Tag Archives: ropeless fishing gear

Massachusetts DMF’s Ropeless Fishing Gear Feasibility Report Released

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries has completed the first phase of a two-year project, funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to comprehensively characterize the issues and challenges associated with the integration of on-demand fishing gear technology into New England lobster fisheries. On-demand fishing gear, also known as ‘ropeless gear,’ is a type of fishing gear used in ‘fixed gear’ fisheries, or fisheries that use equipment that is left, or ‘fixed’, in place over time to capture fish. On-demand fishing gear replaces traditional vertical buoy lines, which can result in entanglements with marine mammals including North Atlantic right whales, with new gear retrieval and marking methods.  >click to read, and access the report< Assessing the Feasibility of On-Demand Gear in New England Lobster Fisheries, 16:40

Maine’s politicians seek delay on whale protection rules

In a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Riamondo, Gov. Mills and other officials urge federal fisheries regulators to extend the May 1 deadline to comply with the new regulations, which are aimed at protecting critically endangered north Atlantic right whales by setting a seasonal closure and requiring modifications to gear. They are requesting a July 1 deadline.  The state’s commercial fishing industry is working “in good faith” to comply with the new rules but are facing supply chain issues and other complications with less than six weeks to go until implementation of the new rules. >click to read< 17:40

Rebuttal: Ropeless lobstering is not the answer

I grew up in a lobster fishing family and I think I know a thing or two about how to live, thrive, and survive on the water. So, I was surprised to read a recent column, (“Ropeless Technology Ahead of the Wave,” March 2) authored by a “wild mushroom entrepreneur” who seems to think she actually knows best when it comes to the future of the lobster industry. It is accurate to say the Maine lobster industry faces an uncertain future, but not because of the endangered North Atlantic right whale. The real threat comes from Washington, DC,,, >click to read< By John Leonard  09:51

Crabs vs. Whales – Fracas over pop-up crab traps dangles Dungeness season in the balance

On multiple occasions sources for this story referenced being intimidated, scared and even worried about “getting shot” for their role in seeking a solution to California’s crab gear challenges. And it isn’t limited to one side. People take their livelihoods and their whales seriously. But amid the fear there is hope. Geoff Shester leads the parade on that front. He works with conservationist outfit Oceana as its senior scientist, and he’s very enthusiastic about how innovative new crab trap designs,, Longtime fisherman Dick Ogg,,“We’ve minimized interaction,” he says. “We’re on the right track, we’re doing the right things and those things are working really well. We’ve already solved the issue. How is this fair?” >click to read< 10:33

Lobsterman v. Lobsterman – Ropeless Fishing Divides Industry

At a virtual hearing last night, the Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries (DMF), presented the case of five commercial lobstermen who are seeking a Letter of Authorization to test the controversial equipment,,, But nearly 20 commercial lobstermen at the meeting said they were opposed for multiple reasons. Many said testing the gear during the closure puts the entire fishery at risk if a whale does get entangled. >click to read< 07:55

Massachusetts: ‘Pioneer’ lobstermen want to use ropeless fishing gear during seasonal closure

A group of five commercial lobstermen who call themselves “The Pioneers for a Thoughtful Co-Existence” are seeking state permission to use “ropeless” fishing gear in state waters during a seasonal closure that was designed to protect critically endangered right whales from entanglement. If approved by the Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries (DMF), it would mark the first time in years that lobstermen could fish in state waters during the seasonal closure. At a virtual public hearing on Wednesday at 6 p.m., the state will seek feedback from lobstermen, scallopers, clam dredgers, and others who may be affected by the authorization. >click to read< 07:55

Shortened Dungeness crab season reflects industry uncertainty

Commercial crabbers have made quick work of this year’s Dungeness crab harvest, bringing substantially fewer crustaceans ashore with each lift. The haul has been so meager that even those who ply the waters south of Mendocino County,,, Closures and major catch restrictions in Alaskan crab fisheries, where king and snow crab stocks have plummeted, has heightened demand this winter for the Dungeness crab caught off Central and Northern California. “The thing that’s saving us is the price,” said Dick Ogg, “We’re down to two or three crabs per pot,” said Bodega Bay fisherman Tony Anello, one of many getting ready to pack it in. (Then the conversation of ropeless fishing begins,,,) >Click to read<Campaigners say ropeless technology could spare whales in the Firth of Forth >click to read< 09:28

Taking a Pause – Ropeless fishing gear bill gets put on hold

The legislative push for ropeless gear in the Dungeness crab fishing industry is taking a pause after the Assembly bill’s author was sworn in as California’s 34th attorney general. Authored by Assembly member Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) in collaboration with Social Compassion in Legislation and the Center for Biological Diversity, the bill argued that fishermen use antiquated trapping gear that harms marine life. California Coast Crab Association President Benjamin Platt said the Center for Biological Diversity “lobbied hard to find somebody else to carry that bill. Platt calls the pause on the Whale Entangle Prevention Act a “David and Goliath moment for California fishers.” >click to read< 07:46

