Category Archives: New England

Navy Veteran/Lobsterman Stephen Christopher Johnson of Chebeague Island, Maine, has passed away

Stephen was born in Portland on Oct. 23, 1945, the youngest child of Sherman Roberts and Eleanor Soule Johnson. Upon discharge from the Navy, Stephen returned to Chebeague and the lobstering career that he had left behind. During the next five decades Stephen mentored dozens of young men and women–both summer and year-round residents–who worked on the stern of his lobster boat. His easy-going manner and calm demeanor endeared him to all who worked with him. Stephen loved the solitude of the sea and was known to the younger lobstermen as “Mr. Johnson,” which in a community where small children call octogenarians by their first name, was more of a term of endearment and respect than an obligatory title. Stephen was all set for this year’s lobster season. His boat was ready to be launched and his gear was being rigged when he passed. >click to read< 10:14

Effort to save Gloucester’s oldest gillnetter sinks

During Gloucester’s celebration of its 400+ anniversary this year, America’s oldest seaport will say farewell to its oldest fishing vessel, the Phyllis A., a 59-foot gillnetter built in 1925. The 98-year-old vessel will not see its centennial. Efforts to raise enough money for its restoration and preservation were sunk in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and a slow trickle of money to support the educational nonprofit doing the work, the Phyllis A. Marine Association. “She fished out of Gloucester for 75 years, never anywhere else, and she was owned by the same family — the Arnold family,” said Gloria Parsons, a long-time member of the association. 12 photos, >click to read< 08:52

Coddock? How a new cod-haddock-like fish caught the attention of scientists

 A strange thing occurred during the winter of 2022-23 and into this spring. An odd-looking fish has cropped up off and on mixed in with the haddock brought into Gulf of Maine ports. This was recently brought to my attention by Linda Hunt, who is a fish dealer for Coastline Seafood. Recently while filleting a load of haddock for the market, she found five fish that she couldn’t quite identify. She had seen a few during the winter and one the day before but finding five in 200 pounds of fish all at once seemed odd. She contacted us with a photo. Wow, what is this fish? It has the head of a haddock, the lateral line of a cod, the pectoral fin of a cod, and the meat flaked in large pieces like cod. The body shape is that of a haddock and all the other fins look like haddock fins. But it was missing the “thumbprint of God,”,,, >click to read< 07:40

Murkowski, King introduce bipartisan bill to support rural fishing communities

U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Angus King (I-Maine) have introduced bipartisan legislation to expand financial support for America’s fishing communities. The Fishing Industry Credit Enhancement Act would allow businesses that provide direct assistance to fishing operations, like gear producers or cold storage, to access the same loans from the Farm Credit System (FCS) already offered to service providers for farmers, ranchers, and loggers. The Fishing Industry Credit Enhancement Act is a straightforward, common-sense amendment to the Farm Credit Act of 1971,,, >click to read< 16:37

Seafood industry contributes $3.2B a year to the Maine economy, report says

The first-ever report on Maine’s seafood sector as a whole, including downstream contributors, found in 2019, the sector contributed over $3.2 billion in total economic output to the Maine economy. The largest contributors were retail seafood, at $692 million, followed by lobster harvesting at $511 million and seafood processing at $343 million. The sector supported over 33,300 jobs statewide in 2019, including 23,846 in sector industries and 7,300 additional jobs supported by other indirect and induced multiplier effects. >click to read< 07:51

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 65′ Steel Gladding and Hearn Lobster Boat, Cummins 855 Diesel

To review specifications, information, and 23 photos’, >click here<, To see all the boats in this series >click here< 11:28

