Fisheries Minister Steve Crocker DFO should listen to harvesters seeing different catch rates than DFO scientists

Not all Newfoundland and Labrador fish harvesters are witnessing such a dramatic decline in shellfish stocks, according to provincial Fisheries Minister Steve Crocker, who said the federal government should listen to local fishermen when deciding upcoming quotas. Local fish harvesters are seeing catch rates that don’t match up with the analysis produced by DFO scientists, according to Crocker. That analysis showed major declines in shrimp and snow crab biomass, and hinted at a dire situation for fish harvesters who rely on those stocks to make a living. Crocker said he would be speaking to federal Fisheries Minister Dominic Leblanc this week, and would urge him to listen to local fish harvesters. Read the story here 10:08

NOAA OLE closes a successful investigation after numerous Observers filed complaints against an Alaskan-based vessel

“This was a large, time consuming investigation involving many violations, victims, and witnesses,” said Kevin Heck, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of OLE’s Alaska Division. NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement began receiving complaints filed by Observers1 about the Aleutian Sable, owned by Arctic Sablefish, LLC, in 2013. A case file was opened and officers began communicating with one of the vessel’s operators, Jay Hebert, and closely monitoring the vessel for compliance purposes. Complaints and violations continued to pile up through October 2014. Once the investigation was complete, OLE investigators forwarded the case package to NOAA’s Office of General Counsel for prosecution. On March 8, 2016, a Notice of Violation and Assessment of Administrative Penalty (NOVA) was issued to the owner and operator of the F/V Aleutian Sable. The NOVA charged the following eight counts of violations under the Magnuson‐Stevens Act Read the rest here 09:28

Rare Hawaiian seal drowns at NOAA-funded fish farm site

An endangered Hawaiian monk seal has died after wandering into a net pen and becoming trapped at a fish farm that was partially funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Hawaii. Officials with NOAA said Thursday the death of the 10-year-old monk seal happened at Blue Ocean Mariculture, the same fish farm that NOAA’s National Marine Fishery Service has been using for research in conjunction with a plan to expand aquaculture into federal waters around the Pacific. Ann Garrett, the service’s assistant regional administrator for protected resources, confirmed the farm was the same one used for the NOAA-funded research, but could not comment further on the agency’s involvement. NOAA is working on a plan to expand aquaculture into federals waters despite concerns by some environmental groups who say the industrial-scale farms could do more harm than good to overall fish stocks and ocean health. continue reading the story here 08:16

Fears for prawn industry grow after white spot found in Moreton Bay

The ban on movement of uncooked prawns and crustaceans outside a new control zone could lead to cheaper seafood for south-east Queenslanders. Uncooked products will not be allowed to leave the area, which includes Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Moreton Bay, but they can be sold within the area. The movement order, effective immediately, includes crabs, prawns, yabbies, Moreton Bay bugs and marine worms. It comes after positive test results on several properties in the Logan River. Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne briefed prawn farmers, commercial fishers and others in the industry on Thursday morning, but some trawlers are still at sea and will need to be spoken to when they return. The prawns were caught within the past week at the Redcliffe Peninsula and Deception Bay, with 31 testing positive. continue reading the story here 21:52

East Naples boat captain accused of smuggling immigrants in Florida Keys

An East Naples charter boat captain arrested Sunday off the Florida Keys faces human smuggling charges. Federal agents said they found 11 people from three Caribbean countries below deck on his boat. None of the 11 were U.S. citizens, agents said. U.S. Customs and Border Protection air and marine officers said they were on patrol in Tavernier Creek about 3 p.m. Sunday when they came across Richard Karl Mork’s disabled boat and two personal watercraft approaching the boat with two gas cans. Officers boarded the boat about 3:30 p.m. and found 11 passengers, including two unaccompanied minors, below deck, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Homeland Security Department in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The vessel, named “Scout,” was found about 2 nautical miles from Tavernier, south of Key Largo. Read the story here 21:15

Man vs. mammal, commercial herring fisherman films sea lion feeding frenzy

It’s the age old fight over who gets the fish, man or sea lion. For commercial fisherman Allan Marsden, he’s fed up with the burgeoning sea lion population along the B.C. coast impeding his ability to do his job. Roe herring are fished for their eggs and the fishery takes place as the herring gather to spawn. The window is short — late February to early March — for fishermen to make their quota and Marsden says this year they were unable to make their targets. Marsden puts a lot of the onus on the sea lions. “The sea lions keep the herring down so we can’t get at them. They just make it virtually impossible to put the gear in the water sometimes,” Marsden explains. Video, read the story here 19:05

Proposals Aim To Restore Lobsters To Long Island Sound

A new interstate plan is being considered to try and halt the dramatic decline in lobster populations in Long Island Sound and southern New England waters, but experts warn none of these proposals may work in the face of global warming. The draft plan by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission includes possible changes in the size of lobsters allowed to be kept, reductions in the number of lobster traps allowed in the region, and additional lobster season closures. But a former president of the Connecticut Commercial Lobstermen’s Association, Nick Crismale of Branford, doubts the once-thriving lobster population in the Sound will ever recover. Increasingly warm waters in the Sound may have also resulted in an increase in fish species that prey on lobsters, like black sea bass, making any recovery more difficult, experts say. A number of Connecticut lobstermen believe the population plunge was triggered by the use of certain pesticides to kill mosquitoes carrying the West Nile Virus. Read the story here 15:21

