Monthly Archives: March 2019

Prince William Sound Tanner crab fishery gives winter season a boost

A rejuvenated Tanner crab fishery in Prince William Sound is showing positive signs of finishing out its second season in 30 years. The fishery opened for the first time since 1988 in 2017, operating on commissioners permits. A test fishery operated as an information-gathering pot fishery in the area in 2016 to a limited number of vessels. Based on Alaska Department of Fish and Game survey data, the stocks were good to go for another season this year, opening March 1 and closing either by EO or on March 31. So far, 11 vessels have landed about 16,850 Tanner,,, >click to read<09:37

Yakama tribal member charged with felony for fishing in the Puget Sound

State authorities allege that a man claiming membership in the Yakama Nation Indian Tribe was fishing illegally in Suquamish Tribe waters near Kingston in an unmarked boat and that a Yakama tribal official knowingly issued his invalid permit. The man is accused of selling 5,600 pounds of chum salmon he caught using a gill net. The October 2017 incident casts light on an ongoing disagreement over who has rights to harvest fish in the Puget Sound,,,  Last month, prosecutors filed a charge of first-degree commercial fishing without a license, a felony, against the alleged skipper of the boat, Alexander Robert Somers, 43, of Tacoma. Somers allegedly claimed he had permission from the Suquamish Tribe, but court documents say the tribal council confirmed he did not,,, >click to read<19:08

The two sides of the Strait of Georgia roe herring fishery

The case for – Comox fisherman, Quincy Sample, was laying on the deck of his boat under the warm March sun, waiting for the waves to die down when reached by phone. The fishery opened for gill nets on March 15 in the Strait of Georgia, and Sample was hoping for the right conditions to get his net in the water. The case against – Ian McAllister’s boat, Habitat, drifts lazily on the unsettled water, anchored to a point nearby the mass of commercial fishing boats. McAllister, the executive director of Pacific Wild, had been out on the water since March 9, the first day the fishery opened, to take photos and video, and raise awareness about a fishery he doesn’t think should be open. >click to read<17:29

Murder on the high seas? Complaint says Collier man beat dad to death on fishing boat

A Collier County man is facing charges in what the U.S. government says was an apparent murder on the high seas out in the Gulf of Mexico off Marco Island. Casey Lowell Hickok, 32, of Copeland, near Everglades City, was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, while aboard a commercial fishing vessel, Hickok was witnessed bludgeoning a sleeping member of the boat’s crew to death with a spare boat alternator, which he later threw off the vessel. The charges were filed in the Middle District of U.S. District Court in Fort Myers. >click to read<15:27

Tersan launches ST-184 crabber

The Tersan Shipyard in Turkey has launched its first crabbing vessel for Russian fishing operator Arktikservice to fish for Kamchatka and snow crab in North Atlantic waters. The 61.90 metre, 15 metre beam Zenit is the lead vessel in a planned series and now being fitted out following its launch. >click to read<14:35

Fish harvesters, plants workers hold demonstration in St. John’s – ‘Put the crab back on the table,’ fishermen chant at rally

Fish, Food and Allied Workers’—Unifor members held a demonstration today at the Delta Hotel in St. John’s followed by a march through part of the downtown. Fish harvesters, plant workers and citizens attended united, the union says, in their concern for the future of the province’s fisheries. A news release stated that around the province, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) shuts out fish harvesters from science processes and continues to make fisheries management decisions without any meaningful consultation with inshore harvesters. >click to read<13:14

‘Put the crab back on the table,’ frustrated fishermen chant at rally – >click to read<

Lobstermen petition state to tighten aquaculture rules, want a moratorium on large aquaculture leases

A wave of aquaculture operations has swept along the coast in the last few years, sparking concerns from some about waterfront access, aesthetics and interference with other commercial fisheries. “I’m here to let the Department of Marine Resources know that their system of granting aquaculture leases is broken or even worse, non-existent, as far as it pertains to the commercial lobstermen in this state,” said John Powers, a lobstermen who has fished around Brunswick for 40 years, at a press conference in the State House Wednesday. >click to read<12:24

At seiners’ meeting, demonstrators call to ‘Protect the Herring’

