Tag Archives: Division of Marine Fisheries.

Baker Polito Administration Announces Coronavirus Disaster Relief Funding for Fishing and Seafood Industries

The Baker-Polito Administration has announced the distribution of $27.8 million in federal disaster relief funding to mitigate the financial impacts to the fishing and seafood industries from the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The Division of Marine Fisheries worked with fishing industry stakeholders to develop a plan to distribute the federal fisheries assistance, which has now been approved by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. >click to read< 11:12

DMF begins process of distributing federal CARES Act relief to fishing and seafood industries

The Division of Marine Fisheries has begun the process to distribute federal disaster relief that Congress and the President approved to mitigate the financial impacts to marine fisheries participants that have suffered at least a 35% loss of revenue due to the ongoing pandemic. In the days ahead, some Massachusetts permit holders in certain sectors will be receiving mailed applications.  In March, the CARES Act provided $300 million of aid for the seafood industry with $27.8 million coming to Massachusetts, the third highest of all coastal states.  The funds were allocated among the states based on the relative contributions to the economy of four distinct sectors: commercial fishing, marine aquaculture, seafood processing, and for-hire (party and charter boats) fishing businesses. >click to read< 10:14

A group threatens a lawsuit over NC shrimping rules

A group pushing for changes to North Carolina’s commercial fishing rules sent formal notice last week that it plans to sue the state and one of the largest shrimping companies on the coast. The N.C. Coastal Fisheries Reform Group said that after “over a decade of unsuccessful attempts to engage in meaningful fisheries management reform dialog” with multiple governors, lawmakers and state officials it was filing a notice of claim under the Federal Clean Water Act. That starts a 60-day clock ahead of a lawsuit. The group said in a news release that, with another shrimping season approaching, time is of the essence. >click to read< 12:00

Right whale sighting pushes back start of South Shore lobster season

Lobster season in southern Massachusetts has been put off for an additional seven days after endangered right whales were spotted feeding in the southern Cape Cod Bay. The Division of Marine Fisheries announced Tuesday that most of Cape Cod Bay and the Outer Cape will remain closed to lobster fishing until May 8. The area is is closed annually from February to the end of April to protect right whales. It was initially set to open on Friday. The lobstering season on the South Shore is limited by the season and by the lobster’s life cycle. They shed their shells in June and are not active again until mid-July, John Haviland, president of the South Shore Lobster Fishermen’s Association, said.  The bay closures started six years ago and increased the length of time lobstermen are out of the water. Before the closures,,, >click to read< 18:18

Federal study surveys spawning Atlantic Cod – Research area sits in waters zoned for offshore wind projects.

NOAA, the state Division of Marine Fisheries, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School of Marine Science and Technology are all participating in the study, which is funded by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The research is focused on what may be one of the last remaining major seasonal spawning gatherings in the Northwest Atlantic, according to the state Division of Marine Fisheries. “It’s certainly been a persistent spawning aggregation and there are not many in New England,” said fisheries scientist Steve Cadrin, principal investigator on the project for the School of Marine Science and Technology. Atlantic cod populations are at historic lows, hammered by chronic overfishing and climate change. >click to read< 07:06

Division of Marine Fisheries Reminder: Large Whale Seasonal Trap Gear Closure in Effect on February 1st

This advisory serves to remind recreational and commercial trap fishermen that the Large Whale Seasonal Trap Gear Closure (Closure) is in effect from February 1 through April 30. The Closure may be extended into May if right whales remain aggregated in the area. The Closure area encompasses the waters of Cape Cod Bay, Stellwagen Bank and eastern Cape Cod (see map). State officials will be patrolling this area in advance of and during the closure to identify gear and notify its owners. >click to read< 08:58

North Carolina: New blue crab management plan in the works

N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission recently announced it is moving forward with management measures for the blue crab that are designed to end overfishing. One of the biggest proposed changes is establishing closed seasons for the harvest, said Jason Rock, biologist supervisor with the Division of Marine Fisheries. >click to read<  15:09

Calls for reform, and a coming resignation, as fight rages over coastal fisheries

