Monthly Archives: July 2017

FFAW-Unifor flip flops on support for Marine Protected Area off Newfoundland’s South coast after FISH-NL embarrasses union into it 

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the FFAW-Unifor’s last-minute objections to proposed regulations governing a Marine Protected Area (MPA) off the province’s south coast — after initially supporting them — is an attempt to cover its gross incompetence. “The FFAW-Unifor only opened its mouth after FISH-NL embarrassed the union into it,” says Ryan Cleary, President of FISH-NL. “FISH-NL says jump and the FFAW-Unifor asks how high. Only jumping’s not enough — the FFAW does not deserve to represent inshore harvesters.” On June 24, the federal government launched a 30-day consultation period over proposed regulations to govern the Laurentian Channel MPA, which, at more than 12,000 square kilometres, would be Canada’s largest — and the province’s third protected area. click here to read the press release 20:31

US congressman wants imported seafood tracked like domestic products

For the second straight congressional session, a representative from Texas has introduced a bill he claims would level the playing field between American fishermen and their foreign counterparts. Late last month, U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold filed the “Protecting Honest Fishermen Act of 2017.” The legislation calls for all seafood sold in America to be traceable from the time it was caught to the time it was served. Under current regulations, importers do not need to provide the same level of information as domestic fishermen. “American fishermen shouldn’t be at a disadvantage to foreign fishermen especially here in the United States,” the Republican said in a statement. click here to read the story 17:44

Maine: Penalties for lobster fishing violations stiffened

Harsher penalties for fishing law violators went into effect last month after aspects of state Sen. Brian Langley’s (R-Hancock County) bill aimed at curbing violations was adopted as emergency legislation by the Maine Legislature. LD 575, An Act to Improve the Enforcement of Maine’s Lobster Laws, was adopted after the Senate voted 32-1 in favor of the changes on June 14. The new law sets minimum punishments for violations such as scrubbing lobsters, fishing over the trap limit, fishing “sunken trawls” (unmarked by a surface buoy) or untagged gear and molesting lobster traps. The bill also allows the Department of Marine Resources commissioner to revoke the license of anyone found guilty of sinking, burning or destroying another fisherman’s vessel. click here to read the story 14:34

In Supporting Offshore Drilling, Virginia’s Governor Now Stands Alone in the Southeast

The North Carolina governor’s office — once the leading force behind the push to open the Southeast coast to offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling — has reversed course under new leadership and amid dramatic political shifts on the issue. Gov. Roy Cooper (D) held a press conference this week on a barrier island along the Crystal Coast, a popular North Carolina tourist spot, to announce that his Department of Environmental Quality would submit formal comments to the Trump administration opposing permits allowing seismic testing for offshore oil and gas reserves.,,, That leaves McAuliffe as the lone Southeastern coastal representative in the Governors Coalition,,, click here to read the story 13:47

Officer honored after April rescue effort off Tangier Island

The U.S. Coast Guard has honored a Virginia Marine Police officer for his “vital assistance” in the investigation of the sinking of a commercial fishing vessel in April which resulted in the death of a Tangier Island waterman and the rescue of his son. Coast Guard Capt. Richard J. Wester, captain of the Port of Hampton Roads, presented Master Officer Richard W. Pruitt with the Coast Guard Sector Hampton Road’s “Command Coin” in a ceremony during the Virginia Marine Resources Commission monthly board meeting. On April 24 at about 2:30 p.m., a distress signal was sent out by the late commercial waterman Edward Charnock, 70, and his son, Jason Charnock, 39, that their boat, the Henrietta C, was sinking, Coast Guard officials said. click here to read the story 13:08

Cape Breton lobster season shows signs of a good future in the industry

Lobster fishermen say they not only had a great season this year but also got a glimpse into a great future for the local industry. “We saw lots of undersized lobster and lots that were spawning, “ said Herb Nash, president of the Glace Bay Harbour Authority and president of the 4VN Groundfish Management Society. “You’d catch 10 or 12 lobsters and have to put all of them back but two or three as they’d be spawning or undersized. That’s a good sign for the future. If you don’t have them you don’t have a future. It was really good.” Nash said despite the season getting off to a rocky start when it first opened this was one of the best seasons yet. click here to read the story 11:41

