Tag Archives: NOAA

11 shark fins, dismembered sharks found aboard boat near South Sound Creek

The U.S. Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission personnel seized 11 shark fins and dismembered sharks Monday that were found aboard a 40-foot commercial fishing boat near South Sound Creek, Coast Guard officials announced Tuesday in a news release.  Authorities said an FWC officer first spotted the boat, dubbed Miss Shell, off South Sound Creek because of its improper display of navigation lights.  Authorities said they found 11 shark fins and dismembered sharks aboard the boat. The boat was then escorted to Port Largo. The catch was seized and handed over to NOAA officials Tuesday. >click to read<16:15

Held Hostage: New Bedford Fishermen, Businesses losing out while waiting on NOAA

“If something doesn’t happen with groundfishing soon, it’s gone,” general manager of Hercules SLR John Reardon said. NOAA implemented the ban Nov.20 and has continued because of an overage calculated at 72,000 pounds of grey soul, according to multiple people who spoke Monday evening. The overage represents the amount of fish calculated by NOAA that Carlos Rafael misreported. He is serving a 46-month prison sentence, but the NOAA punishment aspect has held many along the waterfront hostage. >click to read<10:27

Feds weigh costly new regulation for Maine lobstermen

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration requested comment on the proposal in a notice posted to the Federal Register on Wednesday. Maine is the only state that doesn’t require all lobstermen to report catch-level information after each haul, and the policy change is expected to receive backlash from its powerful fishery lobby. “We’re going to get a lot of probably negative comments on this because it’s going to be a burden for people,” said Peter Burns, a lobster policy analyst with NOAA’s Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office. “The lobster industry is very strong. For the longest time, they wanted to protect their fishing information, their proprietary business information.” >click to read<09:15

South Carolina shrimping season may open partially Wednesday

Commercial shrimping in waters off the South Carolina coast could resume on a limited scale as early as this week, but don’t expect an abundance of the coveted white “roe” shrimp. Mel Bell, marine fisheries director for the S.C. Dept. of Natural Resources, says the fisheries division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) likely will open federal waters to commercial shrimp trawling this week, possibly as early as Wednesday. Bell says DNR asked NOAA last week to reopen federal waters, which start about three miles offshore,,, >click to read<10:44

Dear Senator Warren

Dear Senator Warren , As a retired commercial fisherman, and your constituent, I am trying to help those fishermen that still exist. I want to out line our problems, as I see them. A. The science used by NOAA decides our future. Under the current law NOAA does not have to compare or look at other scientific data. They “own” the term “best available science” exclusively, excluding better data collected by non government entities, including collaborative science between industry and academia! This is wrong. This needs to be changed, and the only way is to have some wording in The Magnusson Act to that effect. By supporting HR-200, you can right this wrong. B. Saltonstall-Kennedy Act,,, >click to read<18:57

Developing Machine Vision to Collect More Timely Fisheries Data

Government scientists, academia, and fishermen are working together to develop innovative monitoring tools to identify and measure fish from digital images. This technology could revolutionize the way fisheries data are collected. Machine vision technology advances electronic monitoring systems on fishing vessels, which use cameras to collect video of commercial catches. With this technology, scientists are able to automate image analysis at sea eliminating manual data processing on land, and providing quicker access to data to make management decisions. >click to read<09:15

Maryland congressman seeks reassurance on impact of offshore wind

An amendment to legislation has been passed that requests the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to study the effects of offshore wind projects on wildlife offshore Maryland.
The House Committee on Appropriations marked up the FY19 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill earlier in May. Congressman Andy Harris authored, and the committee passed, an amendment ordering the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) “to study the effects of offshore wind projects on marine mammals and fish, as well as the need for any mitigation measures.” >click to read<09:30

Con groups disagree with NOAA decision to remove Western Atlantic bluefin from overfished list

The decision by NOAA Fisheries to remove Western Atlantic bluefin tuna is not sitting well with conservationists. Last week, the agency released its Status of U.S. Fisheries report for 2017. In it, officials announced that the number of stocks on the overfished list had dropped to 35, an all-time low. The Western Atlantic bluefin was among six stocks removed from the overfished list. NOAA, in a press release, said “significant scientific uncertainty” about the stock after last year’s assessment led to the ruling. >click to read<13:29

2017 Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries

NOAA Fisheries NMFS is pleased to present the 2017 Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries managed under the science-based framework established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). The 2017 report highlights the work toward the goal of maximizing fishing opportunities while ensuring the sustainability of fisheries and fishing communities. Due to the combined efforts of NOAA Fisheries, the eight regional fishery management councils, and other partners, three previously overfished stocks were rebuilt and the number of stocks listed as overfished is at a new all-time low. >click to read<16:04

Senate Should Confirm Barry Myers to Lead NOAA

NOAA – the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – needs its leader! President Trump nominated Barry Lee Myers, the CEO of AccuWeather, to the post in mid-October. The Senate Commerce Committee has twice advanced Myers’ nomination to the full Senate. All that’s needed to fill this important job is a majority vote on the Senate floor, which both Democrats and Republicans expect to happen. Unfortunately, partisan politics keeps getting in the way, delaying the vote. >click to read<10:06

