Category Archives: New England

Maine: Scallop license lottery moves forward

More scalloping or more scallopers? That’s the question the Department of Marine Resources is facing with a proposed rule that would establish a lottery system for new scallop fishing licenses. Under a plan announced last week, DMR would issue annually two new scallop dragging licenses for every three surrendered. The department would also issue one new diving license for each one not renewed. click here to read the story 16:31

Northeast Multispecies Fishery; Disapproval of Northeast Fishery Sector IX Operational Plan

Through an Interim Final Rule filed this morning, NOAA Fisheries withdraws approval of the 2017 and 2018 Northeast Fishery Sector IX operations plan. The Regional Administrator determined that the sector and its participants have not complied with the requirements of their approved operations plan, and that the continuation of the Sector IX operations plan will undermine achievement of the conservation and management objectives of the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. This action follows the guilty plea and sentencing of Mr. Carlos Rafael, a major participant in Sector IX, who admitted to falsely reporting catch information. click here to read the press release 12:24

New England Council Supports Regional Administrator’s Action to Enforce GroundfishSector IX Operations Plan –  click here to read press release 16:06

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 Resilience@noaa.gov. 11:11

“Dead in the Water” premiere packed

John Friedrich drove down here from Amesbury on Saturday afternoon for the sole purpose of attending the premiere of the fishing documentary “Dead in the Water” at the Rockport High School auditorium. Friedrich had read a story in the Newburyport Daily News about the documentary that chronicles the demise and unceasing challenges faced by the once-mighty Gloucester groundfish fleet and thought it was something he should see, to gauge for himself the true extent of the problem. “I thought the film was very well done,” he said of the 15th documentary from veteran filmmaker and Rockport native David Wittkower. “But it was also very disturbing, just emotionally disturbing. It’s such a tragedy. The problem is so much more huge than I imagined.” click here to read the story 18:17

Shell, lacked? Lobster catch might be much less this year

Maine’s lobster haul might be less this year, and prices have drifted downward for both lobstermen and consumers, members of the industry say. American lobster fishing is in the midst of a multiyear boom, with Maine fishermen setting a record of nearly 131 million pounds last year. Fishermen in the state have caught more than 100 million pounds for six years in a row after never previously reaching that total. But fishermen saw smaller catches this summer, and some in the industry believe the catch could be as much as 30 percent off this year, click here to read the story 07:47

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

Gloucester: City needs full-time fishing director

The need for a full-time fisheries director is now. Back in 2015, then interim Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and the Gloucester Fisheries commissioners agreed there was need for a full-time director. It has been almost 20 years since we had someone full-time. They also agreed the job was horrendous and time-consuming. In 2016, at a mayoral debate that I attended, I asked both candidates, Paul McGeary and Romeo Theken if they would support a full-time fisheries director. click here to read the story 20:11

Marblehead loberstermen frustrated by lack of storage options

Local lobstermen are feeling left out in the cold with no place to store their traps for the winter season. “A lot of us would store them in our backyards, but then the neighbors complain,” said Ray Bates, who is leading an effort to get the town to set aside a place for trap storage. “They go right to the Board of Health, they call them unsightly.” What’s a lobsterman to do? Bates recently dropped off a petition at the Health Department,,, click here to read the story 10:38

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

Eastport boatbuilder required to auction boat molds

A settlement agreement between the boatbuilding firm Millennium Marine USA and the Washington County government includes auctioning off four boat molds used by the company. The Quoddy Tides (click here)  reported that the county purchased the molds for use by the company, with the help of $524,000 in U.S. Economic Development Agency grant funds. The molds will be auctioned for a minimum price of $15,000. click here to read the story 08:32

UPDATED: Northeast Regional Planning Body Data Workshop – Day Two – Nov 16, 2017 in Exeter, NH

RPB meeting continues at the Exeter Town Hall, in Exeter, NH, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. This meeting will include important updates from RPB members about plan implementation, and progress to date and priorities for 2018. Remote access via a webinar will be available for this workshop. Please click the link below to join the webinar: https://cbuilding.zoom.us/j/644686345. for details, click here 23:35 updated 11/15 17:23