Former Pacific Seafood executive sentenced for embezzlement

A former executive who embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from Pacific Seafood Group was sentenced Monday in federal court to two years in federal prison. Andrew Henry Jacobs, 50, spent 11 years at the family-owned company Pacific Seafood Group, rising to serve as vice president of employee leadership and development for the company’s 2,500-member staff. While receiving a six-figure salary, he spent at least his last four years embezzling money from the company, stealing an estimated $900,000, according to prosecutors. He was sentenced after pleading guilty to wire fraud and filing a false income tax return. Using a company credit card and the authority to issue corporate checks, he secretly diverted company funds to purchase electronics, jewelry, firearms, vacations and prostitution services, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Bounds. He concealed his theft by doctoring receipts and invoices used to track expenses, according to the prosecutor. click here to read the story 11:08

Conservation groups sue to stop snapper season extension

Several conservation groups have filed a lawsuit against the federal extension of red snapper season recently announced by the U.S. Department of Commerce. In the suit, the groups said the decision jeopardizes the ongoing recovery of Gulf red snapper by increasing the federal private angler fishing season thirteen-fold. Chris Dorsett, vice president of conservation policy and programs for the Ocean Conservancy (one of the groups involved in the suit), spoke out against the extension of the federal season.,,, “This lawsuit is without merit,” Byrne said. “A lot of work went into this emergency rule put forward by the Department of Commerce. They went through a lot of study and worked with the individual Gulf states to get the state seasons in line with the federal seasons. The Department of Commerce did their homework here, and I have confidence that this lawsuit from a liberal Washington, D.C. environmental group will not ultimately be successful.” click here to read the story 09:18

UPDATED: Coast Guard, good Samaritans assist rescue of 4 from capsized vessel near Raspberry Island, Alaska

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk crew and good Samaritans assisted with the rescue of the captain and three crew members Monday from a capsized fishing vessel in the Kupreanof Strait near Raspberry Island. The crew of the Calista Marie arrived on scene and rescued one crewman from the Grayling, as the Grayling’s skiff driver rescued the master. The aircrew diverted from a training flight when they observed the captain of the capsized fishing vessel Grayling jump into the water to assist the fourth crewman. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Anchorage received a call on VHF-FM channel 16 at 3:25 p.m. Monday from the crew of the Calista Marie reporting that they responded to the capsized Grayling. The captain of the Grayling was able to pull one of his crewmen safely onto the Grayling’s purse seiner skiff and initiate CPR. The MH-60 Jayhawk crew then transported him to awaiting EMS at Kodiak Municipal Airport.
The cause of the capsizing has not been determined. “That fisherman didn’t hesitate. It was incredible to see him jump into 47-degree water to save his crew,” said Lt. Kevin Riley, an Air Station Kodiak Jayhawk pilot. “It is a testament to how tough those fishermen are and how far they will go to help their fellow Alaskans.” Weather on scene was 17-mph winds, 5-foot seas with unrestricted visibility. -USCG- click for video 07:52

Captain of capsized fishing boat jumps from safety back into water to rescue crewman – The captain of a commercial fishing boat jumped back into 47-degree waters Monday to save one of his crewmen after their vessel capsized near Kodiak Island, according to a witness and the U.S. Coast Guard. click here to read the story 18:55

Veteran Nushagak drifter, greenhorn daughter have best season ever

Longtime Bristol Bay fisherman Hector Sanchez of f/v El Nayar hauled in more salmon than ever this year, and it was his daughter Toni Sanchez’s first year as a crew member. Work on a commercial fishing boat can test the temperaments of those on board. Skippers often demand intensive labor from their crew, for long hours without sleep and little food, and not everyone takes to the job. Pre-existing relationships between captain and crew can often be strained when on the water, and sometimes crewmembers will quit mid-season. Audio report, read the story here 20:51

Coast Guard, Good Samaritans respond to vessel in distress near Port Moller Saturday

A salmon tender on its way out of Bristol Bay began taking on water Saturday afternoon near Port Moller. Chief Petty Officer Shawn Eggert said the fishing vessel Kona Kai relayed a mayday from the 76-foot Cachalot that they were taking on water with four souls onboard. “The Kona Kai started heading towards the scene to render any kind of assistance they could provide,” said Eggert. “While that was happening, District 17 Command Center directed an Air Station Kodiak C-130 plane as well as an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew to the scene.” Eggert did not know what had caused the vessel to take on water Saturday. Winds were reported out of the northwest with seas around seven feet. According to the Coast Guard, the ship’s master had wounded his hand during the ordeal and needed to be medevaced. click here to read the story 18:43

