Tag Archives: NOAA

Fisheries Survival Fund: HabCam Failure Threatens 2019 Atlantic Sea Scallop Survey

The loss, recovery, and now electrical failure of the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center “HabCam” habitat mapping camera means that the all-important 2019 Northeast sea scallop survey now continues as a dredge-only survey. The federal survey will thus conclude on June 15 without crucial sampling instruments, including cameras that photograph the ocean bottom. The HabCam, towed just above the ocean floor, provides a non-invasive, extensive, optically-based survey of the Atlantic scallop resource and ocean floor. NOAA Fisheries is working to make the HabCam a centerpiece research and survey tool. >click to read<09:51

Leatherback sea turtles likely to go extinct under Trump administration policy, lawsuit argues

Leatherback sea turtles are likely to be “effectively extinct within 20 years” if two new federal permits for fishing off the coast of California go into effect, environmental groups claim in a new lawsuit. In April, the Trump administration granted new two-year “exempted fishing permits” to two California-based vessels in what are currently protected waters.,,, National Marine Fisheries Service,,, the federal agency said the permits “are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any listed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat.” The longline fishing will have to halt immediately if “one mortality of a leatherback sea turtle is observed.>click to read<14:03

Letter: More awareness needed of fish farms

To the editor: I went to the screening of “Lobster Wars” that occurred at the Cape Ann Museum on June 4. In the panel discussion after the movie, Larry Stepenuck was the only one who brought up the devastating effects and disturbances on the lobstermen and fishermen by the fish farms. These polluting enterprises and associated infrastructure take out huge chunks of the ocean that the fishermen and lobsermen could otherwise fish in (both vertically and horizontally). What’s left is getting slimmer all the time. Here, NOAA wants the lobstermen to develop ropeless lobster traps in order to protect the right whales. Meanwhile, NOAA and the Army Corps of Engineers turned around last year and awarded one of the Saltonstall-Kennedy grants to the development of a fish farm in the Critical Zone. A must read by Sue Waller, Rockport. >click to read<14:13

60-Day Notice of Intent to Sue NOAA under the Endangered Species Act Regarding Sea Grant’s Funding of Offshore Aquaculture Projects – >click to read<

60-Day Notice of Intent to Sue NOAA under the Endangered Species Act Regarding Sea Grant’s Funding of Offshore Aquaculture Projects

Dear Secretary Ross, et al.:  Friends of the Earth (“FOE”) and Center for Food Safety (“CFS”) hereby notify you of violations of the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), 16 U.S.C. §§ 1531-1544, in connection with Project 107-NH-Chapman (“Project”), an offshore aquaculture project proposed by the University of New Hampshire and funded by a grant from the National Sea Grant College Program’s (“Sea Grant”) 2018 Ocean, Coastal, and Great Lakes National Aquaculture Initiative. The Project calls for the construction and deployment of an Aquafort system approximately 12 kilometers offshore in a depth of 52 meters of water. The Aquafort system consists of a floating >click to read<13:39

‘A major punch in the gut’: Midwest rains projected to create Gulf dead zone

As rain deluged the Midwest this spring, commercial fisherman Ryan Bradley knew it was only a matter of time before the disaster reached him. All that water falling on all that fertilizer-enriched farmland would soon wend its way through streams and rivers into Bradley’s fishing grounds in the Gulf of Mexico, off the Mississippi coast. The nutrient excess would cause tiny algae to burst into bloom, then die, sink, and decompose on the ocean floor. That process would suck all the oxygen from the water, turning it toxic. Fish would suffocate, or flee, leaving Bradley and his fellow fishermen with nothing to harvest. >click to read<21:12

Pink salmon disaster relief grant delayed to July 1

Dear Friends and Neighbors, I wanted to keep everyone in the loop regarding the follow-up to my pink salmon disaster relief update in last Friday’s paper. As I write this, it is Wednesday morning, June 5. It was anticipated that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) might release grant funding to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) for distribution by this past Saturday. I reached out to Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office on Monday to see if, in fact, that had occurred. The Senator’s office had contacted NOAA at the start-of-business on Monday and, disappointingly, the federal agency again failed to act by the June 1 deadline. >click to read<12:57

