Category Archives: Mid Atlantic

On Smith Island, Crab Is Everything. What happens when no one’s around to catch Maryland’s prized blue crab?

It’s the hottest day of the summer on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and at a tiki bar that doesn’t serve alcohol on a windless island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, two teenage boys appear, one holding up a small, live blue crab. “Hey Steve, will you cook this for me?” the boy holding the crab asks Steve Dunlap, who’s behind the bar.  “Aw, put it back, Robert,” Dunlap says. Robert sulkily obliges, letting the crab scuttle off into the bay, but makes it clear that he wasn’t going to kill it. Here, on Smith Island, Maryland, there is an overpowering respect, almost a reverence, for the blue crab. At the dead center of the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, 12 miles from Maryland’s shore, Smith is a central part of the Maryland crabbing industry, and has been for generations. Here, crab is everything: Food, money, work, family, tradition, history. Crab is life. But it might not be for very much longer. click here to read the story 09:36

Sam Parisi – Unless we have the science compared to an independent survey we are in peril at NOAA hands

I was reading an article in South Coast Today regarding the new director of NOAA Jon Hare who said quote, he is willing to talk to the fishermen. Among his duties at the Northeast Fishery Science Center, Mr. Hare is responsible for conducting the ground fish surveys that determine annual catch limits for each species. Fishermen have disagreed with NOAA findings and actually taken photo’s of thousand of lbs of cod caught in their nets. Up to now the vessel Bigelow has done NOAA surveys but now is dockside for repairs, and in it’s place is the Pisces that will only conduct a thirty day survey instead of sixty. click here to read the story 15:43

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for Thanksgiving 2017

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates Click here, for older updates listed as NCFA click here13:34

Trump Administration Dives Into Fish Fight

An unprecedented Trump administration decision over the summer that overruled an interstate fishing commission has drawn the ire of critics who worry that keeping a healthy and viable supply of flounder in the Atlantic Ocean is being sacrificed to commercial profits. While the fight over fish largely has been out of the public eye, it has implications for Maryland and other coastal states. In July, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross overruled a recommendation by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission finding New Jersey out of compliance with proposed 2017 harvest limits of summer flounder along the Atlantic coast. click here to read the story 15:28

Greater Atlantic Region – Our New Community Resilience Website!

We have been working with our Northeast Fisheries Science Center and other partners to address issues of community resilience and to develop ways to support our regional fishing communities. Part of this effort is our new website (click here) that contains information on how we define community resilience, our near and long-term goals, recent workshop proceedings and next steps, as well as links to our partners, data portals, and other resources. Learn how we are supporting our communities as they face regulatory, environmental, and economic challenges from a changing climate, ocean acidification, and other impacts. If you have questions, email NMFS, GAR, Community [email protected] 11:11

Juvenile striped bass maintain average abundance in Virginia waters in 2017

Preliminary results from an ongoing long-term survey conducted by researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science suggest an average year class of young-of-year striped bass was produced in Virginia tributaries of Chesapeake Bay in 2017. The 2017 year class represents the group of fish hatched this spring that will grow to fishable sizes in 3 to 4 years. The program, formally known as the Juvenile Striped Bass Seine Survey, recorded a mean value of 8.98 fish per seine haul in the Virginia portion of Chesapeake Bay, which is similar to the historic average of 7.77 fish per seine haul. click here to read the story 08:16

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for November 17, 2017

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates Click here, for older updates listed as NCFA click here16:07

Chairman James Gilmore hopes to modernize Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission

The announcement in mid-October that James Gilmore had been elected Chairman of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) came as no surprise to anglers familiar with the fishery management process at the federal level. Voted in by the ASMFC State Commissioners from Maine to Florida, the lifelong Amityville resident had spent the past two years as vice chairman. He is also Division of Marine Resources Director for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), a position he has held for the last decade and will continue to hold. In his new role as ASMFC chairman, Gilmore oversees both administration and policy issues for the regulatory agency’s individual species management boards. click here to read the story 09:35