GARFO: At-Sea Monitoring 2017 Coverage Levels for Groundfish Sector Fishery

NOAA Fisheries announces that for fishing year 2017 the total target at-sea monitoring coverage level is 16 percent of all groundfish sector trips.  This target coverage level is a 2 percentage point increase from the 2016 coverage level (14 percent). As the target coverage level is set based on an average of at-sea monitoring data from the past 3 full groundfish fishing years, this level is set based on data from the 2013-2015 fishing years. Federally funded observer coverage provided by the Northeast Fishery Observer Program to meet the Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology (SBRM) requirements will partially satisfy the 16 percent coverage requirement. Sectors will therefore actually pay for at-sea monitoring coverage on less than 16 percent of their groundfish trips, but the total will depend on the SBRM coverage rates, which are not yet out. Read the press release here, For more information, please read the Summary of Analysis Conducted to Determine At-Sea Monitoring Requirements for Multispecies Sectors FY2017  13:59

‘Codfather’ fraud plea hearing pushed back to end of the month

The hearing where a New Bedford fishing magnate is expected to plead guilty to federal fraud charges has been pushed back. The U.S. Attorney’s Office had originally announced the hearing for Carlos Rafael would be held on March 16, but Wednesday, the day before that hearing would have been, they announced it was rescheduled for March 30 at 2:30 p.m. Rafael is accused of lying to federal authorities for years about the quantity and species of fish his boats caught in order to evade federal fishing quotas — claiming it was all haddock, instead of other species that have stricter quotas. Video link 12:34

Op-Ed: Kitzhaber salmon policy failed to meet its goals – Ryan Rogers, owner of the Fisherman’s Market

Not all Oregonians are financially or physically able to take time away from work and family to catch their own Columbia River salmon. That’s where I come in: I sell Oregon’s signature fish to my customers, and they love it. My supply of salmon comes from the commercial fishing families who fish the Columbia. Some of them have been doing so for generations. However, their future — and Oregon consumers’ future supply of Columbia River salmon — is now at risk. Some politicians and special interest groups are attacking the Oregon Fish & Wildlife Commission for following fish science and Oregon law and, basically, doing its job. At its January meeting, the commission modified Gov. John Kitz­haber’s 2012 Columbia River plan. The sport-fishing interests are upset. Now, this isn’t a (fish) story about fish decline. And it’s not a story about fish conservation. Read the op-ed here 12:05

White House budget head: Reported Coast Guard cuts ‘not accurate’

President Trump’s budget director is insisting that a report that $1.3 billion would be cut from the Coast Guard’s budget is inaccurate, although the administration’s first spending outline does not include the data to back up the claim. The budget blueprint released early Thursday details a $54 billion bump in defense spending and a 6.8 percent increase for the Department of Homeland Security, which the Coast Guard falls under. Nowhere in the budget, however, is a mention of Coast Guard spending, which was initially identified by the White House as a way to partially fund an illegal immigration crackdown and border security. Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, told reporters on Wednesday that the reported cuts are “not accurate.” He pointed to the overall increase for DHS in the outline, and said its secretary, John Kelly, is allowed to allocate the money as he sees fit. Read the story here 11:36

New research at Aberdeen University has highlighted the potential size of the prize awaiting Scots fishers after Brexit

The study looked at 17 commercially key Scottish fish stocks, focusing not on how big they were, but on their distribution. Comparisons were made between the percentages of fish largely contained within the UK’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), out to 200 nautical miles, and quota allocations. For all but three of the species studied, current UK quotas are significantly below stock levels within the EEZ. And according to Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive , these results strengthen the case for the UK seizing control over its territorial waters after Brexit. “It’s not fair and it’s not right,” Mr Armstrong said at a recent meeting of the North East Scotland Fisheries Development Partnership in Aberdeen. He argued Scottish fishers were at a disadvantage under the current EU arrangements and added: “This is not a land grab or an act of aggression – these are our waters. continue reading the article here 11:00

PFMC: Ocean salmon fishing options unveiled

Ocean salmon fishing season this summer off the Washington and northern Oregon coasts likely will be similar or slightly better than in 2016. The Pacific Fishery Management Council on Monday in Vancouver adopted three options for ocean seasons. Following a series of public meetings in Washington, Oregon and California, the council will select a final alternative April 6 through 11 in Sacramento, Calif. Here is a look at how the three options would apply for the Columbia River ports of Ilwaco, Chinook, Hammond, Astoria and Warrenton: Read the rest here 10:39

INVITATION: RI Seafood Strategy Meeting

YOU ARE INVITED! RI Food Strategy: Fisheries & Seafood Session  Thursday, March 23rd2-3PM Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation Commercial Fisheries Center, Building #61B URI East Farm Campus, Kingston, RI This event will provide an opportunity for fisheries/seafood stakeholders to learn about and provide feedback on a draft of the RI Food Strategy. The RI Director of Food Strategy, Sue AnderBois, will present an overview of the Rhode Island Food Strategy, focusing on the fisheries and seafood components. This RI Food Strategy is a five-year action plan that envisions a sustainable, equitable food system that builds upon traditions, strengths, and history while encouraging innovation and supporting the regional goal of 50% of the food eaten in New England be produced in the region by 2060. The Executive Summary (attached) and full draft of the RI Food Strategy are available at: www.relishrhody.com.  Please RSVP to Anna Malek Mercer at [email protected]. We look forward to seeing you there! Click here  -The Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation  www.cfrfoundation.org 10:20

The production value of Newfoundland and Labrador’s seafood industry reached another record high in 2016.