Misguided AB 534 ‘Pop-Up Crab Gear’ Will Hurt Whales, Fishing Families, Coastal Communities

Data Show Whale Populations Soaring, Virtually No Interactions with Crab Gear! Recently, Assembly Member Bonta of the California Legislature introduced a bill, AB 534 that if passed, would require faulty and failure prone ropeless fishing gear, as determined by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), to be used when taking any species of fish for commercial or recreational purposes when using a trap. AB 534 promotes an unproven and unviable fishing method that presents significant operational and safety risks to West Coast fisheries and that will result in more harm to marine life. The bill is an end-run around existing state and federal regulatory >click to read< 13:32

Bill 534 could eliminate whale entanglements, hurt (destroy) the crab fishery – 03/4/2021, Authored by Rob Bonta-D California, in collaboration with Social Compassion in Legislation and the Center for Biological Diversity, Assembly Bill 534 argues that crabbers use antiquated trapping gear >click to read< 

Ropeless fishing gear: Georgia researchers work with commercial fishermen to test equipment

NOAA has identified two areas critical for right whales: off the coast of New England, where the whales forage for food in warmer months; and off the southeast coast from North Carolina to Florida, where the whales reproduce between November and April. Fluech is collaborating with Kim Sawicki, project lead and doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts,, In summer 2020, the research team secured a permit from the National Marine Fisheries Service to test eight different ropeless gear systems with black sea bass pots off the coast of Georgia. It was the first time the ropeless gear had been tested in the South Atlantic. >click to read< 08:37

Ropeless Fishing Shows Promise, But There’s a Catch: Financial, Safety, Technology Challenges

On a cold January morning, a lobster trap sitting on a table at a manufacturing facility in Wareham is rhythmically beeping. Two final beeps have a special meaning. “So that’s the release confirmation,” explained Rob Morris, who sells acoustic release systems for the underwater technology company EdgeTech.  These “ropeless” systems do away with the high number of vertical lines that run from buoys on the surface down to traps on the ocean floor. Looking at this table, Morris sees the future of the fishery, and many conservationists share that hope. Ropeless fishing eliminates vertical lines in the water column that are blamed for around half of all reported North Atlantic right whale deaths. >click to read< 10:22

Massachusetts Launches ‘Ropeless’ Fishing Feasibility Study

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) has launched a comprehensive scoping project to assess ‘ropeless’ fishing gear in the New England lobster fishery. A first of its kind on an accelerated timeline, the project will interview dozens of fishermen, technologists, policy experts, and scientists to fully evaluate the challenges and opportunities of the new gear type. The twelve-month project will evaluate fishing, legal, regulatory, technological challenges and opportunities of alternative lobster gear, which could reduce whale entanglements. >click to read< 12:47

Ben Platt: Whales aren’t at risk from crab fishing along California’s coast

Anyone who lives in or near California’s many historic fishing communities like Morro Bay, Monterey, or Half Moon Bay, has probably heard the term “ropeless” crab fishing gear. That’s the new buzzword for equipment being promoted by environmental groups to solve the perceived problem of whale interactions with fishing gear.,,, Both the East Coast Lobster fishery and the West Coast Dungeness crab fishery, each of which are made up of thousands of independent fishermen, have tested the pop-up “ropeless” gear and found it to be faulty. Meanwhile, strikes by large ships likely cause 50-150 whale deaths a year off the West Coast,,,  >click to read< 07:31

More ropeless fishing “experiments” happening on Eastern seaboard as industry leaders meet.

Sean Brillant, who works for the Canadian Wildlife Federation and is chair of the Ropeless Consortium, said they are approaching roughly 1,000 trials across the Eastern Seaboard, the bulk of which has been done in the last 12 months. “Two years ago, we were just getting laughed in our faces at the idea of doing this,” Brillant said. The methods being tested include techniques that allow a line to be stored with a trap at the ocean bottom, and then released to the surface only when a fisherman is ready to haul in their catch. The aim is to cut the risk that whales will be caught in long lengths of rope floating in the water. >click to read< 09:05

Ropeless fishing gear won’t save whales

If you live in one of California’s historic fishing communities like Bodega Bay, (or Coastal New England) you’ve probably heard the term “ropeless” crab fishing gear. That’s the new buzzword for equipment being promoted by environmental groups to solve the perceived problem of whale interactions with fishing gear. These groups have convinced the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to adopt onerous new regulations that will force crab fishermen to adopt expensive, impractical and unproven fishing gear that will put most of us out of business. The truth, however, is something different.  How do we know this? Both the East Coast lobster fishery and the West Coast Dungeness crab fishery, each of which are made up of thousands of independent fishermen, have tested the pop-up ropeless gear and found it to be faulty. >click to read< 09:54

Everything you’ve heard about ‘ropeless’ fishing gear is false.

