Tag Archives: NOAA

To protect right whales, scientists propose major changes for lobstermen

Without prompt action to reduce entanglements in fishing lines, North Atlantic right whales could disappear from the planet over the next two decades, scientists say. In response, scientists here on Cape Cod are proposing a novel way to save the species — one that many New England lobstermen fear could destroy their livelihoods.,,, In one method, the signal would inflate a spool filled with rope that ascends to the surface, allowing the lobstermen to haul their traps similarly to how they do now. In the other, the signal would activate inflatable bags attached to each trap or at the end of the trawls. >click to read< 08:45

Seismic Surveys Planned Off U.S. Coast Pose Risk To Marine Life

Animals that live in the ocean communicate with sound — humpback whales, for example. But these voices could soon be drowned out by powerful sonic booms from vessels searching for oil and gas. President Trump is opening up the Atlantic Coast to companies to explore for fresh reserves. And to explore, they will be making some of the loudest sounds ever heard in the ocean — sounds that, according to recent research, could harm marine animals from whales to plankton.  Five companies are currently applying for permits to use seismic air guns,,, >click to read< 14:18

Opinion: Time for NOAA and Sector IX to strike a deal

Eighty New Bedford groundfishermen. They’ve had no work now for almost three months. In the end, those are the guys and it is their families who are paying the biggest price for Carlos Rafael’s longtime conspiracy to falsify fishing records and smuggle the cash overseas. But since Rafael was the big guy on the New Bedford waterfront, the guy who owns the majority of the boats in Sector IX, the fishermen have been out of work since Nov 20 when regional NOAA administrator John Bullard ordered the sector to stop fishing. >click to read< 10:57

How towns are affected by reduced fishing fleets

Over the years I have seen our fleet in Gloucester, Mass decline. As a former fisherman in the sixties we had about two hundred draggers, and times were good . Then the foreigners came with bigger boats using small mesh nets catching everything, and it was not until 1974 that we enacted the 200 mile limit. This was overdue. Now comes the good, the bad and the ugly. The good news was, we were rid of the foreigners! The bad news was NOAA took over. The ugly news is our fleet has dwindled to around fifty fishing vessels, thanks to the bad news part. NOAA, the unreliable science people, determines our livelihoods. >click to read<16:39

2017-2018 Minke Whale Unusual Mortality Event along the Atlantic Coast

Since January 2017, elevated minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) mortalities have occurred along the Atlantic coast from Maine through South Carolina. A table of stranding numbers by state is below. While minke whales are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the species is not listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. This event has been declared an Unusual Mortality Event (UME). >click here to read< 13:22

Necropsy planned for Right Whale found off Virginia

Researchers planned to conduct a necropsy Sunday on the carcass of a North Atlantic right whale that was discovered on Friday about 100 miles off the coast of Virginia, according to a statement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The report  of the dead whale first came in Jan 22, and NOAA officials confirmed that it was a right whale through a photo two days later.  The photo suggested the whale was alive and swimming before it became entangled in a fishing line. >click here to read<10:32 

A day at sea – Cod, skate, discards and an observer

It’s cold, dark and slippery at 2 a.m. at the Gloucester pier, and as most people are in bed or just going home from a late night out, Capt. Al Cottone is trying to start his engine and prepare his fishing vessel, the Sabrina Maria, for a day out at sea. The Sabrina Maria is a member of Gloucester’s day fishing fleet, now hovering around 12 boats of what used to be a much larger contingent. This morning Cottone is taking the 42-foot trawler out around Stellwagen Bank, about 15 miles southeast of Gloucester, to trawl for cod, haddock and other groundfish as he skims the coast. >click here to read< 21:18

2017 Gulf Shrimp Landings: Louisiana At Historic Lows, Alabama At Historic Highs

NOAA’s Gulf of Mexico Data Management division released information regarding December shrimp landings in the Gulf of Mexico. In December, the commercial fishing industry landed 6.6 million pounds of shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico, up from 5.8 million pounds in December of 2016. Despite the significant increase from 2016, landings last month were 23.4 percent below the prior seventeen-year historic average for December of 8.7 million pounds. >click here to read< 10:32

State disputes study that predicts sharp decline in Gulf of Maine lobster population

The state agency that oversees Maine’s marine fisheries is questioning the reliability of a new study that predicts a sharp decline in Gulf of Maine lobsters over the next 30 years. The Gulf of Maine Research Institute, the University of Maine and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration built a computer model that predicts the population will fall 40 to 62 percent by 2030. But Patrick Keliher, commissioner of the Department of Marine Resources, won’t be using the model to help him decide how to manage the state’s most valuable fishery,,, >click here to read< 01:06 

Federal waters off Georgia, South Carolina closed to fishing for brown, pink, white shrimp

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources announced on Jan. 24 that NOAA Fisheries have closed federal waters off Georgia to all fishing for brown, pink, and white shrimp. During the closure, no person may trawl for brown, pink, or white shrimp in federal waters off Georgia effective at 8:45 a.m. on Jan. 24Georgia, South Carolina NOAA Fisheries will issue a new Fishery Bulletin announcing the re-opening to shrimp harvest in federal waters off Georgia once the date is determined.. >click here to read< and in South Carolina >click here to read<17:55

