Monthly Archives: March 2017

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

Norwegian Rat Saloon Fundraiser in Unalaska brings in $37,000 for F/V Destination families

A benefit event last Friday at the Norwegian Rat Saloon in Unalaska brought in over $37,000 for the families of the crew of the crab boat Destination which disappeared in the Bering Sea on Feb. 11 along with six fishermen. The biggest item auctioned, in terms of both size and money, was a whale skull. The winning bid was $6,500 submitted by a group of people. The skull was promptly donated to the saloon, and will remain in the bar’s back yard as a memorial to the missing men, Capt. Jeff Hathaway, Larry O’Grady, Darrick Seibold, Kai Hamik, Raymond Vincler, and Charles Glen Jones. Norwegian Rat manager Teressa Henning credited bartender Rachel Reed with the idea for the event and doing all the work to make it happen. continue reading the story here 13:14

From maple syrup fraudsters to The Codfather – 5 of the Worst Criminals in Food History!

Like precious gem heists and exotic animal snatching, food crimes come with their fair share of high drama. The details of one seafood kingpin’s story are enough for an episode of The Sopranos: Federal agents disguised themselves as Russians and busted fisherman Carlos Rafael for a laundry list of crimes, including mislabeling his catch and selling thousands of pounds of fish under-the-table to a dealer in New York City. For our latest episode of Bite, our food politics podcast, we talked to journalist Ben Goldfarb about his recent Mother Jones feature about this fish tycoon, known as “The Codfather.” The interview with Goldfarb begins at 1:24. Listen to the audio, and read the story here 12:30

TSB Canada reiterates recommendation to require all fishing vessels have anti-exposure worksuits or survival suits

The federal agency responsible for investigating boating accidents reiterated this week a warning that many small fishing vessels are permitted to operate in cold waters without anti-exposure worksuits or survival suits. In March, 2016, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada noted that the federal government was proposing to change the Small Fishing Vessels Inspection Regulations to require immersion suits for fishing vessels on unlimited voyages. TSB suggested at the time that proposed changes would also mandate immersion suits for vessels more than 12 metres of length operating within 25 nautical miles from shore, if the water temperature is less than 15 degrees Celsius. continue reading the article here 11:41

Washington to negotiate on Columbia River salmon reforms

With time running short to adopt 2017 fishing seasons, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission on Friday delegated authority to director Jim Unsworth to negotiate the differences with Oregon regarding the controversial Columbia River salmon reforms. The Washington commission also intends to write a letter to its Oregon counterparts proposing a face-to-face meeting and to ask about Oregon’s commitment to shifting commercial fishing in the fall in the lower Columbia away from gillnets to gear allowing release of wild fish.,, In January, Washington modified its policy to allow for two more years of gillnetting between Woodland and Beacon Rock. Also in January, Oregon’s commission adopted rules much more friendly to commercial fishing. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown then scolded her commission and told it to adopt rules closer to those adopted by Washington. Read the article here 11:20

New England’s cod catch in nosedive

The decline of the fishery has made the U.S. reliant on foreign cod, and cod fish fillets and steaks purchased in American supermarkets and restaurants are now typically caught by Norway, Russia or Iceland in the north Atlantic. In Maine, which is home to the country’s second-largest Atlantic cod fishery, the dwindling catch has many wondering if cod fishing is a thing of the past. “It’s going to be more and more difficult for people to make this work,” said Maggie Raymond, executive director of the Associated Fisheries of Maine. State records say 2016 was historically bad for cod fishing in Maine. Fishermen brought less than 170,000 pounds of the fish to land in the state last year.,,, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released an assessment of the Gulf of Maine cod stock in 2014 that said the spawning population was at its lowest point in the history of the study of the fish. Scientists have cited years of overfishing and inhospitable environmental conditions as possible reasons for the decline. continue reading the story here 09:50

Pacific sardine population remains low, says National Marine Fisheries Service

A study released Friday by the National Marine Fisheries Service puts the northern Pacific sardine population off the West Coast at perilously low levels for the third straight year. The findings, which will be reviewed next month by The Pacific Fishery Management Council, while disheartening for both environmentalists and fishermen, are also disputed by some in the fishing industry who question the method by which these forage fish are counted.,, But Diane Pleschner-Steele, who is the executive director of the California Wetfish Producers Association and represents the majority of boat fishermen and processors who harvest wetfish, said that there’s significant error in the way the sardines are counted and that current government surveys are not surveying adequately the fish that are in the near shore ocean. “Closing the sardine fishery basically closes everything for us, except for squid,” said Pleschner-Steele. “We are seriously considering applying for disaster relief.” read the article here 09:26:19

