Daily Archives: July 19, 2022

Massachusetts: New relief fund would buoy lobster industry

A proposed state fund would provide financial relief to commercial lobstermen whose livelihoods are being impacted by state and federal regulations aimed at protecting critically endangered north Atlantic right whales. Tucked into a $52.7 billion state budget awaiting action by Gov. Charlie Baker is a proposal to create a new grant program with $500,000 in initial funding. The plan calls for providing grants of up to $5,000 to licensed lobstermen to help offset the cost of purchasing new gear and equipment needed to comply with the new whale protection rules. The grant money must be distributed in a “geographically equitable manner” under the proposal. Senate minority leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, who pushed for the funding, said it will help buoy lobstermen who are struggling to afford the expense of upgrading their gear and equipment. >click to read< 17:50

Maggie Helen gets a new lease of life

A former fishing boat is returning to the water after being taken over by an enthusiast team of skilled shipwrights and sailors who intend to use her to sail around Europe. They are planning to set sail later this week. The Maggie Helen had been sitting in storage since 2007 after the historic vessel, then known as Loki, had been bought by Shetland Amenity Trust for an undisclosed sum and in somewhat controversial circumstances. Shetland Museum curator Ian Tait said the restoration team have managed to complete “three years” work in three months after working non-stop seven days a week from around 8am to 11pm. “It’s an immense number of working hours that have gone into it. They’ve done the most unbelievably intense job,” he said. >click to read< 15:28

Fisheries report brings hope to Indigenous communities, sparks anger in industry

“I was pleasantly surprised, to be honest,” said Rosalie Francis, a member of the Sipekne’katik First Nation in Nova Scotia. But elsewhere in the province, the surprise has been significantly less pleasant. There are concerns the report titled “Peace on the Water” is instead stoking anger in communities where lobster is a livelihood. Representatives of the commercial fishing industry say they’re frustrated they weren’t invited to speak to the Senate as it drafted the report on Indigenous rights. It’s “throwing fuel on a fire” in an area where tensions have remained high since 2020, said Colin Sproul, president of the Unified Fisheries Conservation Alliance, which has about 1,900 members. >click to read< 12:09

Fisherman indicted on attempted murder charges after attacks with fishing gaff

A federal grand jury indicted an Andrews man Wednesday in connection to the attack of a crewmate and his captain after they refused to go back to port so he could buy more alcohol. Matthew Kelly, 49, was indicted on two counts of Assault with Intent to Commit Murder, two counts of Assault with a Dangerous Weapon, and one count of Act of Violence against Persons on a Vessel. The victims of the alleged crime told investigators that Kelly brought two large bottles of alcohol with him when he boarded the boat. He consumed the alcohol over the course of five days until he ran out on June 16. That’s when the other two men noticed Kelly beginning to talk to himself and act irrationally. >click to read< 10:01

Coast Guard finds serious defect in popular survival suits

Scott Wilwert is the commercial fishing vessel safety program manager for the Coast Guard in Alaska. He says the problem was discovered during a routine inspection in June. “Inspectors that were out in Bristol Bay a few weeks ago reported finding issues with relatively newly manufactured immersion suits,” Wilwert said. “And what they were finding was an area of what appeared to be a delamination, or a lack of adhesion of the glue that’s used to fix the zipper assembly to the neoprene part of the suit.” The suits are Imperial Immersion Suits manufactured by Survitec Group, a safety equipment manufacturer based in the United Kingdom,,, Wilwert says the Coast Guard isn’t sure how widespread the issue is. The problem became apparent in late June; After the Coast Guard notified Survitec, the company told the Coast Guard they had seen suits in Canada with a similar defect. >click to read< 08:02

Missing shrimper identified as La Feria resident

A missing shrimper last seen on South Padre Island has been identified as 35-year-old Christopher Vargas from La Feria. According to a release from the U.S. Coast Guard, Vargas fell from a shrimp trawler 35 miles off the coast of South Padre Island early Saturday morning. Vargas was last seen wearing a tank top and shorts. He was not wearing a life vest when he fell overboard. His aunt Leticia Vargas said it is uncertain what happened to Christopher. She said going offshore to catch shrimp was a traditional job for him. “This was his way of getting money for back to school, that’s what his wife was waiting for, that’s what the kids were waiting for, that’s what his intentions were for him to go out there, he’s been doing this for years,” she said.  >Video, click to read< 07:00