Tag Archives: commercial fishermen

Commercial Fishermen, Sport fishers Divided on Plans for More Offshore Wind

Commercial fishermen say the wind-energy projects planned for southern New England, such as the South Fork Wind Farm, are the latest threats to their income after decades of quotas and regulations “I don’t like the idea of the ocean being taken away from me after I’ve thrown so many big-dollar fish back in the water for the last 30 years, praying I’d get it back in the end,” said Dave Aripotch, owner of a 75-foot trawl-fishing boat based in Montauk, N.Y. Dave Monti of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association said the submerged turbine foundations at the Block Island Wind Farm created artificial reefs, boosting fish populations and attracting charter boats like his. >click to read<10:07

A rare victory for New England commercial fishermen

The New England fishing industry is enjoying a rare victory over federal regulators as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced earlier this week that it would pick up the cost of at-sea monitoring of boats this year. What’s more, NOAA will reimburse fishermen for some of their out-of-pocket expenses from 2017. While that’s good news, there is still work to be done. There is no guarantee the new policy — less a promise of change than a one-time concession tucked in the federal budget — will continue past this year. And beyond the cost, the expensive, inefficient at-sea monitoring program, which spreads a limited number of monitors among a large number of vessels for an undetermined number of trips, must be able to provide accurate information regulators and fishermen can trust. >click to read<07:34

Stop efforts to kill salmon and fishing jobs

Today, many Northern California commercial fishermen sit in harbors along our coast worrying about their bills and waiting for another disastrously shortened salmon season to begin. Many businesses that serve the normally robust sport salmon fishery also have suffered because of the delay. River fishing guides have lost half their season as well. Salmon numbers are predicted to be down from the lingering effects of the last drought and the damaging water allocation decisions that put salmon fishing families last. Meanwhile, San Joaquin Valley congressmen are hard at work tilting the balance of water in California toward valley agricultural barons. >click to read<10:48

New York Commercial fishermen hit with two-week fluke fishing closure

The closure began Sunday, and when it reopens Aug. 1, fishermen will be limited to a daily limit of 50 pounds of fluke. “That’s not even a box of fish,” said Riverhead fisherman Phil Karlin, who noted boxes are typically 60 or 70 pounds. The state Department of Environmental Conservation that enforces the federal quota restrictions notified fisherman of the closure via mail several days before, saying it was necessary to preserve fish for the fall, Mr. Karlin said. “It’s putting a hardship on all fishermen,” Mr. Karlin said. “We’ve had it tough as it is. To close it in the middle of the summer like this is not good.” >click to read<07:49

Copper disaster

No sooner did the burst of sockeye salmon into the Copper River begin than it was over. With the famous salmon river in eastern Alaska again falling behind projected daily returns, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today that a Thursday through Sunday opening of the popular personal-use dipnet fishery will likely be the year’s last. The weak sockeye run has now turned into a disaster for almost everyone. Cordova commercial fishermen off the mouth of the river caught only 26,000 of the highly valuable sockeye in three short openings in May before they were shutdown for the year. >click to read<20:33

Horrible timing

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game was Wednesday lobbying Alaska residents to buy Chitina dipnet permits to fish the Copper River even as the troubled, 2018 return of sockeye salmon to that big, muddy drainage was fading so badly that Cordova commercial fishermen pleaded to have the dipnet fishery shut down. “As of today sonar counts are well below projected counts and remain below the minimum threshold of 360,000 sockeye salmon for spawning escapements,” the Cordova District Fishermen United said in a letter to state officials. “In light of the weak early run component, restrictive closures on commercial fishing openers, and no noticeable increase in counts at the sonar currently, it is in the best interest of our sockeye runs to close the Copper River personal use and sport fisheries.” >click to read<18:26

Commercial fishers’ plight needs more attention – the plight of our neighbors

I’ve lived in northeastern North Carolina for almost two decades now, and I am ashamed I know very little about the fishing industry. Why am I ashamed? Because as a region, fishing has a very big impact on our economy, tourism and recreation. I remember a few years after I moved here we had a season with a lot of crabs in Elizabeth City’s harbor. I was amazed at all the folks who lined up shoulder to shoulder to bring them in. I have Canadian relatives who were heavily involved in the sardine industry in Saint John, New Brunswick and I have vivid childhood memories of visiting there and smelling the heavy salt in the air and eating bags of dried dulse (seaweed) like popcorn. The sense of community in that fishing village was so evident. By Holly Audette>click to read<15:41