Maine lobstermen figured out how to make more money off their catches

A lobstermen-only fishing organization has purchased a local lobster wholesale business, extending the reach of its members further down the distribution chain and giving them a greater share of the profit off their catch. The Maine Lobstering Union, formed in 2013 in the wake of a sharp drop in prices paid to lobstermen by dealers, is buying Seal Point Lobster Co., a wholesale lobster distribution firm owned by the Pettegrow family. The Pettegrows also own the Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound restaurant, which is not part of the sale.,, “It’s about putting lobstermen in a better position in the value stream on the shore side of the industry that they’ve never had access to,” Pitcher said recently. Read the story here 08:35

Congress to consider relief funds for California crab fleet as Brown proposes landing fee hike

Long-awaited federal funds to alleviate California’s crabbing fleet after last year’s dismal season could be approved by Congress as early as the next few weeks, according to California 2nd District Rep. Jared Huffman. Huffman (D-San Rafael) said Congress is set to vote on a supplemental budget appropriation to prevent a government shutdown in the coming weeks. He said he and a bipartisan group of legislators have signed on to a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urging them to include fishery disaster funds in this budget bill.,, Meanwhile at the state level, local legislators and fishing organizations are protesting Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to increase commercial fishing landing fees by as much as 1,300 percent in order to help close a $20 million shortfall in the California Department of Fish and Wildlife budget. continue reading the story here 16:09

Boat captain charged in crewmen’s deaths arrested after overdosing on heroin

A Cushing captain accused of causing the deaths of two crew members when his lobster boat sank in a storm is behind bars again after he reportedly overdosed on heroin. Christopher A. Hutchinson, 28, was arrested Thursday by the Maine Marine Patrol after U.S. District Court Judge Brock Hornby issued an arrest warrant for him on Wednesday.,,Hutchinson was arrested Dec. 19 on two counts of seaman’s manslaughter and released three days later on $10,000 unsecured bail. The court imposed conditions that Hutchinson not use or possess illegal narcotics. But on March 13, Waldoboro emergency medical services and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of an unresponsive man at a residence in Friendship, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in U.S. District Court in Portland. Read the story here 14:13

Lost Seattle-based crab-boat crew memorialized

The owner of the Destination, the crab boat that went missing Feb. 11, said he had full confidence in the skills of the six lost crew, and that his own son was initially supposed to be part of that Bering Sea harvest. “I have had a lot of sorrow in life but nothing like this,” wrote David Wilson, of Edmonds, in remarks read at a Thursday afternoon memorial service for the six lost crew. “God only knows why something like this happens because I don’t know why these good men went down at sea. … The pain will never go away. Even though these men are gone, their memory will live on forever.” Several hundred people attended the service for the six crew members: Capt. Jeff Hathaway, Larry O’Grady, Raymond Vincler, Darrik Seibold, Charles G. Jones and Kai Hamik. It was held at the Aurora Community Church of the Nazarene in Shoreline and was a celebration of their lives that included poetry and musical performances. continue reading the story here 13:03

Will Brexit bring boost to King’s Lynn, Yarmouth and Lowestoft – or will fishing industry be sold down the river?

While the sun shone down on the shrimp boats, there were big clouds on the horizon for King’s Lynn’s fishing fleet and what few vessels still manage to steer their way through the murky waters of EU fisheries policy. As fishermen met politicians to discuss lobbying for a better deal post Brexit, some Lynn boats were fuelling up to sail down to the English Channel to fish, because they have no quota to catch from their home port. Others have already steamed through an estuary full of shellfish on their way to fish for scallops off Yorkshire, because they have no quota in The Wash. The same issues affect every fishing port around our coast, from Wells Quay and Sheringham, to Yarmouth and Lowestoft. continue reading the story here 10:31

Is the ocean ‘land owned or controlled’ by feds? Antiquities Act lawsuit aims to find out

Despite a lifetime of fishing off the New England coast, Eric Reid was like a fish out of water when President Barack Obama grabbed a piece of his livelihood. “I’m just a fish guy but I learned a lot about politics in a big hurry,” said Reid, general manager of Seafreeze Shoreside Inc., a seafood processing facility in Rhode Island. He is referring to Obama’s September 2016 designation of nearly 5,000 square miles of ocean as the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument, using his unilateral authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906.,,, We’re losing opportunity as we speak,” Reid told Watchdog.org. “It could easily be millions of dollars just this winter.” Reid is part of a coalition of New England fishing organizations suing the federal government over the designation. The Pacific Legal Foundation is representing the coalition in Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association v. Ross. PLF attorney Jonathan Wood says the economic impact is magnified when considering the shoreside businesses that have grown up around the commercial fishing industry. “It’s not just the fishermen. It’s all the bait dealers, the mechanics and the marinas and all the businesses that only exist because there’s a commercial fishing industry,” he told Watchdog.org. read the article here 09:37

