Tag Archives: commercial fishing

Tight-Knit Fishing Communities Navigate Drugs

Johnnie*, a salt-and-pepper fisherman in his late 50s, is smiling as he tells me what happened one dark night last year. “It was like a movie star, dropping down from the sky off the helicopter to get to my crewmate, pitch of night,” he says. “The Coast Guard—this handsome guy, my wife would’ve loved him, like Rock Hudson—dropped down from the moon. Felt like hours after we had given him all the Narcan we had. The Coast Guard still didn’t carry it back then, did you know that? So they pulled him up into the clouds and we all were left below at sea.”, “It’s not the first time that’s happened on our boat,” Johnnie says. “If we didn’t have that Narcan on board though, kid probably wouldn’t have made it.”  >click to read< 19:13

Commercial fishing binds communities, is dangerous livelihood

The Port Clyde fishing community is a tight-knit group with families and friends connected by the sea. That sea, however, can be cruel as it was March 26, when Travis Thorbjornson became the latest in a long list of fishermen to die in its waters. Thorbjornson died Friday, March 26. His lifelong friends, Gerry Cushman, Raymie Upham and Justin ‘Buzza’ Libby, recovered him from the sea. He is the second member of his family to die on the waters. In July 2005, his brother and best friend 40-year-old Gary Thorbjornson, captain of the fishing vessel Sirius, was lost at sea when his 50-foot wooden trawler sank 30 miles southeast of Rockland. A shiny, black granite memorial bearing the name of 11 fishermen lost at sea stands on the grounds of the Marshall Point Lighthouse. Gary Thorbjornson’s image is depicted on the other side of the monument that was dedicated in May 2008. >click to read< 12:27

F/V Ellie Ádhamh: Imperiled fishing trawler goes down off Cork coast

The Coastguard at Valentia has confirmed that the fishing trawler, the Ellie Ádhamh, which spent a second night adrift off the Cork coast sank shortly before midday. Yesterday evening, the skipper and six crewmen were winched to safety by the Waterford-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117. The naval vessel LÉ George Bernard Shaw had attempted to tow the trawler to shore. However, the tow came adrift in heavy sea and swell conditions after the crew were taken off the trawler. >click to read< 08:31

F/V Ellie Ádhamh: Captain and 6 crewmen winched to safety by Irish Coast Guard Helicopter Rescue 117

An operation to tow the vessel to shore has been abandoned due to poor conditions. The trawler lost power and steering 80km off the west Cork coast yesterday. It was drifting for several hours in rough seas until the naval vessel LÉ George Bernard Shaw attached a tow earlier today. They were  rescued 50km west of Mizen Head at around 7pm, in sea conditions described as “horrendous”. There was a six-metre swell and winds gusting at  between 74 and 92kmph. >click to read<  21:28  Crew of stricken fishing vessel rescued in dramatic airlift operation off West Cork – Strong south westerly winds of up to 90kph and six metre swell were buffeting the fishing vessel under tow and a decision was taken around 5.30pm to airlift all seven crew members off the boat. a short video, >click to read<

Rescue operation resumes for disabled fishing trawler with seven aboard off the Cork coast Saturday

The Wexford-registered trawler, Ellie Adhamh, lost power early on Friday morning 130km off the Bull Rock in west Cork while returning from a prawn fishing trip in the Porcupine Bank. A major rescue operation was launched involving the Irish Coast Guard and the Naval Service and co-ordinated by the Irish Coast Guard Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre at Valentia Island. Force 4 westerly winds were whipping up big seas and a plan by a Bere Island tug, to go to assist the fishing vessel had to be abandoned after it was damaged by a large wave. >click to read< 07:39

Stricken vessel is being towed to safety off Cork coast – Local tugs attempted to assist the trawler, but one vessel was hit by a 10 metre wave, blowing out all the windows. It had to be assisted back to the shore by the RNLI. >click to read<