A wildlife conservation group called this week for an overhaul in the way North Carolina manages its coastal fisheries, and a member of the policy-setting commission in charge is contemplating resignation. The N.C. Wildlife Federation voted Saturday to recommend a massive management consolidation over one of the state’s most contentious issues. Under their plan the Marine Fisheries Commission, a board appointed by the governor, and the Division of Marine Fisheries, which enforces rules day-to-day along the North Carolina Coast, would be folded into the state’s Wildlife Resources Commission. Video >click to read< 07:24

Mysterious Lobster Deaths In Cape Cod Raise Climate Change Concern

Last month, lobstermen in Cape Cod Bay hauled up something disturbing. In one section of the bay, all of their traps were full of dead lobsters. Research biologists went to work trying to solve the mystery, and what they found suggests we may see more of this as the climate changes. But what was killing everything in the traps? “I don’t think any of us have heard reports of that before, at least not like that, where we had multiple fishermen all calling the same day, saying something’s going on,” said Steve Wilcox, one of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries’ biologists assigned to the case. >click to read<  19:28

Massachusetts: Environmental Police Update on Carlton Hendricks III Contaminated Shellfish Case

Carlton Hendricks III of Mashpee was accused of the harvesting shellfish from an area closed to commercial harvest due to contamination, attempting to sell those contaminated shellfish into commerce and attempting to conceal that the shellfish came from contaminated waters by misrepresenting the harvest area on his shellfish tags. Dr. David E. Pierce, Director of the state’s Division of Marine Fisheries concludes that Mr. Hendricks did commit the violations of which his was accused. >click to read< 11:30

Bruce Tarr: Ground Fishing rules don’t match industry realities

The federal government on Wednesday released data showing that cod stocks in the area remain overfished and are not on target to be rebuilt by 2024. “Abundance is very low, not the way it used to be, so that’s obviously of great concern to us,” said Division of Marine Fisheries Director David Pierce,,, Calling the report “concerning,” Sen. Bruce Tarr, “I’m still reading through the details  but I think it points to the fact that we should be doing things differently than we are today.” Tarr said there’s “too much regulatory discard” of cod “and there’s mortality that’s being caused by a set of rules that don’t recognize the practical reality of groundfishing.” >click to read< 19:32

Lobsters, fish fall victim to low oxygen levels in Cape Cod Bay

Two weeks ago, lobstermen working off Scorton Creek started seeing something they had never experienced. Lobsters, in fact everything in their traps, were coming up dead. Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries senior biologist Robert Glenn started fielding phone calls from puzzled fishermen Sept. 23. The fishermen were worried there might be something in the water that was killing the lobsters, fish, shellfish, even sea worms. It turns out, it was something missing from the water: oxygen. >click to read<  09:15

Truro lobsterman says rules to protect right whales costly to his business

Cheryl Souza is ending her lobster sales after October. But third-generation lobsterman Billy Souza, as it turns out, is considering quitting as well. “It’s all the whale issues,” Souza said. Unlike the lobstering in the days of Souza’s grandfather, Frank Souza, and his father, William Souza, the current generation fishing off Cape Cod is under an intense and unique scrutiny..,, “The whales could get entangled anywhere in the world, but there’s so many eyes on them here it looks like we’re the bad guys and we’re not.” >click to read< 07:38

N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission votes to close flounder fishing

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission adopted the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan Amendment 2 as proposed by the Division of Marine Fisheries, giving the director of the Division of Marine Fisheries flexibility with the commercial and recreational seasons so long as they meet the statutorily required harvest reductions. The Division of Marine Fisheries anticipates issuing a proclamation next week that closes the commercial and recreational season around Sept. 4. >click to read< 12:21

Buoyed by Student Lobster Permits

On the Mayhew dock in Menemsha Harbor, Otto Osmers used a wooden-handled fish pick to pry 25 pounds of skate, one by one, from a 55-gallon drum while Chris Mayhew climbed into a pair of bright orange oil-gear overalls. At seven o’clock on a Sunday morning, most students would still be asleep. But even after a late night of partying, Otto and Chris were wide awake and eager to pull their 25 lobster pots obtained on a special student lobster permit issued by the Division of Marine Fisheries. >click to read<16:19

