Tag Archives: COVID-19

Fishing crews targeted in vaccination push

Fishing boat crews are being targeted as part of efforts to reduce Covid infection rates in south west Scotland. NHS Dumfries and Galloway said it was offering drop-in vaccination clinics to those working on boats berthed at harbours including Kirkcudbright and Stranraer. Public health consultant Dr Nigel Calvert said receiving both doses of the vaccine was the best way to protect your health. He said they were keen to offer everyone vaccination – including the crews of fishing boats coming to the area. >click to read< 10:41

Peter Pan Seafoods to require employees to be vaccinated

A seafood processing company with operations in Alaska and Washington state will require its employees to be vaccinated,,, The policy will be enacted in tiers. The first tier includes employees at company headquarters in Bellevue, Washington; the Seattle warehouse; Alaska processing facilities in Valdez, Port Moller, Dillingham, and Alaska support centers in Dillingham, Sand Point and Naknek. >click to read< 09:54

Fish Harvesters Benefit Program open for 2nd phase

Fish harvesters in the Northcoast and Haida Gwaii can now apply for the second phase of benefit payments under the Fish Harvester Benefit and Grant program, the Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans announced, on Aug. 5. This program helps eligible self-employed fish harvesters, who were not eligible for other financial relief programs, access critical support in dealing with the financial burdens of COVID-19. More than 18,000 fishers and families have accessed $130 million through the program in all provinces across Canada since its May 2020 inception. This includes self-employed commercial and freshwater fish harvesters, Indigenous harvesters with communal commercial fishing licences designated by their communities, and sharepersons crew who had less than their usual income in 2020. >click to read< 07:53

Deadliest Catch Captain Keith Colburn: “It’s a shitty job”

Deadliest Catch is already in its 15th year. The reality series about the crab fishermen on the Bering Sea near Alaska is still very popular. One of the protagonists in the Discovery series is Keith Colburn. The captain was one of the first to go to Alaska with nothing and 30 years later owns one of the largest ships: F/V Wizard.,, He can’t fish right now, because he is still struggling with the consequences of the coronavirus.  “It was especially weird, “Despite corona, there was still a danger that we know all too well from the other seasons of Deadliest Catch: the sea. A huge wave hit The Wizard, damaging the iconic ship. photos, video, >click to read< 14:50

‘Deadliest Catch’ Captain Hospitalized

Captain Keith Colburn has been hospitalized with Coronavirus. Colburn announced in a video posted from his hospital room that he’d had the virus for at least 20 days. He maintains he went 10 days without needing any medication while he self-quarantined, but he still wound up needing to seek medical attention. While the virus has worked its way out of Colburn’s system, he claims he’s still dealing with its after-effects. He’s now battling a case of pneumonia as a result of his coronavirus diagnosis that’s left him in the hospital for the last eight days. Andy Hillstrand was another cast member to contract the virus,  Video, >click to read< 17:44

The Alaska Wilderness Prepared Me For Coronavirus

Every summer I make the long trip up to Naknek, Alaska — an outpost of human settlement among the tundra, volcanoes, and wildlife of southwestern Alaska to be part of the commercial sockeye salmon fishing season in Bristol Bay. From the airport at King Salmon, we drive the lonely stretch of pavement a half hour north, to the boatyard in which the Epick, a 32-foot-long, aluminum-hulled gillnetter that I call home for several weeks out of the year, resides through the winter. My crew and I prep the boat and put her in the water, where we make use of the abundance of daylight typical to Alaskan summers to try and catch as many salmon as possible. >click to read< 11:47

The Coronavirus pandemic could change U.S. fisheries forever. Will it be for better or for worse?!

The first symptoms appeared long before Covid-19 gained a stronghold on U.S. shores, as China went into its first lockdown and a critical export market disappeared overnight,,, Then as social distancing rules kicked in here, another major organ of the U.S. supply chain, restaurants, where most seafood purchases are made, fell limp.  Many fishermen across the country have pivoted to direct-marketing models by selling their catch off their boats,,, To many in the food industry, the pandemic’s impact has exposed the fundamental vulnerabilities of a system that has long favored efficiency over resilience.  >click to read< 09:48

Harris, Dorchester watermen react to Executive Order workboat mask requirement

Dorchester County watermen and the Eastern Shore’s congressman are opposed to a requirement to wear masks on commercial fishing vessels. U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md.-1st, spoke out Friday, Feb. 12, against the Biden Administration’s Executive Order 13998, which requires the wearing of masks on all federal and federally regulated transportation vehicles and vessels to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He said the Coast Guard announced they will enforce this mandate that all commercial fishing vessel occupants will be required to wear masks. >click to read< 10:49