Seven crewmen remain aboard a stranded fishing trawler off Cork coast

Several crew members of a fishing trawler that’s drifting without power off the Cork coast are to remain on board the vessel overnight, with high winds and rough seas anticipated. The fishing vessel raised the alarm this morning when it lost power off the coast of Castletownbere, and it’s understood other trawlers in the area tried to offer assistance. An update from Rescue 115 reads: “The seven crew want to remain with the vessel at this time. Numerous other vessels on route,,, >click to read< 17:41

Rescue 115 has now returned to base after making two trips to the casualty vessel>click to read<

Despite unprecedented 2020 market losses, Maine fishermen brought in history’s 9th most valuable catch

Valued at $516.8 million, the ex-vessel value, or price paid at the dock, of Maine’s commercially harvested marine species was the ninth-highest on record. Maine’s lobster fishery once again accounted for most of the state’s overall landed value, with the lobster catch totaling $405.98 million. While the landed value was down from $491.2 million in 2019 and the 2016 peak of $540.7 million, it was the seventh straight year that the lobster fishery exceeded $400 million. Maine scallop fishermen brought ashore an additional 224,874 pounds compared to 2019, ranking the fishery as the third-most valuable, despite a 19-cent per pound decrease in value.  >click to read< 09:12

Selling Direct to the Public: What looked like disaster for Haworth Fish Co. has turned into new business

After a week at sea, Nick Haworth returned to port with 30,000 pounds of big eye tuna and opah aboard Kaylee H,,, Having been hundreds of miles offshore, the crew had not heard the news: On March 17, 2020, fearing a surge of coronavirus cases, the county health department shut down all indoor dining, instantly destroying the restaurant industry’s appetite for the fresh investment sitting on ice below deck in the fishing boat’s hold. “We had nowhere to sell our catch,,, photos, >click to read<,09:17

Commercial Fishing Captain Gregorio Rodriguez – Lived the American Dream

Captain Gregorio Rodriguez, a commercial fisherman in Key West of nearly 50 years, went home to the Lord peacefully in his home on Monday, March 1, 2021, in Key West, Florida at the age of 75. Gregory (Goyo to those who knew and loved him) was born in Mariel, Cuba in 1945 and came to the U.S. in 1961. In 1971 he started a life of fishing and never looked back. He loved his career and his boat F/V Trinity with all of his heart. He is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Maria Rodriguez, whose strength and care in his last days was remarkable. The love he had for his wife and the bond they shared was unheard of and the envy of many. >click to read< 17:36

Battle fishing between Alaska and the Aleutians

“The waves were smashing into the boat. The tide was coming in, and the boat was starting to tip. This was late in the season, and we couldn’t see anybody around. Our radios were broken, so we couldn’t call for help, and our greenhorn captain was having a complete mental breakdown. He was an emotionally unstable guy anyway. He was up on the fly bridge of the boat, ripping components out and throwing them overboard, including things that worked. Myself and the other deckhand, Erik – there were only three of us on the boat – we were looking at each other: ‘What do we do? Do we need to get our survival suits on? Like, what’s happening here? Are we going to die?’” >click to read< 08:58

Big news for a major Michigan industry: commercial fishing.

Changes to the rulebook in January had fisheries warning the fresh catch may soon come from Canada. The DNR is now walking back those rules, requiring fishermen to cast their nets in water under 80 feet and suspending part of the whitefish season,,, “Everyone’s ecstatic.” A reversal from the DNR, effectively lifting the depth and seasonal restrictions the Williams’ and other commercial fisheries argue had upended their ability to make a living, means it’s now back to business as usual. >click to read< 07:42

Michigan House Bills Ban Commercial Perch Fishing on Great Lakes – Lakon Williams of the Bay Port Fish Co. expressed her concern. The company nets whitefish and perch in Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron. >click to read<

Rocky Brands To Acquire Original Muck Boot Company and Xtratuf

Rocky Brands, Inc. announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the performance and lifestyle footwear business of Honeywell International, Inc. including The Original Muck Boot Company and Xtratuf footwear brands, for a purchase price of $230 million.,, The Original Muck Boot Company pioneered the rubber and neoprene boot category. Xtratuf, an outfitter in the commercial fishing segment, has provided Alaskan fishermen with footwear for wet conditions for nearly 60 years. >click to read< 13:55

