Category Archives: Featured

The Codfather’s 2nd act: ‘I’m the bank now’

It was February 2021, and Rafael, the infamous New Bedford fishing mogul known as “the Codfather,” was serving out the final stretch of an almost four-year prison sentence. He and his two daughters placed a $770,000 bid to acquire the Merchants National Bank building in downtown New Bedford. The historic sandstone building with tall, arched windows and an ornate ceiling no longer functions as a commercial bank. It’s vacant, and there is no money locked behind its heavy, iron vaults. But for the 71-year-old Rafael — flush with more than $70 million in cash from the court-mandated sale of his fleet and barred from ever again involving himself in the commercial fishing industry — acquiring the bank set the stage for a second act. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 06;48

Sleeping skipper caused vessel collision in Sussex – ‘Could have had disastrous consequences’

The skipper of a fishing trawler has been ordered to pay £10,000 after falling asleep during his watch, causing the vessel to collide with another in Sussex, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency has said. On January 15, 2022, Maurice Reid, aged 44, of Fraserburgh, was in charge of the fishing vessel Margaret Anne’s journey when he ‘started to fall asleep’, the government agency said. A spokesperson added: “Moments later the vessel collided with anchored fishing vessel Blackbird in the Shoreham area, off the south coast of Sussex, causing minor injuries to the two men onboard. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 09:38

Will offshore wind presence get even bigger off Ocean City?

The first auction of 2024 for more land leased for offshore wind off the Delmarva Peninsula was cleared for Aug. 14 after the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management released the Central Atlantic Final Sale Notice. The notice is the last step required by the agency to hold a lease auction for the Central Atlantic region, which includes offshore areas in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. In total, the area available for lease covers more than 275,000 acres, enough to develop up to 6.3 GW of offshore wind energy capacity. Detractors for the expansion of offshore wind in Maryland, like Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md-1st, took aim at the decision, noting there were still a number of environmental issues surrounding plans for turbines. “We should never allow foreign-owned offshore wind companies to control our energy supply — much less harm our marine life while doing it,” said a spokesperson for Harris. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 11:51

Crewmember on Bristol Bay fishing vessel dies following net entanglement

A commercial fishing crewmember in Western Alaska died Friday after he was swept up in fishing gear and taken into the water, according to the Alaska State Troopers. In a dispatch on Saturday, Troopers identified the victim as 21-year-old Corwin Wheeler of Wisconsin. Troopers began a rescue effort shortly after noon Friday upon receiving a mayday call from a fisherman in Kvichak Bay, a body of water near Naknek, part of the Bristol Bay Borough. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 06:47

How an old Peterhead trawler was turned into a luxury Airbnb in Inverness

In 1972, when much of Britain’s fishing fleet became locked in “cod wars” with Iceland, a new wooden-hulled trawler was launched in Peterhead. Made in the shipyard of Richard Irvine, the Achieve FR100, under the watchful eye of Andra Buchan, was about to take to the seas. “White fish fishing” was its one purpose. And for 28 years that’s exactly what she was used for. Now, more than half a century since the launch, herring has been exchanged for hospitality, and choppy seas for the Caledonian Canal. We look back at one of the Blue Toon’s most iconic trawlers and its journey to becoming a luxury bed and breakfast today. Photos, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 07:21

$18,000 penalty for diesel spill after fishing boat sinks

In August 2022, a 58-foot fishing boat sank off the western shore of San Juan Island, kicking off a complex, lengthy response to prevent additional diesel from spilling out of the sunken vessel, and to eventually raise the boat back to the surface. Now, the Washington Department of Ecology is penalizing Matthew Johnston, the boat’s owner, $18,000 for the spilled diesel. Johnston actively participated in cleanup efforts and fully cooperated with Ecology’s investigation, the agency said in a news release. This penalty is based on strict liability under Washington State law for spills to Washington waters, regardless of fault. Ecology’s investigation did not find that the spill was caused by negligent or reckless operation. The incident happened on Aug. 13, 2022, when Johnston noticed water rising from the aft scuppers on his boat, F/V Aleutian Isle. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 18:14

Southeast Texas shrimpers have chance to voice concerns about ‘shrimp dumping’

