Tag Archives: Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association

Fishery interests urge judge to rule in lobster lawsuit

Parties in a lobster industry lawsuit filed against federal regulators are urging a judge to make a decision in the case because its outcome affects a parallel case that the parties have to act on. The federal judge considering this decision was the same who ruled last month that new regulations to protect endangered right whales do not go far enough and violate both the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act. In that case, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg asked the parties to propose remedies. The lobster association’s case takes aim at newly enacted and proposed federal regulations to protect the whales, which the association says are invalid because they are based on flawed assumptions and calculations. The parties need to know the court’s opinion so they can develop proposed remedies that Boasberg ordered in the parallel lawsuit brought by conservation groups.  >click to read< 17:01

Massachusetts: New relief fund would buoy lobster industry

A proposed state fund would provide financial relief to commercial lobstermen whose livelihoods are being impacted by state and federal regulations aimed at protecting critically endangered north Atlantic right whales. Tucked into a $52.7 billion state budget awaiting action by Gov. Charlie Baker is a proposal to create a new grant program with $500,000 in initial funding. The plan calls for providing grants of up to $5,000 to licensed lobstermen to help offset the cost of purchasing new gear and equipment needed to comply with the new whale protection rules. The grant money must be distributed in a “geographically equitable manner” under the proposal. Senate minority leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, who pushed for the funding, said it will help buoy lobstermen who are struggling to afford the expense of upgrading their gear and equipment. >click to read< 17:50

Massachusetts weighs relief fund to the lobster industry

Lawmakers want to create a new fund to help commercial lobstermen whose livelihoods are being impacted by state and federal regulations aimed at protecting critically endangered North Atlantic right whales. An amendment added to the Senate version of the $49.7 billion state budget, approved Thursday, May 26, would set up a lobstering closure mitigation fund through the state’s unemployment system with at least $12 million in initial funding. The amendment was co-sponsored by Sens. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, and Patrick O’Connor, R-Weymouth, who say the move will provide “much needed relief” for the lobster industry. “It is absolutely critical that we provide relief to the people in this industry which is so important to the commonwealth,” Tarr said. “As the second largest provider of lobster in the nation these workers are needed for another day, another year, and another generation.” >click to read< 08:03

Broad right whale regulations decried by Massachusetts lobster industry

Lobster industry representatives and conservationists are pondering regulations aimed at protecting right whales, which continue to hamper Massachusetts fishermen causing months of lost income. Since 2015, lobstermen have had to work around area restrictions prohibiting fishing in gillnet fisheries during the time right whales are often present. So far, the Bay State has reduced its risk to right whales by 92% through a suite of measures including closures, weak rope, line diameter restrictions and trawling up, Casoni said. >click to read< 11:11

Massachusetts: Lawmakers want to pay lobstermen during right whale conservation closure

State senators next week will debate a plan by South Shore lawmakers to pay lobstermen during a months-long annual fishing closure advocates say cuts income of some fishermen by as much as half each year. State senators Patrick O’Connor and Bruce Tarr have filed a budget amendment that would allocate $12 million to pay lobstermen $1 per week per trap they are licensed for during time they are not allowed to fish. The state annually shuts down more than 9,000 square miles of water for at least three months in efforts to protect migrating right whales. > click to read < 08:28

Gulf of Maine: Lawsuits over North Atlantic right whale regulations coming to boil

Lobsterman Brian Cates lives so far at the edge of Maine he can look out the windows of his house and see Canadian boats out in Canadian waters. Cates and other New England lobstermen are worried about how the coming regulations issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service will affect their livelihoods. Cates fishes in disputed waters. There, around the mouth of the Bay of Fundy, there’s a strip of ocean claimed by both Canada and U.S. alike called the grey zone. Cates fishes up against Canadian lobstermen, their traps and lines often getting caught up on one another. And the rules coming down from the federal government are not helping, >click to read< 19:14

Despite threats from fellow fishermen, Mass lobstermen press to allow ropeless fishing in closed areas

The lobstermen viewed themselves as trailblazers, even calling themselves “Pioneers for a Thoughtful Coexistence”. In an effort to prove that there’s a way for their industry to resume fishing in coastal waters where Massachusetts banned lobstering to protect endangered whales, they have asked regulators to allow them to set their traps without vertical buoy lines. “I’ve been trying my best to get our guy’s back fishing,” said Michael Lane, 46, a lobsterman who fishes 800 traps out of Cohasset. But when Lane’s group presented at a recent public hearing their proposal to fish with experimental rope less gear, which would use remotely triggered inflatable balloons or other devices to surface the traps, they were pilloried by their fellow fishermen. >click to read< 19:20

