Category Archives: Mid Atlantic

Former skipper gets deferred-prosecution deal in fisheries case

Thomas Kokell, a former commercial trawler-boat captain, was indicted in 2016 on four counts of mail fraud, conspiracy and filing false fishing reports in connection with an alleged scheme to illegally harvest nearly 200,000 pounds of fluke in 2011 and 2012. The fish were valued at nearly $400,000. Kokell was released Tuesday on his own recognizance after a court appearance in which the deal was approved by a federal judge, according to federal court documents and Kokell’s attorney. He will not enter a plea and the charges will be dismissed, avoiding prison time and fines, if he “avoids future misconduct” over the next year, according to his attorney Peter Smith and court documents. >click to read<07:56

N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission panel in disarray ahead of quarterly meeting

Just as the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission convenes on Wednesday for its quarterly meeting in Raleigh, there has been a complete turnover of the panel’s commercial fishing members.
By statute, the nine-member board must include three members representing the commercial industry. Sammie Corbett and Alison Willis, both of whom have served since 2014, submitted their resignations Monday night.,,, Both the N.C. Fisheries Association and N.C. Watermen United sent letters Tuesday to state officials asking that no action be taken on any issues that affect the commercial industry until there is full representation. >click to read< 08:44

310-pound bull shark caught in Southern Maryland waters

A commercial fisherman pulled an 8.6-foot, 310-pound bull shark from his pound net trap at the mouth of the Patuxent River in Southern Maryland on Monday — an uncommon catch that has been the buzz of the bay as the picture has made its rounds. Larry “Boo” Powley, 65, of Hoopers Island said he found the shark, which had swum into the trap just below Cedar Point to feed on the fish inside, when he checked his four pound nets at sunrise. It wasn’t the first shark he’s caught in the Chesapeake Bay. But he was astounded at its size. “I’ve been on the water for 42 years,” Powley said. “I’ve never seen one that big.” >click to read<17:40

Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council Meeting in Virginia Beach August 13–16

The public is invited to attend the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s meeting to be held August 13-16, 2018 in Virginia Beach, VA. The meeting will be held at the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront (3001 Atlantic Ave., Virginia Beach, VA 23451, Telephone 757-213-3000). Briefing Materials & Agenda Overview Agenda >click here< Attend Meeting with Adobe Connect >click here< Listen Live! 19:15

New Jersey – Governor Murphy signs bill for marine fisheries management

A bill to provide an extra $1.2 million to the state Bureau of Marine Fisheries for shellfish and fisheries management was signed into law Friday by Governor Murphy. It’s an increase to the $2.468 million allocated in the Governor’s proposed FY2019 budget, said bill sponsors, bringing the total appropriation to $3.668 million for the coming fiscal year. New Jersey has 6 major commercial fishing ports which this law would primarily affect, although the law would affect other ports as well: Atlantic City, Barnegat Light, Belford in Monmouth County, Cape May, Point Pleasant and Port Norris. New Jersey’s commercial fishermen catch more than 100 million pounds of seafood each year, worth more than $100 million, the sponsors said. >click to read<13:48

New England/Mid-Atlantic – Illex Squid Directed Fishery Closes August 15

Effective at noon on August 15, 2018, vessels are prohibited from fishing for or landing more than 10,000 lb of Illex squid per trip per calendar day in or from federal waters through December 31, 2018. Landings information analyzed by NOAA Fisheries projects the Illex squid fishery will meet 95 percent of the annual quota for the 2018 fishing year by August 15, 2018. NOAA Fisheries is closing the directed fishery in federal waters through the end of the fishing year, December 31, 2018. >click to read<09:18

Bay State Wind alters layout for offshore wind farm, but fisheries call foul

Bay State Wind LLC is changing the turbine layout of its 800-MW Bay State Offshore Wind Project to accommodate the U.S. commercial fishing industry’s ability to work between turbines. But fisheries say the changes are too little, too late and underscore their growing frustration with the offshore wind sector. However, the commercial fishing industry is not satisfied with Bay State Wind’s changed layout. Meghan Lapp, fisheries liaison for Rhode Island-based frozen seafood producer Seafreeze Ltd., said one-mile-wide transit lanes can make it dangerous for trawl vessels to fish with their nets without hitting other boats or project infrastructure. Buffer zones for each side of a transit lane are also needed due to potential radar interference from the turbines. >click to read< 09:48

Commercial Fisherman Plead With State Consultant For License System Overhaul

The young men who work the decks of Hank Lackner’s dragger, Jason & Danielle, spend up to three weeks at a time far over the horizon from their homes in Montauk, toiling in heat and high seas. “My crew just spent 13 days at sea, working 20-hour days—these are true commercial fishermen,” Mr. Lackner told a consultant who has been hired by the state to craft new licensing guidelines at a meeting in Southampton last week. “They spend 200 days a year on my boat, they don’t have a lot of chances to get out. They shouldn’t be eliminated from this process. We don’t want them to go away. We have to figure out a way where the [landings of] trips they worked gets them some kind of credit for being on the boat.” For years, young commercial fishermen have been stalled from setting out on their own by the state’s embargo on issuing “new” licenses, and by inflexible rules for transferring existing licenses from those who are leaving the industry to those trying to get in. >click to read<10:58

Always Top Quality! Your Seafreeze Ltd. Price Sheet for August 2018 Has Arrived!

