Daily Archives: July 27, 2017

Coast Guard responds to sunken vessel off Grays Harbor, Wash.

Coast Guard personnel responded to a 42-foot commercial fishing vessel after it sank while moored in the Hoquiam River off Grays Harbor, Washington, Wednesday. Global Diving and Salvage personnel placed containment boom around the sunken vessel Wednesday night and removed an estimated 200 gallons of marine diesel from the fuel tanks Thursday morning. Watchstanders at sector received a report at 3:40 p.m. from Hoquiam Police Department personnel that the vessel Perwyn, with a max potential of 800 gallons of diesel aboard, had sunk and there was a sheen on the surrounding water. Members from the Coast Guard Sector Columbia River Incident Management Division opened the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund  for up to $50,000 and contracted Global Diving and Salvage marine casualty responders for cleanup purposes. Absorbent boom has been left in place and members of the Washington Department of Ecology will continue to monitor the site. –USCG– 19:19

Carlos “The Codfather” Rafael sentencing delayed

The New Bedford fishing mogul known as “The Codfather” has been granted a new two-month delay prior to his sentencing on federal charges of conspiracy, falsifying fish quotas, and tax evasion. Carlos Rafael, 65, was slated to face sentencing Friday, and could face up to 76 months in prison on the three charges through plea agreement reached with the U.S. attorney’s office March 30. Federal prosecutors have recommended a prison term of 46 months and an extended time after that of supervised release, but U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young is not bound to abide by that recommendation. All of those terms are far less than the 20 years he could have faced under an original 27-count indictment. Young, however, granted a motion on July 11 that had been filed by Rafael’s attorney, William H. Kettlewell, asking for more time to resolve what Kettlewell called “a critical component of the overall resolution of this case.” Young and the U.S. attorney’s office agreed to set a new sentencing date for Sept. 25 at 2 p.m., according to spokeswoman Liz McCarthy. click here to read the story 16:50

Wife of fisherman killed by propeller sues crew, boat makers and 94 lobstermen

A moving boat propeller killed her husband and now the Forked River widow wants her day in court. Kimberly Sturman, the widow of captain Jeffrey S. Sturman killed at sea in 2014, is pursuing a wrongful death suit, claiming negligence or “wrong acts” by all parties involved, said her attorney Lawrence W. Luttrell. A civil action was filed in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey on Wednesday demanding a trial by jury and an undetermined settlement to cover losses suffered by the widow and her two minor sons. Jeffrey S. Sturman, 47, died while trying to untangle lobster lines caught in his boat’s propeller on July 26, 2014 in Ocean City, Maryland. After he detangled the lines, the boat went in reverse, restarting the propellers, and hitting the victim’s head, Luttrell said. The suit names all parties involved with the sale and manufacturing of the boat, the lobster fishermen in the area at the time of the accident, and the crew members. click here to read the story 15:50

Alaskan Commercial Fishing Couple Charged with Willful Failure to Pay Over $400,000 in Income Taxes on Income Earned for 13 Years

An Alaskan couple was charged in federal court in Juneau, Alaska today with four counts of willful failure to pay their individual income taxes, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg and Acting U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder for the District of Alaska.  According to the Information, Archie W. Demmert III and Roseann L. Demmert earned income from commercial fishing. The Information alleges that Archie Demmert owned Vetta Bay LLC, which owned the Demmerts’ fishing vessel, the Emerald Beauty. click here to read the press release 15:09

Trawl Surveys, what are they good for? – Nils E. Stolpe/FishNet USA

(Note that I am only addressing the NOAA/NMFS reliance on bottom trawl survey data in finfish stock assessments. I am not questioning the value of the wealth of biological and physical data that this long – running series of surveys generate.) From the article: According to NOAA/NMFS these surveys have provided and continue to provide “the primary scientific data” for fisheries assessments from North Carolina to Maine (fisheries assessments are the periodic – generally held every 3 to 5 years – scientific/bureaucratic exercises. In NOAA’s words “NOAA Fisheries’ scientific stock assessments are critical to modern fisheries management. Using data gathered from commercial and recreational fishermen and our own on-the-water scientific observations, a stock assessment describes the past and current status of a fish population or stock, answers questions about the size of the stock, and makes predictions about how a fishery will respond to current and future management measures.”) click here to read the article 12:35

