Category Archives: National

Coronavirus: Bristol Bay community leaders lay out minimum protocol needed to allow salmon season

Leaders of several major community organizations in Bristol Bay have issued a list of minimum protocols they expect to be in place before the commercial salmon fishery can take place this summer. Among other the protocol listed, fishermen and other seasonal workers would undergo a physical exam including a COVID-19 test with a negative result no more than 48 hours before traveling to the region. After arriving in Bristol Bay, the individuals would be transported to a quarantine location and remain in quarantine until a follow-up negative COVID-19 test is confirmed. The leaders listed out other expectations, including weekly health screenings, for the seafood industry to establish as minimum protocol for the 2020 season. >click to read< 11:12

Coronavirus: Rhode Island’s commercial fishery and aquaculture industry hit hard

Until the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rhode Island aquaculture industry had been expanding. In 2019, the the total value of shellfish crops was $5.8 million and the industry employed about 200 people. Coastal Resources Management Council Aquaculture and Fisheries Coordinator David Beutel said the consequences of the evaporation of the major markets for shellfish are now being felt at all levels of the industry. “They can’t sell product because most of it goes to restaurants,” he said.  The fin fishery is also suffering. Christopher Brown, executive director of the Rhode Island Commercial Fishermen’s Association, said the impact varied according to vessel size and catch. Social distancing is difficult, if not impossible, on a boat. >click to read< 10:17

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

Maine farmers, fishermen find new ways to keep selling products safely

As businesses struggle to stay afloat and keep serving customers, farmers and fishermen are finding ways to keep up selling their products safely. A farmer launched an online initiative and now there is one site with more than 300 farmers, fishermen and other producers all on one interactive map. Click on any of the icons for each business to get details on how to buy products and how to get it. >click to read and use the interactive map for names and locations.<  It should continue expanding beyond the region! 15:05

Coronavirus impacts New England seafood industry as wholesale demand fades

The spread of the coronavirus has upended the seafood industry as restaurants close, fishermen tie up their boats and even big-money catches like lobster see lower demand, industry leaders say. Robert Nagle, vice president of Boston-based seafood wholesaler John Nagle Co., said the industry is trying to do all that it can as more fishing boats are tying up because of a decrease in demand. “If a boat can’t get enough money, they can’t pay their bills, they can’t pay their crews, the boat is not viable,” Nagle said. Live lobsters, which are usually sold to restaurants and exported around the world, have been essentially shut down with no one to buy catches, Nagle said. >click to read< 12:03

PLBs and EPIRBs: Marine Safety Specialists Join Forces to Raise Beacon Awareness on ‘406Day’

UK marine safety specialists Ocean Signal and Ocean Safety are issuing important advice to boat owners about the benefits and responsibilities of owning a 406 MHz beacon on ‘406Day’ (#406Day20) today, Monday, April 6th.,, As leading suppliers of PLBs and EPIRBs, Ocean Signal and its distributor Ocean Safety have joined forces to raise awareness about the life-saving technology and to highlight safety checks and procedures for beacons as boaters prepare for the season. The annual day was initiated by Ocean Signal’s sister company, Florida-based ACR Electronics, eight years ago to help people understand how to register, use and maintain their beacons correctly. >click to read< 11:12

Alaska’s Commercial Harvesters Listed as ‘Critical Infrastructure’

Plans are in progress to conduct the multi-million dollar Bristol Bay salmon fishery this summer in a manner that keeps harvesters, processors and the seafood itself safe in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic. “Everyone is working on it on a regular basis,” said Norm Van Vactor of the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp. in Dillingham, Alaska. “It is literally a plan in progress. We are moving forward with a positive attitude (but) nobody is in La La Land.” Commercial fishermen are now officially identified as “critical infrastructure” by the state of Alaska. >click to read< 08:19

