Tag Archives: new england

NOAA Announces Closure of the Northern Gulf of Maine Scallop Management Area

NOAA Fisheries is closing the Northern Gulf of Maine Scallop Management Area to all federally permitted limited access general category scallop vessels effective 0001, on May 26, 2022. As of May 26, 2022, no scallop vessel fishing under federal scallop regulations may fish for, possess, or land scallops in or from the Northern Gulf of Maine Scallop Management Area. The scallop regulations require that we close this area once we project that 100 percent of the 2022 default total allowable catch for this area will be taken. The closure will be in effect until the end of the fishing year, March 31, 2023. To continue, >click to read< 17:52

Commercial fishermen dealing with off the chart fuel prices

The fuel prices are also affecting prices out at sea. Many commercial fishermen use diesel, which is now running well over 6 dollars a gallon. Captain James Keding has been running Mary K, named after his mother, for 38 years. He says his mussel harvesting operation is taking a huge hit from fuel prices.  “Back in 2019, I paid $1.50 a gallon, now I’m paying $6.50 a gallon,” said Keding. Lobstermen are also in a pinch. Captain Dave Hobson says the Right Whale restrictions were just lifted so everyone in his line of work is trying to run their traps out with the higher fuel costs. >click to read< 07:53  Video, Rising diesel prices having big impact on commercial fishermen, >click to watch<

New England’s founding fish, may be returning to local waters

Atlantic cod, once a mainstay of the region’s economy, is being fished at historically low levels, but a research scientist whose past findings opened up a tightly regulated scallop fishery says cod may be staging a comeback. Before he heads out to sea, commercial fisherman Raymond Lees stops by Reidar’s Trawl Gear & Marine Supply in New Bedford to buy custom-designed fishing nets. The shape of the net, the width of its mouth and the size of its holes all help him target certain species of fish and, perhaps more importantly, avoid others. “I’ve spent so long running away from codfish that I’ve gotten better at running away from codfish,” Lees said during a recent run to Reidar’s. “I have specialized gear and I’m good at what I do.” “We went from a huge fishing business, as far as the groundfishing fleet’s concerned, of 300 boats down to 20 boats,” Bendiksen said. “It’s pretty much a 90 percent loss of what the fleet was.” >click to read< 08:10

Atlantic Herring: New England to get $11M in disaster relief funding

Disaster-level instability in the Atlantic herring industry has prompted the federal government to give $11 million to commercial fishermen and shore-side infrastructure in four states. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said Thursday that the herring industry in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island will get the assistance. More than $7 million is slated for Maine. Raimondo said the assistance “will help affected fisheries and communities recover from disasters and make them more resilient to future challenges.” >click to read< 15:49

Lobster industry groups mount uncertain First Circuit fight on fishery’s future

Arguing before a skeptical First Circuit, an attorney representing a group of Maine lobster fishermen said a federal rule designed to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale targets a portion of the ocean where there are no right whales. “We need to figure out where the whales are and target those areas,” said attorney Alfred Frawley IV at oral arguments Tuesday before the federal appeals court in Boston. But the First Circuit appeared to give Frawley a frosty reception, saying at one point that the record lacked evidence that the seasonal closure would lead to lost lobster boats and jobs across the coast of Maine. Judge Sandra Lynch asked Frawley if he had approached attorneys for the Marine Fisheries Service,,, Frawley began to make two points, but Lynch cut him off: “Will you answer my question rather than making a speech?” the Clinton appointee said. Frawley then said his clients were not allowed to sit on the take-reduction team. >click to read< 16:18

NEFMC Honors Lou Goodreau for 45-Year Career on Staff

The New England Fishery Management Council opened the first day of its April 12-14, 2022 hybrid meeting in Mystic, CT by paying tribute to Lou Goodreau, an economist and information technology specialist who is retiring in May following a dedicated 45-year career on the Council’s staff. Lou joined the staff on March 28, 1977, the year the Council was formed by the 1976 passage of what’s now called the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). He is the third longest serving staff member among the nation’s eight regional fishery management councils. >click to read< 17:55

Federal government to increase at-sea monitoring to 100%.

