Tag Archives: NOAA

CoA Institute Sends Letter to Secretary Ross Requesting Public Confirmation of Controversial Fishery Regulation

The importance of an open and transparent government is rooted in the federal government’s ability to choose winners and losers, create barriers to economic freedom, and limit personal liberties. Family-owned fishing firms in New England recently had their economic freedom put at-risk when it was revealed that the government had secretly approved a proposal to impose new, and statutorily unauthorized, costs on their fishing operations. That’s why Cause of Action Institute (CoA Institute) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross yesterday, criticizing his office’s lack of transparency and inadequate analysis surrounding the controversial fishery management regulations. >click to read< 10:46

Cut in herring quota bodes ill for lobster

Imagine running a trucking business and having your supply of diesel fuel cut by70 percent. For all practical purposes, that’s what happened to the Maine lobster industry last week. On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries arm announced that it was cutting the 2019 herring quota by about 70 percent. That’s bad news for lobstermen. While diesel oil is the fuel that powers most lobster boats, herring is the fuel that powers the Maine lobster industry. Herring is the most popular bait used in the Maine lobster fishery and with the cut in the herring quota from about 110 million pounds last year to about 33 million pounds this year, bait is going to be scarce, and expensive. >click to read<22:16

Atlantic Lobster Board Moves Toward Reducing Rope In Effort To Save Right Whales

A consortium of Atlantic states fisheries managers is calling for broad changes to the gear lobstermen use, in an effort to reduce risks posed to the endangered North Atlantic right whale and to ward off potential federal action that could be even more challenging for the industry. At a meeting of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Council in Virginia, its lobster board voted unanimously to set in motion the process that could lead to major changes in the East Coast’s lobster industry. >click to read<12:43

Georgia: Shrimping season closes after record year

The end of the year also means the end of the current Georgia shrimping season, which is legally required to shut down at 6 p.m. Monday — that covers the traditional three miles from shore covered by state regulations. According to the state Department of Natural Resources’ Coastal Resources Division, activity has to cease on trawling, cast-netting and seining, and other food-shrimp harvesting efforts. However, “anglers and commercial bait-shrimp dealers may continue to harvest shrimp to use as bait.” >click to read<13:58

Corporate interests endanger independent fishermen

To the editor: The recent purchase of fishing rights in Maine by New York-based equity firm Bregal Partners is a troubling development for fishing communities throughout New England. For years, fishermen have warned that catch share policies would strip access from independent fishermen and hand it over to outside investors, bringing great social, economic and environmental consequences. This recent acquisition is evidence that the warnings need to be heeded. By Jennifer Obadia >click to read<13:16

NOAA Calls for Protection of Female North Atlantic Right Whales

NOAA Fisheries researchers and colleagues are taking a closer look as to why the endangered western North Atlantic right whale population is growing at far more slower rate than that of southern right whales, a sister species also recovering from near extinction by commercial whaling. Researchers and colleagues looked at the question and have concluded that preserving the lives of adult females in the population is the most effective way to promote population growth and recovery. Most of these deaths are attributed to entanglement in fishing gear and collisions with ships. The findings are reported in Royal Society Open Science. >click to read<17:37

This fish is delicious and sustainable, but nobody’s buying

If someone mentions butterfish you may smack your lips, absolutely want to avoid it, or just scratch your head.,,, The confusion is relevant because the real butterfish could appear at a restaurant near you. In 2017 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that Atlantic butterfish “are not overfished and not subject to overfishing.” They’re tasty too. “I love them, they’re absolutely delicious,” said Gregory DiDomenico, executive director of the Garden State Seafood Association. Commercial fishermen have taken note. DiDomenico told NOAA that “people are very much looking forward to getting into this fishery. That means jobs on the boat, jobs at the plant, and fishermen buying more gear.” >click to read<10:33

On and Off Meeting at NOAA office last week

I received an email from the NOAA office last week concerning SKG money that is in their hands to decide on those who applied for the ten million dollars they grant to others each year. So I called fisherman, The Fishermens Wife’s and others in the fishing industry, even a couple of Senators about the meeting. I was told by NOAA you did not have to register, and anyone could speak.
The next email I got was the meeting was cancelled do to the lack of those that were going to attend the meeting. At about the same time of year, about two years ago, I had said the grant money is not going to our fisherman, and said the paper work was over forty pages to be submitted to NOAA. The average fisherman does finds it hard to fill it out. Sam Parisi>click to read<19:55

