Category Archives: New England

Efforts Underway to Reduce Lobster Fishing Gear to Help Rare Whale

Interstate fishing managers are starting the process of trying to reduce the amount of lobster fishing gear off the East Coast in an attempt to help save a declining species of rare whale. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission announced this month that it would consider options designed to reduce vertical lobster fishing lines in the water by as much as 40 percent. The commission said it would try to reduce the amount of gear with a combination of trap limits, seasonal closures, changes to gear configuration and other methods. The rules are under development and it will take months before they come up for public hearings. >click to read<10:45

Cushing fishing boat captain gets 4 years for causing deaths of 2 crewmen

Christopher A. Hutchinson, 30, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Portland by Judge D. Brock Hornby for two counts of seaman’s manslaughter. The bodies of 27-year-old Tom Hammond and 15-year-old Tyler Sawyer were never found. Hutchinson was the captain of the lobster boat No Limits, which sank near Matinicus Island in a storm on Nov. 1, 2014. He purchased 20, 30-milligram oxycodone pills from two separate drug dealers, smoked marijuana with Sawyer’s father, and drank a rum and coke at a Rockland restaurant on Halloween 2014, court documents say. He then departed for a fishing trip at 1 a.m. from Linda Bean’s dock in Tenants Harbor. Rain was beginning to fall, and the forecast called for a gale. >click to read<22:59

Investigating How Atlantic Sea Scallop Larvae Move Through A Fishery

A recent collaborative study from researchers at Rutgers University, Old Dominion University, University of Southern Mississippi, and NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center shows that scallop offspring – also known as larvae – can move among regions of the fishery, even though the fishery itself spans a huge area of the ocean off the east coast of the US. Scallops and other bivalves like oysters, clams, and mussels produce microscopic, free-swimming larvae. These larvae can, in some cases, traverse great distances,,, >click to read<21:19

CoA Institute Sends Letter to Secretary Ross Requesting Public Confirmation of Controversial Fishery Regulation

The importance of an open and transparent government is rooted in the federal government’s ability to choose winners and losers, create barriers to economic freedom, and limit personal liberties. Family-owned fishing firms in New England recently had their economic freedom put at-risk when it was revealed that the government had secretly approved a proposal to impose new, and statutorily unauthorized, costs on their fishing operations. That’s why Cause of Action Institute (CoA Institute) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross yesterday, criticizing his office’s lack of transparency and inadequate analysis surrounding the controversial fishery management regulations. >click to read< 10:46

Cut in herring quota bodes ill for lobster

Imagine running a trucking business and having your supply of diesel fuel cut by70 percent. For all practical purposes, that’s what happened to the Maine lobster industry last week. On Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries arm announced that it was cutting the 2019 herring quota by about 70 percent. That’s bad news for lobstermen. While diesel oil is the fuel that powers most lobster boats, herring is the fuel that powers the Maine lobster industry. Herring is the most popular bait used in the Maine lobster fishery and with the cut in the herring quota from about 110 million pounds last year to about 33 million pounds this year, bait is going to be scarce, and expensive. >click to read<22:16

Scallops: NEFMC to Hold 10 Scoping Meetings on Northern Gulf of Maine, Limited Access General Category Amendment

The New England Fishery Management Council has scheduled 10 scoping meetings from Maine to Virginia to gather public input on the development of Amendment 21 to the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan. This amendment is being developed to address three primary issues: • Northern Gulf of Maine (NGOM) Management Area measures; • Limited Access General Category (LAGC) individual fishing quota (IFQ) possession limits; and • The ability for Limited Access vessels with LAGC IFQ to transfer their quota to vessels that onlyhold LAGC IFQ permits.  >Click here for time schedules, locations, and other information<16:03