Fishermen Face Unloading Delays After Fish Pier Packing House Tenant Departs

The packing house at the municipal fish pier has space for two companies to operate, receiving and packing the local catch for transport to market. But when Marder Trawling, one of the two fish buyers, departed last year, fishermen were lined up to unload with Red’s Best Seafood in the north bay. The south bay remains empty as commercial fishing ramps up for the season in the next few weeks. Last year, boats were “stacked up down the harbor to get offloaded,” Harbormaster Stuart Smith said. He has proposed allowing fishermen to use the south bay to unload their own fish to their own trucks or buyers of their choice, much as is currently done on the outdoor dock at the fish pier’s south jog. Smith told the select board that he’s making the proposal only after the town was unable to find a new fish packer to lease the south bay. >click to read<  8:47

Blue Harvest Fisheries’ Newest Vessel, F/V Nobska, Successfully Completes First Series of Fishing Trips

The newest, most modern vessel in the New England groundfish fishery, the F/V Nobskahas returned to port after its successful inaugural deployment. The vessel was acquired earlier this year by Blue Harvest Fisheries, as part of the company’s investment in the future of its groundfish operations.  The Nobska embarked on four back-to-back trips between April 7 and May 10, and landed 335,000 pounds of fish in its home port of New Bedford, Massachusetts, with additional landings in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The catch included several groundfish species, including monkfish, flounder, haddock, Acadian redfish, hake, and pollock. A series of three to four back-to-back trips, followed by a short break for maintenance and crew rest, is a typical operational plan for this vessel. Video, photos, >click to read< 07:45

Don’t make this mistake about Maine women who catch lobster

“One hundred percent of the women I talked to called themselves lobstermen, and some people asked me why I used what they said was an inappropriate word,” Farrell said. “I had to explain to them that female lobstermen aren’t lobsterwomen, or lobster fishers. They are lobstermen.” Across the board, lobstermen is the preferred term for anyone who works on a lobster boat in Maine. It doesn’t matter what age, background, sexual orientation or gender you are: If you’re working on a boat, you’re a lobsterman. Same goes for sternman, if you’re prepping bait and sorting through the day’s catch. >click to read< 11:33

North Carolina Joins Effort to Establish Regional Fisheries Mitigation for Offshore Wind Development

Governor Roy Cooper announced that North Carolina has joined other Atlantic Coast states involved with the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind on a coordinated project to support fisheries mitigation in the development of offshore wind along the East Coast. “It is important that we work to meet our state’s offshore wind energy goals while still protecting our marine fishery industry,” said Governor Cooper. “We are committed to collaborating with other states in this effort to make sure we achieve both goals.” Currently, the Initiative is focused on establishing a framework to compensate commercial and for-hire fishermen in the event of economic impact related to offshore wind development. The goal is to develop a regional approach for administration of any financial compensation paid by developers. Economic impacts from coastal fishing in North Carolina top $4.5 billion annually. >click to read< 08:26

Baby eels remain one of America’s most valuable fish after strong year in Maine

Baby eels, called elvers, are often worth more than $2,000 per pound because of how valuable they are to Asian aquaculture companies. That makes them one of the most valuable fish species in the U.S. They’re raised to maturity so they can be used in Japanese food, some of which is sold in the U.S. in unagi dishes at sushi restaurants. The elvers have again been worth more than $2,000 per pound at the docks this year, according to the Maine Department of Marine Resources. South Carolina is the only other state in the country with a fishing industry for baby eels, and that state’s fishery is much smaller. >click to read< 09:12

Feds play shell game with wind / whale impacts

NOAA is taking public comments on a massive proposal to harass large numbers of whales and other marine mammals by building a huge offshore wind complex. There is supposed to be an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed harassment, but it is not there with the proposal. We are told it is elsewhere but after searching we find that it simply does not exist. Like a shell game where the pea has been palmed, there is nothing to be found. First the bureaucratic background. The wind project is Dominion’s 2,600 MW offshore Virginia facility, which if built would be the world’s biggest. NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is proposing to issue a five year harassment authorization for the construction of this monster. >click to read< 07:36