Woes and blessings in the age of coronavirus, Rachel Blackmon Bryars

Those of us who grew up in the Bible Belt are very familiar with the good book’s many “woe-to-the” passages. Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep. Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil. Woe to the foolish. These passages have never been among my favorites, but the general phrase kept coming to mind this week, with a coronavirus twist. I still don’t like the woe-to-the mindset. I don’t like feeling angry. I don’t want to feed resentment. I want to hope for the best, believe the best, point to the best. Which is why I’m forcing my mind to pivot to a different phrase, “Blessed-are-the.” Blessed are the nurses, doctors, hospital staff, and medical workers of all types working tirelessly for days and nights on end. Who are on the front lines in a life-and-death battle. Who are heroes, each one. Blessed are the farmers, the ranchers, and the fishermen — remaining in the pastures, the fields, and on the seas so that we may feed our families. Blessed are the truckers who bring it all to market. >click to read< 07:23

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: NH lobstermen trying to keep afloat relying more on direct sales to the public

Andy Konchek has his own lobster boat and works as a deckhand for Capt. John Borden on the Mary Baker. They fish in federal waters and typically sell their catch to Kittery Trading Post in Maine, which was deemed “non-essential” and closed last week. Konchek said they have hauled in 300 of their traps because of the loss in sales. They are still going out for a limited catch and selling lobsters and Jonah crabs directly to customers from Pierce Island in Portsmouth to keep afloat financially. Brian Tarbell of Dover was one of Konchek and Borden’s customers last week. He said local fishermen need support now more than ever. >click to read< 08:56

Menemsha goes old school on a Saturday morning. 500 pounds of scallops sell in two hours off F/V Martha Rose

Wes Brighton’s 77-foot scalloper, Martha Rose, is bringing sea scallops to its home port of Menemsha in a new way — straight off the boat with no intermediary. Saturday morning the vessel sold 500 pounds of scallops in two hours. Brighton had intended to offer scallops from 9 am to 1 pm but by 11 am, his hold was empty. The scallops were sold at $18 per one pound bag or $75 for a five pound box. Check, Venmo, or cash was accepted.  >click to read< 07:00

Debut novel set in Bristol Bay delivers generations of women’s storytelling

Mia Heavener, now living in Anchorage, grew up fishing in Bristol Bay, where she absorbed stories her mother and other women told between tides and over tea. Her lovely debut novel set in a village near Dillingham, “Under Nushagak Bluff,” draws upon those stories and her own knowledge of the region, its history, its Yup’ik people, and the fishermen and cannery workers who came and went with the salmon runs. It is a compelling narrative, rich in its evocations of a time and place largely unrepresented in our literature — and a welcome addition to it. The novel begins with a voice. Someone — it’s a while before readers will figure out who it belongs to — is sitting in a skiff on a sandbar, waiting for the tide to come in. “My girl, I’m sorry,” she says. “I’ll start with that.” And she begins to talk, with a story “that could be told by the shape of the beach we just left. It is years before me. And it begins with a storm …” >click to read< 19:19

Coronavirus: It’s not business as usual for fishing industry

For Alaska’s commercial fisheries industry in 2020, things will hardly be business as usual. Reports of the first case of novel coronavirus in the state prompted processors to get to work developing plant and vessel response plans in consultation with medical experts to assure the health and safety of employees, harvesters, communities they work in and the fish they will process by the ton. “Everyone is working on it on a regular basis,” said Norm Van Vactor, president and chief executive officer of the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp. in Dillingham. “It is literally a plan in progress. We are moving forward with a positive attitude (but) nobody is in La La Land.” >click to read< 18:15

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

Mass Delegation Urges USDA to Buy American Seafood Under CARES Act

U.S. Rep. William Keating, who represents the 9th Congressional District in Massachusetts, joined some of his Capitol Hill colleagues today in urging the USDA to include U.S. seafood companies in a $9.5 billion program designed to help farmers affected by the coronavirus. Keating, Rep. Seth Moulton, and Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren wrote to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and said the federal government should take steps to buy American seafood through the CARES Act agricultural assistance program. >click to read< 08:41

