Monthly Archives: February 2017

Ottawa to invest in ‘fisheries innovation’ for Atlantic Canada following EU trade deal

With Canada’s trade deal with the European Union on track to come into force provisionally within weeks, the federal government is set to announce a new fisheries innovation fund. But don’t portray this new money as a way to compensate Atlantic Canada, Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc told CBC News last week. “I didn’t say compensation. That was your word,” LeBlanc said after an announcement in Vancouver last week. “What I said is that we’re prepared to work with provinces to look for a way to make our fishing industry the most innovative, productive, sustainable and globally competitive that we can.” Compensation was what Newfoundland and Labrador was looking for in the face of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which will prevent Canadian provinces from placing any export restrictions on raw fish. Continue reading the story here 08:58

Women in Oregon fishing industry have important, but sometimes invisible role

Women have always played an important role in Oregon’s commercial fishing industry, even if they don’t actually fish or work on boats – but a new study indicates their roles are changing. The research, funded by Oregon Sea Grant and published in the journal Marine Policy, was based on a series of oral-history interviews conducted mainly with fishermen and their wives. The findings could help government agencies set policies that take into account their potential impacts on the well-being of entire fishing communities, said Flaxen Conway, a community outreach specialist with Oregon Sea Grant Extension and a co-author of the paper. Continue reading the article here 08:35

AMSEA to hold two Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor Workshops in South Carolina in March

Alaska Marine Safety Education Association workshops meet the U. S. Coast Guard training requirements for drill conductors on documented commercial fishing vessels operating beyond the federal boundary line. On Thursday, March 9, a workshop will be conducted in Murrells Inlet from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Murrells Inlet Community Center, 4462 Murrells Inlet Road. A second workshop will be conducted on Saturday, March 11 in McClellanville at the McClellanville Town Office, 405 Pinckney Street. Instructor Michael Lawson will cover man-overboard recovery and firefighting, emergency position-indicating radio beacon stations, flares and maydays, emergency drills, helicopter rescue, life rafts and abandon ship procedures, personal floatation devices, immersion suits and cold-water survival skills. The workshop will include an “in-the-water” practice session for participants to practice survival skills. Interested mariners may register for the workshops online at www.amsea.org or call AMSEA at 907-747-3287. Link 07:15

Insurance tips for fishing vessels – “Getting the Most Value When Buying Fishing Vessel Insurance”

It can be tricky to find the right protection coverage for fishing boats at the right price. How much a vessel is insured for is traditionally determined by a marine surveyor but boat owners also must protect against risk. A new guide called “Getting the Most Value When Buying Fishing Vessel Insurance” gives simple tips and outlines buying pitfalls. At least some boat owners new to the industry or new to owning boats  may not be fully aware of the responsibilities of a vessel owner  are under general maritime law and various versions of the Jones Act. Those two areas of law provide a high degree of protection not just to crew members but others who provide services to boats.  Audio report, read the rest here 19:04

Offshore drilling opponents re-gear for new round of battles

A little more than a month after seismic blast testing for oil and natural gas was stopped offshore of South Carolina, exploration companies are gearing up for a new try. A dozen anti-drilling advocates met Tuesday in Charleston to discuss expanding the opposition. They may look inland for more support in the vein of the massive coastal protest that in 2016 helped derail plans for testing and drilling. Frank Knapp, founder of the anti-drilling Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast, said he has heard the exploration industry is planning to approach the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management about reversing a testing permit denial adopted during the last days of the Obama administration. Knapp’s group represents more than 35,000 businesses and 500,000 commercial fishing families from Maine to Florida. Continue reading the story here 17:58

Irish Coast Guard rescues severely injured Russian fisherman 140 miles out at sea in heavy winds

The Irish Coast Guard helicopter has rescued a severely injured crewman from a Russian fishing vessel 140 miles off the coast of Kerry in difficult weather conditions. The Shannon-based Rescue 115 helicopter was assisted in a search and rescue operation by the LÉ Róisín naval ship and the Waterford-based Rescue 117 helicopter. Crew members from the LÉ Róisín boarded the Russian fishing vessel this afternoon and assisted in evacuating the crewman. It is believed he became injured in an accident involving fishing gear and may have suffered multiple broken bones. Weather conditions were difficult for the long-range mission, with a strong west to south west swell and gusts of over 35mph. Two additional images, continue reading the story here 17:05

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for Februay 20, 2017

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates, Click here 15:49

MARINE FISHERIES COMMISSION: by Jerry Schill – Disappointing is not quite the word to use to describe my reaction to the MFC vote, but neither is shocking. For anyone that is familiar with this particular commission, the vote to accept the petition isn’t shocking. click Weekly Update to read the rest

Port Clyde: Lobster, wind and recreation vie for waterfront property

Some residents have been raising questions about the well-situated, but empty and apparently unused, waterfront property on Port Clyde Harbor. The town has gradually begun to develop a concept for use of the property with help from a consultant, Noel Musson, of Southwest Harbor-based planning firm The Musson Group. The current vision-in-progress would split the property between a recreational portion for the public, and commercial space. Some of Port Clyde’s commercial fishermen, however, have their own ideas, and said they would at least like to have access to the property in a town where wharf space and the lobster-buying business have been consolidated into the hands of just a few owners. Continue reading the story here 14:05

Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell confirms Chinese firm eyeing other N.S. seafood products

Sumo-sized online retailer Alibaba is hungry to sell other Nova Scotia seafood products in addition to lobster, says provincial Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell. After inking a quality assurance agreement last week with the Chinese online retailer who is planning to sell Nova Scotia lobsters on its Tmall website, Colwell flew back from Shanghai. In an interview, he strongly suggested negotiations are already underway between the province and Alibaba to work out quality assurance agreements for other Nova Scotia seafood products. But the fisheries minister was tight-lipped about the details, refusing to divulge which products might be under consideration and when other quality assurance programs might be rolled out. Continue reading the story here 12:14

