Monthly Archives: March 2017

Plan to reopen Maine shrimp fishery in the works

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is seeking comment on its plan to reopen the northern shrimp fishery, which has been closed for three years. The Arlington, Va.-based regulatory agency’s plan includes options such as changing the way the quota system is managed. The agency noted that earlier proposals had considered establishing a limited entry program. The current proposal eliminates that option and focuses instead on “total allowable catch allocation programs, gear requirements, and other measures to improve management of the northern shrimp fishery and resource.” continue reading the story click here 21:14

Are Spanish trawlers in Cornwall ‘getting landing figures up’ so they can claim link to UK during Brexit talks?

It could be just a coincidence but the arrival of what are understood to be Spanish trawlers in Cornwall has left some wondering if something fishy is going on. Within hours of the government triggering Article 50 the boats were landing their catch in the Cornish harbour of Newlyn for the first time in years. The suspicion amongst some in the fishing community is that these boats, which sail under a British Flag but are part of the Spanish fleet, are “getting the landing figures up so they can claim an economic link to the UK during Brexit talks”. read the rest, click here 18:09

FISH-NL: Shrimp cuts impact harvesters/rural communities like a hammer

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the massive cut to the northern shrimp quota off the Great Northern Peninsula and southern Labrador (Shrimp Fishing Area 6) has hit the inshore fleet and adjacent communities like a hammer. “The crisis in the shrimp fishery is unprecedented,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The situation today is even worse than the groundfish moratoriam of the early 1990s in that many shrimp harvesters have no other species to turn to. The harvesters who do have other species have also taken massive hits.” Read the press release here 17:47

Cable Under Gardiner’s Bay Sparks Debate – Trustees, baymen talk wind farm landing sites

When officials of Deepwater Wind, the Rhode Island company that plans to construct an offshore wind farm 30 miles from Montauk, presented its plans to the community at Clinton Academy in East Hampton on March 9, several commercial fishermen in attendance voiced opposition, fearing a negative impact on their livelihood. That concern resurfaced on Monday night, when the East Hampton Town Trustees heard from several residents. Mr. (Gary) Cobb wondered “what jet-plowing is going to do to the bottom of Gardiner’s Bay.” The Air Force veteran, who studied avionics systems technology, also questioned “the proximity of these transmission lines to not just significant coastal wildlife habitat, but essential fish habitat.” continue reading the story here 17:13

Dirty Birds – What it’s like to live with a national symbol

Dutch Harbor is a small town on a small island far out in Alaska’s Aleutian chain, nearly 1,200 miles from Anchorage at the edge of the Bering Sea. It’s the most productive fishing port in the United States. Every winter the tiny population swells with thousands of people who come to work in the fish processing plants, on the crab boats, or out on the big cod and pollack trawlers. But they’re not the only ones trying their fortunes in town or out on the boats. People in town call them Dutch Harbor pigeons. The rest of us call them bald eagles. In a community of just over 4,700 permanent residents, there live an estimated 500 to 800 eagles. They stare judgily down from light posts, peer intently into people’s windows, eat foxes and seagulls while perched in the trees next to the high school, and sit on rooflines like living weather vanes. Down at the docks, they swarm every boat that comes into port like some sort of Hitchcockian nightmare, fighting for scraps of bait, elbowing one another for prime positions, crowding together on top of crab pots, and squawk-cheeping their opinions. View more images, read the story here 11:01

Sonar revealing more river herring in Choptank River than expected

Scientists have a powerful new tool to help them “see” fish in the Chesapeake Bay’s murky tributaries, and it’s yielding some surprisingly good news about two of the estuary’s most troubled species. “Imaging sonar” uses sound to help them view, and count, passing fish in dark or cloudy water. For the past few years, scientists with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center have been deploying one of these underwater sound cameras in some of the Bay’s rivers to monitor spawning runs of alewife and blueback herring, collectively known as river herring.,,No one knows for sure how many river herring are in the Bay, as fisheries managers lack the staff and resources to do a comprehensive assessment. But a SERC-led team of scientists deployed an imaging sonar device in the Choptank River in 2014 that captured images of the fish as they swam by. Based on the rate at which scientists saw the shadowy blips cross their computer screens, they estimated that as many as 1.3 million river herring swam upriver that spring to spawn. That’s more than expected, and way more than state biologists had figured were there in the early 1970s, the last time anyone looked intensively at the Choptank’s herring runs. Read the article here 10:14

Rural NL faces devastation in light of drastic cuts to northern shrimp quota

ST. JOHN’S – Yesterday evening, the federal government announced a 63 per cent cut to inshore northern shrimp quota in fishing area 6. The FFAW is calling on the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to reconsider the radical nature of these cuts, and once again calls for the offshore to be removed from shrimp fishing area (SFA) 6. The total allowable catch for SFA 6 went from 48,196 tons in 2015 to 27,825 tons in 2016, to a dismal 10,400 tons announced for 2017. This amounts to a 78 per cent quota reduction over two years. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) slashed harvest rates from 20 per cent in 2016 to 10 per cent in 2017. These dramatic cuts to the harvest rate are not in line with the reduction in the northern shrimp biomass. The decline in northern shrimp is not due to overfishing, rather it is a result of an environmental shift in the ocean ecosystem. As groundfish stocks rebuild, it is inevitable that shellfish stocks in the area will continue to decline. Read the press release here 09:36

Fishing boat runs aground in Dumfries and Galloway

Five men had to be rescued after a fishing boat ran aground near Kirkcudbright. The stranded commercial vessel hit land within metres of the town’s lifeboat station during the night. The Irish registered scallop dredger was taking on water after hitting the rocks and had sent a distress signal around 1am. A Marine and Coastguard Agency spokeswoman said: “Just after 1am today (31 March) UK Coastguard received a VHF radio call from a fishing vessel reporting they were taking on water at Kirkcudbright Bay. “The vessel with five persons on board had run aground close to the Kirkcudbright Lifeboat Station and hit rocks before it started taking on water. More images, read the rest here 09:17