Study Reviews Trawler Effects on Seabed

An international group has taken a close look at how different types of bottom trawling affect the seabed. It finds that all trawling is not created equal — the most benign type removes 6 percent of the animal and plant life on the seabed each time the net passes, while the most other methods remove closer to a third. A University of Washington professor is among the main authors on the study, led by Bangor University in the U.K. and published July 17 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The meta-analysis looks at 70 previous studies of bottom trawling, most in the Eastern U.S. and Western Europe. It looks across those studies to compare the effects on the seabed of four techniques: otter trawling, a common method that uses two “doors” towed vertically in the water or along the bottom to hold the net open; beam trawls, which hold the net open with a heavy metal beam; towed dredges, which drag a flat or toothed metal bar directly along the seafloor; and hydraulic dredges, which use water to loosen the seabed and collect animals that live in the sediment. click here to read the story 16:04

NMFS Requests Comment on a Change to Bluefin Regulations

NOAA is seeking public comment regarding a request from the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance for an exemption from a regulation that prohibits having unauthorized gear on board while fishing for, retaining, or possessing a bluefin tuna. In their application, the Alliance suggest that the use of electronic monitoring, already required by federal fishing authorities is a sufficient at-sea monitoring to verify that the catch of bluefin tuna occurred on authorized gear.,,, The National Marine Fisheries Service is accepting public comment on the matter. Comments must be received by August 1, 2017, and may be submitted online. click here to read the story 15:09

Choosing the best wet weather gear for your job

Finding and selecting the right wet weather gear will always depend on the task at hand. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. If you work in commercial fishing, for example, then heavy-duty clothing will likely be your best bet. This includes things like oilskins and rain-resistant PVC. But if you work in dairy farming – or just need extra layers for the colder months – then there is a variety of lightweight and mid-weight gear that could be better suited. It all depends on the amount of protection and flexibility you need. You must also consider mobility too. If you have an active job, like a farmer who’s on and off quad bikes all day, you’ll need to prioritise mobility and weight distribution over warmth. click here to read the article 14:07

Coast Guard medevacs fisherman 14 miles southwest of Cape Lookout, NC

 Station Fort Macon personnel medevaced a man Sunday night aboard a fishing vessel 14 miles southwest of Cape Lookout. Sector North Carolina watchstanders received a call from the crew of the fishing vessel Lady Catherine requesting a medevac of a 54-year-old crew member reporting chest pains.Station Fort Macon launched a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew with two Atlantic Beach Fire and Rescue EMTs aboard. The crew met the vessel inbound to Station Fort Macon but were unable to transfer the patient due to rough seas. A Station Fort Macon crew member and two Atlantic Beach Fire and Rescue EMTs then boarded the Lady Catherine to give medical assistance. The Lady Catherine moored at Station Fort Macon, and Atlantic Beach Fire and Rescue EMT personnel transported the patient to Carteret General Hospital in Morehead City. –USCG– 13:51

Expert’s talk at LaGrua Thursday to focus on benefits of local sea-to-table options

Meghan Lapp, an expert on the commercial fishing industry and its regulations, will give a talk entitled “Sea to Table: Bringing the Bounty of the Sea to You” on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the LaGrua Center at 32 Water St. The Stonington Economic Development Commission is sponsoring the presentation, which will focus on how local harvesters provide fresh seafood, navigate fishery regulations and science, and what species are fresh, local and available. Admission is free. Lapp, of Narragansett, is a fisheries liaison for Seafreeze Ltd., a producer and trader of sea-frozen fish in North Kingstown. She is on the Habitat Advisory Panel and the Herring Advisory Panel for the New England Fishery Management Council, the Ecosystems and Oceans Planning Advisory Panel for the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Menhaden Advisory Panel for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.,,,  “I heard what was going on with the fishing industry and the regulations and it upset me, and I got politically involved,” she said by phone on July 7. “From there I actually built commercial fishing nets in New Bedford for about four-and-a-half years and I did lobbying for the industry on my own time.” click here to read the story 13:22

Why Scotland’s Struggling Fishing Industry Backed Brexit, and Why Its Fishermen May Regret It

It’s 4 a.m., and the boat’s spotlights, affixed to both the wheelhouse and a spindly mast, illuminate the greasy deck. The Launch Out, a 60-foot prawn trawler based out of Pittenweem on Scotland’s east coast, mows through the waves on its way toward the fishing grounds. Inside the wheelhouse, the captain rolls matchstick-thin cigarettes and checks his course on the GPS. Below the deck, his two sons fumble with their yellow oilskins and ready their orange rubber boots. Outside, I watch as the ink-black sea slaps into the boat’s hull, rocking it like a cradle. The wooden deck creaks, the water fizzes, and the wind howls through the hood of my jacket. click here to read the story 11:54