It totalled over $1.4 billion last year, an increase of 8.9 per cent over 2015. Fisheries and Land Resources Minister Steve Crocker announced the release of the 2016 Seafood Industry Year in Review today in the House of Assembly, ahead of his trip to Boston with Premier Dwight Ball for Seafood Expo North America 2017 on Sunday. “We will be accompanying our world-class seafood marketing team and the Newfoundland and Labrador delegation to join the 1,200 companies, and over 21,000 buyers, suppliers, media and other seafood professionals at North America’s largest seafood trade event,” Crocker said. Other highlights of the report include: aquaculture production, employment, value of landings,  shellfish,  lobster, groundfish, seal hunt,  Read the article here, and click here for the full report 08:56

China has finally developed a taste for lobster—and it’s keeping Maine fishermen flush with cash

Seafood is a classic luxury item in China. But until recently, people there weren’t big on lobster. The iconic, bright-red crustaceans were known as the “Boston lobster,” and were a rarity compared to other fancy oceanic eats like sea cucumbers or geoduck clams. But the economic boom in China has given the country’s swelling ranks of rich people a chance to expand their culinary horizons. For Maine’s lobster industry, the crustacean craze couldn’t have come at a better time. In 2016, Maine’s lobstermen landed more lobsters than ever in recorded history: 130 million pounds (59,000 tonnes), a haul that weighs as much as three Statues of Liberty. continue reading the article here 19:40

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 86.7′ Steel Stern Trawler, CAT 3508, Lister-30 KW Genset, Price Reduced!

Specifications, information and 26 photo’s click here To see all the boats in this series, Click here 16:52

UPDATED: GOP Kicks Off Effort To Roll Back Obama’s Monument Designations

House lawmakers kicked off their effort to push back against national monuments designations, targeting the large swaths of ocean the Obama administration made off limits to fishing. “I don’t believe the Antiquities Act should have ever been applied to oceans,” Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young said during a Wednesday hearing on marine monument designations. “There was never intent of that.” Republicans on the House Committee on Natural Resources have long criticized former President Barack Obama’s use of the Antiquities Act to put millions of square miles off limits to commercial fishing with little to no input from locals.  New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, who couldn’t attend the hearing due to a snow storm, is a Democrat who represents a Massachusetts community dependent on fishing. Mitchell wants to change how national monuments are designated to include more local input. Mitchell was not a fan of Obama unilaterally designating the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument in September. continue reading the story here 16:02

Fishing Industry Tells Committee Regulations Go Too Far – Allegations of bad science and lobbying by overzealous environmentalists dominated talks on marine sanctuary and monument designations during a Congressional hearing Wednesday. Read the story here 18:02

“They (seals) are destroying the crab stocks.” – Bearded seal harvested with a belly full of snow crab in Green Bay

Baie Verte native Danny Dicks recently harvested a bearded seal (square flipper seal) with 181 identifiable female and two male crabs in its stomach. The seal weighed between 200-300 pounds and measured approximately seven feet long. The Pilot spoke with Danny’s brother, Deon about the seal and what it was eating. “Bearded seals are not as common as the harp seals that are usually harvested,” Deon said. “They are much larger and can dive down in the deep water for crab and I’ve even seen them with rocks in their bellies.” “The females are needed to produce,” Deon said. “They (seals) are destroying the crab stocks.” Link 15:21

No sanctuary for fishermen

Sanctuaries are designated areas intended to provide a safe haven and protection. But for the watermen of the Chesapeake Bay and its surrounding tributaries, the word “sanctuary” is more often associated with anguish. So when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries initiated the designation process for Mallows Bay – Potomac River on October 7 of 2015, the watermen of the Potomac River began to grow wary of their future. On February 1, an assorted group of commercial fishermen from all across the Northern Neck of Virginia met with Maryland commercial fishermen at Mundy Point at Pride of Virginia Seafood and Trucking, Inc. to form together as the newly named Potomac River Working Watermen Association (PRWWA). One month later, on March 2, they held their second meeting to discuss their plan of action in opposition of the Mallows Bay – Potomac River sanctuary proposal. continue reading the story here 14:35

Lifeboat called to boat hit by ‘freak wave’ off Shetland

A crab fishing boat with eight crew on board lost power after it was struck by a large wave 40 miles (64.3 km) north west of Sumburgh in Shetland. The wave that hit the Edward Henry on Tuesday night broke windows and swept the boat’s skipper, Piotr Wrublennski, across the inside of the wheelhouse. Mr Wrublennski said the “freak wave” knocked out electronic devices. The skipper was able to alert the coastguard and Aith Lifeboat was launched to go to the aid of the boat. It was possible to start the engine again and the Edward Henry arrived in Scalloway at 07:00 on Wednesday for repairs. continue reading the story here 13:00

Coast Guard medevacs man from fishing boat 38 miles west of Egmont Key

The Coast Guard medevacked a fisherman Tuesday from a commercial fishing boat 38 miles west of Egmont Key. At 6:10 p.m. watch standers from Sector St. Petersburg received a VHF-FM marine band radio call from the captain of the commercial fishing vessel Miss Brianna, stating he suffered an injury to his leg and was in need of emergency medical attention. A flight surgeon was notified and recommended the man be medevacked. Video, click here 12:15

Fisherman badly burned in Jersey Shore rental house explosion files lawsuit

As he reached to turn on a light switch in the Point Pleasant Beach house he was renting in 2015, Kurt Wagner saw a spark, and then the small cottage exploded. Wagner, who authorities say suffered burns on 40 to 50 percent of his body, is now suing the owner of the cottage for injuries and property he lost in the blast that destroyed the home. Wagner spent 31 days in the burn unit at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, Epstein said. He said Wagner missed work and was unable to return to the commercial fishing job he had prior to the explosion. Epstein said Wagner had just returned to the Crooks Lane cottage after a three-day fishing trip. He awoke shortly before 2 a.m. to the smell of gas and went to turn on a light in the bathroom of the cottage. continue reading the story here 11:03