Southeast Texas shrimpers are fighting to protect their livelihoods amid shrimp dumping. Shrimp dumping involves the heavy import of foreign shrimp that gets “dumped” into the American market. Now, the United States International Trade Commission wants shrimpers to fill out a questionnaire and document their struggles. On Tuesday, a meeting was held at the International Seafarer Center in Port Arthur. It was filled with dozens of shrimpers eager to learn about what is happening with their fight against foreign shrimp import dumping. At Tuesday’s meeting, fishermen listened to legislative updates about a petition they submitted last year to the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission about shrimp dumping being investigated. Video, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 09:28

‘I’m a fisherman and lifelong Tory who voted Brexit. I won’t vote for them again’

Fisherman James Stephen has been at sea for more than 40 years. Based in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, which is home to the largest fishing port in Europe, he voted for Brexit in 2016 in the hope it would give his community a greater share of fishing in UK waters. But eight years on, he feels he was sold a “pack of lies” and says it has cost the Conservatives his vote at the general election. I would say that 99 per cent of the fishing industry would have voted for Brexit in the hope that we could get back control of our waters, rightfully get our share of [fishing] quota which was given away when we joined the EU,” says Mr Stephen. “I hoped, by voting for Brexit, we could undo some of the unjust that was done to the industry then. But for me, it’s been a total disaster. Nothing we were promised materialised.” Photos, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 06:40

An Optimist’s view: Death of the Chevron Deference

My name is David Goethel. I am a 55 year plus commercial fisherman, research biologist and former fishery manager. As author of Endangered Species/Chronicles of A new England Fisherman I discuss these topics and a lawsuit I filed in 2015 with the legal group Cause of Action over the legal concept known as Chevron Deference. Most people believe Congress writes laws, the Executive Branch carries out those laws and the Judicial Branch interprets and clarifies whether aspects of those laws are Constitutional and correctly applied. It turns out under a doctrine called “Chevron Deference” the regulatory bureaucracy can deem a law unclear or ambiguous and create any regulation the agency decides it needs to carry out its bureaucratic function. Until this past Friday, the courts gave deference to the regulators as the “recognized experts” even though no proof is required and no test for ambiguity is applied. The Supreme Court overturned Chevron Friday saying they had “placed a tombstone on its grave”. Fishermen, including me, had sued saying that unelected regulators should not have this vast power over our lives. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 20:18

Supreme Court Strips Power from Federal Agencies—Overturning Decades-Old Precedent

The Supreme Court overturned a landmark ruling Friday that gave widespread power to federal agencies, a seismic ruling that has the power to upend how the federal government operates—and delivers a win to conservative groups who long wanted to see the precedent overturned. “Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo” and “Relentless v. Chamber of Commerce” are two linked disputes, both brought by herring fishermen who opposed a federal policy requiring them to pay $700 per day to carry federal monitors on their vessels. The cases more broadly asked the court to overturn “Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council,” a landmark 1984 ruling that gave federal agencies broad power to enact regulations by arguing courts should usually defer to agency staff—a precedent that high-profile figures on the right have long wanted to see struck down. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 10:29

End of cod moratorium touted after 32 years as Ottawa approves small increase in commercial catch

Thirty-two years after the federal government announced a moratorium that shut down Newfoundland and Labrador’s cod industry, Fisheries Minister Diane Lebouthillier said Wednesday that it is reopening. But what the federal government described in a statement as the “historic return of the commercial northern cod fishery” will amount to just a small increase in fishing activity that had been allowed during the recent years of the moratorium. “Ending the northern cod moratorium is a historic milestone for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians,” Lebouthillier said in a statement. “We will cautiously but optimistically build back this fishery with the prime beneficiaries being coastal and Indigenous communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.”  The Fisheries and Oceans announcement comes with political overtones. Video, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 09:40

As salmon season kicks off, some Alaska fishermen fear for their futures

On a brilliant spring morning, Buck Laukitis, a longtime fisherman from this Kenai Peninsula town, stood at the city dock watching his catch come ashore. Crew members aboard Laukitis’ boat, the Oracle, filled bags with dozens of halibut — some of the fatter ones worth $200 or more — which a crane would lift up to the dock. There, processing workers on a small slime line weighed the fish, tossed crushed ice into the gills and slid them into boxes for shipment to Canada. Harvest, unload, sell, repeat — exactly how the iconic Alaska commercial fishing industry is supposed to work. Until you ask Laukitis about the Oracle’s sister vessel, the Halcyon. Instead of fishing for another species, black cod, like it’s built for, the Halcyon is tied up at the dock. For Laukitis to make money, processing companies would need to pay $2.50 for each pound of black cod delivered to a plant. But right now, buyers aren’t paying much more than $1.50, he said. With Laukitis on the dock last month were his young grandkids and adult daughters — fishermen who run a popular brand called the Salmon Sisters. Photos, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 12:40

