Tag Archives: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Maine’s leaders seek more time on whale protection rules

Maine Gov. Janet Mills is seeking to delay new federal whale protection rules, citing fears the state’s commercial lobstermen won’t be able to comply. In a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Mills urges federal fisheries regulators to extend the period for collecting public comment on the new regulations, which are aimed at protecting critically endangered north Atlantic right whales by setting a seasonal closure and requiring modifications to gear. Mills said she believes it is “unconscionable” that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration only plans to hold one remote public hearing on the new regulations, which call for reducing by 90% the number of Atlantic Coast fixed gear fisheries, including lobster industry. >click to read< 15:14

S.497 would establish the American Fisheries Advisory Committee within Department of Commerce

After reaching out to Senator Ed Markey and Senator Elisabeth Warren and informing them that under NOAA, the SKG Grant money was not going to our fisherman as intended. My experience of being on a panel in Saint Petersburg to evaluate the applicants for two days, I discovered that the panel was there to please the public and that NOAA has complete say of who got the money! I reported this to Bruce Schactler, and Senator Sullivan. Markey who was opposed, sent his aid to met with me. After I told her what happened Markey came on board and it will now go to the House of Representatives. I am asking all Senators to support this bill. It will set up an advisory panel as was in 1954 and give our fisherman a better chance of the funds. Please, >click to read< Best Regards, Sam Parisi

Fishermen sue to end industry funded monitoring program

A group of fishing companies in New England is bringing its bid to try to end industry-funded monitoring programs to federal appeals court. The companies are part of the industry that harvests Atlantic herring, which are heavily fished off the East Coast. The federal government requires herring fishing boats to participate in, and pay for, at-sea monitoring programs. >click to read< 13:30

Valuable crab populations are in a ‘very scary’ decline in warming Bering Sea

The forecast for the 2022 winter snow crab season is bleak. At best, it is expected to be considerably less than 12 million pounds. That would be down from a 2021 harvest of 45 million pounds,,, The iconic Bering Sea red king crab, which can grow up to 24 pounds with a leg-span up to 5 feet, also are in trouble. In a big blow to the commercial crabbers, many of whom are based in Washington, the October harvest for these crab has been canceled, something that has only happened three times before. Overall conservation measures are expected to wipe out most of the value of the annual Bering Sea crab harvest, worth more than $160 million during the past year, according to Jamie Goen, executive director of the Seattle-based Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers.  >click to read< 13:54

Lobster Fishing Association Files Lawsuit Against NOAA Whale Plan

A lobster fishing group based in Maine filed a lawsuit against the federal government on Monday charging new rules designed to protect whales are not based on the best available science. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced the rules, designed to protect North Atlantic right whales, in August.,, The Maine Lobstermen’s Association has pushed back against the rules,,, >click to read< 11:27

Fishermen in NCLA Video Explain the Need to Reel in NOAA’s at-Sea Monitor Rule

The New Civil Liberties Alliance released a video today outlining why it is unconstitutional to force Atlantic herring fishermen to fund government-mandated monitors at sea. It is “the equivalent of having a cop in your car who’s policing you while you drive, and you have to pay his salary out of your own pocket,” said Meghan Lapp, Fisheries Liaison & General Manager for Seafreeze, Ltd. about the rule being challenged in Relentless Inc., et al. v. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, et al. NCLA, a nonpartisan, nonprofit civil rights group, represents these private fishing companies,,, The at-sea monitor  mandate, issued in 2018, is unlawfully “industry-funded.” >click to read< 08:50

Coast Guard halts illegal use of “paper captains” in WA-based tuna fishing operation

Since 2019, Coast Guard personnel, working collaboratively with CBP and NOAA agents, detected eight separate “paper captain” violations operating in the Pacific Northwest. Paper captain is a term applied to an individual listed on documents as a U.S.-flagged vessel’s captain but in actuality serves as a deckhand or in a similar lower‐level capacity. Thus far, one Washington-based fishing fleet has paid $9,150 in civil penalties and has been cited for $140,000 in additional penalties still pending adjudication. >click to read< 17:54

NOAA Report: Pacific waters off the West Coast show improved productivity – Cooler temps created a robust environment

Ocean waters off the West Coast showed signs of improved productivity in 2020 after several years of warm water and poor fisheries conditions, The higher productivity seen in 2020 comes after a period of poorer conditions in the Pacific Ocean off the West Coast. “The previous five years, starting in early 2014, were very warm. We were seeing conditions that were not good for the fisheries,” said Toby Garfield, a researcher with NOAA and co-editor of the report. “We’ve had some tough times in the last few years,” said Tracy. “For a lot of species, the cold water regime is favorable, so that’s encouraging.”  >click to read< 11:27

