Monthly Archives: April 2018

Tough Conditions – A windy start for Togiak herring fishing Sunday

The Togiak herring fishery opened this morning at 6 a.m. It has been a windy start for the state’s largest sac roe herring fishery. Gusts over 30 miles per hour are posing a challenge for fishermen said area management biologist, Tim Sands. “The seine fleet is over there, and it’s pretty tough conditions today because of weather. I know some fish is being taken, but I don’t think a lot.”
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game surveyed the district Saturday and concluded the enough herring had arrived to meet the threshold for opening the fishery—35,000 tons. >click to read<20:13

Commercial Fishing in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone – What was being caught and where back to 1950

What is the status of commercial fishing in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, the waters from 3 to 200 miles off our coastline? Generally speaking – something that the “bureaucrats in charge” have developed a great deal of facility in doing – it’s pretty good. Since the National Marine Fisheries Service started getting serious about tracking commercial landings (or at making those landings readily accessible) in 1950, the total weight of our domestic landings has increased from 4.9 billion to 9.8 billion pounds. The value of those landings, when corrected for inflation, has increased from $3.3 billion to $5.2 billion, almost as good. Nils E. Stolpe/FishNet USA >click to read<17:03

East Coast offshore drilling just got dumber

Seismic testing for potential offshore oil or gas — long opposed by Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling and City Council — just got dumber. Frank Knapp Jr., president and CEO of the SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce, has been bird-dogging opposition to offshore drilling and seismic testing. “Government documents and firsthand accounts of munitions and radioactive waste being dumped off the Atlantic Coast from Massachusetts to Florida came to our attention only recently,” Knapp said. On Friday, Knapp sent out a news release with this warning: >click to read<16:26

What’s going to have two claws and a hard shell? Shippagan’s new roadside attraction

Shediac has the giant lobster. Campbellton has the giant salmon. You can see giant fiddleheads in Plaster Rock and a giant cow and calf in Sussex. And if Shippagan has its way, there will soon be a giant crab, a tribute to its fishing industry. The Town of Shippagan believes the sight of big crab boats dry-docked at its sprawling wharf is not enough for tourists to see when visiting during the summer, said Jules Desylva, who manages tourism for the town. >click to read<15:53

Freeze on illegal lobster magnate’s multi-millions

The Royal Court has decided to maintain a freeze on the assets of Arnold Bengis, who admitted his involvement in a conspiracy to land huge amounts of the prized shellfish in excess of permitted quotas between 1999 until 2001. The illegally caught lobster were shipped to the US.  The court was asked to rule on whether Bengis could have access to more than $23 million, which formed part of the $37.2 million [£26.4 million] which had been the subject of a forfeiture order. An appeal against the order was launched by a Lichtenstein-based trust company. >click to read<15:06

N.H. seafood program starts sixth season

Monkfish. Jonah crabs. Dogfish shark. Dabs. As New Hampshire Community Seafood starts its sixth year of operation, the species being served may not always be familiar. But the idea of a local CSA seafood is becoming almost routine. NHCS, a cooperative that buys directly from commercial fishing operations based on the state’s seacoast, began the season Thursday with the first of weekly seafood deliveries at 21 locations in New Hampshire – including Cole Gardens in Concord, Brookford Farm in Canterbury and the Contoocook Farmers Market – plus Kittery, Maine, and Dracut, Mass. >click to read<10:56

Still on the hook

Alaska officials are denying they’ve officially cut a deal to let off easy Kami Cabana, the now notorious seine-boat skipper indicted on charges of felony assault with a weapon after a Prince William Sound ramming, but they admit plea bargaining is underway. The 27-year-old Cabana was at the controls of the 58-foot, 81-ton Chugach Pearl in the summer of 2016 when a 49th state fish war escalated into actual ship-to-ship combat. Part of a Cabana-family led effort to wall of the back of Hidden Bay on Culross Island about 20 miles east of Whittier prior to a commercial, pink salmon opening, Cabana took aggressive action when the F/V Temptation tried to run the blockade. >click to read<08:04