Vineyard Wind, Fishermen Set Compensation Deadline

Fishermen and Vineyard Wind have agreed to a deadline for settling their financial differences over a compensation package for the 92-square-mile offshore wind facility. After three months of stalled and at times heated discussions, Vineyard Wind, the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) and its Fishermen’s Advisory Board (FAB) agreed to negotiate a mitigation package last week with hopes of reaching an agreement by Feb. 25. In a deal signed Feb. 8, the three parties said they would abide by the new deadline and not argue for more time. >click to read<11:01

Man admits dumping headless bluefin tuna in woods

A Gloucester man admitted Monday that he dumped a decapitated bluefin tuna worth as much as $10,000 in a wooded area in Gloucester, after he’d caught it out of season in 2017. Harold Wentworth, 41, of 24 Liberty St., will spend the next year on probation and must pay a $1,000 fine, Peabody District Court Judge James Barretto ordered during a hearing requested by Wentworth’s attorney on the day the case was set to go to trial there. During the hearing, Wentworth’s attorney revealed that federal fisheries officials have also fined his client $15,000 for the illegal catch. >click to read<21:52

Somers introduces bill to help Stonington fishermen

State Sen. Heather Somers, R-18th District, has introduced a bill that she said Sunday would help Stonington fishermen stay afloat amid the sea of federal and state regulations that are hurting their businesses. The bill is scheduled to have a public hearing before the legislature’s Environment Committee on Friday. It would let Connecticut enter into agreements with bordering states to allow commercial fishermen from Connecticut to legally carry fish earmarked for one state into another state’s port without penalty — making the schedules and lives of fishermen economically and logistically easier. >click to read<08:18

Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative Executive Director Matt Jacobson To Step Down

Today, Maine Lobster Marketing Collaborative (MLMC) Executive Director Matt Jacobson informed the organization’s board of directors that heExecutive Director Matt Jacobson effective Monday, February 25, 2019. “On behalf of the entire board, we want to thank Matt for his dedicated service in this role over the past five years,” said Frank Gotwals, MLMC board chairman and fisherman based in Stonington, ME. >click to read<19:17

Record Lobster Production Defies Alarmist Climate Scare

Marine fisheries data show New England lobstermen are benefiting from a new golden age of lobster, thanks in large part to a warming Earth. Yet Democrats in Congress and even lobster lobbyists asserted in House climate hearings earlier in February that global warming is causing a lobster apocalypse. Thankfully, facts and scientific evidence can help us put this latest global warming scare to rest. On February 7, Democrats in the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife held hearings with the purpose of raising concern about global warming. >click to read<14:33

Subcommittee Hearing: Healthy Oceans and Healthy Economies: The State of Our Oceans In the 21st Century – Video, >click to watch<

Harriet Didriksen remembered as an irreplaceable fishing industry ‘icon’

New Bedford — A procession of visitors entered a hospital room at St. Anne’s in Fall River last weekend to bid farewell to Harriet Didriksen. Her son, Dana, saw his mother. With each new person who entered the room, he began to see, in many ways, the matriarch of the waterfront. Didriksen died Sunday at age 76. Dana returned to his home in Manhattan on Thursday morning. With each day he spent in the SouthCoast, though, the bond between his mother and the fishing industry grew more and more visible. >click to read<21:00

Lobstermen face more gear restrictions to protect whales

Nearly everywhere but up inside Maine’s many bays, fisheries regulators have forced lobstermen to use sinking rather than floating rope for the groundlines that connect traps on the sea bottom, to limit the number of traps set on a trawl to reduce the number of vertical buoy lines in the water and to install “weak links” in those vertical lines so an entangled whale can break loose. All those mandates, which arose out of discussions at NOAA’s Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team (ALWTRT), were hard-fought, expensive and largely unpopular. >click to read<11:22

New drive to reduce lobster fishing gear to help rare whale

Interstate fishing managers are starting the process of trying to reduce the amount of lobster fishing gear off the East Coast in an attempt to help save a declining species of rare whale. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission announced on Wednesday that it would consider options designed to reduce vertical lobster fishing lines in the water by as much as 40 percent. >click to read<13:48