Keliher gives fishermen homework on whale rules

“Feel free to yell at me,” Patrick Keliher, commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR), told a packed gym at the Trenton Elementary School Tuesday. “But it’s the federal government that’s driving the bus here.” Keliher was in Trenton for the first in a series of meetings with lobstermen up and down the coast to discuss specific ways for the lobster fishery to meet targets established in April by the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team (TRT), which works under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. >click to read<11:51

Organizations threaten NOAA with lawsuit over industrial ocean fish farm funding

Friends of the Earth and Center for Food Safety today formally accused the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of violating the Endangered Species Act. The groups sent a letter to NOAA notifying them of their intent to sue over NOAA’s Sea Grant program which has funded an industrial ocean fish farm in violation of federal law.  In October 2018, Sea Grant awarded a federal grant to a floating factory farm for non-native Steelhead trout off the coast of New Hampshire. According to a limited number of records gathered pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request, these funds were provided without fulfillment of Endangered Species Act mandates. >click to read<10:55

NOAA accused over funding for industrial ocean fish farm – >click to read<

Dead right whale had survived ship strike, entanglements, is first death in Canadian waters in 2019

The dead north Atlantic right whale drifting off Quebec’s Gaspé coast had a history of entanglements and was struck by a ship, said officials with the New England Aquarium. The young whale was sighted Tuesday during an aerial surveillance flight by researchers from the U.S.-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It’s first dead whale in Canadian waters in 2019.,,, On Wednesday, all efforts were deployed to locate the whale’s body, with planes flying over the Gulf of Saint Lawrence all day. >click to read<10:12

As fish move north, ‘things are getting weird out there’

Here in one of New England’s oldest fishing communities, there’s a longing for the old days, long before climate change and the federal government’s quota system got so complicated. Convinced that Congress and NOAA will never allow them larger quotas, many fishermen want to take their grievances straight to the White House, hoping the commander in chief will intervene and allow them to catch more fish. At his fish wholesaling business, Mike Gambardella reached for his iPhone to find one of his prized photographs: a picture showing him wearing a white T-shirt bearing the message, “President Trump: Make Commercial Fishing Great Again!” >click to read<08:28

La. crabbers, fishers ask for federal aid amid spillway openings

The Louisiana Crab Task Force met Tuesday (June 4) in Chalmette to discuss the issues facing the commercial crabbing industry as a result of the spillway openings. The group motioned to work with other seafood industry task forces to write a joint letter requesting federal help. Dozens of fishermen attended the meeting, voicing their concerns about how the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway is affecting their livelihoods. A spokesperson with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said they have been monitoring the water quality and reports of fish kills. >click to read<21:43

NOAA is trying to encourage more observers to report sexual harassment

In the commercial fishing industry, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration workers, known as observers, jump onboard hundreds of vessels each year to make sure fishermen are following federal regulations, but many of the women who perform these duties say they experience sexual harassment. NOAA is trying to encourage more female observers to report those instances, even if they seem insignificant. >click to read<08:08

Gray Whales – NOAA declares ‘unusual mortality event’ after at least 70 West Coast strandings this spring

The declaration by NOAA — the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — kicks in a provision of federal law that provides funding to help scientists figure out the cause of such die-offs of marine mammals, from whales and dolphins in the Pacific or Atlantic to manatees off Florida. So far this year, at least 70 gray whales have been found stranded and dead along the coasts of California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska — the most in nearly 20 years, scientists from NOAA said Friday. >click to read<17:06

Promising news on pink salmon disaster relief funds

Dear Friends and Neighbors, As the season is either underway or close at hand for many of you, I wanted to provide a short update about where we are with the 2016 pink salmon disaster relief funding. I believe we have some promising news. Thanks in part to outreach from people like yourselves, Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office has been putting a lot of pressure on the federal level to expedite the release of the grant funding. It appears to be having some effect. As I write this, it is Tuesday, May 28, according to new information, NOAA is aiming to release the grant funding to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) by this upcoming Saturday, June 1. Rep. Louise Stutes >click to read<19:37