Tough times felt by renowned Port Townsend lutefisk business

Scott Kimmel, owner of Port Townsend’s New Day Fisheries, says COVID-19 has caused his lutefisk operation to take a nosedive. But the pandemic isn’t solely to blame for a downward trend,,, Lutefisk is dried cod that has been rehydrated in a lye solution before being boiled or baked,, It is perhaps more-aptly described as a traditional Scandinavian dish which either strikes mortal fear into the hearts of those who’ve known it,,, It just depends on who you ask. But as Kimmel’s lutefisk sales show, most folks these days probably fall into that former category. “Our sales have been declining for years and years just because our customers have been passing away and the younger generation’s not picking up the slack,” Kimmel said. “So, it’s a dying business, is what that is. >click to read<13:19

Coronavirus: Unalaska fish processing plant reopens after outbreak forces monthlong shutdown

The reopening is a bright spot for the Bering Sea fishing industry, which has been hampered by COVID-19 outbreaks at multiple boats and onshore plants. UniSea’s processing plant has a year-round workforce, and its facility handles multiple species from cod to crab. The pollock season opened Jan. 20 but the 11 boats that typically deliver their catch to UniSea have been able to hold off, That’s because the pollock fishery operates as a cooperative, where vessels have a fixed quota of fish they can catch and deliver to a specific plant.  “Our fleet have been extremely supportive of our situation and patient with our reopening schedule,” Enlow said. “But they, like UniSea, are anxious to get the season started.” >click to read< 08:32

20 crew members on vessel in Dutch Harbor test positive for COVID-19 in latest seafood industry outbreak

A factory trawler joined a growing list of seafood processors and vessels in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands that have experienced COVID-19 outbreaks recently. Twenty members of the 40-member crew on the factory trawler Araho, owned by the O’Hara Corp., tested positive for the virus, the City of Unalaska said Friday. Upon arrival in Unalaska from Seattle on Wednesday night, a couple of crew members reported symptoms of COVID-19, according to Unalaska city manager Erin Reinders, who said testing began when the vessel arrived. >click to read< 19:46

Coronavirus outbreak at Trident Seafoods Akutan plant grows to 135

A seafood plant in Akutan, Alaska, run by Trident Seafoods is facing a large COVID-19 outbreak with 135 of 307 tested employees testing positive for COVID-19, health care officials said on Tuesday morning. The Akutan plant has around 700 employees, and COVID-19 testing is still underway. Dr. Joe McLaughlin, an epidemiologist with the state, said the first report of COVID-19 at the facility was made on Jan. 17. >click to read< 09:19

New Whitby lobster boat launches on choppy post-Brexit waters

“Our Henry” is owned by business partners Terry Pearson and Luke Russell. Mr Pearson is the merchant for the local shellfishing fleet, while Mr Russell will skipper the catamaran, the first new boat to join the Whitby fleet for a decade, along with two other crew and a trainee. Delivered a couple of weeks ago the potter has been undergoing sea trials, but should make its first fishing trip later this week.  “Then with Covid, the build was delayed, and it has only just arrived when we are in the middle of the winter fishery,  “Then of course there has been Brexit,,, >click to read< 16:31

Federal Relief: Great Lakes fisheries finally get a cut of Coronavirus relief funds

After being snubbed in 2020, the folks who make their living by fishing the Great Lakes ­­– both commercially and for sport – have been included in the latest round of federal relief from the economic ravages of COVID-19.,, Neither group was included in the massive Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security  Act that passed in March 2020, even though $300 million was specifically earmarked for U.S. fisheries.,, Getting the Great Lakes included in CRRSA was just the beginning. Now comes the harder work of figuring out how to access the money. Video, >click to read< 16:10

Captain’s License Revoked Following COVID-19 Outbreak at Sea

Sveinn Geir Arnarsson, captain of freezer trawler Júlíus Geirmundsson, pleaded guilty when the Westfjords Police Chief’s case against him was heard in the Westfjords District Court last week,,, Twenty-two of the vessel’s 25 crew members contracted COVID-19 while at sea last October. The ship did not return to harbour for three weeks despite the outbreak on board. >click to read< 07:50

North Pacific pollock fleet preps for season after tough 2020

Skipper Kevin Ganley spent most of the summer and fall pulling a massive trawl net through the Bering Sea in a long slow search for pollock, a staple of McDonald’s fish sandwiches. The fish proved very hard to find. “We just scratched and scratched and scratched,” Ganley recalls. “It was survival mode.” Ganley’s boat is part of a fleet of largely Washington-based trawlers that have had a difficult year as they joined in North America’s largest single-species seafood harvest. >click to read< 19:28

