Category Archives: New England

Undersea cable survey marks milestone in Maine’s offshore wind quest

Three marine vessels that study the makeup and geology of seabeds are scheduled to arrive in Maine over the next week or so to survey the proposed route of an underwater cable that will link a floating, offshore wind turbine near Monhegan Island,,, The project received a major boost last August when Diamond Offshore Wind, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corp., and RWE Renewables, the world’s second-largest offshore wind company,,,  While the location of offshore wind turbines has gotten a lot of attention, the siting of the cables that connect turbines received less scrutiny, according to Annie Hawkins, of RODA, >click to read< 15:25

N.E. Aquarium Scientists urge NOAA to consider more aggressive Right Whale steps

In response to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Proposed Rule to amend the regulations implementing the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan to reduce the incidental mortality and serious injury to North Atlantic right whales, fin whales, and humpback whales in northeast commercial lobster and crab trap/pot fisheries to meet the goals of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act, the New England Aquarium submits this comment to express our strong reservations that the measures outlined in the Proposed Rule and accompanying Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) are not nearly aggressive enough to change the fate of North Atlantic right whales in U.S. waters. Based on our decades of NARW expertise, the Aquarium strongly urges NOAA to revise this Proposed Rule substantially before finalizing it. >click to read< 07:07

Enviro’s Lukewarm Reception For Canada Modifying Right Whale Protections

The Animal Welfare Institute has responded to the Canadian government’s recent decision to modify right whale protections, specifically concerning how they affect lobster and crab fishers. On the one hand, the institute welcomes and applauds the government commitment to “Whale Safe” ropeless fishing gear. However, it does not accept the promotion of weaker rope lines as a long-term solution for entanglement. >click to read< , with a link to the policy they oppose, unreasonably. 18:06

Lobster industry changes require more evidence on North Atlantic right whale deaths

Environmentalists and the lobster industry have rarely agreed on anything related to the effort to save the North Atlantic right whale. So when they do, people should pay attention. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is now taking comment on its Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan, aimed at reducing risk of rope entanglements and ship strikes to the endangered mammal by at least 60%. But members of both sides say no one has enough information to say that the sweeping changes would be effective. Our comment? Don’t pass a plan that puts the deaths of right whales on the backs of Maine lobstermen unless you can show that’s where it should be. >click to read< 08:14

Maine: Local legislators sponsor bills in support of commercial fisheries

The 130th Maine Legislature has released a list of bills proposed in the House and Senate, and local representatives are focused on the commercial fishing industry, The lobster fishery, in particular, is facing competition from offshore wind energy development and conservation measures, both which affect lobstermen and their livelihood. Representative William “Billy Bob” Faulkingham, An Act to Prohibit Offshore Wind Energy Development.  Rep. Genevieve McDonald is sponsoring three fishing-related bills. Rep. Robert Alley Sr., has proposed An Act to Support Maine’s Sustainable Lobster Fishery and  An Act to Support the Sustainability of Maine’s Lobster Markets.  >click to read< 19: 33

“What I’m reading now being proposed by NOAA will essentially put me out of business,,,”

Lobsterman John Drouin said in his 42 years of fishing around Cutler, he has never seen a right whale. Many other Maine lobstermen have said the same thing about their experience on the water. But that may not matter.,,  he and Maine Marine Resources Commissioner Pat Keliher said the true threat in the NOAA documents would come in 10 years when scientists say the threat to whales should be reduced by 98 percent, effectively eliminating all lobster ropes and potentially ending the way they have fished for generations. “It’s devastating. Totally changes the face of the Maine lobster fishery,” said Keliher, “and we’d have no idea from an economic standpoint what it will mean in the long run.” >video, >click to read< 09:38

Right Whale – Wrong Data

This graph mistake turns this whole whale lobster debate on it’s head. They gauged their whole extinction claim on a population number that they figured from a birthrate curve overlaid on a population graph so naturally it looks like tons of whales are suddenly dying when the birthrate went down starting in 2010, one year after the record calving of 39 baby whales. 20 whales born in 2010, plus 7 more, attributed to their downward tracking line meant 27 whales died. Oddly nobody noticed this ridiculous mathematical blunder and for ten years they have been charging around wondering who was killing all these whales. >click to read< 19:29