The Secret Lives of Commercial Fishermen – Corey Arnold

In the early 2000s, Corey Arnold worked on commercial fishing boats in some of the world’s most dangerous waters, taking photos of the job whenever he had the chance. Soon galleries and magazines were paying attention. In 2008, Arnold shot a story for Outside in Bristol Bay, Alaska, about environmental threats from the proposed Pebble Mine. During that assignment, he discovered a seasonal fishing community at Graveyard Point, near the mouth of the Kvichak River, and established his own salmon operation. (An excellent photo article.) >click to read<16:50

PFD’s: Fishing is a deadly business, but many fishermen won’t wear life preservers

One rogue wave or false step, an ankle caught in a line, is all it takes to cast a fisherman overboard. But those risks have never been enough to convince Rick Beal that it’s worth wearing a life preserver. Even though he has never learned how to swim. Commercial fishing ranks among the most dangerous professions, but fishermen — fiercely independent and resistant to regulations — have long shunned life preservers, often dismissing the flotation devices as inconvenient and constraining. click here to read the story 14:46 

Fishermen’s Doubts Persist on South Fork Wind Farm

As 2018 approaches, so does Deepwater Wind’s plan to submit applications to more than 20 federal, state, and local permitting agencies for the South Fork Wind Farm, an installation of up to 15 turbines it plans to construct approximately 30 miles east of Montauk. With a first-quarter deadline to submit those applications looming, commercial fishermen in East Hampton remain generally opposed to the project,,, The specific concern voiced at the town trustees’ Dec. 11 meeting, and again at last Thursday’s meeting of its harbor management committee, is the prospect of trawl nets getting caught on them, which fishermen say would be both costly and potentially deadly. click here to read the story 14:18

Washington State Marine Spatial Planning: Are ‘winds of change’ in store for local waters?

Could Pacific Ocean wind farms and fish-rearing net pens in Willapa Bay become future industries in Pacific County? Those are some possibilities being studied among an array of new potential ocean uses mentioned by the Washington Department of Ecology during a public meeting Wednesday, Nov. 8, in Long Beach.  Marine Spatial Planning for Washington’s offshore waters was discussed by members of an inter-agency team led by Washington Department of Ecology Senior Ocean Planner Jennifer Hennessey. About 24 community members — including county officials, commercial fishermen and local oyster farmers — attended to listen or provide formal testimony regarding their concerns about new potential ocean uses and possible impacts on existing industries. click here to read the story 21:08

Fishing remains one of the most dangerous jobs in Canada. We talked to captains about their most hazardous experiences.

In 2017, fishing remains one of most—if not the most—dangerous jobs in Canada.,,, Storms, equipment failures, and even stingrays are among the many hazards fishermen face. Then there’s the everyday work, including setting longlines with hundreds of sharp hooks, hauling heavy lobster traps, and gutting swordfish, sharks, and tuna.,,, Regardless of what pulls a fisherman to sea, hazards are always lurking, so we talked to three East Coast captains about their most harrowing experiences at sea. click here to read the story 18:31

New Jersey Anglers and Commercial Fishermen: Discussion on negative impact of Fishing Limits

A trip to Annapolis, Maryland might be what saves the 2018 New Jersey fishing season. Saltwater anglers and their allies crowded the Stafford Township municipal chambers, where the Marine Fisheries Council held its regular Sept. 7 meeting. Although the first hour was filled with its usual reports and comments, the Council’s second hour saw passionate arguments and discussion from Council and audience members about what to do with the ever-shortening fishing season and its negative impact on commercial fishermen throughout the state and beyond. click here to read the story 15:29

Fish pie – Everyone wants a piece

Representatives of the haves and have-nots of American ocean fisheries gathered in a packed college classroom here on Wednesday to offer Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, their ideas on what he could do with the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act. The now 40-year-old federal fisheries legislation is the legacy of the late and revered Alaska Sen.Ted Stevens.,,, And there is no doubt the MSA has problems when it comes to dealing with recreational fishing. Anglers, charter-boat operators, commercial fishermen and environmental groups are at the moment all in a Gulf of Mexico scrum fighting over red snapper. It is in many ways a tussle that almost makes the long-running fish war in Cook Inlet look tame. click here to read the story 08:25

