Tag Archives: NOAA

NOAA and its new “partner” Ørsted agree to share data on wind farm lease areas

NOAA has reached an agreement with leading offshore wind developer Ørsted to share physical and biological data from Ørsted’s offshore lease areas. The memorandum is the first of its kind between an offshore wind developer and NOAA, and the agency says that it paves the way for similar data-sharing agreements with other developers.  “This partnership with industry will deliver data Americans use for business, science, and education, while at the same time mitigating effects of climate change,” said Ben Friedman, NOAA’s acting administrator.,,, The partnership is one element of a wide range of offshore wind initiatives that the Biden-Harris Administration announced at the end of March. (what crap!!!) >click to read< 14:36

PEI fishermen to integrate ‘weak rope’ in 2023

Gear adjustments regarding the North Atlantic Right Whale for the 2021 fishing season are consistent with last year. Rope markings on fishing gear, first implemented in 2020, are designed to help pinpoint where right whale entanglements in gear take place. The fact there haven’t been any entanglements since the marking became mandatory is positive, Melanie Giffin, Program Planner with the PEI Fishermen’s Association, said. “It is kind of a good news story that we don’t know if they are working or not,” she said. According to Barre Campbell, DFO Media relations, there were no North Atlantic Right Whale entanglements or deaths reported in Canadian waters in 2020. However, there is a plan to follow,,, >click to read< 23:08

#ShowUsTheRope – Blamed for Right Whale Entanglements, Lobstermen say Show us the rope!

Snow Cone has triggered an outcry of frustration from fishermen, who say they’re being unfairly blamed for the decline of the critically endangered species. On Wednesday, March 10, a team from Provincetown’s Center for Coastal Studies freed Snow Cone from 300 feet of rope. The center described the team’s success on its Facebook page, and used a photo from an aerial survey that shows the whale and the telltale rope from 1,000 feet in the air. “So, I remember seeing this,” said Nick Muto. The Facebook post said the retrieved rope likely came from a fishery, but there was no close-up picture. “So my hashtag, #ShowUsTheRope, is me trying to lay it right on the Center for Coastal Studies,” >click to read< 20:06

Right whale protection regs leave Cape fishermen feeling trapped

His house on the quarter-acre lot is nearly surrounded by gravel, with bright yellow and black fishing traps neatly stacked all around. Tolley is gearing up for the fishing season, is headed for a hip replacement in a month, but that wasn’t his only concern. New state regs require that he fit the buoy lines on all 1,200 of his lobster, conch and black sea bass traps with special sleeves that release under the pressure of an adult whale. “I don’t want to see a right whale entangled,”,,, He worries about the financial pressures imposed on him and other fishermen by regulations >click to read< 13:42

Study shows three times as many Red Snapper as previously estimated in the Gulf of Mexico

The $12 million Great Red Snapper Count estimated that the Gulf holds about 110 million adult red snapper, those at least 2 years old. A 2018 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration marine fisheries’ estimate was about 36 million. Clay Porch, director of NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center Director in Miami, said peer reviewers will be going over the science for the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council, which is likely to consider revising quotas in April, Porch said Tuesday. >click to read< 14:24

Right whales: Public comments range from ‘save the whales’ to ‘save the fishermen’

Samuel Sautaux posted his comment from Lentigny, Switzerland, located north of the Alps. His comment is among about 171,208 received from individuals who live near and far from the right whales’ cruising grounds and posted an opinion on the latest federal effort to protect the species on the public comment page overseen by NOAA. These comments are now being processed,,, Some of the comments are quite succinct, as was Sautaux’s. Others are more elaborate – including one from an author who signs as a 69-year-old, sixth generation lobsterman from Maine who says the proposal amounts to a “death sentence” on the industry. >click to read< 07:16

Mississippi Commission on Marine Resources talk Bonnet Carré Spillway, CARES Act funding