Federal government protects overabundant grey seal population over fish stocks

MONCTON, NB – Fish harvesters attending the Gulf Groundfish Advisory Committee this week in Moncton are expressing their frustrations and disbelief over the federal government’s refusal to protect groundfish stocks by controlling the grey seal population. Many species of groundfish will be unable to adequately recover without proper management of the grey seal population. The effect of grey seals on fish populations has been confirmed by scientists, yet the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has not taken adequate action to address this problem. An increased harvest of grey seals would aid in allowing groundfish species to rebound, thereby creating new economic opportunities for thousands of families in Eastern Canada. continue reading the press release here 09:08

FISH-NL calls on Ottawa to reserve northern shrimp quota for inshore fleet in light of expected dramatic cuts

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling for an immediate halt to the fishing of northern shrimp by factory-freezer offshore trawlers in waters off Newfoundland’s northeast coast and southern Labrador until stocks rebound. “Priority must be given to the inshore harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador — the economic pillars of our rural communities adjacent to the northern shrimp resource,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “The inshore fleet is totally reliant on SFA 6.” continue reading the press release here 08:46

After a record run of squid, local fishermen warily eye competition, regulatory challenges

It was the best single run of longfin squid anyone on the East Coast had ever seen – and it happened fast and was over fast. In two months last summer, June and July, the East Coast-based squid fleet landed approximately 14 million pounds, with Rhode Island landing more than 50 percent of that quota, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration landing reports. “I’ve never seen anything like it. The squid just kept coming,” said Point Judith fisherman Jeff Wise of Narragansett. “I’ve never seen volume and catch rates that high before.”,,,Three policy issues surfaced in recent months that could affect Rhode Island squid vessels and processors. One concerns managing the number of squid permits allowed, an issue perennially raised by the commercial fishing industry. The other two concern the possible loss of fishing ground – one by proposed wind farms off Long Island, and the other from lobbying pressure for a buffer zone in a key squid area south of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Big read! Read the article here 07:47

The cod are coming back to Newfoundland — and they’re eating the shrimp that had taken over

Theodore Genge has a big beautiful new dragger that’ll be ready to head for “the Labrador” as soon as the sea ice loosens its grip on Anchor Point. When the 63-year-old Newfoundland fisherman began building the $2.2 million trawler two years ago he had 750,000 pounds worth of shrimp quota to catch. But plummeting shrimp numbers in the cold water off Labrador have led Fisheries and Oceans Canada to drastically carve into quotas for that coast. Genge expects that by April he’ll be left with a total of 300,000 lbs of quotas — 220,000 lbs in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where there is still plenty of shrimp, and 80,000 lbs on the Labrador coast. “Right now, yes, it’s pretty stressful – I don’t know whether there’s any hope or no,” said Genge. (Big read!) continue reading the article here 16:25

Proposed regulations irk lobstermen

Bay State lobstermen fear that a new proposal — meant to save lobsters in warming southern New England waters — could hurt business by barring them from harvesting in prime summer months and putting tighter restrictions on the size of their catch. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will present a plan in New Bedford tonight on ways to maintain or increase the number of lobsters in waters from southern Massachusetts to Delaware. “Over the last 15 years we’ve seen a decline in lobster abundance, and we think that’s by and large a response to warming ocean temperatures,” said Dan McKiernan, deputy director of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. “That’s the challenge that we have — it’s trying to preserve lobster but doing it in a way that the industry can survive,” he added. Yet Massachusetts lobstermen argue that their pots are full and don’t see what the fuss is all about. video, read the story here 15:58

Commercial fishermen undergo safety training in Charleston

The water was somewhere between 45 and 50 degrees and here I was about to jump in. Though I had donned the bulky orange survival suit, which would protect me from the quick onset of hypothermia, I had been told that hypothermia could still set in after days spent in the water. Of course, I would only be bobbing like a cork in the Charleston harbor for maybe 15 minutes, but the idea was still daunting. This was the end of a two-day safety training for commercial fishermen. It was to teach us what to do when a boat starts to sink. Though I was only tagging along for the end, it is a requirement for commercial fishermen to earn the certification. Every vessel must have at least one certified safety instructor, and to get certified these fishermen undergo two days of training from the U.S. Coast Guard. A group of 10 men joined in on that training this week under the direction of Commercial Fishing Safety Examiner and Coast Guard civilian Steve Kee, who also threw me in the water to understand a small piece of what it would be like in a fast-moving crisis. continue reading the story here 14:58

Shark Fins: Waste or Resource?

An article in the St. Augustine Record caught my eye on social media this week. Viewed as a winter resident of Florida the headline was quite shocking, especially since I have many times seen sharks hauled ashore by surf-fishing tourists and subsequently abused. By abuse I mean leaving the animal in the sand while relatives run to find cameras to record the grisly images for bragging rights, not at all concerned about the suffering of the shark and/or the fact that it needs water to be able to “breathe.” The header in the Record was even more worrisome: “Sale and trade of shark fins to continue in Florida, despite threat to ecosystem, tourism.” The Boston Globe-credited-photo leading the post was worse. continue reading the story here 14:17

T-shirts designed to help protect an endangered species: the fisherman.