Quinhagak commercial fishermen struggle after two years without a buyer

Several weeks ago, the financing fell through on a plan to bring the “Akutan,” a floating fish processing vessel, to Kuskokwim Bay. For the second summer in a row, fishermen in the coastal community of Quinhagak have nowhere to sell their catch; many in the village are now struggling to make ends meet. Timothy “Johnny Boy” Matthews doesn’t remember when he started fishing commercially.,, Matthews has a family of his own now. He bought his own limited entry permit a decade ago and spent his summers selling silvers to a newly opened processing plant in Platinum. It’s owned by Coastal Villages Region Fund (CVRF), a corporation that is supposed to use its Bering Sea fishing quota to support economic development in the area. But CVRF decided not to re-open its plant last year,,, Audio, read the story here 12:17

Meet Brendan Taylor, one of Foodstuffs’ ‘best’ commercial fishermen

He’s a top commercial fisherman who lives in south Auckland and works from a boat he built with his own hands. Brendan Taylor runs a business based in Manurewa that sees him catch and supply fresh fish to supermarket company Foodstuffs. He spent his childhood fishing for flounder with a small net on the Manukau Harbour.,,, Foodstuffs head of seafood David Jose says many people have the perception commercial fishing companies are “huge industrial operations” with large boats that trawl oceans. That’s not the case in New Zealand though, as he describes Taylor as one of the company’s best commercial fishermen. Video, click here to read the story 10:17

Feds threaten shutdown of N.J. Fluke fishery as showdown escalates

Call it the Great Flounder War of 2017. A simmering battle between New Jersey recreational fisherman and the federal agency governing fishing along the Atlantic Coast has now escalated — with potentially disastrous consequences for the fishermen. In a teleconference on Thursday morning, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) officially found New Jersey to be out of compliance with federal regulations.  The matter is now headed to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross for a final decision. If Ross agrees with the recommendation, both recreational and commercial fluke fishing could end up banned altogether in the Garden State. ,, And here’s where things get really sticky: If Sec. Ross finds New Jersey to be out of compliance, he’d have the option of imposing a moratorium on summer flounder fishing in the state — a moratorium that would also apply to commercial fishermen, who thus far have been in compliance with the feds. (Earlier this year, the state’s commercial fishermen agreed to lower fishing quotas imposed by ASMFC.)  click here to read the story 08:19

Last Man Standing: A Man and the River

Slicing across the tranquil Tennessee River, Leon Bivens looked across the dark blue expanse ahead — at the lights of the factories reflecting off the water and the steel and concrete bridges connecting the River City to destinations north. The 73-year-old’s calloused hands shrouded in yellow rubber gloves reached into the water and pulled on a line. A smattering of catfish and buffalo danced along the 100 hooks. “I love the river. The river is my life. I enjoy going to the river, putting down my lines, pulling them and catching fish, too. I really need to catch them, but I enjoy catching them anyhow. Ain’t I lucky,” Bivens said. For the past 59 years, Bivens has watched the changing world of the fishing industry from his boat’s wooden perch. He saw the rise in popularity of game fishing tournaments, the closing of mom-and-pop fish markets and the fall of independent commercial fishermen. click here to read the story 13:08

Golden fish

Update: This story was updated on May 21, 2017 to include new prices. In economic crisis, there is often opportunity. Commercial fishermen in Cordova, Alaska are at the moment worrying mightily about what the rest of their fishing season will bring given the prediction of a record weak-return of Copper River king season. But what the ocean gods have brought so far are sky-high prices for a higher than expected catch of a thought-to-be struggling run of fish. The first, 12-hour opening of the season was expected to result in the harvest of only a few hundred kings given a prediction of a weak return and fishing-area closures the Alaska Department of Fish and Game ordered to protect areas where kings have usually been caught in the past. Despite those closures, however, fishermen caught almost 1,900 of the big fish, a catch bigger than in last year’s opener. Most fishermen in the Cordova fleet of 500 gillnetters were reported to be getting dock prices of $10.30 per pound for king, but some were doing much better. click here to read the story 18:20

Commercial fishermen plan flotilla for Trump’s graduation speech at Coast Guard Academy

