Category Archives: Mid Atlantic

Offshore wind farms could reduce Atlantic City’s surfclam fishery revenue up to 25%

New research from Rutgers University shows Mid-Atlantic surfclam fisheries could see revenue losses from planned offshore wind farms, at least in the short- to medium-term after the development takes place. The data is sure to fuel opposition from the fishing industry to the Biden administration’s rapid offshore wind development along the New York, New Jersey, and Delaware coasts. President Joe Biden has a goal of generating 30 gigawatts of wind energy by 2030 as part of his effort to tackle climate change. Clammers and scallop fishermen fear a shrinking patch of fishable ocean will lead to the collapse of the industry. >click to read< 14:03

Whale entanglements dropping but threat remains, feds say

The number of whales entangled in fishing gear has declined recently, but the entanglements remain a critical threat to rare species, the federal government said in a report released Tuesday. There were 53 confirmed cases of large whales entangled in gear in the U.S. in 2020, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday. That was a 25% decline from the previous year and a lower figure than the 13-year average, the agency said. Every coastal region except Alaska saw a decrease in whale entanglements, NOAA said. >click to read< 16:06

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 44′ 11″ X 19′ Novi Dragger, Cat 3406C Diesel

To review specifications, information, and 10 photos’>click here<, To see all the boats in this series >click here< 11:33

Maryland to restrict crabbing, including first-ever limits on harvest of male blue crab

Regulations issued this week, to be in effect from July through December, will limit commercial watermen to at most 15 bushels a day of male crabs in August and September. And the regulations will tighten existing restrictions on how many female crabs watermen can catch. The changes come weeks after an annual survey of Chesapeake blue crabs,,, That state fishery managers moved to limit even the harvest of male crabs demonstrates the gravity of the situation. Limits are typically only imposed on female crabs as a means of ensuring enough of them to survive to spawn, but with a more than 60% decline in the overall estimated blue crab population since 2019, scientists and representatives from the seafood industry are signaling that more protections are needed to help boost crab reproduction. >click to read< 16:02

America’s scallop harvest projected to decline again in 2022

The decline in scallops is happening as prices for the shellfish, one of the most lucrative seafoods in America, has increased amid inflation and fluctuations in catch. Seafood counters that sold scallops for $20 per pound to customers two years ago often sell them for $25 per pound or more now. U.S. scallop fishers harvested more than 60 million pounds of scallops in 2019, but the catch has declined since, and fishers were projected to harvest about 40 million pounds of scallops in the 2021 fishing year. That number is projected to fall to 34 million pounds in the 2022 fishing year, which started this spring, according to the New England Fishery Management Council. >click to read< 13:48

Offshore wind lobby warns of bill’s ‘existential threat’

One of the nation’s largest renewable energy trade groups warned in a letter to Senate leadership this week that a House-approved bill could endanger virtually every planned offshore wind project in the country. Sent Wednesday by the American Clean Power Association, the letter took aim at a provision of the “Don Young Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2022,” which cleared the House by a wide margin in March and has yet to be considered by the Senate. The bill’s provision would establish nationality requirements for crew members who work on offshore energy projects in the United States. Crew members would have to be American citizens or permanent residents or citizens of the same country where their vessel is flagged. >click to read< 08:10

Offshore wind farms expected to reduce clam fishery revenue

An important East Coast shellfish industry is projected to suffer revenue losses as offshore wind energy develops along the U.S. Northeast and Mid-Atlantic coasts, according to two Rutgers studies. The studies examined how offshore wind farms planned for the eastern United States could disrupt fishing of the Atlantic surfclam, a major economic driver from Virginia to Massachusetts that generates more than $30 million in direct annual revenue. Total fleet revenue declines measured by the studies ranged from 3 percent to 15 percent, depending on the scale of offshore wind development and response of the fishing fleet. In New Jersey, losses could be as high as 25 percent for fishing vessels based in Atlantic City. >click to read< 15:36

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 2008 36′ Calvin Beal Lobster/Tuna

To review specifications, information, video, and 57 photos’>click here<, To see all the boats in this series >click here< 11:59

