Monthly Archives: May 2017

Rough seas destroy traps, kill lobster in Cape Breton

The lobster season along some parts of the eastern shore of Cape Breton has taken a devastating turn after getting off to a good start last week. Rough seas caused by heavy north winds damaged hundreds of traps, washing many ashore, according to people in the industry. “It was unreal,” said Glace Bay fisherman Herb Nash, who described it as the worst destruction of fishing gear he has witnessed since the 1970s. He was particularly upset by what he saw along the shoreline between Donkin and Port Morien. “When we walked the beach there were all kinds of spawning lobsters dead on the beach, lobsters broke apart,” he said. click here to read the story 21:34

Sad news: Barnegat Light Scalloper ‘Apparently Fell Overboard’ and Dies in Massachusetts

The Fishermen’s Story Memorial at the tip of Barnegat Light will have another name engraved in memory of commercial fishermen who died in their line of work, this one Pete Benya. “Barnegat Light is again mourning the loss of one of our own,” says the Facebook page of the Fishermen’s Story Memorial Fund. Capt. Pete Benya, 59, died the weekend of Sunday, May 14, when his body was found floating in Saquatucket Harbor, Mass., and later identified, according to the Cape and Islands district attorney’s office. Benya owned the Resolute and had been scalloping out of Barnegat Light for several years.“Pete was making a few trips out of Harwich, Mass., and apparently fell overboard while at the dock,” said representatives from Lighthouse Marina, his home port in Barnegat Light. “He will be sorely missed.” Click here to read the story. 19:33 We extend our deepest condolences to Captain Peter Benya’s  loved ones, and his community. Rest in Peace, Captain.

Trial begins to settle $2.8M fishing tourney prize

It started in the open ocean off Maryland last summer and it’s likely to conclude in a federal courtroom in Baltimore. The battle over $2.8 million in prize money from the White Marlin Open fishing tournament went to trial Monday in U.S. District Court. On the line for three New Jersey men is $2.3 million of the pot.Trenton police officer Brian Suschke, Trenton firefighter Rich Kosztyu and Ocean County boat owner Damien Romeo were ecstatic after winning $767,091 for catching a 236.5-pound tuna at the August competition in Ocean City, Md. Then, the friends and fishing partners found out their catch might actually be worth millions. Click here to read the story 17:44

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission rejects NJ’s proposed flounder regulations

The drama surrounding New Jersey’s summer flounder regulations continued Monday, as a regional fisheries management board rejected the state’s adopted regulations for the popular marine catch just days before the fishing season is scheduled to start. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, a regional agency that helps set fishing quotas for the 15 East Coast states, found New Jersey’s regulations for the upcoming season were not sufficiently strict to reduce the catches needed to keep the stock healthy and compensate for past years of overfishing. New Jersey’s Marine Fisheries Council adopted those regulations last week, in anticipation that they might be an acceptable compromise. The commission’s rejection means the state is “out of compliance,” a designation that could prompt federal regulators to shut down the entire flounder fishery for recreational and commercial anglers. click here to read the story 15:14

Coast Guard medevacs Fisherman 60 miles east of Atlantic City, NJ

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Station Atlantic City medevaced a man from a fishing vessel 60 miles east of Atlantic City, New Jersey, Monday. Sector Delaware Bay watchstanders in Philadelphia received notification from the 90-foot fishing vessel Settler that a 51-year-old male crewmember was experiencing chest pains at about 8:38 p.m. A helicopter crew launched from Air Station Atlantic City and arrived on scene at approximately 11:45 p.m. The helicopter crew hoisted the man into the helicopter and transported him to Air Station Atlantic City, where EMS personnel transferred him to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center for treatment. USCG Click for video 14:40

Limited-entry waiting list shortens

Fishermen on the Zone B commercial lobster and crab license waiting list have been bumped up several slots following last year’s council decision to amend the exit ratio for its limited-entry system. The Lobster Zone B Management Council heard that good news last Tuesday during a regular council meeting. Council members last year amended the exit ratio from one license issued for every five licenses retired to one license issued for every three licenses retired to help speed up the licensing process. Zone B is one of the most restrictive zones. Some people have been on the list for more than 10 years. Currently, there are 37 names on the list. click here to read the story 13:05

Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument under review, Beaton hoping for modifications

The state’s top environmental official hopes the Trump administration modifies President Barack Obama’s 2016 designation of a marine monument area off the Massachusetts coast, which is on the Trump administration’s list of areas under review. Environmental protection activists last year applauded Obama’s decision, made under powers granted through the Antiquities Act, to create the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument covering a more than 4,900 square mile area southeast of Cape Cod. The designation came with strict limits on fishing that were greeted with pushback from port communities and some elected officials, including Gov. Charlie Baker, whose administration knocked an alleged lack of public process, potential negative impacts on commercial fishing, and conflicts with existing marine fisheries planning processes. click here to read the story 12:11

Celebrity trawlerman enjoys new lease of life on dry land

While the fall in the pound since the Brexit vote has provided a boost for exporters a veteran of the fishing business sees opportunities to grow UK sales of a Scots product that does well in Europe. Name: Jimmy Buchan. Age: 56. What is your business called? Amity Fish Co Limited. Where is it based? Peterhead, in wonderful Aberdeenshire. What does it produce? We are a fish trading company focused on sourcing wild-caught Scottish seafood for distribution throughout the UK.,, Why did you take the plunge? Amity came about because of my passion for seafood. Being a fisherman all my life, I met a lot of people in the industry and I felt I had a platform to start a brand from sea to plate. I realised I wasn’t just catching fish but catching fish with a story of provenance and sustainability which gave me the inspiration to get into the seafood supply chain. click here to read the story 10:53

A Fire Bug? Prince of Wales Island fires damage three commercial boats and a building

Fires on Prince of Wales Island over the weekend, but as of Sunday afternoon there were no reports of injuries related to the incidents. The first was at about 6 p.m. Saturday in Naukati. According to the Alaska State Troopers, a community-owned building was destroyed by a suspicious fire. Then early Sunday morning, three commercial fishing vessels burned while docked at a marina in North Cove in Craig (click here) .,,The Naukati fire follows another suspected arson case last week on Prince of Wales. On Tuesday night, someone set fire to a car parked at a boat launch near Klawock. click here to read the story 08:51

The story behind an alleged fraud worth millions in Nova Scotia’s lobster industry

In June of 2015, three men stepped out of a summer day thick with flies and into the Beaverdam Lake, N.S., cottage of lobster dealer Wayne Banks. It wasn’t a casual visit. They had arrived unannounced at his doorstep, claiming that in the space of about 10 days someone had ripped them off to the tune of $1.6 million. “Have a seat, you fellas,” said Banks. “I think I know why you’re here. But there ain’t nothing I can tell you.” The secret recording of that conversation, later provided to CBC News by one of the men, offers a glimpse into a large alleged fraud case, one that reveals the money and high stakes at play in Canada’s most lucrative lobster industry. Only later would local RCMP team up with the federal serious and organized crime unit to launch a joint investigation into what they called a complex criminal operation, one some feared could have broader ramifications to the industry. But on that June day two years ago, one name threaded its way through the conversation — Wayne Banks’s younger brother, convicted fraudster Terry Banks.”How many families get destroyed because of Terry f–king Banks again?” said one of the visiting men in exasperation. “I don’t understand why Terry’s still alive. I don’t.” Big Story. Click here to read it 08:06

Lobster thefts: Three facing charges in $3M international fraud and theft case click here  Charges laid after lobster theft investigation click here  RCMP concludes investigation into local and international lobster theft and fraudRCMP click here