Contact our sales team today @ 401 295 2585 or 800 732 273 For the complete price list from Seafreeze Ltd., >Click here< – We are Direct to the Source-We are Fishermen-We are Seafreeze Ltd! >Click here< to visit our website! 09:55

Company accused of diluting Chesapeake blue crab meat with imported crab

Few things say local like the Chesapeake blue crab. It has scuttled its way into Maryland’s tourism slogan and is part of the region’s signature dish, proudly touted on menus and in markets as a taste of the Bay in an era when “eat local” has become the mantra of foodies. But a few years ago, a tipster reached out to authorities with an unsavory allegation: A major Virginia seafood supplier was selling packages of premium Chesapeake blue crab meat cut with cheaper foreign crab. It wasn’t even the same species. In an unusual probe, federal agents fanned out to markets across Virginia, Delaware and North Carolina, scooping up crab meat from Casey’s Seafood and sending it out for the type of DNA analysis more common in rape and murder cases. >click to read<11:23

Testimony: Young fishermen being driven from Long Island fishing industry

A generation of young fishermen are being driven from the industry by an antiquated licensing system that makes it difficult if not impossible to transfer permits, fishermen said at one of several state meetings last week. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has hired a consultant from Maine to meet with commercial fishermen across the metropolitan area over the next month to compile proposals for fixing the system.,, Norman Stiansen, a commercial fisherman from Hampton Bays, said his son Peter recently gave up on becoming a commercial fishermen because he couldn’t get the needed licenses. >click to read<08:50

Montauk Trying To Save Long Island Shore From Wind Farms – Residents are against it and need more support.

July 11, at the Montauk Playhouse just beneath the Montauk Manor there was an open town hall meeting featuring representatives of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management concerning a project to produce 2,400 megawatts of power by 2030 (12 years from now.) The plan is to construct “eventually” clusters of wind farms along the 100-mile south shore of Long Island from 3 to 200 miles out. The project is to start off Montauk. The large hedge fund putting up a reported $560M has tried to frame the debate as “commercial fishermen worried about their fishing grounds versus clean wind power energy,” but that just is not the case. >click to read<07:53

Susquehanna River Debris Has Crabbers Concerned After Heavy Rains

The slew of debris from as far as upstate New York is now hitting our region after officials were forced to open gates on the Conowingo Dam in the Susquehanna River. This is due to the rain that pounded the area last week. For Blair Baltus, he’s bearing the brunt of that debris. “When that flood water came down, it killed most of the crabs that were in the pots.” President of the Baltimore Watermens Association, Baltus says these months are supposed to be the peak of crab catching season. “With these gates opening up it pretty much flushed away everything we had.” Baltus said. >click to read<11:07

Fishermen up in arms over plan to build windmills off Long Island coast

It’s before dawn on a recent July morning at Lazy Point in Napeague Bay, LI, and there is a slight chill in the air as the fishermen unload their boats into the water. Dan Lester, a 12th-generation bayman, and his son Daniel, 14, are among those heading to sea to check their traps. “This is the most sustainable fishing you’ll ever see,” Dan says as they begin hand-sorting the fish trapped in their nets, tossing whatever they can’t sell, including small spider crabs and stingrays, back into the ocean. On a certain level, not much has changed for these New York baymen since the 1600s, when their ancestors came from places such as Kent, England, and were taught to fish by native Algonquin tribe members. But these East End fishermen fear it soon will. They are up in arms over an agreement to build 15 massive windmills – each more than 650 feet tall, the height of Manhattan skyscrapers – off the coast of Montauk. >click to read<09:33

Deepwater in Deep Trouble: Fishermen Tell Off-Shore Wind Farm Developers to [email protected]*#K Off

Wind developers just ran aground off the New Jersey coast, with fishermen telling them to stick their wind turbines where the sun don’t shine. Gripped with a maniacal obsession with wind power, New York State, under Andrew Cuomo, is determined to wreck its once affordable and reliable power supplies, and much more, besides. It’s not as if New Yorkers are short of power. With tens of billions of dollars in subsidies up for grabs, RE rent-seekers have scoped out every last inch of territory in which they might get to spear a few more of these whirling wonders, and start harvesting those subsidies, in earnest. Like all forms of crony capitalism, the rent-seekers will do and say anything to win political favour. Building subsidised offshore wind turbines, is no exception. >click to read<07:56