4 men charged in $1M Canada Day lobster heist

Four men have been charged in the theft of $1 million worth of lobster in northern New Brunswick company on Canada Day, say RCMP. Police believe the lobster theft is connected to a larger crime ring targeting cargo shipments in Quebec and New Brunswick, Cpl. Alice Desroches said in a news release on Tuesday. On July 1, a transport truck was stolen from Eco-Technologies Ltd. in Caraquet, N.B., said Desroches. The truck was then used to steal a refrigerated unit filled with frozen lobster from LeBreton and Sons Fisheries Ltd. in Grand-Anse, N.B., she said. continue reading the story here 10:27

Op-ed: Oregon Fish & Wildlife Commission applauded for following the science

Serving on one of Oregon’s independent commissions is often a thankless job. We owe our thanks to Oregonians who do so. It’s not easy when the issues are complex and contentious. They don’t get any more complex or contentious than fish allocation on the Columbia River. That’s why I applaud the January decision of the Oregon Fish & Wildlife Commission and take exception to unfounded criticism from some politicians and special interests groups. Commissioners followed the science and Oregon law with respect to both the 2012 Kitzhaber Columbia River plan and their duties as members of an independent commission.,, This plan merely takes harvested fish away from commercial fishing families who fish for all consumers and gives harvest opportunities to sport fishermen who can get out on the Columbia to catch their own fish. read the op-ed here 08:59

The Deliciously Fishy Case of the “Codfather”

The fake Russians met the Codfather on June 3, 2015, at an inconspicuous warehouse on South Front Street in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The Codfather’s lair is a green and white building with a peaked roof, fishing gear strewn across a fenced-in backyard, and the words “Carlos Seafood” stamped above the door. The distant gray line of the Atlantic Ocean is visible behind a towering garbage heap. In the 19th century, New Bedford’s sons voyaged aboard triple-masted ships in pursuit of sperm whales; now they chase cod, haddock, and scallops. Every year, more than $350 million worth of seafood passes through this waterfront, a significant slice of which is controlled by the Codfather, the most powerful fisherman in America’s most valuable seafood port. Big Read! continue reading the story here 07:56

Mitchell set to testify to Congress about impact of marine monument this morning

Weather permitting, Mayor Jon Mitchell on Wednesday will be in Washington giving testimony to Congress about an underwater marine monument which former President Obama created with a stroke of the pen in 2016 over the protests of the fishing community. The spans nearly 5,000 square miles 150 miles off Cape Cod, and it was hailed by environmentalists for preserving enormous underwater mountains and vast, deep canyons only now being explored. Three years earlier, an underwater remotely-operated vehicle sent back pictures of incredible life forms and geological features. The NRDC was among the leaders of many organizations that jumped at the opportunity to preserve the monument against human activity, fishing in particular. read the rest here 07:18

Fishery fund ‘biggest sellout’: Paul Davis says Ball government gave up $300M

The Progressive Conservatives are calling an Atlantic fisheries fund that will direct $100-million to Newfoundland and Labrador a sellout. “It’s the biggest sellout in the history of the fishery,” said Opposition Leader Paul Davis who went on the attack in question period in the House of Assembly Tuesday. “This is nothing but a sellout to the federal government.” Davis complained that, in the fund announced Friday, the province settled for a fraction of what was contemplated under a trade agreement between Canada and Europe [CETA]. That $400-million dollar fund would have included $280 million from Ottawa, with the rest coming from the province. The money was demanded by the province as the CETA took shape in 2013 to compensate for giving up minimum processing requirements. read the story here 20:00

Oversight Hearing on Examining the Creation and Management of Marine Monuments and Sanctuaries Wednesday, March 15, 2017 10:00 AM

Oversight Hearing on: “Examining the Creation and Management of Marine Monuments and Sanctuaries”  Click here to read the memo  Witnesses and Testimony: Dr. John Bruno Professor, Department of Biology University of North Carolina, Mr. Chett Chiasson Executive Director Greater Lafourche Port Commission,  Mr. Brian Hallman Executive Director American Tunaboat Association, The Honorable Jon Mitchell Mayor City of New Bedford Click here @ 10:00am and listen to the hearing. 19:05

We Are Not Pirates, Just Hard Working Fishermen Holding Oil Tanker Crew Hostage For Money

The hijackers who seized an oil tanker and its eight-man crew off Somalia are demanding “compensation” for a rise in illegal fishing in Somali waters. VOA’s Somali service spoke by phone to one of the hijackers Tuesday, a day after men boarded and seized the ship about 30 kilometers off the Somali coast, then anchored off Alula, a town in Somalia’s Puntland region. The hijacker said seven men took part in the raid. He asserted that he and his colleagues are fishermen, not pirates. “We have decided, as local fishermen, to resist illegal fishing. We have taken arms to defend ourselves, and we will continue,” said the man, who declined to give his name and did not suggest any dollar figures. continue reading the story here 18:11

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for March 13, 2017

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates, Click here 16:01

Elver dealer indicted on charges of buying, selling illegally caught eels

Elver buyer William Sheldon, of Woolwich, faces a seven-count federal indictment on charges alleging he dealt in illegally harvested juvenile eels over a four-year period beginning in 2011. Sitting in Portland, a grand jury on March 1 charged Sheldon with one count of conspiracy, three counts of illegal trafficking in wildlife and three counts of “false labeling” under the federal Lacey Act. If convicted, Sheldon faces up to five years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 on each count. On Monday, Augusta attorney Walter McKee said his client would enter not guilty pleas at his appearance before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge John H. Rich III currently scheduled for March 30. The indictments arise out of a long-running federal and multistate investigation into illegal elver harvesting — called “Operation Broken Glass.” On April 30, 2014, federal wildlife agents and Maine Marine Patrol officers raided two rooms at Jasper’s Motel on High Street rented by Sheldon to execute a search warrant looking for evidence that he had taken part in the purchase and sale of illegally harvested elvers through his company Kennebec Glass Eels. Read the story here 13:07

‘Deadliest Catch’ Season 13: Tragedy, Drama, And Is It End For Two Captains?