Don Cuddy: An independent fisherman struggles to hang on in an uncertain fishery

It was 4 a.m. as I crossed a deserted Sagamore bridge but the night sky was already beginning to lighten. When I turned into the lot on School St. in Hyannis I could see the boat, its white hull splashed with green from the glow of the starboard running light. I clambered aboard. On the Angenette, a 40-foot wooden dragger built in 1946, Captain Ron Borjeson waited along with his grandson Trent Garzoni. Lost amongst the tourist hordes and tricked-out sportfishing boats crowding the Hyannis docks these are guys you don’t notice anymore — independent commercial fishermen, struggling to pursue their traditional livelihood. Reductions in the catch limits and rising expenses are constant worries. The fluke quota was cut by 30 percent last year and again this year, while just to tie up in Hyannis for the season costs eleven grand. click here to read the story 10:37

Water police not told of missing trawler for four days, WA inquest hears

An inquest has heard there were critical delays in police being notified about a missing prawn trawler that sank off the Pilbara coast in 2015, resulting in three deaths. A coronial inquest has begun in Perth into how Murray Turner, 57, Chad Fairley, 30, and Mason Carter, 26, died. Mr Turner’s trawler, the Returner, sank about 20 kilometres off the Karratha coast in July 2015. The inquest heard police were only notified about the missing vessel almost five days after it stopped communicating with the Department of Fisheries’ monitoring system, which is primarily used as a surveillance and compliance tool. click here to read the story 08:35

Bryan Schroder, U.S. Attorney for Alaska, and the case of the missing fisherman

Bryan Schroder, a veteran federal prosecutor in Alaska, was nominated Friday by President Donald Trump to be the U.S. Attorney for the District of Alaska. Schroder has been the acting head of the Alaska district since Karen Loeffler stepped down after being asked to resign by the Administration. He had served as First Assistant U.S. Attorney and Criminal Chief for the United States Attorney’s Office, District of Alaska since 2005. A retired U.S. Coast Guard Captain, Schroder is a graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and the University of Washington School of Law.,, In a recent case that Schroder handled, a Port Graham couple has been charged with faking the death of a man who was facing prison time on another count to which he had already plead guilty. click here to red the story 07:59

Girlfriend Helped Him Fake Death at Sea to Avoid Jail –  The indictment says Rodriguez sent a flurry of Facebook messages to plant the seeds of the fabricated emergency. click here to read the story 09:12

Northeast Seafood Coalition – Gov. Charlie Baker confirmed, attending annual fundraiser

When fishermen and supporters gather for the Northeast Seafood Coalition’s annual fundraiser Thursday night, they will be joined by one of their highest-profile backers. Gov. Charlie Baker has confirmed he will be on hand for the coalition’s gala, slated to begin at 6 p.m. at The Gloucester House restaurant. There, participants will raise money through ticket sales and a live auction to help the industry gain new inroads for developing effective science in tandem with federal and state regulators, all while sampling seafood caught in the previous 24 hours. “We see this event as the start of a push to obtain the science consultants and the help that we need,” said John Bell, the former Gloucester mayor who is a coalition co-founder and serves as head of its board of directors. (They may have a few tickets left!)  click here to read the story 20:45

Bristol Bay fisherman-restaurateur buys catch back from processor to sell in Monterey eatery

Sam Mercurio skippers the f/v Quick Silver, a Bristol Bay drift boat fishing for Alaska General Seafoods. He is also part-owner of a Italian seafood restaurant in Monterey, California called Domenico’s On the Wharf. Mercurio has fished in Bristol Bay for 39 years, and has co-owned Domenico’s for eleven years. After each fishing season, he buys thousands of pounds of salmon from AGS to be sold in his restaurant—salmon he helped supply to the processor as a fisherman. “It’s wild and natural, and it’s ours; it’s mine, you know what I mean,” said Mercurio on taking ownership of the wild caught product. “I buy direct from Alaska General Seafoods. They put up a pack for me all filleted and vacuum packed, and we ship them to Seattle from Naknek, and they ship them to the restaurant when I need them.” click here to listen/read the story 15:49

Coast Guard to enforce U.S. pot laws on water – Federal law supersedes state laws