Once in a blue moon: Crabber catches rare all-blue blue crab

Jim McInteer and his crew mate Alan Payne knew they had captured an oddity the moment they pulled their crab pot from the York River last Tuesday. “We were excited about it,” says McInteer. “Alan yelled, ‘Come look at this crab!’ He very carefully took him out of the pot and then I could see exactly what it was — I’d read about how they occur every now and then, so we knew what we had.” McInteer, who at 73 has been crabbing commercially for 10 years and recreationally for decades, says he’s caught blue crabs “with blotches of white, and some other slight discolorations, but never a solid-blue blue crab.”Recognizing its rarity, they donated it to the laboratory of Professor Rom Lipcius, an expert in crustacean ecology at William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science. >click to read<16:19

Devastating report has seafood dealer on his heels, angry – U.S. senator calls for an investigation

A national seafood distributor is defending its reputation as sales plummet after The Associated Press found it was not living up to a guarantee that all of its seafood was wild, sustainable, traceable and caught by local fishermen. Sea To Table owner Sean Dimin said most problems identified by the AP were honest mistakes or the result of miscommunication, and some supporters came to his defense. But four former employees said they raised concerns about mislabeling, the blending of imports and deceptive marketing practices years ago, and were ignored or silenced. A U.S. senator has called for an investigation, and a community-supported fishery filed cease-and-desist orders, demanding Sea To Table stop deceptive marketing. >click to read<13:25

Fishing is a family business – Three couples know everybody needs to pitch in to make a living

Long Island’s fishing families know how to adapt. They have to if they want to keep making their living from the water. Many have succumbed to the sea of quotas and regulations. Fewer and fewer are hanging on. In the past eight years, the number of commercial food fish licenses has dropped by double digits —11 percent — from 1,030 in 2018 to 916 so far this year, state data show.,, Most of the families still in commercial fishing run mom-and-operations, Brady said. “Some can go back 15 generations, some have been here since the ’70s,” she said, “and some are just starting out”  The Phillipses, the Osinskis, and the Lofstads. >click to read<08:51

On Long Island, fishing is a family business and a way of life

Mark and Mary Bess Phillips are among a dwindling number of commercial fishing families on Long Island. On Wednesday, July 25, they discussed their experiences while their boat the “Illusion” was docked at Greenport Harbor. >click to watch<08:34

Consumers are going to lose in Cuomo’s bet on wind energy

During his successful 1932 run for the White House, New York Gov. Franklin Roosevelt campaigned hard on the issue of electricity affordability. In a speech in Portland, Ore., he told voters that as governor, he had made sure that the New York Public Service Commission was acting “as an agent of the public.”,,, Alas, under Gov. Cuomo — who’s lining up his own bid for the White House — the Public Service Commission is doing the exact opposite. On July 12, the commission issued a 66-page order that requires the state’s electric utilities to subsidize the development of offshore wind, one of the most expensive methods of producing electricity. Cuomo’s plan, which is adamantly opposed by commercial fishing groups, will require covering hundreds of square miles of some of the most heavily fished and navigated waters on the Eastern Seaboard with hundreds of wind turbines. >click to read<

The Jones Act and Offshore Wind in Light of the Aeolus Energy Announcement

A potential sea change came with the recent announcement from Aeolus Energy Partners that the renewable installation and operation company was investing in a fleet of Jones Act-compliant vessels dedicated to the offshore wind industry. Long a barrier to entry for foreign and domestic prospectors alike, the Jones Act, a portion of the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, holds: “A vessel may not provide any part of the transportation of merchandize by water, or by land and water, between points in the United States to which the coastwise laws apply, either directly or via a foreign port [unless the vessel was] built in and documented under the laws of the United States and owned by person who are citizens of the United States.” >click to read<15:03

A profound threat to our fisheries, the ocean habitat, and our way of life. Please read and sign this important petition

Dear Secretary Zinke: We participate, either directly or indirectly, in a wide range of commercial fisheries in the New York-New Jersey Bight. The Bight is the geographic indentation along the Atlantic Coast extending northeasterly from Southern New Jersey to the eastern tip of Long Island. We write to express our concern and opposition to the proposed wind energy lease areas the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has put out for “Call” in the New York-New Jersey Bight. We have appreciated your outreach to our industry over the past year, and hope we can continue a constructive dialogue. At the same time, we want to make sure you understand that the risks to our industry from poorly-planned offshore wind energy development are immense. If you were to draw a bulls-eye where our historic Mid-Atlantic fishing grounds are on a map, the bulls-eye would include the Hudson North and Hudson South Areas identified by the State of New York, and the Fairways North and Fairways South areas that BOEM unilaterally and subsequently added to the Call. This is a profound threat to our fisheries, the ocean habitat more generally, and our way of life. >click here to read and sign the petition<12:33