COVID-19 restaurant downturn, health risks pack double blow to tribal fishers, salmon business

On the 147-mile stretch of the Columbia from Bonneville Dam to McNary Dam, the only commercial fishing allowed is by the four Columbia Plateau tribes that signed treaties with the federal government in 1855. The treaties ensure the fishing rights of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, the Nez Perce Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon. Despite those treaties, dwindling salmon runs have forced the tribes to strike a delicate balance between their rights to the salmon, other commercial and recreational fishers, and protecting the environment. >click to read< 14:25

Safety on the Water Must Take Precedent

The year 2020 is nearly in the rearview mirror. Feel free to take a moment and let out a collective sigh of relief here. Who knows what 2021 has in store for us, but could it possibly be any more strange, troubling or unprecedented than the last 12 months? This past year will go down in history as one of the most turbulent for the fishery in Southwest Nova Scotia. Not only was the industry rocked by the global impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the self-regulated, moderate livelihood lobster fishery by First Nations led to protests, disputes and dissention across the breadth of the Nova Scotia fishing community. >click to read< 08:45

North Pacific Pollock fishing crews on edge after a tough 2020 of small fish and COVID-19

Skipper Kevin Ganley spent most of the summer and fall pulling a massive trawl net through the Bering Sea in a long slow search for pollock, a staple of McDonald’s fish sandwiches. The fish proved very hard to find.,,, Fishermen, for example, helped in taking bottom temperatures with equipment they brought on board their vessels. >click to read<  And scientists figured out a way to roughly measure the pollock abundance through acoustic sonar mounted in three Saildrones, which are remote-controlled 20-foot boats. >click to read< 14:05

Crew Of O’Hara Corporation Trawler And Community Member Test Positive For Coronavirus

Unalaska reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. All but one is among the crew of the F/T Enterprise, a trawler. The infected crew members are in isolation in Unalaska’s quarantine facility and are being monitored by staff from Iliuliuk Family and Health Services, City Manager Erin Reinders said. Contact tracing is underway. “The O’Hara Corporation is greatly concerned by the recent positive COVID test results on board the F/T Enterprise,”,, “Our primary concern is the health of our crew and preventing impacts to the community of Unalaska.” The tenth case the city reported Monday is an Unalaska resident. >click to read< 17:57

B.C.’s commercial halibut season extended three weeks due to pandemic caused market disruptions

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) said the closure, normally scheduled for Nov. 15, will now fall on Dec. 7 for the 2020 season. All groundfish hook-and-line harvesters wanting to participate in the extended halibut season will need to have the conditions of their licence amended prior to fishing past the original November closure. Additional sector-specific instructions on how to request the amendment will be forthcoming,, Meanwhile, costs to harvest, process and ship products have escalated as the sector tries to meet COVID-19 safety protocols. >click to read< 20:53

British Columbia – Crew Safety Training – Prepare And Protect your Crew from Coronavirus

WorkSafeBC and Transport Canada regulations set a high standard for training where emphasis is placed upon ensuring that both operational and emergency training occurs before work begins. In addition to this, COVID-19 has created new requirements for vessel owners and masters as they are now responsible for training crew on the vessel-specific protocols that are designed to protect the health of crew and the communities they interact with while fishing. >click to read< 13:45

SCRUB OBSERVERS ON FISHING TRIPS!

From all indications, on August 14, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration commercial fishing monitors will be back looking for a journey unless NOAA steps in and waives the requirement for data-collecting observers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The information human observers collect can be temporarily gathered through electronic surveillance, but a momentary waiver has to come directly through your two U.S. Senators and one U.S. Representative in Washington. Let them know as soon as possible because if you don’t email or call them now, don’t think anyone else is going to do this for you. >click to read< 08:11

Covid-19 Transmission and Mandatory On-Board Observers

You have two Senators and one Member of Congress representing you in Washington. If you are concerned with the recent NOAA/NMFS decision to once again require their observers on board commercial fishing vessels,, you should let them know, and you should let them know ASAP, Feds the observers will be back and looking for rides on August 14, w/links,,, More on Covid-19: We know that research cruises by the R/V Bigelow have been cancelled for (at least) the rest of this year. There must be a compelling Covid-19 related reason for this, and I’d suspect for the fact that NOAA/NMFS has been making it awfully hard to get solid info on where their research vessels are or aren’t,, Captains and crew members know the people who work with them,, On the other hand, mandatory fisheries observers are about as far from necessary as one can get in this pandemic year. While they unknowingly will be putting fishermen at risk, in actuality all they will be doing will be providing government scientists with data points for them to add to data sets that in instances go back fifty years or more. By Nils Stolpe >click to read< 15:35

Coronavirus outbreaks keep sidelining vessels owned by one of Seattle’s largest fishing companies. No one’s entirely sure why.