‘Everybody’s worst nightmare’: Bering Sea fishermen on edge after Coronavirus closes second processing plant

Now, fishermen and industry leaders are anxious that they might not have places to offload their catch, and that their plants might be the next to close down, said Dan Martin, who manages a fleet of nine pollock trawlers for a company called Evening Star Fisheries. “Any hiccups like this, you really have to reshuffle the deck and try to figure out, ‘Okay, what’s the next step?’” said Martin, a retired skipper. He called the shutdowns “everybody’s worst nightmare.” >click to read< 10:32

Gloves Come Off In Fight Over Commercial Fishing In Michigan

The few commercial fishing businesses that remain in Michigan are suing the state’s Department of Natural Resources over changes to industry rules.  They say the new provisions will make commercial fishing all but impossible. The lawsuit, filed by the Michigan Fish Producers Association, claims the actions of the state threaten to deprive its members and their employees of their livelihoods. “Here in Leland, you can’t fish,” says Joel Petersen, the last state-licensed fishermen working out of Fishtown. >click to read< 09:35

Coronavirus has hit commercial fishing hard

With restaurants and supply chains disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic, two-fifths of commercial fishers from Maine to North Carolina did not go fishing earlier this year, a new study shows. The study, which covers March to June and included 258 fishers, also examined data on fish landings and found that the catch for some species, such as squid and scallops, decreased compared with previous years. The catch for other species, such as black sea bass and haddock, was on par with or higher than previous years, suggesting that many fishermen fished as much as they had been before the pandemic, while earning less income. “They may have kept fishing to pay their bills or crew, or to maintain their livelihoods or their quotas until markets rebound,” >click to read< 13:32

LI fishermen see ‘tough’ days ahead as NYC restaurants back in lockdown

With New York City restaurants back in lockdown, Long Island fishermen once again face the loss of one of the biggest markets for their fish as a choppy 2020 comes to a close. Hank Lackner, who operates the state’s largest commercial trawler, a 93-foot dragger out of Montauk, said he’s already applied for the relief. “It’s been really tough,” said Lackner, adding his revenue is down 40% to 45% this year. “It’s only going to get tougher,” with city restaurants in lockdown, and talk of a bigger statewide pause in January. >click to read< 10:39

Dungeness Crab Season opens Dec.16th From Cape Falcon to the California border!

Fishing vessels can start setting gear for the pre-soak period as soon as Dec. 13 and see their first pulls hit the docks on opening day. The season is normally scheduled to open Dec. 1, but is often delayed for quality assurance reasons and toxin testing. Testing this year showed a low meat yield in crab specimens, prompting the two-week delay to allow the crabs to fill with meat. Last year’s opening day was delayed until Dec. 31 for similar reasons. Domoic acid levels in crab across the coast were found to be safe for human consumption,,, >click to read< 12:55

Family owned working waterfront fishing businesses displaced by waterfront developments on Great Lakes

For three generations, the Minor family, today brothers Carson and Landon and their father Paul, have been up before first light to board their fishing tug and make their way to their fishing grounds on Lake Erie. Most mornings, the Minors leave from Port Colborne, Ont., Each afternoon they return to the port to unload their fresh catch of perch and pickerel.,, Without warning, the unloading zone their family had used for more than 70 years was blocked off. They were forced to move to a new port further away from their fishing grounds, increasing travel time and putting them at greater risk during bad weather.,, The Minors’ story is not new, nor is it isolated. Working waterfront access is being affected by coastal gentrification, also called “coastal grabbing” >click to read< 16:47