Jason Davis, founder of Loggerhead Printing located in Sneads Ferry, is making waves with his new T-shirt that reads, Protect The Fisherman. Protect An Endangered Species. It’s his creative response to the new proposed regulations passed down by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission, which has the potential to limit when and where fisherman can collect their daily bread. Though these regulations are not formally enforced yet, their potential impact has many commercial fishermen and the fish markets that rely on them fearful. Across the board, popular fish markets from Sneads Ferry to Jacksonville and even Emerald Isle refuse to comment on this touchy subject. It’s an issue that could impact the way they and their families in our coastal community live their life. A portion of the sale proceeds will go toward the North Carolina Fisheries Association. read the story here 11:53

Maine fishermen see warning signs in lobster surge

After Maine’s lobster industry set sales records for a second straight year, area fishermen are enjoying the boom while the water is warm. Literally. Rising sea temperatures are benefiting Maine’s iconic crustacean, leading to an increase in population while other marine species, such as soft-shell crabs, have suffered a decline, according to fishermen who spoke at a March 16 Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association panel. But the factors for today’s success may portend tomorrow’s economic and cultural disaster, according to some area fishermen. “We’re going to start going down when it gets warmer,” Maine Lobstermen’s Association President Dave Cousens told the audience at the Frontier Cafe. Cousens was joined by MCFA President Gerry Cushing, of Port Clyde; Chebeague Island fisherman Alex Todd, and lobsterman Steve Train of Long Island. continue reading the story here 11:07

Tag from famous fishing boat washes up in Fanore

A tag, believed to be from one of the Hannah Boden’s lobster pots, has travelled up to 5,000 kilometres across the North Atlantic to where it washed up on Fanore Beach on March 14th. The discovery was made by avid beach comber Liam McNamara who also made contact with the crew of the Hannah Boden to check its authenticity. Liam said: “The is a great beachcombers find and a very cool story indeed. I was walking on Fanore beach last Tuesday and saw it wrapped in seaweed. I know what it was straight away has I had seen the film. It is in fact a tag from the now very famous New England boat, the Hannah Boden, which survived “The Perfect Storm” of 1991 while her sister boat the Andrea Gail which was lost at sea with all hands during the same storm,” he said. read the story here 10:28

Researchers: Columbia spring chinook forecast might be too high

Fisheries managers have been predicting a slightly below-average run of spring chinook salmon on the Columbia River this year, but a newly published suggests that it may be worse. According to researchers from Oregon State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, ocean conditions were historically bad in the spring of 2015, when migrating yearling fish that will comprise the bulk of this spring’s adult chinook salmon run first went out to sea. In fact, Pacific Decadal Oscillation values — which reflect warm and cold sea surface temperatures — suggest it was one of the warmest nearshore oceans encountered by migrating chinook salmon dating back to at least 1900. The lack of food for the salmon in 2015 may have resulted in significant mortality that will show in this year’s run of Columbia River springers. One way or another, it will provide new information on fish survival and whether juvenile salmon prey data can help resource managers predict future returns. continue reading the story here 10:11

State unreceptive to squid-fishing petition

David Pierce, director of the state’s Division of Marine Fisheries, started yesterday’s public hearing on whether to bar trawlers from fishing for squid within three miles of Nantucket by listing the reasons he does not support a local petition to keep them away from the island from May 1 to Oct. 31. By the end of the four-hour meeting, attended by an overflow crowd at the Public Safety Facility, Nantucket charter captain and former commercial fisherman Pete Kaizer hoped Pierce had changed his mind on at least one thing: that trawlers disrupt what are called squid mops in a way that kills squid eggs and affects spawning. subscription site, more info to follow as it becomes available. 09:46

Federal regulators put an end to turbulent season in northern Gulf of Maine scallop fishery

Federal authorities are closing the scallop fishery in the northern Gulf of Maine at 12:01 a.m. Thursday after a contentious three-week season that pitted the interests of part-time, small-boat fishermen from Maine against large, full-time scallop operators. Fisheries regulators announced the closure Wednesday after small-boat fishermen – many of them Maine lobstermen operating 40- to 45-foot boats – met their annual quota of 70,000 pounds. The developments do not apply to the scallop fishery in state waters, which extend to 3 miles from shore. This year’s federal harvest has been contentious because the large, full-time boats are believed to have caught more than 1 million pounds of scallops in the northern Gulf of Maine scallop fishing area, but owing to a quirk in federal rules the fishery could not be closed until the small vessels caught 70,000 pounds. This month’s storms and unseasonable weather had kept the small boats in port, delaying their ability to meet their annual quota and close the area to the larger vessels, who were permitted to continue harvesting large quantities of scallops under federal rules. continue reading the story here 07:57