MAFMC & ASMFC Set Black Sea Bass Specs for 2017-18 – Benchmark Assessment Finds Resource Not Overfished & Overfishing Not Occurring

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission) have approved revised specifications for the 2017 black sea bass fishing year as well as specifications for the 2018 fishing year for the Northern black sea bass stock (Cape Hatteras, North Carolina to the US-Canadian border). The revised specifications are based on the results of the 2016 benchmark stock assessment, which found the stock is not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. The approved limits are consistent with the recommendations of the Council’s Science and Statistical Committee. The Commission’s actions are final and apply to state waters (0-3 miles from shore). The Council will forward its recommendations for federal waters (3 – 200 miles from shore) to NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Administrator for final approval. Read the rest here 11:23

Nantucket Sound location of most fatal turtle entanglements

By Aug. 1, Chatham fisherman Jamie Eldredge has pulled the 200 conch pots he has in Nantucket Sound. He has made the summer switch to fishing for dogfish in the Atlantic Ocean. In doing so, Eldredge has avoided what has become a major headache for conch fishermen – large leatherback turtles that get tangled up in conch and lobster lines while pursuing jellyfish. In NantuckeSound, a significant number of those turtles die, three times more than anywhere else in Massachusetts, and state fishery scientists are worried they may be targeted by a lawsuit charging they are not doing enough to protect an endangered species. In a series of public hearings held in coastal and island communities this month, they asked conch fishermen for input on how to deal with the problem. State Division of Marine Fisheries officials think they know the answer: pull all conch pots in August. Continue read the story here 10:35

Northern shrimp stocks still ‘critical’ – no improvement in spawning biomass

It’s the season to talk about the prospects for the shrimp fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador and the initial information for the new season does not look promising. In a media briefing this morning, Katherine Kanes, mathematician/stock-assessment biologist with Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) outlined the current picture from the most recent stock assessments, for northern shrimp in fishing areas 6, 5 and 4 — off the Northern Peninsula and the coast of Labrador. Data collected from the fall multi-species trawl survey by DFO, as well as information from fishers shows there’s not been much improvement from last year. In SFA 6 — the area that most inshore commercial fishers from this province depend on for their shrimp catches — the biomass of female shrimp is still in the critical zone, she said. Continue reading the story here 09:26

“Cavalier” skipper who sailed at night without navigation lights is jailed

A skipper who sailed at night without navigation lights or safety equipment has been jailed. Shane Barton was caught at the helm of the Nicky Noo on a number of occasions between May 22 2014 and October 20 2016 when the fishing vessel contravened safety laws. The 42-year-old was caught by enforcement officers in Christchurch, as well as Fowey in Cornwall and Castlebridge in Devon, operating without navigation lights, safety equipment or a properly-trained crew. In mid-October last year, the safety certificate for the Nicky Noo expired. A spokesperson from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said Judge Ian Lawrie, sentencing the defendant at Plymouth Crown Court, called Barton “complacent and arrogant” and had shown a “cavalier attitude” to the safety of his crew. Read the story here 08:57

Harvey Haddock on fisherman’s rights.

In light of the recent court decision in regard to the proposed New York windmill farm allowing the project to proceed despite its potential effects on long established fishing industries, this scene, excerpted from the in-progress novel, “Delusions of a Madman”, showcases an irreverent slice of life from the Fishermans Dock Co-op, which illuminates the question; What are a fisherman’s rights? On a cold windy morning at the Fishermans Dock Co-op, all the boats are in, and a couple of small groups of fishermen are scattered at the docks unloading spots, generally discussing the last few days of fishing, and invariably complaining about one regulation or another. Henry’s in a hurry to the office today, it seems the morning coffee has done its magic, and he needs to make a deposit for Alice and Lil, the office secretary’s. He hurries through the dock careful not to slip on the ice, and enters the warm office, heads right, passing  Alice sitting at her desk, and Lil, in the next room. “Again?” says Alice. Continue reading the story here 22:02

Study says seals eat more Chinook than Southern resident killer whales

Seals are eating more Chinook than Southern resident killer whales. That’s bad for both endangered species’ recoveries. “The seals might not be the enemy as much as the problem is that we’ve lost forage fish available to them,” said Joe Gaydos, science director of the SeaDoc Society on Orcas Island. According to a recent Canadian study, the amount of Chinook salmon eaten by seals in the Salish Sea has increased from 68 metric tons in 1970 to 625 metric tons in 2015. That’s double the amount Southern resident killer whales ate in 2015 in the same location, and six times more than commercial and recreational fisheries according to the study. Continue reading the story here 12:20

Scallops scuffle pitting small boats against big

A disagreement over the right to fish for scallops off New England is pitting small boats against big ones in one of the most lucrative fisheries in the U.S. The federal government maintains different rules for the small- and big-boat scallop fisheries, though they work some of the same areas. Small boat fishermen say the conflict has arisen in the northern Gulf of Maine, a critically important fishing area stretching roughly from Boston to the border of Maine and Canada. At issue is the fact that the northern Gulf of Maine is fertile ground for scallops right now, and rules allow the bigger boats to harvest more of them. The smaller boats have a possession limit of 200 pounds, while the largest boats have no such limit, because they are regulated instead by a limited number of days at sea. Continue reading the article here 11:48

Linda Bean once hoped to be to lobster what Perdue is to chicken. What happened?

