Monthly Archives: December 2018

Washington State replaces nearly half of 6.2 million chinook salmon fry killed at Gig Harbor hatchery

The state will be able to replace nearly half of the 6.2 million chinook salmon fry that died earlier this month when a windstorm knocked out power at a Gig Harbor hatchery. Up to 2.75 million fall chinook fry will be taken from six other state hatcheries for release from Minter Creek and Tumwater Falls in May and June.  “This won’t fully replace the salmon lost last week, but it will allow us to put a significant number of fish into these waters next year,” said Kelly Susewind, director of the Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife. >click to read<10:06

A Seafood Institution Is for Sale

Stuart’s Seafood Market in Amagansett has changed hands only a few times since Stuart Vorpahl Sr. established a fish packing business on the Oak Lane property in the first half of the 20th century, but soon, it will change hands again.  Word went out last week that Bruce and Charlotte Sasso, its owners since 1997, are selling the popular market. When they first opened on Jan. 2, 1997, the Sassos had two employees. Twenty-two years later they have 25 and have expanded from selling fish and basic pantry items to offering cheeses, olive oils, vinegars, gourmet,,, Stuart’s is the longest continuously run fish market in East Hampton Town. Started as a packing station for the fish Mr. Vorpahl and his sons had caught and were sending to the Fulton Fish Market in New York City, by 1951 it had become Stuart’s Market, with a retail operation and a packing house. photo’s, > click to read<21:52

The Christmas Day trawler tragedy which killed 12 Hull men

It rocked the city on a day which should have been among the happiest of the year. On Christmas Day, 1966, 12 crew of the St Finbarr trawler died in an explosion off the coast of Newfoundland. With only 13 survivors, Hull families did not know in the immediate aftermath whether their loved ones had survived, plunging much of the city into confusion and despair. It was one of the biggest disasters of modern times – but only two years later would be woefully overshadowed by the Triple Trawler Tragedy of 1968, which led to the rise of Lil Bilocca and her Headscarf Revolutionaries. Here, Brian W. Lavery , author of The Luckiest Thirteen which recounts the tragedy, remembers the lives lost on that fateful day 52 years ago. Rest in Peace, Fishermen. >click to read<19:35

The name is hagfish but you can call it a ‘slime eel.’ Meet a new Alaska fishery.

Consider the hagfish. Maybe you’ve never heard of these deep ocean creatures, also called “slime eels” for their eel-like appearance and ability to secrete huge amounts of opaque slime. Not exactly a mouth-watering description at first glance; yet over the past two years, a small-scale effort has developed in Southeast Alaska to harvest these fascinating uggos as a fledgling Alaska fishery. That’s unusual news in a state where most fishery resources are already developed. >click to read<18:53

December 25 – 1939: Flying Santa “bombs” our lighthouses

New England’s flying Santa Claus tuned up the reindeer under the hood of his airplane today, readying Blitzen and Vixen and the others for renewal of his annual Christmas visit to the lonely lighthouse keepers along the bleak northern coast. Santa, who in real life is William Wincapaw, will take off at dawn tomorrow to begin his 126 Yuletide calls upon the isolated posts which watch and wait for him eagerly. >click to read<18:29

We Wish You a Very Merry Christmas!

A child calling Santa reached NORAD instead. Christmas Eve was never the same.

Col. Harry Shoup was a real by-the-book guy. At home, his two daughters were limited to phone calls of no more than three minutes (monitored by an egg timer) and were automatically grounded if they missed curfew by even a minute. At work, during his 28-year Air Force career, the decorated fighter pilot was known as a no-nonsense commander and stickler for rules. Which makes what happened that day in 1955 even more of a Christmas miracle. It was a December day in Colorado Springs when the phone rang on Col. Shoup’s desk. Not the black phone, the red phone. “When that phone rang, it was a big deal,” said Shoup’s daughter, Terri Van Keuren, 69, a retiree in Castle Rock, Colo. “It was the middle of the Cold War and that phone meant bad news.” >click to read<19:54

A fishing family tradition

Each year in December, Newport Fishermen’s Wives collect and distribute toys, food and clothing to fishing families that need the extra boost. The outreach program began as an effort to make sure there was food in the pantry and presents under the tree for Christmas, and it started because of a now-annual issue, a delayed crab season. It’s an outgrowth of the cooperation that marks an industry known for its close ties and a spirit of unity. “Many families in this area make the majority of their yearly income from crabbing,” said NFW President Taunette Dixon. “And when it starts late, like it has every year since we began this program, it can be devastating for families.” >click to read<

The North Carolina Fisheries Association Wishes You a Merry Christmas!