PARRI to offer Narcan training for fishermen

John Rosenthal, Co-founder and Chairman of the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.), Allie Hunter McDade, Executive Director of P.A.A.R.I., Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and Police Chief John McCarthy are pleased to announce that the City of Gloucester, in conjunction with the Fishing Partnership Support Services, Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association and the Coast Guard, will offer CPR, first aid and nasal naloxone training to commercial fisherman on Friday, March 31. Approximately 40 fishermen will attending the CPR/first aid course, which will include a segment where they learn how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose, including how to administer nasal Narcan, which will then become another staple instrument included in their first aid kits. continue reading the story here 08:38

Fisherman hoping bumper sticker will reel in Trump

The Stonington town dock once featured a dozen or more vibrant commercial fishing  boats. Now, it’s down to three or four. “My revenue has gone down probably 75 percent,” says Joel Hovanesian, a fisherman for 45 years. “The ocean’s loaded with fish, but they don’t allow us to catch it,” said an aggravated Robert Guzzo, another longtime fisherman.”This year, we’re only allowed 120,000 pounds of fish,” said Mike Gambardella, a fish wholesaler, with businesses in Stonington and East Haven. When business was bustling, Gambardella Wholesale Fish would ship out 5,000 cartons, with 60 pounds of fish in each, every week. Now, on a really good week, it’s 300 cartons. Gambardella says the association is hoping the President listens and, at the very least, they can schedule a meeting with Linda McMahon, the former World Wrestling Entertainment head, who is now President Trump’s leader of the Small Business Administration. Video, read the story here 08:00

Carlos Rafael’s guilty plea in federal court draws mixed reactions

There was a mixture of emotions and reactions among members of the local fishing industry over the guilty plea Carlos that “The Codfather” Rafael entered in Federal Court Thursday. Some expressed a certain amount of sympathy for Rafael in the highly regulated business. Some didn’t. This doesn’t come as a surprise,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell. Ever since Carlos’ arrest became public it was clear the government had him dead to rights.” “The more important question is what will happen to the permits. That determination has been left up to NOAA. Jim Kendall, president of New Bedford Seafood Consulting, had the same concern about the permits. He noted that other boat owners have been stripped of their permits. “But I am not sure that it means anything for us,” he said. Read the story here 18:18

Fishing mogul Carlos Rafael pleads guilty, will be sentenced in June

Carlos Rafael pleaded guilty to charges of falsifying fish quotas, tax evasion and conspiracy in U.S. District Court in Boston Thursday. The U.S. attorney recommended 46 months of prison time for the sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for June 27. Rafael’s attorney William Kettlewell declined comment. He said his office would send out a statement. An updated indictment released two weeks ago included the charge of tax evasion. It stated from November 2014 to about October of 2015, Rafael failed to pay taxes in the sum of $108,929. It also included two new paragraphs regarding the general allegations toward Rafael. Read the rest here 17:02

An in-depth article – Owner of Carlos Seafood pleads guilt to forging records, smuggling profits  Click here to read the article 17:36

Ocean City Inlet shoaling problem continues

Problems with sand plugging up the Ocean City Inlet have persisted for decades. “There’s billions of dollars (of state revenue) here,” said fisherman Mike Coppa, owner and operator of a West Ocean City trawling operation. “This is a huge problem. It’s the biggest problem we have.” Local commercial fishermen were the guests at an open forum hosted by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources at the Ocean City Marlin Club on Monday, March 27. The semi-annual gathering is held to discuss fisheries issues affecting local operations. Among the topics tossed around the room were several new draft regulations that may affect the take of specific species, the squeeze felt by local fishermen as restrictions are enacted to prevent overfishing in New England, pressures to maintain product quotas to retain valuable fishing permits and methods to attract new fishermen to the local commercial fishing district. continue reading the story here 16:14

For Immediate Release – Statement by Carlos Rafael

“There have been a number of stories written about this case and about me.  Some of the things that have been written are true, some are not.  Here is the truth.  Today I pled guilty to the charges facing me.  I am not proud of the things I did that brought me here, but admitting them is the right thing to do, and I am prepared to accept the consequences of my actions.
I started in this industry cutting fish when I was 16 years old, and it has been an honor to work with the people of the Port of New Bedford.  Looking back, I’m most proud of the hundreds of jobs our businesses created, and the opportunities they created for families.  Today, I have a single goal.  To protect our employees and all of the people and businesses who rely on our companies from the consequences of my actions.  I will do everything I can to make sure that the Port of New Bedford remains America’s leading fishing port.” Press release from Collara LLP  14:47

North Pacific Fishery Management Council forced back into Cook Inlet salmon fray

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will open up a process next week that will likely take years to redesign the Cook Inlet salmon fishery management plan. A federal appeals court decided last fall that the council, which oversees all federal fisheries management in the North Pacific between 3 and 200 nautical miles offshore — known as the United States Exclusive Economic Zone — has to craft a management plan for the salmon fishery. The council decided in 2011 to hand over several of Alaska’s salmon fisheries to state managers by removing them from the existing fishery management plan, and though an Alaska U.S. District judge ruled that it was legal in 2014, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously reversed the decision this past September. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is tentatively scheduled to hear the first discussion paper prepared by the National Marine Fisheries Service on what the plan could look like and how they should proceed during the council’s meeting April 6 in Anchorage. How did we get here? continue reading the story here 12:01