Gina M. Raimondo Sworn in as 40th U.S. Secretary of Commerce

Gina M. Raimondo was sworn in as the 40th U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Secretary Raimondo was sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris after a bipartisan vote of 84-15 in the United States Senate. In her role as Secretary of Commerce, Raimondo will lead a key agency focused on promoting economic growth, >click to read<11:20

Stocks head for weekly loss as economy’s coronavirus pain deepens – Seafood industry hit hard

A federal report says the coronavirus pandemic has taken away about a third of the commercial fishing industry’s revenue. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says revenues from catch brought to the docks by commercial fishermen fell 29% over the course of the first seven months of the year. The report says revenues declined every month from March to July, including a 45% decrease in July. The NOAA report says the seafood industry at large has been hit hard by restaurant closures, social distancing protocols and the need for safety measures. >click to read< 09:15

Are Temperatures and Sea Levels Rising Dangerously? Hardly

There are two widely held climate-change beliefs that are simply not accurate. The first is that there has been a statistically significant warming trend in the U.S. over the last 20 years. The second is that average ocean levels are rising alarmingly due to man-made global warming. Neither of these perspectives is true; yet both remain important, nonetheless, since both are loaded with very expensive public policy implications. To refute the first view, we turn to data generated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the relevant years under discussion. >click to read< 14:24

Whale ‘roadkill’ is on the rise off California. A new detection system could help.

That so many whales of various species now traverse the California coast is a remarkable comeback tale.,, Today, blue whales and other endangered species, like fin and humpbacks, are recovering, but slowly. But while industrial whaling stopped in the late 1960s (some countries like Japan and Norway do continue commercial whaling on a small scale), these mammals are still frequently killed in collisions with large ships. Most container ships today delivering goods across the ocean are so large that even a collision with a 50-ton whale can go undetected. Ship strikes remain a leading cause of death to whales around the globe, and in some places, like California, they are on the rise. >click to read< 17:46

DFO working to keep U.S. markets open to northern fisheries

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is working to ensure that fisheries in Nunavut and Nunavik will be able to export their products to markets in the United States after next year. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2022, the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act’s import provisions rule will take effect. Four Greenland halibut (turbot), three Arctic char fisheries, and a shrimp fishery will all need to comply. “This rule ensures that the U.S. will only accept imports of fish and fish products originating from foreign countries that have enacted management measures to reduce marine mammal bycatch”,,, DFO submitted a progress report to NOAA and proposed that three Arctic char gillnet fisheries be exempt based on their location in river estuaries, short time in the water and shallow depth. NOAA rejected the request for an exemption. >click to read< 14:00

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

Your View: Turning fishery into police state won’t stop fraudsters like Carlos Rafael

First, I want to point out that none of this is to defend Carlos Rafael. The nicest thing he ever said about honest, small boat fishermen like me was to compare us to mosquitoes to his elephant. (“The maggots screaming on the sidelines, they’re done. They can scream all they want. Nobody can save them,>click to read<) I do, however, think this case has one notable shortcoming in that the New York dealer who delivered his “bags of jingles” was never charged. Why? Maybe it is because enforcement used a crooked dealer as its star witness,,, by David Goethel >click to read< 22:23

LePage appeals to Trump on lobster regulations

Former Maine Gov. Paul LePage sent a letter this week to President Trump opposing proposed regulations designed to protect endangered North Atlantic rights whales that LePage says will be detrimental to the state’s signature lobster industry. In his three-page letter, LePage called the proposal by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to reduce the number of end lines – the ropes that connect traps to buoys – by 50 percent “another federal overreach in response to big money environmentalists.” >click to read<08:05

South Carolina: Local organization speaks out against seismic testing

Friday, seismic testing was given the go-ahead by the National Marine Fisheries Services, which is a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Last year, the U.S. Department of Interior denied the seismic permits. They said the damage caused to marine animals and the fishing industry was not worth it.It is now a go, and Lowcountry organizations are upset because seismic testing is the first step to potentially allowing offshore drilling. “We are extremely against seismic air gun blasts,” Peg Howell, spokesperson for Stop Offshore Drilling in the Atlantic, said. >click to read<20:50

Environmental Citations Issued For Boat Captain During NOAA Environmental Research Cruise

The captain of a charter boat carrying government scientists on an environmental research cruise near the Keys has been cited for violating environmental regulations. The Ultimate Getaway is a 100-foot charter boat that takes people to the remote Tortugas, west of Key West, for diving and spearfishing trips. This month, it was chartered by the federal government for the Coral Reef Monitoring Program research cruise, which surveys reef and fish in Florida every other year. The FWC patrol saw the Ultimate Getaway at anchor inside the reserve. When they came alongside, they saw fishing poles and gear on the vessel’s stern, according to the FWC report. >click to read<11:19