The ‘Codfather’ is behind bars, and New Bedford’s economy is paying the price

From the icehouse to the auction house, a pall hangs over the fabled wharves in New Bedford. As the new fishing season begins, many of the city’s fishermen are unemployed, their suppliers stuck with excess inventory, and local officials are questioning whether the millions of dollars in lost revenue will cost the port its ranking as the nation’s most valuable, as it has been for the past 17 years. “It’s devastating what’s happened to us, and other businesses here,” said Tor Bendiksen, the manager of Reidar’s, a marine supply company. >click to read< 08:25

A thousand days later, why is NOAA still dithering on allowing seismic surveys?

It has been more than a thousand days since the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries accepted as “final and complete” the Incidental Harassment Authorization, or IHA, applications needed to take seismic surveys off the Atlantic Coast. Considering that the Marine Mammal Protection Act, or MMPA, requires agencies to issue decisions within 120 days after deeming IHA applications complete, this delay is a shocking policy failure. (This is an oil industry article, with a link to NMFS AA Chris Oliver’s testimony.) >click to read<15:50

New England Senators Threaten Trade Action Against Canada Over Right Whale Protections

A group of New England senators is calling on the U.S. government to speed up an analysis of Canada’s efforts to protect the endangered North American right whale, and to consider trade action if Canada’s rules do not prove as strong as in the U.S.,, Now they’re calling on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to investigate whether fishermen in Canada are being held to similar standards. If not, they say, then NOAA should consider barring the import of Canadian seafood from the relevant fisheries. “It’s really a double-edged sword,” says Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. >click to read>19:12

Coast Guard, NOAA OLE increase efforts to protect North Atlantic right whale

Northeast Coast Guard units and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Law Enforcement personnel are increasing focus this year on the enforcement of the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan to detect and deter illegally-placed fishing gear and reduce the likelihood of fatal whale entanglements from occurring.,, Additionally, Coast Guard units across the First District will engage in an operation taking aim on at-sea inspections of unattended lobster and gillnet gear. The goal is to identify and remove illegally-rigged and improperly-marked gear in an effort to decrease whale entanglements within New England’s waters. >click to read<17:32

Senators push for federal assessment of right whale deaths from fisheries in Canada

Eleven Democratic senators are asking the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to conduct an urgent assessment of the impacts to the endangered North Atlantic right whale from fisheries in Canada. The senators led by Massachusetts Democrat Edward Markey said fishing communities across New England have worked to reduce impacts on marine mammals. Markey said last year most observed right whale deaths were in Canadian waters. >click to read<16:35

Harvesters charged with killing Stellar sea lions

A commercial fisherman and his deckhand have been charged with harassing and killing 15 Steller sea lions found dead during the opening of the 2015 Copper River salmon fishery. Jon Nichols, 31, of Cordova, captain of the F/V Iron Hide, and deckhand Theodore “Teddy” Turgeon, 21, of Wasilla, are charged with harassing and killing the Steller sea lions with shotguns and then making false statements and obstructing the government’s investigation into their criminal activities, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Anchorage said April 19. >click to read<09:14

Despite sector shuffle, New Bedford fishermen will still be…

Whispers filled the convention room at the Hilton Wednesday as the dozens in attendance attempted to count the raised hands, which signified votes of the New England Fishery Management Council. The three attempts to accurately tally the votes only added to the drama of a discussion that involved a groundfishing ban that’s affected New Bedford since November. In the end, the vote didn’t provide a resolution for those fishermen out of work and the shoreside business affected by the ban. <click to read<18:27

New England Fishery Management Council to hear Sector IX’s post-Rafael plans

The New England Fishery Management Council will be updated on the groundfish crisis involving several New Bedford-based fishing sectors when it convenes for three days of meetings next week in Mystic, Connecticut. The groundfish presentation by staff from the Gloucester-based Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office will be the centerpiece of the groundfish report on Wednesday and is designed to provide “an overview of (Northeast Fishing) Sector IX’s steps to address its shortcomings, as well as a summary of Sector IX’s operations plan,” according to the agenda for the meetings. >click to read<19:26

New Bedford: Industry on the Brink

Two computer screens lit Richie Canastra’s windowless office.  The co-owner of BASE (Buyers and Sellers Seafood Exchange) seafood auction scrolled through scores of financial data associated with commercial fishing landings at 62 Hassey St. The numbers that starred back since NOAA implemented a groundfishing ban last November tell a dark story in an industry already struggling to survive. “With the ban, if we’re not up and fishing by May 1, you might as well just call (groundfishing in New Bedford) over,” Canastra said. >click to read<22:52

CoA Institute Lawsuit Prompts Archivist to Examine Potential Record Destruction at NOAA