Fishermen Protest Against Kyaukphyu Seaport

Fishermen aboard 120 boats protested along the Thanzit River against the Maday Island deep seaport in Arakan State on Monday, as authorities have banned them from fishing in a stretch of water now reserved for international cargo ships docking at the port.,, Chinese-owned oil tankers began docking at the seaport in early May to transport the oil through Maday terminal to the China-Burma border. Authorities told locals that the oil tankers would dock at the port three times each week, according to Aung Naing Win. But residents of Maday Island said at least six or seven ships arrived within one week, and another five shops are waiting to dock. Local fishermen have been restricted from catching fish near the mouth of the river where the ships dock. “As villagers are finding it harder to earn a living by fishing, they are seeking to earn money by cutting mangroves. Click here to read the story 18:49

Recreational Fishermen caught with nearly 300 more black sea bass than allowed

On just the second day of the black sea bass fishing season, two boats of fishermen were caught by harbormasters with nearly 300 more of the black sea bass than allowed in the recreational limit. The Wareham Harbormaster Department alerted the Massachusetts Environmental Police to the two boats on Sunday at the Tempest Knob Public boat ramp. When officers inspected the first boat, which had four people aboard, they found multiple coolers that contained 225 more black sea bass than the recreational limit allows, Environmental Police said. Fifty-nine of those fish were smaller than the 15-inch limit. That boat also had 98 more scup than legal possession limit, as well as two undersized tautog and one 17-inch striped bass. Click here to read the story 17:25

Offshore Wind Turbines Blamed For Killing Family Of Whales

Marine environmental experts blame offshore wind turbines for the deaths of three minke whales that washed up on British beaches, The Times reported Monday. Wildlife experts claim that the noise generated by wind turbines affected the sonar that whales use to navigate, causing them to beach themselves. There are several commercial offshore wind farms close to where the whales beached themselves.“My personal opinion is that it could be a consequence of wind farms and the amount of sand in the water,” John Cresswell, chairman of the Felixstowe Volunteer Coast Patrol Rescue Service, told The Times. “If you stop the boat off the coast you can feel the vibrations and hear the noise.” The U.K. coastguard received reports of a minke whale calf that had become separated from its mother Friday evening. By the next afternoon, it had been found dead at the mouth of the River Ore, and its mother washed up near Felixstowe. On Sunday, another dead adult whale surfaced, indicating that an entire family could have been killed. Click here to read the story 16:52

Halibut fishery kicks off in Bristol Bay

Last week the F/V Eagle Two was sitting alone in the Dillingham harbor, getting ready to fish halibut. The harbor has not been dredged yet, and the floats and arms are not installed for ease of use. Halibut fishing normally happens after Togiak herring, but about a month before any salmon openers in the Bay. “We’re always anxious to get started, but we’re waiting on ice,” said skipper William Johnson, whose crew was preparing the vessel for departure to the far side of the Nushagak Peninsula. “Heading west to go get bait and do a little fishing out there, and then come back and then finish out the season down here,” said Johnson. He noted they pack extra fuel for the long distance trip out in the quiet Bay. click here for audio, read the story 16:33

How Maine came to play a central role in an international eel smuggling scheme

Years after officials launched an investigation into baby eel poaching on the East Coast, the first of several men to plead guilty to participating in the wildlife trafficking ring was sentenced last week in a federal courtroom in Maine. Michael Bryant, 40, a former Baileyville resident who now lives in West Yarmouth, Massachusetts, is one of more than a dozen men who the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service says poached thousands of pounds of the baby eels, also known as elvers or “glass” eels, from 2011 through 2014. Since 2011, elvers on average have fetched around $1,500 per pound for fishermen, and netted more than $4 million total for the 12 convicted poachers who have pleaded guilty to federal charges in South Carolina, Virginia and Maine. Maine found itself at the center of a criminal enterprise that illegally netted elvers along the Atlantic seaboard, where most states ban their harvesting, and then shipped the eels overseas to feed East Asia’s voracious seafood appetite, according to investigators. click here to read the story 14:43