Lobsterman v. Lobsterman – Ropeless Fishing Divides Industry

At a virtual hearing last night, the Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries (DMF), presented the case of five commercial lobstermen who are seeking a Letter of Authorization to test the controversial equipment,,, But nearly 20 commercial lobstermen at the meeting said they were opposed for multiple reasons. Many said testing the gear during the closure puts the entire fishery at risk if a whale does get entangled. >click to read< 07:55

Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association files motion to join lawsuit

The Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association filed a motion to join the Maine Lobstermen’s Association’s lawsuit, challenging the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 10-year right whale protection plan. The plan requires lobstermen to make significant changes to prevent whales from getting tangled in their gear. The group filed the motion in Washington D.C. District Court, looking to join the lawsuit as a third party. >click to read< 16:50

Lobster industry is anxious over upcoming North Atlantic right whale protection rules

The federal government is working on new rules designed to reduce risk to North Atlantic right whales,,, One of the threats the whales face is entanglement in ropes that connect to lobster and crab traps in the ocean. Early indications show that the changes required by the rules could be significant. They’re also vulnerable to ship strikes, and face the looming threat of warming oceans. Acting NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator Paul Doremus said in June that the U.S. and Canada, which also harvests lobsters, must “take and sustain additional efforts to reduce right whale mortalities and serious injuries.” >click to read< 10:39

Biological Opinion to Protect Right Whales Met With Opposition on All Sides

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) released a key report called a Biological Opinion yesterday that calls for a 98 percent reduction in risk to North Atlantic right whales over the next 10 years. The goal is meant to be achieved over the course of four phases that correspond with increasingly tight restrictions on lobster and crab fisheries as well as other fixed-gear fisheries that use vertical buoy ropes. Vertical ropes attached to trap/pot gear is known to lethally entangle the whales. >click to read< 16:38

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

Lifejackets for Lobstermen Project works to get PFDs on every fisherman

From 2000-2016, the Centers for Disease Control charted 204 commercial fishing fatalities from falls overboard. None of the fishermen recovered were wearing a lifejacket, and 108 of the fishermen’s bodies were never found, according to a report of the Lifejacket Project, which was launched to identify solutions and increase fishermen’s interest in wearing lifejackets. In its recently published, 20-page summary report, the Northeast Center for Occupational Health and Safety in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing chronicles stories from the Lifejackets for Lobstermen Project and provides examples of the fishing community’s interest and engagement with the project. >click to read< 05:46

Courts Need To Stop Presidents From Calling Oceans ‘National Monuments’ To Illegally Put Them Off-Limits

In Lewis Carroll’s classic “Through the Looking Glass,” Humpty Dumpty says to the befuddled protagonist, Alice, “When I use a word … it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.” Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association v. Ross, a pending cert petition filed by my colleagues at Pacific Legal Foundation, asks the justices to resolve a curious circuit court split to clarify that the ocean is not land, up is not down, and words have meaning. In 2016, President Barack Obama made one such designation: 3.2 million acres of the Atlantic Ocean south of Cape Cod, beyond our nation’s territorial waters. How Did We Get Here?  >click to read< 09:45, Where are we headed?  The ocean under Biden -“Big picture, a return to science on how we approach the ocean and ocean policy,,,  Early steps include naming John Kerry as a cabinet-level climate czar and pledging to reenter the Paris Climate Accord that he signed. Climate change,,, >click to read< 09:56

A legal war, a Biden win: What’s next for Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Marine Monument?

Lobstering groups say they aren’t opposed to protecting the natural habitats that sustain their industry. But they question whether the 5,000-square-mile monument is consistent with the Antiquities Act’s provision that designations be limited to the “smallest area compatible” with protecting the rich supply of marine life and corals that populate the Atlantic site. They also questioned the Obama administration’s position, which Trump officials have defended in court,,, Blocking off industry’s access to thousands of square miles of the Atlantic Ocean should require a little more public input, the fishing groups argue. Trump instead chose to preserve the site, although he traveled this summer to Maine to announce that he would lift all fishing restrictions in the monument.,, And in a matter of weeks, President-elect Joe Biden, who was vice president when Obama created the Atlantic monument, will be sitting in the White House. >click to read< 08:05

