Category Archives: Mid Atlantic

Federal Judge Finds Lobster Fishery Threatens Endangered Whales, Orders NMFS To Comply

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg of the District of Columbia said in a 20-page order Thursday a 2014 finding by the National Marine Fisheries Service the American lobster fishery would not jeopardize the North Atlantic right whale population – of which there are 400 left in the world – violated the Endangered Species Act, granting summary judgment in favor of several conservation groups. The 2014 Biological Opinion by the National Marine Fisheries Service failed to include an “incidental take statement,” rendering the opinion illegal under the Endangered Species Act, Boasberg found. >click to read< 07:49

With Coronavirus pandemic ravaging our country, temporary relaxation of fishery regulations is urged to help fishing industry

Thanks to our Senators and Congressmen who worked to get specific aid to the fishing industry, that has been hit particularly hard by the closure of restaurants, where 70 per cent of seafood in this country is consumed. Fishermen and wholesalers have had to adapt on the fly and find other ways to market their product to various degrees of success. The closure of so many vital aspects of our domestic economy will have effects that will still be felt a long time after the Virus is tamed.,, I am requesting that NMFS immediately contact the various management councils and commissions to request that special meetings [webinars] of fishery advisory panels be held to discuss the pro’s and cons of this idea, and what fisheries could benefit.,,, By Jim Lovgren. >click to read< 20:48

Rocked by coronavirus, LI fish markets are bouncing back

Long Island seafood markets, rocked by the coronavirus pandemic, are slowly bouncing back from sharp drop-offs in restaurant orders and other broadsides, some by branching out. The state’s order to pause non-essential businesses until April 29 had a quick and sharp impact on most fish dealers, who buy from local fishermen, importers and big fish markets such as Hunts Point in the Bronx. It has backed up the supply chain, sent prices plummeting and idled some fishing boats. Local dealers and retailers have taken on new models to adapt.,, Big boat owners who supply much of the porgies, squid, fluke and sea bass for the region say they are still seeing an impact. “The market is going day by day,” said Dave Aripotch, a trawler captain from Montauk. >click to read< 07:43

Coronavirus Assistance for Commercial Watermen and the Seafood Industry

The Hogan Administration acknowledges that the seafood industry is an iconic Maryland industry with commercial landing values over $82 million.  The seafood industry also contributes over $600 million to Maryland’s economy. Given the economic hardships posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, commercial watermen who are self-employed may be eligible for the following relief programs: Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Relief Funding, more information,  >click to read< 15:07

Coronavirus: Pop-up seafood market at Jersey Shore helps fishermen hurt by restaurant closures

A pop-up wholesale seafood market is helping to keep the fishing industry afloat in an Ocean County municipality. Point Pleasant Beach’s Shore Fresh Seafood Market is collaborating with the Fishermen’s Dock Cooperative to sell the catch — brought ashore on the docks directly behind the business — on its outdoor patio on Channel Drive.,, The next wholesale market is set for this Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. Offerings include sea bass, fluke, porgies, monk fish and sea scallops. more info, >click to read< 13:49

Fishing groups wary of rapid offshore wind development plans

As offshore wind moves up the coast of New England, efforts are underway to make sure the region’s fishing interests have a seat at the table early in project development. An alliance of industry and academic stakeholders is promoting the need for research and best practices as offshore wind takes hold in waters where fishing has long been an economic anchor. Fishing groups have several concerns about the potential for boating obstacles and ecological impacts. A dearth of research makes the industry hesitant as it prepares for a slew of projects that could overwhelm their operations. Above all, fishing stakeholders want to be included from the start of wind project development. >click to read< 09:07

Looking Back: 2007-Wake up New Jersey before more of your tax dollars are wasted on Governor Corzine’s offshore windfarm

The Governor is proposing to create a huge 80 unit windfarm capable of producing 350 megawatts of electricity in the waters off the south Jersey shore at an estimated present cost of 1.5 billion dollars. Last week New York cancelled plans for a smaller farm, of about 40 windmills, off of Jones beach because of rising cost estimates already over 700 million dollars for a project originally projected to cost about 200 million. New York officials were smart enough to recognize a financial black hole before they started it. Are New Jersey officials? >click to read< 13:47

Coronavirus: Outdoor seafood market helps Point Beach fishermen sell catch

The commercial fishing industry, like many others, is reeling from social distancing orders. In the case of fishermen, two-thirds of their seafood is normally bought by restaurants, which have been reduced to takeout only. The co-operative’s fishermen are trying to find alternatives ways to sell their fish instead of bringing them to Fulton Fish Market in the Bronx, where wholesalers buy fish and move it to restaurants. “Prices have dropped by as much as 75 percent. I haven’t seen them this low since the 1980s,” said Jim Lovgren, who sits on the board of directors Fishermen’s Dock Cooperative, of Fulton’s prices. Video, photos, >click to read< 15:44