Linda Lorraine Bean, the other L.L. Bean, has spent the last decade promoting her lobster empire, one that merged the cachet of her family name with the popularity of the state’s top crustacean.,, So what happened to the sprawling business venture that Bean hoped to make as synonymous with lobster as Frank Perdue’s empire is to chicken? Bean, now in her 70s, declined to comment despite repeated attempts to reach her and those connected to her. It’s been a quiet departure for a woman not known to shy away from the spotlight. Read the article here 11:13

DMC researchers test technique to determine lobster’s age

Research professor Rick Wahle and graduate student Carl Huntsberger are testing a technique at the University of Maine Darling Marine Center to determine the age of lobsters. Unlike fish, mollusks and trees, Wahle says lobsters and other crustaceans molt—or cast off their skeletons thereby discarding external signs of growth. That means a lobster’s age is estimated on size, but it’s a rough determination because ocean conditions affect the crustacean’s growth rate. Not knowing a lobster’s age is problematic for scientists and fishery managers seeking to measure the health of the fishery and the sustainability of the stock. Continue reading the story here 10:06

Thanks to the supervisors who protected SLO County fishermen

Many thanks to the San Luis Obispo County supervisors that support the fishermen, ranchers, farmers and our ports and harbor districts in the county regarding the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary issue. The supervisors that did not support us claimed that this was about oil. This issue has nothing to do with oil. It has to do with the livelihoods of those of us that make our living on land and sea. We are here to protect our livelihoods from federal intrusion and nothing more. One of the supervisors claimed they would not manage fisheries. Well, I can assure the public that neither he nor anyone in our county will be making that decision. It will be made in Washington, D.C., just like all of the hundreds of other rules that will be made regarding all national sanctuary management. Federal rules are not made by cities, counties or states. They are made only by the federal government. Link 09:53

Fisherman’s Strike Ends: “We Had A Gun To Our Heads”, Says Union Leader

The strike that went on for about two months has finally drawn to a close, but one union official says the deal was reached after the Minister of Fisheries essentially threatened to enact a law forcing the fishermen back to work. RÚV reports that the vote to go back to work was a close one: 52.4% voted in favour, with 46.9% voting against, and only 53.7% of eligible fishermen took part in the vote. As to be expected from such a close vote, opinion was mixed amongst fishermen reporters spoke to. A great many were simply pleased to be back to work, while many others were still unsatisfied with the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement. Continue reading the story here 09:10

Groundfish Monitoring: New England Council Seeks Initial Input on Amendment 23 at Six Scoping Hearings in March

The New England Fishery Management Council has scheduled a series of public scoping hearings from Maine to Connecticut to solicit ideas for potentially changing the region’s groundfish monitoring and reporting system.  The purpose of this initiative is to improve reliability and accountability of the monitoring program since successful management of the fishery depends on accurate and timely catch reporting.  The changes are being considered under Amendment 23 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan.  The Council is encouraging fishermen and other stakeholders to participate in this very early stage of the amendment development process. “The Council, fishermen, and the public recognize the groundfish monitoring program needs improvement,” said Council Executive Director Tom Nies. “This is the first and best opportunity for people to suggest ways to create a program that will give the accurate, reliable information needed to manage this fishery.” For locations, dates and times, click here 16:02

Chesapeake Bay advocates alarmed by plan that could open oyster sanctuaries to watermen

Some of the Chesapeake Bay’s most densely populated oyster sanctuaries could be opened to periodic harvesting under a plan being floated by state officials, setting up more conflict between alarmed environmentalists and watermen seeking to make a living. Neither side is pleased with the first draft of a new map of sanctuary boundaries in Maryland’s share of the bay. While watermen would gain some territory they ceded when a state oyster restoration strategy launched in 2010, dredging would be banned in other areas that are now open to harvesting. The net effect would be a loss of 11 percent of oyster sanctuary, instead opening up that acreage to watermen for undetermined stretches of time once every few years. Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration has supported what it calls “rotational harvesting” as a way to balance oyster recovery and bay restoration with the demands of the seafood industry. Continue reading the article here 15:17

A look back at the evolution of Catch Shares

In 2010 CSF board member Nils Stolpe conducted some exhaustive research into catch shares as a management tool and given what has transpired since it is worth looking over his findings today. Here, for example is a prophetic quote from the NEFMC’S June 2010 Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Amendment 15 to the Council’s Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan :  “…consolidation measures like ITQs, but also more generally leasing and stacking, tend to have their negative impacts on those less powerful segments of the fishing industry, namely the crew, or the small business owners without a fleet of vessels or vertically integrated business. Those who are better able to take advantage of measures like leasing or stacking are then increasingly able to exert control in various markets, such as leasing quota, hiring crew, or even affecting prices that fishermen receive for their product. These kinds of changes, in turn, affect the structure of communities—through changing relations between people and shifts in dominant values—and affect the viability of fishing communities as some are disproportionally impacted by geographic shifts in fishing businesses.” That was about the scallop fleet but the impact is now decimating single boat owners in our New England groundfishery. The complete report (three papers) is included here 14:28

The Five Trillion Dollar Plan to Save the Arctic Ice

Just in case you thought the climate community had run out of absurd ideas to waste taxpayer’s money, here is an academic plan to rebuild Arctic ice, by deploying 100 million wind turbines into the Arctic Ocean. Save the Arctic with $5 trillion of floating, wind-powered ice machines, researchers recommend With the Arctic warming faster than anywhere else on Earth, a new scientific paper is proposing a radical scheme to thicken the ice cap: millions upon millions of autonomous ice machines. Specifically, between 10 and 100 million floating, wind-powered pumps designed to spray water over sea ice during the winter. In the most ambitious version of the plan, 100 million devices would be deployed across the Arctic,,, Continue to read the absurdity here! 12:33

