Tag Archives: Division of Marine Fisheries.

Proposal for Authorization to Conduct Ropeless Fishing Activity Within Mass Trap Gear Closure Area

The Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) has received a proposal from the Pioneers for a Thoughtful Co Existence, Inc. (“Pioneers”) for a Scientific Project Permit and Letter of Authorization. The Pioneers—collaborating with the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare—seek to fish so-called “ropeless” lobster trap gear through the use of on-demand vertical buoy line systems affixed to their trap gear. >click to read< 15:47

Shrimp industry vital to Eastern North Carolina economy

A recent proposal from the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries is shining new light on the impact the shrimping industry has on eastern North Carolina.,, That original proposition was voted down by state commissioners Thursday,,, Yet many shrimpers, and other county residents, are still reeling from the close call. One of those is 5th generation Shrimper, Cayton Daniels, who makes his entire living off of shrimping. He says he wouldn’t have survived the proposal’s closures. photos, >click to read< 08:41

Cape Cod Bay: Lobsters started dying in their traps. Now scientists think they know why

In September of 2019, Tracy Pugh started getting phone calls about dead lobsters. Pugh is a biologist with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, and a handful of fishermen in Cape Cod Bay were reporting traps full of dead lobsters, “anywhere from several dozen to hundreds,” she recalled. “So way, way more than normal.” Some reported dead fish and crabs in their traps, as well. One trawler came up with a bunch of dead scallops. Pugh, working with scientists at the Center for Coastal Studies, found the reason soon enough: >click to read< – Karenia mikimotoi, >click to read< 10:08

“We’re in pretty bad shape,” Commercial fishermen, fishing industry decline over the past 20 years

North Carolina commercial fishermen have complained for decades that government regulations and a variety of other factors threaten their livelihood and have them headed the way of endangered species. Glenn Skinner of Newport, executive director of the North Carolina Fisheries Association an advocacy group of commercial fishermen, said statistics back that up. “These declines are the result of many different factors. with regulations, the fear of future regulations or outright bans on commercial fishing gears being a significant factor,” Skinner said. He said public perception and political agendas drive the regulations. >click to read< 11:26

North Carolina commercial fishermen landed less seafood last year

In 2020, 42.9 million pounds of fish and shellfish were sold, a decrease of 19% from 2019 and about a 23% decrease from the previous five-year average, according to the Division of Marine Fisheries. The decrease in commercial harvest was linked to a 41.3% decrease in hard blue crab landings from 2019, which may be related to COVID-19 impacts. The Division of Marine Fisheries said several fishermen told officials that they found it difficult to move blue crabs at the beginning of the state’s stay-at-home order when many restaurants were closed. >click to read< 15:26

North Carolina: Public Comment Opens for Shrimp Fishery Management Plan

The public has until June 30 to submit comments on proposed shrimp fishery management changes aimed to further reduce bycatch of nontarget species and minimize ecosystem impacts, the state Division of Marine Fisheries announced,, Draft amendment 2 to the shrimp fishery management plan contains a suite of management options that range from current management practices to a complete closure to shrimp trawling of all inside waters, including Pamlico Sound, according to the division.,, Draft shrimp amendment 2 also includes a shrimp trawl bycatch information paper,,, There are three ways to comment on draft shrimp amendment 2, >click to read< 12:51

Ban on trap fishing lifted, Massachusetts Lobstermen start setting gear

When last we saw Joe Mondello in early April, he was standing in front of a mountain of 550 traps,,, Mondello, as with many lobstermen at docks around Gloucester and the rest of Cape Ann, wasted little time getting back to work. The 71-year-old, flying solo on Friday, was on the water by 6:30 a.m. By 10 a.m., Mondello, using frozen redfish heads, had baited the first load of about 30 traps and set them off the Back Shore from his 37-foot Tully IV. Then it was back in to the Everett R. Jodrey State Fish Pier,,, Tied up behind him, Sam Harrington was similarly engaged on the Lady Marie. >click to read< 10:34

Mass DMF – Effective May 14, Seasonal Trap Gear Closure and Speed Restrictions Lifted

Beginning tomorrow, commercial trap fishermen may set their gear in those waters under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth east and north of Cape Cod up to the New Hampshire border. These waters have been closed to trap gear fishing since February 1. Additionally, mariners operating vessels less than 65’ overall length may run them at speeds greater than 10 knots. Operators of vessels with an overall length of 65’ or greater are reminded the federal 10 knot speed limit remains in effect in Cape Cod Bay Seasonal Management Area through May 15. >click to read< 18:36

Kathy Rawls named new director of N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries

When Kathy Rawls becomes the new director of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries on May 1, she will have plenty of experience to draw on. Rawls has been with the Division for more than 25 years, the past seven as the Fisheries Management section chief. She also will be the first woman to head the agency since the Fisheries Commission Board became the Division of Commercial Fisheries in the late 1920s. “There are already a number of women in pivotal roles at the division, and I do feel a responsibility to represent them and other female colleagues, but I also know that gender is not part of the job description,” >click to read< 13:29

David Ismay, undersecretary for climate change resigns following remarks about reducing emissions by seniors on fixed incomes

“Let me say that again, 60 percent of our emissions that need to be reduced come from you — the person across the street, the senior on fixed income,” he said. “There is no bad guy left, at least in Massachusetts, to point the finger at, turn the screws on, and, you know, break their will, so they stop emitting. That’s you. We have to break your will. I can’t even say that publicly.” >click to read< 09:18

Baker’s embattled climate undersecretary targets fishing industry for Euro wind farmers!

David Ismay is again being called out for his questionable comments — this time against fishermen. The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, that broke the first video on the $130,000-a-year official’s rhetoric, says he also told climate activists that in order to obtain enough (offshore) wind power, “something has to give” in regard to the fishing industry. “We need offshore wind, and yes there is fishing out in the ocean too, but you know, there’s, we can’t have no offshore wind, no transmission, no solar, and have clean energy. Right. Something has to give,” Ismay is quoted telling Vermont climate advocates. He goes on to discuss transmission lines that will be placed in the ocean. >click to read< 13:00

Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission bans inshore lobstering during whale migration

Meeting via webinar, the MFAC overwhelmingly approved five of the six recommendations presented by the state Division of Marine Fisheries, setting the stage for a hectic start to the state’s 2021 lobster fishing season.,, A Feb. 1 to May 15 closure to commercial trap gear in all state waters,, weaker buoy lines,, A Jan. 15 to May 15 gillnet closure in Cape Cod Bay,, All but one of the approved measures passed on unanimous 8-0 votes. The exception was the recommendation for the Feb. 1 to May 15 commercial trap gear closure in all state waters. The lone dissenting vote on the measure came from longtime Gloucester lobsterman Arthur “Sooky” Sawyer, “I can’t support this motion. The Massachusetts inshore lobster fishery has never killed a right whale. I’m voting no.” >click to read< 18:35

One lawsuit dismissed, another filed against State of North Carolina over fisheries management

The latest suit was filed on Tuesday in state court, the same day another group’s legal action against government officials’ management of marine fisheries in North Carolina was dismissed in federal court. The Coastal Conservation Association of North Carolina, along with 86 North Carolinians, filed their civil action Tuesday against the state in Wake County Superior Court. In an unrelated case, an organization called the North Carolina Coastal Fisheries Reform Group filed a federal lawsuit in August saying regulations that allow large, ocean-going shrimp trawlers to work in the state’s sounds violated the Clean Water Act. >click to read< 08:01

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