Enviros and lobster fishermen are unhappy with proposed federal regulations to protect right whales

In a public hearing Tuesday night, conservationists and fishermen alike roundly criticized federal regulators’ proposed changes in fishing rules to protect endangered whales from fishing gear. Much of the discussion focused on so-called ropeless lobster fishing technology, which allows traps to be located and retrieved using remote-control systems. Conservationists see that as the ultimate solution, But many Maine fishermen scoff at the idea, and Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher agreed it’s not practical for Maine’s diverse fishing grounds. >click to read< 15:33

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 45′ Gamage Trawler with MaCap Permit

To review specifications, information, and 22 photos, >click here<, To see all the boats in this series >click here<11:08

Maine Gov. Janet Mills expresses ‘grave concern’ over plans to protect North Atlantic right whales

“The survival of Maine’s iconic lobster fishery, and in fact, our heritage, through the future of Maine’s independent lobstermen and women, depend on your willingness to act,” Mills wrote in a letter filed with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration on Feb. 19. Mills called on NOAA to develop “practical solutions” that protect right whales but allow fishing to continue.,,, Two public hearings to consider amendments to NOAA’s Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan. Those virtual hearings will be held Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. for southern Maine and Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. for northern Maine. Both will last about two hours and require pre registration https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4167147282087010060. Anyone unable to participate in the virtual hearings can submit comments to NOAA by March 1. >click to read< 09:54

Its Deadline for Comments Day on South Fork Wind Farm Environmental Report

BOEM, which recently finished its draft environmental review of the South Fork Wind Farm, gave the public a chance to weigh in on the document at three virtual public hearings in mid-February, and is accepting further written public comment through midnight tonight… Meghan Lapp of Seafreeze Ltd. in Narragansett, Rhode Island, “Our vessels will have to fish in the area, which will be impossible if this goes through as planned,” she said, adding that the DEIS “does not contain any cumulative impact analysis” of how the offshore wind industry will affect the fishing industry. Bonnie Brady of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, based in Montauk, agreed with Ms. Lapp, adding,,, >click to read< 12:05

From boat to table: Family starts direct-to-consumer scallop business

At the beginning of the pandemic and over 1,000 miles from New Bedford, Britt St. George and Madison Lees quarantined in Florida with their father, John Lees, founder of Mar-Lees Seafood and current president of New England Marine; their mother; and their significant others, Zack St. George and Edward Smith. It was a time in which scallops were a part of nearly every conversation, Madison Lees said, and not just because their father is in the business. It was because the family business was growing. They also figured it would be the perfect time to sell scallops directly to consumers online as restaurants were either closed or running at limited capacity, he said. “Now or never, now is the time to do it,” >click to read< 07:57

U.S. lobster exports to China rebounded in 2020

While the coronavirus pandemic tanked U.S. lobster exports overall in 2020, international trade data suggests the industry’s once-thriving U.S. to China trade pipeline may be making a comeback.  International sales of U.S. lobster fell by 22 percent last year, from $548.4 million in 2019 to $426.9 million in 2020. The market saw declines in sales to each of the country’s top 10 international buyers, with the notable exception of China, which bought more than $127 million of U.S. lobster, or a roughly 49 percent increase over 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. >click to read< 10:34

America’s largest scallop company sues New Bedford over waterfront expansion

Roy Enoksen and his business partner own the largest scallop fleet in the world. Their 27 fishing vessels bring more than 80,000 pounds of seafood into New Bedford each day, employing more than 400 captains, fishermen and support staff. But a construction project planned by the city’s port authority would cut off water access at one of Enoksen’s boat maintenance facilities. A lawsuit filed by Enoksen last month has blown the lid off a simmering conflict between New Bedford and one of the largest employers along its waterfront. >click to read< 08:40

New Protected Species Regulations Finalized for Fixed Gear Fisheries

New Protected Species Regulations Finalized for Fixed Gear Fisheries and Industry Outreach on Required Gear Modifications. This advisory serves to provide you with information regarding new protected species regulations. More details on each new regulatory provision are provided in the bullets below. Seasonal Commercial Trap Closure, Gillnet Closure, Weak Rope Requirements for Comm. Trap Gear, DMF’s ongoing efforts to protect the North Atlantic right whale.,,  >Click to read< 18:55