New York Wind farm’s long-term cost will be high for power projects

When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in a speech last month touted an offshore wind farm 30 miles from the coast of Long Island, he made special note of its “inexpensive energy,” saying it would “drive the economy.” While the project by developer Deepwater Wind promises many many benefits, including meeting LIPA’s green-energy goals and the state’s Clean Energy Standard, it’s hard to make the case that the power it produces will be inexpensive.  Power from the current crop of natural-gas fueled plants on Long Island costs around 7.6 cents per kilowatt hour. Commercial fishing groups have generally opposed offshore wind energy, but a Siena College poll last month found 76 percent of Long Islanders supported the concept when the projects were 10 miles or more miles from shore. Read the story here 12:03

Saving the whales – 19th-century hunting techniques now used to help, not kill humpbacks

To save whales tangled in netting and debris, rescuers take a page right out of the 1850s whale-hunting playbook. To catch and kill the animals, 19th-century whalers would harpoon the creatures, add a barrel to the line to slow and force them to surface. Then they’d lance captured whales and let them bleed out. Now, rescuers follow similar but nonviolent steps — tossing a hook to catch the debris on a whale, adding a buoy to slow it and using a knife rigged on a pole to cut away entangled fishing gear or other marine debris. Instead of a barrel of oil, their reward is watching the whale swim free. “We stole it from whalers in the 1850s,” said Ed Lyman, large whale entanglement response coordinator with the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. “Here we are using their technique to actually save whales.” Continue reading the story here 09:58

White spot threat: is fishing finished in Queensland?

The Logan River white spot epidemic could destroy all mainland fishing in Queensland, including a big slice of the Cooloola Coast seafood and tourism economy, industry leader Kev Reibel has warned. A Queensland Seafood Industry Association board member and Tin Can Bay trawler operator, Mr Reibel said the threat was credible and immediate. “To say we are worried would be something of an understatement,” he said in an exclusive interview with The Gympie Times on Sunday. “We don’t know if it can be stopped and we don’t know its boundaries within the crustaceans, or even if it has any boundaries. If it affects crabs, that’s another industry and another tourism factor wiped out. He backed claims by industry environmental adviser and Bay net fishing operator Joe McLeod that the apparently unstoppable virus is a threat to the food chains which sustain all kinds of fin fishing. Mr McLeod said the plankton that kicked off the fin fish food chain included juvenile prawns and other crustaceans. “If they’re not there, there is nothing for the fish to eat,” Mr McLeod said yesterday. Both said there was a fearful lack of knowledge of the virus’ boundaries, especially with the crustacean group.  Continue reading the story here 09:32

For fisheries regulations, a Trump edict signals uncertainty

New England fishermen and conservationists fear one of President Trump’s executive orders will have disruptive effects on fisheries management, although it will not affect routine seasonal fisheries regulation, as some had initially feared. The order prompted a fiery letter three days later from two prominent Democratic congressmen pointing out it could have “devastating impacts on commercial and recreational fisheries and the businesses and communities they support.” “Effectively what it means is that nobody can do anything because agencies will have to stop doing major regulatory actions because you can’t comply with this order, which may be the point,” says a former top federal fisheries management official, Andrew Rosenberg, who is now director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Drew Minkiewicz, a Washington, D.C., lawyer representing larger Eastern Seaboard scallop fishermen, says fishermen need not be concerned about most regulations. “This executive order has zero impact on 99.9 percent of the fishing regulations going out, so people who are wondering if the fishing season will be delayed don’t need to,” he says. “It’s much ado about nothing.” Read the article here 08:39

Opponents of proposed shrimp trawl limits not backing down from fight

There was one common point as local residents on opposing sides of a shrimp trawling issue reacted to news that additional restrictions for North Carolina shrimpers will likely be on the way. The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission voted 5-3, with one member abstaining, on Thursday to approve a petition for rule-making from the N.C. Wildlife Federation, setting in motion a lengthy process of reviewing the rules proposed in the petition before a final decision is made. For commercial fishermen and those who work in the seafood industry, the long road ahead is one they are prepared to follow. “They are going to have a fight on their handssaid Tim Millis of B.F. Millis Seafood in Sneads Ferry. “People are not going to stand back. (The petition) is going too far.”  Nancy Edens of Sneads Ferry, a North Carolina representative with the Southern Shrimp Alliance, attended the MFC meeting Thursday and was disappointed by the vote of the commission. Continued reading here 07:41

Local restaurant owners upset about North Carolina Wildlife Federation shrimping petition

The North Carolina Wildlife Federation brought forward a petition to protect juvenile fish, but many are arguing it puts their livelihood at risk. The North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission voted to approve a petition that would regulate where, how and when shrimpers could work. The final verdict has made a lot of people in the business upset. Fulcher Seafood in Oriental employees more than 200 people. Christina Fulcher-Cahoon said the new restrictions would jeopardize their large employee base and the seafood industry completely. While the petition was approved, this is merely the first approval. It must go through several steps before it is actually enforced. There is a chance the petition will not make it through all of these steps and will never go into affect. Video, read the rest here 14:11

Ireland should follow Britain out of the EU

County Donegal skippers like Michael Callaghan have long learned to contend with rasping North Atlantic gales and 30-foot waves — but nothing prepared them for the political shock of Brexit, and the threat it would pose to their livelihoods. Trapped in port by an approaching storm, the 44-year-old trawlerman has time to lament what he sees as bleak prospects for the Irish fishing industry. His latest haul of Atlantic horse mackerel was caught to the north, in Scottish waters, and his survival depends on continued access to those lucrative British fishing grounds. As he unloads a silver stream of fish into a chute from his 51-meter trawler, the Pacelli, he explains he has little hope of Irish politicians coming to his rescue, as Brexit raises existential questions about where he can catch and sell his fish. “Fisheries isn’t of huge economic value to Ireland Inc., so there’s no appetite in Dublin to look after coastal communities, especially fishermen,” he says, as he offers a tour of the boat. “We’d have to leave the EU to wrangle any of our power back.” Continue reading the story here 13:49