Gulf of Maine lobster boom over as population starts to decline

The Gulf of Maine lobster population will shrink 40 to 62 percent over the next 30 years because of rising ocean temperatures, according to a new study released Monday. As the water temperature rises – the northwest Atlantic ocean is warming at three times the global average rate – the number of lobster eggs that survive their first year of life will decrease, and the number of small-bodied lobster predators that eat those that remain will increase. Those effects will cause the lobster population to fall through 2050, according to a study by scientists at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, University of Maine and National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration. >click here to read< 19:49 

The government is what created Carlos Rafael

Bill Straus saw the writing on the wall years ago. In 2009 -eight years before Carlos Rafael went to prison – the representative of Bristol’s 10th District spoke out during the establishment of the current catch-share system in the Northeast fishery. And even with Rafael behind bars, Straus says the threat of another Codfather emerging is ever present. “The risk is still there,” Straus said. “And that’s why what comes out of the different remedies is so important. >click here to read< 22:52

Coast Guard, NOAA seize illegal shrimp catch

The Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration seized approximately 6,000 pounds of shrimp with an estimated price of $60,000 from the 68-foot fishing vessel Ronald E. near the Dry Tortugas Shrimp Sanctuary Preservation Area, Friday. The vessel Ronald E. was observed fishing inside the marine sanctuary and was boarded by a Coast Guard Cutter Raymond Evans and NOAA joint boarding team. The boarding team cited the vessel for illegally fishing inside a national marine sanctuary and safety violations. >click here to read< 17:10 

World’s largest sea turtle could come off ‘endangered’ list

An arm of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has received a petition from a fishing group asking that the Northwest Atlantic Ocean’s leatherback sea turtles be listed as “threatened,” but not endangered, under the Endangered Species Act.,,, NOAA officials have said the agency has reviewed the petition from New Jersey-based Blue Water Fishermen’s Association and found “substantial scientific and commercial information” that the move might be warranted. The agency now has about eight months to make a decision about the status of the turtles. >click here to read< 13:56

NOAA’s civil action against Carlos Rafael involves scallop permits

NOAA seeks $900M, all permits from Codfather in civil action – On Wednesday, the federal agency responsible for managing the nation’s fisheries issued the charging documents against Rafael, his seafood company, Carlos Seafood Inc., and 28 other businesses entities related to the New Bedford fishing mogul — including two unnamed scallop captains from his fleet. >click to read the story< 20:28

NOAA’s civil action against Carlos Rafael involves scallop permits – new allegations involve misreporting in the scallop fishery >click to read the story<

FISHBILL-US: Fishermen, Lets unite like never before!

It becomes clearer by the day that our industry needs protection in the form of legislation for fishermen and supporting industries. While fishermen and those supporting industries are struggling to survive in various regions, many of them await federal assistance in already declared federal fishery failures, much of it beyond their control. Congress has mandated the NOAA is the agency that controls the “best available science”, while other data is not considered, by law. This must be addressed as we watch the industry retract based on the science many of us have no confidence in. They control our fate. click here to read the full post 20:22

NOAA Climate Scientists Predicted Third Warm Winter In A Row

Warmer-than-normal conditions are most likely across the southern two-thirds of the continental U.S., along the East Coast, across Hawaii and in western and northern Alaska. -–NOAA, 19 October 2017. This year scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are placing their bets on a warmer-than-average winter. In the East and southern two-thirds of the country, temperatures will be higher than normal, while Southern California, Texas, and Florida will be drier than usual. –Eric Niler, Wired, 23 October 2017 click here to read the story 15:47

Letter on Fish Farming – Shame on NOAA

NOAA, of all organizations, knows how destructive fish farms are to the ocean and its inhabitants (“NOAA wants to fund more fish farming to offset trade gap,” Dec. 14). Did they conveniently forget that in 2014 Aqua Bounty was fined for repeated environmental violations of genetically engineered salmon and banned from selling their GE fish in the USA? Or, how about the six storms in 2014 and 2015 in Jordan Bay, Nova Scotia, where 31 bird nets, 90 feet in diameter, and dead fish washed ashore, becoming aquaculture-site sewage and litter? click here to read the letter 20:52

Major Fight Shapes up Over Salmon Harvest in the Columbia River

Agreements that have reigned for a decade on how to divide the catch of salmon and steelhead in the Columbia Basin expire on the last day of 2017. The new plan is so contentious that multiple sides have promised to sue over it. What are the outrageous details? Same as the current ones. But the moment is a pressure point that allows old arguments to resurface. The current agreement, which expires at midnight on Dec. 31,,, click here to read the story 05:54

NOAA Seeking U.S. Commissioner to the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization

NOAA Fisheries is seeking a U.S. citizen to serve a four-year term as a Commissioner representing the commercial fishing industry to the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO). NAFO is a regional fisheries management organization with 12 Contracting Parties that coordinates scientific study and cooperative management of the fisheries resources of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean, excluding salmon, tunas/marlins, whales, and sedentary species (e.g., shellfish). click here to read the press release 16:26