BP granted approval to start drilling off Nova Scotia’s coast

BP Canada has been given the green light to start drilling off Nova Scotia’s coast. On Saturday, the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) granted approval for the company to begin drilling one deepwater exploration well about 300 kilometres offshore. BP has applied to drill a total of four wells in the area, but Mi’kmaq communities have opposed the project saying it poses a serious risk to food, social and ceremonial fishing areas. >click to read<15:37

New Jersey: Murphy signs offshore drilling ban into law

Phil Murphy (D) signed into law Friday a bill meant to block offshore drilling for oil and natural gas in state-controlled waters. The new law is in response to Trump’s executive order a year ago that encouraged oil and natural gas exploration in United States coastal waters.,, The bill, which also bans permitting of any infrastructure to serve drilling farther offshore in federally controlled waters, is meant as a direct rebuke to the Trump administration’s proposal to allow drilling off of almost all of the nation’s coasts, including off of New Jersey. >click to read<14:27

Thousands of cleanup workers that claim BP oil spill made them sick haven’t had day in court

In the sea of fines, fees and compensation BP has paid to individuals, businesses, governments and lawyers for its 2010 oil spill, one group of claimants stands out for missing out on the billions.,,, Another claimant is shrimper George Barisich. He received compensation for his seafood business losses under a separate settlement, and he filed a claim for a chronic illness from exposure to the oil and chemical dispersants used to break up oil particles in the Gulf. “There’s no justice here for people who actually worked, went out there to clean up their mess,, >click to read<12:49

Throw out FISH-NL application, FFAW says after labour board ruling

The results of an investigation by the Labour Relations Board is proof that FISH-NL has insufficient support to trigger a ratification vote and its application to represent inshore fish harvesters should be dismissed, says Fish Food and Allied Workers union president Keith Sullivan. FISH-NL president Ryan Cleary, however, says the latest development is just more “smoke and mirrors” by the FFAW.  Sullivan issued a news release Friday saying an investigation by the provincial government board has confirmed that membership numbers presented by the FFAW are accurate. >click to read<12:14

2018 lobster boat race calendar is released

Icy weather notwithstanding, the release last week of the Maine Lobster Boat Racing Association calendar poster is an absolute sign that summer is just around the corner. The poster features a striking photo of big, diesel-powered boats thundering up Moosabec Reach during last year’s Jonesport/Beals Island Lobster Boat Races with Winter Harbor fisherman Billy Bob Faulkingaham’s 51 front and center, leading the Class M pack. This year’s calendar includes 11 events, with the season bookended by June 16 racing in Boothbay Harbor and an Aug. 19 finale in Portland. >click to read<

Fisherman Jack Troake recalls a life on the water

Jack Troake acknowledges the work was gruesome, but said it had to be done. “No, I don’t miss seal hunting,” the veteran sealer based in Twillingate said. “Turns me stomach there when I talk about it. That’s how much I hates it. But you do it because it is part of your culture and your way of life.” The isolation of rural outports in Newfoundland made life difficult. For the most part, the communities living there had to be self-reliant by growing their own vegetables, and turned to fishing for their livelihoods. “It’s the way of life you know, b’y,,, >click to read<10:33

FISH-NL: Paper names and paper numbers; FFAW-Unifor’s dues-paying list more smoke and mirrors

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the FFAW-Unifor is playing its usual smoke and mirrors with regards to a report released this afternoon by the province’s Labour Relations Board. The report — prepared by the Board’s investigator into FISH-NL’s Dec. 30, 2016 application for certification — includes information on the number of people who paid FFAW-Unifor union dues in 2015 and 2016. >click to read<09:21