When sailboats ruled Bristol Bay

One hundred and thirty-two years ago, the Bristol Bay commercial fishery began on the shores of the Nushagak River when the first cannery went into operation and canned a little more than 4,000 salmon. Within four years, three more canneries appeared on the Nushagak, and within a decade canneries were built on the Naknek and Kvichak rivers. The dawn of the 20th century saw dozens of canneries around Bristol Bay catching, processing and canning millions of pounds of sockeye salmon every summer. By 1910, Bristol Bay accounted for 40 percent of Alaska’s commercially caught salmon. Even today, Bristol Bay makes up about 40 percent of Alaska’s salmon value. Canneries are large industrial operations. In the early days, coal and steam provided the power to run complex systems of boilers, belt-driven pulleys and winches needed to butcher, cook, can and deliver salmon to the world. But when it came to actually catching fish in Bristol Bay, canneries relied upon the muscle of men and the power of wind. click here for images, and read the story 11:27

What goes in the water in Wisconsin comes out in the Gulf of Mexico

A group of farmers in southwestern Wisconsin’s Driftless Area has become acutely aware that what gets into the watershed here can wind up hundreds of miles away.  These farmers use conservation practices to keep nutrients on their land and out of lakes and streams.  Margaret Krome, policy program director at the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, says nutrients that get into the water here follow a direct path down the Mississippi River. “Those nutrients go shooshing right out into the Gulf of Mexico and create a zone with such high nutrients that they end up with a big algal bloom, and that sucks all the oxygen out of the water and kills other organisms,” she explains. “So it’s a dead zone because fishermen can’t fish there.” The Wisconsin farmers have developed a relationship with Gulf fishermen, who are appreciative of the farmers’ efforts to help improve fishing conditions in the Gulf. click here to read the story 10:52

Bad salmon run hints at trouble ahead

Count backward three years and we come to 2014 — precursor to this spring’s extremely poor salmon returns. Fewer than 20,000 adult spring Chinook and about 1,500 immature jacks have been counted at Bonneville Dam, compared to 10-year averages of about 127,000 and 17,000. Shad, another species that should begin surging toward inland spawning grounds about now, reached a count of 26 at Bonneville late last week, compared to the 10-year average of more than 11,000. In the case of Chinook, actual returns may not be quite so bleak as the dam count indicates. Heavy mountain runoff has made the Columbia’s water cloudy and cold. Test fisheries found quite a few Chinook loitering here in the estuary, delaying their swim upstream. But with the start of summer only a month away, there isn’t much time left for the spring run to come through. If they don’t make it to spawning grounds, the run three years from now also will be weak. click here to read the op-ed 09:36

Three commercial fishing boats burn in Southeast Alaska marina fire

The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating a fire that burned three commercial fishing boats at a Southeast Alaska marina early Sunday morning. Fire was reported aboard the 57-foot Seaborn, 56-foot Pacific Lady and 49-foot Julia Kae at about 3:30 a.m. Sunday, the Coast Guard said in a statement. The three boats — two of them steel-hulled seiners, the third fiberglass — were tied to each other at the North Cove harbor in Craig, Harbormaster Hans Hjort said Sunday. People living on vessels in the harbor first alerted authorities of the fire, he said. Craig and Klawock volunteer firefighters worked to extinguish the flames. Click here to read the story 08:17

Three-vessel fire under investigationclick here for more images 12:25

Coast Guard investigates a 3 vessel fire in Craig, Alaska

The Coast Guard is investigating a three-vessel fire aboard the 57-foot fishing vessel Seaborn, 56-foot fishing vessel Pacific Lady and the 49-foot fishing vessel Julia Kae, at a marina in North Cove in Craig, Alaska. The Craig harbormaster and fire department have contained the fire. Marine Safety Detachment Ketchikan investigators are responding to monitor for signs of pollution, investigate the cause of the incident and assess extent and cost of damage.  Coast Guard Sector Juneau was notified early this morning about the fire that occurred at approximately 3:30 a.m. The Pacific Lady has a max capacity of 1,500 gallons of fuel, the Julia Kae has a max capacity of 3,800 gallons of fuel and the Seaborn has a max capacity of 2,000 gallons of fuel. Sheening appears to be minimal, but boom has been deployed around two of the vessels.There were no injuries reported. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time. USCG 19:17

