Tag Archives: NOAA

Wilbur Ross opens new front in trade war with $11M in fish farm grants

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross doled out $11 million Wednesday aimed at jumpstarting the U.S. aquaculture industry, or fish farming, and limiting dependence on foreign seafood imports. “With such vast coastlines, there is no reason the United States should be importing billions of pounds of seafood each year,” Ross said. As part of Wednesday’s announcement, the agency’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is launching 22 projects aimed at expanding sustainable U.S. ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes aquaculture>click to read<14:42

Warren again calls for Rafael’s permits to stay in New Bedford

Elizabeth Warren repeated a call she voiced last year by sending another letter to NOAA regarding Carlos Rafael’s federal fishing permits. The Massachusetts senator addressed her two-page letter to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, acting NOAA Administrator Benjamin Friedman and assistant Administrator for Fisheries Chris Oliver and asked that NOAA keep the 42 permits the agency is targeting in its civil action in New Bedford. Warren sent a letter to NOAA last October, too, echoing the same sentiment. >click to read<21:15

Measures to protect North Atlantic right whales have been effective, official says

Representatives of the fishing industry and Fisheries and Oceans Canada met in Moncton over the weekend to look at the impact protection measures were having on the North Atlantic right whale — and to help decide what should happen next year. The 2018 fishing season has been controversial, with fishermen in the Acadian Peninsula protesting the new federal measures that were put in place to protect the North Atlantic right whale. Some of those measures included closing several fisheries where whales were present in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, speed restrictions for boats and increased surveillance. >click to read<15:34

Regulators meet next week to consider actions to save right whales which could drastically change lobstering

Proposals to close the fishery in the western Gulf of Maine south of Cape Elizabeth during April, cut the number of seabed-to-surface lines that can entangle whales, and become a ropeless fishery by 2020 are among the ideas to be discussed next week in Providence, Rhode Island, by the team of scientists, fishing groups and animal rights activists tasked with saving the right whale from extinction.,,, In their proposal, The Humane Society of the United States, Defenders of Wildlife and Center for Biological Diversity – which together sued the federal government for not doing more to protect whales from lobster gear – outline a fast-moving plan to transition to a ropeless fishery, requiring all new entrants to the federal fishery be rope-free by Jan. 1, and that all participants in any Atlantic trap or pot fishery, including Maine’s, use only ropeless gear by Jan. 1, 2020. >click to read<09:03

Bayou La Batre – Coastal Alabama Citizens Rise Up And Defeat Job-Killing Eco-Tourism Ordinance

Fearing the loss of both their livelihood and their way of life, residents of Bayou La Batre, Alabama, banded together earlier this summer and scuttled a city ordinance crafted to promote eco-tourism. Located along the Gulf Coast, a few miles southwest of Mobile, Bayou La Batre is a fishing village with a vibrant seafood-processing industry. The city of 2,500 souls has survived Hurricane Katrina and other unpleasant visitors from the tropics. But a 200-page zoning proposal developed by the city’s planning commission with assistance from the Southeast Alabama Regional Planning Commission (SARPC) and environmental groups triggered a storm of protest that sent the city’s mayor and his supporters running for cover. >click to read<12:04

Court Ruling on Aquaculture – NOAA remains committed to expanding sustainable U.S. aquaculture

NOAA is considering whether to appeal the Eastern District of Louisiana’s finding that NOAA does not have regulatory authority to regulate aquaculture under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.  Given conflicting court decisions and the desire for regulatory certainty, NOAA supports congressional efforts to clarify the agency’s statutory authority to regulate aquaculture. NOAA remains committed to expanding the social, environmental, and economic benefits of sustainable marine aquaculture in the U.S. It is important to note that this ruling is not a prohibition on marine aquaculture, either nationally or in the Gulf of Mexico, and we will continue to work with stakeholders through existing policies and legislation to increase aquaculture permitting efficiency and predictability. Jennie Lyons Public Affairs Deputy Director (301) 427-8013 [email protected]

Gloucester: New herring rules prompt angst at dock

The protections for the Northeast herring fishery enacted this week by the New England Fishery Management Council are not welcome news for Cape Seafoods and could force the locally based seafood company to change the way it fishes.,,, One option, O’Neill said, is to change the way the company’s boats fish, moving away from the ultra-efficient midwater trawling to bottom trawling in the areas where the technique is allowed. “Even if we decide to make the investment in new gear, it’s not going to be an easy thing,” O’Neill said. “Everything the council does devalues our operation. It devalues the permits and it devalues the plant. How do you plan anything? How long before they try something else?” >click to read<16:34