Atlantic Lobster Board Moves Toward Reducing Rope In Effort To Save Right Whales

A consortium of Atlantic states fisheries managers is calling for broad changes to the gear lobstermen use, in an effort to reduce risks posed to the endangered North Atlantic right whale and to ward off potential federal action that could be even more challenging for the industry. At a meeting of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Council in Virginia, its lobster board voted unanimously to set in motion the process that could lead to major changes in the East Coast’s lobster industry. >click to read<12:43

Fisherman fined for fraudulent attempt to get disaster funds

A fishing boat captain, with a home port of Portsmouth, was fined $2,500 and placed on probation for falsifying fishing logs, filed with state Fish and Game officials, to fraudulently obtain fishery disaster-relief funds. David Bardzik, 56, of Ossipee, pleaded guilty in October and the U.S. Attorney’s office announced the sentence on Tuesday. “When the federal government spends money for disaster relief, the funds should only go to those who have been true victims of the disaster,” said U.S. Attorney Scott Murray in a press release. “Those who seek to cheat the system,,, >click to read<17:13

Fishermen Want More Time to Negotiate Over Wind

Lanny Dellinger, a Newport, R.I.-based lobsterman and chairman of the Fishermen’s Advisory Board, said fishermen are being rushed to accept a compensation offer for the harm they say will be caused by the Vineyard Wind offshore project. “It’s like being pushed into the (real estate) closing without seeing the appraisal,” Dellinger said.
There’s no doubt that the project developer is in a hurry. Vineyard Wind needs approval from the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) soon so that construction can begin on the 84-turbine project and qualify for a federal tax credit. >click to read<10:38

Coast Guard investigates sunken vessel in New Bedford Harbor

The Coast Guard is investigating what caused a 45-foot fishing vessel to sink early Sunday morning by steamship pier. The Coast Guard received a call from the owner of the fishing vessel Moonraker at 8:17 a.m., according to the agency. The owner discovered the vessel was submerged about a half hour earlier. >click to read<20:45

Lobstermen in Maine ready for debate over license wait list

There are few things in Maine as coveted as a lobster fishing license, and a proposal to bring dozens of people off the state’s license waiting list has fishermen in the state ready for a debate. More than 200 people are waiting in the wings for a lobstering license, which has long been a ticket to the middle class for working coastal Mainers. But a proposal before a state legislative committee would bring new people into the fishery who have been waiting for 10 or more years. >click to read<12:40

Lost trawler Mistress found on sea floor

The Point Judith, R.I., trawler Mistress, which sank in foul weather on New Year’s Day morning and triggered a large Coast Guard search for two of its crew, has been located, according to Richard Fuka, Rhode Island Fishermen’s Alliance president. Fuka said he’s been in regular contact with Michael Ansay, uncle of John Ansay, who along with the Mistress’s owner, Oscar Diaz, went missing when the trawler sank; both are presumed not to have survived. Diaz’s son, Tim, was the only member of the Mistress crew to be rescued.,, >click to read<16:24

Another Government Shutdown Could Sink Scallop Fishery Profits

The world is smitten with scallops. Their subtle sweetness and firm but somehow delicate bite has many wanting more. When I previously worked in seafood sales, I couldn’t believe how much chefs in Los Angeles would pay to put the great New Bedford sea scallop on their menus. We’re talking over $35 per pound for the big ones. I’d think to myself, “These chefs know there are scallops in the Pacific, right?” >click to read<15:39

Judge orders trio to pay $262,000 for setting fire to Maine shop, lobster boat

A judge ordered Tuesday that three men pay restitution of $262,000 for their roles in setting fire to a boat shop in Waldoboro nearly seven years ago. A lobster boat built specifically for a paraplegic lobsterman from Friendship was destroyed in the fire. Justice Daniel Billings ordered the restitution Jan. 29 after a hearing in Lincoln County Superior Court in Wiscasset. In addition, the third and final defendant in the arson case was sentenced. >click to read<14:17