Tsunami death toll rises as rescue efforts expand along the Indonesia coast

The death toll from a tsunami that hit the coast of Indonesia after a volcanic eruption rose above 370 on Monday, as rescuers dug through rubble with heavy machinery and bare hands along an expanding section of coastline affected by the deadly waves.  More than 120 people are still missing, and more than 1,400 were injured when the tsunami struck the Indonesia islands of Java and Sumatra almost without warning late Saturday, shortly after the Anak Krakatau volcano erupted in the Sunda Strait dividing the islands. Earlier on Monday morning, Indonesia’s Disaster Management Agency had put the death toll at 281. But the agency later said 373 people were confirmed dead, 1,459 injured and 128 missing. >click to read<10:41

A Christmas Miracle – Cruise Ship Rescues Fishermen Lost at Sea for Three Weeks

Two fishermen have been rescued by a cruise liner after drifting out at sea for 20 days in what was described as a “Christmas miracle.” The sailors had been in the Caribbean Sea for nearly three weeks after their ship ran out of petrol when they were blown off from their gear during strong winds. The sailors had reportedly gone days without water, leaving one of the men unable to walk at the time they were rescued.The men were saved by the cruise only after it was forced to alter its original route toward Cuba because of a recent storm in the area. >click to read<09:28

Sonoma Coast fleet scrambling to get crab on the table for Christmas

A pair of dogs on board bark excitedly as the Karen Jeanne pulls alongside the high dock at The Tides Wharf, returning ashore after 35 hours to offload hundreds of live Dungeness crab for quick delivery to markets around the region. A crane at a neighboring dock already is lifting square bins, each piled with 600 pounds of clacking, frantic crabs from another commercial boat. A third vessel circles and settles into position to wait its turn beneath a gray, late afternoon sky. It’s nippy out, and a wind-blown evergreen tree strung with twinkle lights and tethered to the roof of a storage shed at the side of the dock suggests Christmas is near. But there’s no letup among the workers onshore or on the boats. They’re idle only when they need to wait for something else to happen before they can start on their own particular chore. Otherwise, everyone moves fast and efficiently, aware it’s crunch time. 21 photo’s, >click to read<20:42

Bob Leith: Christmas Day 1776 – ‘Victory or death!’

After the British chased George Washington and the Continental Army away from the New York are, the colonial troops retreated across New Jersey looking for safe encampment. Thomas Paine, who marched with the army as a volunteer, wrote his Crisis pamphlet by the light of campfires at night on a drumhead. “These are the times that try men’s souls,,,,” described the bleak condition of Washington’s army. The army’s numbers were dwindling daily, there was not enough food, many of the soldiers were naked, and the men had not been paid. >click to read<14:34

Agency encourages shrimpers to sign up for bycatch study

State fisheries officials have extended a deadline for Louisiana shrimpers to participate in a study that aims to monitor how much of other types of seafood get caught in trawlers’ nets. The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries opened the application process in September and initially had set a Dec. 3 deadline for shrimpers to sign up. The agency has now extended the deadline to Feb. 4. “The voluntary study was requested by the shrimp industry to collect bycatch data during commercial shrimping trips throughout state waters,” the agency says in a news release. “The study supports the sustainability certification of Louisiana’s shrimp fishery, permitting Louisiana shrimp access to additional markets.” >click to read<12:13

The changing face of Moss Landing

Weathered by age and the sea, rusted railings mark the path to Bay Fresh Seafoods, a one-room shop where fourth-generation Moss Landing fisherman Jerid Rold has just arrived with a writhing haul of hagfish – one of his few remaining profitable catches. Across the street stands the sleek and sophisticated Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute – a world-renowned center for advanced research in ocean science. Moss Landing, population 200, is rapidly switching identities. The historic town is seeing its commercial fishing roots disappear as Moss Landing secures its status as a prized destination for marine research and ecotourism. >click to read<11:01

Building blocks of ocean food web in rapid decline as plankton productivity plunges

They’re teeny, tiny plants and organisms but their impact on ocean life is huge.​ Phytoplankton and zooplankton that live near the surface are the base of the ocean’s food system. Everything from small fish, big fish, whales and seabirds depend on their productivity. “They actually determine what’s going to happen, how much energy is going to be available for the rest of the food chain,” explained Pierre Pepin, a senior researcher with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in St. John’s. Pepin says over the past 3-4 years, scientists have seen a persistent drop in phytoplankton and zooplankton in waters off Newfoundland and Labrador. >click to read<10:16

