Monthly Archives: August 2017

Don Cuddy: Blue Harvest a major new presence among city fish houses

New Bedford is the top-grossing fishing port in the United States and has been since 1999; an enviable record and a tribute to the vision and expertise of all those involved in sustaining an industry that is constantly evolving. While industry momentum has not flagged, the players come and go as markets shift, regulations change and fish stocks rise or fall. Seafood processor Blue Harvest Fisheries is a big presence on the waterfront today yet the company was unknown in the city until relatively recently. So last week I had a chat with CEO and Acushnet native Jeff Davis, a 30-year veteran of the seafood industry, to learn more about Blue Harvest and all that they do. click here to read the story 20:06

A Global Fish War is Coming

Nearly two decades into the 21st Century, it has become clear the world has limited resources and the last area of expansion is the oceans. Battles over politics and ideologies may be supplanted by fights over resources as nations struggle for economic and food security. These new conflicts already have begun—over fish. The demand for fish as a protein source is increasing. The global population today is 7.5 billion people, and is expected to be 9.7 billion by 2050, with the largest growth coming in Africa and Asia. Fish consumption has increased from an average of 9.9 kilograms per person in the 1960s to 19.7 kilograms in 2013 with estimates for 2014 and 2015 above 20 kilograms. The ten most productive species are fully fished and demand continues to rise in regions generally with little governance and many disputed boundaries. click here to read the story 17:36

Unified command established in response to potential sinking of fishing vessel Akutan

The U.S. Coast Guard, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and the city of Unalaska established a unified command in response to potential pollution from the fishing vessel Akutan near Unalaska, Alaska, Friday. Personnel from Coast Guard Sector Anchorage, the State of Alaska, the city of Unalaska and Resolve Marine Services, a salvage and repair company, are coordinating and overseeing the removal of environmental hazards, including anhydrous ammonia and various petroleum products onboard the fishing vessel Akutan. The unified command determined the steps taken by the vessel owner and operator as inadequate to prevent a potential pollution incident. The approximately 166-foot fishing vessel began transiting to Dutch Harbor from Bristol Bay earlier this month. Due to various mechanical issues the vessel anchored in Captains Bay where it remains, deteriorating. click here to read the press bulletin 12:36

$8 lobster boat sells to Beverly man

A lobster boat for sale for $8 in Essex has found a home with a Beverly resident. Larry Stepenuck, a Rockport lobsterman, decided to cast off his 25-year-old wooden vessel, the middle Amie, when he purchased a new Amie, built by Brad Story. The older lobster boat was set at a low price, he said, as long as the new owner promised to put it back in the water. Stepenuck found that person in Larry Tamilio. Stepenuck said he didn’t expect the boat to “jump out of the yard.” click here to read the story 11:22

Trap-tag counts lodged against Lower Keys fisherman

A Lower Keys lobster fisherman was arrested Thursday on counts of using unlicensed traps, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports. Jeromy Roy Homerston, 42, of Stock Island booked on 29 counts of using a trap without a state-issued tag, and two other conservation counts.  All the charges are misdemeanors. Homerston was later released pending court action. According to the FWC, Homerston was running the commercial boat Ol’ Skool that was stopped for catch inspection by state and federal marine officers aboard the patrol vessel Interceptor, working near the Eastern Sambos reef south of Key West. click here to read the story 11:07

Fish Stocks And Our Balance Of Payments

Our balance of payments is overly burdened by our consumption of seafood: We import approximately 90% of the seafood that we eat. Given our natural resources, we should be net exporters of seafood. The total value of edible and non-edible fishery imports in the United States was $35.8 billion in 2016. The total value of edible and non-edible exports was $21.3 billion. The imbalance does not imply only a shipment of dollars abroad. It also implies a number of jobs exported, a number of jobs that could be created in this country, were we not to import that much more seafood than we export.,,, The reason for the imbalance in our accounts with other nations is not due to lack of fish in our waters. Not to put too fine a point on it, the imbalance is due to rules and regulations imposed by our National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) that prevent our fishermen from catching fish. click here to read the article by Carmine Gorga 09:21

Big Shrimpin’ – White shrimp could be gold for locals

Dozens of local commercial fishermen are headed west this this weekend with the opening of Louisiana’s white shrimp season. The Mississippi shrimp season opened in June, but Louisiana has only been open for brown shrimp. Brown shrimp and white shrimp are different species of shrimp, but they both command similar prices, officials said.,, About two dozen local fishing boats set out from Bayou Caddy towards Louisiana on Friday and more cast off from others across the Gulf Coast. click here to read the story 08:47