2018-2019 Monkfish Research Set-Aside (RSA) Program

Three new cooperative research projects announced today will improve understanding of monkfish biology and how to reduce catch of skates in monkfish gillnet gear. The projects are possible because of an innovative program established by the New England and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Councils, and managed by NOAA Fisheries in the region. Under it, monkfish fishing days are set-aside each year and revenue generated from the sale of those days are used to pay for research projects. Award recipients for the 2018-2019 Monkfish Research Set-Aside (RSA) Program include the Coonamessett Farm Foundation, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County, and the University of New England. >click to read<10:08

Love Blue Crabs? Meet the Red Crab

If blue crab is this region’s Beyoncé, Atlantic deep-sea red crab is the backup singer you’ve never heard of. Found about 2,000 feet below sea level, these crustaceans are harder to harvest than their Chesapeake cousins. Plus, only one East Coast company is licensed to catch them. “I’ve been in business for 22 years, trying to put red crab on the map,” Atlantic Red Crab Company founder Jon Williams says. “It’s very well received when there’s no blue crab around, but as soon as blue crab becomes available, we take a second seat.” >click to read<21:18

Maryland crabbers rescue bald eagle

As they were crabbing in the early morning Wednesday, July 18, twin brothers Christopher and Russell Payne of Easton saw something unusual flopping around in the Tred Avon River off Oxford. The closer they edged their 27-foot workboat Twice the Payne, however, they realized a male bald eagle was struggling to swim. “He looked worn out,” Chris Payne said. “He was trying to swim towards shore about 100 to 200 yards in front of the Sunset Grill.” Russell retrieved the eagle with his crab net and eased him onto the stern of their boat. The brothers kept their distance while they called the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.“He was still skittish, and we didn’t want to get close to it. He was breathing like he had run a marathon,”>click to read<16:03

Blue crab population declines by almost 18%

The annual Blue Crab Advisory Report by the Chesapeake Bay Program and developed by the Chesapeake Bay Stock Assessment Committee, finds that the overall Chesapeake Bay blue crab population decreased by almost 18 percent from 455 million in 2017 to 372 million in 2018. The report, released last month, provides scientific analysis of the Bay’s blue crab population to help resource managers as they set blue crab fishing regulations.,, According to the report and the scientific reference points that resource managers follow for “target” (healthy) and “threshold” (border between safe and unsafe) levels, the Bay’s blue crab population is currently not depleted, nor is it being overfished. >click to read<20:12

Why the fishing industry is against offshore wind farms near Ocean City

Representatives say wind farms could cause harm by driving marine wildlife away, disturbing the ocean environment and making navigation more difficult for fishers and mariners. “Now with the current offshore wind leasing process, we have these fishing grounds being sold right out from under us,” said Meghan Lapp during a recent presentation to the Ocean City Town Council. But marine biologists and wind farm officials say the impact won’t be that severe. “I think they took an emotional approach to the problem. … So there was some degree of misinformation,” said Salvo Vitale, general counsel for U.S. Wind, one of the offshore wind energy companies involved in the Maryland project. The town’s officials feel very strongly that this project was misrepresented to them because the size of the wind turbines has increased since the initial proposal,,, >click to read<10:18

DEC Announces Public Information Sessions to Modernize and Reform State’s Commercial Fishing Licensing System

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that the agency is holding a series of meetings across the State’s Marine and Coastal District in July and August to gather feedback from key stakeholders about the State’s current commercial fishing licensing system and ideas for reforms to modernize and improve the program. In March 2018, DEC retained the services of an expert marine fisheries consultant, George LaPointe, who will facilitate the meetings to be held in Brooklyn, East Setauket, Freeport, Southampton, Staten Island, Southold >click to read<19:05

Sam Parisi: HR-200 was passed in the House and will now move on to the Senate. Push Your Senators!

There has been a lot of those for and against the bill, and after reading the forty-nine pages of the bill and trying to consume it, I have come to the conclusion that over all it is a move in the right direction. The enactment of the 200 mile limit was needed because of foreign fisherman from other countries were destroying our Fisheries and our government at that time had no jurisdiction, Japanese and Russian Factory Ships were invading our waters using small mesh netting scooping up small fish like haddock, cod, flounder, and other bottom dwelling species. I say this because while fishing for whiting off the Canyons near Cape Cod I saw in front of me and fishing along side of me, those factory ships. >click to read<17:48