Four-year investigation fails to find cause of ship fire off Canterbury coast

A four year inquiry into a fire that ripped through a ship off the Canterbury coast, forcing dozens of crew members into lifeboats, has failed to establish “with any certainty” how it started. On Thursday, the Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) released a report into the blaze, which turned the fishing factory freezer trawler Amaltal Columbia into “a fireball from the bow to the stern” in 2012. The 41 crew on board were ordered to abandon ship, 85 kilometres northeast of the Lyttelton heads, after exhausting their air tanks battling the inferno. The fire broke out about 5am on September 12, 2012, in the fishmeal bagging room on the fish processing deck. continue reading the story here 11:25

Commercial Fisherman Releases 30 Tonnes Of Mackerel To Save Dolphins Trapped In Nets

“The crew were determined not to hurt the dolphins in any way if at all possible and they set about trying to free them by lowering the sides of the net,” said Fiona MacMillan, general manager of fishing company Sanford Ltd. “Unfortunately this did not encourage the dolphins to swim out, so the skipper faced a tough choice at that point. “He either took further steps to try and free the dolphins and risk losing the catch of 30 tonnes of jack mackerel, or he faced the prospect of killing the dolphins. “He believed that his first priority was to try to save the dolphins, so he made the decision to release one at end of the net near the bow and that enabled all the dolphins to swim away, totally unharmed. In the process all the jack mackerel accidentally escaped too.” While 30 tonnes of fish is a potentially significant financial loss, Fiona said Sanford’s focus was on sustainability. link 10:45

Del Norte fishermen and Assemblyman Jim Wood opposes landing fee hike ( from .2¢ to 25¢ per lb.!)

Del Norte fishermen and Assemblyman Jim Wood are questioning a proposal to increase commercial landing fees as a way of offsetting a $20 million deficit in the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. In his 2017–18 budget summary, Gov. Jerry Brown proposes increasing commercial landing fees statewide by $12.4 million. Brown’s proposal argues that revenue from commercial landing fees support less than one quarter of the Fish and Wildlife’s program costs and have not been adjusted in at least 20 years.  But local fishermen and industry representatives say they’re worried that increasing the landing fees will prompt seafood buyers to shift their business to nearby Oregon. continue reading the story here 10:04

Commercial fishermen catch carp and more in the cold waters at Point Douglas.

It was cold and windy on March 21 when Jim Shiely went down to the beach across from his home in Prescott. Waves washed against the sand. The commercial fishermen were out in their big broad-beamed boats and chest waders, hauling in nets full of rough fish: a writhing mass of suckers, sheepshead, and assorted bottom-feeders. “No paddlefish that I saw,” Jim wrote. “Saw one good sized musky which the MN DNR weighed and measured around 44 inches and one small sturgeon. A lot of quillback, all of which they threw back. Saw a nice number of huge walleyes, which of course are thrown back along with all other game fish.” view the photo gallery, read the rest here 08:38

Calling on the president to make commercial fishing great again

One boat after another offloaded their catch at Gambardella’s Wholesale Seafood. A busy day for the seafood distributor but that’s not the norm these days. Fewer fishing boats are coming in because crews say they can’t afford to go out with limits on what they can catch.“The regulations are outdated, the science is wrong, and we’ve been fishing under these conditions for too long,” said Bobby Guzzo a longtime fishermen. He says they often have to throw back fish so they don’t go over their limits and those limits are based on what state fisherman are from even though they all fish the same federal waters. Connecticut limits are a lot lower than states down south. “We’re all fishing in federal water, we’re all fishing together,” said Guzzo. “Why aren’t we all together?” It’s a question Guzzo has been asking for years and now he and fellow fishermen are hoping to ask President Donald Trump. They are calling on him to make commercial fishing great again. Video, read the story here 07:57

A Brunswick County senator’s proposed resolution opposing catch-share fisheries management is drawing praise

In fisheries managed by catch shares, certain fishermen or companies are assigned individual limits for a given species during a season, a strategy the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says allows fishermen to make decisions based on market conditions and avoid hazardous weather conditions. Many North Carolina fishermen have expressed great concern about catch shares reaching their waters and are supporting Senate Bill 370. Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, introduced the bill, which would communicate to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, NOAA Fisheries and the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission that the Senate opposes catch share management off the N.C. coast. continue reading the story, click here 22:43

Commercial fishermen on south coast fear salmon season could be cut short

Commercial fishermen on the south coast say they’re worried this year’s fishing season could be cut short or even become obsolete. According to the Pacific Fishery Management Council, salmon numbers are down the past couple of years and this year doesn’t look to be much better.  “If the fish don’t show, our season–salmon season–would be over and a lot of guys will make very little money,” said one fisherman of 42 years at a public meeting Monday night. “A lot of markets, restaurants won’t have salmon.” The PFMC took public comment Monday in Coos Bay on proposals for the season and talked about the effect on the salmon fishery. Click here to watch video, read the rest here 17:50

NRDC, CLF, CBD Acts to Defend Atlantic’s First Marine Monument

NRDC is seeking to intervene in a lawsuit that challenges the New England marine monument established last September—the first such monument off the continental U.S. Together with other supporters of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, NRDC today filed this motion to intervene in a lawsuit filed earlier this month by five regional commercial fishing associations. This ocean park spans almost 5,000 miles and safeguards ancient coral gardens, endangered sperm whales, Atlantic puffins, and literally thousands of other animal species for the benefit of all Americans. Our goal is to prevent it from being handed back to private industries for commercial exploitation, including commercial fishing, seismic surveying, oil and gas drilling, and mining. We also want to protect the President’s authority to designate future marine monuments and demonstrate that the other four marine monuments–designated by Presidents Obama and George W. Bush—were legally created. Our partners seeking to intervene include a naturalist who leads whale watch tours, Conservation Law Foundation and the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). Read the rest of this stuff here 17:03

Fishery stakeholders unite to form organization aimed at keeping ocean aquaculture industry, government in check