Lawsuit challenges fishing methods that could threaten right whales

An environmental activist is seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the use of vertical buoy fishing lines in Massachusetts waters to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales. In lawsuit filed in late February in U.S. District Court in Boston, conservationist Richard Maximus Strahan of Peterborough, New Hampshire, has sued the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the assistant administrator of the Nation Marine Fisheries Service, the secretary of the Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the director of the state Division of Massachusetts Fisheries Service, the commissioners of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, as a representative of its members. Strahan wants to stop the state’s lobster association members from further lobster pot and gill net commercial fishing operations unless they can scientifically demonstrate the endangered whales and sea turtles would not be killed or injured. >click to read<19:14

Coastal Alabama Rep. slams NOAA ‘junk science’ behind shortest red snapper season ever

Alabama Rep. Bradley Byrne shares the frustration of most in his district when it comes to the federal government’s overregulation of red snapper fishing. According to him, Coastal Alabamians are infuriated over the announcement that the much-anticipated red snapper season will only last a pitifully short three days. He believes they have a right to be mad. “[My constituents] have every reason to be outraged, because they have a right to fish in the waters of the United States, and they’re being deprived of that right by junk science. Put junk science in, you’re going to get a bad result out, and that’s exactly what we’ve got here,” Rep. Byrne said. Every year, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), which is managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), announces how long the fishing season will last based on the size and stock of red snapper fish. click here to read the story 13:45

New England’s cod catch in nosedive

The decline of the fishery has made the U.S. reliant on foreign cod, and cod fish fillets and steaks purchased in American supermarkets and restaurants are now typically caught by Norway, Russia or Iceland in the north Atlantic. In Maine, which is home to the country’s second-largest Atlantic cod fishery, the dwindling catch has many wondering if cod fishing is a thing of the past. “It’s going to be more and more difficult for people to make this work,” said Maggie Raymond, executive director of the Associated Fisheries of Maine. State records say 2016 was historically bad for cod fishing in Maine. Fishermen brought less than 170,000 pounds of the fish to land in the state last year.,,, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released an assessment of the Gulf of Maine cod stock in 2014 that said the spawning population was at its lowest point in the history of the study of the fish. Scientists have cited years of overfishing and inhospitable environmental conditions as possible reasons for the decline. continue reading the story here 09:50

Boris Worm The Jellyfish Guy says New York turns into some kind of modern Venice with Sea Level Rise

Coastal communities, including those in Newfoundland and Labrador, could be drowned by significant sea level rise before the end of the century according to a new report released by the U.S. government (NOAA). Boris Worm, a marine scientist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, N.S., says a report by the American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggests sea levels could rise by 2.5 metres by the year 2100. “They were asking the question, how will any given amount of sea level rise be felt in the U.S. and what are the likely scenarios for sea level rise given current emissions,” he told CBC Radio’s The Broadcast. “They’ve come up with a range of projections, and the notable thing here is that that range of projections is a lot larger than it used to be.” Worm said less than a decade ago, the expectation was between one and two feet of sea level rise by the end of the century.  “They’ve now corrected this and said it’s going to be a lot more, and it could be up to 8.2 feet,” he said. “If that comes true, it means New York turns into some kind of modern Venice, Venice turns to some kind of Atlantis, and I don’t know what it means for Newfoundland … it really means a complete rethinking of how we live close to the coast.” Read the story here 13:45

American Samoan Governor Lolo Moliga gets tough with NOAA

American Samoan Gov. called a spade a spade when he met with officials from the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation visiting the territory last week. Speaking at Friday’s cabinet meeting, the first for the new administration, the governor said he told officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that their local office, is just that — an office, and it cannot dictate what American Samoa can and cannot do. He said it’s not that American Samoa is against conservation, but it’s the way that the federal government has gone about the takeover of local waters included in the sanctuary that he has a problem with. The governor said he told the feds that American Samioa is prepared to fight for ownership of its resources in the lawsuit now before the U.S. District Court of Honolulu, which goes to trial this week. Link 09:38

NOAA Quietly Deletes Apology For Sharing Anti-Trump Facebook Post

A branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) responsible for tracking hurricanes apologized Saturday for sharing a Facebook post critical of President Trump. The National Hurricane Center (NHC), rather surprisingly, deleted the apology from its Facebook page, which claimed a “hacked” personal account was responsible for sharing a post by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. NHC’s Facebook page shared a Sanders post highlighting Saturday’s march in Washington, D.C., in protest to Trump taking office. NHC then quietly deleted off its Facebook account, but not before meteorologist Dr. Ryan Maue captured a screenshot.  Read the rest here 10:59