Discovery has announced that the Deadliest Catch Season 13 will be returning on April 11. This is the final season for at least one captain, possibly two. Compound it with the emotional tragedy of the Destination and temperatures that are four degrees warmer than last year, means that keeping focused and finding the crab is tougher than before. Captain Sig Hansen appears to be back, but for how long? Captain Jonathan Hillstrand? It appears that the weather has become dramatically warmer, four degrees warmer than last season. It matters a great deal as any of the previous crab hotspots are now gone. The crab have moved to new, more comfortable locations, and the captains, who are under pressure to achieve quotas, need to use all of their skills and instincts to figure out where the crab are located. Read the story here 12:48

Commercial sockeye fishery faces closure on North Coast

If the Department of Fisheries and Oceans were using a Magic 8 Ball to determine the future of sockeye salmon fishery in the Skeena the answer would be — Outlook Not So Good. Early forecasts for sockeye salmon are poor and there is a possibility there won’t be a commercial fishery for the year. “We’re facing a really challenging year,” said Colin Masson, DFO’s area director for the North Coast. The forecasts are based on the sockeye that went to sea in 2014 and 2015, as well as the number of sockeye jacks, the premature fish who return a year early. Both indicators suggest the outlook is not good. For DFO to plan commercial fisheries, the total return of sockeye has to be greater than 1.05 million. continue reading the story here 10:50

Crew member fights for life as 3 still missing in Irish Coast Guard helicoper

Hopes are fading for the survival of four crew members of an Irish Coast Guard helicopter missing off the west of Ireland, the head of the rescue service said. One crew member was pulled from the Atlantic, in a critical condition, as an intense search continued for three others off the Co Mayo coast – around six miles (10km) west of Blacksod. The Dublin-based Sikorsky S92, which was providing cover for another helicopter involved in an early-morning rescue operation, lost contact at around 1am on Tuesday. Eugene Clonan, acting director of the Irish Coast Guard, confirmed the crew member found in the water at around 7am is fighting for their life. “We don’t hold out much hope for that person,” he said. “And indeed, at this particular point in time, hopes are fading of finding the remainder of the crew.” continue reading the story here 10:16

EU snow crab fishermen illicitly expelled from Barents Sea and Svalbard

Approximately 19 large boats from several EU countries remain tied up in port out of fear of being arrested for fishing snow crab in the Barents Sea and Svalbard waters. This is due to some being arrested by the Norwegian authorities who refuse to recognise the legitimate right of EU vessels to sustainable and legally operate in this specific area. Despite EU vessels being authorised to fish for snow crab in the Barents Sea and Svalbard waters since 2013, a recent Norwegian court ruling has declared Norwegian restrictions illegitimate and contrary to the international obligations undertaken by Norway. Javier Garat, president of Europêche, explained: “The legal fishery conducted by EU fishermen has been harshly interrupted, forcing EU authorised crabber vessels to remain at ports, while Norwegian vessels continue catching snow crab.” continue reading the story here 09:16

Maryland’s DNR chief won’t say why he fired longtime manager of crab program

Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources Secretary Mark J. Belton on Monday offered lawmakers no explanation for why he fired the longtime manager of the state’s crab program days after watermen complained to Gov. Larry Hogan about the employee. Belton repeatedly declined to justify the dismissal during a joint hearing with the House and Senate environmental committees, as Democratic lawmakers questioned whether the termination of , a 28-year state employee, was politically motivated. “Isn’t it true that since you couldn’t give these watermen what they wanted by changing crab policy, you gave them something else — Brenda Davis’s job?” asked Sen. Paul G. Pinsky (D-Prince George’s).Belton, who said he could not comment on personnel matters, said that critics were “trying to make connections where there are none” and that Hogan (R) had nothing to do with the dismissal. “It was my decision, and my decision alone,” he said. continue reading the story here 08:22

Steelheaders call for Buckmaster’s removal from fish commission

In the latest development in the feud between sports anglers and commercial fishermen over the use of gillnets in the lower Columbia River, a sports angling group is petitioning the governor to remove a state fish and wildlife commissioner who voted with three others to continue to allow the practice in late January. The Association of Northwest Steelheaders submitted a petition last week signed by nearly 6,000 people calling on Gov. Kate Brown to remove Commissioner Bruce Buckmaster. Buckmaster, a Brown appointee, has served on the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission since 2015. Detractors argued at the time he was a lobbyist for the commercial gillnetting industry, a claim which Buckmaster denied. continue reading the article here 21:08

New England’s Wild Fish Oil – Skate liver oil could boost fishing industry

Two engineers showed up at the Chatham Fish Pier a few winters ago and struck up a conversation with some fishermen who were unloading their catch. Steve Daly and Bill Hannabach asked for some of the fish because they were doing research for a new business venture. The fishermen obliged and the men took home totes with a variety of species. “You have two rubes from out of town. They could have easily said get out of here,” said Daly with a grin. “They didn’t know what we were doing. We could have been making fertilizer, we could have been making pottery.” This week Daly and Hannabach were once again at a Cape Cod dock, this time at Saquatucket Harbor in Harwich, with some of the same fishermen they had met when they first began experimenting with everything from monkfish to dogfish. But now they had with them the results of their foray into the fishing industry, their first product, MassOMEGA: New England’s Wild Fish Oil, set to be launched today and almost totally made from winter skate brought in by local fishermen. continue reading the story here 17:42

Independent Kodiak Fisherman Addresses his Concerns to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and Jim Balsiger

Dear Jim & Secretary Ross, Thank you, once again, for a response to my letters (19 October, 2016) re Trawl violations in the Gulf of Alaska.  I appreciated the website reference(NOAA OLE Enforcement-Actions) that allowed review of the NOVA and/or NOPS cases concluded before June 30, 2016.  I await review of the February report, as well. Obviously, since my letters and your responses, the NPFMC December session indefinitely postponed or tabled the GOA Trawl Bycatch program drafting.  One can only hope this matter of privatizing the groundfish which causes an extremely negative effect on other species (and fish segments) —such as halibut, and crab recovery in the GOA— has seen its end.,, Had it not been for congressional end-runs of former Senator Ted Stevens, two key things would not have happened. Read the letter here  Ludger W. Dochtermann  16:52

N.J.’s ocean canyons: Will these treasures be preserved like national parks?