Reintroduced Shark Trade Bill Promotes Successful U.S. Conservation Policies at Policies at Global Level

The Sustainable Shark Fisheries and Trade Act of 2019 – A bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. House advances global shark conservation by ensuring that all shark and ray products imported into the United States meet the same high ethical and sustainability standards required of American fishermen. The bill has broad support from conservation groups, zoos, aquariums and the fishing industry. >click to read<13:14

‘Lobster-Whale Work Group’ Faces Complicated Balancing Act As It Works To Protect Right Whales

Under pressure from lawsuits and the requirements of the federal Endangered Species Act, the federal government is closely reviewing the health of the right whale population, which is hovering around 410 animals. The result could be the imposition of new gear and other restrictions to reduce the risk of whale entanglement with the rope lobstermen use to position and haul their traps,,, a new “Lobster-Whale Work Group,” made up of state officials in the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, has proposed a slate of possible actions with the dual goals of protecting the whales and the “viability and culture of the lobster fishery.” “We’re doing everything we can to appease the people who think it may be us,” says Stephen Train, a lobsterman in Long Island, Maine. >click to read<11:50

Convicted deputy now suing ‘Codfather’ for $600,000

A trip that was meant to end with Antonio Freitas asking his girlfriend to marry him in France, instead resulted in the former Bristol County deputy getting convicted of a felony and now filing a $600,000 lawsuit against Carlos Rafael. Rafael’s web of crimes entangled Freitas and a captain at the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office, but Freitas is claiming his association with the fishing mogul was far worse than what a jury convicted him of. >click to read<

 

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 55′ RI Marine Day Scalloper, Permit, with 16,500 lbs. of IFQ

Specifications, information and 9 photos >click here< To see all the boats in this series, >Click here<16:02

Vineyard Wind, Con Groups Reach Historic Agreement to Protect Right Whales

Vineyard Wind and the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Wildlife Federation, and Conservation Law Foundation today entered into an unprecedented agreement to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales. Under the historic agreement, Vineyard Wind will institute a variety of protective measures to keep right whales safe while installing and operating turbines at its proposed 84-turbine project off the coast of Massachusetts. Harnessing offshore wind is a key step in transitioning the nation away from dirty, polluting fossil fuels to a clean energy economy. (Plenty of Fraudsters here!) >click to read<13:55

Lobster firm to invest in Gouldsboro plant after closure of Connecticut facility

A seafood distribution and processing firm says it plans to increase production at its plant in Gouldsboro after closing a shipping facility in Connecticut. Garbo Lobster, a subsidiary of East Coast Seafood Group, announced this week that it plans to shut down the Groton live lobster packing facility on Thursday, Jan. 17. <click to read>

Fishermen: Rhode Island Governor Raimondo sidelined us from wind-power talks

Rhode Island fishermen are accusing Gov. Gina Raimondo of cutting them out of talks with Vineyard Wind about compensation for lost access to ocean fishing grounds where the New Bedford company plans to install 84 giant wind turbines. The state’s Fishermen’s Advisory Board, the group convened to represent the commercial and recreational fishing industries in the face of offshore renewable energy development, is set to meet Tuesday to consider a potential payout from Vineyard Wind. Yet, as of late Monday, the board had not received any details of a proposal. >click to read<21:4

Sink or swim time for 93-year-old gillnetter Phyllis A.?

We were over at the Gloucester Marine Railways the other day, which is one of our favorite stops in the city, and we checked in with the yard’s venerable foreman Douglass Parsons to see what’s up with the efforts to repair and restore the lovely 93-year-old gillnetter, the Phyllis A. The project has been hampered by uneven funding streams and Parsons said he and some other members of the Phyllis A Marine Association have come to the conclusion that they either procure the $200,000 this year that would allow them to do enough repairs to get the 58-foot gillnetter back in the water or call it a day. >click to read<19:26