At-sea monitors are workers who collect data on board commercial fishing boats to help inform regulations and management of species. The government approved the new, higher percentage of trip cover on Tuesday, said Michael Pentony, regional administrator with NOAA’s Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office in Gloucester. The rules apply to valuable species that are harvested in the Northeast such as cod, haddock and flounder. Pentony said the new rules will replace the old process of calculating a target for the level of monitoring coverage every year. The coverage target will instead be 100% for four years as long as federal funding can support agency and industry costs, he wrote in a letter to fishery managers. >click to read< 16:24

Midwater trawler critics intend to appeal court decision

Fishermen in the Gulf of Maine are seeking to appeal a federal judge’s reversal of an exclusion zone that keeps herring trawlers 12 miles offshore. The March 4 ruling by US District Court Judge Leo Sorokin in Boston could reopen some Northeast waters to midwater herring trawlers, reversing the 2019 rule change that excluded them from a wide swath. from the Atlantic coast from Long Island to the Canadian border. In his opinion, Judge Sorokin wrote that the concept of “localized depletion” put forward by opponents of midwater trawlers has not been adequately defined by NMFS, leading him to rule that the exclusion zone decision violated Magnuson-Steven National Standard 4. Fishing Management and Conservation Law. >click to read<  14:28

Rule change calls for monitoring of all groundfish trips – Not everyone is on board.

The most significant proposed change is a monitoring coverage target of 100% aboard eligible trips, which is higher than present monitoring levels. The change is meant to remove uncertainty surrounding catch. This and other changes, known as Amendment 23, to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan were developed by the New England Fishery Management Council. According to a NOAA Fisheries fact sheet, the changes, if approved by NOAA Fisheries, would give groundfish vessels the choice of a human observer or using one of two types of electronic monitoring to meet the increased monitoring requirements, provided the sector has a corresponding approved monitoring plan and a contract with an approved service provider. >click to read< 12:37

Mid-Water Herring Trawlers to Return to Inshore Waters – Court Overturns Exclusion Zone

Herring fishermen from New England and the Mid-Atlantic won a crucial decision last week when a federal judge in Boston ruled in their favor against an exclusion zone in Northeast U.S. waters. The court ruled that a National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) measure excluding the mid-water trawl fleet from productive inshore fishing grounds violated the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the nation’s premier fisheries law. The lawsuit was brought by the Sustainable Fisheries Coalition (SFC), a trade group representing herring and mackerel fishing companies. >click to read< 08:16

New rules for scallop fishery scheduled to take effect April 1 in Northern Gulf of Maine

A Feb. 17 presentation on upcoming changes to Northern Gulf of Maine scallop fishery management drew a number of New England fishermen to listen to scallop leaders from the New England Fishery Management Council and NOAA. The biggest change for scallop fishermen is that vessels fishing in Northern Gulf of Maine waters will be required to take industry-funded scallop observers on board when selected to do so. Additionally, a portion of Stellwagen Bank in Massachusetts Bay will open for scallop fishing. >click to read< 10:14

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

ACK Residents Against Turbines not aligned with fossil fuel money

The Jan. 21 article by Doug Fraser, “Nuclear and Fossil Fuel Advocates, Wind Foes Among Backers of Right Whale Protection Suits,” misleads the public by attempting to draw a false link between ACK Residents Against Turbines, which opposes development of industrial-scale wind farms off the coast of New England, and other groups associated with the fossil fuel industry. Some groups oppose industrial offshore wind development because it will harm pristine ocean views enjoyed by all; others are opposed to the dramatic increase in electric rates experienced by countries that have adopted it or to the devastating impact it will have on commercial fishing. These are all valid concerns. ACK Residents Against Turbines is opposed to the industrialization of our ocean because the turbines, massive offshore substations, and vast undersea high voltage cable systems will damage the fragile marine ecosystem. >click to read< 15:12 By Vallorie Oliver President, Nantucket Residents Against Turbines

Lobster industry needs more time to meet new regulations

Not only is the fishery being forced to change based on insufficient evidence regarding whale entanglements, it is being forced to do so on a schedule that is both too tight and poorly timed. That has left lobstermen scrambling to meet the May 1 deadline for using special weakened rope, rope that is in short supply, if it can be found at all. The Biden administration should see that the industry can’t make this deadline without causing harm. It should be extended to a more reasonable date. Under the new rules, lobster boats must use new weakened rope, or special inserts that are designed to weaken the existing rope, depending on where they fish. >click to read< 10:03

Lobstermen fear offshore tracking data would be used against them

An arm of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is considering implementing the tracking requirements on federally-permitted lobster and Jonah crab fishermen in order to collect data on where and how they fish. “As these uses are developing in their discussions about how to divvy up that ocean space, it will be really critical to understand where the important fishing grounds are for the U.S. lobster fishery so those can be maintained,” said Caitlin Starks, a fishery management plan coordinator at the commission. >click to read< 08:22 What bullshit this is.