Oregon Fish and Wildlife commissioners back gillnetters

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission is again pushing for commercial salmon fishermen to get time on the Columbia River. Oregon and Washington state adopted a policy nearly six years ago to slowly phase gillnetters off the river’s main stem, but Oregon has second-guessed the wisdom of the decision. The five commissioners at a meeting in Astoria on Friday said they supported looking into a summer Chinook salmon season for gillnetters — something they attempted to do last year. Commissioners walked back that move, however, after Gov. Kate Brown instructed them to align with her administration and Washington state. >click to read<21:04

Maine Maritime Museum to celebrate relaunching of historic fishing schooner

Maine Maritime Museum in Bath plans to celebrate the full restoration of the 1906 schooner Mary E, the oldest Bath-built vessel still sailing, by hosting a public recommissioning ceremony as the vessel is launched into the Kennebec River on June 9. Built in Bath in 1906 and restored in 1965 on the grounds of what is now Maine Maritime Museum, Mary E is a two-masted clipper schooner and the oldest surviving Maine-built fishing schooner. The museum purchased Mary E in early 2017. >click to read<18:42

From seafood to smokables – High hopes for a historic fishing town

Cannabis could be coming to the rescue of a Newfoundland fishing community that’s been without an economic centre since Hurricane Igor laid waste to the area in 2010. Port Union’s old Ocean Choice International fish plant could soon be used to plant marijuana. The disused building is in the final stages of a sale to local businessman Daniel Porter,,, Between 70 and 100 jobs are envisioned for the plant, with a business plan to produce about 10,000 kg of cannabis each year. Shelly Blackmore, mayor of Trinity Bay North, is excited about the possibilities. >click to read<18:06

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for April 20, 2018

>Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >Click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here<16:28

Research models how deadly virus moves among Pacific salmon, trout

For the first time researchers studying a deadly virus modeled how it spreads to young trout and salmon in the waters of the Columbia River Basin, showing that migrating adult fish are the main source of exposure. The ecological modeling of the infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus, or IHNV, shows how it moves across the landscape over time, providing a crucial understanding for managers of hatchery programs attempting to protect juvenile salmon and trout. >click to read<15:24

Effort to let Anacortes-built trawler fish in U.S. waters runs aground

Federal legislation to authorize a $75 million Anacortes-built factory trawler to work in U. S waters has foundered — for the second time this spring — in the turbulent political seas of Congress. The measure was included in a Coast Guard reauthorization bill that failed, in a procedural vote, to get the support of 60 senators and move on to a final vote. A provision to allow the 264-foot vessel to net and process fish off Alaska failed to make it into the spending bill passed by Congress in March. >click to read<10:19

Harvesters charged with killing Stellar sea lions

A commercial fisherman and his deckhand have been charged with harassing and killing 15 Steller sea lions found dead during the opening of the 2015 Copper River salmon fishery. Jon Nichols, 31, of Cordova, captain of the F/V Iron Hide, and deckhand Theodore “Teddy” Turgeon, 21, of Wasilla, are charged with harassing and killing the Steller sea lions with shotguns and then making false statements and obstructing the government’s investigation into their criminal activities, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Anchorage said April 19. >click to read<09:14

Debt, determination and hope mingle during dumping day in Larrys River

“To hell with it, let ’er go,” Damien Delorey called back from the wheelhouse. At his command, Robert Hart threw the buoy, waited for the water to draw it taut, and then shoved the trap over. “You’ll never learn if you never try,” the captain murmured quietly to himself. For reasons only he understands, the handful of traps he dumped at this nameless point in the water a few kilometres off Larrys River are a bigger gamble than the rest of the 250 he and his crew set on Thursday. >click to read<08:03

Coast Guard to Remove 1,500 Gallons of Fuel From Burnt Ship Currently Docked Along Eureka’s Waterfront

The Coast Guard is coordinating fuel removal and salvage operations Thursday for a fishing vessel that caught fire Wednesday near Eureka. Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Humboldt Bay pollution responders have determined the 47-foot vessel, Midori, is safe to tow to the Eureka Municipal docks, where a reported 1,500 gallons of diesel will be removed before the boat is salvaged. Fuel removal has not been scheduled. >click to read<23:17