Don Cuddy: Kathy Frey ‘believed she could, so she did’

Most people probably imagine that the waterfront is a man’s world and that is largely true. Yet there are some exceptions, and none perhaps more notable than the case of Kathy Frey. How else to account for this diminutive single mom, retired in 2013 after 30 years as a postal worker, subsequently finding herself on the deck of a tugboat, hooking up a barge loaded with 5,000 tons of sand. For an answer look no further than the stern of the 34-foot powerboat that she calls home. It’s called the Free Spirit. Growing up next to Sassaquin Pond and occasionally piloting a rowboat marked the extent of her connection to the water. After she retired a friend one day suggested she join the Coast guard Auxiliary. She did and “started doing things on boats.” >click to read<09:33

Gov. Cooper leads bipartisan effort to oppose East Coast seismic testing, offshore drilling

Following last month’s announcement that the Trump Administration authorized airgun use in waters off the East Coast, Governor Roy Cooper and a group of bipartisan governors urged Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to prohibit harmful seismic testing and offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. “As the governors of states on the Atlantic seaboard, we write >click to read letter< to reiterate our strong opposition to seismic airgun surveys and oil and gas drilling off our coasts,”,, Along with Cooper, the letter was signed by Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts; Governor John Carney of Delaware; Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York; Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland; Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut; Governor Henry McMaster of South Carolina; Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey; Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia; and Governor Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island. >click to read<15:44

Year in Review: A dismal year for salmon and halibut in the Gulf, Bristol Bay booms, battles over hatcheries

This summer was a disappointment for salmon fishermen across the Gulf of Alaska, both in the timing and in the numbers. Salmon fishermen from Kodiak to Southeast saw poor harvests and poor profits this year due to unexpectedly small runs of sockeye, king and pink salmon. No. 2: Records smashed in Bristol Bay, Norton Sound, No. 3: Hatchery battles at the Board of Fisheries, No. 4: Halibut hardships, falling quotas and prices, >click to read<11:35

The Turbine versus Trawler Dilemma – Offshore wind farms will reduce commercial fishing grounds

California’s fishing industries are at risk of losing access to some of their fishing grounds as the state’s waters are scouted for the development of offshore wind farms. Ken Bates, vice president of the Humboldt Fishermen’s Marketing Association, is concerned about this reality and has been working to develop a solution to mitigate the outfall of the turbine versus trawler dilemma. “[We want to] keep from losing any additional fishing grounds; that’s really what this is about,” he said.,,, Bates said a wind farm with 17 turbines would remove a minimum of 17 square miles of fishing grounds, but doubts it would stop there. It won’t stop there! >click to read<10:36

Commentary: Commercial herring seining and subsistence are my family traditions

This letter is in regard to the upcoming Sitka herring fishery in 2019. There are a few intentions in taking the time to write this. I understand much of the wording involved here is best to include a bit of care so as not to be mistaken or misunderstood. Plainly, I’d like to point out this: Our chance of harvesting the allotted quota for 2019 is very slim. I see an importance in writing this letter to explain why. Maybe it’s best to introduce myself before I continue. My name is Chuck Skeek. I’ve been a participant in the fishery for nearly 30 years. I grew up in the fishery under my father Leonard Skeek.  >click to read<09:50

Lubec, Maine: A Town in Between

Wheelock believes the tides are the source of Lubec’s pull. The tidal range here is among the highest in the world, as twice each day seawater floods the exposed ocean floor of the bays and coves, reaching depths of 28 feet. “If Lubec wants you, she won’t let you go,” Wheelock says. These days, Lubec is in the midst of a tempest, struggling to accept newcomers and new ways forward, while hanging on to its essence — its thinness, if you will — during a season of change. A tragicomic event last winter is a fitting metaphor for Lubec’s reluctance to let go of its past.,, For Lubec fishermen, there’s nothing mysterious about the pull of these dangerous waters: they’ve been a source of sustenance for generations. >click to read<21:14

Fisherman: Waterway closures for spaceport disrupt fishing

The closures of waterways during launches at the spaceport on Kodiak Island are disrupting commercial fishing operations, fishermen claim. Fishermen voiced their concerns at a meeting Wednesday of the Kodiak Fisheries Workgroup, seeking for officials to rein in the closures related to the Pacific Spaceport Complex, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported . The Alaska Aerospace Corporation temporarily shuts down public road access to the Narrow Cape area and nearby waterways when launches are planned. Some closures in the past have lasted for days as the corporation waits for optimal launch conditions. “Obviously the economic effect of closing those areas is pretty huge on not only the trawl fleet but also possibly the salmon fleet,” said Jake Everich, the owner of a fishing vessel. >click to read<19:12