Many fishermen got some help from that $1.5 million of CARES Act money that was granted to the state of Mississippi, with most of that going to the seafood industry. $734,222 of that money went to local commercial fishermen, $451,284 went to seafood dealers and processors, and $239,179 of it went to the charter boat fleet.,, At Tuesday’s Commission on Marine Resources meeting, Joe Spraggins, Department of Marine Resources executive director, explained the process of how $21 million in Bonnet Carré Spillway relief funding will get to those in the industry. >click to read< 18:25

Massachusetts Lobstermen fear end of their livelihood

Dan Pronk is worried a new set of proposed NOAA and NMFS restrictions aimed at saving the North Atlantic right whale could be the nail in the coffin for the lobstering industry on Nantucket. “We’ve got five years left of lobstering down here,” said Pronk, the only commercial lobsterman on Nantucket, and one of only a handful of lobstermen around the region with traps south of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. “It’s career ending if they get their way. We’re bending over backwards to appease these people. >click to read< 13:28

The Voices of Gloucester Fishermen: NOAA offers virtual trip through Gloucester fishing history

The voices speak to the experience of living and fishing in America’s oldest commercial seaport, of the challenges and the joys of working on the waters of Cape Ann and beyond. They are at once a snapshot and endurable timeline collected into recorded interviews and fashioned into an  integrated story map of the Gloucester fishing and community experience. The stories and the voices which tell them are contained in the newest online chapter of the Voices of Oral History Archives organized and produced by NOAA Fisheries’ Northeast Fisheries Science Center. It’s titled “Strengthening Community Resilience in America’s Oldest Seaport” photos, video, >click to read< 11:55

Stokesbury’s image-based, drop camera survey has been pivotal in the revival of the scallop industry

Stock assessment is one of the many key areas of research being conducted by several professors at UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science & Technology (SMAST). Efforts led by Professors Steve Cadrin, Pingguo He, and Kevin Stokesbury help characterize how offshore wind development interacts with the marine environment, including important fisheries and critical habitat. Their findings are also critical in advancing offshore wind in a sustainable manner while minimizing impacts to existing marine activities and resources.  >click to read< 13:34

N.E. Aquarium Scientists urge NOAA to consider more aggressive Right Whale steps

In response to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Proposed Rule to amend the regulations implementing the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan to reduce the incidental mortality and serious injury to North Atlantic right whales, fin whales, and humpback whales in northeast commercial lobster and crab trap/pot fisheries to meet the goals of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act, the New England Aquarium submits this comment to express our strong reservations that the measures outlined in the Proposed Rule and accompanying Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) are not nearly aggressive enough to change the fate of North Atlantic right whales in U.S. waters. Based on our decades of NARW expertise, the Aquarium strongly urges NOAA to revise this Proposed Rule substantially before finalizing it. >click to read< 07:07

Lobster industry changes require more evidence on North Atlantic right whale deaths

Environmentalists and the lobster industry have rarely agreed on anything related to the effort to save the North Atlantic right whale. So when they do, people should pay attention. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is now taking comment on its Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan, aimed at reducing risk of rope entanglements and ship strikes to the endangered mammal by at least 60%. But members of both sides say no one has enough information to say that the sweeping changes would be effective. Our comment? Don’t pass a plan that puts the deaths of right whales on the backs of Maine lobstermen unless you can show that’s where it should be. >click to read< 08:14

“What I’m reading now being proposed by NOAA will essentially put me out of business,,,”

Lobsterman John Drouin said in his 42 years of fishing around Cutler, he has never seen a right whale. Many other Maine lobstermen have said the same thing about their experience on the water. But that may not matter.,,  he and Maine Marine Resources Commissioner Pat Keliher said the true threat in the NOAA documents would come in 10 years when scientists say the threat to whales should be reduced by 98 percent, effectively eliminating all lobster ropes and potentially ending the way they have fished for generations. “It’s devastating. Totally changes the face of the Maine lobster fishery,” said Keliher, “and we’d have no idea from an economic standpoint what it will mean in the long run.” >video, >click to read< 09:38