Todays Nuttery: Rogue Fishing Ops Call for Enforcement Led by U.S. Navy, a Primary Tenet of Global High Seas Marine Preserve

Pressure on coastal fisheries, from overfishing and pollution, is pushing more and more fishing trawlers into the high seas or to illegally poach on territories with no ability to enforcement their 200-mile territorial limits. One of the primary tenets of the Global High Sea Marine Preserve, a non-profit dedicated to saving the oceans founded by Danny Quintana, is to ban industrial fishing in international waters for the United States Navy to take lead role with other maritime forces to enforce the ban. The Law of the Seas Treaty needs to be renegotiated and approved by the United States Senate to facilitate such an eventuality.,, According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of endangered species, 1,414 species of fish, or 5 percent of the world’s known species, are at risk for extinction. While habitat loss and pollution are significant factors in the decline of these species, the greatest threat by far is overfishing. (wow!) Continue reading the stuff here 11:32

Maine lobstermen oppose increase in cost of commercial fishing licenses

A proposal to increase the cost of commercial fishing licenses to fund scientific research in a lean budget year is drawing fire from Maine lobstermen. Julie Eaton, a 30-year lobster boat captain from Deer Isle, told a legislative panel at the State House on Friday that a 30 percent increase in lobster license fees would be too much on top of all the other costs of doing business, ranging from $125 to replace lost traps to $185 for monthly oil changes to bait bills that have doubled in the last year alone. The Maine Department of Marine Resources is seeking to increase lobster license fees about 30 percent, which would generate roughly $600,000 in new revenues. That money would be used to expand state lobster research and protect other department units, like the Maine Marine Patrol, despite budget cuts ordered by Gov. Paul LePage to offset the anticipated effect of a new minimum wage law and state school spending initiative. Continue reading the article here 09:24

N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Board stacked with special interests, votes to “Crack Down” on Shrimp Trawling

Carrying out a very transparent agenda to support special interest groups, the Marine Fisheries Commission voted Thursday to accept a petition from the NC Wildlife Federation (NCWF)  that warrants rules to the commercial trawl fishery – including a 3-day work week, day-time only fishing and drastic gear restrictions – that will shut down the state’s shrimping industry. The action took place at the MFC business meeting in Wilmington, Feb 13-15. Turning out in good numbers to side with the NCWF petition was the NC Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association, a group known nationwide for its mission to shut down commercial fishermen in the name of protecting public trust waters. They repeatedly discredited the state’s commercial fishing industry during the meeting, accusing fishermen of non-compliance and charging they don’t care about the resource. They even had a conference room next to the MFC meeting, where they held a membership drive and passed out propaganda. Continue reading the article here 08:54

Commercial salmon disaster funding awaiting congressional approval

When Washington’s congressional delegation pressured U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker into signing a disaster declaration for the state’s commercial salmon fishery, local fishermen were hopeful those funds would be making their way into local wallets by the middle of February. However, bitter battles concerning President Trump’s cabinet nominees have dominated Congress for more than a month, and the funding will not be distributed until Congress approves the funding and designates an entity that will be in charge of doling out the relief money. “My best guess is that until the turmoil in Congress settles down concerning President Trump’s cabinet nominations and Congress returns to a normal schedule, that’s where it will sit,” said Greg Mueller, president and executive director of the Washington Trollers Association. Continue reading the story here 08:11

Vineyard Power vying for offshore wind farm

This June, the state will solicit bids seeking offshore wind farms to produce 400 megawatts of electricity. It’s the first of four phases of what state officials hope will be 1,600 megawatts of offshore power; 15 percent of what the state uses annually, enough power to replace what will eventually be lost when Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station shuts down. Submitting a bid in June will be the first tangible step for a group of Martha’s Vineyard residents who started the Vineyard Power energy cooperative six years ago in response to a lot of the things they didn’t like about the now defunct Cape Wind project. It has 1,400 members and claims the cooperative represents 5,000 people on the island. Richard Andre, president of Vineyard Power, said their prospects improved dramatically when Gov. Charlie Baker signed legislation in August that required that power utilities solicit and contract for 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind power as part of their energy portfolio by 2027. Continue reading here 18:07

A Big Decline of River Herring – Tiny stones in fish hold clues to help restore populations

Many New Englanders still recall the vast springtime runs of river herring. Millions of the small silvery fish swam up coastal freshwater streams, returning from the sea to spawn. Two species of river herring, alewives and blueback herring, are critical components of marine food webs, right up to the fishermen on shore and at sea who harvest them. But in the late 1960s, herring populations sharply declined to as little as one percent of their historic size. Ever more-efficient commercial fishing fleets have swept them up in coastal waters. But even after states banned or limited catches, the fish have not rebounded. To expand access to historical spawning habitats, some communities have also begun removing dams. In 2014, Joel Llopiz launched a project, funded by Woods Hole Sea Grant, with colleagues at the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. The researchers are collecting and examining larval herring in four coastal river/pond systems of different sizes in Massachusetts. The systems also vary in their impacts from pollution, urban development, and agriculture. Continue reading here with more images 15:42