Michael G. Dearborn, Navy Veteran, Self-employed commercial lobster fisherman

Michael G. Dearborn, 76, of Gloucester, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, October 9, 2020. He continued to own and operate a lobster fishing business in Massachusetts for over 50 years. At the height of his career during the late 70s and early 80s, Michael was known as an innovator, pioneer, and industry leader. In addition to his experience on the water, Michael was an avid legislator, conservationist, and industry advocate. He served as a member of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, the Atlantic Lobstermen’s Co-Operative, and the MA Lobster Committee Management Team. Above all, Michael’s proudest accomplishment was that of being a father to his three children – Peter, Christopher, and Courtney – whom he loved dearly and spoke of in the highest regard. >click to read< 09:24

Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument showdown reaches high court

The Obama administration exceeded its authority in 2016 when it designated the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument and cut off access to key fisheries, attorneys for the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association and other groups argued in their petition filed with the Supreme Court yesterday. A recent move by the Trump administration to preserve the monument but dissolve fishing restrictions has not erased the need for the high court to consider the case, the groups wrote. Those rollbacks are now subject to a separate lawsuit launched by environmental groups. >click to read< 12:28

Judge restores Orin C deal, lawyer appeals

A federal judge last Friday ordered the parties in the wrongful death lawsuit tied to the 2015 sinking of the Orin C to adhere to a previous settlement agreement, halting the highly contentious case that was set to go to trial next month in Boston. But on Tuesday, Joseph Orlando Jr., attorney for the three plaintiffs, appealed the settlement order and dismissal by U.S. District Court Judge Patti B. Saris.,, The order by Saris and Orlando’s subsequent appeal are the most recent twists and turns in the case that has fixated the city’s waterfront amid accusations by Orlando that Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and others tampered with his expert witness, Gloucester Harbormaster T.J. Ciarametaro, by trying to pressure him to withdraw from the case or be fired from his harbormaster position. >click to read< 11:23

F/V Orin C Lawsuit – Lawyers say Samaritan, mayor threatened consultant

On Dec. 3, 2015, Capt. David “Heavy D” Sutherland died in the water after his disabled slime-eel boat, the Orin C, sank while under tow by the Coast Guard back into Gloucester Harbor. Now, an ongoing federal lawsuit filed by two surviving Orin C crew members and Sutherland’s estate has erupted with accusations of witness tampering involving Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and fisherman Philip Powell of Swampscott, the good Samaritan who is a co-defendant in the case and whose vessel F/V Foxy Lady was the first to come to the aid of the Orin C. The witness is Gloucester Harbormaster T.J. Ciarametaro, who through his Five Fathoms Consulting firm, is retained as an expert witness by plaintiffs’ attorney, Joseph M. Orlando Jr. of the Gloucester firm Orlando & Associates. Orlando’s motion also accuses Gloucester lobsterman Arthur “Sooky” Sawyer, the current president of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, of contributing to a pressure campaign against Ciarametaro, a Coast Guard veteran. >click to read< 08:05

Unmoored and unsure, fishermen make do – Direct boat sales stem the tide for some.

Saturday, folks came to Menemsha to buy directly off the decks of local scallop boats. Business was brisk. Captain Sam Hopkins, aboard the Endurance, mongered to a steady queue of masked customers. Like the nearby Martha Rose, sea scallops off the Endurance sold for $15 per pound. “It was really nice to have some local support and have people who bought scallops right off the boat,” Hopkins said. Lobsterman Jason Gale has also turned to direct boat sales. From the deck of the Watch Out at Lake Street Landing he sold lobsters at $8 apiece, regardless of weight, on Saturday. Gale said he put a 10 lobster cap per customer and sold out. photos, >click to read< 15:59

Coronavirus: COVID-19 hits lobster industry hard

On the day when Massachusetts restaurants officially were barred from offering on-site dining for at least three weeks, boat prices for live lobster were reported to dip to as low as $3 a pound in Maine and $3.25 in Massachusetts and wholesale dealers were trying to determine their next steps. “Right now, we’re trying to figure out what we’re going to do,” said Joe Ciaramitaro, one of the owners of Capt. Joe & Sons in East Gloucester.,, “It’s tricky right now,” said Monte Rome, owner of Gloucester-based Intershell. “The restaurant business for us is obviously over for now. It’s one minute at a time, not even one day at a time.” >click to read< 05:58