The Newfoundland and Labrador Coalition for Aquaculture Reform (NL-CAR) brings together more than 20 organizations. They include environmental and conservation groups such as the Salmonid Council of Newfoundland and Labrador (SCNL) and the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF), First Nations groups like the Qalipu and Glenwood Mi’Kmak, as well as academics, scientists and special advisers. Leo White, vice-president of SCNL and one of the key organizers for NL-CAR, says the group is not anti-aquaculture.,, Among the key issues is that the industry is largely self-regulating and reporting information is voluntary, without any independent oversight.,, NL-CAR is also urging the government to explore more environmentally sustainable alternatives such as land-based farms or closed containment pens in an effort to avoid some of the hazards to the farmed fish and the existing wild fish. Read the article, Click here 16:05

FISH-NL: Labour Board status

FISH-NL received an update Tuesday afternoon from the Labour Relations Board regarding the status of our certification application. On March 10, the Board ordered the Salt-Water Mafia and the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) to release their individual lists of commercial fish harvesters to Board investigator, Jody Saunders.. According to Saunders, the FFAW is expected to delivered its list to the Board by this Friday, March 31st. As for ASP, Saunders reported that Derek Butler, the executive director,  says he has no authority to order member processing companies to provide the list requested. As well, Saunders said Butler indicated that members of ASP wouldn’t have a complete list of commercial harvesters anyway. continue reading the press release here 15:48

SB-884: Florida lawmakers back bill setting big fines for ‘finning’ sharks

A Florida Senate panel approved legislation Wednesday to levy large fines on commercial fishermen caught carrying illegally harvested shark fins. Federal and state rules already ban finning – cutting off sharks’ fins and leaving the mutilated fish dying at sea. But there’s a legal market for fins, and in 2011 there were 96 tons of fins nationally that were shipped somewhere, either as imports or exports, according to a 2015 federal report. The bill, SB-884, approved by the appropriations subcommittee of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee would require an automatic $5,000 administrative fine and a 180-day suspension of saltwater fishing licenses the first time a commercial shark fisherman is found with a severed fin. The fine would become $10,000 for a second offense and on the third time, the fisherman would be fined $10,000 and have his saltwater licenses permanently revoked. Read the story here, 14:42

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: Atkinson & Yates 48′ Gillnetter, 300HP, 6 Cylinder Cummins

Specifications, information and 8 photo’s click here To see all the boats in this series, Click here 12:54

BOEM: Offshore wind farms impact ‘small’ on fishing

The development of offshore wind farms in the US Atlantic will have a minimal impact on commercial fishing, according to a new report from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). The BOEM report – ‘Socio-Economic Impact of Outer Continental Shelf Wind Energy Development on Fisheries in the US Atlantic – has been produced in conjunction with the National Marine Fisheries Service to better understand fishing activity in areas of potential offshore wind development. The only impact will be on permitted vessels using pots and gillnets in Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts, which could result in losses of up to $517,000, it found. However, the impacts are not distributed evenly with 20 permits fishing out of Rhode Island ports of Narragansett and Newport and Massachusetts ports of New Bedford and Fairhaven affected the most. link 11:53

Fish plant fined in court for tampering with weighing scales

A Donegal fish processing plant which was found to be tampering with its weighing scales has been fined a total of €45,000. Killybegs based Norfish Ltd and director Tony Byrne were convicted at Donegal Circuit Court. Byrne of Roshin Road, Killybegs was given a six-month suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay €10,000 to a local hospice and a further €10,000 to the Donegal Branch of the RNLI. Norfish Ltd was given three months to pay a €25,000 fine. This prosecution followed a joint investigation by the NSAI (National Standards Authority of Ireland) and the Sea Fisheries Protection Agency (SFPA). They found an electrical switch fitted to the company’s flow scales used to weigh incoming fish catches. It could be used to turn off the scales, allowing the fish to pass over without being weighed. read the rest click here 11:27

Marine Patrol officers Corrie Roberts, Matt Talbot recognized for heroic acts boarding lobster boat ‘Legacy’

Maine Gov. Paul R. LePage and Rear Adm. Steven D. Poulin, Commander of the First Coast Guard District, presented the Silver Lifesaving Medal and Certificate of Valor to two Maine Marine Patrol Officers at the State House today in Augusta. LePage and Poulin awarded Specialist Corrie Roberts the Silver Lifesaving Medal and Sgt. Matt Talbot the Certificate of Valor for their heroic actions in October 2015, when they received notification that the fishing vessel Legacy, a 40-foot lobster boat, was operating off Rockland in Penobscot Bay in an uncontrolled manner dangerously close to the rocky shore and local maritime traffic. continue reading the story here 11:11

DFO scientist says no ‘strong indications’ seals are gobbling up all the cod

It’s a widespread belief in fishery circles, but one DFO scientist says that for now, you just can’t assume that it’s true. John Brattey says the scientific evidence does not support the notion that seal populations are hindering the rebuilding of cod stocks by gobbling up all the fish. Brattey admits it’s not easy to get good data on the diets of harp seals, but says what studies have been performed do not support the notion. Some evidence can be found just by looking at the recovery rates in the last decade, he said. continue reading the rest, click here 08:43

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NEW JERSEY FILES FORMAL APPEAL OF SUMMER FLOUNDER QUOTA REDUCTIONS

New Jersey representatives to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission have filed an appeal requesting the commission reconsider its vote significantly reducing the state’s recreational-fishing quota for summer flounder this year, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced today (March 28, 2017). “We are appealing the ASFMC decision because of the numerous process, data, policy and regulatory issues that will significantly impact New Jersey’s fishing industry,” Commissioner Martin said. “The ASFMC decision will actually result in anglers in New Jersey having to throw more dead fish back into the water than they can keep to eat, and the fish they can keep overwhelmingly will be reproductive females. This is not sound fishery management.” Read the press release here 08:02

