Category Archives: New England

Jack Spillane: NOAA – A rogue agency gets set to shut down another New Bedford fishery

Scott Lang has been around fisheries issues for a long time. Both when he was mayor and afterwards. In 2013, Lang helped organize the Center for Sustainable Fisheries as a grassroots lobbying group to try to make sure New Bedford fishermen were not totally forgotten by NOAA. He’s worked for the industry for a long time and seen a lot of arguments from both sides back-and-forth over the years. But until last week, he said he had never seen NOAA make a decision to close a fishery with no science behind it. Not even questionable science, as for years NOAA has used for New England groundfishing limits in the opinion of many. >click to read<09:42

Au Revoir Angenette: Parting with an old friend

Forty-eight years is a long time to own a boat so there was no sweet sorrow when Capt. Ron Borjeson parted with his beloved Angenette, watching her steam over the horizon with a new owner at the helm. “My kids were devastated,” he told me. It was back in 1970 that Ron acquired the trim forty-five footer from the original owner. Built Down East in 1946 this stout wooden boat provided his introduction to commercial fishing. In those days Ron fished for cod, haddock and flounders out of Sandwich where he lived. “But then came all the regulations and rolling closures and we no longer had access to what was in our own backyard,” he said. “I had to go chase squid and fluke.” >click to read<18:05

Proposed salmon farm rattles some in Belfast. Another in Bucksport draws few objections.

Belfast and Bucksport are separated by just 24 miles, and both are closely connected to the Penobscot River and Penobscot Bay. But you would never know that from the very different way that two proposals for large, land-based salmon farms have been received by members of their respective communities over the past year. In Belfast, opposition to Nordic Aquafarms’ proposed $150 million salmon farm is fierce and outspoken,,, In Bucksport, there is virtually no vocal opposition as Whole Oceans works on building its own $250 million indoor aquaculture facility on the site of the former Verso paper mill. >click to read<12:42

Maine fisheries groups support DMR Commissioner Keliher

In what must be a first in modern history, virtually every commercial fishing organization in Maine joined together to urge Governor-elect Janet Mills to keep Patrick Keliher on the job as commissioner of Marine Resources after she takes office in January. First reported in the Maine Lobstermen’s Association’s Landings, shortly after the election, the MLA, Downeast Lobstermen’s Association, Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, Maine Aquaculture Association, Alewife Harvesters of Maine, Maine Elver Fishermen Association and the Independent Maine Marine Worm Harvesters Association signed a letter to Mills voicing the organizations’ unanimous support for the current DMR commissioner. >click to read<18:08

Working Group Nears Consensus on Transit Lanes for Fishing Vessels in Northeast Wind Energy Areas

Fishing industry representatives, offshore wind developer lease-holders, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the U.S. Coast Guard, among others, joined RODA to continue an attempt to develop fishery transit lanes through the large group of Wind Energy Areas in federal waters off of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The meeting was facilitated by the Consensus Building Institute. In addition to loss of access within the lease areas, commercial fishermen have concerns about their ability to safely travel across wind energy arrays to access other historical, traditional commercial fishing grounds. >click to read<21:26

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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!10:46


Dear readers, I was very disappointed yesterday to find out that NOAA cancelled a meeting in Gloucester to do with SKG money. I had fishermen, and even invited my political delegation members, ready to attend and I wanted to ask NOAA these questions, only to find out that they did not have enough replicants to attend. To me something stinks. I would like a response from them with these three questions. Sam Parisi >click to read<10:30

NOAA’s treatment of wind industry called into question after closure of clamming areas

Offshore wind development appeared on Tuesday’s agenda at a New England Fishery Management Council meeting, however, it wasn’t expected to pop up during discussion on closures affecting the clamming industry. Peter Hughes, a liaison for the Atlantic Council, couldn’t digest the fact that an offshore wind leasing area identified in a similar region extends upwards of 1,400 square miles, while the clamming industry, which sought less than 300 square miles off of Nantucket Shoals, couldn’t receive approval. >click to read<09:34

Maine: Scallop season opens to positive early reports

The Downeast scallop season got underway this weekend and early reports are that the fleet was active, the fishing good and the price satisfactory. Divers got the first crack at scallops in Blue Hill Bay as their season opened on Saturday. Draggers had to wait until Monday to get out on the water. According to Marine Patrol Sgt. Colin MacDonald, plenty of them did despite less than ideal conditions. Saturday was a good day for diving. Though the temperature was chilly, scallop buyer Joshua Buxton said divers selling to him at the South Blue Hill pier all reported that there was no wind on the bay and that the water wasn’t rough. Monday was a different story,,, >click to read<10:20