‘Wicked Tuna’ rivalry gives way to cooperation

The coronavirus pandemic’s tidal wave of challenges made its way to the high seas, and viewers of “Wicked Tuna” will see a new dynamic when the 10th season opens with a 90-minute premiere Sunday at 9 p.m. The show is known for following Gloucester fishermen in the highly competitive hunt for giant bluefin tuna and the race back to shore in search of the highest price,,, That is until COVID-19 prompted a business shutdown nearly a year ago, with restaurants shuttered or operating at a fraction of their capacity. The market and demand for the usually lucrative bluefin sank. “It was great to see fishermen working together with buyers to do the best we could in these difficult times,” said Capt. Dave Marciano,,, >click to read< 14:03

The Coronavirus pandemic could change U.S. fisheries forever. Will it be for better or for worse?!

The first symptoms appeared long before Covid-19 gained a stronghold on U.S. shores, as China went into its first lockdown and a critical export market disappeared overnight,,, Then as social distancing rules kicked in here, another major organ of the U.S. supply chain, restaurants, where most seafood purchases are made, fell limp.  Many fishermen across the country have pivoted to direct-marketing models by selling their catch off their boats,,, To many in the food industry, the pandemic’s impact has exposed the fundamental vulnerabilities of a system that has long favored efficiency over resilience.  >click to read< 09:48

Lobstermen fear new rules as Biden revokes Trump executive orders on regulation

New executive orders are flying off President Joe Biden’s desk. Many of those orders seek to reinstate regulations lifted by former President Donald Trump or enact new ones. Mainers who make a living on the water are particularly concerned about new regulations, and Maine’s Congressional delegation is concerned, as well. They’ve sent multiple letters to federal agencies, attempting to inform the rulemaking process on fishery management plans. >click to read< 08:16

Maine: Local legislators focused on the commercial fishing industry, float several fisheries bills

The 130th Maine Legislature has released a list of bills proposed in the House and Senate,,, The lobster fishery, in particular, is grappling with the prospect of offshore wind energy development and conservation measures, both of which could affect lobstermen and their livelihood.,, Fisherman and state Rep. William “Billy Bob” Faulkingham (R-Winter Harbor) is sponsoring “An Act to Prohibit Offshore Wind Energy Development” (LD 101).,, Rep. Genevieve McDonald (D-Stonington), who also is a fisherman, is sponsoring three fishing-related bills. >click to read< 13:36

Humboldt County crabbers opposed to ropeless gear bill, the Whale Entanglement Prevention Act

A bill recently introduced to the California State Assembly is expected to deliver a blow to the ailing crab fishing industry,,, Assembly Bill 534, or the Whale Entanglement Prevention Act, was written and introduced to this state chamber by Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) on Feb. 10 and is sponsored by the environmental organizations Center for Biological Diversity and Social Compassion in Legislation. The proposed legislation would require Dungeness crab fishing operations to only use ropeless gear by Nov. 1, 2025. >click to read< 22:50

Mass, R.I. Public Hearing: Summer Flounder, Scup, Black Sea Bass Commercial/Recreational Allocation Amendment

Might want to get this out there- it’s going to be important the industry get involved. Tell the Council status quo! Comments may be submitted at any of five virtual public hearings to be held between February 17 and March 2, 2021 or via written comment until March 16, 2021. Wednesday, February 17, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.: Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Thursday, February 18, New Jersey, Wednesday, February 24, Delaware and Maryland, Monday, March 1, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.: Virginia and North Carolina, Tuesday, March 2, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.: Connecticut and New York >click to read< 16:10

What to do about seals?

Atlantic Seal Science Task Team, Dear Sir/Madam, I wish to contribute input to the work of the Atlantic Seal Science Task Team related to DFO’s science activities and programs regarding seals, and the role of the animals in the ecosystem in Atlantic Canada and Quebec. To begin, I want to refer to the February, 1990 Independent Review of the State of the Northern Cod Stock by the late Dr. Leslie Harris, a report that questioned the impact of seals on the marine ecosystem. The Review Panel, which held a series of province-wide public hearings at the time, was “repeatedly confronted” by inshore fishermen with the issue of the growth of the seal herds, and the impacts on the abundance of cod.,, >click to read< By Ryan Cleary 12:04

Evidence shows Maine lobster gear has not contributed to decline in Right whale population