More than 8,000 pounds of stolen scallops circulated through New Bedford port

More than 8,000 pounds of stolen scallops valued at the time at $192,050 circulated through multiple seafood houses last December, according to court documents obtained by The Standard-Times. New Bedford police began investigating the disappearance of the scallops from Continental Cold Storage in February. A warrant was issued for the arrest of Antonio Vieira and Michael Caton, claiming 8,350 pounds of scallops were stolen from Seatrade International and that Viera attempted to sell them to a number of seafood houses in New Bedford. Vieira is a resident of Tiverton, Rhode Island, and Caton, formerly a resident of Riverside, Rhode Island, now resides in California. An employee of Continental Cold Storage at the time of the incident, Vieira was charged in March for larceny from a building, uttering false pretenses, forging a document and conspiracy. In a 24-page narrative, New Bedford Police Detective Barry J. Pacheco detailed his investigation,, continue reading the story here 19:06

Comment on Amendment 23 re: Slighted Ports – Jim Kendall

I wasn’t going to offer a comment on this Amendment simply because GARFO & company has once again chosen to ignore the value & the importance of holding a public hearing with the New Bedford/Fairhaven, & Rhode Island groundfish fishermen! My comment with regard to Amendment 23 to the NE GroundFish Multispecies’ FMP remains the same as I last tried to convey to the NEFMC & RA John Bullard! When the hell does New Bedford/Fairhaven, the largest groundfish port on the East Coast, rate a Scoping Hearing? This same question is being raised in Rhode Island as it pertains to them as well. continue reading the rest here 16:34

Steveston Harbour Authority floats its mojo with new fish sales dock

A new, expanded public fish sales dock in Steveston is set to open within the next month, restoring a balance between the village’s historic, industrial roots and present-day forces of gentrification.  “Steveston was built on fishing and it’s been a fishing town for so many years; the (dock) is quite a focal point for the harbour; it’s industry interacting with the public; it’s an experience for locals and people from all over the Lower Mainland ­— all over the world actually. So, it’s a unique showpiece,” said Bob Baziuk, general manager of Steveston Harbour Authority (SHA). The new concrete dock is a 25 per cent expansion of the old wooden one, which fell into disrepair since its 1989 opening. In May 2015, the federal government provided $14 million for harbour upgrades. Along with the new public fish sales dock, the harbour also replaced two other nearby docks, built a new fish auction wharf and dredged Steveston Channel. continue reading the story here 16:08

Senator Cantwell casts a net for fishing advice

This is the culture of our state, this is about a way of life,” U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell told a packed house of about 30 Pacific County fishing/shellfish industry representatives Saturday in the Port of Ilwaco’s tiny boardroom. Noting that fishing in all its various forms is a pillar of the county’s economy, Washington’s third-term junior senator, a Democrat, said “we want to keep it that way.” She expects to win passage this spring of the “crab bill.” This will ensure Washington’s most lucrative fishery continues operating under the generally popular tri-state process, in which the three mainland West Coast states negotiate season details among themselves. Cantwell also noted that reauthorization of the far-reaching Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act is coming up soon, something that will benefit from local input. Meeting attendees peppered her with numerous suggestions and concerns, several of which go to the heart of industry survival. continue reading the story here 15:22

Proud Nova Scotian fishing trawler abandoned amid mysterious claims

It’s embarrassing for an old Nova Scotian fishing ship: tied up, gutted, disappeared in the night, denied port and now anchorless, run aground and abandoned in full view of vacationers at a white-sand Caribbean resort. The ship — once called the Esther Boyd and later the Cape Chidley during her proud days as a trawler — went out of service about 15 years ago. Now labelled the Yacht Hop, the ship spent a decade tied to the wharf in Lunenburg, until, in 2014, captain Joe Outred came to town, promising big things for her. “Everybody in town helped Joe, because he was going to do these mega-projects and give the boat a new life,” said Peter Richardson, who lived in Lunenburg for 15 years and now runs Peggy’s Cove Boat Tours. “Alan Altass, he’s a marine consultant, he appraises vessels. These old vessels down in Lunenburg — whenever one comes up for sale, they hire Alan as the go-to guy. Alan was running around, helping this guy, lending him his car, running here, running there for him. “And then the guy skipped out of town,” he said. continue reading the story here 12:39

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 42′ Sampson Lobster boat, 300HP, 6 Cylinder Cummins – Price Reduced!