Because about 75 to 100 miles off the coast of New Jersey — where the continental shelf divides shallow coastal waters and the deep sea — a tale of two canyons is in play involving these geological hot spots. The Baltimore Canyon and the Hudson Canyon, both considered national treasures, are among about 70 such areas along the Mid-Atlantic coastline that are prized by fishermen for their rich species diversity and abundance of marine life. “The canyons are where the fish are … they’re important resources that support our fisheries,” said Michael Luisi, chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council, a Dover, Del.-based fishery management group representing the interests of commercial fishermen from New York to North Carolina. “By blocking this designation, the fishing industry is being selfish and only hurting themselves in the long run,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. Read the story here 13:30

Coast Guard medevacs 2 men from fishing vessel off Panama City

The Coast Guard medevaced two men from a commercial fishing vessel approximately 50 miles offshore of Panama City, Florida, Friday. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Mobile received a report of two injured crewmembers aboard the fishing vessel Capt. Gorman III at about 7:00 p.m. A 50-year-old male suffered lacerations near his left eye and right hand, and a 55-year-old male suffered a laceration to his neck. Watchstanders directed the launch of an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans, who hoisted the patients and transported them to Bay Medical Sacred Heart in Panama City. The cause of the incident is under investigation. link 12:29

Shrimp fishermen facing catch crisis

Shrimp fishermen in parts of  northern Norway are reporting their worst winter ever, with catches down by  between  50 and 75 per cent. Some say that if the situation continues they may be forced to sell their vessels and turn to  something new. It is not just Norway which has problems. Some areas on the north east coast of Canada are also reporting a sharp decline in shrimp stocks. One prawn fisherman Lynne Prudence Sjåvik , based in Helgeand region, told the northern office of the state broadcaster NRK  that for every year that passes the situation just seems to he get worse. Read the rest of the story here 11:25

Destination crew remembered at 89th “Blessing of the Fleet” ceremony

It’s been one month and one day since the Destination mysteriously disappeared in Alaskan waters. The Seattle-based crabbing boat went missing in the Bering Sea and all six crew members with it. On Sunday, the fishing community marked its 89th “Blessing of the Fleet” at Seattle’s Fisherman’s Terminal. Lutheran ministers raised a flag above a boat named St. Anthony and wished safe passage for all who risk their lives at sea. However, it was Destination that was on the minds of many people who attended. “I come to the blessing every year,” Laurel Schultz of Gig Harbor said. Schultz’s cousin worked on a crab boat and was lost at sea in 1989. “I’m drawn to this every year because it’s a powerful experience. It brings together a group of people who care about fishermen and women,” Schultz said. Video, photo’s, read the story here 10:00

Flying Wild Alaska – Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak

Air Station Kodiak, Alaska is a place that many may have seen on television and in movies. Air Station Kodiak has featured regularly in the Weather Channel show Coast Guard Alaska over the last several years, and was also a central focus for the movie “The Guardian” starring Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher. But to those assigned Air Station Kodiak, it is much more. The true beauty of Alaska, or Kodiak island specifically, is hard to explain. Yet to some, the Coast Guard Air Station, it’s aircraft, rescue swimmers and pilots, are often the last bastion of hope for many that call the Kodiak area, the Aleusian islands that head southwest in a chain that stretches towards Russia or many of the other isolated Alaskan wilderness inside the massive service area covered by Coast Guard Air Station Alaska home. continue reading the story here 09:04

Landing Reports Indicate Violations in Alaska’s Restricted Fishing Area

Halibut Fisherman, Andrew Halverson, a resident of Washington, was fined $5,000 for the unlawful harvest of halibut. The halibut were harvested from the closed waters defined in the Sitka Sound Local Area Management Plan (LAMP). An enforcement officer with NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement initiated an investigation after he reviewed landing reports for the Sitka area. “OLE personnel regularly review landing reports,” said Lt. Bob Marvelle, supervisory enforcement officer for the OLE Alaska Division. “Since we’re unable to inspect every offload and landing, we review the reports to ensure compliance and identify areas of concern that need to be addressed.” Upon further investigation of the documents and log books, OLE identified that on Nov. 4, 2016, while fishing from a vessel larger than 35 feet, Halverson retained 130 pounds of halibut fished from approximately 4.3 nautical miles inside the Sitka LAMP closed area. continue reading the report here 08:05

Coast Guard medevacs skipper suffering from chest pains 55 miles east of Gloucester, Mass.

