Tag Archives: National Marine Fisheries Service

Center for Biological Diversity sues Trump administration to expand protected Southern Resident orca habitat along West Coast

The Tucson, Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity said as it filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Seattle.,,The lawsuit says the National Marine Fisheries Service has failed to act on the center’s 2014 petition to expand habitat protections to the orcas’ foraging and migration areas off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California — even though the agency agreed in 2015 that such a move was necessary. The center says the protections would help reduce water pollution and restrict vessel traffic that can interfere with the animals.“ click to read<16:36

NEFMC Seeks Input From Fishermen and Research Partners on RSA Programs; Take the Online Survey!

The New England Fishery Management Council is asking fishermen and their cooperative research partners who participate in the Atlantic Sea Scallop, Atlantic Herring, and/or Monkfish Research Set-Aside (RSA) Programs to take an online survey and provide feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of these programs and pass along any suggestions for improvement. Other stakeholders who have an interest or role in RSA programs also are encouraged to take the survey.,,, The survey, which contains roughly 40 questions, will be available online until mid-September 2018. >click to read<17:02

A profound threat to our fisheries, the ocean habitat, and our way of life. Please read and sign this important petition

Dear Secretary Zinke: We participate, either directly or indirectly, in a wide range of commercial fisheries in the New York-New Jersey Bight. The Bight is the geographic indentation along the Atlantic Coast extending northeasterly from Southern New Jersey to the eastern tip of Long Island. We write to express our concern and opposition to the proposed wind energy lease areas the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has put out for “Call” in the New York-New Jersey Bight. We have appreciated your outreach to our industry over the past year, and hope we can continue a constructive dialogue. At the same time, we want to make sure you understand that the risks to our industry from poorly-planned offshore wind energy development are immense. If you were to draw a bulls-eye where our historic Mid-Atlantic fishing grounds are on a map, the bulls-eye would include the Hudson North and Hudson South Areas identified by the State of New York, and the Fairways North and Fairways South areas that BOEM unilaterally and subsequently added to the Call. This is a profound threat to our fisheries, the ocean habitat more generally, and our way of life. >click here to read and sign the petition<12:33

Stop efforts to kill salmon and fishing jobs

Today, many Northern California commercial fishermen sit in harbors along our coast worrying about their bills and waiting for another disastrously shortened salmon season to begin. Many businesses that serve the normally robust sport salmon fishery also have suffered because of the delay. River fishing guides have lost half their season as well. Salmon numbers are predicted to be down from the lingering effects of the last drought and the damaging water allocation decisions that put salmon fishing families last. Meanwhile, San Joaquin Valley congressmen are hard at work tilting the balance of water in California toward valley agricultural barons. >click to read<10:48

Seals were once nearly wiped out from the Gulf of Maine.

At any given time, approximately 600 seals splash, bathe and feed around a modest mass of rocks six miles off the coast of Maine, the northernmost of the Isles of Shoals. These seals, both gray and harbor species, have made a resurgence in local waters over the last two decades following the imperative enaction of federal protections. Prior to the 1970s, the species had essentially been extirpated in Maine and Massachusetts, after being hunted for their pelts, and killed as competition for fish, said Jennifer Seavey, executive director of Shoals Marine Laboratory on Appledore Island, a joint program between the University of New Hampshire and Cornell University. >click to read<09:38

Blue Moon Fish – New York Couple Happy as Clams Selling Fish Direct to the Public

Alex and Stephanie Villani enjoy an enviable life. They live in a beautiful, secluded home with a big pool on Long Island’s idyllic North Fork. They set their own work hours and answer to no one. They spend two months every winter in the Florida Keys. And how do they pull it off? They fish for a living. Literally. Their income derives from their daily catch in the Long Island Sound, which they sell at farmers markets in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Unlike most local fishing operations that eke out a meager living selling their catch to wholesalers, the Villanis sell direct to the public—and command a lot more for their fish. >click to read<14:09

Years later, Alaska receives $56 million for salmon fishery disaster

Almost two years after Gov. Bill Walker requested federal funding to counterbalance a devastating blow to Alaska salmon, the government answered, to the tune of over $56 million in disaster relief money. As to who will actually be on the receiving end of that money, however, is not yet known. That disaster was the 2016 Southest Alaska Pink Salmon Fishery, which came under average of more than 4 million salmon, racking up losses of an estimated threshold of 35 to 80 percent.,,, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees the National Marine Fisheries Service, couldn’t immediately say who would be getting funds allocated. >click to read<08:25

Congress : National Marine Fisheries Service, Destroying Fishermen and their Communities, The fifty million dollar question.