Golden fish

Update: This story was updated on May 21, 2017 to include new prices. In economic crisis, there is often opportunity. Commercial fishermen in Cordova, Alaska are at the moment worrying mightily about what the rest of their fishing season will bring given the prediction of a record weak-return of Copper River king season. But what the ocean gods have brought so far are sky-high prices for a higher than expected catch of a thought-to-be struggling run of fish. The first, 12-hour opening of the season was expected to result in the harvest of only a few hundred kings given a prediction of a weak return and fishing-area closures the Alaska Department of Fish and Game ordered to protect areas where kings have usually been caught in the past. Despite those closures, however, fishermen caught almost 1,900 of the big fish, a catch bigger than in last year’s opener. Most fishermen in the Cordova fleet of 500 gillnetters were reported to be getting dock prices of $10.30 per pound for king, but some were doing much better. click here to read the story 18:20

Letter: Taking stock of cod stock assessments

In a Telegram letter published May 6, (“Perfectly good fisheries data being ignored,” click here ) Harvey Jarvis criticized the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ assessments of northern cod and 3Ps (i.e. south coast) cod. Based on my 20-plus years of experience with stock assessments in Newfoundland and Labrador and other regions (Canada, the U.S., and Europe), I think Jarvis is absolutely correct about the 3Ps cod assessment, but he is incorrect about the new northern cod assessment framework that DFO adopted in 2016. Jarvis suggested that the only information used in the northern cod assessment model to estimate stock biomass is the DFO research vessel survey index. He indicated that the commercial catch, the commercial logbook data and the cod sentinel catch rate indices are not used. This is not true. The 2016 northern cod stock assessment used a state-of-the-art model,,, click here to read the letter 17:23

Coast Guard medevacs fisherman 145 miles east of Cape Cod

A Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod aircrew medevaced an ill fisherman Saturday evening from 145 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. At around 7:30 p.m., the captain of the 78-foot fishing vessel Little Tootie notified the First District command center that one of his crewmembers was having respiratory troubles. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew launched and arrived on scene at around 10:30 p.m. Once on scene, the crew hoisted the fisherman to the helicopter. The fisherman was then flown to Air Station Cape Cod where emergency medical services personnel were waiting to transport the 44-year-old man to Falmouth Hospital. The Little Tootie is a scalloper homeported out of Newport News, Virginia. USCG 15:31

Father and Son Busted With More Than $17M in Sea Cucumbers

A father and son have been indicted on charges of smuggling illegally harvested sea cucumbers worth more than $17 million into the United States and selling the Chinese delicacy on Asian markets. Depending on the species, sea cucumbers can go for as much as $300 a pound in China and Hong Kong, authorities say. Ramon Torres Mayorquin and his son, David Mayorquin, were charged in federal court in San Diego of conspiracy, false labeling and unlawful importation of wildlife, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. Their company, Blessings Inc. of Tucson, Arizona, was also charged. Between 2010 and 2012, the family knowingly agreed to purchase roughly $13 million worth of illicitly harvested sea cucumbers from poachers operating off the Yucatan Peninsula, according to the indictment filed Wednesday. They then allegedly imported the product and sold it to Asian markets for about $17.5 million. Click here to read the story 11:23

Washington State loses major legal battle, might pay up to $2B to save salmon

Washington state lost a major legal battle Friday, which could force it spend nearly $2 billion to restore salmon habitat by removing barriers that block fish migration. A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year affirmed a lower court’s 2013 ruling ordering the state to fix or replace hundreds of culverts — large pipes that allow streams to pass beneath roads but block migrating salmon. Idaho and Montana joined Washington state in asking the appeals court to reconsider the case. The court declined to do so Friday, but several judges dissented from that decision, saying it should be reconsidered because of its significance. “This is a win for salmon, treaty rights and everyone who lives here,” Lorraine Loomis, chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, said in a statement. The group represents 21 tribes in western Washington that challenged the state over the culverts in 2001, part of decades-long litigation over tribal fishing rights. click here to read the story 10:34

Northeast Fisheries Science Center study says Gulf of Maine will become too warm for many key fish