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for March 27, 2017

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates, Click here 07:21

On The Hot Seat! Dare GOP confronts N.C. GOP chair on shrimp vote

In the wake of the N.C. Fisheries Commission’s approval of a petition putting greater limits on shrimp trawling, the Dare County GOP has written a letter requesting that N.C. GOP Chairman Robin Hayes appear before its executive committee and “provide relevant information regarding his personal involvement and influence in the 2016 appointment process of members of the North Carolina Fisheries Commission.” In its letter to Hayes, dated March 16, the Dare GOP said the commission’s approval of the petition represented a decision to “ignore science and destroy our state’s shrimping industry,” and accused Hayes of intervening improperly in the process of selecting commission members. The letter goes on to say that, if Hayes does not comply with that request to appear before the local party, he should resign his post as state party head. The Dare County Board of Commissioners has also expressed anger,,, continue reading the story click here 21:44

Fishermen hope bumper sticker gets Trump’s attention

For struggling Town Dock fishermen, President Trump’s promise to eliminate regulations and spur the economy means they might finally have success in their long fight to rescind the catch restrictions they say are not only unfair and based on bad science but are putting them out of business. So in an effort to attract Trump’s attention and help spread their message in Washington, they have printed up a bumper sticker that will be appearing on vehicles here in coming days. The sticker features a picture of Trump giving a thumbs-up next to a fishing boat with the slogan “Make Commercial Fishing Great Again,” a spin on Trump’s popular campaign slogan “Make America Great Again. (Mike) Gambardella said if fishermen just had the chance to explain the long-standing problem to Trump, “his head would spin.” Read the story here 20:36

3/29/2017 As a point of clarification from the article  that was posted in the newspaper in CT about the bumper stickers being made here, I need to clear something up. There was a reference to the state allocation issues and the disparity between the quota’s allowed southern states VS northern states. I, in no way shape or form am looking for the quota’s to be re distributed from the southern states to the northern states. The idea of this campaign is to shed light on the issues that affect us all. From south to north we are all affected by the unrelenting regulatory policies that have been moved forward by our out of control federal agencies that have miss managed our industry for decades. We are all suffering from the same problems, and now may be our last chance to bring these issues to light. We must ALL work TOGETHER to turn the tide so that ALL fishermen benefit regardless of where we reside, or where we fish. I hope this clears up any confusion about where we stand on this issue. Here’s to a prosperous future! Michael Gambardella 18:20

State to San Diego fishermen: Drop dead

Over 100 people gathered in Pacific Beach on March 20, for the release of data from a five-year, $4 million study of the state’s South Coast Marine Protection Areas. The study began in 2011 and studied 12 areas of our shoreline’s ecosystem. Creation of these areas closed off recreational fishing in much of the oceanfront in the San Diego area. Erin Meyer, senior scientist from the Ocean Science Trust, the nonprofit agency assigned to coordinate the data, advised to group, “The purpose of the meeting was not to defeat the MPAs or debate its merits.” However, several angler groups and charter boat operators had questions. “What exactly are you monitoring?” asked Doug, a crewmember aboard the Black Jack charter boat out of Dana Landing in Mission Bay. The study, from data gathered by Sea Grant California, focused on different phases in 12 areas, including ecosystem, tides, kelp forest, spiny lobster, and sea birds. There was good news. Shad Catarius, a commercial lobster fisherman, was on the study group for the spiny lobster issue. read the story click here 20:08

Lobstermen in winter far from idle

Throughout the summer and fall, your best bet for finding a lobsterman to talk with is to stake out the dock before sunrise. In the winter, you’ll find area lobstermen in their garages or shops where they spend the season tinkering with their boats, repairing lobster traps and assembling new ones. Not only do lobstermen always have to work for their supper, they also have to be accountants, mechanics, electricians and painters when it comes to maintaining their fishing vessels. Lobsterman Jon Carter, who fishes out of Bar Harbor, is spending his off-season repainting the pilothouse roof, redoing the bulkhead and installing a new 400-horsepower John Deere engine into his fishing boat. continue reading the story here 15:31

Lobsters seized from offshore trawler donated to homeless veterans by Massachusetts Environmental Police

Massachusetts Environmental Police donated lobsters seized from an offshore trawler in New Bedford to veterans after officials determined the lobsters could not be returned to the water. Environmental police officers conducted an inspection of an offshore trawler in New Bedford on Sunday and found the vessel caught more than 500 lobsters.  Commercial trawlers are limited to 100 lobsters daily and cannot exceed more than 500 lobsters if caught outside of state waters, authorities said.  “After counting the lobsters being offered for sale, it was determined the vessel was over the 500 count limit,” according to the Environmental Police. “Officers seized the lobsters and cited the vessel for being over the limit.” read the rest here 13:21

How a Floating Bale of Cocaine Led to the Florida Keys’ Worst Murder in Decades

The Florida Keys are many things: a sun-bleached playground for the ultrarich, a blue-collar home to thousands of fishermen and hospitality workers, a rural chain of coral rock emerging just above the rising seas. There are ugly bar fights and plenty of drugs. But there’s hardly any gun violence. A young couple brutally executed a few feet from their young children? Never. Rosado and Ortiz’s mysterious killing on October 15, 2015, sent locals from Key Largo to Islamorada into a panic and left sheriff’s deputies scrambling. Detectives would follow a trail of violence and blackmail for months before divining its source: Jeremy Macauley, a fisherman with a troubled past who’d found a bale of pure cocaine floating in the turquoise sea. Months later, a prosecutor’s suicide and a surprise jailhouse interview would further muddy the tale. continue reading the story here 11:57

Prosecutor reviewing sex-abuse allegations against ‘Deadliest Catch’ star Sig Hansen