Boaters clobber rare Right whale and calf, but they avoid legal consequences

There’s nothing like a good shipwreck story. The crash happened near dusk on Feb. 12, 2021. A captain and seven passengers were aboard the 54-footer. They were returning from a day of competing at the Northeast Florida Wahoo Shootout. The boat was doing about 21 knots, 24 mph if you’re a landlubber, as it headed for the Conch House Marina in St. Augustine. Nearing their destination, in the St. Augustine Inlet, the boat smacked into something — hard. The boat stopped dead in the water. So did whatever it had hit. Suddenly the “About Time” didn’t have much time. Both its twin engines shut down and the damaged boat began sinking fast. When a pair of Florida wildlife officers showed up, the owner of the boat, Dayne Williams of New Smyrna Beach, blurted out, “I think we hit a whale. I saw fins and blood.” Biologists immediately identified it as an endangered North American right whale. >click to read< 12:34

Proposed N.J. wind farm could have major impact on area fisheries, draft report says

A proposed wind farm off the Jersey Shore could significantly affect local fisheries and boat traffic but generally have little impact on tourism and marine life while helping to move away from oil and gas, according to the draft environmental impact statement released Friday by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The impact statement is the next step toward winning federal approval for Ocean Wind, a wind farm to be built by the Danish energy company Ørsted and PSEG. The draft statement addressed concerns by officials in some New Jersey beach towns that the turbines would spoil the ocean views and discourage tourists from returning. >click to read the foolishness< 14:18

Chesapeake Bay blue crabs in trouble, tighter harvest restrictions loom

With the Chesapeake Bay’s crab population at its lowest ebb in more than 30 years, Maryland and Virginia are moving to curtail harvests in one of the region’s most valuable fisheries. Fisheries regulators in both states have proposed new catch restrictions, with plans to finalize them by the end of June. In Maryland, tighter limits for both commercial and recreational crabbing would take effect in July and for the first time would limit commercial harvests of male crabs, not just females. New commercial restrictions in Virginia would begin in October and continue until the crabbing season ends Nov. 30. >click to read< 08:17

Hudson Canyon to Be New Marine Sanctuary

Hudson Canyon is America’s deepest canyon in the Atlantic Ocean. NOAA will seek public comment on the potential boundaries for the sanctuary and other factors related to its future management through Aug. 8. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York called for the sanctuary designation in an April letter to Richard Spinrad, NOAA’s administrator. But commercial fishermen harbor an inherent suspicion of government-imposed management. Dan Farnham Sr., who has caught tilefish in the area for more than 40 years, said on Monday. “I would say 60 to 70 percent of our catch comes from the canyon area.” Mr. Farnham said that he worries that the ultimate goal is to ban commercial fishing in the proposed sanctuary, which “would be financially devastating to us.” >click to read< 14:08

Commercial Fishermen Wary Of Proposed Sanctuary For Hudson Canyon

The Biden Administration has renewed a longstanding proposal,,, Even though most of the Hudson Canyon is about as far from the South Fork as Queens and Brooklyn, commercial and recreational fishermen from East End ports frequent the waters above it, and news of the sanctuary nomination was met with some reflexive concern from commercial fishermen, in particular, who worry that if the designation is made it could lead to them eventually being blocked from fishing in an area critical to their annual harvests. “About 25 percent of what we catch is from there, squid, scup, fluke, a lot of stuff comes out of that area,” said Hank Lackner, one of the owners of Montauk’s largest commercial fishing trawlers, the 94-foot Jason & Danielle. “And for the local fleet, the mid-sized trawlers, that’s the end of their rope — that’s as far as they can go. They don’t have another option.” photos, >click to read< 17:58

A Place Called Guinea – In Gloucester County, a centuries-old culture with its own dialect endures.

This place is where watermen weathered rugged conditions all day every day, fishing the rivers, dredging the oysters, and hauling in crab pots to harvest the seemingly endless bounty of the Chesapeake Bay. Smelling like fish, dismissive of their swollen hands and knuckles, these same men would later gather in a general store, you could find one on almost every corner, and swap stories over whose catch was the biggest. “Whoever was louder was the winner,” says fireman Nick Bonniville, whose father, grandfather, and a generation of great grandfathers all worked the Guinea waters. >click to read< 08:15