A Coast Guard aircrew medevaced a 55-year-old man suffering from chest pains Sunday evening 55 miles east of Gloucester. Coast Guard watchstanders at Sector Boston received a report at around 6:30 p.m. that the master of the 75-foot fishing vessel America, homeported in Boston, was ill and in need of medical attention. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Cape Cod and a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat crew from Station Gloucester launched to assist. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma, a 270-foot medium endurance cutter, was also diverted and assisted by relaying communications. Once the aircrew arrived, they hoisted the man and flew him to Massachusetts General Hospital. The seas were 3 to 5 feet and the winds were 25 knots at the time of the hoist. The air temperature was 26 degrees and the water temperature was 40 degrees. The man was reported to be conscious at the time of the transfer. Link 07:36

WA’s scallop quota doubled after stock recovery

The quota for WA’s commercial scallop fishery has almost doubled this season, due to a recovery of stocks after a marine heatwave in 2010/11. Fishermen will be able to take 330 tonnes in 2017, compared to 166 tonnes last season. Department of Fisheries principal scientist Mervi Kangas said the speed of recovery in the Shark Bay fishery had quickened.”The stocks are recovering. Denham Sound, which was the key area where most of the scallop take came from, has actually recovered,” Ms Kangas said. “The northern part of Shark Bay is still recovering, but it is improving each year.” continue reading the story here 19:57

Newfoundland Hammered with Hurricane-Force Winds – 13,500 still in dark in N.L. as crews work to restore power

More than 24 hours after hurricane-force winds buffeted Newfoundland, crews are continuing efforts to restore power, with about 13,500 customers still without electricity. Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro issued a power warning noon Sunday, asking customers on the Avalon Peninsula to conserve energy to avoid straining the system as more people have their power restored. Holyrood’s Unit 1 was being brought back online slowly Sunday afternoon, delayed because of salt left on equipment left by the storm. One of the customers without power is the St. John’s airport, which is operating on backup power. Desk agents at the airport are wearing parkas because of the lack of heat and baggage carousels are out of service. Environment Canada says the wind gusts should diminish later Sunday morning, after extreme winds wreaked havoc, smashing windows and ripping apart homes. Photos, read the story here 16:52

Changes and Cancellations – NEFMC – Weather Update for Coral Workshops, Herring MSE Peer Review

As a result of the winter storm that’s forecasted for our region on Tuesday, the New England Fishery Management Council is: (1) modifying the schedule for its two Coral Workshops; and (2) reminding members of the public who are interested in the Atlantic Herring MSE Peer Review that a webinar option is available.  Here are the details. CORAL WORKSHOP #1, NEW BEDFORD, MA:  This workshop will begin as planned at 9 a.m. on Monday, March 13 and extend into the early evening to accommodate as much of the original two-day agenda as possible.  The second day of the workshop — Tuesday, March 14 — has been cancelled to avoid unnecessary travel.  The workshop will be held at the Fairfield Inn & Suites, 185 MacArthur Drive, New Bedford, MA 02740.

CORAL WORKSHOP #2, PORTSMOUTH, NH:  This workshop will take place on Wednesday, March 15 as originally scheduled, but the start-time has been advanced by two hours — from 9:00 a.m. to 11 a.m. — to allow additional travel time.  The workshop will be held at the Sheraton Harborside, 250 Market Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801. ATLANTIC HERRING MSE PEER REVIEW:  The March 13-15 MSE peer review will proceed as planned on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at the Embassy Suites near Boston Logan Airport.  Technical experts involved in the peer review will be traveling to and from the meeting outside of the forecasted storm window. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. each day.  ALTERNATIVES TO TRAVELING:  Members of the public who are concerned about traveling may listen to the discussion via webinar or telephone. WEBINAR REGISTRATION:  Online access to the meeting is available at: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/473795069 14:42

 

Small Scale: Two Scoops Bait Company allows anglers to spend less time looking for bait

“During the week it’s mostly guides, but on Fridays and weekends it’s a lot of guys,” said Trey Daugherty, owner and operator of Two Scoops Bait Company. “Each day more recreational guys call me, and they definitely keep me busy throughout the day.” Daugherty started his bait-selling business in the spring of last year and was so successful he picked up right where he left off early last week. As the demand for scaled sardines and other finned live bait from anglers increases, Daugherty finds himself needing to increase his supply to keep up with rising demand. “Some days I’m spending four or five hours catching bait. I’m catching about 300 to 400 dozen everywhere from Fort DeSoto all the way to Port Manatee. It’s been tough recently, and I think that’s why a lot of guys come to me,” Daugherty says. continue reading the story here 12:11

Drop in herring a mystery in Maine as bait price booms

Scientists and fishermen are trying to figure out why Maine’s Atlantic herring catch — the largest in the nation — has fallen from 103.5 million pounds in 2014 to 77.2 million last year. The per-pound price of the fish at the dock has gone up 56 percent since 2014, and that price is eventually borne by people who buy lobsters. “The whole dynamic of the fishery has changed,” said Jeff Kaelin, who works in government relations for Lund’s Fisheries, which lands herring in Maine. Kaelin, and others who work in and study the fishery, thinks climate and the way the government manages herring may have played a role in the decline of catch. Atlantic herring are managed via a quota system, and regulators have slashed the quota by more than 40 percent since the early 2000s. Last year, herring were also difficult to catch far offshore, where they are typically caught in large amounts, but they were abundant closer to the New England coast. This led to a bait shortage, because fishermen are only allowed to catch a certain percentage of their quotas in inshore waters. Read the story here 10:15

In search of silver: B.C. roe-herring fishery carries risks and rewards

Off Nanoose Bay — The Denman Isle is in stealth mode, dark except for a spotlight off the bow.  Skipper Barry Curic sits in the dim wheelhouse of the 21-metre steel seine vessel, watching intently as a band of red shows up on his sonar screen. The sonar is scanning the waters 300 metres ahead at a 12-degree tilt in search of silver — dense schools of herring loaded with roe exclusively for the Japanese markets. Herring stay deep during the day to avoid predators and come closer to the surface at night to feed on krill. Curic doesn’t want to scare them back into the inky depths. “Stand by,” he tells the other five crewmen. As the boat approaches its prey, the red colour also appears on his depth sounder, meaning the herring are now directly below us. It’s time to strike. Curic rises from his chair and announces: “OK, guys. Let’s try it.” continue reading the story here 08:38