NOAA Fisheries release two reports showing the number of landings and value of for U.S. fisheries

NOAA Fisheries has released Fisheries of the United States, 2017 >click to read< and Fisheries Economics of the United States, 2016 >click to read>. Fisheries of the United States provides data on commercial landings and value and recreational catch. It also includes data on the fish processing industry, aquaculture production, imports and exports, and per capita seafood consumption. Our Fisheries Economics of the United States reports analyzes the economic impact of fisheries and related sectors, including employment, sales, and value-added impacts to the broader economy. >click to read<16:08

Proposed Cut for Herring Harvest Could Affect Lobster Catch

Fishermen who seek one of the most important bait fish on the East Coast are likely to see a dramatic reduction next year in the amount they are allowed to harvest, and the change could have major implications for lobster consumers. The commercial fishery for herring is a major industry in the Atlantic states, where the little fish is important as lobster bait and is also eaten by people. The fish has been under the microscope of regulators and conservation groups recently after a scientific assessment said earlier this year that the fish’s population has fallen in the past five years. NOAA wants to cut the annual catch limit from nearly 110 million pounds (50 million kilograms) this year to less than half that in 2019. The agency said in a statement that the deep cut is needed to “prevent overfishing.” >click to read<23:16:

Rockfish make a remarkable recovery off California coast, prompting federal officials to raise catch limits

Locally caught red snapper was once a staple on Southern California menus and a vital part of the state’s fishing industry. But overfishing took its toll, resulting in federal restrictions nearly two decades ago to prevent their extinction. But with stocks rebuilding faster than anticipated, federal officials on Tuesday boosted catch limits by more than 100% for some species of rockfish in a move they said would help revive West Coast bottom trawlers and sportfishing fleets. >click to read<13:15

Jack Spillane: NOAA – A rogue agency gets set to shut down another New Bedford fishery

Scott Lang has been around fisheries issues for a long time. Both when he was mayor and afterwards. In 2013, Lang helped organize the Center for Sustainable Fisheries as a grassroots lobbying group to try to make sure New Bedford fishermen were not totally forgotten by NOAA. He’s worked for the industry for a long time and seen a lot of arguments from both sides back-and-forth over the years. But until last week, he said he had never seen NOAA make a decision to close a fishery with no science behind it. Not even questionable science, as for years NOAA has used for New England groundfishing limits in the opinion of many. >click to read<09:42

Whale entanglements exceeded average in 2017, report says

The number of large whales entangled in U.S. waters was a little worse than usual in 2017, but entanglements of right whales and in the Northeast were down. In a report released Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed 76 large whales were found entangled in fishing gear or marine debris in U.S. waters in 2017. Six of the 76 entangled whales were found dead, 45 were presumed to be alive but still entangled, four had freed themselves and 21 were freed by good samaritans or members of the national Large Whale Entanglement Response Network. >click to read<14:35

Working Group Nears Consensus on Transit Lanes for Fishing Vessels in Northeast Wind Energy Areas

Fishing industry representatives, offshore wind developer lease-holders, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the U.S. Coast Guard, among others, joined RODA to continue an attempt to develop fishery transit lanes through the large group of Wind Energy Areas in federal waters off of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The meeting was facilitated by the Consensus Building Institute. In addition to loss of access within the lease areas, commercial fishermen have concerns about their ability to safely travel across wind energy arrays to access other historical, traditional commercial fishing grounds. >click to read<21:26

GLOUCESTER S-K GRANT MEETING WITH NOAA WAS CANCELED

Dear readers, I was very disappointed yesterday to find out that NOAA cancelled a meeting in Gloucester to do with SKG money. I had fishermen, and even invited my political delegation members, ready to attend and I wanted to ask NOAA these questions, only to find out that they did not have enough replicants to attend. To me something stinks. I would like a response from them with these three questions. Sam Parisi >click to read<10:30

NOAA’s treatment of wind industry called into question after closure of clamming areas