In This Remote Town Spring Means Salmon, and Thousands of Fisherman From Coronavirus Hot Spots

Later this spring, Alaska’s Bristol Bay will blossom into one of the largest annual salmon fisheries in the world. The regional population of about 6,600 will triple in size with the arrival of fishermen, crews and seasonal workers on jets but also private planes and small boats, many traveling from out of state. And yet the heart of the health care system in southwestern Alaska, in a corner of the state where the Spanish flu once orphaned a generation, is a 16-bed hospital in Dillingham operated by the Bristol Bay Area Health Corp. Only four beds are currently equipped for coronavirus patients. As of Wednesday, the hospital had a few dozen coronavirus tests for the entire Florida-sized region, tribal leaders said. >Click to read< 14:16

More than a pin

The call for assistance from the fishing vessel Brenna A had already come in, and the Coast Guard Station Umpqua River crews were preparing to swap duty sections. The oncoming duty section was led by the Coast Guard’s newest Surfmen, Petty Officers 2nd Class Enrique Lemos (#559) and Aaron Hadden (#560). The two of them discussed the escort request upon reporting for duty at 7 a.m. They knew from the morning bar report that the Umpqua River bar was breaking at 14-feet on the series and also had 10 to 12-foot steep swells. The vessel, a 107-foot 198 gross ton fishing vessel, en route to Alaska had never crossed the Umpqua River bar before. They also knew that they were supposed to stand in front of their shipmates at 8 a.m. and be pinned with the distinctive surfman pin, a silver-colored life ring on top of two crossed oars. Photos,  >click to read< 13:25

Profiles in Training: American Seafoods Company

Lance Camarena recognized from a young age that he wanted to work in the learning and development arena.,, Today, Camarena is Director of Training & Organizational Development for American Seafoods Company, a fishing company which runs six factory trawlers ranging from 256 to 341 feet. The company employs approximately 1,300 seafarers from 52 countries, with about a 7% turnover in our key officer positions and a 25% turnover in our entry level processor positions. American Seafoods has also implemented a Marine Learning Systems learning management system (LMS) e-learning solution and created the American Seafoods Knowledge Academy (ASKA), which can be accessed from almost any device to complete mandated training. >click to read< 11:04

Coronavirus: Chéticamp residents worry out-of-province fishery workers could bring COVID-19

The snow crab season on the west side of Cape Breton Island usually starts in mid-April and the lobster fishery opens shortly after that. Some Chéticamp residents say out-of-province workers are already in town looking for employment at the fish processing plant and those workers are exempt from the usual requirement to self-isolate for 14 days. Chéticamp’s Sacred Heart Community Health Centre has 10 beds.,, LeBlanc said he asked the province two weeks ago to remove the self-isolation exemption for fish plant workers, but has not received a reply. “The government needs to reflect on this very quickly and appease the fear that the community has, and rightfully so,”  >click to read< 08:46

Coronavirus: Yaquina Bay fishing continues despite market disruptions

As part of the food-production chain, commercial fishing is considered an essential industry, but even though fishermen based out of Newport’s Yaquina Bay are still on the job, they have felt the impact of the current market disruptions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.,, “Some crabbers are still trying to stick it out, others have probably called it earlier than they normally would,” Buell added. “There still is some effort happening, for sure. It’s kind of hard to keep up with everything, but it sounds like the Chinese markets may be opening back up a little bit, so they’re able to start moving some live crab there, which is helping.” >click to read< 07:47

Gas engines saved the lives of salmon fishermen

Between 1908 and 1911, something happened that almost certainly saved hundreds of men from drowning on the Columbia River Bar. The salmon canneries in Astoria started fitting their gillnet fishing fleets with small gasoline engines. At the time, the mainstay of the Astoria gill-net fishing fleet was a picturesque double-ended lapstrake design, developed by a California man named J.J. Griffin in 1866 for use on the Sacramento River. They were 24 to 30 feet long, 7 to 8 feet wide, sloop-rigged with broad gaff-rigged sails on a relatively short mast. This design quickly caught on and became very famous and popular on river fisheries all up and down the West Coast. >click to read< 11:27