Snohomish County prosecutors are re-examining allegations that celebrity crab-boat captain Sig Hansen sexually abused his toddler daughter nearly three decades ago, after the now 28-year-old woman recently went public with the claims against her estranged father. Deputy prosecutor Matthew Baldock last week informed an attorney for Melissa Eckstrom, Hansen’s estranged daughter, that Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe recently asked him to review the 1990 case file “to see if criminal charges are viable.” The prosecutor’s office declined to file charges against Hansen in the early 1990s after at least three reviews of the case. Under Washington law, sex crimes committed against children generally can be prosecuted up to the victim’s 30th birthday. Eckstrom turns 29 next month. continue reading the story here, and review Facts About Sig Hansen website here 10:53

20-year shellfish harvester says he can’t wait long for return of cod

The return of an expanded commercial cod fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador can’t come soon enough for Basil Goodyear, a fisherman in Lumsden who’s been relying on shellfish for about 20 years. Goodyear first started fishing crab and shrimp with three of his brothers in 1997. But as the stocks of shrimp and crab continue to fall, Goodyear is looking for somewhere to turn. He told CBC Radio’s The Broadcast on Monday that he might be able to tough it out if a full commercial cod fishery returns in five years’ time, but he says 10 years is too long to wait. Goodyear predicts there will not be many people left in the fishing industry in a decade unless there are quota increases in some species. He is not sure how much longer his crew can last with crab and shrimp alone.  continue reading the story here 09:02

Yacht Captain in fatal crash is guilty

The New Jersey captain who was operating the 60-foot yacht that collided with a Stonington fisherman’s boat off Watch Hill Reef in September 2015 was found guilty on Monday of three violations of Coast Guard navigation rules. Licensed Captain Cooper Bacon, 76, was piloting the larger vessel between boat shows in Rhode Island and Connecticut when he collided with 81-year-old Walter Krupinski’s 23-foot Steiger center console. The Stonington resident, who was a commercial rod and reel fisherman, was fishing off Watch Hill Reef and had decided to head home for the day when the collision occurred, resulting in Krupinski’s death. continue reading the story here 08:34

Mexican fishermen burn boat, demand environmentalists out

Dozens of fishermen have burned a boat as part of a threat to force out a ship operated by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in Mexico’s Gulf of California. Sea Shepherd has been removing illegal and abandoned nets that endanger the vaquita, the world’s smallest porpoise. Fishermen in the town of San Felipe painted the name of the Sea Shepherd on an empty, open fishing boat they burned Sunday. They threatened to remove the conservationists’ ship themselves if the government doesn’t. “Just as they are judging us fishermen, we will judge all the environmentalists,” said Sunshine Rodriguez, a leader of the local fishing cooperative in San Felipe, Baja California. “We aren’t going to just sit around.” A speaker at Sunday’s protest — which drew hundreds of onlookers and supporters at San Felipe’s main waterfront boulevard— said over a loudspeaker, “I’m giving them (the government) five days to get this boat out of our territorial waters, or we will do it ourselves. Read the story here 17:03

Editorial: Fishermen should look for smart ways to survive

As spring Chinook salmon congregate in the ocean around the mouth of the Columbia River in anticipation of their ancient migration to upriver spawning grounds, this spring also sees a swirling conglomeration of politics in Oregon and Washington state over how to allocate salmon among different interests. In some ways nothing new, in other respects the fight over salmon is rising to a higher pitch. Increasingly involving elected leaders, the outcome is becoming even less predictable. Also unclear is where a majority of Oregon and Washington state voters stand on the issue. The key point of recent news in the matter is the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission’s unanimous vote to curtail gillnet fish harvests, altering an earlier decision that was more favorable to commercial fishermen. Bullied into the decision by Gov. Kate Brown, the commission backed away from its earlier acknowledgment that the states have so far failed to keep a promise made by the Oregon Legislature to ensure the continuing economic viability of the commercial fleet. Alternative fishing methods have proven ineffective, alternative fishing grounds are in short supply, and money has been slow to arrive to aid transition away from the decades long gillnetting tradition. continue reading the op-ed here 16:20

A deadly epidemic: Addiction to opioids has put an entire generation at risk

Dr. Mary Dowd slid into a chair inside the Portland offices of Catholic Charities and surveyed the list of patients, all battling opioid addiction.,, Many people struggling with addiction find treatment and regain their lives. She sees it every day. Those are the lucky ones. But it’s the people she never gets to see who frustrate her. The ones who don’t make it. The ones who are dying in unprecedented numbers. They are dying in the potato fields of Aroostook County and the lobster-fishing harbors Down East. They are dying in the western Maine foothills where paper mill closures have sown economic anxiety. They are dying in cities like Portland and Lewiston and in the suburbs, where opioids are in plentiful supply. They are dying in New Bedford, Portsmouth, Anytown USA. I know this is not a fishing article, but it is a problem within every fishing community, not only ours. It’s a human tragedy. Read this story here 15:03

FISH-NL: Reopening the seal hunt – “If licensed sealers want to hunt seal let them hunt seal.”

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is disappointed with a decision by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans to reopen the seal hunt to a limited harvest between March 28-April 7. Early last week FISH-NL called on DFO to reopen the harp and hood seal hunt to all harvesters and all fleets in Newfoundland and Labrador by March 25th. The federal government closed the hunt on March 15th to allow time for seal whelping and nursing. On Friday, FISH-NL was informed by federal sources that the seal hunt would reopen by March 28th (which it will be — 6 a.m. Tuesday morning), but not for all fleets and harvesters.  Instead, licences will only be issued to a small number of vessels hunting adult seals for Phucolax International, a Fleur de Lys-based sealing operation that’s in the market right  now for up to 4,000 animals. “It’s acknowledged by all quarters that an unchecked seal population is having an impact on delicate stocks such as shrimp, crab and cod, so why is DFO putting any restrictions at all on reopening the hunt?” asks Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “If licensed sealers want to hunt seal let them hunt seal.” Ryan Cleary 14:33