Cause of Action Institute (“CoA Institute”) filed a lawsuit last summer against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”) seeking copies of electronic records created through the agency’s Google-based email platform. These types of records are commonly known as “instant messages.” The Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) requests at issue (available here and here) also sought formal agency guidance on the retention of “Google Chat” or “Google Hangouts” messages. We had already learned, through earlier investigation, that at least one internal NOAA handbook, dating from March 2012, instructed agency employees to treat all chat messages as “off the record,” raising concerns about potential unlawful record destruction at NOAA. >click to read< 15:22

Sector IX vessels make a move to lease quota

Fifty-five vessels have left Sector IX, but they still can’t fish.  However, they can lease their groundfish quota. The 55, including four Carlos Rafael vessels subject to forfeiture, were submitted to be included in Sector VII for the 2018-19 fishing season, according to NOAA Sector VII. The move comes after six months of negotiations with NOAA in trying to get an operational plan approved, which would have lifted the groundfishing ban. >click to read<09:17

As the Pacific sardine population keeps dropping, the feds come under scrutiny

On April 8, the Pacific Fishery Management Council – a body of appointed officials that regulates fisheries off the West Coast – will be presented with the draft assessment of the sardine population from roughly southern California to Canada. The news it brings is neither good for fishermen nor the local marine ecosystem: The estimated number of sardines in July 2018 – which dictates policy for the 2018-19 fishing year – is 52,065 metric tons, an approximately 97-percent drop from 2006, the most recent peak. What is in dispute: the accuracy of the population assessment, and how we got here.>click to read<15:30

NOAA/NMFS to foot at-sea monitoring costs – Thank You Senator Shaheen!

Timing may not be everything but it sure counts for a lot. Just ask New Hampshire groundfisherman David Goethel. Goethel, who had persevered through cascading years of escalating regulation, slashed fishing quotas, a failed lawsuit and, more recently, the prospect of paying the full cost of at-sea monitoring, was ready to get out of commercial groundfishing. “I had planned to sell my boat this summer,” Goethel said Wednesday, referring to his 44-foot, Hampton, New Hampshire-ported Ellen Diane. “I was done.”  Last week, following a full year of working behind the scenes with U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Goethel got the news he and other groundfishermen wanted to hear: >click to read<08:24

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

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

Fisherman who sued feds thrilled about funding for at-sea monitoring

A commercial fisherman who sued the federal government over at-sea monitoring costs was thrilled Thursday when it was announced the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration would fully fund the program under the omnibus government spending bill. David Goethel, of Hampton, said he learned about the funding Wednesday. “I’ve been sitting on this for 18 hours. I was like a cat that swallowed a canary. I didn’t want to spit out any feathers,” Goethel said Thursday afternoon. >click to read<09:01

Shaheen Negotiates Full Federal Funding for At-Sea Monitoring Fees in Government Spending Bill

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the lead Democrat on the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, released the following statement after obtaining funding in the omnibus government spending bill that will prevent a burdensome and costly at-sea monitoring fee from being imposed on New Hampshire fishermen this year. The fee was previously paid for by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), but in recent years, the agency has shifted this significant financial burden on to fishermen. >click to read<11:00

Fixed Gear Closures – NOAA closes areas to protect whales

As NOAA Fisheries continues to address the rising peril to whales in coastal waters stretching from New England to Florida, it is reminding local fishermen of current or impending gear closures off Massachusetts. The closures, primarily around Cape Cod and in Cape Cod Bay, are part of NOAA Fisheries’ Atlantic large whale take reduction plan developed to provide increased protection to several species of whales — particularly the endangered North Atlantic right whales whose population continues to plummet. Some of the gear closures impact trap and pot fishermen, while other impact gillnetters. >click to read<19:15

Halibut quotas for 2018 come in slightly lower than expected

The total allowable catch for the 2018 Pacific halibut season in the Gulf of Alaska and Southeast will be set slightly lower than what U.S. commissioners on the International Pacific Halibut Commission had asked for. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will publish a final rule in the Federal Register Tuesday setting combined charter and commercial quotas in Southeast, area 2C, at 4.4 million pounds. That’s about a 17-percent drop from the total allowable catch in 2017. >click to read<17:39

Whales and fishermen caught in turf war over California’s coast

As rising ocean temperatures move their food supplies closer to shore, a staggering number of migrating whales have been forced into the path of California’s crab fishing fleet — and the confrontations have increased dramatically over the last five years. State agencies have tried and failed to keep whales out of crab gear, prompting one nonprofit to take matters into its own hands.,, Some fishermen see this lawsuit as another nail in the coffin for California’s Dungeness crab fishery. >click to read< 09:20

Reidar’s, like others, part of Sector IX collateral damage

It was just before thanksgiving that NOAA shut down Sector IX after Carlos Rafael had been found guilty and sent to jail and, three months later, none of the boats or crews from the sector are any closer to going back to work. “There has been a lot of talking, but, not much action,” Tor Bendiksen told me. A number of suggestions have been out forward about how to resolve the issue, but there is a notable absence of leadership, throwing local business owners under the bus because one of their customers gamed the system is rough justice, to say the least. >click to read<09:12