Lobstermen fear new rules as Biden revokes Trump executive orders on regulation

New executive orders are flying off President Joe Biden’s desk. Many of those orders seek to reinstate regulations lifted by former President Donald Trump or enact new ones. Mainers who make a living on the water are particularly concerned about new regulations, and Maine’s Congressional delegation is concerned, as well. They’ve sent multiple letters to federal agencies, attempting to inform the rulemaking process on fishery management plans. >click to read< 08:16

This Year’s Dungeness Crab Fishery a Shell of its Former Self

CARES Act relief funds for New Bedford fisheries topped $5 million

In May 2020, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced an allocation of $300 million for fisheries assistance. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Massachusetts received the third-highest amount in funding with about $28 million. Alaska and Washington received the most with $50 million each and Maine was fifth with about $20.3 million. New Bedford alone received about $3.8 million, or approximately 13.6% of the state’s allocation. The funds provided much-needed relief for an industry seeing up to a 49% drop in landings revenue,,,  >click to read< 08:12

Maine delegation requests comment period extension for BiOp with profound impact on Maine lobstermen

The BiOp is an assessment of a federal agency’s impact on an endangered species. In this case, the Biological Opinion assesses the effectiveness of regulations that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has imposed on the Maine lobster fishery to protect the North Atlantic Right Whale. Maine lobstermen have already taken significant steps to protect the right whale, despite there being no direct evidence that a single right whale serious injury or mortality has been attributable to the Gulf of Maine or Georges Bank lobster fishery since 2004. >click to read< 09:29

Lobstermen react to proposed NOAA rule

A Jan. 20 public meeting on the latest proposal to reduce the risk of whale entanglements in fishing lines focused on northern and eastern Maine lobster fishing. At this latest meeting, local lobstermen echoed similar concerns they aired when discussions started two years ago: NOAA is relying on incomplete and outdated data, and fishermen are not seeing right whales in Maine waters. NOAA scientists agree that more data would be useful. >click to read< 08:19

6 Ocean Priorities for the Biden Administration from the Environmentalist

Since President-elect Biden was voted into office last November, he and his team have been sharing what they want to accomplish in their first 100 days in office.,, In the midst of any political transition, it is easy for environmental issues to be pushed aside in the name of more “urgent” issues.  Fortunately, the new administration has given us promising signals that environmental action is high on their to-do list. Here are six things that must be prioritized in the coming weeks and months,,, >click to read< 09:48

As Commerce Secretary, Raimondo to play key role in offshore wind.

In the selection of Gina Raimondo as the next U.S. Secretary of Commerce, the offshore wind industry would get a champion in Washington. What influence she could bring to bear for the emerging energy sector remains to be seen, but if confirmed to her new position in the Biden cabinet, Raimondo would oversee federal fisheries regulators who have raised some of the concerns about potential negative impacts of erecting what could be many hundreds of wind turbines in the ocean waters off southern New England. >click to read<09:45

Stocks head for weekly loss as economy’s coronavirus pain deepens – Seafood industry hit hard

A federal report says the coronavirus pandemic has taken away about a third of the commercial fishing industry’s revenue. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says revenues from catch brought to the docks by commercial fishermen fell 29% over the course of the first seven months of the year. The report says revenues declined every month from March to July, including a 45% decrease in July. The NOAA report says the seafood industry at large has been hit hard by restaurant closures, social distancing protocols and the need for safety measures. >click to read< 09:15

New regulations delayed the 2020-21 Dungeness crab season, forcing crab fishermen to rely on staples like black cod

Like many other fishermen, Blue doesn’t just fish for one kind of seafood. He fishes for black cod and Dungeness crab with a small team—himself and two other men. He’s been in the industry since 1974, when he moved to Morro Bay at the age of 18 and got his first job as a deckhand. Three years later, he bought his first boat when, he said, it cost about $100 to be in business. Things have changed a lot since then.,, >click to read< 11:11

Dungeness crab fishing industry adapts to climate shock event

The delayed opening of the 2015-16 crab-fishing season followed the 2014-16 North Pacific marine heat wave and subsequent algal bloom. The bloom produced high levels of the biotoxin domoic acid, which can accumulate in crabs and render them hazardous for human consumption. That event, which is considered a “climate shock” because of its severity and impact, tested the resilience of California’s fishing communities,,, The study is the first to examine impacts from such delays across fisheries, providing insight into the response by the affected fishing communities,>click to read< 08:25

