Monthly Archives: February 2018

Hitting the Trail: NOAA’s GARFO leader looks to cultivate culture of collaboration

As debuts go, Mike Pentony’s first day on the job as the regional director for NOAA’s Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office was a corker. The federal government marked his ascension on Jan. 22 as only the federal government can — shutting down all but the most essential government services as a consequence of the usual congressional mumbley-peg. “My first action was to come in and proceed with the orderly shutdown of government operations,” Pentony said recently during an interview in the corner office on the uppermost floor of GARFO headquarters in Gloucester’s Blackburn Industrial Park. The respite was short-lived. The shutdown lasted a day. >click to read< 23:52

NOAA FOIA Response Suggests Refusal to Search Council Member Email Accounts for Records on At-Sea Monitoring Amendment

Earlier this month, Cause of Action Institute (“CoA Institute”) filed an administrative appeal of a final response by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”) to CoA Institute’s Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request concerning NOAA’s efforts to expand industry funded at-sea monitoring—specifically, to the herring and mackerel fisheries—and to lay the foundation for industry funding across all of New England and the Mid-Atlantic. NOAA’s processing of the request suggests that the agency failed to search email accounts belonging to members of the fishery management councils even though they are subject to public disclosure. Based on the limited records that were disclosed, NOAA’s search appears improperly limited to its own employees. >click to read< 15:00

Trapped in the Arctic ice

When the crab fishing vessel Kiska Sea ventured through rough weather into the far northern arctic floes of the Bering Sea, it was seeking a million-dollar payday. But that hunt in 2013 gave the crew more than they had bargained for. Near-hurricane-force winds had pushed a massive ice pack southward, swallowing the ship’s crab pots whole and threatening the vessel itself. The Kiska Sea found itself surrounded by ice with no clear way out. >click to read< 14:27

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 40′ Young Bros. Lobster/Tuna, Detroit 6-V-92, North Lights – 8 KW Genset

Specifications, information and 29 photos >click here< To see all the boats in this series, >Click here<12:57

Court Slaps Down The First Legal Challenge To Trump’s ‘1-In, 2-Out’ Policy

A federal court dismissed a coalition of liberal activists’ lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s executive order that two regulations be repealed for every new one that’s proposed, also known as the “1-in, 2-out” policy. Public Citizen, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) argued Trump’s deregulation order was unconstitutional, but the D.C. district court ruled the plaintiffs failed to show Trump’s executive order caused any injury that would give them standing to sue. >click to read< 12:10

Kelty Stands By Letter Against Fishermen’s Finest, Despite Company’s Pleas Before Council

Concerned about losing fisheries revenue, Mayor Frank Kelty asked Congress last month to restrict a troubled factory trawler in Anacortes, Washington. Despite pleas to soften his position, Kelty said he’s not backing down now. “I think you could tell by my letter that I feel strongly about this,” he said.  Sent on behalf of the Unalaska City Council, Kelty’s letter called for “sideboard” constraints on American’s Finest, a new catcher-processor vessel commissioned by Fishermen’s Finest. >click to read< 10:19

Carlsbad Fish-Breeding Program Is a Mess, Report Confirms

For years, the state has paid the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute to breed and release white seabass into the ocean. The goal was to spawn enough new fish to help overcome threats from pollution, overfishing and habitat destruction. But years of experimental fish breeding at Hubbs’ Carlsbad hatchery have done nearly nothing to help restock the ocean, according to a new report by an independent panel of scientists. Instead, the program has potentially threatened the health of the wild white seabass population. The state has spent $22 million on the program over the past 15 years. In recent years, that’s amounted to about $12 per fish released into the ocean. >click to read< 08:49

Gulf of St. Lawrence snow crab season to be discussed at Moncton meeting

Fisheries and Oceans Canada officials will meet with snow crab industry representatives in Moncton Wednesday to discuss the upcoming season in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. The purpose of the meeting is to “provide advice regarding global management issues in the snow crab fishery,” according to the agenda. Some of the topics to be discussed during the public meeting include the season opening and new management measures, proposed changes to the Fisheries Act and an update on enforcement of conservation and protection. >click to read< 08:14