Grundens Deck-Boss Boot wins Miami Boat Show Innovation Award

Grundéns, producer of the world’s leading foul weather gear, was recognized with an Innovation Award today at the 2017 Miami Boat Show for its new 15-inch Deck-Boss Boot. The boot, which will be available at retail locations in April 2017, is Grundéns’ first foray into performance footwear for professional fishermen. “We are elated to receive this honor and overwhelming positive reaction for our new boot,” said Mike Jackson , Grundéns president. “For more than two years, we worked hard to design a boot for fishermen on decks around the world, from Alaska to the Bahamas.” Read more about Deck-Boss Boots, and see more images here 14:17

Louisiana Regulators to Close Blue Crab Fishery for Thirty Days

Crabbing in Louisiana comes to an abrupt halt Sunday night when a state imposed 30-day prohibition goes into effect. In an effort to protect against over-harvesting Louisiana’s crab population, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is shutting it down for a month. Many crab fishermen fear for their livelihood. “Six to eight weeks of no paychecks from crabbing,” said crabber Alvin Royes.”Maybe more depending on the weather. Traps have to be in by midnight Sunday night.” For about 1,500 Louisiana crabbers, that’s it in a nutshell. All crab traps are being picked up and stacked. Sunday night, crab fishermen will be out of work for a while. The 30-day prohibition is not a surprise to Louisiana crab fishermen, even if it is to a lot of other people. Last year, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries determined too many crabs were being harvested and the crab population was getting low. New regulations were instituted including restrictions on the harvest of immature female blue crabs and the 30-day ban on crabbing, beginning the third Monday in February of 2017, 2018 and 2019. Continue reading the article here 11:52

Financial Support for Amanda Hawkins, in Memory of Kai Hamik, F/V Destination

Amanda lost her sole mate Kai Hamik suddenly on Saturday February 11th. Kai who travels as a commercial fisherman in Alaska was King Crab fishing with his crew on the boat Destination when the U.S. Coast Guard received a signal from their emergency beacon.  Rescuers searched in the water and from the sky for nearly 70 hours. Before suspending the search Monday, the Coast Guard found a debris field, including an oil sheen, tarps, buoys, even a life ring from the vessel. They did not find the ship nor any survivors. Our hearts go out to Kai’s friends and family and the friends and family’s of the entire crew of the Destination. They were to start their family upon Kai’s return. Please click here for the gofundme page, and please, donate any amount that you can. 11:17

Update – Sweden’s Request to Ban American Lobster in the EU Risks Violating the Rules of the WTO

In July 2016, we reported that the Swedish Government had requested that the European Union impose a ban on imports of U.S./Canadian live lobster (Homarus americanus). Sweden argues that Homarus americanus should be designated an “alien invasive species” under EU law because it is not native to the EU, it poses serious risks to European lobsters through the spreading of disease, and because once the American lobster is established, it will be impossible to eradicate. An expert group of the European Commission’s Directorate of Environment, the Scientific Forum on Invasive Alien Species, has assessed Sweden’s request in terms of the sufficiency of the scientific evidence presented. In September 2016, it confirmed the validity of the risk assessment and found there was enough evidence to move forward with a full scientific review of Sweden’s request. This broader review of the request to ban live American lobster in the EU is expected to be completed by spring 2017, at the earliest. If that review approves the request, the motion would go to the full European Commission for a final vote. Continue reading the article here 10:25

It’s a shark-eat-shark world off Bermagui, New South Wales

When you’re on the food chain, there’s always something bigger than you – even if you’re an apex predator it seems. A video shot by Bermagui commercial fisherman Jason Moyce shows the result of when a 150kg whaler shark caught on his line is seen as an easy meal for something much bigger. Mr Moyce was fishing off Cuttagee Beach Friday morning when he got more than he bargained for – or perhaps it could be said he got a lot less. The whaler had a large chunk missing, seemingly made by a single bite. In Mr Moyce’s opinion it was likely a tiger shark who enjoyed the easy meal. “It was a fresh bite, only a matter of hours,” he said. Continue reading the story here 09:35

Furuno’s Multi-Beam Sonar reaches new depths

The DFF3D Multi-Beam Sonar brings you the ability to see the underwater world all around your vessel in real time. Fish targets are shown in 3D within the water column, allowing you to pinpoint fishing hot spots and mark them as waypoints for later. Amazingly, the waypoint contains the depth data, so you’ll know right where to drop your line! With the triple beam sounder, you can even watch the fish swim from one side of the boat to the other. With the addition of the DFF3D, Furuno’s NavNet TZtouch and TZtouch2 MFD’s have just become your most valuable tool for finding and catching more fish! Read the article here 09:02

Another Look at Chris Crisman’s Women’s Work. This Time With Motion – Sadie Samuels

In our digital device controlled lives you only have seconds to grab eyeballs and it’s all about how many hits, hearts, likes, or friends you receive. So how do you tell a compelling human-interest story, a filmic portrait if you will, in two minutes or less? Chris Crisman knew that Sadie Samuels had a compelling story. He’d learned of her through a newspaper article and was intrigued by her personality and career choice. Accompanying the 23-year-old Maine lobster fisher, Crisman, his assistant and a director of photography set out for a day on the water. “The drone shot was a nice bonus. Ezra Migel, the DP who partnered with us, is a talented drone operator. Watch the video, and Read the story here 21:01

Legal Fight in New York Offshore Wind Farm Case Continues on Merits; Request for Preliminary Injunction Denied