Maine Elver lottery gets under way Wednesday

For the first time in more than four years, a few new Maine residents will get a chance to participate in the elver fishery. On Wednesday, the Department of Marine Resources will open a lottery for at least seven new licenses to be issued for the 2018 elver fishery. The season begins on March 22. Each new license holder will be allotted a minimum of 4 pounds of the state’s aggregate elver quota. Based on the average price for the 2017 season that ended in June, that would be worth some $6,000. click here to read the story, details, and good luck! 17:18

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

Rhode Island Commercial Summer Flounder Fishery Closure

Effective 0001 hours November 14, 2017, fishing vessels issued a Federal moratorium permit for the summer flounder fishery may no longer land summer flounder in Rhode Island for the remainder of the 2017 calendar year. The 2017 commercial summer flounder quota allocated to Rhode Island has been harvested.  This closure is concurrent with the State of Rhode Island’s closure of its commercial summer flounder fishery to state permitted vessels and dealers. click here to read the notice 08:42

Premiering Saturday – ‘Dead in the Water’ showing in Rockport to benefit Fisherman’s Fund

When he embarked on his documentary “Dead in the Water” in 2013 as a cinematic army of one, David Wittkower operated with the sense that he was capturing, if not the final act, then certainly the denouement of the Gloucester fishing crisis. He had, on visits to his native Rockport from his home in Los Angeles, seen the atrophying of the once-proud commercial fishing fleet and decided it was a Gloucester story worth telling. Little did the veteran filmmaker know of the national and global nature of what he was witnessing along the waterfront of America’s oldest commercial fishing seaport. click here to read the story Watch the trailer click here 08:06

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

The NIMBY oyster people

I have covered, over the years, a lot of animated public hearings, more than I could ever count, in which neighbors turned out to protest things they wanted to stop: all kinds of egregious development, buildings too big, lights too bright, too much parking, too much traffic or general commercial sprawl. I don’t think, though, I have ever seen such a whiny, self-satisfied and selfish group as those, many of them waterfront property owners, who have been turning out to protest a proposed oyster bed in Stonington’s Quiambaug Cove. They are lawyering up, too. click here to read the story 09:17

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

Coast Guard tows disabled fishing vessel with 30,000 lbs. catch off New Hampshire coast

The Coast Guard towed an adrift 65-foot fishing vessel to Gloucester Harbor after becoming disabled about 30 miles off the coast of New Hampshire, Friday. Unable to receive help from a sister ship and concerned about the impending weather, the captain of the vessel, Black Beauty, contacted watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Northern New England, at about 4:45 p.m. He reported their transmission stopped working, there were five people aboard, and they had 30,000 lbs. of catch on board.  click here to read the story 09:29

Maine’s lobster marketing group is facing existential opposition from an unlikely source: the lobster industry.

With lobster prices down, both at the dock and the dealer’s office, some who make their living off the state’s signature crustacean are reluctant to approve another five years of funding to the Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative, whose $2.2 million-a-year budget is funded by lobster license surcharges. With its state funding about to expire, the collaborative is taking its case to fishermen in fire halls and ferry terminals from Kennebunk to Rockland this month, calling on powerful industry friends to lend their support and touting a new audit that gave the program stellar reviews. But it’s not an easy sell. click here to read the story 08:57

The Codfather is Finally In Jail. But Who Is He?

Until his downfall this year, Carlos Rafael, the 65-year-old fishing magnate from New Bedford, Massachusetts owned 36 boats and controlled about one-fifth of the New England cod market. With a business allegedly worth upwards of $100 million, which included a processing facility and various distribution channels, Rafael was one of the biggest players in the North American fish market. ,,, “I hustled a lot of fisherman,” he once admitted. “But shame on them they did not know better.” ,,, “I am a pirate,” he once told a group of federal fisheries regulators. “It’s your job to catch me.” click here to read the story 23:01