The last Connecticut lobstermen: How the LI Sound lobster die-off led to a ‘loss of identity’ for some fishermen

It was the summer of 1978. Then-12-year-old Mike Kalaman approached the captains of two lobster boats on a pier in Westport. This was a common activity for Kalaman, whose father, a mechanic, secured him a job at a family friend’s fish market to keep him out of “trouble.” The Norwalk teen would run down to the boats tied up near the Westport market and fire away questions about the crustaceans that would be sold that day. “You want to see how this is done?” a captain finally asked him. That was the first day of Kalaman’s nearly 50-year career as a lobsterman. “You could go down to any beach anywhere in the state of Connecticut, at low tide, turn over rocks and find baby lobsters. That’s how prolific they were,” he recalls.  Then came the die-off. Photos, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 06:47

Family who lost loved ones on Spanish fishing vessel help unveil new N.L. monument

A new monument honouring 21 lives lost on a Spanish fishing boat that sank off the coast of Newfoundland in 2022 was unveiled in St. John’s on Friday by a Spanish delegation that included family of the deceased. The 50-metre-long fishing boat, called the Villa de Pitanxo, operated out of northwest Spain’s Galicia province. It sank at around 2:30 a.m. NT on Feb. 15, 2022. The crew was made up of 16 Spaniards, five Peruvians and at least three Ghanaians, and is the largest fishing disaster in Galicia in the last 50 years. Nine bodies were recovered from the water and repatriated to Spain, but the remaining 12 were never found.  “The memorial is very important for the families. and all people from the sea. Fishermen, our families of the sea,” said María José de Pazo Friday. She lost her father, Francisco. Video, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 18:36

Wild-Caught Chesapeake Blue Catfish Phenomenon Booming: Thank Goodness

Buena Vista Seafood in San Francisco deals in high-end seafood from all around the world. European blue lobsters, Kambatia Reef Fish from Kenya, California Purple Urchins, and Icelandic Arctic Cod, to name a few. Now, the company has added wild-caught Chesapeake Blue Catfish to its list of offerings. “Chesapeake blue catfish check all the boxes,” says Polly Legendre,,, Legendre said the blue cats check the sustainability box because they’re an invasive species,” insanely prolific in terms of reproduction. Targeting them for harvest will help ease the toll they’re taking on the rockfish and blue crab populations, both iconic value species that have built the Chesapeake reputation. Tilghman Island Seafood’s processing capacity and dedication to quality control give their filets a long shelf life and are the reason we can get them from the East Coast to the West Coast in great condition. So they’re a sustainable and reliable fishery. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 11:16

Seafood industry groups unite to oppose bill that would limit bottom trawls

A bill introduced last month in the U.S. House of Representatives that could place limits on trawling by fishermen and shrimpers is drawing the fire of seafood industry groups from Alaska to Florida. House Resolution 8507, the Bottom Trawl Clarity Act, would require the nation’s eight regional Fisheries Management councils, some of which allow fishing trawls to scrape the bottom, to define the terms “substantial” versus “limited” contact of the bottom. The bill is authored by U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola, D-Alaska, who said in a summary of the legislation that “limiting the areas where bottom trawling is allowed will help enhance marine health, diversity, and resilience, strengthening the ocean ecosystem that Alaska fishermen depend on.” more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 16:15

North Carolina: Debates over ending inshore trawling to protect marine life

For commercial fishermen like Thomas Smith, who works in the Pamlico Sound, shrimp trawling is essential for their livelihood. “Most of our income comes between July and November while working on inshore waters,” says Smith. He said that keeping shrimp trawling operations only in the ocean would only be viable for about two months each year, potentially devastating his business. “It would put me out of business,” he adds. Tim Gestwicki, CEO of the NCWF, supports ocean shrimp trawling but insists that inshore trawling must be stopped to protect juvenile fish species, such as the Southern flounder. “It’s time for us to catch up with the times and quit squandering our resources unnecessarily,” said Gestwicki. Video, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 09:37

Beal takes top spots at lobster boat race season opener at The Boothbay Harbor Lobster Boat Races

Jeremy Beal of Jonesport won two top races at the Charlie Begin Memorial Lobster Boat Races in Boothbay Harbor Saturday, June 15. Beal took first place in the Fastest Working Lobster Boat and Diesel Free For All races. He reached a top speed of 58.5 mph in his boat, F/V Maria’s Nightmare IIbeating second place in the working boat race by almost 20 mph. Last year, Beal also won the free for all. photos, results, >>CLICK TO READ<<