A group of fishermen will greet President Trump and send congratulations to graduating cadets from a flotilla on the Thames River during the United States Coast Guard Academy commencement today. “Our message is ‘make commercial fishing great again’ and it’s a congratulatory effort to say thank you to the Coast Guard class of 2017,” said Joel Hovanesian, of Wakefield, who is a member of the Rhode Island Fishermen’s Alliance.  The purpose of the flotilla is also to raise the President’s awareness of regulatory issues in the fishing industry, especially since one of the platforms he ran on was over-regulation and its burdensome effects on small businesses, said Meghan Lapp, fisheries liaison for Seafreeze Ltd., of North Kingstown. “Every single fishing vessel is a small, mobile corporation, so if he’s seeing 15 or 20 boats, he’s seeing 15 or 20 small businesses right there and there’s thousands of them along the East Coast,” she said. “In the fishing industry, we’re dealing with a lot of over regulation and we believe there’s a lot of things that could be done to make the industry thrive again.” click here to read the story 07:28

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Video, click here Local fishermen hope President Trump will help commercial fishing industry

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Gladstone Ports’ $100m pain over dredging class action challenge

The Gladstone Ports Corporation could face at least 200 court claims worth $100 million over its 2011 dredging. Law Essentials and Clyde and Co are working to form a class action for people “negatively impacted” by the Western Basin Dredging and Disposal Project. Law Essentials director and solicitor Chris Thompson said already they have signed 200 people within the seafood and tourism industry who lost money because of dredging operations in Gladstone’s Harbour. He said claims were worth “in excess of $100 million” and now he’s making a plea for anyone else affected to come forward. Of the 200 claimants, he said there were commercial fishermen and seafood suppliers from Gladstone, Hervey Bay, Mackay and as far as Brisbane and Sydney. click here to read the story 17:25

Progress made on invasive Asian carp in Kentucky thanks to Commercial Fishermen

Asian carp have been a big problem in our state. For years now, the KDFWR has worked with commercial fisherman, private fish processors and others in efforts to remove the Asian carp from our waters. Since 2015, three processors have been established, and their facilities have led to the harvest of more than 1.2 million pounds of Asian carp in 2015; more than 800,000 pounds from Kentucky and Barkley lakes. These processors are putting a big dent into this large population and are taking a fish that is unwanted in our waterways and putting them to use by processing them into food to ship overseas. In March, Two Rivers Fisheries in Wickliffe announced it was expanding. The plant doubled production in the past year, processing more than four million Asian carp to ship the fillets overseas and to use in fertilizers. click here to read the story 10:32

New Louisiana state sales tax law takes area’s commercial fishermen by surprise

The new schedule of items exempted from Louisiana sales taxes – and those which are not – includes loss of protection for people who buy antique airplanes and have other esoteric interests. But it also suspends, for now, the exemption on paying sales tax for commercial fishermen, on items like nets and other equipment essential to their trade. “Oh my God,” was the reaction offered by Trudy Luke of Houma, whose family buys crabs and seafood, and harvests the products as well.,, “Jay Morris doesn’t even know anything about the seafood industry nor does he care about Louisiana to do what he did,” said Kimberly Chauvin of the David Chauvin Seafood Company in Dulac, whose family also operates fishing vessels. “In my opinion, it’s time to let him know that we exist. I’m going to get all of his contact information. Then we need to flood his offices with emails and phone calls … We are one of the only industries that deal with the flood of imports year after year.” Click here to read the story 11:24

Trump supporters, protesters face off in noisy rival rallies at R.I. State House

Dueling rallies brought at least a thousand people to the Rhode Island State House grounds on Saturday to hail — or denounce — the presidency of Donald Trump, with Trump supporters chanting, “Build the wall, build the wall,” ,,,The pro-Trump rally in Providence was timed to coincide with similar rallies across the country led by Trump backers who felt compelled to publicly show that “real Americans” support the new president, despite the many controversies swirling around him. The Rhode Island event drew commercial fishermen from surrounding states — such as Gary Yearman of New London, Connecticut, and Dan Malone, of Stonington, Connecticut — who are pinning their hopes on Trump to ease regulations in their industry. “We’re here to try to gain some momentum, to possibility get a meeting with Mr. Trump or somebody that can take notice of the commercial fishing industry before they go out of business,” said Yearman, who estimated that 30 or 40 people, in his industry, from outside Rhode Island came to the rally. Read the story here 23:34

No sanctuary for fishermen

Sanctuaries are designated areas intended to provide a safe haven and protection. But for the watermen of the Chesapeake Bay and its surrounding tributaries, the word “sanctuary” is more often associated with anguish. So when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries initiated the designation process for Mallows Bay – Potomac River on October 7 of 2015, the watermen of the Potomac River began to grow wary of their future. On February 1, an assorted group of commercial fishermen from all across the Northern Neck of Virginia met with Maryland commercial fishermen at Mundy Point at Pride of Virginia Seafood and Trucking, Inc. to form together as the newly named Potomac River Working Watermen Association (PRWWA). One month later, on March 2, they held their second meeting to discuss their plan of action in opposition of the Mallows Bay – Potomac River sanctuary proposal. continue reading the story here 14:35