US citizens will suffer from a Hudson Canyon Marine Sanctuary

On June 8 th, the Biden Administration announced its newest attack on American small businessmen by declaring the Hudson Canyon region as a protected marine sanctuary. The Hudson canyon is the largest and deepest canyon on the US east coast, about the size of the Grand Canyon. It was created by the outflow of the Hudson River over the course of millions of years and because it is one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on the east coast, it is also one of the best fishing grounds. In a non-sensible announcement of Biden’s plan, NOAA Administrator Richard Spinrad, joyously proclaimed that “A sanctuary near one of the most densely populated areas of the Northeast U.S. would connect diverse communities across the region to the ocean and the canyon in new and different ways”. How many different fisheries are going to be affected by a Hudson Canyon Closure? Every one of them. By Jim Lovgren >click to read the article< 17:39

President Biden’s plan to save the oceans

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Celebrates World Ocean Day with Actions to Conserve America’s Deepest Atlantic Canyon, Cut Plastic Pollution, and Create America’s First-Ever Ocean Climate Action Plan – >click to read< The following two bullet points are from the Whitehouse Press Release today. Commentary by Nils Stolpe, >click to read< 13:07

Gasoline, diesel prices put squeeze on Hampton Roads commercial fishing

“It’s going to get to a point where the customers won’t want to buy because it’s so outrageously expensive,” said Kyle Robbins. “Everyday it costs me about $150 to $200 just in fuel to leave the dock,” Robbins said. Six days a week, Robbins ventures out on a crabbing boat to haul in hundreds of pounds of crabs from the Chesapeake Bay. But the rising cost of fuel for those boats has caused his crabbing habits to change. “In certain times, maybe we can travel another 10 to 15 miles to catch more crabs, but we’re not wanting to spend the fuel, so we’re traveling only two to three miles,” he said. “It’s a lose-lose situation.” Video, >click to read< 08:15

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 42′ Duffy Tuna Boat, 675HP Cummins Diesel

To review specifications, information, and 43 photos’>click here<, To see all the boats in this series >click here< 12:01

New Right Whale Endangered Species Condom Distributed for World Ocean Day

The Center for Biological Diversity will head to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, June 8 to distribute endangered species condoms in honor of World Ocean Day and mark the 50th anniversary of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Center staff will hand out newly designed right whale condom packages with the slogan “Cover your spout… don’t let the right whale die out.” The new right whale design is part of the Center’s Endangered Species Condoms campaign, which draws attention to how human population growth is affecting critically endangered species. >click to read< 10:55

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 45′ Fiberglass Lobster Boat, 750HP John Deere

To review specifications, information, and 24 photos’>click here<, To see all the boats in this series >click here< 12:00

Reallocation: coming to a dock near you?

Ever since quota transfers in “shared fisheries” have been made so easy to justify (see the Massachusetts justification for the recent reallocation of fluke, bluefish and black sea bass at https://tinyurl.com/yckkr6vm), such transfers each year are going to cost us hundreds of tons of product and tens of millions of dollars of business. And as long as one-third of the voting members of the eight regional fishery management councils and three commissions either work for or run the state agencies that are funded in very large part by Wallop-Breaux revenues (see my most recent piece on Wallop-Breaux funding at https://fisherynation.com/wallop-breaux-funding-the-rest-of-the-story), without a major campaign to make the quota setting system more fair to commercial fishermen, the businesses that depend on them, and the seafood consumers they should be supplying, I don’t see that changing. >click here to read the article by Nils Stople< 14:02

Avoiding ship strikes – Robotic buoys developed to keep Atlantic right whales safe

A Cape Cod science center and one of the world’s largest shipping businesses are collaborating on a project to use robotic buoys to protect a vanishing whale from lethal collisions with ships. A lab at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution developed the technology, which uses buoys and underwater gliders to record whale sounds in near real time. The robotic recorders give scientists, mariners and the public an idea of the location of rare North Atlantic right whales, said Mark Baumgartner, a marine ecologist with Woods Hole whose lab also operates the buoys. >click to read< 14:00

‘It’s the big guys that want it’: New Bedford scallopers leery of leasing proposal

“A typical full-time [Limited Access] scallop vessel harvests its annual scallop allocation in approximately 70 days, leaving vessels inactive and tied to the dock more than 80 percent of the year,” the organization wrote in a July 2020 letter to the NEFMC. “The only growth option is to buy another permit, which means buying another vessel. “Although one vessel could easily harvest the allocation of two LA permits, the fleet has no flexibility to do so,” it continues. “In the absence of a leasing program, smaller, independent owner/operators are not able to grow their operations in reasonable increments.” But to Manuel Vieira, owner and captain of The Guidance, arguments revolving around flexibility were merely pretty words. “They say there will be flexibility because that’s what they think the [council] wants to hear,” Vieira said in Portuguese. “But it won’t pan out well for the little guy.”Video, >click to read< 15:39

