Tag Archives: NOAA

NOAA Fisheries Recommends Actions to Help Right Whales

Coming at the end of a devastating summer for right whales, the North Atlantic Right Whale Five-Year Review and its list of recommended actions to promote right whale recovery is particularly timely.,, In July 2016, we initiated this Review, as we do every five years, to make sure that species are accurately listed as “endangered” or “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. Our Five-Year Review is now complete and provides updates on the right whale population in U.S. waters. The Five-Year Review recommends, not surprisingly, that North Atlantic right whales continue to be listed as endangered, and confirms that they experiencing: click here to read the recommendations 13:06

Barry Myers is Trump’s nominee to head NOAA – Why Does This Guy Make Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz Nervous?

Hawaii relies heavily on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — in some ways, for its very safety. NOAA, which oversees the National Weather Service, is the agency that helps predict and anticipate hurricanes, tsunamis and dangerous floods, issuing warnings that help people prepare or get out of the way. But in this case, it’s President Donald Trump’s nominee to run the agency, a business executive from Pennsylvania, who is causing a political storm. Barry Myers, chief executive officer of AccuWeather, a private weather and data services company based in State College, Pennyslvania, has been named by Trump to serve as U.S. Commerce Department Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, a job traditionally held by biologists and climate scientists. This position is usually also called the Administrator of NOAA. click here to read the story 22:44

Groundfishermen: ‘It feels like we’re just forgotten’

New Hampshire fishermen say temporary federal aid for at-sea monitor coverage is barely holding their industry afloat now that a court battle over the cost appears to have ended. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is currently covering 60 percent of the cost for third-party at-sea monitors to observe commercial groundfishermen’s compliance with federal regulations. That coverage is projected to end May 1, 2018,,, Jamie Hayward, a commercial fisherman out of Portsmouth, said it will be devastating for fishermen to go from paying 40 percent of those costs to the full bill when NOAA stops assisting.,, will be like we got hit by a bomb,” he said.  click here to read the story 16:57

NOAA Fisheries rule should alarm taxpayers

NOAA Fisheries has discovered a devious way to increase their budget without the checks and balances guaranteed by our forefathers, and the courts have let it stand. I have been involved in a lawsuit with NOAA Fisheries over who pays for at-sea monitors (ASM) for the last three years. These are basically our own personal state police men who ride along on the boat and watch and record everything fishermen do at sea. Fishermen have been forced to sign contracts with for-profit third-party companies that provide this service for $710 per day. Recently, the Supreme Court refused to hear our case, effectively ending our pursuit of justice. Readers should be concerned, not only because this job-killing regulation effects their ability to obtain local seafood, but also because the loss leaves in place a precedent that will allow regulatory agencies to tax citizens by passing regulations while bypassing Congress. click here to read the op-ed 08:56

Groundfishermen: ‘It feels like we’re just forgotten’ – Fishermen who followed Goethel’s path through the federal courts said they were disappointed with the outcome. Goethel said he was “disillusioned” by the process. “Talk about feeling forgotten,” said Jamie Driscoll, a commercial fisherman from Kingston. “That’s how it feels. It feels like we’re just forgotten.” click here to read the op-ed 

 

NOAA has yet to determine fines and penalties in civil case involving Carlos Rafael

So far, New Bedford fishing mogul Carlos Rafael has lost a fraction of his fishing empire after pleading guilty to 23 counts of false labeling and identification of fish, as well as cash smuggling, conspiracy, falsifying federal records and tax evasion. He was found guilty and sentenced to nearly four years in jail last month. But there could be millions more in fines and penalties as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration decides what civil measures to impose on Rafael. Fishermen and environmental groups have been lobbying for that money to go toward restoring the fishery, and many would like to see it pay for better monitoring of what fishermen catch at sea and land on shore. click here to read the story 12:47

Civil penalities from NOAA could be next for Carlos Rafael

Judge William Young’s judgment filed Wednesday appeared to be the finish line to Carlos Rafael’s case. Young, though, by ordering the forfeiture of four vessels and every permit associated with the Bull Dog, the Olivia and Rafaela, the Lady Patricia and the Southern Crusader II began a new ripple effect throughout the commercial fishing industry revealing some questions but very little answers. It’s likely NOAA will take center stage now that the Department of Justice has closed its case. NOAA can bring civil penalties to Rafael. click here to read the story 09:47

Trump nominates AccuWeather CEO to run NOAA

President Trump has chosen Barry Myers, the CEO of the private weather forecaster AccuWeather, to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In that role, Myers, who has served as the chief executive of AccuWeather since 2007, would head the agency charged with executing a broad portfolio of responsibilities ranging from providing severe storm warnings to managing the nation’s fisheries. If confirmed by the Senate, the nomination would install a business executive at an agency more recently headed by scientists. click here to read the story 13:12