Seiners gathered over the weekend in preparation for the Sitka Sac Roe herring fishery, and while they met to hear updates from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game on this year’s fishery, they were also concerned about opposition to the fishery leading to acts of civil disobedience on the water. But they didn’t need to look far, after a “Protect the Herring” demonstration interrupted the meeting. >click to read<11:52

NOAA requests partnership with Pacific Fishery Management Council

Citing a declining Southern resident orca population, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is requesting collaboration with the Pacific Fishery Management Council, the governing body that creates fishing season regulations from California to Washington. “We are taking many actions to conserve and recover Southern resident killer whales and particularly to address the three main threats, … prey limitation; vessel traffic and noise; and chemical contaminants. Chinook salmon, the whales’ primary prey, are important to SRKW survival and recovery,” NOAA regional director Barry Thom wrote in a letter dated March 6, addressed to Phil Anderson, chair of the council. >click to read<11:17

More fluke could be coming for Connecticut fishermen

Last week, the MAFMC and the ASMFC increased the annual coastwide commercial quota for summer flounder for 2019-21 to 11.53 million pounds. While states will continue to receive allocations based on their historic landings up to 9.55 million pounds, landings after that will be divided equally among mid-Atlantic and southern New England states.>click to read<10:33

West Coast Waters Grow More Productive with Shift Toward Cooler Conditions

The ocean off the West Coast is shifting from several years of unusually warm conditions marked by the marine heat wave known as the “warm blob,” toward a cooler and more productive regime that may boost salmon returns and populations of other ocean predators, though it is too early to say for certain, a new NOAA Fisheries report says. >click to read<09:55

Gone squiddin’ in Galilee

Capt. Kevin Jones has been fishing out of the Port of Galilee, in southern Rhode Island, for a long time. “You know, I’m 63, and I started going when I was six years old,” he said. As a kid growing up near one of Rhode Island’s busiest ports, Jones helped out on other fishing boats as he worked his way up the ranks. Now, he’s captain of a 70-foot trawler. His primary catch, like most captains in Galilee, is squid. Longfin inshore squid, the species brought ashore at Galilee, is a point of pride in Rhode Island. The squid are processed and frozen at the port, and are shipped all across the country and the world for human consumption. >click to read<20:47

A California battle over swordfish — and gill nets

Conservationists are pushing a $1 million effort this summer to change the way swordfish are caught off the California coast by phasing out the use of gill nets. They are the mile-long nylon nets used to catch swordfish but that also ensnare other species, causing conservation organizations to seek an end to their use. Commercial fishermen can use gill nets now, with a drift gill net shark and swordfish permit from the Department of Fish and Wildlife. But a new California law will officially ban gill nets as of January 2023.,,, Organizations representing commercial fishermen opposed SB 1017 by state Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), the bill that became the new law phasing out the use of gill nets. >click to read<17:08

Wednesday demonstration – FFAW has done worse damage to fisheries than harp seals or seismic blasting: FISH-NL

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) says the FFAW-Unifor has done worse damage to the province’s commercial fisheries than harp seals or seismic blasting. “Fishermen are nothing but a cash cow to the FFAW,” says Peter Leonard, Vice-President of FISH-NL and an inshore harvester from Southern Harbour. “The FFAW is working hand-in-hand with oil companies, the federal and provincial governments, and the aquaculture industry, and we’re being played for fools,” he added.,,, The FFAW-Unifor has scheduled a demonstration for noon Wednesday at the Delta Hotel in downtown St. John’s to “fight for the future of our fisheries.” >click to read<15:25

Fake lobster-tag case leads to arrests in Florida Keys

Florida fisheries investigators have made at least two arrests following a long inquiry into the sale of counterfeit lobster trap tags required by law for commercial anglers to do business in the state. The suspected ringleader is a Palmetto Bay woman who is the registered agent of more than 50 active and inactive commercial fishing operations in Florida. She was arrested Monday in the Florida Keys on racketeering and fraud charges. Elena P. Reyes, 67, is being held in Monroe County jail on a total bond of $892,500. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigators also arrested Michael Enrique Sanchez,