Maine: Lobstermen support better science to help right whales

The historical record of Maine lobstermen is clear.One right whale entangled in 2004 was disentangled and swam free. No right whale death has ever been attributed to Maine lobster gear. Gov. Janet Mills and our congressional delegation, without partisanship, acknowledge Maine lobstermen are not a threat to the right whale population. Despite never having seen one in the 50 years I’ve fished; I’ve made multiple changes to make my gear more whale friendly. These changes have been time-consuming, expensive, and potentially dangerous to me and my crew but resulted in less rope in the water. >click to read< 11:52

New Bedford Port Authority weighs in on fisheries mitigation for offshore wind

New Bedford Port Authority Executive Director Gordon Carr is calling for SouthCoast Wind to follow Vineyard Wind’s lead in support of local fisheries programs and projects. Vineyard Wind is closing in on construction of its wind farm. “Similar to Vineyard Wind, SouthCoast Wind has deployed a robust fisheries liaison program staffed by professionals that truly know the commercial fishing industry,” he said. The New Bedford Port Authority is a member of an advisory panel established by Vineyard Wind. “It is difficult to determine the areas most impacted given the many unknowns related to offshore wind effects on the ocean ecosystem and the fishery,” he said. >click to read< 07:39

Haddock stock decline prompts catch limits

A low New England haddock stock has prompted regulators to cut the fishing quota of one of the region’s most popular fish. A staple in fish and chips and for fish burgers and home cooks, the amount available from the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank for 2023 will be more than 80 percent less than the previous year. Prices are relatively high for shoppers, too, with Hannaford, Shaw’s and local fish dealers asking anywhere from $11.99 to $14.99 per pound this month for wild caught Gulf of Maine haddock. Haddock is “subject to overfishing” in the Gulf of Maine while the Georges Bank stock is not, according to NOAA Fisheries.  >click to read< 19:02

Grill your lobster on the BBQ and your life will never be the same again!

Lobster season has finally arrived! Grilling is a very good alternative for cooking lobster, and it’s easier than you think to do. Whether live or precooked, whole or shelled, there are many recipes to make with grilled lobster. Simply dipped in flavored butter, stuffed in homemade pasta or rolled, lobster stands out with its tender flesh and unique taste. Take advantage of the short season to light the grill and cook magnificent Quebec lobsters with ease. This recipe only takes a few minutes to make, but the flavors will surprise you. Enjoy your BBQ! >click to read< 13:18

Maritime Explorer: Captain Cameron McLellan

As a skilled sailor and navigator, Cameron McLellan hails from a family of multigenerations of seafarers. On the paternal side, the McLellans have hundreds of years of fishing in their bones with a few spar markers on the bank of the Kennebec River in the mix. The McLellan’s fished the Grand Banks, George’s Banks, and the Gulf of Maine several generations back. On the maternal side, the Murphy’s were fullrigged ship captains. With this heritage and a level of comfort on the sea, there was no question from an early age that Cameron would continue the tradition and make his living on the water. While successful as a fisherman, Cameron always kept his childhood dream alive. >click to read< 10:30

Role of Unionized Firms at Center of Maine’s Offshore Wind Debate

On Thursday the Maine Legislature’s Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee held a public hearing on a proposal to pave the way for the development of offshore wind infrastructure in the Gulf of Maine, including the construction of a coastal manufacturing facility that would build the offshore floating wind turbines Lawmakers also considered Thursday Rep. Tiffany Strout’s (R-Harrington) LD 1884, a bill that would block offshore wind developments. In recent years, the prospect of filling the Gulf of Maine with hundreds of wind turbines has taken on an air of inevitability, with environmental groups, industry groups, and well-paid lobbyists pouring millions of dollars into political pressure campaigns and ad campaigns designed to build support for the project. Unions, construction companies, investment companies, and lobbyists are all lining up to secure their share of what could be one of the largest taxpayer-funded projects in the history of the state. >click to read< 09:42

New London: Does Orsted/Eversource charter of NL fishing boats violate city lease?