Maine Lobstermen’s Association to replace longtime leader

The largest commercial fishing industry group on the East Coast will elect a new leader this Friday for the first time in 27 yearsa Cutler fisherman, is expected to take the reins of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association at the end of its annual meeting in Rockport. Porter, however, said it is “not a done deal” that he’ll become the group’s next president.,, The MLA was founded in 1954 and, with 1,200 members, bills itself as “the oldest and largest fishing industry association on the East Coast.” It holds its annual meeting each year at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum,,, >click to read< 07:24

43rd Maine Fishermen’s Forum opens on Thursday

The weathermen may be predicting snow for the weekend but Maine fishermen, or at least the Maine Fishermen’s Forum, say that spring is nearly upon us. The 43rd annual Maine Fishermen’s Forum gets under way on Thursday at the Samoset Resort in Rockport. The event features three days of seminars and workshops that bring fishermen from the along the entire New England coast together with: state and federal fisheries scientists, regulators and managers; political incumbents and hopefuls; and maritime enterprises hawking everything from new lobster boats and giant diesel engines to lobster traps, marine electronics, refrigeration systems and foul weather gear. >click to read< 20:40

There’s a Repulican Running for US Senate, He’s Listening to the Industry People in New Bedford

Geoff Diehl cruised around the Port of New Bedford in an RV Tuesday that maneuvered in and out of small entrances and exits.  The red, white, and blue mobile home featured the slogan of the Republican U.S. Senate candidate, ” The Real Diehl,” as he looked to learn the reality of the fishing industry in the area. Diehl made four stops in the area, which began with Mayor Jon Mitchell and concluded with a meeting with three members on the board of Sector 9 as well as the sector’s lawyer. Diehl questioned what incumbent Elizabeth Warren has done,,,>click here to read< 18:47

Florida Fishermen to cast vote against net ban

Local commercial fishermen plan to petition Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) next month to place an amendment on the November ballot reversing the gill net ban. Mark Coarsey, of Fishing for Freedom’s Manatee County chapter, has been collecting signatures in support of lifting the net ban at the annual Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival in recent years. He will be taking them to the last of five CRC meetings in the state on Tuesday, March 13, from 1-7 p.m. at the University of South Florida Student Center, 200 Sixth Ave. S. in St. Petersburg. >click to read< 17:53

Largest Chinook salmon disappearing from West Coast

The largest and oldest Chinook salmon — fish also known as “kings” and prized for their exceptional size — have mostly disappeared along the West Coast. That’s the main finding of a new University of Washington-led study published Feb. 27 in the journal Fish and Fisheries. The researchers analyzed nearly 40 years of data from hatchery and wild Chinook populations from California to Alaska, looking broadly at patterns that emerged over the course of four decades and across thousands of miles of coastline. In general, Chinook salmon populations from Alaska showed the biggest reductions in age and size, with Washington salmon a close second. >click to read<17:14

Crab Fight! Aboard Alaska’s Quest to Be America’s King of Crab

Deep in the Bering Sea off Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, the U.S. and Russia share fishing waters that are home to this nation’s supply of king and snow crab. Predictably, the relationship is contentious. While the two nations compete for room on your plate, the deck is stacked against Alaskan fisheries thanks to cheaper imported product and illegal crab. Despite the economics, the Alaskan crab industry, made famous by The Discovery Channel’s hit show, Deadliest Catch, fights for quality and sustainability in a competitive, and sometimes sketchy, global market. >click to read<13:47

Inshore shrimp harvesters, plant workers worried about 2018

It’s another year of uncertainty for harvesters and plant workers in shrimp fishing area 6.  On Feb. 16, DFO released findings that northern shrimp stocks in area 6 had declined another 16 per cent from last year. The stock remains in the “critical” zone. This information came following a year when inshore harvesters saw a 63 per cent quota cut. If the stock decrease is a sign that more quota cuts are coming, it’s looking like another difficult year for local harvesters and plant workers. Chris Rose of St. Carol’s is an inshore shrimp harvester. He is the owner and skipper of the Ashley and Brothers, a 65-footer. >click to read< 12:39