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia decided late Wednesday not to grant a preliminary injunction in the lawsuit brought by a host of fishing communities, associations and businesses led by scallop industry trade group the Fisheries Survival Fund against the impending leasing of the New York Wind Energy Area to Statoil Wind of Norway. The suit alleges the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) leasing process did not adequately consider the impact of wind power development in the waters off Long Island, New York on the region’s fishermen. The fishing industry asked that the court temporarily halt BOEM from proceeding with the final ratification of a lease on the area, which was preliminarily awarded to Statoil, Norway’s state oil company, for $42.5 million. “Getting a preliminary injunction granted is difficult, given the high standards that the court applies,” said Mayor Kirk Larson of Barnegat Light, N.J., one of the plaintiffs in the case. “But our case will continue, and we are confident that we will succeed on the merits.” Continue reading the article here 17:55

NC shrimpers say new rules for trawlers will destroy industry

The state Marine Fisheries Commission voted Thursday to begin drafting rules that would limit trawling for shrimp in North Carolina’s inland coastal waters, a move that many on the coast say could destroy the shrimping industry. The decision came after months of wrangling between commercial and recreational fishermen, with the latter group arguing that trawlers are scooping up millions of young fish before they’re old enough to spawn, effectively killing off fish stocks in the region. The North Carolina Wildlife Federation petitioned the state – the only one on the East Coast that allows shrimp trawling in its sounds and estuaries – to reduce the size of trawler nets, limit how long nets could be pulled in the water, permit shrimping only three days per week and eliminate night-time shrimping. “What just happened today is appalling,” said Brent Fulcher, who owns Beaufort Inlet Seafood in Beaufort. “The state process is broken.” Continue reading the article here 16:56

Alaska fishing group flags concerns with income tax proposal

A trade group for Alaska commercial fishermen is flagging concerns with a state House proposal that would reinstitute a personal income tax. United Fishermen of Alaska says many fishermen will have “major difficulties” complying with withholding requirements on payments to fishing crew. Association leaders, in a letter to the House Finance Committee co-chairs, say withholding requirements would fall on skippers who don’t have the information they would need to estimate a crew member’s potential federal tax liability. The tax, as proposed, would be 15 percent of what a person owes the federal government in taxes. They raised other concerns, too. The association, which says it has not taken a position either way on the bill, suggested a fix that would treat fishermen the same as people who are self-employed. Link 16:15

Team examines the evolution of wooden halibut hooks carved by native people of the Northwest Coast

The Tlingit and Haida, indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast (NWC), have used carved wooden hooks to catch halibut for centuries. As modern fishing technology crept into use, however, the old hooks practically disappeared from the sea. But they thrived on land—as decorative art. The hook’s evolution from utilitarian tool to expression of cultural heritage is the subject of a paper by Jonathan Malindine, a doctoral student in UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Anthropology. In “Northwest Coast Halibut Hooks: an Evolving Tradition of Form, Function, and Fishing,” published in the journal Human Ecology, he traces the arc of the hook’s design and how its dimensions have changed over time. Photo’s, continue reading the article here 12:09

Kerrisdale Capital Slams Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd – Pebble Mine shares are ‘worthless’

A New York investment firm tore apart claims by the owners of the Pebble mine project that developing the prospect is economically viable in a no-holds-barred report released Feb. 14. Kerrisdale Capital called Vancouver-based Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., “worthless” in its 21-page report, contending sources directly involved in evaluating Pebble before Anglo American walked away from the project in 2013, despite spending roughly $500 million on it, said Pebble would cost close to $13 billion to construct, not the $4.7 billion capital cost Northern Dynasty arrived at in its preliminary project assessment. “In the past decade, Northern Dynasty has hired at least two major engineering firms to prepare preliminary feasibility studies of Pebble laying out its economics in detail, yet it has failed to publish their findings — because they were damning,” Kerrisdale alleges. Continue reading the article here 11:27

The online market in China is huge! The Province wants Nova Scotia’s lobster industry to get its share

Lobsters from Nova Scotia are already selling on China’s Alibaba massive e-commerce website but now the province is stepping in with a pilot project to ensure only the best of the best are sold on Alibaba’s retail sister site Tmall. It’s all part of plan to boost Nova Scotia’s lobster exports to China , valued at $113 million in 2015. Tmall.com says it is the biggest business-to-consumer retail platform in Asia. It already sells Cuban lobsters and parent Alibaba.com has more than 2,000 listings for lobster, including 76 offers to sell live Nova Scotia lobsters. Peng Song’s Hiyou Trading Company lists lobster for US$6 to US$10 — with a minimum order on Alibaba. And Charlie Jin’s World Link Food Distributors is asking between US$6 and US$16 with a minimum order of 20 cases. The province wants Nova Scotia’s lobster industry to get its share of what’s becoming a massive, online live lobster market. Continue reading the article here 09:24

Are big ups and downs normal for forage fish?

Forage fish stocks have undergone fluctuation swings for hundreds of years, research shows, with at least three species off the US West Coast repeatedly experiencing steep population increases followed by declines long before commercial fishing began. The rise and fall of Pacific sardine, northern anchovy, and Pacific hake off California have been so common that the species were in collapsed condition 29 to 40 percent of the time over the 500-year period from CE 1000 to 1500, according to a new study in Geophysical Research Letters. Using a long time series of fish scales deposited in low-oxygen, offshore sedimentary environments off Southern California, researchers described such collapses as “an intrinsic property of some forage fish populations that should be expected, just as droughts are expected in an arid climate.” Continue reading the article here 07:55

Fight for fishermen – European Union bid to grab UK fish stocks under Brexit revealed

Leaked reports claimed this week that MEPs in the European Parliament are drafting provisions to be included in the final Brexit agreement – including legislation that Britain should not be allowed an “increase to the UK’s share of fishing opportunities for jointly fished stocks”. EU countries want fishing rules which apply to all member states to continue to apply to Britain’s waters after the divorce. As such, the fish in Britain’s territory would be seen as a ‘shared resource’. The suggestion Britain could be overruled by the EU – once the split becomes official – has angered British politicians. Outraged Mike Hookem said Britain’s waters must return to “UK control regardless of what the EU want”. Continue reading the story here 06:54