Warming waters spark marine migration, fish wars

The warming waters associated with climate change are creating big ripple effects across fishing communities, including in this picturesque seaside town with a long fishing history. Take Joel Hovanesian, who last fall docked his 40-foot trawler at the Port of Galilee, calling it quits after a 42-year career of chasing fish.,,, Up and down the Atlantic coast, commercial fishermen are heading for the exits these days, irked by government rules and regulations that they say haven’t kept pace with the changes. Fishermen have long battled over fish allocations, but the fights have become more intense and complicated due to climate change. As more fish head north in search of cooler waters, fishermen complain that quotas have not kept pace with shifting stocks, making it harder for them to make a living and bring fish to market. >click to read<15:46

NOAA admin defends budget in House oversight hearing

The House Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife met to discuss the administration’s fiscal year 2020 budgets for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The California Democrat (Huffman) said the Trump administration’s proposed budget shows the president “does not value oceans, wildlife or the communities that depend on healthy ecosystems.” (rolls eyes) McClintock, R-Calif., indeed did say the proposed cuts in the budget were not only the proper way to go, but should go further in consolidating perceived overlaps between NOAA and USFWS and cutting away more spending programs. >Video, starts @17:45 click to read<10:09

Exploring Potential Changes in Bluefin Tuna Management

NOAA Fisheries announces the availability of a scoping document on Amendment 13 to the 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan and our intent to prepare an environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act.  Issues and options paper The issues and options paper explores management options with a focus on: Refining the Individual Bluefin Quota Program. Reassessing share distribution and allocation of bluefin tuna quotas, including the potential elimination or phasing out of the Purse Seine category. Other regulatory provisions regarding the directed and incidental bluefin fisheries. >click to read<11:19

Protected sea lions causing trouble at Northwest ports

A big rebound in the sea lion population along the West Coast in recent years has created a constant battle to wrangle the protected animals. They’re smart and fun to watch from a safe distance, but also noisy, smelly and proving to be a headache for some coastal marinas.  “It’s a free zoo kind of, just don’t pet ‘em!” observed Dennis Craig of Olympia,,, The flip side of these flippered fish fiends can be seen in the mounting bill to the marina, including the cost of busted docks, broken electric stanchions and lost business. >click to read<09:05

Maine DMR chief briefs Legislature on whales, bait

Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher briefed the Legislature’s Marine Resources Committee on the latest news from the lobster bait and whale front. The news was not good. Speaking at a May 7 committee workshop, Keliher said the state was under severe pressure from NOAA Fisheries to find ways to reduce the number of vertical lines in the water that connect lobster traps to surface buoys. NOAA seeks a line reduction of more than 60 percent and wants it done soon. >click to read<11:21

Maine lobster fishery agrees to deep cuts to protect whales

After a long and difficult week in late April in which the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Mammal Take Reduction Team met to address protections for the endangered right whale, the Maine lobster fishery now has a sense of what the future holds. There were some hard battles along the way, in which we lobster industry advocates fought to ensure a viable Maine fishery, both for today’s lobstermen and for future generations. By Patrice McCarron >click to read<14:39

Competing interests – “The farmer and the cowman should be friends,” according to Richard Rodgers’ lyrics in “Oklahoma!” Can a similar peace pact be visited upon Maine’s lobstermen and the advocates of whale safety? >click to read<

NOAA – Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management Implementation Plans by Region

NOAA Fisheries has released nine implementation plans that identify priority actions and milestones for Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management nationally and regionally, including for Atlantic highly migratory species, for the next five years. Each plan identifies milestones for a specified geographic area. The milestones relate to six guiding principles laid out in the 2016 EBFM Policy and Road Map >click to read<13:03

NOAA picks URI to lead new ocean exploration consortium

The University of Rhode Island will lead a new $94 million consortium to support ocean exploration, responsible resource management, improved scientific understanding of the deep sea and strengthen the nation’s Blue Economy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today. The Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute, comprised of five internationally renowned ocean science institutions and led by the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, will spend the next five years working closely with NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) to survey an estimated 3 billion acres of U.S. ocean territory. >click to read<