North Atlantic Right Whale: Extinction Is Looming. Everyone’s Fighting.

This May, new rules created for the lobster industry by the National Marine Fisheries Service will become official policy for boats operating in right whale territory. The agency estimates that lobster and Jonah crab traps are responsible for 95 percent of vertical end-line ropes in the areas where whale protections apply and therefore pose the most risk for entangling whales. The Fisheries Service says these changes will reduce the risk of death and serious injury by 69 percent. But in the months after the rules were finalized, the agency has seen pushback from conservation groups, who argue the new protections aren’t enough, and lobster fishing crews, who say the rules will harm their business. >click to read< 14:22

The future of fishing is innovation.

Maine’s lobstermen begin 2022 with a unique opportunity to fundamentally solve the whale entanglement issue. Throughout history technology has been used to improve our lives and solve complex problems. Invention has brought us cell phones, computers, satellites, and soon, self-driving cars and a base on the moon. >click to read< By Zack Klyver 10:55

Cape Ann Museum celebrates family owned fishing vessels – seeking community participation

As the great-granddaughter, granddaughter and daughter of fishermen, Nina Testaverde Goodick always shared her family’s profound pride in its fishing vessels over the generations. “These fishing vessels were at the very core of our family,” the Gloucester woman said. “They provided for us — the Linda B., Peter & Linda, Sea Fox, Nina T. and The Midnight Sun to name a few. In our homes, you could always find a painting of these vessels, hanging in a place of honor.” In that spirit of pride and in anticipation of the city’s 400th anniversary, the Cape Ann Museum is seeking community participation for a future special exhibition about family fishing vessels. >click to read< 08:12

NOAA: Final Rule for Amendment 21 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan

NOAA Fisheries filed a final rule to implement Amendment 21 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan. The New England Fishery Management Council developed Amendment 21 to adjust the management of the Northern Gulf of Maine as well as the limited access general category individual fishing quota program to support overall economic performance of the fishery while allowing for continued participation in the general category fishery. Amendment 21, >click to read< 13:03

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

New England’s Cod Quota Drops Again! The Problem Could Be a R/V Bigelow Trawl Issue

To whom this may concern. The Northeast Trawl Advisory Panel has been working on the overspreading issue and their solution is to put a restrictor rope between the doors to keep them from overspreading the net. This is not a realistic solution, as different depths need different lengths of wire, also one door striking a big rock, or any hang would affect the track of the other door. My question is why is overspreading occurring?!! >click to read<, Respectfully, Captain Sam Novello, Gloucester, Mass 22:23

New England: Offshore Wind (OSW)Mitigation & Compensation Management Concerns

I ask that you please disseminate my following comments that I would like the Council to consider, regarding my thoughts on developing a recommendation for the Mitigation and Compensation Program. Their knowledge and understanding of the fishing community will go a long way in realizing the importance in getting this program developed to the best of the abilities of all concerned. >click to read< By Jim Kendall

Looking Back: Mistrust between scientists, fishermen mars key mission

From the lightly swaying deck of his 98-foot trawler, Matt Stommel points out the scene of the crime, lit now in the deep orange of approaching sunset. Stommel’s boat, the Nobska, is docked on the Woods Hole waterfront here, with an easy view of the government laboratory charged with counting New England’s fish. It was from this perch, Stommel recalls, that he watched as workers marked a steel cable from an aging research vessel, the Albatross IV, on a freezing day in the winter of 2000. What he saw that day filled him with a skipper’s disgust. For the next two years, Stommel pleaded with scientists to check the cables and even offered to pay for the test himself. Last fall, the center admitted he was right,,, The episode, dubbed “trawlgate” on the docks, still casts a long shadow over New England’s imperiled fishery. >click to read< 07:20