Boothbay Harbor Lobster Boat Races – Contributing photographer Michael Leonard once again captured the action of the Charles Begin Memorial Lobster Boat Races on Saturday, June 15. Here is a sampling of his photographs taken from shore at the Maine Department of Marine Resources facilty at McKown Point using his 600mm prime lens along with a teleconverter. Lots of excellent photos. >>CLICK TO VIEW<< 12:23

P.E.I. lobster fishers frustrated by low prices, say they’re the same as 18 years ago

There are just a few weeks left in the spring lobster season on Prince Edward Island, and while catches in many areas have been good, Island fishers are again frustrated by the prices they are being paid on the wharf. At North Lake, P.E.I., Jamie Bruce said fishers are getting $6.50 a pound up to $7, and market prices are the same. Bruce said that’s the same price lobsters were fetching 18 years ago.  “I went back in my records, and I keep a record every year. Actually, I had a guy called me today. He said he thinks in 1997 we even saw these prices,” Bruce said. “So I went back as far as 2006 and we were very similar to what we are then, with the major difference. Everything else is either doubled or tripled in price. Bait. Fuel. Video, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 06:15

Why do fishermen feel disillusioned after Brexit?

“I don’t think it matters who I vote for, they’re all lying,” said fisherman Dave Toy. He said it was not what he voted for and as a result he did not see any point in voting in the general election. Fishermen said they had wanted Brexit to deliver an increase in fish stock, but instead had got more paperwork.  They cited the introduction of a mandatory catch app to record catches before they are landed, new vehicle monitoring systems, inspections and the requirement of medical certificates, which was later removed for existing fishermen. The government said the measures had improved both safety and fish stock management. Fisherman Graham Nicholas said life post-Brexit had been difficult. Photos, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 06:41

‘Deadliest Catch’ Fisherman Nick Mavar Has Passed Away – The Former Northwestern Deckhand Was 59

Nick Mavar, who appeared on Discovery Channel’s reality franchise Deadliest Catch, died Thursday in Naknek, AK, Bristol Bay Police Chief Jeffrey Eldie confirmed to Deadline. He was 59. Mavar suffered a medical emergency at a boatyard in Naknek Thursday afternoon, according to Eldie. Paramedics were called and he was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead of what was determined to be natural causes, Eldie says. He was a familiar face to fans, given his status on the Northwestern, which is captained by the franchise’s de-facto elder statesman, Sig Hansen. Mavar was also uncle to onetime Northwestern greenhorn turned-deckhand turned-Saga captain, Jake Anderson. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 18:10

‘We need it desperately’: Great Lakes Commercial Fishermen look for help as industry shrinks

Commercial fishing on the Great Lakes began 150 years ago, and fishermen once numbered in the thousands. Now, only a handful of businesses are still at it, and many are aging out and looking for help. Jamie LeClair represents the fifth generation involved in her family-run commercial fishing business. Titus Seilheimer, a fisheries specialist for the Wisconsin Sea Grant, said the industry needs to start training the next generation of commercial fishermen. “There are concerns. A lot of folks I work with are getting older, and the fleet is getting grayer,” said Seilheimer. “That’s an issue here in the Great Lakes, but really any fishery.” Video, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 12:57

25 Dishes to Enjoy While Celebrating National Lobster Day

Succulent, buttery lobster. It’s as special as a dish can be, and there’s so many ways to enjoy it. June 15 is National Lobster Day, and it’s a celebration that serves as a great excuse to enjoy a classic lobster roll or steamed lobster. But why stop there? From lobster pot pie to variations on lobster pasta, there’s some beautiful dishes for the avowed lobster lover to truly appreciate. 25 dishes, From Maine Lobster Pot Pie to Lobster Dumplings, to Chicken Fried Maine Lobster. Every dish is stunning! lots of photos from the places that create them and serve them from all over the country. more, >>CLICK TO READ<<  15:16

N.C. Wildlife Federation calls for inshore shrimp trawling ban, commercial fisheries lobbying group responds