Specifications, information and 35 photo’s click here To see all the boats in this series, Click here 11:59

American Samoa wins suit against NMFS over Large Vessel Prohibited Area rule change

American Samoa has won its lawsuit against the National Marine Fisheries Service over the Large Vessel Prohibited Area  rule change. Hawaii Federal District Court Judge, Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi issued her ruling in the Territory of American Samoa’s case against NOAA ruling in favor of the Territory and vacating and setting aside NOAA rule 81 Fed. Reg.  5619 (Feb. 3, 2016) which shrunk the Large Vessel Prohibited Area (LVPA) from 50 to 12 miles. This  allowed long-line vessels larger than 50 feet in length to fish closer to the islands. The Court reached this decision after concluding that NOAA failed to consider the Deeds of Cession. Specifically the Court ruled that, “the Deeds of Cession require the United States to preserve American Samoan cultural fishing practices and that the deeds constitute “any other applicable law” for purposes of the [Magnusson Stevens Act].” continue reading the story here 11:10

Forearm-sized prawn caught in Gulf of Carpentaria

A photo of the prawn sent to the ABC by Kai Thomas has generated plenty of interest on social media this week, with fishermen comparing their biggest catches. Austral Fisheries northern division manager Andrew Prendergast said it was rare to catch a prawn weighing 300g. “That’s a pretty significant prawn,” Mr Prendergast said “They’re not a target species of ours. We catch them incidentally and they’re generally always bigger than the grooved or brown tigers.” Mr Prendergast said he had never caught a prawn bigger than 300g, but he had seen one. “I do remember seeing something in the Australian fish management fishing magazine about one that was caught in the gulf, just under 400g,” he said. continue reading the article here 10:10

Gov. Paul LePage: US should take on EU-Canada lobster tariff plan

Maine’s governor says the U.S. should challenge a European Union plan to lift tariffs on Canadian lobster. Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, says the tariff deal would put Maine lobsters at a “significant disadvantage” to Canada. He made the comments during an appearance on WVOM-FM on Tuesday. American lobster wholesalers and retailers are concerned about the possibility of a tariff change, in part because the exchange rate already favors Canada. The EU imported more than $150 million in lobster from the U.S. last year. LePage says it’s time to go to Washington and “instill in them how serious this is.” He says he intends to use his connections with the Trump administration to push the issue. Link 09:17

Trump policies could mean big boon for Hawaii’s commercial fishermen and the enviro’s are upset!

The debate over fishing regulations at the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument is heating up again. The council that helps outline rules for fishing in the federally protected area says it wants to work with the Trump Administration to ease restrictions there, making it easy for Hawaii’s commercial fishermen to work in waters around the monument. Environmental groups are demanding protections remain in place. Some are even calling for an investigation.  The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council – known as Wespac – is meeting at the Ala Moana Hotel through Thursday. At the same venue as the Wespac meeting, a coalition of environmentalists and conservationist came together on Tuesday to challenge the council’s position. Watch the video, read the story here 08:46

York wavers on lobster co.’s big plans after owner’s arrest

The town could reconsider its involvement in securing a federal grant for lobster wholesaler Maine Coast, following the arrest over the weekend of Tom Adams, the company’s owner. The grant is a crucial part of a planned $1.2 million expansion of Maine Coast that would create jobs for local residents. Town Manager Steve Burns recently filed a letter of intent on behalf of the town, seeking a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant, which would be matched by Maine Coast. He said Tuesday, though, that Adams’ arrest could change things. Adams was arrested on a charge alleging drunken driving following an accident that sent local electrician Chris Welch to the hospital. “The question is, does it change the risk of the town?” said Burns. “The business is obligated to create 10 jobs. If all of a sudden it’s impacted because of legal action, does that expose the town?” continue reading the story here 08:11

Stakeholders hope for more input, more preparedness for potential cod fishery

When it comes to a rebuilding plan for the northern cod stocks, the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) union wants the government to remember why it’s important to plan for the longevity for the groundfish off the province’s northeast coasts. “That fishery and the way it was, was the lifeblood of many, many communities around rural Newfoundland and Labrador,” FFAW secretary treasurer Dave Decker says. “It’s important that as we are rebuilding that stock … we keep focus on why we’re rebuilding fisheries and it’s to rejuvenate the same communities. Decker took comfort that towns and harvesters affected by a cod moratorium that will celebrate a 25-year anniversary this year weren’t forgotten in a standing committee on fisheries and oceans report tabled in the House of Commons Monday. Ken McDonald, Member of Parliament for Avalon, who initially motioned for the study last February, is hopeful that investments into DFO last year to create 135 new jobs for research scientists following years of cutbacks will help facilitate those assessments.  continue reading the article here 22:15

Small-boat scallop fishermen worry about being overwhelmed by larger boats in the Gulf of Maine