In the middle of a socio economic disaster, Town of Riverhead cracks down on bunker fishermen

Even as Long Island’s commercial fishing industry reels from coronavirus-shuttered markets and restaurants, one East End town this week began cracking down on one of the few remaining viable sectors for local baymen: fishing for menhaden. Menhaden fishermen who launch their boats from a town ramp in Riverhead were greeted by a bay constable Wednesday morning who said the men would be cited for using seine nets that stretch beyond the 50-foot limit allowed by the town.  “I’ve been fishing there for the last 30 years, and they decide to pick now, in the middle of a socio economic disaster, to enforce a silly code that’s not even applicable?” said Will Caldwell, a Hampton Bays fishermen who received a summons with a 30-day court date. >click to read< 09:37

Coronavirus: Commercial fishermen scale back as market demand plummets

With restaurants only permitted to offer takeout and delivery, and many specialty seafood markets offering limited products or temporarily closing amid the COVID-19 outbreak, commercial fishermen are scaling back operations, too, and they’re feeling the impact. “It’s scary what’s out there, it really is,” said Ernie Panacek, 69, general manager of Viking Village, a commercial seafood producer in the borough. “The money that we get comes from those people going out to dinner and going to retail,” he said. “It’s going to be a hardship for a while. No one is going to flip a switch and have it go away immediately. We’re going to feel this for a long time.” 14 photos,  >click to read< 07:45

Coronavirus: CARES Act Helps Preserve New Jersey’s Commercial Fishing Industry, Coastal Economy

The recently passed CARES Act provides emergency loans and other forms of relief for American small businesses affected by the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The Act also included over $300 million specifically intended to help the domestic fishing industry, one of the many industries harmed by the ongoing closures necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19. This federal support is essential for the future of New Jersey’s fishing industry, which is a key part of the state’s coastal economy. According to statistics compiled by the Garden State Seafood Association, >click to read< 18:02

Coronavirus: Disruption in the seafood supply chain ripples from empty Philly restaurants to idle N.J. docks

“This is crazy,” says Mike Johnson, 53, a lifelong commercial fisherman who captains the Sea Farmer out of Barnegat Light. “[Stores] can’t put food on a shelf fast enough, so why can’t we move these fish? You got a fleet of boats sitting here, and you know, guys can’t move. You have a lot of battles as it is as a fisherman — the weather, not to mention catching the fish, overregulation and the insurance bills that don’t stop coming. And now you have a potentially three-month interruption of ‘don’t go fishing, period!’?” >click to read< 10:15

New England: Fishing Industry and offshore windfarmers no closer to finding solutions

The National Marine Fisheries Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, had refused to endorse BOEM’s draft EIS for Vineyard, complaining that fishing concerns were not addressed adequately. This helped trigger the government’s ongoing analysis of offshore wind’s cumulative impacts in the region.,, In public comments on the USCG port-access study, Meghan Lapp, fisheries liaison for frozen fish supplier Seafreeze, a subsidiary of Spain-based conglomerate Grupo Profand, called for the lanes.,, Lapp also called for an assurance of maritime safety that she said would be compromised by radar interference from wind turbines. >click to read< 08:34

Looking Back at FishNet USA – “New Conservationists” and the Flopping Flounder Fishing Club

In these days of seemingly unrelenting grim news I thought I’d try to lighten the atmosphere somewhat by sharing with you what I consider possibly entertaining piece I wrote and distributed twenty years ago. For those unfamiliar with Mid-Atlantic fisheries management, the striped bass (Morone saxatilis) fishery is managed by a per-state quota, and each states’ quota is divided into commercial and recreational components. Way back when the New Jersey Legislature passed a bill which made it illegal to sell striped bass so the commercial quota was added onto the recreational quota. The commercial was never – and still isn’t – very large, but the unfairness of the law and the fact that it on occasion it necessitates the over-the-side disposal of what would (should?) be perfectly saleable striped bass bycatch grates on a whole lot of commercial fishermen. Please stay safe and healthy, Nils >click to read< 11:38

Markey: Aid for fishermen only the beginning – Fishermen Getting Hammered By Restaurant Shutdowns

Sen. Edward Markey warned members of the fishing community Saturday that the country was just at the beginning of the coronavirus health crisis. “These numbers are mounting, the number of cases, and it could go on potentially for a sustained period of time,” Markey said to dozens of fishing industry leaders, state legislators and mayors on a weekend conference call. “Three hundred million is a great start, but it’s hard to imagine it will go very far,” said Jeffrey Reichle, president of Lund’s Fisheries of Cape May, New Jersey,,, >click to read< 07:27