N.C. Wildlife Federation CEO Tim Gestwicki called on state legislators Tuesday to “put a stop to inshore shrimp trawling as soon as possible.” In a news release, Gestwicki said the call is in response to the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries canceling the recreational southern flounder season for 2024. Glenn Skinner, executive director of the N.C. Fisheries Association, a Morehead City-based trade and lobbying group for the state’s commercial fishermen, said Tuesday the wildlife federation is using the flounder season cancellation to scare fishermen and “build momentum” for its ongoing effort to ban shrimp trawling. The recreational fishermen exceeded the quota in 2023, he said, but commercial fishermen, who also had a short season, did not. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 17:48

Offshore wind farm lease auction plan has Gulf of Maine fishermen feeling brushed aside

The prospect of hundreds of offshore wind turbines generating power in the Gulf of Maine is moving forward with plans to auction eight leases in a large swath of waters off the New England coast. Jerry Leeman III, the CEO of the New England Fishermen’s Stewardship Association, said there’s not enough data to support the areas that have been chosen for wind development. As now laid out, the plan could take away valuable fishing grounds from New England’s fishing fleet, pose navigational hazards and create new environmental threats, he said. “We still have more questions than we have answers,” he said. “Yet we’re moving ahead with the leasing ahead of the science.” more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 12:37

The anti-windfarm ‘odd couple’ joining forces to fight the renewable energy projects Australia’s already failing to build

Deep in coal country, a lifelong environmentalist and one-time Greens candidate is feeling the applause. It’s Thursday night at a Gladstone pub and Steven Nowakowski has won over sceptical locals. His message is a simple one; he believes a wave of new windfarm developments threatens to smash hilltops and turn koala habitat into “industrial zones”. The green movement, he says, are in “la-la land” over windfarms, a comment that draws nods and knowing smiles from the audience. But its only when one local suggests building a new coal-fired power station does the crowd erupt in spontaneous applause. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 08:59

Speed on the water!: The Charlie Begin Memorial Lobster Boat Races

The official start to Maine’s lobster boat racing season happens every year in Boothbay Harbor over Father’s Day weekend. This year, that date is Saturday, June 15. In 2005, the race event became the Charlie Begin Memorial Lobster Boat Races, in honor of the beloved native lobsterman and racing participant. These races have been thrilling lobstermen, their passengers and spectators since the official start in 1964. Over the past 10 years or so, 35-45 boats have participated from all over the coast.  Race categories include gas classes based on length and cubic inches, diesel classes based on horsepower and length, a wooden boat race, gas and diesel free-for-alls, and four races just for Boothbay Region boats, including Fastest Working Lobster Boat. Photos, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 15:41

Maines Lobster Lady Turns 104 Years Young!

Happy Birthday, rock on, Virginia! Most days it can be a struggle for all us to get up early in the morning and go through the grind of a work week, but imagine doing exactly what you love to do, well beyond the point you could have retired and just kicked back and enjoyed life? And imagine having done the same job since you were 8 years old. The ageless Virginia Oliver is known as Maine’s Lobster Woman. She just turned an astounding 104 years of age on June 6th, and shows no signs of slowing down, and has no plans to stop. And based on how much she enjoys her job, who could blame her? Videos, more,>>CLICK TO READ<< 07:14

Climate change forces 3rd gen fisherman to rethink this year

Every June, fisherman Scott Hawkins and his small crew set sail from a marina in San Diego and travel hundreds of miles, scouring the water, hoping for a good catch of albacore tuna. It can take hours or days to stumble upon a school of them. But when they do, everyone springs into action at once. The men grab fishing poles taller than they are, stand in a row on the edge of the boat and cast their lines into the water. Every few seconds, one of them pulls up a fat, two-foot-long albacore tuna and hoists it over his shoulder onto the pile. Every thud is another one landing atop the dozens already flapping on deck.  They do this 17 hour per day for five months. “It’s the exact same that my grandfather did in the 50s,” Hawkins says. But this June, the boat isn’t leaving the marina. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 15:16

A STAR is Reborn: Fishing boat’s long journey back to original condition, family

When Paul von Goertz first heard that a boat built by the historic Kivela Boatworks Company was being used as a lawn ornament, he knew he had to do something. The “STAR” was built by Jacob Kivela in 1934, for fisherman Sivert Andewson. It was built with the intention of being used to fish the waters of Isle Royale, and so required some special design. “My guess is that Sivert and Jacob Kivela collaborated on the design for the special needs of fishing the exposed waters of Isle Royale,” von Goertz explained. “It was built as a double ender to break following seas, with the beam of the boat forward of amidships so the bow would pop up in a following sea. One does not want to get buried in a following sea as the next wave would push the boat sideways into the trough and from there into a capsize. Pretty smart boat designers!” more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 15:38