Many fishermen resent the interference in the waters they regularly use and suggest still-unknown harm will be done to undersea environments and marine life. But I didn’t realize until recently that wind partners Orsted and Eversource actually have a fishing fleet strategy, chartering some fishing boats to “scout” for their wind turbine work in offshore fishing waters. One fisherman I met recently, Rob Morsch, claims the big utilities are driving a wedge between fishermen by “buying off” some of them with thousands of dollars in daily charter fees. Morsch raises the interesting point that the mooring of the boats being used for offshore wind, he calls them “windmill boats”, is a violation of the city’s intent, with its low-cost rent, to have a fishing fleet based there. >click to read< 08:10

Maine may pay lobster fishers to test new gear as whale protection rules loom

Lawmakers in Maine are getting behind a drive to pay lobster fishers to comply with potential new fishing regulations. Lobster and crab fishermen face the prospect of tough new rules designed to protect vanishing North Atlantic right whales. The rules would require harvesters to use new kinds of gear and change when and where they can fish. Democratic Sen. Eloise Vitelli of Arrowsic proposed a bill that would create a “lobster innovation fund” to pay lobster fishing license holders to test new fishing technologies. >click to read< 13:18

Wind project scope ‘staggering’

It wasn’t “until the whales and the dolphins started washing up that people’s attention was able to focus” on the offshore wind farms, according to Cindy Zipf, and when people looked beyond the whales, they realized what is happening is “staggering.” “I don’t think ever in the history of mankind have we proposed to industrialize an ecosystem this fast and at this magnitude,” she said. Zipf is executive director of Clean Ocean Action, a coalition of groups dedicated to protecting the ocean. Zipf acknowledges the pace at which the plans are moving forward is making efforts to slow or stop them difficult. “It’s challenging considering how fast-tracked everything is and how limited the permitting process is. It’s kind of under the jurisdiction of two people to make it happen, President Biden and Gov. Murphy,” she said. “Hopefully as more is understood there will be some more caution but as it is right now the (state and federal) agencies are very enthusiastic.” >click to read< 16:29

Navy Veteran, Commercial Fisherman Thomas Lee Mackie of South Thomaston has passed away

Thomas Lee Mackie, 74, passed away on November 18, 2022, at his home. He was born in Rockland on November 26, 1947, the youngest child of Lawrence and Doris (Eaton) Mackie. In May of 1967, Tom enlisted in the United States Navy. He was initially assigned to the USS T. J. Gary, a destroyer escort. In the spring of 1970, he attended River Patrol Craft Training in California, and then was deployed to Vietnam where he served in River Patrol Force Flotilla Five as both a Boat Engineer and Boat Captain. After his service in the Navy, Tom continued to make his living on the water. He dragged for scallops out of New Bedford, Massachusetts for many years, netted elvers each spring, and was also a successful lobsterman aboard his boat, the River Rat. >click to read< 12:36

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 80’X22′ Steel Scalloper/Dragger, Cat 3412

To review specifications, information, and 31 photos’, >click here<, To see all the boats in this series >click here< 11:30

NEFMC asking NOAA to increase catch limit for haddock in Gulf of Maine to protect fishermen

In a statement issued April 20, the New England Fishery Management Council, which oversees fishing issues for the region, said the catch limit for the season that began May 1 is 1,936 metric tons, an 84 percent drop from last year. But now the council wants to give fishermen a reprieve, citing a rebound in haddock stock and after hearing concerns at the panel’s meeting last month in Mystic, Conn. “Fishermen have been encountering Gulf of Maine haddock at very high catch rates,” the council said, adding that several fishermen voiced concern “that an early shutdown of the fishery was highly likely and would have wide-ranging impacts.” “Even without targeting haddock, fishermen need haddock quota to account for bycatch while harvesting other species,” the council said. >click to read< 09:43