It’s not surprising that fishing vessels would become potentially high-risk environments as the pandemic worsened. Like cruise ships, which became notorious Covid-19 hotspots in the early days of the outbreak, fishing trawlers tend to confine people in close quarters for prolonged periods of time. But several additional factors make fishing vessels susceptible to outbreaks: Living arrangements require people to cram into tight spaces together, sharing bunkrooms, dining areas, toilets, and other facilities. “These people are four to a room,” said Dr. Marisa D’Angeli,“They’re in bunk beds. They share a bathroom with the four people [in the] adjacent [room]—so eight people total. People don’t wear a mask when they sleep.” The work environment, which requires people to work closely together in wet, chaotic circumstances, is no less fraught with transmission opportunities. >click to read< 08:08

Icelandic Cod Spray Bodes Well Against Coronavirus

While several countries across the globe are vying to create a vaccine against COVID-19, Iceland, a nation of fishermen, has come up with a possible solution of its own. PreCold, a mouth spray intended to be used against the first symptoms of a cold based on cod enzymes, has proven efficient during tests and managed to deactivate about 98.3% of the virus that causes COVID-19, national broadcaster RÚV reported. The spray creates a protective film in the pharynx where the viruses that cause the common cold tend to localise and replicate. The film using enzymes extracted from cod offal, weakens viruses so they fail to replicate to a degree that makes the host sick. >click to read< 07:27

Coronavirus: 50-day mission to retrieve Kiwi fishermen underway

Sanford deep water fleet manager Darryn Shaw said the trip to the South Georgia Islands had been made necessary due to the impacts of Covid-19, which had made it difficult to get people out of the Falkland Islands, with just one flight a week going to the United Kingdom. “Normally we would bring our people back by air, via South America, but that is not possible at this time with borders closed into that region. We did look at bringing them home via the UK, but that was going to put them at risk of actually being exposed to Covid-19 as they would have to fly into the UK and move about between airports.” Many of the crew, who are fishing for toothfish, had already been at sea for 130 days – missing the entire Covid-19 lockdown – and were eager to get home to their families, Shaw said. >click to read< 12:02

Concern as trawler crew get Covid-19

The crew on board a Spanish trawler that landed fish in Castletownbere have tested positive for Covid-19, prompting major concerns for the safety of the community, and supply lines to Europe. Six crew and the skipper have been confirmed as having the virus since returning from landing their catch in the West Cork port on April 21st. It’s also believed that another crew member who had felt sick en route from Spain, has tested positive for the antibodies, showing he had the virus, but has recovered. The skipper of the ship informed Spanish authorities that none of the crew went ashore in Castletownbere. However, head of the Castletownbere-based Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation, Patrick Murphy, said the situation raised a major red flag,,, >click to read< 17:34

FFAW, processors remain at odds on opening Newfoundland and Labrador crab season

It remains to be seen whether harvesters in the province will eventually start fishing for crab and offloading it at plants for processing. According to the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW-Unifor), two vessels from outside the province were turned away in Port Aux Basques and denied the opportunity to offload crab as of Monday morning, and three transport trucks carrying crab harvested outside the province were being blocked from making deliveries to fish plants, two in South Brook and one at Goobies. “The fishery was postponed three times on health and safety issues,” Pretty said. “During that time, the bargaining for the price of crab should have progressed, but instead of progressing,,, >click to read< 19:46

Alaska: Reopening of state economy begins

Restaurants, shops and hair salons around Alaska are beginning a cautious reopening under strict state mandates as Alaska works to inhibit the spread of COVID-19, while the economic reopening remains on hold in Cordova. Emergency order 2020-05, issued by City Manager Helen Howarth, reinstates business restrictions lifted by the state on April 24 until May 20. Independent commercial fishermen meanwhile now have their COVID-19 marching orders from state officials, a list of protective measures, procedures, travel and access measures they must abide by, as the influx of seafood workers begins in Cordova. >click to read< 10:25

Strict new pandemic rules are in place for Alaska fishermen and their vessels  – >click to read<