NOAA findings on right whale endangerment could affect lobster fishery

A new report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center finds that the decline of the North Atlantic right whale population over the past eight years is due to multiple factors that include entanglement with fishing gear. The whales’ range expansion has exposed them to vessel traffic and fisheries in Canadian waters, which did not have protections for right whales in place until late last summer, the report says. Lobster populations are also changing distribution in the Gulf of Maine, causing U.S. fisheries to move farther offshore in pursuit of lobsters, thus increasing overlap between fishing activity and right whale foraging areas and migration corridors. >click to read<14:30

NOAA Seeks $3 Million in Civil Fines against Carlos Rafael, Takes Aim at 20 Captains

NOAA hasn’t removed Carlos Rafael from its crosshairs. It’s requesting more than $3 million from the fishing tycoon and also took aim at 20 additional Rafael captains in a civil action filed last week, the governing agency told The Standard-Times on Thursday. NOAA issued superseding charging documents in its civil administrative case involving Rafael on Sept. 10, which added charges and included more respondents than the original document NOAA issued Jan. 10. The new document seeks to revoke 42 of Rafael’s federal fishing permits, prevent Rafael or his agents from applying for NOAA permits in the future, and increase the total monetary penalties sought from $983,528 to $3,356,269.,,, The documents, which are non-criminal, also increased the number of alleged violations of federal fishery laws from 35 to 88 in addition to lassoing 20 of Rafael’s captains into the civil action. The original documents included only two captains. NOAA also is seeking to revoke operator permits of 17 fishing vessel captains for Rafael. >click to read<20:48

NOAA calls off active search for killer whale J50

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has called off the active search for a sick killer whale that garnered international attention. The southern resident killer whale known as J50 hasn’t been seen for several days and earlier in the week was presumed dead by a scientist, but NOAA and Fisheries and Oceans Canada hadn’t given up hope, until now. “It seems like the window of time she would likely be alive has passed,” said NOAA spokesman Michael Milstein on Saturday. Dan Bate, a spokesman for the department of fisheries, said the DFO and Straitwatch, a marine conservation organization, continued looking for J50 on Saturday, but to no avail. >click to read<10:33

Coast guard joins search for missing orca J50

Coast Guard personnel are assisting members of NOAA’s Fisheries Service in the search for the missing Southern Resident killer whale, J50. An intense search effort was launched Thursday in which a Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station Port Angeles, several NOAA researchers in separate boats and multiple whale watching vessels and organizations searched for the 31/2-year-old whale. Various news sources report the whale as dead. >click to read<17:07

Fewer Pollock, cod found in southern Bering Sea survey

Formal results of this year’s NOAA trawl survey of the southern Bering Sea won’t be announced until mid-September, but preliminary data shows a decided warming trend and the presence of fewer Alaska Pollock and Pacific cod than anticipated. “It appears that conditions are such now that we are moving into a warming phase and there is not clear evidence that we will move back into a cold phase,” said Lyle Britt, a research fisheries biologist with NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Seattle who participated in this year’s survey. >click to read<15:41

Former New Bedford Fishing Captain Pleads to Hindering Coast Guard Inspection at Sea

A former New Bedford fishing boat captain pleaded guilty Thursday to interfering with a U.S. Coast Guard inspection and faces sentencing Nov. 28, federal prosecutors said. Thomas D. Simpson, 57, of South Portland, Maine, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of destruction or removal of property subject to seizure and inspection, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. On May 31, 2014, the Bulldog was engaged in commercial fishing off the coast of Massachusetts when the USCG boarded the vessel to perform a routine inspection, the news release said.  At the time of the boarding, the Bulldog’s net was deployed in the water and the crew was actively fishing. >Click to read<18:49

NOAA/NMFS – Reducing the Sub-Annual Catch Limits for Atlantic Herring Management Areas 1A, 1B, 2, and 3

These reductions go into effect today (August 22, 2018), and are based on the most recent stock assessment, which shows that the herring stock is in decline due to historic lows in recruitment over the past five years. To prevent overfishing in 2018, the new Management Area sub-ACLs are as follows: >click to read<16:33

Crabbers to get federal disaster relief

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has proposed a spending plan for federal Dungeness Crab disaster relief funding after taking input from fishermen, processors and charter boat operators. The state’s 2015 to 2016 commercial Dungeness and rock crab seasons were declared as fisheries disasters after being drastically curtailed due to algae blooms and the domoic acid toxin they produced. Approval of $28.8 million in federal relief funding was gained last June, with most of it covering Dungeness losses. Based on guidelines from the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and feedback from industry stakeholders, CDFW proposes that 89 percent of the relief funding be spent on “direct payments” to commercial fishermen, buyer/processors and sport charter boat operations. >click to read<19:31

