Tag Archives: Division of Marine Fisheries.

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

Nort Carolina: New shrimping rules slowly migrate through sea of bureaucracy

Almost two years after it surfaced, a proposal to radically curtail commercial shrimping is crawling through the state’s rule-making process. The North Carolina Wildlife Federation petitioned the Marine Fisheries Commission for the new rules in November 2016, and after modifications, the panel accepted the request on Feb. 16, 2017. Several changes would cripple the shrimp trawling industry, critics say, and would raise the size limit on spot and croaker so high that they would effectively eliminate both fisheries for recreational and commercial fishermen. But the rule-making part isn’t on the horizon yet. >click to read<09:30

Lobster processing bill OK’d by Mass State Senate

“Massachusetts has the second largest lobster catch in the country,” Tarr said in a statement. “To keep from being left behind, we should expand our ability to process raw and frozen lobster parts. American lobsters are being harvested here and should be prepared for market here instead of Canada or Maine.” The expansion of allowed processing practices, according to Tarr, would enhance local economies in Massachusetts coastal communities such as Gloucester, which is the state’s most lucrative lobster port, and provide local restaurants and food stores with “superior access to the best lobster parts for their customers.” >click to read<19:26

State regulators: Lobster season will have to wait – a sudden influx of right whales

Lobstermen already have to observe a three month closure from Feb. 1 to April 30 annually in an effort to reduce the number of whales that get entangled in fishing gear during their annual migration. Now, however, boats won’t be able to hit the water until May 6 at the earliest, and a second regulation imposes a 10 knot speed limit for vessels less than 65 feet long through May 15. Right whales feed close to the surface and are vulnerable to vessel strikes. “There are a number of challenges in this industry, and one of those is being able to fund your livelihood for 12 months when you can only fish for nine months,” John Haviland, president of the South Shore Lobster Fishermen’s Association, said. >click to read<17:34

2018 Mass. DMF fishing regulations go into effect April 20

The Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) has enacted new regulations, which were informed in part by this winter’s public hearings. The regulations were reviewed and approved by the Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission at its March 15 meeting, and go into effect on April 20. The most substantive change is an adjustment to the open commercial fishing days for black sea bass. The new open commercial fishing days are Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.,, The commercial black sea bass season will begin on Tuesday, July 10.,, During the inshore small-mesh trawl squid fishery, April 23–June 9, trawlers will be allowed to retain a 50-pound bycatch limit of black sea bass. >click to read<18:00

Massachusetts Lobster Catch Declines, Boat Prices Rise

As the summer of 2017 wore on, the word from local lobstermen was that the behavior of their prized catch had grown more unpredictable and landings were down. Well, they were right: Landings and the value of the catch declined slightly across coastal Massachusetts in 2017, but a late fall run and higher off-the-boat prices helped mitigate the damage and keep declines well below those suffered by their lobstering contemporaries in Maine. According to data supplied by the state Division of Marine Fisheries, Bay State lobstermen landed 16,565,126 pounds of lobster in 2017 with a total value of $81.54 million — for an average boat price of $4.92 per pound. >click to read<10:57

GARFO AA Pentony taking on whale crisis – Lobstermen wary of more environmental regulations

South Shore Lobstermen wary – Traps dropped to the bottom of the ocean by lobstermen are currently connected to a buoy at the surface by a long, taut rope. Fishermen use the buoys to mark where traps are and use the rope to pull up them from the ocean floor, but researchers think the same thing could be achieved by ditching the ropes and using a GPS-like tracking technology and acoustic communication. >click to read< 16:20

Pentony taking on whale crisis – The number one issue right now is the right whale crisis,,, It will occupy our resources and energy for the next several years until we can reverse the trend. Thats going to be a significant challenge. >click to read<

Islanders, officials discuss the dire state of river herring

Local fishermen, tribe and town officials, state and federal officials, and concerned citizens gathered Monday in the cavernous Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) Community Center to discuss the troubling decline in the river herring population on the Vineyard, and along the eastern seaboard.,,, The decimation done by offshore fishing was a recurring theme in the discussion. “Ninety-five percent of the public doesn’t know how much harm the midwater trawlers are doing,” charter fishing captain, and Aquinnah Deputy Shellfish Warden Buddy Vanderhoop said. Vanderhoop said the trawlers off the New England coasts are also decimating groundfish stocks, such as cod, haddock, flounder, and pollock. >click to read< 13:19