An Interview with Captain Dave Marciano: Gloucester fishing comes into focus on new season of ‘Wicked Tuna’

The captains of Wicked Tuna, Nat Geo’s top-rated reality series, return for a sixth season Sunday, March 12 at 9 p.m. The cutthroat show about angling off the coast of Gloucester, Massachusetts, pits captains and their boats against each other in a no-holds-barred search for the largest tuna. And that’s largest in terms of size and profits. Among the returning captains are Tyler McLaughlin of the Pinwheel, Dave Marciano of the Hard Merchandise, TJ Ott of the Hot Tuna, Paul Hebert of the Wicked Pissah and Dave Carraro of the FV-Tuna.com. They might be friendly on land, but in the open, choppy waters, they are competitors with the final prize in mind. Recently, Hollywood Soapbox spoke with Marciano about the upcoming season and the bounty of fish that actually changed the angling for everyone. Answers have been edited for style and brevity. Read the interview here 14:02

Coast Guard medevacs fisherman near Cold Bay, Alaska

A Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew medevaced a man from the 252-foot fishing vessel Kodiak Enterprise approximately 40 miles north of Cold Bay, Alaska, Friday afternoon. The rescue helicopter crew transported the 55-year-old fisherman to Cold Bay and were met by LifeMed Alaska personnel who transferred the patient to Anchorage for further medical care. Watchstanders at Coast Guard 17th District in Juneau received notification from Health Force Partners requesting a medevac for a crewmember who was reportedly suffering from an abdominal medical condition.  The duty flight surgeon recommended the medevac and the helicopter crew was dispatched from Dutch Harbor. Weather on scene during the time of the medevac was reported as 15-mph winds with 3-foot seas and 10 miles of visibility. Link 13:14

Coast Guard medevacs skipper from fishing boat in the Gulf

The Coast Guard medevacked a 29-year-old man Friday from a 72-foot commercial fishing vessel 23 miles southwest of Sanibel. At 4:30 a.m. watch standers from Sector St. Petersburg received a VHF-FM marine band radio call from the captain of the commercial fishing vessel Sea Explorer, stating he was experiencing chest pains and was in need of emergency medical attention. A flight surgeon was notified and recommended the man be medevacked. An MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Clearwater and a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew from Station Fort Myers Beach were launched and the area’s Marine Emergency Response Team was activated. At 5:31 a.m. the Coast Guard boat crew arrived on scene with Lee County EMS aboard. The man was transported to Station Fort Myers Beach in stable condition where EMS awaited to transport him for further medical assistance. Link 13:03

Maine Fisherman details nearly losing his hand, amazing recovery

Nearly two months ago, a scallop fisherman got his lower arm caught in a hydraulic winch. It nearly took his hand off. Doctors were able to re-attach it, in one of the most difficult surgeries they’d ever performed. In 35 years of fishing off the coast of Maine, Rick Callow says he’s been injured many times, but nothing like what happened to him seven weeks ago on his fishing boat, the E Cosi. He and his crew were using a winch to haul in a catch of scallops when his glove got caught in the capstan, the revolving cylinder used to wind the cable. “It jerked my hand towards the capstan,” Callow said. “Pinched my glove in there, just the tip of my index finger.” Seconds later, the machine was ripping through his lower arm and hand. Video, read the rest of the story here 11:05

There is a GoFundMe page set up to help with the medical costs. Some of the pictures on that site are graphic.

Labour Relations Board orders release of FFAW/ASP lists of inshore harvesters

The Federation of Independent Sea Harvesters of Newfoundland and Labrador (FISH-NL) is pleased with the latest order of the province’s Labour Relations Board regarding the release of membership lists of commercial inshore harvesters. After hearing arguments on Friday morning, by late Friday afternoon the board ordered the FFAW to turn over its list of commercial inshore harvesters who were members of the FFAW between Jan. 1, 2015 and Dec. 30, 2016 to its investigating officer. The Board also ordered ASP (the Association of Seafood Producers) to hand over its list of inshore harvesters on whose behalf members of the association collected and remitted FFAW union dues between Jan. 1, 2015 to Dec. 30, 2016 to its investigating officer. Read the press release here 10:22

NOAA tests camera systems to monitor fish catch

When we think of technological innovators, most picture daring entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who make clever devices for their investors. However, in the Bering Sea and other waters off the coast of Alaska, NOAA Fisheries scientists are testing innovative technologies, tools and methods to keep U.S. fisheries strong and profitable. Together with the fishing industry, we have made real progress advancing the use of camera systems to monitor fish catch and identify the best ways to safely release unwanted species. These systems help us count fish both in the net and when it is hauled onto the deck of a fishing vessel. Our scientists have designed software applications to automate the process of identifying fish species and measure fish length. Until recently, obtaining this critical information for fisheries stock assessments was only possible with the help of a human observer. continue reading the story here 09:40

Canada’s trade minister promises Brits cut-price lobster and maple syrup if free trade deal follows Brexit

Francois Philippe Champagne said he hoped the UK copied the free trade deal agreed between his country and the EU when it strikes out alone. And he revealed he had met Trade Secretary Liam Fox three times to discuss future relationships. He said a deal would mean “more and better choice for consumers”. He said: “A company in Wales is importing maple syrup from Canada and paying an 8 per cent import duty.” “That duty would go down to 0 per cent if there is a free trade deal. “If you’re in the UK and love Canadian lobster, you have an import duty of up to 25 percent today. “On day one that would go down to zero.” Link 09:06