Peconic Bay scallopers asked to slow down due to plentiful harvest

This year’s Peconic Bay scallop harvest is starting off with one of the strongest yields in years, according to local seafood markets and baymen. “It’s definitely a pretty impressive year,” said Charlie Manwaring, owner of Southold Fish Market. During the first week, in fact, so many baymen brought in their 10-bushel limit that he and other market operators asked them to hold off bringing in more so that they could catch up with the oversupply, which strained their ability to shuck and sell the mounds of shellfish. click here to read the story 15:24

Marine biologists, baymen bringing back Peconic Bay scallops – There is a story in every shell. click here to read the story

NOAA/NMFS Seeks Comments on Proposed Rulemaking for American Lobster Fishery

NOAA Fisheries seeks comments on the American lobster control date, changes to lobster trap gear marking requirements, and allowing substitute vessels to fish lobster traps for federally permitted but inoperable vessels. In accordance with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Addenda XXI and XXII to Amendment 3 of the Interstate Fisheries Management Plan for American Lobster, NOAA Fisheries may select January 27, 2014, or another date, as a control date for the lobster fishery, depending on public comment and input from the Commission. click here to read the press release 12:53

ASMFC rejects plan to change menhaden management strategy, increases catch limit 8%

The Atlantic Marine Fisheries Commission decided Monday not to change the way it manages menhaden, an important species of fish at the bottom of the food chain. At a meeting in Linthicum, the panel rejected a proposal from conservationists that would have considered the effect of the menhaden commercial fishery on larger Atlantic ecosystems. Instead, on Tuesday the commission adopted a revised menhaden catch limit of 216,000 metric tons for 2018 and 2019, an 8 percent increase over the current limit. The limit is intended to ensure the menhaden population remains stable. click here to read the story 11:16

Newport News man convicted for drunken fake distress call to Coast Guard

A Newport News man who drunkenly cried wolf out on the open water now faces up to 12 years in prison. 39-year-old Justin P. Stahmer was convicted by a federal jury on Monday for issuing a fake distress call to the U.S. Coast Guard. According to United States Attorney Dana J. Boente, Stahmer initially denied making the call, before saying he called the Coast Guard because he ran out of gas. When Coast Guard Boarding Officers inspected his boat, Stahmer became belligerent, which led to an arrest for boating under the influence of alcohol. click here to read the story 10:47

The Future Of Offshore Wind Farms In The Atlantic

Fishermen are worried about an offshore wind farm proposed 30 miles out in the Atlantic from Montauk, New York, the largest fishing port in the state. They say those wind turbines – and many others that have been proposed – will impact the livelihood of fishermen in New York and New England. Scallop fisherman Chris Scola pulls out of a Montauk marina at 2 a.m. and spends the next two-and-a-half hours motoring to an area about 14 miles out into the Atlantic. Then, with the help of his two-man crew, spends about 10 hours dredging the sea floor for scallops before heading back to port.,,, “It’s not just us in New York. It’s all down the Seaboard. They want projects from Maine all the way down to South Carolina.” click here to read the story 14:57

Environmentalists Are Wrong About Menhaden Fishery

Fishing companies are at odds with Rhode Island environmental advocacy groups over proposed changes for the menhaden fishing industry, Changes to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden are up for a vote at the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission meeting in Maryland this Monday and Tuesday. Meghan Lapp, fishery liaison for the Rhode Island-based Seafreeze Ltd, said that temporary plan shouldn’t be implemented because it’s based off of science that isn’t applicable to menhaden. click here to read the story 12:19

Atlantic Menhaden Management Board Meeting November 13, 2017 1:00 pm to consider approval of Amendment 3

The Board will meet to consider approval of Amendment 3 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden. The Commission’s Business Session will meet immediately following the conclusion of the Atlantic Menhaden Board to consider final approval of Amendment 3. In total, there are 3 sets of meeting materials:  main meeting materials, supplemental materials and supplemental materials # 2. The main meeting materials, which can be reviewed pdf click here include the Draft Agenda, Draft Board Proceedings from August 2017, and the Technical Committee Memo on Stock Projections for the Interim Reference Point Options in Draft Amendment 3 (please note this has been revised in Supplemental Materials #2). click here for info and webinar link 20:00