Alabama Red Snapper Reporting System – Snapper checks show fear of exceeding quota unfounded

Preliminary numbers from the Alabama Red Snapper Reporting System, aka Snapper Check, indicate the fear that Alabama anglers would exceed the 2017 quota were unfounded. “Using the Alabama Snapper Check numbers, we’re going to be well within the historic allocation for Alabama, so the 39-day season did not put us over, which was a concern for the commercial fishing community and part of the charter fishing community,” said Scott Bannon, Acting Director of the Alabama Marine Resources Division (MRD). “Now the concern we have is what the MRIP (Marine Recreational Information Program) numbers will show, and those numbers are not out yet.” click here to read the story 09:11

Senator Warren: New Bedford should keep Rafael’s fishing permits

And another voice enters the fray. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has weighed in on the debate over the ultimate fate of Carlos Rafael’s seized commercial fishing permits, saying in a letter to NOAA Fisheries the permits should remain in New Bedford. “It has been reported that (Rafael’s) fishing permits may be cancelled or seized by the federal government and I am urging you to do everything possible to ensure that those permits stay in the port of New Bedford,” Warren wrote to Chris Oliver, NOAA Fisheries’ assistant administrator for fisheries. “Not doing so has the potential to devastate the local economy and effectively punish numerous innocent workers and businesses in New Bedford for Mr. Rafael’s crimes.” click here to read the story 18:57

Conservationists plan to sue over right whale deaths

Animal conservation groups say they intend to sue the U.S. government unless North Atlantic right whales are better protected, following the deaths of 15 along U.S. and Canadian coasts. “We are literally facing the extinction of right whales due to human causes,” said Regina Asmutis-Silvia of Whale and Dolphin Conservation North America. In August, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, declared the deaths of North Atlantic right whales since June 7 an “unusual mortality event,” which triggered a focused and expert investigation into the causes. But the conservation groups want more. click here to read the story 10:01

Fisherman David Goethel: Justices ruled on technicalities, not merits

The rejection by the Supreme Court is the third defeat suffered by Goethel and co-plaintiff South Dartmouth-based Northeast Fishing Sector XIII since they first sued NOAA Fisheries and other federal officials in December 2015 in U.S. District Court in New Hampshire.,,, “The Supreme Court was our last judicial hope to save the centuries-old New England industry,” Goethel said in a statement. Later, in an interview, Goethel let loose against what he said is the “stacked deck” of standing up to regulators, as well as his frustration with the justice system. click here to read the story 20:56

SAFMC – Officials OK red snapper fall season

Federal fishery officials approved a plan Monday to allow Southeastern anglers to harvest red snapper in the Atlantic Ocean later this fall, which would be the first open season for the popular game fish since 2014. Under the plan, the season would last six to 12 days spread out over several three-day weekends and would begin at the end of October. The decision must be approved by NOAA Fisheries, the federal agency that oversees all fishing regulations in federal waters. If the agency approves the decision, it will set the exact number of days the season will last and when it will start. The decision also opens red snapper to commercial fishing, although boats will be limited to just 75 pounds of fish per trip. click here to read the story 19:12

What would they say if it were commercial fishermen? – D.E.C. Officers Target Another Party Boat

On Saturday, for the second time in three weeks, State Department of Environmental Conservation officers boarded a Montauk-based party boat and charged anglers with possessing undersize and over-the-limit black sea bass and porgies. Benning DeLaMater, a D.E.C. public information officer, said in an email yesterday that the agency’s officers, along with a fisheries enforcement officer from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, had been on patrol in Montauk Harbor and inspected the Viking Starship when it returned to port.,,, A subsequent inspection of the vessel allegedly turned up more than 1,800 additional fish in 9 coolers and 19 buckets, all of which had been abandoned.,,, On Aug. 31, State D.E.C. officers observed fish being thrown overboard from another party boat, the Fin Chaser, click here to read the story 07:57

Hang him! Hang him high!