Changes in Lobster Land

“Thick as pudding out here,” says Richard Waldron, 77, taking his glasses off and tucking them in the folds of a red plaid shirt sitting on top of a lobster crate in the stern of his 16-foot skiff. He’s pretty disgusted. This morning he was distracted and forgot his coffee thermos. He opens up the throttle on the outboard and we pick up speed, the rockweed ledges and gray cabin on Flag Island fading into soft focus and then gone as the fog settles like a soggy towel over the Muscle Ridge Channel. A weathered granite shelf as broad as a whale comes up fast. Waldron whips the skiff around it, barely slowing, then we are back scooting through timeless, gauzey fog. This is about as simple as lobstering gets: an open fiberglass skiff with an outboard. click here to read the story 11:37

Trump administration steps in on fishing limits, and the implications could ripple

“The commission is deeply concerned about the near-term impact on our ability to end overfishing on the summer flounder stock as well as the longer-term ability for the commission to effectively conserve numerous other Atlantic coastal shared resources,” Douglas Grout, the commission’s chair, said in a statement. “New Jersey makes a compelling argument that the measures it implemented this year, despite increasing catch above the harvest target, will likely reduce total summer flounder mortality in New Jersey waters to a level consistent with the overall conservation objective,” Chris Oliver, assistant administrator of fisheries at NOAA, wrote the commission in a letter on behalf of Ross. The move infuriated commissioners and fishing officials throughout the area, as well as the region’s NOAA officials. “Ross was brilliant in his decision,” said Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance in New Jersey, which represents thousands of recreational fishermen across the country. “The Trump administration has challenged a broken fishery management system in this country, and I applaud them for doing it.” click here to read the story 10:10

Valley Shrimping Industry Struggles While Waiting for Visas

A Brownsville shrimp boat owner said he’s losing thousands of dollars every day in the industry. Carlton Reyes is in his 48th shrimping season. Every year, he said he searches for workers to bring in what often adds up to thousands of pounds of shrimp daily. Now, he is waiting for a group of Mexican workers he has had for years. The White House administration held up the H2B visas until last week. Reyes said it’s a difficult job and having to rely on inexperienced workers can be a problem.  “I had a boat at the dock this morning that came in because the two guys we took out as deckhands quit,” he said. “So now we’re trying to find someone to go back out.” video, click here to read the story 09:44

F/V Sea Lion II meets its doom on the Bayshore….

The Sea Lion II’s owner-hired-captain indicated that he fell asleep and woke up too late to stop the grounding of the fishing vessel. The Sea Lion II was built in Japan back in the 1960s but spent much of its fishing life working the west coast of the U.S. It’s last load of salmon was off-loaded and hauled to Newport – it’s engine was also reportedly salvaged. (Includes an info update from photo-journalist Kerry Terrel) click here to see the photo’s 09:17

Cape Pond Ice property sold

The property that has for decades housed one of Gloucester’s iconic waterfront businesses is under new ownership. But the sale agreement for the Commercial Street property that has been home to Cape Pond Ice and its predecessors since 1848 will allow the business and its owner, Scott Memhard, to continue to operate and supply ice to Gloucester’s diminished fishing fleet. Cape Pond Realty Trust — headed by Richard W. Kohn, an accountant and real estate investor who has homes in Gloucester and Winchester — acquired the land and buildings at 104 and 106A Commercial St., according to a deal finalized late Tuesday and announced on behalf of Memhard by local attorney Meredith Fine. click here to read the story 08:08