Feds planning 2019 protections for North Atlantic right whales

How the federal government will confirm, modify or adapt protective measures for North Atlantic right whales in 2019 remains to be seen, but officials are sharing the initial findings of 2018’s scientific surveys and studies. After a catastrophic loss of 12 right whales in Canadian waters in 2017, no right whales died here this year, but at a technical briefing Tuesday, officials from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Transport Canada didn’t say whether protections put in place this year were enough — or too much. ,,, Instead they shared key results of a recent peer review of new science by researchers, industry representatives, government officials — as well as scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S. — who gathered in Montreal in an effort to reach evidence-based conclusions.>click to read<08:48

Vital surf clam harvesting grounds closed by New England Fisheries Management Council

Clamming captains, business-owners and attorneys huddled in the lobby of the Viking Hotel on Tuesday sharing disbelief and despair over a decision by the New England Fisheries Management Council that will close vital harvesting grounds. “A lot of these guys are going to go out of business,” owner and president of Nantucket Sound Seafood LLC Al Rencurrel said. “Obviously the economic impact, they didn’t view that, did they?” Heading into the meeting, the surf clam industry hoped for the approval of “Alternative 2,” which would continue an exemption in its fishing areas but would modify boundaries including seasonal areas. ,,“It’s sad to say but they’re putting a lot of people out of business right now,” Rencurrel said. “The Conservation Law Foundation drives the bus with these people, obviously. It’s plain as day. It’s too bad they couldn’t help the fishery out.” >click to read<20:34

Fleet of 5 Maine scallop and fishing trawlers sold to New York-based equity firm

A New York-based private equity firm will purchase a Portland scallop and groundfish supply company that manages five of the largest fishing vessels operating in Maine. Blue Harvest Fisheries, a U.S. scallop and whitefish supplier owned by equity firm Bregal Partners, will purchase Atlantic Trawlers Fishing, Undercurrent News reported. Bregal Partners is a private investment firm with $600 million of committed capital funded by a six-generation German-Dutch family. Its board of directors includes the CEO of Bumble Bee Foods, and the chief investment and strategy officer of the Central Bering Sea Fisherman’s Association, who is also on the board of American Seafoods. Atlantic Trawlers Fishing, owned by James Odlin, operates from the Portland Fish Pier and includes the fishing vessels Nobska, Morue, Harmony, Teresa Marie III and Teresa Marie IV. >click to read>16:57

NEFMC votes against limiting access to whiting fishery

New England Fishery Management Council members have shown little collective enthusiasm for limiting access to the Northeast small-mesh whiting fishery and the great majority followed through on that sentiment Tuesday. Convening in Newport, Rhode Island, in the first of its three days of meetings, the council took final action on the measure known as Amendment 22 by voting 13-1 with one abstention to sustain the small-mesh fishery’s status quo as an open fishery. The vote defeated a proposal to establish requirements for limiting the access to the small-mesh multispecies fishery that has grown in popularity among local groundfishermen as other stocks have become less abundant or been subject to stricter management policies. >click to read<16:10

New England Fishery Management Council meeting in Newport, RI., December 4 thru 6 2018

The New England Fishery Management Council will be meeting at Hotel Viking, Newport, RI, December 4, 2018 –
December 6, 2018. To read the final agenda, >click here< Register for webinar >click here< to listen live. 08:16

Fishermen backing surf clammers in fight over harvest area

Groundfish stakeholders are supporting the surf clam industry’s efforts to retain fishing rights in pockets of the Great South Channel of the Nantucket Shoals as long as the approved management policy does not prompt “mitigations or further habitat restrictions on the groundfish fishery.”,,, On Tuesday, the New England Fishery Management Council, meeting in Newport, Rhode Island, is expected to decide whether one of the more lucrative fishing grounds for the surf clam fishery — 10 to 20 miles east and southeast of Nantucket — will remain open to surf clamming or restricted or closed as part of a protectionist effort to designate the full area as an essential fish habitat that would be off limits to surf clamming dredging gear. >click to read<06:55

Whale conservationist tackles fishing industry

A whale conservationist with a radical style says he intends to move forward with a “whale safety” initiative petition for 2020 in Massachusetts to ban vertical buoy ropes used in commercial fishing, among other efforts to protect whales and sea turtles. “We have to have a paradigm shift,” Richard Maximus Strahan, of Peterborough, New Hampshire, said of his advocacy efforts to stop the death and injury of whales and sea turtles from entanglement in rope used in commercial lobstering, crabbing and gillnetting. >click to read<19:29