America’s biggest scallopers want changes to regulations preventing consolidation

“The bottom line is this proposal is about global control, from the switch to the fish to the dish,” said Alan Cass, a former New Bedford scalloper who began his career as a deckhand and retired as a boat owner. “The resource will be at the mercy of a consolidated effort by these corporations to control ocean-to-table and economically injure the small entities in this industry.” For nearly 30 years, scallopers like Cass and his son, who followed him into the industry, have gone to sea under a set of regulations that limit both the amount of scallops that can be harvested each year and the share of that harvest that belongs to the industry’s biggest players. Roy Enoksen, the president of Eastern Fisheries and a co-owner of the nation’s largest scallop fleet, said leasing would allow him to stack scallop allocations onto more efficient vessels and save on maintenance costs. >click to read< 13:10

Ocean City not relenting in battle against offshore wind farm

Ocean City is not giving up its fight against a proposed offshore wind energy farm seeking state permission to run an underground transmission line through town to connect with the land-based power grid, Mayor Jay Gillian told local residents Saturday. “We still have a long way to go with this,” City Council President Bob Barr said he is beginning to sense that the project’s developer, the Danish energy company Orsted, may be growing concerned about the money it will ultimately have to spend to build the wind farm. “Right now, they’re burning through money like it’s nobody’s business,” Barr said of Orsted. “Eventually, they’re going to have to fish or cut bait on this.” Barr also said that Orsted does not want to have to spend a lot of time bringing the project online. He suggested that the longer Orsted has to wait, the more it may have second thoughts about developing the project. > click to read < 13:27

Conch May Be Doomed—by the Massachusetts DMF Target of Females

The sun permanently setting on a near half century old fishery processor in the nation’s lead commercial fisheries revenue port is not a pretty sight to contemplate. But it is real. And contemplated by a significant processor particularly well run key component to the channeled conch fishery supporting dozens of boats in Southern New England waters. New fishing rules increased the minimum legal landing size by 1/8” chute gauge width size bi-annually since 2019, each time reducing the commercial landings by 120,000 pounds—and revenues lost in that time over $500,000. The next increase is slated for 2023; independent marine economists say “the once $6 million annual fishery will be dropped from the recent annual landings of 806,000 pounds to about 600,000 pounds. Twenty boats will no longer economically function. And the fish processor loading dock will become part time. Or close. Or move out of state where species conservation and scientific awareness, and the fishery economics, will be in far better balance.” > click to read <  17:19

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 50′ Fiberglass Dragger/Permits, Cat 3206

To review specifications, information, and 36 photos’>click here<, To see all the boats in this series >click here< 13:11

US fish landings fell 10% during first pandemic year

America’s commercial fishing industry fell 10% in catch volume and 15% in value during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, federal regulators said Thursday. The 2020 haul of fish was 8.4 billion pounds, while the value of that catch was $4.8 billion, officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. The early months of the pandemic posed numerous challenges for the U.S. fishing industry, which has remained economically viable despite the difficult year, NOAA officials said. NOAA made the announcement as it unveiled its “Status of the Stocks” report, which provides details about the health of the nation’s commercial fishing industry. >click to read< 15:22

Maryland’s oyster harvest largest in 35 years

Bill Sieling, executive vice president of Chesapeake Bay Seafood Industries Association, attributes the excellent haul to both Mother Nature and the canniness of the Maryland oyster industry in putting available resources to their best use. “The combination of having the good substrate there for the young oysters to set upon and then having the oysters available in the area to produce the spawn which is what produces the spat set and therefore had a place to set and grow – and it’s as simple as that,” It takes three years for an oyster to grow to legal market size. This year’s harvest was the culmination of years of investment in the Bay’s oyster growing conditions, Sieling said. >click to read< 13:04

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 78′ Steel Longliner – Price Reduced!

To review specifications, information, and 40 photos’, >click here<, A turnkey vessel that is in excellent condition. To see all the boats in this series >click here< 11:55