6/14/2018 – Please read, and sign the Petition By Joel Hovanesian, Thank you. Fisheries observers work aboard commercial fishing vessels during fishing trips. They collect information on catch, both kept and discarded, as well as biological data and information on gear and fishing operations over a range of commercial fisheries. These data are used extensively by researchers and fishery managers to better understand the condition of fishery stocks, fishing businesses, and fishing operations. These are NOAA’s words. The reality of the situation is far different. While many fishing businesses have been destroyed by the policies of the National Marine Fisheries Service and many more just hanging on we need to look at the reality of what is truly going on and questions need to be asked. >click to read and sign the petition< 21:00

Sea lions continue to eat endangered fish

All the time, money and sacrifice to improve salmon and steelhead passage in the Willamette River won’t mean a thing unless wildlife managers can get rid of sea lions feasting on the fish at Willamette Falls. That was the message Tuesday from Shaun Clements, senior policy adviser for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, who met at the falls with Liz Hamilton, executive director of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, and Suzanne Kunse, district director for U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore. >click to read<17:51

Hawaii’s commercial swordfish fleet shut down for rest of year

Hawaii’s commercial swordfish fleet has been shut down for the rest of the year following a court order aimed at protecting endangered loggerhead sea turtles. The National Marine Fisheries Service closed the Hawaii shallow-set longline fishery in a move heralded Wednesday by conservation groups that sued for the turtle protections. Under the court order the swordfish fishery will close, and a new biological assessment will determine what the limit will be next year. “It’s a good result for all parties,” said Jim Cook, board member with the Hawaii Longline Association. >click to read<10:51

Commercial Fishing in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone – What was being caught and where back to 1950

What is the status of commercial fishing in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, the waters from 3 to 200 miles off our coastline? Generally speaking – something that the “bureaucrats in charge” have developed a great deal of facility in doing – it’s pretty good. Since the National Marine Fisheries Service started getting serious about tracking commercial landings (or at making those landings readily accessible) in 1950, the total weight of our domestic landings has increased from 4.9 billion to 9.8 billion pounds. The value of those landings, when corrected for inflation, has increased from $3.3 billion to $5.2 billion, almost as good. Nils E. Stolpe/FishNet USA >click to read<17:03

Appellate court orders more water over Columbia, Snake dams to aid fish

More water will flow over several federally operated Northwest dams beginning Tuesday, a day after conservationists and the state of Oregon won a court victory in the long-running battle over the plight of salmon and steelhead in the region. A panel of judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court order to protect juvenile fish migrating downstream on the Columbia and Snake rivers by increasing spill at eight dams. This fight has been going on since 2000, when the National Wildlife Federation challenged the National Marine,,, >click to read<13:04

Alaska Senate passes Stedman’s sea otter resolution

The Alaska Senate passed a resolution Wednesday calling on the federal government to take steps to increase the harvest of sea otters in Southeast Alaska. Senate Joint Resolution 13 is sponsored by Sitka Republican senator Bert Stedman. It asks the federal government to transfer management responsibility to the state government or National Marine Fisheries Service, instead of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It also urges federal agencies to work with the state and other interest groups to produce a management plan for otters, recognizing their impact on crab, clams, urchins and other sea creatures. >click to read<11:07

NOAA, NGOs debate effects of ocean farms on wildlife, Litigation may be deterring investors

Federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico have been open to fish farming for two years, but no farms yet exist. In January 2016, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service issued a rule that would let companies apply for 10-year permits to farm fish in federal waters of the Gulf, with five-year renewals thereafter.,, Paul W. Zajicek, executive director of the National Aquaculture Association, suspects companies interested in starting offshore farms are waiting for results of a federal lawsuit against the fisheries service.,, Those behind the lawsuit say NOAA’s fisheries service is trying to regulate aquaculture as fishing but lacks authority to expand into aquaculture. >click to read<21:43

Petition to Reclassify: Fight begins over fate of leatherback sea turtle

Protected as endangered species for nearly half a century, their Atlantic population soon may lose that status, in what is becoming a fight between commercial fishermen and conservationists. The Blue Water Fishermen’s Association, which represents longline fishermen who catch swordfish, tuna and other big fish along the east coast, has petitioned the federal government to reclassify from endangered to threatened the northwest Atlantic population of leatherbacks,,, With the Pacific leatherback population crashing, they say the northwest Atlantic population should be classified separately so U.S. fishermen aren’t penalized for the failure of other countries to protect them. >click to read<09:36

Support HR-200 – Chinook Salmon ‘Overfished’? Not So Fast, Say Fishermen

For fishery regulators, it is official: The Sacramento River’s fall-run Chinook salmon are “overfished.”,,, “Are you kidding me? They aren’t overfished!” exclaimed Half Moon Bay commercial fisher Kirk Lombard, irate upon hearing about the designation. “Fishing isn’t the problem. They had a few terrible years with almost no water.”,,, The reason the term is used, then, is because of a federal law – the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976. This law, which sets the framework for managing sustainable fisheries, states that a population of fish that falls below a predetermined minimum population level is “overfished.” Support HR-200 >click to read< 10:24

Lawsuit Challenges Trump Administration’s Failure to Protect Pacific Humpback Whales Threatened by Fishing Gear, Ship Strikes, Oil Spills

The Center for Biological Diversity, Turtle Island Restoration Network and Wishtoyo Foundation today sued the Trump administration for failing to protect humpback whale habitat in the Pacific Ocean, where the animals face threats from fisheries, ship strikes and oil spills. Today’s lawsuit, filed in federal district court in San Francisco, aims to force the National Marine Fisheries Service to follow the Endangered Species Act’s requirement to designate critical habitat within one year of listing a species as threatened or endangered and not authorize actions that,,, >click to read< 16:12

Halibut fishery poised to open as NMFS works on 2018 catch limits

Alaska’s halibut fishery is set to open this month, but the final quota was still not completely set as of March 14, even as fishermen began to receive permits in the mail. Indications, however, are that the quota will decrease this year compared to last. Under regulations published by the National Marine Fisheries Service this month, the fishery will open March 24 and run through Nov. 7. But the total catch limits remain unknown. That’s because this year, for just the second time in the commission’s history that dates to its creation by a 1923 treaty, the International Pacific Halibut Commission could not come to an agreement about the 2018 catch limits at its annual meeting. >click to read<12:36

Sea otter resolution gets first hearing in Senate committee, asking Congress to amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act

A Senate committee Monday, March 12 heard from supporters and opponents of state involvement in the management of sea otters in Southeast Alaska. The Senate Resources committee held its first hearing on Senate joint resolution 13, which calls on the federal government to allow the state or a Native organization to co-manage the rebounding marine mammals and seek ways to increase harvest of otters. >click to read< 14:53

State seeks federal exemption to manage sea otters – The Legislature is considering two resolutions, one in the House and one in the Senate, asking Congress to amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act and,,, >click to read<

Has California’s salmon fishery hit bottom?

A third straight year of low king salmon runs is expected to deliver another blow to one of the North Coast’s most iconic and lucrative fisheries, wildlife managers indicated Thursday, as both regulators and fishermen faced the prospect of a federally -mandated plan to reverse the trend and rebuild key stocks. The grim news comes amid a dramatic, years-long decline in the state’s commercial salmon landings, which are down 97 percent last year from their most recent peak, in 2013, when they hit 12.7 million pounds. The full picture for commercial and sport seasons won’t be clear for several more weeks,,, >click to read< 13:01