Alaska Natives believed whale hunt was legal, Enviro group critisizes NOAA

Indigenous hunters in Alaska initially believed they were legally hunting a beluga whale when they unlawfully killed a protected grey whale with harpoons and guns after the massive animal strayed into a river last year, a federal investigative report said. ,, “The hunters also believed that if they were the first ones to shoot or harpoon the whale, the kill would be theirs,” it states. “This comes with a large amount of community pride.”,, The hunt underscores the tension between animal rights activists who want to safeguard at-risk species and indigenous residents who depend on subsistence fishing and hunting as part of their ancient culture and traditions. The Washington, D.C.-based Animal Welfare Institute criticized NOAA for not pushing for charges over a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. >click to read<17:02

Dosed salmon, clipped fins, a ‘dinner bell’: How far is too far in helping starving orca?

The emergency effort to save a critically ill orca whale is an experiment without precedent. An international team of scientists is piloting techniques to treat a wild, free-swimming orca, one of the largest predators on Earth. The effort includes serving up live fish pumped with medicine and playing a unique tone that one researcher likened to a “dinner bell.” A federal permit approved Aug. 8 provides the clearest look yet at the details of an operation that raises questions even for those involved about the proper limits of human intervention. >click to read<17:39

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

New England/Mid-Atlantic – Illex Squid Directed Fishery Closes August 15

Effective at noon on August 15, 2018, vessels are prohibited from fishing for or landing more than 10,000 lb of Illex squid per trip per calendar day in or from federal waters through December 31, 2018. Landings information analyzed by NOAA Fisheries projects the Illex squid fishery will meet 95 percent of the annual quota for the 2018 fishing year by August 15, 2018. NOAA Fisheries is closing the directed fishery in federal waters through the end of the fishing year, December 31, 2018. >click to read<09:18

Don Cuddy: Sector reopenings benefit to New Bedford remains to be seen

The news emerged on July 19 that NOAA approved a plan that may now permit some New Bedford fishermen back to work. ,,,So while this decision is a small step forward for the groundfish industry here, it is not yet time to set the church bells ringing since the majority of the inactive quota is owned by inactive fishermen. When the catch share system was introduced in 2010 it gave all permit holders a slice of the pie- the “pie” being a share of the TAC, or total allowable catch, for the annual fishing year, which for groundfish begins on May 1. Individual allocations were based on a permit holder’s catch history over a ten-year period from 1998 to 2008, I believe it was. That effectively means all of the cod, haddock and flounder swimming around on Georges Bank, more than one hundred miles offshore, have someone’s name on their backs, similar to a herd of cattle,,, leased , sold, or traded,,, >click to read<20:53

Sharks are killed a ‘stone’s throw’ from protected waters off East Coast, Canadian researchers to question U.S. rules

Canadian scientists on the Bay of Fundy are seething over a spate of recent photos of sharks killed in the bay by U.S. fishermen. Especially upsetting have been social media posts showing a large porbeagle shark that was landed in Eastport, Maine. Porbeagles are protected on the Canadian side of the border, but not in the U.S., which does not consider the species in any danger of extinction. “The shark is protected for one minute, then in a heartbeat it’s no longer protected,” said Steven Turnbull, a marine biologist specializing in shark research at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John. >click to read<20:01

Whale News – Rare right whale last seen in Cape Cod Bay spotted in Iceland, Southern resident Orca calf dies soon after birth

A right whale last seen off Marshfield has turned up in Iceland. An Icelandic whale watch tour spotted the critically endangered mammal on Monday. Mogul, the 10-year-old male North Atlantic right whale, was last seen in Cape Cod Bay April 21. >click to readMogul the right whale’s appearance off Iceland puzzles scientist >click to read< Meanwhile, The first calf born in three years to the endangered orcas that spend time in Pacific Northwest waters died Tuesday – >click to read< Alexandra Morton Press release – Baby Orca death could be linked to salmon farm virus >click to readNOAA prioritizing West Coast Chinook salmon stocks for Southern Resident killer whale recovery >click to read<09:27

Highly Regulated: U.S. protects alpha predators, but its most famous shark hunter isn’t out of business yet.