Northern California Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Delay Extended

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham announced an additional and final 15-day delay of the northern California commercial Dungeness crab season. Pending possible closures due to elevated levels of domoic acid, the season is now set to begin on Jan. 15, 2019. Quality tests as prescribed by the Pre-Season Testing Protocol for the Tri-State Coastal Dungeness Commercial Fishery were scheduled to occur this week, but rough ocean conditions prevented vessels from safely deploying and retrieving traps. This protocol requires that tested crab achieve a meat recovery rate to ensure that crab are ready for harvest. Previous quality test results from Dungeness crab collected on Nov. 3 and Dec. 4 indicated that crab did not have enough meat. Without any passing test results from these areas, the Director continued to delay the season to Jan. 15, the final date a quality delay can be set to occur. >click to read<

House passes recreational fishery bill; Rep. Young votes against

Two days after the Senate voted unanimously to pass a revised version of the legislation U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) proposed, the House’s vote, too, was overwhelming. However, in the 350-11 tally one name stood out among the “No” votes: U.S. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska).,, “After H.R. 200 passed out of the House in July, Congressman Young worked to ensure any fisheries legislation that gained support would have meaningful updates for both the recreational and commercial sectors,” >click to read<

Will “Willbilly” Hathaway – Ocean City Fisherman Leaves Legacy on Fishing Community

A significant impact was made by Will “Willbilly” Hathaway within a short amount of time within the Ocean City fishing community. Will was an experienced fisherman in Worcester County that carried on beyond his commercial fishing legacy. “It’s not how you want to start it off, but you set back out and try again. At least we know they’re here,” Hathaway said during a Wicked Tuna interview. Hathaway and friends, Captain Dale Lisi and Ed Gross would often comment on during their Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks interviews. Video, >click to read>12:39

Fishing crew rescued 12 days after boat breaks down in Great Australian Bight

A fishing crew whose boat was adrift for almost a fortnight in the Great Australian Bight has made it safely back to land, days after running out of food and being forced to eat its seafood catch. But in a tragic twist, one of the five-member crew was informed of the death of a family member while the vessel was stranded at sea. The fishing vessel Silver Phoenix was today towed back to the wharf at Port Lincoln on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula. The crew, which included a fisheries researcher from Canberra, spent 12 days drifting in the Southern Ocean after running into engine trouble in waters off the SA–WA border. “There was nobody else out there,” skipper Peter Woods said. >click to read<12:08

Nine US States Seek to Stop Atlantic Seismic Testing

Attorneys general from nine U.S. states sued the Trump administration on Thursday to stop future seismic tests for oil and gas deposits off the East Coast, joining a lawsuit from environmentalists concerned the tests harm whales and dolphins. Seismic testing uses air gun blasts to map out what resources lie beneath the ocean. Conservationists say the testing, a precursor to oil drilling, can disorient marine animals that rely on fine-tuned hearing to navigate and find food. The tests lead to beachings of an endangered species, the North Atlantic right whale, they say. >click to read<11:09

U.S. Coast Guard responds to over 700 false alerts in 2018, urges everyone to register beacons

After responding to over 700 false alerts in 2018, the Coast Guard is urging anyone with an emergency position indicating radio beacon to properly register their device. An EPIRB is a device that transmits a distress signal to a satellite system called Cospas-Sarsat. The satellites relay the signal to a network of ground units and ultimately to the Coast Guard and other emergency responders. Owners of commercial fishing vessels, uninspected passenger vessels that carry six or more people, and uninspected commercial vessels are legally required to carry an EPIRB. However, the Coast Guard recommends that every mariner who transits offshore or on long voyages should carry an EPIRB. >click to read<09:59

Bloody effluent still spewing from B.C. fish processing plant, photographer finds

A photographer on Vancouver Island is again raising concerns about the practice of dumping effluent containing fish blood from fish processing plants. Tavish Campbell says little has changed since he collected samples from bloody waste discharged into the ocean last year. The samples, from processing plants that handle farmed salmon on Vancouver Island, were tested by the Atlantic Veterinary College and found to contain piscine reovirus (PRV), a virus that some researchers believe is harming wild salmon. The findings prompted an investigation by B.C.’s Ministry of Environment and a province-wide audit of fish processing facilities. >click to read<21:55