NOAA Team Reaches Consensus on Right Whale Survival Measures

“This is hard work. The Team members brought not only their expertise but also their passion for the people and communities they represent to the table. Everyone understands that there are real and difficult consequences to fishermen as a result of the choices made in this room,” said Sam Rauch, NOAA Fisheries deputy assistant administrator for regulatory programs.,,, The group will meet in Providence, Rhode Island for four days. At the end of the meeting, they hope to agree on a suite of measures that will reduce right whale serious injuries and deaths in fishing gear in U.S. waters from Maine to Florida to less than one whale per year, the level prescribed by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. >click to read<09:15

Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership says wind farm lacks scientific support

The Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership claims that the 84-turbine offshore wind project soon to be developed by Vineyard Wind lacks scientific backing and will inevitably harm the local ecology and way of life for fishermen and boaters. The release states that the growing wind energy industry is developing at a “rapid pace without adequate science and risk management.”Executive director of the Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership Angela Sanfilippo told The Times the partnership’s comments are based in part on the response of NOAA to the draft environmental impact statement released by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).>click to read<20:38

‘Neither country can save the species on its own’ – Reduce amount of rope in water to protect right whales, says U.S. advisory group

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team held four days of meetings ending Friday.
The group proposes the number of lines in the water be reduced by up to 50 per cent in some jurisdictions and that the breaking strength of buoy lines be reduced to 1,700 pounds (771 kilograms) or less. Now the onus is on the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service to consider acting on those recommendations. While researchers from both countries agree that there needs to be less rope in the water, the recommendations are a different approach to that of the Canadian government, which imposed fisheries closures in the Gulf of St. Lawrence last year and again in 2019. >click to read<09:20

North Atlantic Right Whale – New restrictions placed on New England fishing industry to protect whales

Fishermen across New England are facing new restrictions after a panel of experts convened by the federal government agreed on Friday to a plan to step up protection of the endangered North Atlantic right whale. The group of federal and state officials, scientists, fishermen and environmental advocates created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration capped a four-day meeting in Providence by reaching consensus on a plan that aims to reduce entanglements in fishing gear, which is the leading cause of injuries to the whale and deaths. >click to read<18:20

New England Stakeholders Agree On Recommendations For Reducing Risk Of Right Whale Entanglements – >click to read<11:16

Groundfish quota changes up for debate

The proposed rule, called Framework 58, calls for increasing the commercial quota for Georges Bank cod by 15 percent, Georges Bank haddock by 19 percent and Georges Bank winter flounder by 6 percent for the new fishing season that is set to begin Wednesday. It also includes a 1 percent increase for witch flounder. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the proposed rule, published in the Federal Register, calls for a whopping 50 percent cut to the annual catch limit for Georges Bank yellowtail flounder, a 1 percent reduction in the quota Gulf of Maine winter flounder and a 3 percent cut to the catch limit for Atlantic halibut. >click to read<22:43

This summer crisis could take the steam

This year federal authorities are imposing a steep reduction, and a few regions of the East Coast are restricted to fishing, months prior to the lobster season gets rolling. East Coast herring fishermen brought over 200 million pounds of these fish to docks lately as 2014, but the catch of this year will be limited to less than a fifth of that total. The cut scrambling for fresh lure sources, is leaving with herring for generations in Maine lobstermen, who have baited traps and concerned about their capacity to find lobster. >click to read< 12:40

NOAA says a group of whales in the Gulf of Mexico are endangered

Federal scientists say a tiny group of Bryde’s whales in the Gulf of Mexico is endangered, facing threats including oil and gas exploration and development. “They’re the only year-round baleen whales that make their home in Gulf of Mexico, and (they) have a unique and very important role in the ecosystem,” said Laura Engleby, a marine mammal biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries’ service.,,,Engleby said, “We don’t really know much about this species.”>click to read<15:31

Pawning off one farmer as representing all is a cheap trick in the dam-removal campaign

Advocates for tearing down the Snake River dams made a scheming move last week in Olympia, but they didn’t fool Eastern Washington lawmakers. If anything, their failed strategy strengthened the resolve of many of our region’s legislators, who were frustrated by the misrepresentation. Here is the story: A Seattle-based marketing firm sent out news releases this month saying that an “unlikely alliance” of fisherman, farmers and small business owners was gathering April 10 at the state capitol to support creating a forum focused on the dams. >click to read<13:07