Oregon considers new rules for crab

As closures related to harmful marine toxins continue to plague Oregon’s lucrative commercial Dungeness crab fishery, new rules are under consideration that will help state fishery managers trace crab after it is caught and respond with more flexibility. In April, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider making permanent several rules introduced this crab season. A related bill is working its way through the Legislature. >click to read< 11:25

Are North Atlantic Right Whales Becoming Extinct? Experts Warn About Declining Fertility

The North Atlantic right whales may soon become extinct as no new births have been recorded, experts have warned. According to a report in the Guardian, the scientists who observed a whale community off the U.S. coast have not recorded any new births in the right whale population. The report also stated that a huge number of right whale deaths were recorded in 2017. Scientists have, therefore, said that a blend of the rising mortality rate and the declining fertility rate is resulting in the extinction of the right whales. >click to read<10:30 

Making Safety Training Fun! Cordova Community Taps Skills and Humor to Highlight Marine Safety

Marine safety is never far from coastal Alaskans’ thoughts, where commercial fishing and other marine trades are their livelihood. This holds true in Cordova, a community of 2,200 on Prince William Sound. Every February Cordovans enjoy displaying and testing their cold water safety skills during the Iceworm Survival Suit Races by donning survival suits, swimming to a life raft, and boarding the raft—all of which is more difficult than it sounds. This year ten teams joined in, including a visiting US Coast Guard team from the Homer-based buoy tender Hickory. >click to read< Survival Suit Race 2018 – the video >click to watch< 09:42

DFO says Snow crab biomass relatively unchanged

Snow crab stocks off Newfoundland and Labrador remain at low levels going into this spring’s fishery, and while that may result in status quo or lower quotas, there is optimism for coming years. The optimism may only hold true if measures are taken to further protect an apparent increase in small and medium-sized crab being seen in most areas of the province. A technical briefing held by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Monday morning in St. John’s showed that while the snow crab biomass remains relatively unchanged from last year, more favourable water temperatures for crab have resulted in better production in the last couple of years. >click to read< 22:01

Scientists Worry, The Ocean’s ‘Twilight Zone’ Faces Fishing Threat

The mesopelagic area of the ocean plays a crucial role in marine ecosystems, but it has remained largely untouched and unexplored But now some nations are eyeing the deep sea as potentially rich new fishing grounds. Virtually no sunlight reaches the deep waters of the mesopelagic zone of the ocean, which ranges from about 650 to 3,000ft (200–900m) in depth. And until now, few fishing nets have either. But that soon may change. Fishing nations are exploring the possibilities of trawling the ocean’s “twilight zone,” a vast mid-water world left largely untouched by fishing, where light-generating fish and pelagic shrimp swarm in immense masses. Norway has led the push, driven largely by a coastal aquaculture industry in need of plentiful feed for farm-raised fish. >click to read< 20:40

Billion Oyster Project – Environmentalists, Scientists Pledge 10 Billion Oysters By 2025, Watermen Skeptical

Drilling away, waterman Guy Spurry was working hard on Monday – not oystering – but building his boat. And in Annapolis the same morning, scientists and environmentalists say a new plan will have them working hard too. That plan – to bring 10 billion oysters to the Chesapeake Bay by the year 2025. Spurry says he’s skeptical. “It may work and it may not. It’s just a guessing game and it cost a lot of money to play these games,” Spurry said. It’s a money game that some argue needs to be played. >click to read< 18:31

Maritime fishermen’s groups pull out of meetings with Northern Pulp

Groups representing fishermen’s associations in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and P.E.I. say they won’t meet with representatives from Northern Pulp unless the paper mill provides an alternative to its plan to pump treated effluent into the Northumberland Strait. On Monday, representatives from the Gulf Nova Scotia Fleet Planning Board (GNSFPB), the Prince Edward Island Fishermen’s Association and the Maritime Fishermen’s Union went public with the decision, which was announced at a meeting with Northern Pulp last Tuesday. “They’re asking us to take all the risk. One hundred per cent of the risk is going to be borne by the fishermen. If something goes wrong, it’s our fishery,” >click to read<14:47