OK, OK, I get it! Carlos Rafael, aka, “The Codfather,” has done some pretty reprehensible things while amassing what seemingly is the largest percentage of ownership of the US multispecies groundfish fleet. I am not going to try to defend his actions, or his reasoning, but I would like to point out that there is plenty of guilt to go around and some people should not be so quick to point their finger at him alone. What is it that they say about casting the first stone? Apparently, among his sins is his aforementioned ownership of the largest fleet of multi-species groundfish vessels, as well as some scallop vessels. While this may be true, let us ponder what enabled, abetted, and allowed him to gain such an advantage over everyone else. At this point, he wasn’t breaking the law, he was only taking advantage of it, and of those who most fervently wanted it! click here to read the op-ed 09:27

Don Cuddy: NOAA scientist says manage fishery as a whole, not by individual stocks

It was interesting therefore to hear a presentation in Plymouth last Thursday by Dr. Russell Brown, a career NOAA Fisheries scientist with a specialty in population dynamics. In 1994, Brown said, the haddock stock on Georges Bank was estimated to be at a critically low point, around 10,000 metric tons. Fishermen had a 500-pound trip limit and were trying to avoid them to catch cod.,, Today the biomass is estimated at 280,000 metric tons and fishermen are trying to avoid cod catching haddock. Unfortunately they are not enjoying a lot of reward because cod have become what is known as a “choke species.” click here to read the story 22:40

Squid fishery shutdown won’t affect local calamari

The federal government is limiting squid fishing in certain areas, so what does this mean for Southern New England? As of this Friday, a short fin squid fishery, much of which sits offshore from Rhode Island, will shut down until Dec. 31. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says this is because 95 percent of the quota for that type of squid has been caught, so this is actually standard procedure. Richard Fuka of the Rhode Island Fishermen’s Alliance says it’s a sign that squid fishing has been hot this year, so it’s actually a good thing. “The Illex fishery, or the fishery in question that just closed, was a very large number and we actually had a very robust season to be able to meet the benchmark,” Fuka said. video, click here to read the story 09:06

New Jersey Anglers and Commercial Fishermen: Discussion on negative impact of Fishing Limits

A trip to Annapolis, Maryland might be what saves the 2018 New Jersey fishing season. Saltwater anglers and their allies crowded the Stafford Township municipal chambers, where the Marine Fisheries Council held its regular Sept. 7 meeting. Although the first hour was filled with its usual reports and comments, the Council’s second hour saw passionate arguments and discussion from Council and audience members about what to do with the ever-shortening fishing season and its negative impact on commercial fishermen throughout the state and beyond. click here to read the story 15:29

NOAA Fisheries Announces Illex (Shortfin) Squid Fishery Closure on September 15

After reviewing new landings information, we now project that the Illex squid fishery will reach its domestic quota for the 2017 fishing year on September 15. NOAA Fisheries is therefore closing the directed fishery in federal waters effective September 15 through the end of the fishing year, December 31, 2017.click here to read the notice 12:24

Something fishy in the quotas?

The clatter reverberated in the refrigerated cold as workers offloaded fish and wheeled full bins into a storage area on Fisherman’s Wharf. The catch was sorted, weighed, labeled, and eventually loaded onto large trucks headed for New York. It was a big haul, but not a big payday for Tom Testaverde Jr., captain of the Midnight Sun. “Our season’s been good. We caught a lot of fish, but the prices have been killing us all year,” Testaverde said. He pointed to imports that drive prices down, and regulations that limit what kinds of fish he can catch. Those federal limits on some species — particularly groundfish such as cod and flounder — are at odds with what commercial fishermen say they are seeing in the ocean. click here to read the story 14:34

Trump’s monument review is as secretive as Obama’s designations

Presidential use of the Antiquities Act is ripe for abuse, as major decisions impacting vast public lands, natural resources, property rights, livelihoods and private industry are left to the sole discretion of the president. After such a unilateral designation, the president does not need to substantiate his decision in any meaningful way, beyond the use of a few magic words on the face of the proclamation. It seemed like a positive step when President Trump in April issued an executive order seeking public input for a review of national monument designations over the last two decades. But it now appears that any hope for additional transparency may have been premature. click here to read the story 19:25

Warning signs for salmon

The numbers of young salmon caught off the Oregon and Washington state coasts during an annual federal survey cruise this June were among the lowest recorded in the past 20 years. In fact, numbers were low across nearly all the species researchers regularly catch or observe — from birds like the common murre to forage fish like anchovies and smelt. Months ahead of schedule, as a kind of heads up, West Coast researchers, project managers and program directors decided to send out a memo in mid-August detailing their initial findings — data that would usually be combined with other information and put out on a webpage at the end of the year. The data is preliminary, but researchers say it is clear many young coho and Chinook salmon didn’t survive the migration from freshwater streams and rivers to the ocean this year, while poor ocean conditions could impact salmon returns to the Columbia River for the next few years. click here to read the story 21:44

President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Personnel to Key Administration Posts

President Donald J. Trump today announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key positions in his Administration. The list is here and there are two positions with NOAA, and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, along with other nominations for various agencies. James Bridenstine of Oklahoma to be Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Mr. Bridenstine was elected in 2012 to represent Oklahoma’s First Congressional District. He serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee. Timothy Gallaudet of California to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere. Dr. Gallaudet is a Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy whose most recent assignment was Oceanographer of the Navy and Commander of the Navy Meteorology and Oceanography Command. click here to read the list 10:35