Better known as Mark the Shark, Quartiano might be America’s most famous seafaring hunter. He’s operated his charter business since 1976, hooking and killing, by his estimate, at least 50,000 sharks. Clients as varied as Clint Eastwood and the Jacksonville Jaguars cheerleaders call him if they want a set of jaws, a trophy catch to mount, or just an adrenaline-packed excursion. Some 120,000 people follow his exploits on Instagram. Quartiano, 64, says he’d like nothing better than to hand the whole thing over to his son, Maverick, now 12, when he’s ready to retire. But Quartiano’s way of life might be as threatened as the creatures he’s famous for catching. >click to read<17:54

Senators question NOAA Fisheries-FWS merger proposal in hearing

Members of the U.S. Senate got their first chance to look at the latest attempt to merge NOAA Fisheries with the Fish and Wildlife Service at a meeting on Thursday, 19 July. ,,,“Moving NOAA Fisheries from (the Department of) Commerce to the Department of Interior ignores the agency’s responsibility of managing multi-billion-dollar commercial fisheries,” said Cantwell, who added that she believes what fisheries need is “science and funding.” A merger of the two agencies requires approval of the U.S. Congress. >click to read<17:11

New Bedford: NOAA lifts groundfish ban – Approval in place immediately

Nearly eight months to the day after NOAA closed groundfishing for Carlos Rafael vessels, the agency lifted the ban on Thurday that had put 80 fishermen out of work. NOAA announced the approval for lease-only operations plan for Sector IX and allocated quota for Sector VII. “Continuing to withhold this amount of quota from the fishery significantly hampers the ability of the fishery as a whole to operate,” NOAA said in the 17 page document. >click to read<10:59

NOAA Fisheries sent this bulletin at 07/19/2018 11:16 AM EDT-NOAA Fisheries Approves Lease-Only Operations Plan for Sector 9, Amendment to Sector 7 Operations Plan, and Quota Allocations for Sectors 7 and 9 – >click to read<11:39

Maine: Pending bait shortage poses another threat to New England lobster industry

Regulators want to cap this year’s herring landings at last year’s levels, or 50,000 metric tons, and slash next year’s quota of the most popular lobster bait from 110,000 to 30,000 metric tons. They want to do this to offset record low numbers of newborn herring that are entering the fishery to replace those that are caught, eaten by other predators or die from natural causes. The 2019 quota could fall even lower if regulators adopt a separate proposal to leave more herring in the sea to feed the fish, birds and marine mammals that eat them, including Gulf of Maine species such as cunner, cod, seals, whales, puffins and terns. The New England Fishery Management Council could decide the issue as early as September. Eco-based Management. >click to read<10:51

Opinion: Revitalizing waterfront is still up to sectors and Carlos Rafael

Carlos Rafael misreported his groundfish catch, and in its piece, “Time for NOAA to let Sector IX fish again,” the times is misreporting facts. First, NOAA didn’t calculate, as the piece states, that Rafael misreported just 72,000 poiundes of grey sole. He openly admitted to stealing over 10 times that amount, of several different fish stocks. Rather NOAA has apparently calculated that all but some remaining grey sole has been repaid, with quota seized earlier to cover the debt. Second, neither Sector IX has submitted a plan to return to fishing. Hank Soule >click to read<19:20

State of Alaska plans distribution of 2016 pink salmon season disaster relief funds

The state is working on distributing roughly $56 million in relief funds to those affected by the 2016 Gulf of Alaska pink salmon season disaster.,,, Julie Speegle, a spokesperson for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirms that a spending plan is in the works, and representatives from the state, NOAA, and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission met recently to discuss who will receive relief funds and how much. “The spending plan can cover a range of activities in support of commercial fisheries and support industries such as processors, fish houses, or communities affected by the disaster,” >click to read<12:43

S-K Fund: Salem profs win $296K for Cape Ann project to developing to mussel aqua-farm

Two Salem State University marine researchers will receive just over $296,000 in Saltonstall-Kennedy grant funds to expand their project aimed at developing offshore commercial shellfish aquaculture, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday. The project by SSU marine biology professor Mark R. Fregeau and SSU colleague Edward Maney Jr. is the only North Shore-based project included among the 38 projects nationally that will receive a slice of the $9 million NOAA is doling out in the 2018 Saltonstall-Kennedy funding cycle. >click to read<19:49

The S-K Fund: NOAA is recommending almost $9 million in funding for 38 projects across the nation.

For more than 40 years, NOAA has awarded grant funding under the Saltonstall-Kennedy (S-K) program to organizations across the country. Funds address needs of fishing communities, support economic opportunities, and build and maintain resilient and sustainable fisheries. Demand for innovation, information, service and funding from federal agencies continues to grow. This year, NOAA received 155 applications requesting nearly $40 million. In order to better match research and development proposals with S-K goals and mission needs, this year’s recommended projects fall into four priorities: • Marine Aquaculture • Adapting to Environmental Changes and Other Long Term Impacts in Marine Ecosystems • Promotion, Development and Marketing • Territorial Science >click to read<17:28