New wooden lobster boat launched at Billings

As lobstermen have seen higher earnings, they have been keeping Maine boatbuilders busy, ordering new and, generally, larger boats at what seems to be a record pace. Most of the new boats are built of fiberglass, but last Friday Stonington boatbuilder Peter Buxton launched a handsome 32-foot wooden lobster boat for Brooksville lobsterman Kathy Lymburner. Christened Emma G, the new boat is one of just a handful of wooden boats that will enter the lobster fishing fleet. For the past several years Lymburner and her sternman, Meg Carton, have fished out of a 28-foot fiberglass lobster boat. When Lymburner decided she wanted a bigger boat she went to Buxton to build it. click here to read the story 17:21

Feeding the data gluttons

I see the Ministry for Primary Industries is claiming it needs GPS tracking and cameras on commercial fishing boats to better monitor the fisheries and make better and more timely decisions. I say this is rubbish as we already give them tow by tow GPS coordinates and catch estimates in the trawl fishery and they do not use this information now. As for timely management decisions, well that’s a joke. Our elephant quota has been out of balance with catches for over 20 years. I spend more time avoiding fish than I do catching it. click here to read the letter 14:30

What happens in the sea during a solar eclipse?

On July 20th, 1963, three scientists sat on a research ship 200 miles south of Woods Hole, MA, waiting for something remarkable. They were nearly 4000m above the seafloor, and using sonar, they could ‘see’ a line of creatures resting in the deep. By this time, biologists were beginning to unravel the mystery of this ‘false bottom’–a layer in the ocean that looks the the sea floor on sonar but isn’t–which covered much of the ocean. This false bottom rises in up at night and sinks down during the day. This rising and falling is in fact caused by the largest migration of animal on Earth–everything from fish, shrimp and jellyfish, moving hundreds of meters in unison up and down each day. But how and why these animals rose in fell in the ocean wasn’t clear. As the scientists watched their instruments, the light began to fade. Not from the setting sun, but from something else. click here to read the story 13:27

Coast Guard issues order requiring approved salvage plan for grounded fishing vessel in Estero Bluffs State Park

The Coast Guard directed the owner of the commercial fishing vessel, Point Estero, to submit a salvage plan before making any arrangements to refloat the grounded vessel near Estero Bluffs State Park Thursday evening. The Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach commander, Capt. Charlene Downey, instructed the owner to submit a plan detailing actions to be taken by the owner to make the vessel seaworthy for safe transit to a facility to affect permanent repairs for approval by a local Coast Guard representative. After the Point Estero grounded July 28, the Coast Guard removed approximately 91 gallons of oil, 2.5 cubic yards of contaminated material and two marine-grade batteries to prevent pollution. -USCG-

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for August 18, 2017

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates, Click here 12:37

WWII veteran reels in one more tuna

Frank Chase became the talk of the dock in Seabrook this week after the 91-year-old landed a 300-pound bluefin tuna and hauled it into Yankee Fishermen’s Cooperative. Chase, who lives on Railroad Avenue, landed the catch Saturday afternoon after a 35-minute fight with the fish. He caught the tuna on a 22-foot boat with just one friend to assist. .,,, Chase said it was 1:30 p.m. when he saw his rod on the side of the boat hook up to a fish that pulled so hard he thought it was a shark. Chase grabbed the rod from its holder there and carried it to a holder at the front of the boat so he and his friend could follow the tuna from behind. The tuna became caught at the boat’s anchor, where many fishermen lose their bluefins that are able to use the anchor to cut free from the line. Chase skillfully guided the boat around the anchor without breaking the line, and the battle went on. click here to read the story 12:13

Falklands: Outwitting canny fur seals feasting on abundant Loligo

Falkland Islands Senior Fisheries Scientist Dr Alexander Arkhipkin explains the habits of fur seals and the efforts undertaken to reduce by-catch in the Loligo fishery. Stocks of Falkland calamari (Loligo) are very prolific this year. During the first season, the fleet harvested around 40,000 tons, and two weeks of the second season brought onboard another 10,000 tons of squid. Aggregations of calamari are so dense that fishing vessels worked up to their freezing capacities having an average of 60-65 tons of squid per vessel per day. Very unusually this year, dense squid aggregations also attracted their natural predators, fur seals and sea lions into the fishing area. As the vessels concentrate squid in front of the trawl, seals have their feeding frenzy in the close vicinity of the net, and within the net too. click here to read the story 11:44

Price plunge: P.E.I. lobster fishermen say they’re losing $2/lb

Some P.E.I. lobster fishermen say they were told Thursday they would get $4.50 a pound for market lobster and $4 a pound for canners — a $2 drop. New Brunswick lobster fisherman received similar news, which led a number of fisherman to tie up their boats in protest. Shelton Barlow fishes lobster out of Howard’s Cove, P.E.I., and when he heard of the lobster pricing Thursday he couldn’t believe it. In his 40 years of fishing, Barlow said, this quick price drop is the worst he’s ever seen. click here to read the story 10:44

