of the lobster shanty, as reported by The Boston Globe. Read the rest here, and by all means, Order Your FREE Vegan Starter Kit! 11:00

Cook Inlet Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting to kick off with new faces, old grudges

The Alaska Board of Fisheries has a full plate for its triennial Upper Cook Inlet finfish meeting beginning Feb. 23 and running through March 3 in Anchorage. The board will look quite different with three new members since the last meeting and so does the fishery after three years of restriction, tight markets, lawsuits, and accusations of disregarding the best science that revolve around the board decisions at its last Upper Cook Inlet meeting in 2014. Chinook, or king, salmon stocks on the Kenai River and around the state started to plummet in the late 2000s, and in 2014, the Board of Fisheries approved paired restrictions directing the Alaska Department of Fish and Game had to take certain actions when the Kenai king fishery was restricted, including limiting commercial fishing time. Sport representatives generally thought it fair to share the burden of conservation, while commercial fishermen said it hit them harder than the sportfishermen. This year, nearly 200 proposals from commercial, sport and subsistence fishermen will try to overhaul entire fishery management plans, revise escapement goals, expand or contract fishing areas and openings hours, add or remove new gear types and in general try to open up more fishing opportunity for each respective group. Continue reading the article here 08:54

Sebastian Inlet District to crack down on angry anglers defecating and spreading it on the rail to mark their territory

At Sebastian Inlet fishing pier, lines often cross. And tangled tackle ticks off fishermen so much, they often revert to territorial tactics, casting aspersions and sometimes other things at their angling adversaries, inlet officials and fishermen say. They hurl lead fishing weights, lures and other objects at folks fishing from boats. Or sometimes boaters are the primary aggressors.  Signs and video cameras haven’t tempered things much. Inlet officials say that in the past few years, the pier atmosphere has degraded into a state of constant territorial marking, as things just keep hitting the fan — and sometimes even the concrete pier and its cylindrical metal rails. “We’ve had reports of people defecating and spreading it on the rail to mark their territory so nobody will fish next to them,” said Martin Smithson, administrator for the Sebastian Inlet District. “There have been several citations for public urination.” Read the story here 08:14

Nantucket fishermen implore state to protect squid, DMF director balks!

For the past couple of years, Nantucket fishermen have had a hard time finding striped bass in the rips and alongshore where they were accustomed to catching them. They think they know why: no squid. “This was where all the bass were caught. Now, no bait, no fish, no stripers to speak of,” said Pete Kaizer, a charter boat captain and commercial tuna fisherman. Kaizer and other Nantucket fishermen petitioned the state Division of Marine Fisheries to prohibit fish draggers and scallopers that tow nets or large metal dredges along the ocean bottom from state waters, up to 3 miles out from shore all around the island. The ban would run from May 1 to Oct. 31 with the idea of protecting spawning longfin squid.,, The Nantucket fishermen have an online petition, signed by over 1,200 people, asking state DMF director David Pierce to enact the Nantucket fishing prohibition. Pierce said there was little science to back up the proposal, and said he opposed it and would not forward it to his state Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission for approval. Read the story here 07:40

AK seafood earnings, poundage outpaced by Washington state

Alaska’s seafood industry puts more people to work than any other private industry, topping 60,000 workers in 2015. Of that, less than half – 27,600 – were Alaska residents. And while 71 percent of active fishing permit holders call Alaska home, most of the gross earnings go to the state of Washington. Based on numbers from the United Fishermen of Alaska’s annual Fish Facts, resident fishing permit holders made gross dockside earnings of just over $602 million two years ago. That compares to more than $904 million by nearly 6,580 Washington-based permit holders and crew. Fishermen  from Oregon took home more than $126 million from Alaska’s fisheries and Californians pocketed nearly $28 million. That adds up to more than $1 Billion flowing out of state by non-resident fishermen. Listen to the audio report, read the rest here 17:29

Fisherman pleaded guilty to social security fraud receiving over $157,000 in SSDI benefits

United States Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II announced that Daniel Fitzsimmons, 54, of Whiting, Maine, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court to social security fraud. According to court records, the defendant began receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) payments in 2002. SSDI benefits are paid by the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) to people with disabilities. From 2002 to 2013, the defendant and his dependents received over $157,000 in SSDI benefits.  In order to obtain those benefits, the defendant was required to certify that he could no longer perform “substantial gainful work.”  In numerous forms submitted to the SSA and at an in-person SSA interview, the defendant reported little work activity and very low annual earnings between 2002 and 2013.  An investigation revealed that, contrary to his statements, the defendant was actively and consistently engaged in commercial fishing over that period. The defendant faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He will be sentenced after the completion of a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office. The case was investigated by SSA’s Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Coast Guard. Link 17:08

The Sustainable Fisheries Act – January 11, 2000 Revisited

I’ve been reviewing my past writings to gauge which, if any, have aged gracefully and which haven’t. I’ll be redistributing those that I think were particularly noteworthy, either because they were – and perhaps still are – on target or because they weren’t – or aren’t. The following addresses some of the more onerous provisions of the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996, which at the time were being fully implemented. I’ll leave it up to you to determine whether I hit this nail on the head or not. I’d be really interested to hear what you think. Nils Stolpe.  From the article: Under the provisions of the federal Sustainable Fisheries Act (SFA), at any point when the populations of each of these competing species aren’t at MSY they are considered to be “overfished” and stringent harvest restrictions implementing strict rebuilding schedules (to MSY) are mandated. By requiring that all species be at their MSY, our coastal waters are expected in the SFA to support a level of overall production that is ecologically impossible, and fishermen, both recreational and commercial, are expected to reduce their catch to meet this impossible standard. Continue reading the article here 14:45

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 55′ RI Marine Steel Offshore Lobster Boat with traps, permit

Specifications, information and 28 photo’s click here To see all the boats in this series, Click here 12:05

Revisited: Americas Finest – Floating Steel Follow the construction of a Bering Sea Fishing Trawler from start to finsh

The Big Move! This image encapsulates this monumental event for me as Americas Finest moves laterally (West) to get into a northern launch position as she points towards Alaska, her destiny. How to move 2900 tons of steel on land, stay tuned! Here she is, Americas Finest, view Weeks 82 and next week (83). See her get prepared to be moved laterally (sidetracking) to a new position that will be her final orientation before her launch. To view an incredible assortment of photo’s and review the progress, click here floatingsteel.com 10:53