Alaska fishing group flags concerns with income tax proposal

A trade group for Alaska commercial fishermen is flagging concerns with a state House proposal that would reinstitute a personal income tax. United Fishermen of Alaska says many fishermen will have “major difficulties” complying with withholding requirements on payments to fishing crew. Association leaders, in a letter to the House Finance Committee co-chairs, say withholding requirements would fall on skippers who don’t have the information they would need to estimate a crew member’s potential federal tax liability. The tax, as proposed, would be 15 percent of what a person owes the federal government in taxes. They raised other concerns, too. The association, which says it has not taken a position either way on the bill, suggested a fix that would treat fishermen the same as people who are self-employed. Link 16:15

Fish war on?

After the smallest Kenai River dipnet catch in eight years, there are hints that the little people of Alaska’s urban core might at last be arriving at the realization that they are the only ones who can protect their interest in Alaska salmon for dinner. A message populating on social media over the weekend was calling dipnetters to a “meeting at Cabela’s, Anchorage sunday evening from 6 to 7 concerning dipnetting and BOF. Pass it on.” BOF is the acronym for the Board of Fisheries for the state of Alaska. It is the entity that sets seasons and catch limits for commercial, sport and personal-use fisheries around the state. It will later this month take up the issue of management of Cook Inlet salmon, an always contentious matter in which the interests of average Alaskan  fishermen and women have historically proven secondary. To a large degree, fishery managers with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game say, this is simply unavoidable. Commercial fishermen working offshore in the Inlet get the first crack at returning salmon, and the commercial fishery is the big dog in the management scheme. Salmon managers use it to regulate the numbers of salmon getting into streams all around the region with the intent being to maximize the catch while still meeting spawning goals. Continue reading the article here 09:06

Nova Scotia’s deadliest industry slowly becomes safer

It is one of the most mundane tasks on a fishing boat: tying up the bumper balloons that prevent the vessel from crunching into the wharf when it docks. But for fisherman Mitch MacDonald it proved life-altering. For 10 years he fastened them with little problem. That is until last May, when his boat pitched unexpectedly and a balloon fell overboard, the rope sawing through his left index finger.  “It pretty much burnt right through my finger and took the end of my finger off overboard,” he said. MacDonald has not regained the full use of his hand. The injury cost him thousands of dollars in lost income as he had trouble holding onto things and couldn’t work the rest of the fishing season. He is not alone. In 2016 there were 224 injuries on fishing boats, according to the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia, but good news is the numbers are declining. Six years ago 351 injuries were reported. Read the story here 08:37

Baltimore Canyon “urban sanctuary” off OC worries fishermen

Capt. Monty Hawkins of Morning Star Fishing in Ocean City said the protection of one small patch of ocean does nothing to protect the ocean environment as a whole. “We have to do a whole lot better than what we are doing,” Hawkins said. “But taking the Baltimore Canyon and protecting the area directly around it is incredibly distressing, these are areas filled with recreational fishermen and commercial fishermen.” While the designation is said to not impact recreational fishing, the unique designation has worried local politicians and fishermen alike, who believe that the sanctuary status could impact the local economy; whether by curbing recreational and tournament fishing or impacting commercial vessels. In Maryland, offshore commercial fishing brings in around $78.2 million annually, or roughly 35 percent of the average annual catch for the Mid-Atlantic Coastline, according to the National Aquarium’s proposal to the NOAA. Read the story here 16:22

Transportation Safety Board wants life-vests mandatory for commercial fishermen

The federal government should look at the success of seatbelt laws when it considers a recommendation that would require commercial fishermen to wear a life-jacket at all times while on deck, the head of the Transportation Safety Board says. The recommendation to make life-jackets mandatory was part of a report released Wednesday into the deadly capsizing of a 30-metre fishing trawler last year off the west coast of Vancouver Island. “There was a time when it was OK to drive a car and not wear a seatbelt,” Kathy Fox said following a news conference in suburban Vancouver. Three men died and one survived when the Caledonian turned over and sank shortly after it loaded what was to be its final haul of hake on Sept. 5, 2015. The person who survived was also the only one wearing a personal flotation device. Read the story here 12:15