Cordova: All fishing vessel operators must sign coronavirus safety agreements

Businesses and individuals, including fishing vessel operators, will be required to sign coronavirus safety agreements to conduct commercial operations in Cordova.,, Under a mutual aid agreement, an operator must educate their employees about coronavirus symptoms and safety measures that may prevent infection, ensure compliance with the city’s coronavirus emergency rules and complete a health risk assessment form for all operators and employees working in Cordova or its waters. An operator must notify the city within 24 hours if any individual fails a health risk assessment and confirm that that individual has been placed under quarantine. An operator also agrees,,, >click to read< 09:53

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

Susan Beaton: Our markets gone, call fishing season off

I read that the provincial fisheries ministers from the Atlantic provinces and Quebec met recently. I was slightly heartened, but also worried. Is their intention to support our spring lobster and snow crab fisheries, or is their focus on ensuring they won’t have to, by making the case that we should fish, come what may?,, My hesitation occured when I read, “… adapt to maintain their livelihood.” Let me say, here and now, as a lobster fisher in the Gulf for 20 years, I have no interest in staying ashore, but I doubly have no interest in being a canary in the coal mine to test the theory that fishermen/women will fish, no matter the cost. We shouldn’t be put in the position of having to go to sea when there is no reasonable chance we can succeed. Fisheries from around the globe are shutting down because there is no market. more, >click to read< 06:56

The Maine Man, Wayne Hamilton

Wayne Hamilton has built Hamilton Marine into a successful accessories business by making sure he takes care of his customers.,, He had gotten his mother and mother-in-law to co-sign separate $10,000 business loans, and in 1977, Hamilton opened a wholesale account with Manset Marine in Rockland, Maine. He started out selling marine equipment from his garage. Every Wednesday, he’d load up his mustard-colored Chevy Blazer and snowmobile trailer with marine equipment and go to the commercial fishing co-ops to sell gear to the commercial anglers. One new piece of equipment he had was survival suits. They weren’t yet required on commercial vessels, and the fishermen worked year-round in Maine, so he would go to the co-ops early in the morning and ask if they wanted to see him jump in the water. >click to read< 19:35

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: Fishing community takes precautions as it readies for salmon season

“We know the fish are coming regardless of COVID-19 or not and we can’t ask them to stay home.” Alaska Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink made the comment during a March 30 press briefing, adding that the state has a specific fisheries work group trying to figure out ways small communities can handle an influx of fishermen and processing workers while also adhering to important health guidelines that run counter to the realities of a traditional fishing season. While Alaska’s diverse fisheries continue year-round, the famed Copper River sockeye and king fishery that unofficially kicks off the salmon harvest in mid-May each year will be one of the first testing grounds for trying to find that balance. >click to read< 16:51

Coronavirus: Louisiana Direct – LSU AgCenter, Louisiana Sea Grant aim to help seafood industry cope

Restaurants that use large amounts of seafood are only offering carryout service, and they have drastically scaled back their seafood purchases. “I’m sure it’s less than 10% of its previous quantity,” said Rusty Gaude, LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant fisheries agent in the New Orleans area. A seafood marketing program, Louisiana Direct Seafood, is one way of helping fishermen and dealers by connecting them directly with consumers. The Louisiana Direct Seafood program helps consumers buy seafood from fishermen and vendors. Video, more info, >click to read< 15:26

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 34′ Gladding & Hearn built Aluminum Lobster/Dive/Workboat, Cat 3208T

To see specifications, information and 11 photos, >click here< Vessel is in good condition. To see all the boats in this series, >click here< 11:54