Op-ed: E-mails continue a troubling practice on fisheries panel

With a critical vote pending on a petition to limit shrimp trawling in state waters, a member of the North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission made no secret of his position in an e-mail to a concerned chef from Charlotte. The e-mail was among several by Commissioner Chuck Laughridge to people who had submitted written comments on the petition, which supporters say is aimed at protecting fish species that are discarded as by-catch after they are hauled in by shrimp nets. Laughridge wrote the e-mails despite warnings from the commission’s lawyer about conducting business outside of public meetings and expressing opinions on pending issues before the fisheries panel has fully debated and voted on them. We at Outer Banks Catch are troubled by these continuing private communications. The commission is already under the cloud of a 2016 audit that cited several potential violations of open meetings laws in e-mail communications among its members. With the potentially devastating impact of limits to shrimp trawling on commercial watermen and consumers up and down the East Coast, the commission more than ever must be above-board. Continue reading the Op-ed here 22:38

Please Donate to the Larry O’Grady Family Fund

Please help our Auntie Gail during this devastating tragedy.  On February 11, 2017,  Gail received a phone call that would forever change her life. Her beloved husband and best friend “Larry O” is missing at sea. On Saturday morning the fishing vessel ‘Destination’ sent an emergency distress signal to the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard announced they would search for the missing vessel and crew members for 3  days.   With heavy hearts, the Coast Guard has suspended the search for the crew of the fishing vessel Destination. This fund will go to our Auntie Gail to ease the financial burden that this tragedy has left her with. Thoughts and prayers  to the owner, his crew members and  their families. Visit the Larry O’Grady Family Fund page, (click here) and please donate any amount you can.

Please donate to the Charles Glenn Jones Family Relief Fund

Saturday, February 11th the wife of Charles Glenn Jones received a phone call that no family member ever wants to receive.  The vessel, FV Destination, that Charles was working upon, and had been for many years, was considered missing.  As minutes rolled into hours, and hours felt like an eternity all signs are pointing to no possible chance of survival.  Coastguard Crews and volunteers have been searching for nearly 24 hours, the ship has been officially declared sunk, and no crew members are expected to have survived. As in all walks of life, Rosalie and her family believed they had time.  Time to plan, time to love, and time together.  Rosalie and Charles had decided when he returned from this trip that they would finally get a life insurance policy on him, just in case, unfortunately reality had other plans and the Jones family is left enduring much pain and anguish. Continue reading (Click here) at the Charles Glenn Jones Family Relief Fund page, and please donate any amount you can. 18:22

Governor Brown’s interference pits her against commercial fisherman

In an astoundingly ignorant and heavy-handed display of putting urban political correctness ahead of rural jobs, Gov. Kate Brown last week dictated that the citizen members of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission reverse their January decision that gave commercial fishermen a minimally fair share of the Columbia River’s salmon allocation. Addressing commissioners as if they are misbehaving children, Brown told Chairman Michael Finley the commission majority’s acknowledgment of reality is “not acceptable” and that “I expect” the commission to acquiesce to her interpretation of the facts by April 3. Fish and Wildlife Commission members are in an infinitely better position to judge the ineffectiveness of salmon policies than is the governor. Read the Op-ed here 17:03

Creation of a new marine protection area off British Columbia upsets fishing industry

Canada’s largest commercial fishermen’s union says the creation of a new marine protection area off British Columbia’s north coast will result in lost jobs and higher prices for seafood. The Canadian Independent Fish Harvesters’ Federation says the protection area goes too far in banning all fishing in several regions between Vancouver Island and the archipelago of Haida Gwaii. Jim McIsaac, the group’s Pacific vice-president, says the union supports safeguarding the region’s glass sponge reefs but he regrets that the Fisheries Department hasn’t followed the group’s advice after seven years of consultation. The federal government is expected to announce the new protection area on Thursday. Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc says the federal government does not believe preserving the glass-sponge conservation area is an either/or proposition and that it’s possible to do so while balancing the interests of the commercial fishing industry. Read the rest here 16:18

Bully-net lobster fishermen can get new commercial status

A new Florida commercial lobster license for bully-netters will come with a “Respectful Bully Netting” outreach campaign. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission members on Feb. 8 approved creation of a new bully-net endorsement for people who have a commercial endorsement for lobster.“Conflicts between waterfront homeowners and bully-netters” was cited as one concern about expanding the commercial lobster industry to include the netting technique. The increased use of bully nets for commercial lobstering “allows opportunities for young or new fishers and preserves the culture of participation in the Keys commercial lobster fishery”. Continue reading the story here 14:45

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 44′ 11″ x 21′ Novi Lobster/Scallop, 350HP Mitsubishi, Permits Available

Specifications, information and 45 photo’s  click here To see all the boats in this series, Click here 12:45

The Eli Seibold Destination Fund

Eli is the son of Darrik Seibold who is a crew member on board the Destination vessel that went missing in the Bering Sea Saturday. His family is devastated, the past few days have been unbearable for them and a heart breaking time for our community. So many people have asked how they can help during this very helpless time, so we have started a fund for Darrik’s son Eli. The fund will help ensure a brighter future for Eli, who will turn three this weekend without his father. By supporting Darrik’s son, we can help provide for his future now that his father is unable to do so. I would like to say thanks to all who have asked how to help Bill and Jan over the past few days, your messages have been forwarded to them.  Click here for the Eli Seibold Destination Fund, and please give what you can. 12:12