Tag Archives: NOAA

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

The AQUAA Act – Wicker Introduces Bill to Advance American Aquaculture

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today introduced the “Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture (AQUAA) Act.” The legislation would streamline the permitting process for aquaculture farms in federal waters, and fund research and development to advance the aquaculture industry.,,, The AQUAA Act would establish an Office of Marine Aquaculture within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which would be charged with coordinating the federal permitting process. Additionally, a permit would be established through NOAA that would give an individual the security of tenure necessary to secure financing for an aquaculture operation. >click to read<17:04

US imports record amount of seafood in 2017

The United States imported more seafood last year than at any point in its history, and the nation’s trade deficit in the sector is growing, federal data show. The U.S. imported more than 6 billion pounds of seafood valued at more than $21.5 billion in 2017, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees American fisheries. The country exported more than 3.6 billion pounds valued at about $6 billion. The widening gap comes at a time when Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who heads the federal agency that includes NOAA, has identified reducing the deficit as a priority for the government. >click to read<09:46

In the Gulf, Record breaking May reverses poor shrimp landings in first third of 2018 in the Gulf

16.2 million pounds of shrimp was landed in the Gulf of Mexico last month, the highest volume reported for the month since 2009. 3.6 million pounds of shrimp was landed in Texas, with another 1.5 million pounds of shrimp landed in Alabama. Both represent the highest amounts of shrimp landed in these states for the month of May since the Southern Shrimp Alliance began tracking this data in 2002. 10.4 million pounds of shrimp was landed in Louisiana last month, up from 7.9 million pounds in May of 2017 and 6.1 million pounds in May of 2016. In fact, landings in Louisiana last month were the highest for any May since 2013. >click to read<14:59

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