Catastrophic engine failure on scallop trawler due to broken equipment, human error, says TSB

A combination of maintenance gaps, a broken emergency stop mechanism and the actions of an inexperienced crew member were to blame for the catastrophic engine failure aboard scallop dragger Atlantic Destiny last year, a Transportation Safety Board investigation has found. On March 14, Atlantic Destiny lost main engine power about 370 kilometres south of Yarmmouth, N.S. Thirty-one people were on board the factory freezer trawler, which is based in Riverport, N.S. Atlantic Destiny is part of the fleet owned by Ocean Choice International of Newfoundland and Labrador. >click to read< 13:02

Lobster band blues

A walk along your nearest beach could very well be marred by the sight of thousands of multi-coloured lobster bands strewn along the high-water mark this time of year. The multitude that end up on shorelines isn’t pretty and some who have seen them ask a common question. Why don’t lobster fishermen go back to the old-fashioned, environmentally friendly solution of using wooden pegs for the same purpose? Vernon D’Eon, former owner of Vernon D’Eon Lobster Plugs Ltd., says there are several reasons why the switch was made. >click to read< 10:54

Puget Sound region’s Atlantic salmon fish farms could be headed for final harvest

The salmon-farming industry in the United States got its start right here in the Puget Sound region in the 1970s with experiments to raise salmon perfectly pan-sized or just right to fit the slot of a TV dinner. Union Carbide, then Campbell’s Soup, and a string of other entrepreneurs eventually decided docile, domesticated Atlantic salmon fattened up fastest and best in the open-water net pens they were test-piloting in Puget Sound. The industry really took off when federal fisheries scientists, with more than 1 million jilted Atlantic salmon eggs intended for restocking depleted East Coast streams, instead gave them to private industry. >click to read< 10:27

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for February 23, 2018

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates Click here, for older updates listed as NCFA click here 08:23

Skipper celebrating clean bill of health with trawler Robyn

Castletownbere fisherman Daniel Healy is not only celebrating the launch of his new trawler, but also the 11th anniversary of his kidney transplant. Skipper and owner Daniel purchased the 20m Robyn RJ late last year, and, following some modifications, is now fishing with his crew of four, landing their catch into Castletownbere where he lives with his wife Maureen and their three children. >click to read< 21:22 

Nil’s Stolpe writes, The Magnuson-Stevens amendment I want under the Christmas tree

OVERFISHING! This has become one of the oceans branch of the doom and gloom prognisticator’s (aka Environmental Non Governmental Organizations or ENGOs) principal calls for alms. To wit, they have collectively raked in hundreds of millions of dollars from big business-supported foundations and trusting members of the public to persecute (generally commercial) fishermen who they preach are the cause of “overfishing,” the major threat to the sanctity of the oceans. (I’ll note here that the Pew “Charitable” Trusts was the multibillion dollar foundation that initiated the war on fishermen.) This purposeful misuse of the term “overfishing” has been one of the most subtle and most effective weapons in the anti-fishing activists’ arsenal. Nils Stolpe FishNetUSA >click to read< 18:00

The Women Bringing Sustainable Lobster Fishing Into the Future

For Heather Thompson, lobster fishing is the family trade. As a fourth-generation lobsterman, she captains an all-female crew aboard Gold Digger, her fishing vessel in Harrington, Maine. Using sustainable practices that help Red Lobster maintain its commitment to traceable, sustainable and responsible seafood, Thompson helps ensure that future generations will live a life where the sea provides. >click to watch< 15:40

Ex Accused of Systematic Smelly Seafood Scheme in Tolland

A Trumbull woman is facing a felony charge for a series of actions against an ex-boyfriend from Tolland and the accusations include vandalism and strategically placing seafood in his home and car to create smelly situations, an arrest warrant indicates. The man said their relationship had been deteriorating and they went on a cruise together regardless and things did not go well, according to a warrant. She allegedly told him she once put sardines in an ex-boyfriend’s car air conditioning vent for revenge, a warrant states. >click to read< 12:50