Coast Guard airlifts ailing fisherman 50 miles off Gloucester

An USCG Air Station Cape Cod MH-60 Jayhawk helipcopter crew medevaced an ill 40-year-old fisherman off the fishing boat America, Sunday, approximately 50 miles east of Gloucester. The man was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital for evaluation. >click for video<13:10

Lobster Boat Skipper Sentenced for Manslaughter

United States Attorney Halsey B. Frank announced that Christopher A. Hutchinson, 30, of Cushing, Maine was sentenced in U.S. District Court by Judge D. Brock Hornby to four years in prison and three years of supervised release for Seaman’s Manslaughter for causing the death of two crewmen who were then 26 and 15 years old. Hutchinson pleaded guilty on September 25, 2018. According to court records, on November 1, 2014, after smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol, Hutchinson took his lobster boat, the No Limits, out into a predicted storm with two crewmen aboard. After he had ingested oxycodone, the boat capsized. The two crewmen were not wearing personal floatation devices or survival suits. >click to read<11:44

Fair Weather Fleet? How some coast guard ships stayed tied up when they could have been at work

There is more evidence suggesting Canadian coast guard mid-shore patrol vessels are a fair-weather fleet. Documents obtained by CBC News show that during a one-year period, two mid-shore patrol vessels based in Nova Scotia were tied up for 151 days in weather conditions when they were supposed to be operable. Last month, CBC revealed the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is looking at installing stabilizers — blades that counteract the motion of waves — on its nine coast guard mid-shore vessels. This followed widespread complaints from crew about excessive rolling at sea. >click to read<10:20

Once stymied by China tariff, lobster dealer finds a workaround

Tom Adams, CEO of Maine Coast lobster wholesale company in York, said he’s found ways to make up revenue that was lost when a 25% tariff was implemented last July on imports of lobster to China. The tariff has taken a bite out of his company’s sales, Adams said. Previously, China had been Maine Coast’s fastest growing market, but the tariff eliminated 80% of Maine Coast’s sales to mainland China. Overall, the value of live Maine lobsters exported to China dropped 64% in July 2018, compared with July 2017, industry experts said last year. China now gets most of its lobster from Canada. Adams told Mainebiz an aggressive marketing campaign has resulted in significant sales increases in other parts of Asia and in the U.S., and in retention of European sales even though that market was also disadvantaged by an 8% tariff over Canadian competitors. >click to read<21:29

Crab poaching under cover of darkness earns 10-year commercial fishing ban, vessel seizure

A Cape Mudge resident involved in poaching dungeness crabs in Vancouver Harbour under the cover of darkness in February 2019 is banned from fishing commercially for 10 years and had the boat he was using – which didn’t belong to him – and all the crabbing gear in it forfeited to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Arthur Michael Nelson pleaded guilty to fishing for shellfish in a closed time, fishing without a licence and obstructing a fishery officer and was sentenced in Campbell River Provincial Court Thursday. >click to read<18:43

Whales are facing a deadly threat along West Coast: container ships

One day last May, a container ship entered the San Francisco Bay with extra cargo. A 45-foot-long dead female fin whale was draped across the ship’s bow. The impact with the ship had broken her back, ruptured her organs and caused severe internal bleeding. Ten whale deaths were attributed to ship strikes in 2018 – the highest number on record in California since NOAA Fisheries began tracking in 1982. The mortality rate represents an enormous increase from the average 3.4 ship strike victims recorded annually in the five previous years. Five of the 10 whales that died with boat collision injuries in 2018 were endangered or threatened fin, blue and humpback whales. >click to read<15:29

BC’s Herring War, and the Sacrifice of the Salish Sea

Indeed, it sometimes seems blame is about the only renewable resource we can rely upon anymore. There’s certainly been an abundance of it this herring season in the Strait of Georgia, here in the northern reaches of what’s fast becoming the Salish Sewer. At the dock of Hornby Island’s Ford Cove, a world-weary gillnet fisherman, Calvin Siider, squared off against a conservation group advocating for the closure of the last commercial gillnet fishery on the B.C. coast. “You are telling me what I’ve been doing my whole life is wrong,” Siider shouted. “We’re making a little bit of money out of this, and you’re trying to rip that out of our lives!” >click to read<13:44