New Blue Catfish Regulation Threatening Health of Chesapeake Bay and Business

The blue catfish is putting up quite the fight and it’s making Delmarva crabbers like Ryan Crouch frustrated. A new federal regulation will make it harder for those who catch blue catfish to sell them. The more catfish caught – the better off the crab population and the livelihoods of the watermen who catch them. The regulation, which goes into effect in September, requires watermen to hire an inspector before the fish can be sold. Watermen like Crouch and business owners like Joe Spurry Jr. of Bay Hundred Seafood are fighting this new regulation. They say the more catfish out of the bay, the more crabs there are to catch. click here to read the story 10:02

Capital Seafood rising from the ashes – literally

Eastern Passage-based Capital Seafood International is getting ready to rise from the ashes after a fire destroyed its lobster processing and storage building last November. “Last year, it was terrible,” Jiu Chang, vice-president of Capital Seafood, said in an interview Thursday. “Not only did we lose the working area and the equipment but also the production. We just can’t do anything.” The electrical fire that ripped through the two-storey building on Government Wharf Road last year took out processing equipment, damaged lobster holding tanks and burned through two offices. The total loss of last November’s fire is estimated at more than $1 million, including the building, equipment and inventory. click here to read the story 09:16

Hickeys Launch New Commercial Fishing Vessel

The Gunnar J is the new 46-foot aluminum trap net boat powered by a Cummins QSC 660 engine, built by Hickey Bros. Research. The construction was supervised by Todd Stuth at Hickey Bros. Research, with help from Dennis and Jeff Hickey, Steve Warwick and John Tong. The boat will fish Lake Michigan for the Hickey Bros. Fishery. It is named after Gunnar Stuth, son of Todd Stuth and the youngest grandson of Dennis Hickey. link 08:41

With My Brother, in Pursuit of Pink Salmon

The weather’s riled up today, blowing wind and web in my face as I stack the corkline that floats our seine net. The afternoon wind tosses our net around as waves spray saltwater over the boat rails and across the deck. We wrangle the bag of fish alongside and with a combination of manual strength and hydraulic power, pour the splashing pink salmon into the fish hold full of chilled sea water. This week feels like summer storming its way into fall, with beautiful days feeling almost tropical backed right up to days of sideways rain and gusty squalls. Nelly Hand is a commercial salmon fisherman from Cordova, Alaska. click here to read the story and more photo’s 20:11

Twillingate fisherman ready to sell cod, but no one is buying

John Gillett is ready to start landing cod, but no one is buying. “I didn’t sell either cod fish in July and (as of Aug. 11) I haven’t got one sold yet,” he said. “I was told processors are dragging their feet on purchasing cod because capelin and turbot are coming into the plants at the same time. There is a shortage of workers, also a shortage of fish tubs to hold the cod. But with more than 40 ground fish processing licenses in the province, Gillett wants to know why only a few are processing cod.,,, “I really don’t think the provincial and federal governments want a successful inshore fishery. It’s a form of resettlement, because in the outports, what is there other than the fishery?” click here to read the story 17:22

Commercial Crab Vessel Skipper Fined $15,000

On April 10, 2017, Van Tan Le, skipper of the commercial crabbing vessel Vitamin Sea Vl, pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act by harvesting Dungeness crab, between June 21 and June 30, 2015, in a closed area. Judge H J Seidemann III ordered Mr. Le to pay a total of $15,000, with $14,000 of that to be used for fisheries preservation and conservation projects in and around Haida Gwaii and Hecate Strait. The charges stem from Mr. Le setting more than 49 crab traps inside the Soft-shell Management Area 10 – McIntyre Bay closure area. A routine audit of the vessel’s logbook and electronic monitoring data revealed possible fishing violations and triggered a DFO fishery officer investigation in the summer of 2015. click here to read the story 13:48

Some N.B. lobster fishermen tie up in protest over price

Some lobster fishermen in eastern New Brunswick have tied up their boats in a protest over the prices they’re getting for lobster. Fishermen in ports such as Pointe Sapin and Richibucto remained at the docks Thursday, saying landings are down and prices are low. Michel Richard, an organizer with the Maritime Fishermen’s Union, says processors suggested much higher prices before the fall season began on Aug. 8, but instead they’re paying about $2 per pound lower. Fishermen say right now they’re being paid about $4.25 a pound for canners and $4.75 a pound for market lobsters. Richard says fishermen are upset because they aren’t getting a clear answer from the buyers and processors on a reason for the lower prices. link 12:22

Lobster fishermen tie up boats after meeting processors about low prices – Fishermen have been getting paid, but none have received official pay stubs, so Richard said there is no proof of what the current prices really are. click here to read the story 16:37