Fishery groups sue to get rid of Obama‘s New England ocean monument

We posted an article that wasn’t true, and we need to set the record straight>click to read< 09:19

A coalition of commercial fishing groups filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to challenge the creation of a national monument off the coast of New England. President Barack Obama created the monument in September using executive authority under the Antiquities Act. The monument is called the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, and it is made up of nearly 5,000 square miles of underwater canyons and mountains. >click to read< 17:37

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

China tariffs sinking overseas sales, Provincetown lobstermen not feeling the pinch

“It’s killed our price. It’s killed our markets,” said state Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante of Gloucester.,,, Multiple Massachusetts businesses, especially those in Gloucester, have been adversely affected as they cannot compete with Canadian wholesale prices. But the lobstermen themselves are not feeling the pinch, and if anything are seeing their prices rise, Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association Executive Director Beth Casoni said. “The fishermen are happy,” Casoni said. “They’re making money.” >click to read< 09:29

Gloucester: Lobstermen push against whale rules – ‘We’ve borne the brunt’

The evening began with a presentation from NOAA Fisheries’ Mike Asaro and Colleen Coogan that offered a historical backdrop on the status of the North Atlantic right whale stock and an explanation of the specific protectionist measures adopted in April by the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team.,, In Massachusetts and New Hampshire, lobstermen are tasked with reducing their vertical lines by 30 percent. In Maine, where there has been significant pushback by state officials and the nation’s most formidable lobster fleet, the target is significantly higher — 50 percent. Then came the comment period and the usual choosing of the sides. Photo’s,  >click to read< 22:04

Lobster processing claws its way into Mass. law

The long-sought measure to expand and modernize lobster processing regulations in Massachusetts is now law, as of Gov. Charlie Baker’s signature on Wednesday.,,, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, who has championed the measure through more than four frustrating legislative cycles, estimated that up to 80 percent of lobsters landed in Massachusetts — the nation’s second-largest harvester of American lobsters, behind Maine — are transported to out-of-state processors only to see them return here as value-added products for retail and restaurant consumers. >click to read<  09:11

Atlantic Herring: Fishermen face another quota cut, could hit lobster prices

Regulators on the East Coast are contending with a drop in the population of herring, a key forage fish species that has been used as lobster bait for generations.,, A fishery management board is due to make a decision about the 2020 catch limits in early June.,, “I’ve heard from other fishermen up and down the coast, from Maine to Massachusetts. It’s going to be survival of the fittest,” Casoni said. “Every year is challenging, and every year just gets a little more.” >click to read<11:16

Massachusetts Lobstermen to rally in Plymouth over Cape Cod Bay closures

After a period of bad weather, surveyors of North Atlantic right whales were able to fly on Tuesday over Cape Cod Bay, where the continuing presence of the animals has led state officials to extend seasonal bans on high boating speeds and lobstering through May 14. But commercial lobstermen are beginning to bristle at the closures, citing the impact on their livelihood. South Shore lobstermen are planning a rally Thursday morning in Plymouth to protest the extended ban. “There’s a lot of people that are suffering with this closure,” said rally organizer Sheryl Holmes, whose husband, Roscoe “Stoney” Holmes, is a commercial lobsterman who owns the F/V Haley’s Comet out of Plymouth. >click to read<21:59

Sandwich lobsterman raises concerns about offshore wind farms

After 40 years in the business, Sandwich commercial lobsterman Marc Palombo foresees the presence of fog in the summer months as his biggest worry as he considers whether or not to navigate through the proposed swath of offshore wind turbines south of the Islands.,,,The Coast Guard has begun a study of vessel traffic — a Port Access Route Study, or PARS — in and around the seven offshore energy lease areas south of the Islands, off both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, to determine if any new vessel travel routes are necessary to improve navigational safety,,, >click to read<22:17

Sen Bruce Tarr champions expanded in-state lobster processing, proposal backed by Senate

The state Senate has approved a measure authored by Gloucester Sen. Bruce Tarr, and championed by a bi-partisan coalition of state senators, that will reform state lobster laws would permit licensed wholesale dealers to process unfrozen lobster parts, import unfrozen shell-on lobster parts, and allow for the sale of processed lobster parts.,, “We have the second-largest lobster catch in the nation yet, without this bill, our raw and frozen lobster parts are processed in Canada or Maine only to then be brought back to local consumers,” said Tarr. >click to read<11:27