Smoking marijuana on a boat in federally patrolled waters remains illegal, in spite of the recent decriminalization of pot in New Hampshire and its legalization in Maine and Massachusetts, warned U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Andrew Barresi. “The Coast Guard still enforces federal law, which has not changed,” Barresi said. “Federal law says it’s illegal, in any quantities.” And there’s no exemption for medical marijuana, said Barresi about federal law, which supersedes state laws.,,, But too few people know pot laws on land differ from laws on the water, Barresi said.  “It’s important for people to know,” he said. “We don’t want them to be surprised by it.” click here to read the story 14:36

Families hope inquest into Pilbara prawn trawler deaths will lead to industry reform

The families of two fishermen presumed dead after their prawn trawler sunk off the Pilbara coast two years ago say they are apprehensive of a coronial inquest starting on Monday. The Returner sank in mid July 2015 off the Pilbara coast, killing 57-year-old skipper Murray Turner, Chad Fairley, 30, and Mason Carter, 26. An extensive search located the vessel and the body of the skipper, but the two younger crewman were never recovered.  Tomorrow, the WA’s Coroner’s Court will begin examining what caused the trawler to sink and the circumstances surrounding the men’s deaths. click here to read the story 11:25

Sea Lion II fishing boat beached in front of Bayshore Club – Captain okay – fell asleep

Sea Lion II runs aground. Captain told onlookers he fell asleep and woke up marooned on the beach. A great photo article, click here for images They were hoping to re-float her, but it was not to be. ‘Via con dios’ Sea Lion II…. click here to see the images. 10:18

Maine lobstermen serve booming world market

From trade deals in Europe and China, to the price per pound customers pay at the dock for their nightly dinner, York is a microcosm for both the uber international and the uber local sides of the lobster industry. And local lobstermen serving both markets are just pleased to see the lobsters here are finally shedding their shells and are getting hungry, filling traps that up until now have been pretty light due to colder than usual ocean temperatures during June and early July.,,, Jeff White, president of the York Lobstermen’s Association, said this season is “more like 20 years ago. You never expected to get anything until the middle of July. Why is it different? I really don’t know. The lobsters know and they’re not telling. click here to read the story 09:10

Our View: Cooper rightly pans offshore drilling

Gov. Roy Cooper was right on the mark last week in declaring his staunch opposition to opening up North Carolina’s coast to offshore drilling.  Cooper made the announcement Thursday on the beach at Fort Macon State Park in Cataret County, one day before the deadline for elected officials to submit comment on the Trump administration’s request for companies to perform seismic testing under the Atlantic Ocean. Gov. Roy Cooper was right on the mark last week in declaring his staunch opposition to opening up North Carolina’s coast to offshore drilling. Cooper joins Republican South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan in opposing any plan to drill for oil and gas off the Atlantic coastline. click here to read the op-ed 08:08

Coast Guard medevacs injured fisherman near Martha’s Vineyard

A Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod crew medevaced an injured fisherman Saturday afternoon from Muskeget Channel between Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. At around 1:30 p.m. the 75-foot fishing vessel Perception notified Coast Guard watchstanders that a crewmember had fallen and sustained injuries and was in need of medical attention. An Air Station Cape Cod MH-60 Jayhawk rescue helicopter was already in the air and diverted to assist. The aircrew arrived on scene and hoisted the fisherman off Perception at around 2:15 p.m. They then flew to Hyannis Airport and transferred the patient to awaiting Emergency Medical Services personnel at around 2:45 p.m. The fisherman was then brought to Cape Cod Hospital for further care.  -USCG- click for video 21:43

The fascinating history of sea serpent sightings in the Humber and North Sea

Newspaper reports dating back as far as the 1920s detail mysterious creatures spotted by trawlermen.,,, The story began in August 1922, when on Wednesday, August 30, a Grimsby steam trawler named CHANDOS, had a run-in with a sea serpent in the North Sea, 35 miles out from Spurn Point. The crew, who had sailed from Grimsby that morning, believed that they were initially seeing two brown sails from two inshore fishing boats, so approached them at a steady rate of knots. click here to read the story 12:37

The man who destroyed the West Coast rock lobster

It took only 14 years for Cape Town businessman Arnold Bengis to decimate one of South Africa’s most treasured marine species. Now he is being made to pay by a US court‚ which has ordered the 81-year-old to cough up $37-million (about R483-million) for pillaging thousands of tons of rock lobster. South Africa will be the first foreign government in the world to be compensated under a 117-year-old US law‚ the Lacey Act‚ which regulates imports of protected species.,,, Former DAFF head of fisheries Horst Kleinschmidt‚ who testified in the District Court in 2004 about Bengis’s fishing activities‚ quoted research that suggested that free-falling rock lobster stocks “immediately stabilised” after his operation was stopped. click here to read the story 11:53