Seal hunt should be encouraged, not shut down

We have an exploding seal population, our crab and shrimp stocks are declining at a fast rate, our caplin are at an all-time low and our cod stocks are not developing as fast as they should. The anti-sealing groups are condemning our seal hunt and one of their reasons is that we are not fully utilizing the animal, but let’s face facts — there is nothing that we can do to satisfy them as long as the bleeding hearts are funding them. There is no difference in killing a seal than in killing a pig, cow, sheep, chicken or any other animal.,, We have upset the balance of nature in the Atlantic Ocean and we have to work together to regain that balance. So far, I have seen the complete opposite. Read Captain Wilfred Bartlett’s letter here 11:15

Report: Newfoundland cod stocks on rebound, but still at critically low levels

A new federal report says northern cod stocks off eastern Newfoundland continue to grow 25 years after a sweeping moratorium, but warns they remain in the “critical zone.” The Fisheries and Oceans Canada update concludes fishing should be kept to the lowest possible levels as a precaution. It finds that while total biomass was up seven per cent from 2015 to 2016, stocks are still at critically low levels. The report says there was a spawning biomass of about 300,000 tonnes in 2015. Fisheries biologist Karen Dwyer says a spawning biomass of about 900,000 tonnes would support a more extensive commercial fishery. Link 10:55

Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council seeks to Reopen Papahanaumokuakea to Fishing

The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council concluded its three-day meeting in Honolulu with a suite of recommendations, many of which are focused on keeping U.S. fishing grounds open to sustainably managed U.S. fisheries. The council includes the local fishery department directors from Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam and the CNMI, fishing experts appointed by the Governors and federal agencies involved in fishing-related activities. Marine national monuments, national marine sanctuaries, other marine protected area designations and Department of Defense training are among the uses that are increasingly closing off fishing grounds in U.S. waters. Council Chair Edwin A. Ebisui Jr. clarified that council communications to the administration about impacts of marine national monuments on fisheries are not lobbying. Some environmental activists recently made misleading statements about this in regards to a letter to President Trump prepared on March 1, 2017, by the Council Coordination Committee or CCC. The CCC includes the chairs of the nation’s eight regional fishery management councils. The letter details the impact of designations of Marine National Monuments under the Antiquities Act in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and was submitted to the president after conferring with the NOAA Office of General Counsel. To address the impacts of ever increasing fishing grounds being closed, the council agreed to the following: continue reading the story here 06:09

660 tons of herring: The Anderson family fishing story, from Summit County to Chignik, Alaska

It was 1988 at the end of spring and dawn of summer in Togiak, Alaska, as fishermen lined the docks, eagerly awaiting the start of herring season. With only a half-hour window to fish that day, the herring season was one of the shortest and most intense fisheries out there — no place for amateurs. Of the 239 seiners (aka boats with fishing nets) present, 30-year-old captain Dean Anderson stood out on his craft: F/V “Susan Gale,” a 49-foot fiberglass beauty named after my mother. In the following 30 minutes, my dad made one of the largest sets in herring history: 660 tons of fish worth roughly $600,000, a job that took two tenders and 48 hours to pump out. There was no Internet that astonishing day — just one camera and a few fishermen to witness the scene. Serene yet powerful, sentimental and nostalgic — those are the words that come to mind when I gaze at the snapshot of one of the largest herring sets ever made. It’s taken 27 years for me to highlight this family gem, to immortalize commercial fishing at its prime and paint a portrait representing more than just a boat, but of a legacy shaped by the captain himself — my dad. Author Whitney Anderson  continue reading the story, and view 9 images here 22:02

River of needles: Group seeks support as number of syringes in the Merrimack River soars

Just a few years ago the junk that Clean River Project volunteers pulled out of the Merrimack River between Lowell and Haverhill consisted mostly of tires, shopping carts, toys, appliances, furniture and even entire vehicles. Every so often, they would come upon a syringe or two, which they would place into sharps containers for proper disposal. Rocky Morrison, president of the nonprofit Clean River Project, said he didn’t give it much thought until last year, when his volunteers saw a huge increase in the number of syringes they were finding. They collected more than 1,000 last year, and he said there are more out there. According to American Rivers, the Merrimack River is one of the three most important large rivers on the East Coast in its conservation value to migratory river herring and one of the six most important for 12 migratory fish species. Read the story here 19:25 (it’s disgusting.) Meanwhile  A federal judge has ordered the National Marine Fisheries Service to revisit a decision not to list the blueback herring as a threatened species. Read the story here 19:42

Coast Guard medevacs fisherman 50 miles E of Chincoteague, VA

The Coast Guard medevaced an injured man 50 miles east of Chincoteague, Virginia, Sunday. Watchstanders at 5th District command center in Portsmouth received an Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacon, (EPIRB) alert from the 75-foot trawler Capt Nathan with three people aboard. Watchstanders diverted the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba and an MH-65D Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City to the scene. The crew of the Escanaba established communications with the crew and discovered the captain was suffering symptoms of a stroke. The helicopter crew arrived on scene and hoisted the man and transferred him to Cape May Airport, Cape May, New Jersey, where another helicopter crew from Air Station Atlantic City transferred the patient to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. more images here 15:57

Processor Fined for dumping oily bilge water and raw sewage in Kodiak Waters

A Washington processing company that owns a Kodiak-based vessel was sentenced in federal court to pay $50,000 in fines after the vessel illegally discharged raw sewage into Chiniak Bay and St. Paul Harbor in Kodiak. In addition, the primary operator of the F/V Pacific Producer was sentenced to a $10,000 fine. Both the operator and the company will serve five years probation. According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Anchorage, East West Seafoods LLC was sentenced for violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, the Clean Water Act, and the Refuse Act, by intentionally discharging oily bilge water and raw sewage. East West owns the F/V Pacific Producer. The primary owner of the processing company and operator of the vessel is 78-year-old Christos Tsabouris of Kodiak. Read the story here 14:40