Is so-called “ropeless” fishing gear the magic bullet for the perceived problem of marine mammal interactions in California’s crab fisheries? (what about the New England lobster fishery?) Several profit-driven environmental groups, including Oceana, would like the public and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to believe it is.,,, In truth, there have only been four mortalities attributed to CA commercial Dungeness crab gear since 2013, and none during the last two seasons.,,, Maine’s lobster fishery has never had a documented serious injury or mortality for any Right whale, and no entanglement since 2002, which makes this a non-problem. One of the problems with “ropeless” gear is that it’s a misleading term used by the profit-driven environmental groups to make it seem harmless. >click to read< 15:06

Northern Right Whales Are on the Brink, and Trump Could Be Their Last Hope

The task of responding will fall to an unlikely champion, President Trump, whose recent appeals for support from Maine lobstermen could clash with the task of saving the right whale. Peter Corkeron, a senior scientist at the New England Aquarium who spent nearly a decade chronicling the gruesome deaths of right whales as the director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s research program for large whales, said he feared the listing would have little impact. “Lobstermen certainly recognize the dire circumstance that the right whale species is in right now,” Patrice McCarron, “We’re in this awkward situation where right whales are not doing great, and it’s certainly not the fault of the commercial fisheries.”PEER also filed a complaint last year with the inspector general of the Commerce Department, which oversees NOAA, arguing that federal officials intent on reopening fishing areas have been ignoring their own scientists on climate change as well as other threats to whales. >click to read< 11:37

Ropeless Fishing Gear: Scottish tests of ‘whale-friendly’ fishing creels

Fishing gear designed to protect whales from entanglement is being trialled off Scotland’s coast. Whales can become caught in rope that runs between shellfish creels on the seabed to a buoy on the surface. The new “ropeless creels” have this main line in a container along with a buoy and these are lowered to the seabed with the creels. >click to read<  08:10

Ropeless Fishing Gear: New Crab Pot Could Help Reduce Whale Entanglements

Last year 46 whale entanglements were reported off the West Coast, and crab gear was responsible for about a third of them. According to Derek Orner, a bycatch reduction program coordinator with the National Marine Fisheries Service, this a growing problem,,, His agency recently announced grants for several ropeless fishing gear projects, including a new kind of crab pot developed by Coastal Monitoring Associates of California. >click to read< 09:43

Like chasing unicorns?!! – Ropeless traps not easy for crabbers testing them in whale-protection effort

New Brunswick snow crab fishermen have been testing a ropeless trap system to reduce the use of fishing rope, which has been blamed in some of the deaths of endangered North Atlantic right whales. “The main problem with the ropeless gear … is that it was given way too much credit for what it can, at this time, achieve for the snow crab fishery,” Robert Haché, director general of the Acadian Crabbers Association, said in an interview.,, The ropeless traps, developed by California-based Desert Star System, are already used by fishermen in New Zealand and Australia. >click to read< 08:18

New regulations could put added strain on lobster fishermen

The July 4 holiday has always been a busy time for Rob Martin, a commercial lobsterman who steams out of Sandwich Marina.,,, Seasonal gear bans to protect North Atlantic Right Whales in Cape Cod Bay and surrounding waters usually end May 1, but this year lobstermen in the bay were off the water until May 10,,, More than a month later on June 16, several lobstermen were off the water again, but this time not by state edict. They were in district court in Boston to support a fellow lobsterman who was being sued, along with other groups and government agencies, by activist Richard “Max” Strahan. >click to read<  09:50

Testing ropeless fishing gear

A test of ropeless fishing gear could protect the livelihoods of lobster fishermen and lives of North Atlantic right whales. Industry is totally against this, Lobsterman David Casoni announced from his Margaret M fishing boat tied up at the dock of the Sandwich Marina, Gear manufacturer Marco Flagg had stepped aboard holding his cylinder attached to a mesh bag filled with rope and floats. But, Casoni said, the states 1200 commercial lobstermen could be interested in the equipment under certain conditions. >click to read<08:54

SMU students hoping to save whales with ropeless fishing gear

A trio of graduate students at Saint Mary’s University is building a fishing gear prototype that could help lobster and crab fishermen save money by reducing lost traps and save whales and other marine life from becoming entangled in ropes. Ross Arsenault and Aaron Stevenson are in the two-year masters of technology entrepreneurship and innovation program, while Maxwell Poole is taking a masters of applied health services research.,,, Then, the students heard about the crisis facing the endangered North Atlantic right whale, which was dying in record numbers in Canadian waters last year. >click to read< 18:28