New Bedford fisherman reflects on September battle with Coronavirus

The fishing industry, like most sectors, has not been immune to the pandemic. Tony Borges was catching fluke with his crew off the New Jersey coast in September when he developed a fever. The 63-year-old veteran fisherman, aware a crew member tested positive for coronavirus, took some Tylenol and got back to work for another tow. About two weeks later, he was in a hospital bed asking his doctor if he was going to die. >click to read< 07:44

LFA 33 to open, Monday a no-go for LFA 34: weather forecast leads to split start of commercial lobster season

The fishery in Lobster Fishing Area (LFA) 33, which runs along the province’s south shore will open as scheduled on Monday, with boats leaving at 7 a.m. But that’s not the case for LFA 34 off southwestern Nova Scotia, which, following days of fine weather over the weekend, won’t see boats heading out for dumping day on the traditional last Monday of November. With boats loaded with traps and gear for the start of the season, two industry and stakeholder conference calls held over the weekend,,, “The lobster fishery is vital to our region and our province, and there is a very real anxiety among our community members that this important economic driver is in jeopardy,   >click to read< 15:30

‘15 minutes out mama’: The tragic story of Port Dover fisherman Michael Smith who drowned in Lake Erie

Frigid water shushing against the hull, spray peppering windows, as the fish tug bores through Lake Erie, clouds breaking to reveal the pale, fleeting blue of a mercurial March sky. On board, Michael Smith sent his wife a text like he always did to start the day: “Good morning beautiful, I love you.” They headed southwest around Long Point, the 40-kilometre sand spit that stretches nearly halfway across the lake. Smith recorded video: the wheelhouse, engine rumbling, tote boxes awaiting some of the first smelt of the commercial fishing season. He pulled open a steel door through which the trawling net is pulled, to show the water rolling by. He made it a ritual to kiss the net before releasing it to the lake. >click to read< 10:41

Dungeness crab season might not open for Thanksgiving again

New state regulations may mean that Dungeness crabs won’t be in stores in time for Thanksgiving. The rules, aimed at preventing entanglements    “I want to make sure it’s understood what kind of effort we’re putting into it as fishermen and how effective we’ve been,” said Dick Ogg, a Bodega Bay fisherman and a member of the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group that developed the rules. He said that fishermen have worked hard to make sure their gear is set up better to lower risk. “We’ve really reduced our interaction and entanglement rates.” Ogg said there is a lot of anxiety in the fishing fleet about what will happen with the coming season and whether they should start gearing up for a Nov. 15 opening or whether it will be delayed. >click to read< 10:01

Long a lifeblood, South Shore fishing industry faces numerous challenges

Over his more than five decades fishing commercially, Frank Mirarchi has watched the business evolve from thriving and straightforward to complicated and diminished, with skyrocketing costs, foreign competition and changing regulations choking an industry synonymous with the South Shore. In the late 1960s, when he purchased his first of three successive boats, fish was abundant enough to make a solid living off of. “By 1985 or so, fishing was pretty bad,” Mirachi said. With profits dropping, he switched from having two other crew members to one. In 1994, the federal government stared limiting the number of days fishermen can be on the water to combat overfishing. Before, some spent 200 or more days fishing each year. Over the years, it was gradually reduced to 30. Mirarchi said this “wasn’t particularly successful”,,, >click to read< 08:54

Kodiak Alaska, Crabpots Illustration, Bering Sea, King Crab Fishing, Habits, Spiritual Disciplines

I used to love the King Crab Festival which was celebrated in my hometown of Kodiak, Alaska every year. I used to love the activities, the food and the rides which pulled in to town each early summer. Many of my friends growning up had dad’s who were crab fisherman. Each year these dads and their sons would load dozens of crabpots onto their boats,, When looking at this industry and especially those nylon ropes which lifted those crabpots, there is a life and spiritual lesson which I would like to share with you all. When one looks closely at those all important ropes, there is a picture which we all need to be reminded of. What we reinforce or what we repeat is critical to our productivity and impact in our lives and in our worlds. >Video, click to watch< 08:14

Congress gave $300 million to help fisheries. The Great Lakes got zero. Why were they left out?!