Offshore wind development appeared on Tuesday’s agenda at a New England Fishery Management Council meeting, however, it wasn’t expected to pop up during discussion on closures affecting the clamming industry. Peter Hughes, a liaison for the Atlantic Council, couldn’t digest the fact that an offshore wind leasing area identified in a similar region extends upwards of 1,400 square miles, while the clamming industry, which sought less than 300 square miles off of Nantucket Shoals, couldn’t receive approval. >click to read<09:34

Feds planning 2019 protections for North Atlantic right whales

How the federal government will confirm, modify or adapt protective measures for North Atlantic right whales in 2019 remains to be seen, but officials are sharing the initial findings of 2018’s scientific surveys and studies. After a catastrophic loss of 12 right whales in Canadian waters in 2017, no right whales died here this year, but at a technical briefing Tuesday, officials from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Transport Canada didn’t say whether protections put in place this year were enough — or too much. ,,, Instead they shared key results of a recent peer review of new science by researchers, industry representatives, government officials — as well as scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S. — who gathered in Montreal in an effort to reach evidence-based conclusions.>click to read<08:48

Whale conservationist tackles fishing industry

A whale conservationist with a radical style says he intends to move forward with a “whale safety” initiative petition for 2020 in Massachusetts to ban vertical buoy ropes used in commercial fishing, among other efforts to protect whales and sea turtles. “We have to have a paradigm shift,” Richard Maximus Strahan, of Peterborough, New Hampshire, said of his advocacy efforts to stop the death and injury of whales and sea turtles from entanglement in rope used in commercial lobstering, crabbing and gillnetting. >click to read<19:29

Crab fishermen and environmentalists square off over whale entanglements

The issue has pitted two local interest groups against each other: Those who depend on the $68 million California Dungeness crab fishery for their livelihood, and those who advocate shutting down areas to crabbing to protect humpback whales and other endangered species. Caught in between are everyday shoppers who love having Dungeness crab on their tables, but probably wouldn’t want marine mammals hurt in the process. “I’m frankly very scared of what the upcoming season could mean for whales,” said Kristen Monsell, senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, an Oakland environmental group that sued the state over the issue last year. The case is due to go before a judge in February. >click to read<13:23

Fishermen to NOAA: ‘We spend more time getting away from the fish than we do catching the fish’

The fishing industry pleaded with NOAA on Thursday afternoon for the one thing the agency couldn’t promise: urgency. “Unfortunately with the management process that we have, to abide by the law, which obviously we have to do as a federal agency, we have to abide by the law,” NOAA’s Northeast Regional Administrator Mike Pentony said. “We are subject to constraints. It is very difficult for us to react, to change quickly.” A roundtable discussion,,, The roundtable looked at what vision the fishermen and NOAA have for the groundfish industry and then touched on quota.  A common theme emerged from the fishing industry as it pelted Pentony with grave concerns regarding the future of the groundfish fishery. “This is the very bottom and the most discouraged mount of fishermen that I’ve seen since I’ve been involved in fisheries and that goes back to the mid-70s,” fisherman Ed Barrett said. “I can’t tell you how bad it is. You can ask any fishermen,” fisherman Ron Borjeson said. “We spend more time getting away from the fish than we do catching the fish.”>click to read<19:03

White sharks aren’t the issue. Gray seals are – amend the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act

Last summer’s white shark attacks off Cape Cod beaches, one resulting in the first human fatality in the state in over 80 years, highlight the fact that times change, our marine ecosystem is evolving, and laws need to adjust to these changing realities. However tragic those shark attacks are for the victims and their families, the white sharks are not the issue; they simply dramatize it. The ever-increasing population of gray seals is the issue.,, A realistic start to addressing this issue would be to amend the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act to provide for delisting recovered species, such as the gray seal. Admittedly, while delisting would not resolve the issues of controlling seal population growth or related white shark attacks, it would be a reasonable first step for the following reasons: >click to read<09:31

Researchers work on better model for impact of fishery closures

Fisheries managers are faced with a firestorm every time they decide to close a fishery because of poor returns or low population numbers. A new economic model is trying to help them see into the future to understand the effects of a closure before it happens.,, It takes into account items like fishery participation, the amount of each vessel’s annual revenue that comes from the affected fishery, which vessels participate in other fisheries and the value of the fishery; the aim is to calculate the total impact when managers have to limit or close a fishery. >click to read<11:59

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