New Law Would End Most Sport Fishing in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is on the cusp of approving new law governing fishing in the country, and it threatens to spell the end of recreational fishing. Senate Bill 1014, recently approved by the Puerto Rico Senate will replace current fishing law, known as Law 278, with provisions antithetical to the commonwealth’s sport fishermen and its significant recreational fishing industry. The legislation, if approved by the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, will offer greater latitude to the island’s 900 commercial fishermen, while severely and unreasonably restricting roughly 200,000 recreational anglers, effectively ending a sport estimated to contribute $100 million to the country annually. >click to read<12:58

Fisherman: New Jersey shark fin ban bill punishes wrong people

A New Jersey assembly committee will vote on a bill Monday that would prohibit the selling, trading, distribution or possession of any shark fin that has been separated from a shark prior to its lawful landing. The bill is part of a larger national and international movement to crack down on illegal shark finning, but fishing industry members here say this particular bill will also hurt local fishermen not involved in the illegal trade.,,, Greg DiDomenico, president of the Garden State Seafood Association, said the act will harm the legitimate U.S. fishermen.  “The U.S. is a leader in shark conservation and this legislation causes waste in U.S. fisheries,” DiDomenico said. >click to read<11:48

ASMFC expected to set stricter regs for harvesting striped bass

A new status review has found the striped bass population to be in worse shape than previously thought, a result that will almost certainly trigger new catch restrictions for the prized species next year in the Chesapeake Bay and along the East Coast. A preview of a soon-to-be-released stock assessment presented in February to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission indicates that the striped bass population is overfished and has been for several years.,,, While most everyone agrees on the need to act, many caution that the stock is nowhere near the crisis level that spurred the previous moratorium. Today’s spawning stock biomass, while declining, is still four times higher than it was in the early 1980s.>click to read<10:53

Cod fishery plummets to least valuable year since 1960s

Maine’s cod fishery, once one of the most lucrative in the Northeast, has declined to the point that it had its least valuable year in more than a half-century in 2018. The state’s industry harvesting the fish-and-chips staple goes back centuries, and it once brought millions of pounds of the fish to land year after year. But data from the state Department of Marine Resources indicate the state’s cod were worth just over $200,000 at the docks last year — less than the median price of a single-family home in Maine. >click to read<09:56

Report From the Grounds

The bitter blast of winter, ice on salt water and nets straining with cod — a world few of us will witness. It’s everyday sight for Newport fisherman Kelly Bennett, who has spent the greater part of the last decade traveling to Alaska to work on Newport trawlers plying the northern waters for pollock, cod and groundfish. Working aboard the Aleutian Challenger, Bennett is away for up to four months at a time, toiling in a fishery called joint venture, where he — amazingly — doesn’t have to handle fish, except the few that fall out of the net. >click to read<19:00

US-China tariff battle takes a toll on some Alaska seafood processors, according to survey

Seafood processing businesses in Alaska are feeling the hurt from the U.S.-China tariff battle, according to the results of a survey from the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. Fourteen Alaska seafood processors responded to the survey, and 65 percent of those reported lost sales due to tariffs in China. Half of respondents reported delays in sales, and 36 percent reported lost customers. >click to read<16:54

Canadian, U.S. lobstermen to meet in Maine for annual lobster summit

Members of the lobster industry from the United States and Canada will meet in Maine’s largest city next month for a meeting about the state of the business. The University of Maine Lobster Institute is hosting the 15th Canadian/U.S. Lobstermen’s Town Meeting on April 5 and 6 at the Westin Portland Harborview Hotel in Portland. Video, >click to read<13:57

University of Maine – 15th Canadian/U.S. Lobstermen’s Town Meeting April 5–6 in Portland – >click to read<

Seafood Expo North America 2019 gets underway in Boston

It was a weekend of hard work for global seafood product suppliers and processing vendors, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in anticipation of this year’s Seafood Expo North American/Seafood Processing North America event, taking place from 17 to 19 March. Considered to be the largest seafood event in North America, the expo saw 1,329 exhibitors from 49 countries in attendance at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center for opening day on Sunday, 17 March. >click to read<11:15