Fishermen Getting Hammered By Restaurant Shutdowns – They are also looking for relief from government rules. >click to read< 07:30

Coronavirus: Letter from 200+ US seafood industry stakeholders to Trump Administration

March 24, 2020, Dear President Trump.  We write as participants in America’s seafood supply chain, a critical component of the country’s domestic food infrastructure and one of the major economic drivers in our country’s coastal communities and states. Empty restaurants, cafes, and dining halls are a visible reminder of the ongoing, unprecedented public health efforts to blunt the spread of COVID-19. The livelihoods of the chefs, cooks, servers, and other staff are obvious and direct casualties of those government efforts. The economic disruption caused by forced restaurant closures and active encouragement for Americans to “shelter in place,” however, extend far beyond the food service sector. >click to read< 19:37

Coronavirus: Fishing coalition seeks $4B in federal aid to cover lost restaurant sales

Commercial fishing industry members say they’re trying to stay afloat while the demand for fish dwindles as restaurants are reduced to take-out only amidst the coronavirus health crisis. Saving Seafood, a national coalition of seafood harvesters that includes New Jersey members, is now turning to the federal government for $4 billion in financial help.  “We have to manage our expectations right now. This is a national issue and it’s not going to be solved in a day or two,” said Greg DiDomenico, executive director of the Garden State Seafood Association, a commercial trades group that’s also a part of the Saving Seafood national coalition.  >click to read< 18:28

Coronavirus: Fishermen See Market Dry Out

Unable to sell a 1,000-pound catch of fluke last week, Capt. Chuck Morici of the dragger Act 1 spent three days filleting the fish at Montauk commercial dock and offering it for free straight from his boat. On Saturday morning, he gave it away from the back of his pickup truck in downtown Montauk, a big handwritten sign announcing, “Free Fish.”,, In addition to the closure of most domestic restaurants, foreign markets such as Spain and Italy, which before the pandemic were historically large buyers of squid landed on the East End, for example, have stopped all imports. As a result, many fish buyers have implored fishermen to stay ashore. >click to read< 15:10

To the Rescue! LI fishermen donate fish to feed hungry during the coronavirus crisis

Montauk fishermen came to the rescue of its local residents when they gave away more than 1,000 pounds of freshly caught fish to help those in need during the coronavirus crisis. “The stores were going empty and people were panicking,” says Chucky Morici, 56, of Montauk, who has been a commercial fisherman in the area for 30 years. “We thought we’d help calm people down by doing the right thing and giving the fish away.” Morici and his partner James Foley traveled 57 miles offshore on March 17 and had no idea about the pandemic panic happening on land. >click to read< 07:31

Coronavirus: Maryland seafood industry affected by outbreak

“Right now, the climate in the seafood business is absolutely horrific ever since the announcements that eat-in restaurants were shut down. We really took it on the chin. It virtually shut down the last two weeks that were left in the oyster season,”,  Out on the water, those who catch the oysters are feeling the pain, as well, on what was set to be one of the better oyster seasons on record. “It kind of put us out of business and now we’re looking at spring fishing and going into summer fishing, and the markets are slowed almost to a standstill for that and now we’re worried about the crabs,” said Jim Reihl, Maryland Oysterman’s Association president. Video, >click to read< 13:57

Coronavirus Adaption: So That’s What They Mean By Doormat: Fresh Fish At Your Doorstep

With the supply chain into Manhattan constricted, if not completely cut off due to the coronavirus crisis, the fishermen who ply their trade on the East End are facing a dwindling demand for their product. “If there is no call for fish, a fisherman may not go fishing,” said Pete Haskell of Haskell Seafood in Quogue. “If we can create enough of a market to keep him out there, it’s a win.” “We have a commercial fishing fleet that needs more outlets to get its seafood to people,” Deliveries have grown almost daily. >click to read< 15:15

Senate Democrats, Greens Seek Climate Mandates In Federal Stimulus Bills

Senate Democrats and environmentalists want to tack climate change mandates onto proposed federal aid to major airlines and cruise lines reeling from the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter to the House and Senate leadership, eight Senate Democrats said last week that any financial assistance to the travel industry “should be paired with requirements that companies act in a more responsible fashion” by reducing their carbon footprint. “Climate change damages will wreak havoc on a scale even greater than the coronavirus,” said the Friday letter headed by the Center for Biological Diversity. Democrats who signed the letter were Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Jeffrey Merkley of Oregon, Cory A. Booker of New Jersey, Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Tina Smith of Minnesota and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. >click to read< 10:12

Coronavirus: NOAA Fisheries is temporarily waiving requirement for vessels to carry a fishery observer or at-sea monitor.