Commercial Striped Bass Season Opens, Amid Concerns About Fishery

By the end of the day Monday, the first day of the commercial striped bass season, the Menemsha Fish House had brought in 297 filleted pounds of the elusive — and profitable — fish. Otto Osmers, a commercial fisherman and fishmonger at the Fish House, said it was an about average commercial day in terms of pounds of fish landed. And he acknowledged that the season begins amid concern among fishermen and regulators over declining stocks. >click to read<10:05

State mails final round of hurricane assistance checks to NC fishermen

Fisherman and shellfish harvesters hit by Hurricane Florence will soon receive more financial help from North Carolina leaders. On Thursday, Governor Roy Cooper’s office announced $450,000 had been sent out to more than 1,100 applicants. The funds are the last disbursements of a $11.6 million package of Hurricane Florence relief efforts specifically for commercial fishermen. >click to read<19:53

June 7, 2019 – Small Mesh Trawl Squid Fishery Season Extension

The Director of the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) has declared an extension to the season when trawlers may fish with small mesh for squid in certain waters under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth that are south and west of Cape Cod (Declaration Notice and Permit Conditions). Trawlers may continue to fish within the small mesh squid trawl exempted area, as described at 322 CMR 4.06(1),,, >click to read<21:53

Alternate web page created for information and public comment on southern flounder management proposals

An alternate webpage has been established for the public to access information and submit public comment on Draft Amendment 2 to the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan. The alternate Information on Southern Flounder Amendment page >click<was created due to continued technical problems with the Division of Marine Fisheries website that has caused intermittent failures. The division is continuing to work with the Department of Information Technology to correct these issues, which are affecting websites statewide. >click to read, with links<15:22

MFC draft plan would cut southern flounder harvest

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC) heard a presentation on draft Amendment 2 to the Southern Flounder Fishery Management Plan Friday during its meeting in Jacksonville and voted to send the draft plan to advisory committees and hold a meeting for public comment on June 3 at the Crystal Coast Civic Center in Morehead City. A time has not yet been set. The draft amendment calls for significant management measures for the commercial and recreational fishery and includes significant harvest reductions for southern flounder coast-wide. >click to read<14:31

A declaration to close Herring Area 1A – Effort Control Measures for June – September 2019

The Director of the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF), with the approval of the Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission, has issued a declaration to close the commercial sea herring fishery in Management Area 1A during the period of June 1 – September 30 (Declaration Notice). During this period, it shall be unlawful to fish for, retain or land any sea herring taken from Management Area 1A without explicit authorization from DMF. The 2,000 pound incidental trip limit no longer applies. >click to read<15:50

UPDATED: Lobstermen rally in Plymouth to protest closure of fishing areas off cape Cod

Local lobstermen rallied here Thursday morning to protest the state’s decision to keep certain areas closed to fishing to protect an endangered species of whale. State officials said the “continued presence” of right whales in the waters off Cape Cod resulted in the Division of Marine Fisheries extending the seasonal closure to May 14. “This closure extension applies only in certain waters within Cape Cod Bay and along the Outer Cape,” state officials said in the statement. >click to read<This story will be updated. 10:12 Lobstermen rally against delay in opening season – >Video, click to read< 11:16

Division of Marine Fisheries – Seasonal Trap Gear Closure Extended Through May 14th

The continued presence of endangered right whales in the waters off Cape Cod results in the Director of the Division of Marine Fisheries extending the seasonal Large Whale Seasonal Trap Gear Closure through May 14, 2019 (Notice of Declaration)> click to read< This closure extension applies only in certain waters within Cape Cod Bay and along the Outer Cape.  Calanus plankton counts indicate that the whales are likely to remain aggregated and feeding in the area.,,,  This closure does not extend into any federal waters, including those waters north of Cape Cod on Stellwagen Bank. >click to read<16:03