Sanfilippo invited to Rose Garden for salmon fight

For more than a decade Angela Sanfilippo, president of the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association, has helped advocate for the cause to protect Bristol Bay in Southwest Alaska and the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery from a proposed open-pit gold and copper mining project near the bay’s headwaters. She did so even though Gloucester, the nation’s oldest seaport, and Bristol Bay are some 3,600 miles apart on opposite coasts of the United States. On Thursday at 4 p.m., Sanfilippo attended a celebration in the Rose Garden of the White House that marked the protection of Bristol Bay from the Pebble Mine project. Sanfilippo recalls being contacted by Katherine Carscallen of Dillingham, Alaska, who today is the director of the Commercial Fishermen for Bristol Bay and a salmon fisher as captain of the F/V Sea Hawk.  >click to read< 07:33

Dave Marciano: Unveiling The Impressive Net Worth Of The “Wicked Tuna” Star In 2023

American commercial fisherman and reality television celebrity Dave Marciano works in the industry. He was made in the United States on January 7, 1960, in Ipswich, Massachusetts. As one of the cast members of the reality television programme “Wicked Tuna,” which is broadcast on the National Geographic Channel, Dave Marciano rose to fame. Marciano has won the hearts of viewers with his unmatched expertise and unyielding perseverance as he competes against the weather and his fellow fisherman in a high-stakes game of skill and strategy. >click to read< 11:07

Congressman Van Drew Joins Chairman Westerman on Natural Resources in Leading Letter to GAO Requesting Offshore Wind Study

“BOEM and offshore wind companies have engaged in a sloppy and rushed environmental review process—ignoring national security concerns, ignoring concerns from our fishermen, and ignoring impacts on our ocean life—all in the name of ‘climate change,'” said Congressman Van Drew. “We must continue to demand transparency throughout this process. Without diligent oversight, we risk not only our natural resources and local economies, but the livelihoods of the constituents we serve as well. I thank Chairman Westerman for his support in uncovering the real impacts these offshore wind turbines will have on our coast, including the economic impact on pertinent industries and the effects on sensitive environments.” >click to read< 10:31

Mega Cut: Haddock, a staple Atlantic fish, is in decline off New England, regulators say

A recent scientific assessment found that the Gulf of Maine haddock stock declined unexpectedly, and that meant the catch quotas for the fish were unsustainably high, federal fishing managers said.  “We seem to find plenty, but they can’t,” said Terry Alexander, a Maine-based fisher who targets haddock and other species. “It’s a disaster is what it is. A total, complete disaster.” The fishery management council mandated the 84% reduction in catch quotas for the current fishing year, which started May 1. The change applies to fishers who harvest haddock from the Gulf of Maine, a body of water off Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. Fishers also harvest from Georges Bank, a fishing ground to the east where quotas were also reduced for this year, including adjoining areas overseen by Canadian officials who issued their own major cuts. >click to read< 08:02

Letter to Mads Nipper, CEO, Ørsted

Dear Mr. Nipper, We write as concerned citizens and residents of the State of New Jersey, U.S.A. Our groups total tens of thousands of volunteer citizen advocates including more than 500,000 signatories to various petitions supporting our efforts. The NJ Shore is a national treasure enjoyed by millions who live and work, visit and vacation here and have done so for generations. On behalf of all the good people who love and enjoy the NJ Shore and its communities, please treat this letter as public notice that: We oppose your company’s efforts to turn our ocean, coastal ecosystems, and shore communities into industrial electricity generation and transmission power plants; We will protect our shore communities, the environment and the lives and livelihoods of all species including the millions of us that reside, work, visit and vacation here against your thoughtless industrialization; We will not falter, and we will not stop opposing your developments. >click to read< 11:48

New Bedford fisherman sentenced for evading $431,000 in federal taxes

A New Bedford man was sentenced in federal court in Boston for evading more than $431,000 in federal income taxes over the course of seven years. Victor M. Cruz, 43, was sentenced on May 9 by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel to time served (10 months in prison) followed by one year of supervised release. Cruz was also ordered to pay $431,835 in restitution to the IRS. On Feb. 12, 2023, Cruz pleaded guilty to three counts of tax evasion. >click to read< 09:11