As part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NOAA Fisheries is temporarily waiving the requirement for vessels with Northeast fishing permits to carry a fishery observer or at-sea monitor. The waiver will be in effect through April 4, and future extensions of this waiver will be evaluated weekly.
For details, please read the letter from the Regional Administrator Dear Partners and Stakeholders: As part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NOAA Fisheries is temporarily waiving the requirement for vessels with Northeast fishing permits to carry a fishery observer or at-sea monitor. The waiver will be in effect through April 4, and future extensions of this waiver will be evaluated weekly. >click to read the rest< 15:56

Small Business Relief Tracker: Funding, Grants And Resources For Business Owners Grappling With Coronavirus

Some 30 million American small businesses are high on the coronavirus’ list of victims. Nearly half of these companies say the pandemic is to blame for unprecedented revenue declines, and with no clear end in sight, the possibility of temporary closures has become a reality for many. In an effort to help business owners find financial relief, we’ve rounded up all of the government agencies, private companies and nonprofit organizations that are extending support. We’ll be adding to this list as the situation develops, so check back for updates. >click to read< 13:01

Coronavirus: NOAA closes Gloucester office to public, takes meetings to web

NOAA Fisheries is restricting access to its Gloucester office and the New England Fishery Management Council is converting many of its meetings to webinars as precautions against further spread of the novel coronavirus. NOAA Fisheries said its Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office in the Blackburn Industrial Park continues to operate, but it is limiting access to the building to employees, as well as to visitors and deliveries deemed essential to its mission. “This measure is taken out of an abundance of caution and our commitment to protecting the health and safety of our employees and constituents during the COVID-19 virus pandemic,” NOAA Fisheries said in a statement. Suspend the observer program, right now!  >click to read< 07:01

Coronavirus: The country is shutting down. Shutdown NOAA’s Fisheries Observer Program, nationally. Right Now.

I am writing this editorial today as a responsible, conscientious American fishermen and citizen, in complete disbelief of the irresponsibility of a U.S. government agency during the current international coronavirus crisis. While the nation is in national emergency mode, states are closing public spaces, schools, universities, daycares, restaurants, encouraging social distancing, putting people in quarantine, outlawing large gatherings, and taking unprecedented emergency measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, NOAA Fisheries is pursuing the complete opposite when it comes to the fishing industry and ignoring all public safety precautions. more by Hank Lackner, F/V Jason and Danielle >click to read<06:03

Haskell’s Seafood Keeping Baymen In Business-Market will deliver directly to homes in wake of coronavirus pandemic

As Jamie Hummel’s markets began shutting down, the Hampton Bays fisherman was genuinely worried what would happen when all avenues to sell his product officially closed. “Everyone is laid off right now,” he said. “With what we do, there’s no backup for us.” Southampton Town Trustee Scott Horowitz saw a Facebook post by his childhood friend and knew he needed to jump into action. He connected Hummel with Captain Peter Haskell, owner of Haskell’s Seafood in East Quogue, who consulted with other baymen, and Assemblyman Fred Thiele, to create a delivery service. >click to read< 09:56

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 35′ Gillnetter/Lobster boat, 300HP John Deere

Specifications, information and 5 photos >click here<, Vessel is in excellent condition! To see all the boats in this series, >click here< 15:23

Tell Your Congressmen and Senators: Our US Fishing Industry Faces The Coronavirus Disaster

With the Coronavirus being spread around the world and nations reacting to this threat in many different ways, from doing nothing, to closing the borders and full quarantines, the unintended effects of such government actions have yet to be fully felt. Granted the stock market has lost 30% in value in just 3 weeks time, the average American really doesn’t feel that unless he is living on his investment returns. With the closing of schools, and restaurants and any places of public gatherings an enormous crisis is being created because many people are being put out of work and some of them may not have a business to come back to when the crisis is over. The Coronavirus may topple an empire if we let it. >click to read< 06:17

Coronavirus: Long Island Wholesale fish prices drop as restaurants cut back

The wholesale price for lobsters, normally anywhere from $12 to $15 a pound this time of year, have fallen under $8, dealers say. Other normally pricey fish such as tuna and swordfish are also taking a dive, as restaurants in New York City cut back,, If there’s any silver lining right now, said Nino Locascio, co-owner of Mastic Seafood in Mastic, it’s the walk-in retail market in Suffolk, where business has remained brisk. He also sells wholesale to local restaurants, and that business is down “dramatically,” he said. >click to read< 16:29