THE FORAGE FISH FARCE

December 14, 2012 — The Providence Journal’s “PolitiFact” unit investigated claims made by Pew Environment Group in advertisements they ran in several newspapers asking east coast governors to support their demand for a 50% cut in the menhaden harvest. Pew justified this demand saying “… in recent years, menhaden numbers along our coast have plummeted by 90 percent.”  The newspaper found the claim to be “Mostly False”. The Providence Journal Lenfest is a Marketing/PR/Lobbying arm of Pew Charitable Trusts, Pew Environmental Group. They (Pew, Lenfest, Oceana, EDF, etc.) are presently working on eliminating the East Coast Menhaden fishery (aka Bunker, Pogies) after going after West Coast sardines recently. click here to read the story 11:38

Decision coming Monday on Menhaden management

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will decide on a new management plan for Atlantic menhaden at a meeting near Baltimore on Monday. Fishermen and environmentalists have a lot riding on how much of the resource is set aside for fishing, and how much is left for wildlife predators. Known as Amendment 3, the new rule will set the future course for managing the forage fish species eaten by many other fish, birds like osprey, dolphins and whales. click here to read the story Atlantic Menhaden Management Board – The Board will meet to consider approval of Amendment 3 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden. click here to read 3 sets of meeting materials 10:35

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for November 10, 2017

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates Click here, for older updates listed as NCFA click here 15:44

Offshore Wind: LIPA Blasted at Meeting

A discussion on Nov. 1 of the proposed South Fork Wind Farm, hosted by the East Hampton Town Trustees’ harbor management committee, was blown off course. The three-hour meeting at Scoville Hall in Amagansett was largely devoted to a presentation by Michael McDonald of the East End Resilience Network. While Mr. McDonald praised Deepwater Wind, the Rhode Island company that hopes to build the 15-turbine wind farm approximately 30 miles off Montauk, he was harshly critical of the Long Island Power Authority and PSEG Long Island, which manages the grid for LIPA.,,, Bonnie Brady emphasized the commercial fishing industry’s opposition to the wind farm click here to read the story 17:18

Omega Protein Employees and Supporters Call for Fisheries Managers To Protect Menhaden Jobs

457 Omega Protein employees and supporters have signed a petition urging the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) to protect the jobs created by the Atlantic menhaden fishery. The petition, part of the public comment process for Amendment 3 to the Atlantic Menhaden Interstate Fishery Management Plan, provides the Commission with the perspectives of those whose livelihoods would be most affected by any new restrictions on the menhaden fishery, and contrasts the outside pressure generated by international environmental groups and individuals who do not live in one of the 15 Atlantic coastal states. The Omega Protein petition, addressed to the ASMFC’s Atlantic Menhaden Fishery Management Plan Coordinator Megan Ware, calls for the ASMFC to continue its current menhaden management approach until its scientific advisers finish their ongoing work developing menhaden-specific ecological reference points. Some environmental groups are advocating for interim reference points that reduce catch levels by up to 80 percent. click here to read the story 20:29

North Carolina: Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project accepting applications

The North Carolina Coastal Federation is accepting applications from commercial watermen to assist in its annual on-the-water Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project. The project is open to any fisherman with a Standard Commercial Fishing License in North Carolina. Those selected help the federation and the North Carolina Marine Patrol remove lost fishing gear from coastal waters during the no-potting period, typically from Jan. 15 to Feb. 7.  Compensation is $400 per boat, per day. Each boat is required to have two people onboard for safety reasons.  click here for the story, application details 09:18

NOAA Fisheries Seeks Comments on Proposed Scup Quotas

NOAA Fisheries proposes to revise the 2018 quotas and announce projected 2019 quotas for the scup fishery. Compared to the current specifications in place for 2018, this action would increase the commercial quotas and recreational harvest limits each by approximately 40 percent. The recent scup stock assessment update indicated that the stock is not overfished and overfishing did not occur in 2016. The update also showed that the 2015 year class was about 2.1 times larger than the average recruitment (i.e., number of age 0 scup) from 1984 to 2016. huh! click here to read the press release 17:28