Mayor Jon Mitchell: Ban costing Port of New Bedford 500K per day

In a letter addressed to NOAA, Mayor Jon Mitchell said the Port of New Bedford could be losing nearly $500,000 a day because of the groundfishing ban. Mitchell referenced analysis prepared by Professor Dan Georgiana of SMAST, which stated the 25-day-old ban caused as much as $12 million (to date) in damage to the port. Mitchell filed is letter Wednesday, the final day in which comments regarding the ban could be submitted. Andrew Saunders, the attorney for Sector IX, the Carlos Rafael fishing division that’s prevented from groundfishing, also submitted a letter Wednesday. click here to read the story 17:55

Fishing leaders: Has the Monterey Bay sanctuary kept its promise?

The answer is no, not to fishermen; please let us explain. Reflect back to 1992 when the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary was proposed. While fishermen and most others agreed that it could help prevent offshore oil development, we had concerns about how sanctuary authority might affect those of us who provide food from ocean resources.  There was also public discussion about how stakeholders would have a say in the new federal bureaucracy. Commercial fishermen and recreational anglers had killed two earlier sanctuary proposals over these concerns. In response, fishermen heard that the new sanctuary would not threaten our livelihoods or create fishing regulations. It was a broad assurance, and repeated often by both elected and NOAA officials.  click here to read the story 22:54 

Money fish rule

Once more trawlers in the Bering Sea have gone to court in an effort to stop the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) from billing them for the costs of managing Chinook salmon in the Bering Sea.,,, U.S. Commerce Department “cost recovery regulations, as applied to catcher-processor sector participants violate the (Magnuson-Stevens Act) MSA and (Administrative Procedures Act) APA, are arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and not in accordance with law, and are in excess of statutory jurisdiction, authority or limitations and short of statutory right,” the trawlers charged in a lawsuit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for Alaska. click here to read the story 08:25

What’s fair in breaking up the empire of ‘the Codfather’?

Randy Cushman, a fourth generation fisherman in Maine, knows what the crimes of Carlos Rafael cost him.,,, Rafael, whose downfall came after he boasted of his scheme to undercover IRS agents posing as Russian mobsters, is now serving a 46-month sentence in federal prison.,,,  Senator Elizabeth Warren fired off a letter in August warning of “needless, immense damage” if permits leave New Bedford. Governor Charlie Baker asked that the permits at least stay in Massachusetts. click here to read the story 07:16

Freeport fisherman to be sentenced for catching red snapper without commercial license

A Freeport man is set to be sentenced Friday in a Houston federal court for lying to federal agents about a massive and unauthorized red snapper haul last March. Jamal Marshall, 36, who was only licensed for recreational fishing, pleaded guilty on Aug. 24 for lying to federal agents about hundreds of fish he’d brought in. He had 488 red snapper and 154 vermilion snapper on board the vessel when stopped by officials, a gross violation of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) catch limits. The fish had a market value of $30,000. But Marshall also admitted he had sold $35,000 worth of fish to Houston-area restaurants. click here to read the story 09:21

Senate panel clears Trump’s nominee for NOAA

The Senate Commerce Committee voted Wednesday to move forward with the nomination of Barry Myers to be head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The 14-13 vote, along party lines, puts Myers in a position for a vote in the full Senate. Myers was until recently the CEO of AccuWeather Inc., which he founded with his brother. The weather forecasting company provides products similar to some NOAA services such as the National Weather Service, leading to concerns among Democrats that Myers is unacceptably conflicted. click here to read the story 14:30

Seeking a 41 percent butterfish quota decrease, NOAA Fisheries Seeks Comments on Proposed Quotas for Squid and Butterfish

NOAA Fisheries proposes squid and butterfish quotas for the 2018-2020 fishing years and will maintain the mackerel quotas previously set for 2018. Based on the status of these stocks, we are proposing a 41 percent decrease in the 2018 commercial butterfish quota compared to 2017, and a 2 percent increase for longfin squid. Annual quotas for Illex squid would be maintained at current levels, as they have been since 2012. A March 2017 butterfish assessment update indicates that recent low recruitment may soon reduce biomass below target levels. click here to read the notice 12:55

It’s devestating’: Fishermen try to cope as NOAA shuts down groundfishing

Cesar Verde only knows fishing. The New Bedford resident learned the craft in his native Portugal. For the past seventeen years, he’s worked in the fishing industry in his new home, and he’s been a captain for the past decade. However, for the last two weeks, he’s been out of the water because NOAA prohibited Carlos Rafael’s vessels from groundfishing. Verde captains fishing vessel Ilha do Corvo. “So far, (I’m) pitching in on the little savings I have. Soon I’ll run out.” click here to read the story 20:24

Officials: Whales, After Deadly Year, Could Become Extinct

Officials with the federal government say it’s time to consider the possibility that endangered right whales could become extinct unless new steps are taken to protect them.,,,  The situation is so dire that American and Canadian regulators need to consider the possibility that the population won’t recover without action soon, said John Bullard, the Northeast Regional Administrator for NOAA Fisheries.  click here to read the story 09:39