Hurricane Florence And The Fish Industry

The fishing industry in Southeastern North Carolina came to a grounding halt when Hurricane Florence pounded the coast in mid-September. Since then, officials say, the industry has rebounded thanks in part to the Hurricane Florence Commercial Fishing Assistance Program. Captain Dave Tilley is starting up one of his boats in the harbor at Carolina Beach. He has fished these waters for most of his life. However, Hurricane Florence forced Tilley to take a few weeks off. “When the hurricane came through, we had a lot of damage both to the infrastructure,,, >Click to read<08:26

Changes in lobster processing rules on Massachusetts Legislature’s plate

Democratic and Republican leaders on Beacon Hill are moving toward consensus on legislation that seeks to expand lobster processing, in turn growing markets and giving consumers a wider selection of lobster products at restaurants and local supermarkets. The plan received a major boost from the state’s Division of Marine Fisheries, which in a recent report concluded it would deliver “economic benefits throughout the state’s seafood supply chain,” along with “greater access to desirable seafood products.” >click to read<12:06

North Carolina Fisheries Commission Forces Gill Net Ban

The state Marine Fisheries Commission voted Wednesday to overrule the director of the Division of Marine Fisheries and ban gill nets upstream of the ferry crossing points in the Neuse and Pamlico rivers. The commission, during what it called an emergency meeting in Kinston that was announced Monday, approved a motion directing Division of Marine Fisheries Director Steve Murphey to implement a year-round closure upstream of the Bayview-Aurora Ferry in the Pamlico River and upstream of the Minnesott Beach-Cherry Branch Ferry in the Neuse River. The proclamation to take effect Monday and the closure were expected to continue for about two years or until an amendment to the state’s Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan is adopted. The provision, called Amendment 2, could continue the closure or recommend other management actions. >click to read<10:44

Commercial Fishing Assistance Offered – Hurricane Florence Commercial Fishing Assistance Program

Some North Carolina commercial fishermen can receive financial help from the Hurricane Florence Commercial Fishing Assistance Program. The state Division of Marine Fisheries was to mail packets last week to those that are eligible based on October and November landings. Packets are only being sent to those fishermen who had lower landings in October and/or November 2018 as compared to their average landings from the same months in the previous three years. The second round of payments from the program, state legislature appropriated $11.6 million to DMF to help commercial fishermen and shellfish harvesters who suffered income losses from harvest reductions due to Hurricane Florence. >click to read<13:49

Bruce Tarr pushing bill to expand lobster processing industry in Bay State

State Senate Majority Leader Bruce Tarr didn’t waste any time in the new legislative calendar to again push the state to liberalize its lobster processing laws to allow in-state processing and sale of raw and frozen lobster parts. And this time, the Republican from Gloucester is armed with a report from the state’s Division of Marine Fisheries that supports the legislative reform and spells out some of the economic benefits of allowing in-state processing rather than sending the live lobsters out of state — often all the way to Canada —for processing. >click to read<22:27

NC Fisheries Hurricane Florence disaster declaration granted

US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross granted Governor Roy Cooper’s request for a disaster declaration related to damage to North Carolina’s marine fishing industry in Hurricane Florence. Recreational and commercial fishing are important economic drivers for our state and families along North Carolina’s coast. I appreciate Secretary Ross’s recognition of the damage to these vital industries caused by Hurricane Florence. We must rebuild smarter and stronger than ever and I will continue to work with our federal, state and local partners to bring recovery funds to those who need them,” said Governor Cooper.>click to read<10:23

Lobsterman back in court – Only $720 of $10K fine paid for illegal lobsters

When James A. Santapaola Jr. got nabbed landing 183 illegal lobsters at a local lobster wholesaler two years ago, the Gloucester lobsterman eventually cut a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to 20 of the counts and pay two fines totaling $10,050. Now, nearly two years after the plea deal, Santapaola Jr. — who was arrested again last week on charges of possessing 47 illegal lobsters — has paid only $720 of the $10,050 in fines, according to the clerk’s office at the Gloucester District Court. ,,, The haul, according to law enforcement reports, included 28 undersized lobsters, 16 V-notched females and three oversized lobsters.>click to read<20:48