In ‘Crisis,’ Yuroks Suspend Commercial Salmon Season

For the second year in a row, the Yurok Tribe will not have a commercial fishery — a devastating blow to the tribe’s culture and economy. “We are in crisis mode,” said Yurok Tribal Chair Thomas O’Rourke in a press release that lamented poor conditions on the Klamath River that have led to historically low salmon returns. “The Klamath is our grocery store, our church and our main highway. It’s our lifeline. We will leave no stone unturned in search of additional short-term and long-term solutions to address the most terrible fisheries disaster in the Tribe’s history.” The release comes after the Pacific Fisheries Management Council released its predicted Chinook salmon returns for 2017 at 11,000 fish — the lowest on record — and the tribe’s fish harvest allocation at 650 fish, or one for every 10 tribal members. The predicted return comes after two years of disease outbreaks in juvenile fish due to low flows and elevated water temperatures in the Klamath River. continue reading the story here 13:44

Small – but packs a punch!

It isn’t often that a 15 metre fishing boat hits the industry headlines but the launching in Norway last month of the TA Senior has certainly grabbed everyone’s attention. While dimensions of 15m in length with an 8m beam may not be every fisherman’s preference, in this particular case it works and combines to produce an extremely versatile and hardy vessel fit for operating in a diverse range of fisheries. While the biggest claim to fame in recent times from the Stadyard shipyard, located at Raudeberg near Måløy on Norway’s west coast, may be the production of the eye-catching 70m purse seiner/pelagic vessel Torbas two years ago (now the Faroese Høgaberg), it is the latest building of TA Senior for Akkarfjord fisherman Morten Ingebrigtsen in Finnmark that has again brought this yard into the limelight. continue reading the article here 11:43

Alaska fishermen lobby Navy to delay training exercises scheduled for May

The required permits are not yet in hand but the U.S. Navy is moving ahead on plans to conduct war training exercises in the Gulf of Alaska for two weeks in early May. Meanwhile, nine coastal communities have signed resolutions asking the Navy to instead conduct its training between September and mid-March, less-sensitive times for migrating salmon, birds and marine mammals. “It’s not that we don’t want the Navy to do their training — it’s the time and locations,” said Emily Stolarcyk, program director for the Eyak Preservation Council of Cordova. “The community resolutions say that we are the people who depend on commercial, subsistence and recreational fishing,” she added. “The Navy exercises are planned during the most important breeding and migratory periods for salmon, birds, whales and marine mammals. About 90 percent of the training area is designated as essential fish habitat for all five species of Pacific salmon. May is the worst time to be doing this.” continue reading the article here 11:07

CETA: Liberals’ passivity a detriment to our fishery

The Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) was approved with Premier Dwight Ball and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in office. So, what was negotiated to transition our fishing industry to a more competitive, technologically advanced, scientific and market-driven industry? Apparently, according to Premier Ball, nothing! An area of provincial jurisdiction was relinquished to Ottawa to use in their negotiations with the EU, with only silence from the Ball Liberals for the past 15 months, despite a signed letter from Trudeau promising that this province would be given a $400-million fisheries investment fund as a condition of giving up minimum processing requirements (MPRs). There was no mention of an “Atlantic” fisheries fund in his letter.In 2014, Trudeau wrote: “your government’s support of the CETA was earned, in part, by a promise from the Government of Canada to help the industry adjust to the new reality. That promise should be honoured.” He referred specifically to the $400-million fund for Newfoundland and Labrador. Premier Ball was not able to deliver on that written commitment. continue reading the op-ed here 10:18

Measuring flounder a complex undertaking with a big impact

It’s likely few people have written more about summer flounder than Mark Terceiro. Terceiro has published a 44-page journal article about the science, politics and litigation surrounding the species from 1975 to 2000. A 32-page follow-up covered the period from 2001 to 2010, and another article regarding developments in recent years is in the works. But it’s Terceiro’s summer flounder stock assessment update, released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in December, that has him in the crosshairs of New Jersey politicians and recreational fishing leaders. Terceiro, a research fishery biologist at NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, said a lot of information goes into a stock assessment. “The catch is, from both commercial and recreational, very important — that it be accurate,” Terceiro added. “We try — the government, the states — (to) go to great lengths to make sure the catch reports are as accurate as they can get.” continue reading the article here 09:20

Trump supporters, protesters face off in noisy rival rallies at R.I. State House

Dueling rallies brought at least a thousand people to the Rhode Island State House grounds on Saturday to hail — or denounce — the presidency of Donald Trump, with Trump supporters chanting, “Build the wall, build the wall,” ,,,The pro-Trump rally in Providence was timed to coincide with similar rallies across the country led by Trump backers who felt compelled to publicly show that “real Americans” support the new president, despite the many controversies swirling around him. The Rhode Island event drew commercial fishermen from surrounding states — such as Gary Yearman of New London, Connecticut, and Dan Malone, of Stonington, Connecticut — who are pinning their hopes on Trump to ease regulations in their industry. “We’re here to try to gain some momentum, to possibility get a meeting with Mr. Trump or somebody that can take notice of the commercial fishing industry before they go out of business,” said Yearman, who estimated that 30 or 40 people, in his industry, from outside Rhode Island came to the rally. Read the story here 23:34

Where Boats Go To Die

He wakes in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, his mind going back to the day he lost everything. He grabs his daughter’s tablet and watches the video for the hundredth time. Shot from the deck of the German cruise liner Albatros, it shows his stricken trawler, the Losemani Fo’ou, being rescued by one of the ship’s life boats.A Tongan crewman ends up in the sea; another’s head is split open. Vailele Taukitoku had bought the trawler for $83,000 from New Zealand four months earlier – he never saw it again. He and five crew had been fishing for snapper several hundred kilometres south of Tonga when they discovered the alternator belt was loose and both banks of batteries were dead. continue reading the story here. Big Read! 21:42