Warming oceans: fish on the move

The oceans are getting warmer, and fish are adapting to rising ocean temperatures with their fins and swimming to waters that better suit their temperature preferences. Shifts in the distribution of important coastal fish species are resulting in changes to historical fishing options, new fishing opportunities and new fisheries management challenges.,, These northern shifts in fish populations have presented fisheries management challenges. Coastwide or regional Fisheries Management Plans (FMPs) are used to manage all of these species, but these FMPs have not always kept up with the changing distribution of these species. Take summer flounder and black sea bass as examples. click here to read the story 10:51

Christie rebukes Trump Administration over Atlantic offshore drilling plan

The Christie administration Wednesday issued a rebuke to President Donald Trump’s bid to open Atlantic Ocean waters to offshore drilling. In formal comments filed with the federal government, Gov. Chris Christie reaffirmed his opposition to any industrialization of the New Jersey coast that could affect the state’s natural resources, coastal communities or economy. It’s a rare case of policy agreement between environmental groups and Christie. New Jersey officials have long opposed drilling in the Atlantic because any spills could put New Jersey’s estimated $700 billion in coastal properties at risk. The state’s $45 billion Shore-based tourism industry and its commercial fishing industry, which generates $8 billion annually and supports about 50,000 jobs, could also be impacted by a spill. click here to read the story 09:20

Another dead North Atlantic right whale found off Cape Cod

Another dead North Atlantic right whale has been spotted off Massachusetts, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths in North America this summer to at least 13. The U.S. Coast Guard documented and reported the latest carcass on Monday, Jennifer Goebel, public affairs officer for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Greater Atlantic region, confirmed on Wednesday. This is the third dead North Atlantic right whale discovered in U.S. waters, said Goebel. The news comes just one week after another whale was found floating off Martha’s Vineyard, the Massachusetts island south of Cape Cod. click here to read the story 09:04

Whale experts seek why of minke death – The whale had been found floating dead in Blue Hill Bay on Sunday. click here to read the story

FFAW admits error in handling Calvin Tobin death benefit

The Fish, Food and Allied Workers union has admitted it made a mistake in relaying false information to the family of a dead fisherman. The union was too quick to say Calvin Tobin’s family did not qualify for his death benefit, when in fact they may qualify for the entire $30,000, said FFAW project manager Robert Keenan. “We did communicate the wrong information to the family and we’ve been heartbroken by that,” Keenan told the Central Morning Show. “We should be there to be the pillar of support they need and not to cause any further complications.” click here to read the story 08:45

Stock assessment meeting erupts into lively talk between NOAA scientists and fishermen

Diagrams, life-like statues and pictures fill the New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center to depict the history and future of the industry. NOAA scientists and local fishermen filled the small building on Bethel Street on Wednesday night to discuss future stock assessments. The meeting, though, told another aspect in the story of the Port of New Bedford: the decades old tension that continues to exist between the groups. “We all have to pull in the same direction,” Executive Director of New Bedford Seafood Consulting Jim Kendall said. Instead a powerpoint presentation listing stock limits led to a discussion, which evolved into an argument and ended with two fishermen abruptly leaving. Russ Brown, director of the Population Dynamics Branch of NOAA, ended his presentation to meet with the fishermen outside. They spoke outside for 20 minutes before parting ways with a semblance of mutual respect. click here to read the story 20:44

Developing … Peter Pan Seafoods Port Moller plant devastated in overnight fire

The Peter Pan Seafoods processing plant in Port Moller has been devastated by a massive fire that burned through the night and into Wednesday morning. So far no one has been reported injured, but power, running water, and most phone and internet connections are down in remote community. “The fire started kind of in the production end of things, kind of the freezing warehouse at Peter Pan Seafoods last night. And consumed most of the production facilities that we can tell,” said Bob Murphy, the ADF&G area management biologist based in Port Moller. Murphy was reached a little before 8 a.m. Wednesday. A fisherman who watched the fire from his vessel reported that he saw flames shooting 150 feet high, and that the long dock was eventually cut away to contain the fire. click here to read the story 15:21

Gulf dead zone bigger than ever, affecting shrimping

The Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone – an area starved of oxygen that cannot support life – has reached the largest size documented since mapping began 35 years ago, researchers maintain in a new report. The dimensions – this year the size of New Jersey – are of particular concern because they appear related to concerns expressed by shrimpers about their catch, particularly in Terrebonne Parish waters. “They may be catching some close to shore,” said Dr. Nancy Rabalais, the oceanographer who pioneered Gulf dead zone research and who compiled the most recent report on its effects. “But they are not going to get anything between Terrebonne Bay and 25 or 35 miles offshore.” That’s bad news, with the 2017 white shrimp season fast approaching. click here to read the story 14:49

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 42′ Wesmac Gillnetter/Lobster, 585HP, 6 Cylinder CAT

Specifications, information and 16 photos click here To see all the boats in this series, Click here 14:13