FISH-NL calls for IMMEDIATE ACTION on northern cod, including moratorium on seismic; harvest of more seals

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) recommends Ottawa follow scientific advice on northern cod and restrict removals from all sources to the lowest possible level until the stock clears the critical zone. FISH-NL also calls for an immediate freeze to all scheduled offshore seismic activity off the province’s east coast, support for the taking of the entire seal quota, the introduction of tags in the food fishery, and the ordering of an independent review of “epic” federal fisheries mismanagement in the Newfoundland and Labrador region. >click to read<21:22

‘Two guys are doing all of the work’: Orcas’ inbreeding may devastate the population

Just two male whales fathered more than half the calves born since 1990 in the population of southern-resident killer whales, a sign of inbreeding, scientists have learned. “It was a shocker to find out two guys are doing all of the work,” said Ken Balcomb, director of the Center for Whale Research and an author on a paper published this week in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Animal Conservation. The findings are based on a new genetic analysis of the whales that frequent Washington’s Salish Sea and Puget Sound. >click to read<20:15

UFA Announces Officer and Executive Committee Changes

United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) announced the transition in its leadership effective April 15, with the election of Matt Alward succeeding Jerry McCune as president, Bob Kehoe replacing Alward as vice president, and new executive committee members Rebecca Skinner and Sue Doherty. Jerry McCune has served most recently as UFA president since 2014, as well as from 1992 to 1996, and has served as a paid or volunteer lobbyist for UFA throughout the past two decades. He was named to the UFA Alaska Seafood Industry Hall of Fame among the initial inductees in 2009, and will continue to serve on the UFA executive committee. Matt Alward represents North Pacific Fisheries Association on the UFA board and,,,>click to read<18:37

Haines Fishermen’s Alliance to advocate for salmon, habitat in face of large mine

A new Haines fishermen’s group called the Haines Fishermen’s Alliance will work to advocate for salmon and salmon habitat. “It is a group of fishermen outside of the group that was already started and has been around for many, many years, which is the Lynn Canal Gillnetters Association, a group of like-minded people who have serious questions about having a large-scale industrial mine above the watershed that is feeding our industry, our fish,” said Haines resident JR Churchill, who helped form the group. >click to read<17:11

Fishermen air concerns about Vineyard Wind

Looking to create a sea change in energy production in Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker signed “An Act to Promote Energy Diversity” with overwhelming bipartisan support in 2016. A key provision of the legislation mandated that utilities solicit long-term contracts with offshore wind farm developers, with the goal of adding 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2027. Fast-forward to Tuesday night, at the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center, where federal and state officials, along with representatives from Vineyard Wind, gathered for a “scoping session” to hear how Islanders feel about having the first large-scale offshore wind farm in the United States – 106 turbines, 700 feet tall, spaced about a mile apart, covering 167,000 acres>click to read<15:47

Nova Scotia Lobster Fishermen Fed Up with Mis-Communication By DFO

Lobster fishermen in Southwestern, Nova Scotia are frustrated and disappointed with the lack of direction, mis-communication, and overall support from Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s (DFO) regional management. Five separate fishermen’s associations joined forces in 2017 to form the Southwest Lobster Science Society (SWLSS) to work towards a partnership-based approach to fisheries management and conservation; a move which was touted to be a historic partnership between industry, environmental non-governmental organisations (ENGOs) and regulators. Yet, the newly formed partnership has struggled to move forward as the regulators (DFO) >click to read<11:34

Wind, ice influence price of lobster

Speculate. That’s about all fishers, or anyone else, can do about the season-opening price for lobster in any given year, and Ken Blanchard shrugs off any suggestion it will go much above $8 a pound starting out. Bluster among landlubbers has it nearly twice that, $15. With bigger wind to deal with, Blanchard, who makes a living on live-catch lobster and crab as a licensed fisher plying waters of the outer Bay of Islands, sees active storms and bigger local backwater icefields on Penguin Arm and Goose Arm as more pressing concerns as the harvest looms. >click to read<09:07