Lobsterman’s wife

My husband gets up around 4 a.m. to go lobstering on days that the weather allows. By 5 o’clock, he’s down at the boat and headed out of the cove, well before I’m getting out of bed and getting the kids ready for school. Once the kids are off, I head to work myself. I don’t worry about my husband constantly, but I do so sporadically throughout the day. A long time ago he told me that I didn’t need to worry about him on the bad weather days, it was the good days that I should think about him more, because those are the days that he might not notice things that are out of place; that he’s comfortable on the boat, not complacent, but secure. continues, >click to read<12:05

More questions than answers emerge from New York wind meeting

A horde of New Bedford fishermen and representatives from the city’s Port Authority shared a train ride down to New York City for a meeting involving an offshore wind project south of Long Island. The Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force meeting was held to discuss a guide the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management released earlier this month outlining potential leasing sites. The day long dialogue, though, may have only introduced more questions rather than provided answers.,,, Another new item from the Port Authority’s perspective involved a presentation by the Department of Defense. It included a diagram that ruled out areas that had previously been listed as “primary” and “secondary” recommendations. >click to read<11:13

Upcoming vote could be ‘devasting’ for New England clams

While New Bedford gains its notoriety as the scallop capital of the world, Massachusetts is known for its clam chowder. A New England Fisheries Management Council meeting in Newport scheduled for Tuesday could affect the latter. An afternoon agenda item will discuss the possibility of closing an area in Nantucket Shoals, that the clam industry calls vital to its survival… To prevent the action, the surf clam industry has rallied together and sought the legal services of former New Bedford mayor and attorney Scott Lang. The coalition consists of Atlantic Capes, Seawatch International, Nantucket Sound Seafood, and Intershell Seafood International. Together, the group consists of only about 15 vessels harvesting clams in the area southeast of Chatham and east of Nantucket. >click to read<22:05

We’ll take your lobsters, eh? Canadian imports from US soar

Trade hostility from across the ocean was supposed to take a snip out of the U.S. lobster business, but the industry is getting a lifeline from its northern neighbor. Heavy demand from Canada is buoying American lobster as both countries head into the busy holiday export season, according to federal statistics and members of the industry. It’s a positive sign for U.S. seafood dealers and fishermen, even as the industry struggles with Chinese tariffs.,,  >click to read<12:05

Fishermen to NOAA: ‘We spend more time getting away from the fish than we do catching the fish’

The fishing industry pleaded with NOAA on Thursday afternoon for the one thing the agency couldn’t promise: urgency. “Unfortunately with the management process that we have, to abide by the law, which obviously we have to do as a federal agency, we have to abide by the law,” NOAA’s Northeast Regional Administrator Mike Pentony said. “We are subject to constraints. It is very difficult for us to react, to change quickly.” A roundtable discussion,,, The roundtable looked at what vision the fishermen and NOAA have for the groundfish industry and then touched on quota.  A common theme emerged from the fishing industry as it pelted Pentony with grave concerns regarding the future of the groundfish fishery. “This is the very bottom and the most discouraged mount of fishermen that I’ve seen since I’ve been involved in fisheries and that goes back to the mid-70s,” fisherman Ed Barrett said. “I can’t tell you how bad it is. You can ask any fishermen,” fisherman Ron Borjeson said. “We spend more time getting away from the fish than we do catching the fish.”>click to read<19:03

Clam controversy – There is much at stake, like a lot of jobs.

In June, at the Intershell dock on Commercial Street, owners Monte and Yibing Gao Rome launched their new 55-foot surf clam boat, F/V Bing Bing, amid the hoopla and happiness associated with a new Gloucester boat going into the water. But on Tuesday,  Intershell and the other major surf clammers along the Northeast will find out if they still have a surf clam fishery to call home in the lucrative and historically rich Great South Channel of the Nantucket Shoals. The New England Fishery Management Council, in a trailing action to its Omnibus 2 Essential Fish Habitat Amendment, will decide if a large swath of the current surf clam fishery, 10 to 20 miles east and southeast of Nantucket, will remain open to surf clamming or possibly be closed as part of a protectionist move to designate the full area as an essential fish habitat. >click to read<22:45