North Atlantic Right Whales – Proposed Pot/Trap Fisheries Regulations – Available for Public Comment

Today, we released our proposed modifications to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan to further reduce the impacts of entanglement in fishing gear on right whales in U.S. waters. The proposed modifications focus on the Northeast Jonah crab and lobster trap/pot fisheries, which deploy about 93 percent of the buoy lines fished in areas where right whales occur. In 2021, the team will be asked to recommend risk reduction measures for other Atlantic trap/pot and gillnet fisheries. We also released the associated Draft Environmental Impact Statement. >click to read< 12:02

Proposed Modifications revealed to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan

Today, we released our proposed modifications to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan to further reduce the impacts of entanglement in fishing gear on right whales in U.S. waters.,,, In 2021, the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team will be asked to recommend risk reduction measures for other Atlantic trap/pot and gillnet fisheries. We opened a public comment period on both of these documents. >click to read<  Statement from Commissioner Keliher on Today’s Proposed Whale Regulation Announcement by NOAA>click to read< 10:58

Researchers find new toxin hot spot

As high levels of domoic acid once again delay the opening of the commercial Dungeness crab fishery in Washington state and along Oregon’s North Coast, researchers say they have zeroed in on a like cause of marine toxin issues farther south. They recently identified a new highly toxic hot spot between California’s Cape Mendocino, several hundred miles north of San Francisco, and Oregon’s Cape Blanco, north of Port Orford, according to a study published this month.  >click to read< 16:04

Livelihoods Threatened: Massachusetts lobstermen concerned about proposed regulations to protect whales

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries is proposing multiple amendments to current rules regulating fixed gear fisheries in an effort to protect an the North Atlantic right whale. Two local lobstermen say the proposed regulations threaten their livelihoods. “It’s gonna take roughly 30% of my income away from me,” said Dave Magee,,, Tom Tomkiewicz, a Fairhaven lobsterman, was not sold on the regulation, the regulations could cut 30% of his catch and up to 50% of his income,,,  “All the bait guys, the marine supply guys, the shipyards, down to the restaurants we go to once or twice a week. We’re not going to be able to go because we won’t have the money. It’s going to affect a lot of people not even involved.” >click to read< 13:07

NCLA Seeks Summary Judgment in Case Challenging NOAA’s Unlawful at-Sea Monitor Mandate

The New Civil Liberties Alliance, a nonpartisan, nonprofit civil rights group, has filed a motion asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island to award summary judgment in favor of NCLA’s clients in Relentless Inc., et al. v. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, et al. NCLA argues that the U.S. Department of Commerce, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Marine Fisheries Service have no power to make fishermen pay for monitors the government puts on their boats. So, NCLA is asking the Court to declare NOAA’s regulation seeking to implement an industry-funded, at-sea-monitor mandate on the nation’s Atlantic herring fishermen unconstitutional and set it aside. >click to read<20:31

Monterey Bay Fishermen hit with new wave of Dungeness crab season delays

You couldn’t blame crab fishermen Tim and Dan Obert for feeling like they’re passing through the perfect storm. First there was the pandemic, which shut down restaurants and, in turn, much of the demand for Dungeness crab. Then a new regulation took effect on Nov. 1 that heavily restricts the Dungeness fishery’s operations when whales and sea turtles are around. Then the state delayed the opening of the Dungeness crab season until after Thanksgiving. “If you take all three of those things, you will destroy this fishery,” said Tim Obert, 35, of Scotts Valley. “There will be no crabbers left.” >click to read< 08:47

Spiny dogfish eat small Atlantic codfish! DNA may provide some answers

Conventional observations show that spiny dogfish in the western North Atlantic rarely eat Atlantic cod. However, some believe the rebuilding dogfish populations are limiting depleted cod numbers by competition or predation. To find out what is going on, NOAA Fisheries scientists looked to genetic testing to confirm cod presence in dogfish stomachs. >click to read< 13:10