Since the start of the scallop season this month, Jim Wotton has dragged heavy dredges along the seabed off Gloucester, hauling in as much as 200 pounds a day of the valuable clams, the area’s federal limit for small-boat fishermen. Now, to his dismay, dozens of larger, industrial-sized boats have been steaming into the same gray waters, scooping up as many scallops as they can. Unlike their smaller counterparts, the large vessels have no quota on the amount they can catch; they’re only limited by the number of days they can fish.,, NOAA officials acknowledge the fishermen’s concerns, but have declined to take emergency action to close the fishery.,, Representatives of the larger boats say they have every right to fish in the area, and insist their catch won’t threaten the fishery.,, “The situation this year can’t continue and support a strong fishery year in and year out in the Gulf of Maine,” said Pete Christopher, a supervisory fishery policy analyst at NOAA Fisheries. “The council needs to change the way the fishery operates.” read the story here 18:52

Maine Lawmakers ask NOAA about trouble in scallop fishing industry

Two lawmakers from Maine want to know what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is doing to address trouble in the Atlantic scallop fishing industry. U.S. Sen. Angus King, an independent, and U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat, say NOAA should work to ensure sustainability in the high-value fishery. A disagreement over the right to fish for the scallops has recently pitted small boats against big boats in the northern Gulf of Maine, a key fishing area. The federal government maintains different rules for the small- and big-boat fisheries, though they work some common areas. Pingree and King say they’ve heard concerns that the scallops are being overfished. They sent a letter to NOAA saying they’re concerned that an emergency action doesn’t seem to be on the table. Link 18:21

Please submit written comments – Amendment 23, Northeast Multispecies FMP, deadline 5 p.m. EST, Monday, April 3, 2017. 

The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) is initiating the development of an amendment to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Northeast Multispecies (Groundfish) under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA).   The Council is proposing to consider changes to the groundfish monitoring and reporting system to ensure it is providing accurate catch information necessary to manage the fishery efficiently. Click here to read about Amendment 23 (Groundfish Monitoring Amendment) You may attend any of the above scoping meetings to provide oral comments, or you may submit written comments on Amendment 23 by: Fax: (978) 465-3116; Email: [email protected] Mail at the address below.  Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director New England Fishery Management Council 50 Water Street, Mill #2 Newburyport, MA 01950 The comment deadline is 5 p.m. EST, Monday, April 3, 2017.   Please note on your correspondence; “Northeast Multispecies Amendment 23 Scoping Comments.” For some reason, there is no hearing slated in Rhode Island, and RI fishermen are wondering why there isn’t! 17:26

‘Wharfside Stories’ help unwrap history of Portland’s working waterfront

For more than 60 years Leland Merrill has made a daily pilgrimage to Widgery Wharf on the city’s waterfront. These days Merrill, now in his early 90s, no longer works a lobster boat, but he still has many friends on the wharf. Merrill’s tales of life and work among the lobstermen based in Portland Harbor is part of a new collaboration between the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership and the Waterfront Alliance. The project, called “”Wharfside Stories”,” provides a look at various aspects of Portland’s working waterfront. It will be part of an exhibition that’s open to the public during the day-long Portland Unwrapped event taking place Wednesday at various venues throughout the city. continue reading the story here 16:44

Fisheries committee calls for ‘rebuilding plan,’ information sharing on northern cod stocks

The once-mighty northern cod stock off Newfoundland needs an immediate “rebuilding plan,” according to the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. The federal committee on the fishery also chastised the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for not yet establishing a fully-developed rebuilding strategy, almost 25 years after the commercial cod moratorium. In a report released Monday, the committee wrote it was “astonished” to learn that DFO had not yet fully implemented recommendations from a 2011 report, which called on DFO to set reference points for the stock. The committee cited expert opinion that warned without a plan, the stock was doomed to perpetual underperformance. While the committee did write that work was underway, it called on DFO to “immediately” create a plan, which should restrict fishing of northern cod until the stock leaves the critical zone, and manage availability of prey like capelin. continue reading the story here 12:15

Two guys who tried to sink their own commercial charter fishing boat get probation

Two men who intentionally tried to sink their commercial fishing boat in an effort to collect insurance money were sentenced to probation Monday. U.S. District Court Judge Michael Anello sentenced Christopher Switzer, 39, and Mark Gillette, 37, to 18 months of probation. Both pleaded guilty in February to conspiring to sink their commercial fishing boat, “The Commander.” The incident occurred on Oct. 11 when the two were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard from the sinking boat in an area about seven miles south of Dana Point. Gillette had reported the boat was taking on water and was in danger of sinking. It did not, however. continue reading the story here 10:45

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for March 20, 2017

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates, Click here  10:15

Getting a Jump on the Competition! Two busted for shrimping in closed state waters

Two shrimpers got a jump on their competition Friday by dropping nets in an area where the season hasn’t opened yet, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries reported Monday. Enforcement agents say they spotted Hoang Nguyen, 55, of Katy, Texas, and Nile Franklin, 52, of Gretna actively shrimping inside state waters southeast of Marsh Island Refuge. The area is in Iberia Parish. Agents boarded the boat and found shrimp onboard as well as shrimp in the nets, the department said. The live shrimp were returned to the water, but the 3,409 pounds of sacked shrimp found onboard were seized and sold at the dock, according to the department. continue reading the story here 09:52

How the illegal pursuits of a fishing empire could affect an entire industry already struggling under intense regulation.