New Bedford Fishing Boat Captain Sentenced

The former captain of a New Bedford fishing boat owned by Carlos Rafael, a/k/a “The Codfather,” was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for interfering with a U.S Coast Guard (USCG) inspection of a fishing boat off the Massachusetts coast. Thomas D. Simpson, 57, of South Portland, Maine, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to two years of probation, with the first four months to be served in home confinement with electronic monitoring, and ordered to pay a $15,000 fine. In August 2018, Simpson pleaded guilty to one count of destruction or removal of property subject to seizure and inspection. Simpson was the captain of the fishing vessel Bulldog,,, >click to read<18:04

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 79′ Master Marine Steel Stern Trawler, CAT 3508, Federal and State permits

Specifications, information and 12 photos >click here< John Deere – 65 KW Genset, Detriot 2-71 – 20 K Genset, This vessel has good towing power as the 59 1/2″ x 63″ propeller turns 400 RPM inside the 60″ nozzle. To see all the boats in this series, >click here<14:25

Friendship Lobsterman Pleads No Contest to Arson

The Friendship lobsterman whose feud with another fisherman led him and his sternmen to torch the other man’s Waldoboro boathouse has pleaded no contest to arson more than six years after the fire. James R. Simmons, 43, entered the plea at the Lincoln County Courthouse in Wiscasset on Tuesday, Nov. 27. A second charge of arson was dismissed. He will be sentenced in January. >click to read<12:56

Money Talks – Vineyard Wind given more time to meet fishermen’s concerns

At the request of Vineyard Wind, the Coastal Resources Management Council agreed to postpone a decision until the end of January on whether to grant what’s known as a “consistency certification” to the 800-megawatt offshore wind farm proposed in 118 square miles between Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard. The delay will give the company more time to discuss a compensation package with fishermen and potential tweaks to the wind farm’s layout, said CEO Lars Pedersen. “It requires more time to find the right solutions,” he said. “We recognize that it is a challenging situation.” But representatives of the fishing industry argued against the stay. “We’ve tried — 14 months, countless hours, countless days not at sea — and it just seems like they’re stalling,” said Newport fisherman Todd Sutton. >click to read<10:19

Letter: Fishermen need federal help

It is time to wake up. I read in Fishery Nation about protesters and fishermen opposed to a hotel on the waterfront in Portland, Maine. It seems their city fathers are having a difficult time turning those developers down due to less commercial fishing in their town. I can understand it is hard for them to turn down hotels and other businesses. We in Gloucester face the same. Our fisherman can be displaced and new developments can perhaps provide more tax dollars to the city, but at our fisherman’s expense. >click to read<09:23

White sharks aren’t the issue. Gray seals are – amend the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act

Last summer’s white shark attacks off Cape Cod beaches, one resulting in the first human fatality in the state in over 80 years, highlight the fact that times change, our marine ecosystem is evolving, and laws need to adjust to these changing realities. However tragic those shark attacks are for the victims and their families, the white sharks are not the issue; they simply dramatize it. The ever-increasing population of gray seals is the issue.,, A realistic start to addressing this issue would be to amend the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act to provide for delisting recovered species, such as the gray seal. Admittedly, while delisting would not resolve the issues of controlling seal population growth or related white shark attacks, it would be a reasonable first step for the following reasons: >click to read<09:31

Scarce bay scallops are costly

Last year the Vineyard bay scallop harvest boomed. Prices hovered around $20 per pound. Not so this year. Bay scallops are scant, and at Menemsha Fish Market they were retailing at $38 per pound on Monday. “Nobody went out today,” Larsen said Monday morning, “nice day, too — because there’s no scallops.” Until recently, bay scallops were $35 per pound at the Net Result in Vineyard Haven. As of Monday, they hovered at $30 per pound, which still ranked as the second most expensive seafood there after fresh lobster meat, at $50 per pound. >click to read<19:32

Protect the Working Waterfront: Portland fishermen protest waterfront development

Portland fishermen last week launched a social media campaign urging Portland officials and residents to protect the working waterfront and their livelihoods from development. A group of Portland fishermen released a short video, “12 Little Wharves,” as part of the campaign. In the video, fishermen cite the economic activity generated by the wharfs for Portland and Maine in general.”There’s no place left in America like Portland where we have these 12 little wharves that are so unique, that still produce product for the state,” fisherman Willis Spear Jr. says in the video >click to watch<. “They not only provide safe harbor to small vessels in a storm but they’re a big part of the economic engine for the city of Portland.” >click to read<15:30