A new study by federal fisheries scientists predicts the warming of the Gulf of Maine will cause a dramatic contraction of suitably cool habitat for a range of key commercial fish species there. On the other hand, lobsters are more likely to find hospitable areas. The study by seven scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, used a high-resolution global climate model and federal fisheries survey data to model how key fisheries species would likely be affected by predicted warming over the next 80 years. “This is not telling you that in the future this is what the species’ abundance and distribution will be, only how much suitable thermal habitat each has,” says lead author Kristin Kleisner, who recently joined the staff of the Environmental Defense Fund and is based in Boston. “A lot will depend on how these species shift and the interactions they have with other species.” click here to read the story 09:58

Read Marine Species Distribution Shifts Will Continue Under Ocean Warming @NOAA/NEFSC – Funding for this joint project between NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center and The Nature Conservancy study was provided by a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Sea lion drags young girl into water at Richmond’s Steveston Wharf

A sea lion was captured on video dragging a young girl into the water at Richmond’s Steveston Fisherman Wharf. In the video, which was posted to Youtube by Vancouver’s Michael Fujiwara, the sea lion surfaces near the dock, and swims about looking harmless. No doubt it was drawn by the fish — this is an area, after all, that was once nicknamed Salmonopolis. But after surveying the area and discovering no fish, the sea lion surprises everyone by approaching a young girl, then suddenly, biting down on her dress and dragging her backwards into the water. click here to read the story, video 09:05

Offshore exploration and drilling back on table for Georgia

The Trump administration announced earlier this month that it is moving forward on seismic surveys in the Atlantic Ocean, the first step toward offshore drilling in a region where it has been blocked for decades. The Interior Department plans to review six applications by energy companies that were rejected in January by the Obama administration. Local and state environmental groups as well as many coastal municipalities oppose the surveys, saying loud sounds from seismic air guns could hurt marine life. Sen. David Perdue, R-Georgia, and Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Savannah, remain in favor of seismic testing and offshore drilling. “With a vibrant commercial fishery industry and the only known calving ground for endangered North Atlantic right whales just off our coast, Georgians oppose seismic testing for offshore oil exploration and the risks it poses to our state’s wildlife, wild places, and quality of life,” said Alice Keyes, vice president for coastal conservation at Coastal Georgia-based One Hundred Miles. Click here to read the story 19:19

White Spot: Government has abandoned wild-caught prawn fishermen

THE $20 million in federal funding for prawn farmers affected by white spot is a great day for some and not so great for others if you are a commercial fishing business owner in the Moreton Bay region. There are some 300 micro and small fishing related businesses across the Moreton Bay region, including trawl and crab fishers, impacted by white spot that continue to be impacted in the wild and an ongoing movement control order on our commercial product. These businesses generate almost $20.5 million yet have received no assistance. At least 20 businesses have had their incomes severely impacted since December 2016 and still no help. The Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce announced the Federal Government will give $20 million to prawn farmers impacted by white spot but said wild-catch fishermen are the responsibility of the State Government. click here to read the story 18:17

‘A Speck in the Sea’ tells tale of boyhood pals’ brush with death on Long Island fishing excursion

After more than 10 hours in the frigid ocean 40 miles south of Montauk Point, John Aldridge didn’t know if there was any fight left in him. It was at that moment when the cruel sea taunted him with salvation — only to snatch it away. No more than 400 yards away he spied the Anna Mary, his lobster boat, the one he’d tumbled overboard from in the wee hours of the night. His crewmate Mike Migliaccio stood on the roof, binoculars plastered to his face, desperately scanning the sea. Migliaccio was a man possessed. He knew Aldridge’s time was running out. How was it possible Mike didn’t see him? Aldridge had spent all his energy affixing himself to a colorful buoy. But the ocean’s glare hid Aldridge from sight and the Anna Mary steamed away. “A Speck in the Sea” is the personally narrated account of Aldridge and his partner Anthony Sosinski about July 24, 2013, a day the unthinkable happened. click here to read the story 14:17