Lobstermen plagued by low catch, low prices

As the shedder, or soft shell, season winds down with higher value hard shell lobsters on the horizon, local lobstermen are hoping to turn what has so far been a dismal season around. Lobsters are in hiding, or so it seems to lobstermen. “I’d say we’ve caught about half the lobsters [than in recent years],” Stonington lobsterman Tony Bray said of the 2017 season. The Stonington Lobster Co-op, which buys a large proportion of the local catch, reported a 25 to 30 percent drop in volume over last year. “The lobsters are out there, so this is not likely reflective of a resource decline,” said Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries scientist Carla Guenther, who follows Department of Marine Resources data monitoring. “It may be reflective of a habitat shift as to where the lobsters are, and a behavior shift as a reaction to the colder water.” click here to read the story 15:16

New measures coming to protect right whales in Gulf of St. Lawrence: LeBlanc

As Canadian officials scramble to determine whether an endangered whale caught in fishing rope off Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula may have freed itself, federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc is promising a new set of rules around commercial fishing gear to protect the large marine mammals. A North Atlantic right whale was spotted entangled in ropes during a fly-over of the Gulf of St. Lawrence Monday, but LeBlanc said aerial and water patrols were unable to locate it Tuesday. LeBlanc said the federal government will usher in a new set of rules around fishing gear to improve the safety of whale migration in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. click here to read the story 13:37

Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program – 2017 Awards

NOAA Fisheries has awarded more than $2.3 million to partners around the country to support innovative bycatch reduction research projects through its . Bycatch of various species–fish, marine mammals, or turtles–can have significant biological, economic, and social impacts. Preventing and reducing bycatch is a shared goal of fisheries managers, the fishing industry, and the environmental community. click here to read the notice 14:10

Canada, U.S. launch joint investigation into deaths of 13 right whales

The United States and Canada are launching a joint investigation into the deaths of the endangered North Atlantic right whales, after the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declared the die-off an “unusual mortality event,” or UME, on Thursday night. Confirmation of the investigation came on Friday, during a phone conference involving representatives of NOAA and Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). According to NOAA officials, a UME declaration is only triggered when there is significant die-off in a population and one that demands a significant response. click here to read the story 15:59

Fish pie – Everyone wants a piece

Representatives of the haves and have-nots of American ocean fisheries gathered in a packed college classroom here on Wednesday to offer Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, their ideas on what he could do with the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act. The now 40-year-old federal fisheries legislation is the legacy of the late and revered Alaska Sen.Ted Stevens.,,, And there is no doubt the MSA has problems when it comes to dealing with recreational fishing. Anglers, charter-boat operators, commercial fishermen and environmental groups are at the moment all in a Gulf of Mexico scrum fighting over red snapper. It is in many ways a tussle that almost makes the long-running fish war in Cook Inlet look tame. click here to read the story 08:25

Rep. William Straus request reveals NOAA has yet to penalize Rafael

Through a public records request, Rep. William Straus said he discovered that NOAA hasn’t disciplined Carlos Rafael since the indictment has been released. That included an incident on Aug. 5, 2016, which occurred after the indictment, where public records also show that the Coast Guard cited the Lady Patricia, a Rafael vessel listed in the indictment, for “fishing without proper VMS designation.” NOAA defines its Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) as a system supporting law enforcement initiatives and preventing violations of laws and regulations. It is used as evidence in the prosecution of environmental laws and regulations including regional fishing quotas, the Endangered Species Act, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. click here to read the story 21:40

Feds review annual bowhead whale quotas for Alaska Native hunters

Federal officials are reviewing annual catch limits for 11 Alaska Native communities whose subsistence hunters are authorized to harvest bowhead whales. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the public has until Sept. 14 to comment on quotas for a six-year period to begin in 2019. The International Whaling Commission, which has final say on quotas for subsistence harvesting of large whales, meets next in Brazil in 2018. click here to read the story 10:46

URI, Commercial Fisheries Center combine to create apprentice program in commercial fishing

In early July, a group of apprentices joined a pilot program designed to train new commercial fishermen and women. When the program ended 20 days later, not a single apprentice had dropped out. “We were very pleased with that,” said Barbara Somers, a research associate at the University of Rhode Island’s Department of Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Science who helped put the program together. “We started with 12 and we ended with 12.” The program, funded by a $100,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), was a joint initiative of URI and the Commercial Fisheries Center of Rhode Island, a non-profit group representing nine fishing organizations. The goal was to produce skilled crews to replenish the declining ranks of the Rhode Island commercial fishery. click here to read the story 08:26