The Shutdown

The National Marine Fisheries Service shut down Sector IX because the majority of its boats and quota belong to Carlos Rafael. This came without warning last November 22 and the order also waived the customary 30-day delay in effectiveness. Far from resolving anything this has exacerbated a bad situation by throwing a widening circle of business owners under the bus as the weeks drag by. >click to read< 15:38

Bering Sea Cod caught quickly – “I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the shortest ever,”

The Bering Sea federal trawl cod fishery closed in what may be record time on Feb. 11, just 22 days after the Jan. 20 opener, according to National Marine Fisheries Service Biologist Krista Milani in Unalaska/Dutch Harbor.,,, The North Pacific Fishery Management Program is now considering a plan to restrict the number of boats eligible to fish for cod in the Bering Sea. The fish council floated ideas to limit catcher vessel participation in the Bering Sea cod fishery, including controversial catch shares or individual fishing quotas, during a December meeting in Anchorage. >click to read< 15:00 

California’s crab fleet awaits share of $200 million in disaster relief

The North Coast fishing fleet has welcomed some rare good news out of Washington, D.C., where the congressional budget deal reached last week included disaster relief funds intended to offset losses from the ill-fated commercial Dungeness crab season of three years ago. But just how much help may be on the way is uncertain and could remain so for some time. There’s bureaucracy involved, and the wheels of government often turn slowly for fishermen seeking aid. >click to read< 17:57

Fearing fraud, US pushes for imported shrimp to be tracked

A bipartisan group of US senators have called for shrimp to be included in new legislation aimed at improving the traceability and transparency of seafood imports and preventing fraud. In a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee, 11 senators from across the political divide supported language in the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies appropriations bill that sought to include shrimp in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Seafood Import Monitoring Programme (SIMP). >click to read< 15:58

D.B. Pleschner: Is court the right place to determine ‘best available science’?

A U.S. District Court judge recently ruled that the federal government’s catch limit for California’s central stock of anchovy — currently 25,000 metric tons — is far too high. But instead of weighing all the facts, the judge ignored them, shunned the established precedent of deference to federal agencies’ scientific determinations and instead endorsed the flawed arguments of the advocacy group Oceana. So what happened? >click to read< 21:55

Conservation Law Foundation files Lawsuit to protect right whales

After a year of major losses for North Atlantic right whales, a local environmental advocacy group filed a federal lawsuit against the National Marine Fisheries Service Thursday, arguing that the agency should do more to protect the critically endangered mammals.  But lawyers at the Conservation Law Foundation in Boston, which filed the suit, argued that the agency should be doing more. “Regulators are not just morally mandated to act . . . they are also legally required to ensure fishing efforts do not cause harm to these animals,” said Emily Green, an attorney at the foundation. >click to read< 20:47

NMFS Lists Oceanic Whitetip Shark as Threatened Species

On January 30, 2018, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a final rule listing the oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharinus lonigmanus) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This final listing rule is the culmination of NMFS’ analysis following the 2015 petition filed by Defenders of Wildlife,,, This listing may impact U.S. longline and purse seine fisheries in the Northwest Atlantic, Hawaii, American Samoa, and elsewhere throughout the species’ range, as the species is susceptible to incidental capture as bycatch. >click to read< 09:30

Mass Environmental Police confiscate Scallops over permitted limit on Carlos Rafael vessel

The Massachusetts Environmental Police confiscated 120 pounds of scallops off a Carlos Rafael fishing vessel on Sunday, according to Major Pat Moran. The scallops at being held with their final destination to be determined by the National Marine Fisheries Service, environmental police said. Officers boarded the fishing vessel Dinah Jane, owned by Rafael, on Sunday to conduct a marine fisheries inspection. >click here to read< 14:17

Report detailing enforcement abuses barred from fisherman’s trial

The first criminal trial of a Long Island fisherman charged in connection with a federal probe of a controversial fish-auction program is set to begin, but a report detailing fisheries enforcement abuses by the government has been barred from the trial. Lawyers for Northport fisherman Thomas Kokell, charged in a multi-count indictment with overharvesting fluke, argued in pretrial motions that a 2010 federal inspector general’s report detailing abuses and “overzealousness” by the National Marine Fisheries Service was vital to the defense. >click here to read< 21:35