The nationwide shutdown was especially ill-timed for fishers in the Great Lakes. “We had reports of commercial fishermen in Michigan who had a catch with absolutely nowhere to sell it,” Luckily, there was a plan in place to help commercial fishers and charter boats. But when it came time to distribute that funding, most of the Great Lakes states were left out altogether. That came as a shock to many fishers. “Right up until the final hour, a lot of the Great Lakes fishery participants thought that they were going to be included,” says Gravelle. Why the Great Lakes were left out? >click to read< 14:53

Gillnetters approve, anglers reel at Columbia River salmon policy change

A recent update to the state’s Columbia River salmon management policy to change harvest allocations and allow commercial gillnetting on the main stem has anglers reeling. “We’ve made a lot of changes over the last 30 years to how we fish in order to adjust to (federal Endangered Species Act) listings, in order to adjust to harvesting the best fish in the river at the best times,” said Robert Sudar, a commercial fishing advisor based in Longview. “It’s a totally different fishery than it was 30 to 40 years ago.” >click to read< 10:08

Coast Guard medevacs injured fisherman near Cold Bay, Alaska

The Coast Guard medevaced an injured fisherman approximately 40 miles west of Cold Bay, Alaska, Wednesday. At 2:30 p.m. an Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew hoisted the injured man and transferred him to awaiting emergency medical services in Cold Bay for further transport to Anchorage. At 8:34 a.m., command center watchstanders received a medevac request from the 89-foot fishing vessel Atlantico for a 40 year-old crewmember who sustained a back injury. Video, >click to read< 22:17

‘Deadliest Catch’: 8 Things You Didn’t Know About the Show

For 16 seasons, viewers have loved watching crab fishermen in the Bering Sea during the Alaskan fishing season. The Mike Rowe narrated show is now Emmy Award winning and has helped shed light on how commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. Here are some things you might not know about the popular show. 1, How much do they actually make during crab season? (the first video features Captains Gary and Kenny Ripka). 3, Even though cameras are rolling, no one is actually safe onboard! When they say reality show…they mean reality. Captain Sig Hansen has claimed that the crew put their lives on the line every day, and that includes the cameramen. At one point, he had to save a cameraman’s life when a crane holding 900 lbs of crab almost knocked him off the boat. The crewmembers are a bunch of badasses, living on the water for three to five-week stretches right alongside the fishermen. It’s a dangerous job, but someone has to film it. >Videos, click to read< 16:43

Around The World: Fishing For Cordova Salmon

Located on Prince William Sound in southeast Alaska and framed by the Chugach Mountain Range, Cordova, AK, was home to Eyak native peoples when named “Puerto Cordova” after a Spanish admiral by explorer Salvador Fidalgo in 1790. In 1886 the New England Fish Orca Cannery was built three miles north of present-day Cordova. It at one time processed most of Prince William Sound’s salmon harvest and employed hundreds of workers. It remained in operation until 1986.,, Priced at about $175,000 apiece, around 500 salmon fishing permits are issued every year in Cordova. They are divided into three categories: drift gillnets, set gillnets, and purse seines. photos, >click to read<, To view past articles and pictures, go to www.DaveGibsonImages.com.   14:17

‘Amazing’ halibut, one of the largest fish in the Gulf of Maine, are making a comeback

Halibut are one of the largest fish in the Gulf of Maine, second only to bluefin tuna, swordfish and large sharks. Historically they were a mainstay of the fishing industry along with cod. The National Marine Fishery Service began regulating the halibut fishery in the 1990s and there is a one fish per trip per boat limit on catch. This has been a boon to their rebound. This past spring while fishing for haddock my husband, David, caught four huge halibut. They ranged in size from 40 to 60 pounds. In the past, he has caught one or two a year which were large enough to be legal to keep. The current minimum size is 41 inches. My husband caught two halibut near Jeffrey’s ledge in the mid-1990s which weighed 120 to 140 pounds.,, but David has noticed a strange thing about halibut, they seem to swim in pairs.   >click to read< 15:29