He’s been dubbed the Codfather. Carlos Rafael, owner of a fishing empire that is the largest in the Northeast if not the country, is accused of exploiting federal fishery regulations to get ahead and misreporting hundreds of thousands of pounds of fish. His alleged crimes expose the pitfalls of a system meant to help fishermen and their catch coexist. It’s a tale of fraud, smuggling and organized crime better suited to the big screen than the docks of New Bedford.,, Besides tax evasion and fraud, the problem with Rafael’s plan is that it undermined the efforts of federal authorities to manage healthy fisheries and avoid over fishing.  Fishermen from Rhode Island to Maine have had their catches limited by federal quotas since 2009 under a program regulators say promotes sustainable fishing, but for many fishermen it’s meant hanging up their hooks. During the first year of the catch-share program, there were 440 commercial boats. That number dwindled to just 120 by 2013. Read the story here 09:16

Iditarod demand for king crab keeps Nome fishermen busy

On a brisk and breezy afternoon, the stillness of the Bering Sea ice was broken up by the sounds of commercial crabbers, hard at work removing icy buildup from their crab pot openings. “We’re about four miles west of the Cape Nome. We’re currently set about 30 feet,” Greg Mendez explained. It’s part-time job for him, one that makes good money. “The market at the beginning of the year was $7.25. This time of year it drops to $6 per pound, so if you have a lot of crab that’s really good,” Mendez laughed. During the Iditarod, he sees a demand from people in Nome wanting fresh-caught crab and he’s happy to provide. Video, read the story here 08:18

Crew of lost crabbing vessel declared legally dead

The six men lost when their crabbing boat sank on a cold morning in the Bering Sea last month were declared legally dead at an unusual court proceeding Monday, allowing heartbroken families to take a first step toward closure and settling their loved ones’ affairs. The proceeding, known as a presumptive death hearing, is a kind of mini-trial held to determine whether a missing person can be declared dead. They are often held in the cases of people who have disappeared in such extreme terrain as to have exhausted the chances of survival or recovery. The fishing vessel Destination sank 3 miles north of St. George Island on the morning of Feb. 11, just before starting the winter snow crab season. The bodies of the men aboard — captain Jeff Hathaway and crew members Kai Hamik, Darrik Seibold, Larry O’Grady, Raymond Vincler and Charles G. Jones — have not been found. continue reading the story here 23:34

FISH-NL calls on Ottawa to reopen seal hunt by March 25th

Monday, March 20th, 2017 The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is calling on Ottawa to reopen by March 25th the harp and hood seal hunt to all harvesters and all fleets in Newfoundland and Labrador. The federal government closed the hunt on March 15th to allow time for seal whelping and nursing, which will be all but wrapped up by the 25th. Sealers want to harvest the older seals then for their meat and high fat content (although the entire animal is utilized), but as more times passes, the animals lose their weight. Read the press release here, and support the seal hunt! 22:37

Engine failure on big scallop trawler investigated by TSB

Canada’s Transportation Safety Board expects to complete its preliminary investigation by Tuesday into an engine failure last week on board the scallop dragger Atlantic Destiny. The TSB dispatched two investigators from Quebec and two from its Ottawa laboratory to Shelburne, N.S., where the 43-metre long vessel was towed after a mechanical failure caused the ship to lose power. According to a timeline provided by Transport Canada spokesperson Stephen Bornais, the Atlantic Destiny lost main engine power 200 kilometres south of Yarmouth on the night of March 14. Clearwater scallop trawler Atlantic Preserver came to her aid and began towing her to Shelburne harbour the next day. Investigators boarded the vessel on March 18, examined the engine room and interviewed crew and witnesses, TSB said Monday. continue reading the story here 18:12

Atlantic fishermen groups want more time to adapt to new vessel safety rules

Fishery organizations in Atlantic Canada say they are frustrated with the rollout of new federal fishing-vessel safety regulations scheduled to take effect in July, but Ottawa says they’re being given sufficient time to comply.Representatives from a number of regional and national groups walked out of a meeting with Transport Canada Officials on Thursday in Halifax when they didn’t get the answers they were hoping for. Sharon Walsh, executive director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Fish Harvesting Safety Association, says the groups are looking for a phase-in period to help fishermen and companies be compliant — but federal officials have not been receptive to the idea. continue reading the story here 13:51