How cold was it in January? Bad enough to kill a lot of fish

The record-breaking freeze that hit eastern North Carolina the first week of January was so cold that it killed a massive number of fish in tidal creeks and estuaries along the coast. Hardest hit was the spotted seatrout, a fish especially popular with recreational anglers who, along with commercial fishermen, are now banned from fishing for them until the middle of June. The moratorium is meant to give surviving fish a chance to replenish by spawning this spring.,,, >click to read< 13:36

Should Massachusetts ban commercial striped bass fishing?

YES – Rip Cunningham: Dover resident who fishes in the Plymouth area; active member, Stripers Forever; former editor, Salt Water Sportsman; former chairman, Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission, and New England Fisheries Management Council.,, NO – Douglas Amorello: Plymouth resident, commercial lobsterman and multi-species fin fisherman, including for striped bass click here to read the story 15:52

Sanfilippo resigns from Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission

Longtime Gloucester fisherman Gus Sanfilippo has resigned from the state’s Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission, leaving Arthur “Sooky” Sawyer as the only Gloucester resident on the commission. Sanfilippo, appointed to the commission in May 2016 as part of Gov. Charlie Baker’s wholesale purge of existing commission members, said he resigned so he could spend more time fishing.,, Sanfilippo’s resignation leaves Sawyer, who also serves as president of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, as the solitary Gloucester resident on the commission — though member Louis D. Williams, who resides in Salem, lists Gloucester as his principal port for lobstering. click here to read the story 11:44

Ban on commercial striper fishing weighed

Stripers were pushed to the brink of extinction in the late-1970s but made a dramatic comeback. Now recreational anglers say the coveted fish again is struggling, and they’re lobbying Beacon Hill to implement new limits that include making the fish off-limits to commercial fishermen. One proposal, filed Rep. Walter Timilty, D-Milton, would limit commercial licenses to fishermen who can demonstrate they’ve caught and sold more than 1,000 pounds of striped bass annually over the last five years. Another proposal, offered by Rep. Thomas Stanley, D-Waltham, would phase out commercial fishing for striped bass by 2025 and establish fines up to $500 per fish for violators of new regulations. click here to read the story 19:29

South Shore lobstermen dismayed by failed bid for longer season

Lobstermen are busy loading their boats with traps and buoys and getting their gear back in the water after a three-month closure lifted this week for most of the South Shore. But Marshfield lobsterman John Haviland said he is starting the season feeling more disenchanted than ever after federal regulators turned down a proposal to allow lobstermen to fish year-round with a new rope line designed to reduce the chance of entangling endangered whales. “I’m disappointed that we put three years worth of research and meetings into trying to do the right thing, and it was not successful,” Haviland, president of the South Shore Lobster Fishermen’s Association, said. “It makes you question if you should keep doing the one thing you’ve always done.” Since 2015, federal regulations have banned the use of lobstering equipment from Feb. 1 to April 30 off Cape Cod Bay and beyond, shutting down the local industry for the winter. The goal is to reduce the chances of whales becoming entangled in the gear. click here to read the article 12:09

No lobstering until right whales leave Cape Cod Bay

For the past three years there has been a ban on setting lobster traps and pots in the bay from Feb. 1 through the end of April, a ban intended to protect these whales from entanglement. Last week by some counts close to 200 of the estimated total population of 500 Atlantic Western Right Whales were still in Cape Cod Bay. Citing their endangered status and their surprising willingness to stay in the bay because of an abundance of the plankton they feed on, the state’s Division of Marine Fisheries announced that most of the bay would remain closed to setting recreational and commercial lobster traps and pots through next Sunday, May 7. For environmentalists involved in the protection of this species of whale the extended ban was a reasonable, measured action. For many lobstermen it was salt on an open wound. click here to read the story 07:56