This fisherman is determined to fight the rising tide of government quotas

There’s another species in the ocean that is slowly disappearing. This one doesn’t have fins, but orange waders, heavy rubber gloves, and fishing tackle. It’s the commercial fishermen. The industry they work in is being choked by what fishermen say are unmanageable fines and regulations. Jim Ford of Lisa Ann Fisheries is one of those still standing. Fewer and fewer boats are going out to sea, to Ford’s dismay. While there used to be dozens of draggers going out of Newburyport, he’s now the only fisherman doing it full-time — pulling a net or trawling the rocky seabed to scoop up his catch. Ford, 47, disagrees that the sea is being depleted.,, On his 52-foot fiberglass boat, Lisa Ann III, Ford typically steams out at midnight for a three-hour trip to Jeffreys Ledge with two crewmen on deck and a federal observer — a third-party ombudsman — to monitor overfishing. click here to read the story 13:53

Number 1 – Highest Value Species: Lobster

The annual Fisheries of the United States report just released by NOAA includes 2016 statistics on commercial fisheries, with lobster ranking as the highest value commercial species. U.S. commercial fishermen landed 9.6 billion pounds of seafood in 2016 (down 1.5 percent from 2015) valued at $5.3 billion (up 2.1 percent from 2015). The highest value commercial species were lobster ($723 million total, which includes $666.7 million in American lobster and $55.9 million in spiny lobster), crabs ($704 million), scallops ($488 million), shrimp ($483 million), salmon ($420 million), and Alaska walleye pollock ($417 million). click here to read the story 08:33

Federal fisheries minister called meeting with experts in Moncton to find way to protect right whales

The federal government will consider using the $400 million Atlantic Fisheries Fund and an innovation prize to develop new fishing gear or technology to help protect North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.,,, LeBlanc is discussing solutions with representatives from the fishing and marine transport industries, First Nations leaders from Eastern Canada, scientists and other officials.,,, LeBlanc said some options that could be considered include a reduction or modification of fishing gear, reducing the number of fishing boats on the water and starting the fishing season earlier. click here to read the story 15:48

Ottawa to order ships to give right whales a 100-metre buffer zone in Gulfclick here to read the story

Coast Guard rescues 3 people from fishing boat that ran aground in Gloucester

The Coast Guard has rescued three people from a fishing boat that ran aground in Gloucester. The boat can be seen washed up on the jetty. The Northeast United States Coast Guard shared a photo of the rescue via Twitter Thursday morning. 7News has a crew on the way and will provide the latest details as they become available. Video, click here 08:12

Coast Guard, fire department rescue 3 from boat grounded off Gloucester -USCG- click here

The crew of the vessel Anne Rowe reported they were in trouble at 4:30 a.m., according to Station Gloucester Petty Officer Haran Ellis. photo’s click here

BREAKING: DRAMATIC CAPTURE ANNE ROWE FREED! – For a few moments she was on her side and I think I could hear my heartbeat. She righted herself, was towed away from the rocks by Unity, and headed home by her own power. click here for video, and a bunch of great photo’s

Strange fish found on the Scotian Shelf

For 25 years Don Clark has been going to the Scotian Shelf to see what’s there. For the last decade the fisheries biologist at the St. Andrews Biological Station in New Brunswick has been in charge of the federal Fisheries and Oceans summer survey. Just after Canada Day each year, the CCG Alfred Needler heads out to trawl 240 way points on the Scotian Shelf between Georges Bank in the south and the Laurentian Channel in the north. It’s an immense area — the 120,000 square kilometres of continental shelf that extends off Nova Scotia’s eastern shore into the North Atlantic. click here to read the story 11:56

Changes can be made right now to save right whales, says fisherman

Fishermen in Nova Scotia’s snow crab industry say they are already making some immediate changes to prevent more deaths of North Atlantic right whales. Gordon MacDonald, managing director of the Snow Crab Fishermen’s Association off of southeastern Cape Breton, ​said he and other fishermen are already looking at ways to reduce the amount of slack rope attached to traps during the April-to-August snow crab season. “It’s easy, it’s quick and we can get on it right away and see how that goes and then get into other things.” He said the industry doesn’t need to wait for more study and changes to government regulations. “We can’t wait for that development to start doing things that have a positive impact,” he said. click here to read the story 09:53