Congressmen Seek Investigation Of Hawaii Fishing Practices

Four Democratic congressmen have written to officials at the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration claiming that Hawaii’s longline fishing fleet is operating illegally by employing — and in some cases possibly abusing — foreign fishermen. The congressmen said fishing boat owners who are not in “compliance with the law” should not be allowed to sell their products. Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva’s staff convened a forum about the matter on Capitol Hill last week. Activists at the event, who described what was happening as modern-day slavery, advocated a boycott of tuna until the alleged abuses stop. “This illegal activity does not represent American values and has dealt a blow to U.S. credibility as a global leader in fighting (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing and human trafficking,” the congressmen wrote. WHERE IS THE PROOF! Read the rest here 10:41

Editorial: Fishing essential in monetary and cultural ways

map1For fishing communities, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual publication about commercial landings makes great reading. As we’ve observed in the past, “Fisheries of the United States” is interesting here in much the same way crop reports are a topic of fascination for farmers. Make no bones about it: Irrespective of decades of impressive economic diversification, the Lower Columbia and nearby places like Garibaldi, Newport, Willapa Bay and Westport, Washington, are fishing communities in essential cultural and monetary ways. Fishing dollars bounce around coastal towns and bolster the business climate in much the way fish fertilizer makes plants prosper. Analysis of multiyear trends points out some disturbing news about the strength of commercial fisheries on the Lower Columbia. The 2015 edition of the annual fisheries compendium from the National Marine Fisheries Service finds Astoria-area landings at something of a low ebb. Read the editorial here 09:10

How Cat Poop Is Killing the Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals

monk-seal-pup-toxo-4-640x371Colonies of feral cats are thriving in neighborhoods all over Oahu, from the University of Hawaii’s Manoa campus to Waianae’s homeless encampment, in alleys behind hotels and along trails in the mountains. But it’s not the smells or caterwauling that is of primary concern to scientists.  The biggest issue, federal and state scientists said, is the cats’ unique ability to spread toxoplasmosis, a parasitic disease that has killed at least eight critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals, two spinner dolphins, nene geese and native birds over the past 15 years.  The problem is pitting scientists trying to save threatened marine mammals and other creatures against animal rights activists trying to save abandoned cats. “You need to stop it at the source, and that means preventing cats from defecating in the environment, whether it’s in the hills or on the beaches,” said Michelle Barbieri, a wildlife veterinary medical officer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program. Read the story here 10:24

Author Alan Stein Says US Commerce FOIA Lawsuit Yielded Results

commerceA federal lawsuit moved the U.S. Department of Commerce to hand over thousands of pages of withheld documents needed to write a book, the lawyer of an environmental activist and author said Thursday. Writer, fisherman and environmental activist Alan Stein sued the Commerce Department under the Freedom of Information and Administrative Procedures Acts in July 2015. He claimed the department and two of its agencies — the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Office of the Inspector General — had stonewalled his requests for documents he needed for a book he was writing. Last year, Stein told Courthouse News (click here)  the planned book required materials from an investigation of Arne Fuglvog, a former fishing vessel operator and fisheries official who spent time in prison for making false statements in fishing quota reports. Read the rest here 08:12 Read  The NOAA Oversight Project – Fisherman’s FOIA’s Squeeze NOAA, to see the that James Balsiger, the acting head of the National Marine Fisheries Service, was going to be replaced by fisherman/ Senate staffer Arne Fuglvog who favored catch shares or scientist Brian Rothschild who did not. Click here

Court Rules Against Local Fishermen, Upholds Job-Killing Government Mandate

Today, the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire dismissed the lawsuit filed by Plaintiffs David Goethel and Northeast Fishery Sector 13 against the U.S. Department of Commerce. In December 2015, the Department of Commerce ordered that fishermen who fish for cod, flounder and certain other fish in the Northeast United States not only must carry National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”) enforcement contractors known as “at-sea monitors” on their vessels during fishing trips, but must pay out-of-pocket for the cost of those monitors.  This “industry funding” requirement would devastate the Northeast fishing industry, at the price of many jobs and livelihoods.  The District Court’s order allows that requirement to remain in place. The Court found that the fishermen’s suit was untimely and that the requirement that monitors be funded by the fishermen was authorized by law. “I am very disappointed by this decision,” said Goethel.  “I’ve made a living fishing in New England for more than 30 years, but I can’t afford to fish if I have to pay for at-sea monitors.  I’m grateful to Cause of Action Institute for joining the fight, and I hope that the rule of law will win in the end.” “The fishermen in my sector can’t sustain this industry funding requirement,” said Northeast Fishery Sector 13 Manager John Haran. “They’ll have to try other fisheries, if they can keep fishing at all.” “While we respect the District Court and its decision, it appears that decision is contrary to the law and facts,” said Alfred J. Lechner, Jr., President and CEO of Cause of Action Institute and a former federal judge.  “In the end, the federal government is overextending its regulatory power and is destroying an industry. We intend to study the decision and consider further action.” link 18:55