Federal bill that could eliminate shark fin sales puts pressure on N.C. shark fishermen

The sale of shark fins may soon become illegal for coastal fisherman across the country. Legislation has been introduced to the House and Senate which would make it illegal to possess, buy, sell, or transport shark fins or any product containing shark fins. Local fishermen make a portion of their income based off of the sale of shark fins and shark meat. Some perceive this aspect of their business to be at risk because of the potential regulation. North Carolina congressmen David Rouzer, Tedd Budd, David Price and Congresswoman Alma Adams all cosponsor the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act of 2017. The bills, S.793 and H.R.1456 are opposed by Congressman Walter Jones, North Carolina’s Third District representative. click here to read the story 07:53

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for November 3, 2017

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates Click here, for older updates listed as NCFA click here 22:49

H.R. 1456 and S. 793 – Congressman Walter B. Jones Weighs in for North Carolina Fishermen

Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) is moving to help Eastern North Carolina fishermen who could be hurt by legislation pending before Congress.  The bills threaten America’s domestic shark fisheries, and a significant piece of those fisheries is in Eastern North Carolina.  They are sustainably managed and help support the economy in coastal North Carolina and other small fishing communities around the country. The bills – H.R. 1456 and S. 793 – purport to be an attempt to stop the practice of shark finning (i.e. the process of removing fins at sea and discarding the shark).  They seek to do so by banning the sale of fins, even those harvested legally here in the United States. click here to read the press release 14:53

New York businessman set to be sentenced for dealing in black market eels from Virginia

Tommy Zhou knew what they were doing was illegal, according to court documents. American eel stocks were low as Asian markets rushed to buy more, and strict caps were being imposed on U.S. fishermen. But Zhou told the undercover police officers who came to his New York office in 2013 that selling him black market eels wouldn’t be a problem as long as no one developed a “big mouth.” And, he said, he was willing to spend $200,000 to have them killed if they betrayed him. Zhou, of New York, pleaded guilty earlier this year to illegally trafficking more than $150,000 worth of juvenile American eels, also known as “elvers” or “glass eels.” He is set to be sentenced this afternoon in U.S. District Court. click here to read the story 10:59

How Big Business Uses Big Government To Ruin Small Fishermen Like Me

Ensnared in an international trade dispute between Vietnam and very large U.S. catfish farms are hundreds of small wild-caught catfish producers throughout the United States. As a commercial fisherman for near on 40 years now, it didn’t take long for me to figure out that nature was at best ambivalent about whether I make a living. Being driven from the water by a thunderstorm that made working the last few crabtraps in a string unsafe was not unusual. Even if the weather part of nature cooperated, of course, there were fluctuations in abundance.,, But you know what, your own government is not nature click here to read the story 09:08

Maryland slashes oyster restoration acreage goal in Eastern Shore sanctuary

Maryland has decided to reduce the large-scale oyster restoration project goal in the Little Choptank River after boaters ran aground at another sanctuary and some of the man-made reefs there had to be rebuilt. The sanctuaries are among five planned to be built as part of a federal-state agreement to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.,, Skeptical of oyster restoration from the start, watermen have complained of trotlines getting stuck in new stone river bottoms and boats being damaged by oyster reef “high spots” in Harris Creek. A trotline is a long, heavy fishing line with short, baited lines suspended from it. They are often used to catch blue crabs in Maryland. click here to read the story 09:46

New England, Mid-Atlantic States Lead Nation in Volume and Value of Several Key Fisheries

NOAA Fisheries has released the Fisheries of the U. S. 2016 report, and once again New Bedford, Mass. was the leading U.S. port by value and American lobsters were the nation’s most valuable landed species. Alaska led all states in the value and volume of commercial landings, with 5.6 billion pounds valued at $1.6 billion. Maine and Massachusetts ranked second and third in the value of landings at $633.6 million and $552.1 million, respectively. American lobsters were the nation’s top-valued species landed, with crabs second and scallops third. Alaska pollock ranked first in volume of landings, followed by menhaden and Pacific cod.  click here to read the story 17:39