Jim Kendall – Finding Common Ground

With regard to the letter from Sam Novello posted on Fisherynation.com, Finding Common Ground off to a Bad Start, he very eloquently laid out some of the faults, errors, and out and out incompetence of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center with respect to their continued mismanagement of the Northeast fisheries stock assessments. I know from past work and associations with the NEFSC that this has been going on for so long that they likely now believe their own Mantra about their science being the best (and only way) in which to compile the NE groundfish stock assessment. Unfortunately groundfish is not their only problematic stock assessment. >click to read< 16:32

Finding Common Ground Off to a bad start

The opinion pieceFinding common ground on fisheries data”, reflects the biggest impediment to solving the problems it addresses – lots of false assumptions. First and foremost is blaming reductions in survey fish stocks on “overfishing”. Yes, overfishing did occur when massive, mostly foreign, commercial fishing operations scooped up fish stocks indiscriminately, often purging the bottom of everything needed to sustain acquatic life. But this was not done by the small boats of the New England fishing communities, which now, after thirty years of draconian restrictions, are no longer capable of catching enough fish to sustain their boats and their families — never mind “overfishing”. >click to read<, Capt. Salvatore “Sam” Novello, Gloucester, Mass. 08:30

Groundfish Trawl Task Force – Finding common ground on fisheries data

Building consensus between commercial fishermen, conservationists and marine regulators is no easy task. But a long, patient effort led by Congressman Seth Moulton’s office seems to be making progress,,, For years, NOAA has relied on data from two research trawlers. The Albatross IV was used between 1963 and 2008, and the Bigelow since then. NOAA currently combines data from both vessels when making regulatory decisions. That is despite the often-flawed data supplied by the Albatross IV over the years. The Albatross IV was at the center of the “Trawlgate” controversy of the early 2000s, when NOAA scientists had to concede the trawler used the wrong nets, likely missing hundreds of thousands of fish. Yet regulators stood by that data to set low catch limits based on the admittedly flawed numbers. >click to read< 10:25

A grievous assault on the lobster resource

In recent years, the federal government in the form of the National Marine Fisheries Service has been expanding restrictions on fin fishermen throughout the U.S.,, The federal government allows each (lobster) fishermen a maximum of 800 traps when fishing in federal waters,,, I take no pleasure in writing this, but as a former New England Fishery Management council member, I feel bound to report a grievous assault on the lobster resource even though the council does not manage lobsters. The goal of writing the article is for the public to apply political pressure to force a solution. I realize that by submitting this request/complaint that I am opening myself up to possible retaliation on the water. I ask both the reader and bureaucracy to keep that in mind. >click to read<  By David Goethel 10:30

No Offshore Wind! Maine voters torn by Hydro-Québec plan as referendum set for Tuesday

In communities near the 233-kilometre route of the Appalachian-Maine interconnection line, the worksite raises both environmental fears and hopes for economic revitalization. The line passing through Maine to export 9.45 terawatt-hours annually to Massachusetts could bring billions of dollars to the Crown corporation. A rejection by voters would represent a second setback for Hydro-Québec after the initial plan to run electricity through New Hampshire in 2019 was abandoned due to public opposition. (Shame on non-green NH!) >click to read< 19:26

Moulton’s Trawl Task Force wins $500K to count groundfish

“When I took office, I was told I had to make a choice: stand with the fishermen or the environmentalists. I thought that was crazy because both want, and fishermen need a sustainable fishery. So instead, we rallied both groups around getting better science, and that is exactly what this historic partnership has produced,” Moulton said in a prepared statement. “This work will protect the livelihoods of thousands of people, it will protect our ocean, and it will preserve New England’s identity as a place where people can make a living fishing.” >click to read< 08:44

Tropical Storm Henri Public Advisory

At 800 AM EDT, the center of Tropical Storm Henri was located by reconnaissance aircraft and NOAA Doppler weather radars near latitude 40.7 North, longitude 71.3 West. Henri is moving toward the north-northwest near 16 mph. A north-northwestward motion with a decrease in forward speed is expected this morning. On the forecast track, Henri is expected to make landfall in southern New England or on Long Island later this  morning or early this afternoon. After landfall, a turn back toward the north and an even slower forward speed are expected as Henri moves over southern New England.>click to read< 08:30