In today’s world, it is hard to discern truth from opinion, or fact from calculated lies.,, The fact is also that no documented right whale death has ever been attributed to Maine lobstermen. There has only been one known entanglement in the past 20 years (2012). That whale was disentangled and set free.,,, The combination of ship strikes and snow crab gear entanglement was catastrophic, but had nothing to do with Maine lobster gear. The “guilt by association” assumption by environmental groups and NOAA/NMFS is unwarranted and unacceptable. By Jack Merrill. >click to read< 07:55

Maine Commercial Fisherman Paul G. Johnson of Waldoboro has passed away

Paul G. Johnson, 60, died unexpectedly on February 8, 2021 at his home in Waldoboro. He was born September 8, 1960 in Rockland to Jesse Johnson and Winona Miller Johnson.  After high school he worked for the Poiriers of Massachusetts in the salt factory at Upton Fuel Company for a short time. Soon after, Paul returned to work on the water as a fisherman back home. He dug clams, built traps and lobstered with his father and brothers, even hauled his own gear by hand out of a wooden flat bottom skiff built by his father, Jesse, and Fernald Carter. Paul was an elver fisherman, went pogie seining, was an urchin tender for many cold winters,,, He had a big heart, and he would give you the shirt off his back, a place to stay, and his last dollar if you needed it. >click to read< 13:43

Maine fishing regulators are closing the state’s richest scallop fishing grounds

The state is closing Cobscook, Whiting and Dennys bays for the rest of the fishing season starting Sunday to help conserve the scallop population, the Maine Department of Marine Resources said Friday. Cobscook Bay is home to some of the most productive scallop fishing in the state.  Maine is also closing a handful of other scallop fishing areas around the state, including instituting a partial closure of western Casco Bay, >click to read< 13:27

‘Mask police’: Commercial fishermen, watermen required to wear masks on boats via Biden, Coast Guard COVID orders

The U.S. Coast Guard is requiring masks be worn on commercial fishing boats and other vessels as part of President Joe Biden’s executive orders mandating face coverings on federally regulated transportation vehicles.,, Now, they are also going to be enforced on watermen and those working on fishing boats, according to the Coast Guard. U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md.-1st,  said mandating the mask on watermen and fishermen working outdoors is burdensome, goes against the science of how of and where COVID is spread and could require masks to be worn at all times on boats,  including while sleeping. >click to read< 19:10

Congressman Harris Asks for Clarification on Mask Mandate for Small Craft Fishing Vessels – The Coast Guard has issued guidance that all commercial fishing vessel occupants will be required to wear masks, and that they will enforce this mandate. >click to read<

Ropeless Fishing Shows Promise, But There’s a Catch: Financial, Safety, Technology Challenges

On a cold January morning, a lobster trap sitting on a table at a manufacturing facility in Wareham is rhythmically beeping. Two final beeps have a special meaning. “So that’s the release confirmation,” explained Rob Morris, who sells acoustic release systems for the underwater technology company EdgeTech.  These “ropeless” systems do away with the high number of vertical lines that run from buoys on the surface down to traps on the ocean floor. Looking at this table, Morris sees the future of the fishery, and many conservationists share that hope. Ropeless fishing eliminates vertical lines in the water column that are blamed for around half of all reported North Atlantic right whale deaths. >click to read< 10:22

David Ismay, undersecretary for climate change resigns following remarks about reducing emissions by seniors on fixed incomes

“Let me say that again, 60 percent of our emissions that need to be reduced come from you — the person across the street, the senior on fixed income,” he said. “There is no bad guy left, at least in Massachusetts, to point the finger at, turn the screws on, and, you know, break their will, so they stop emitting. That’s you. We have to break your will. I can’t even say that publicly.” >click to read< 09:18

CARES Act relief funds for New Bedford fisheries topped $5 million

In May 2020, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced an allocation of $300 million for fisheries assistance. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Massachusetts received the third-highest amount in funding with about $28 million. Alaska and Washington received the most with $50 million each and Maine was fifth with about $20.3 million. New Bedford alone received about $3.8 million, or approximately 13.6% of the state’s allocation. The funds provided much-needed relief for an industry seeing up to a 49% drop in landings revenue,,,  >click to read< 08:12

Baker’s embattled climate undersecretary targets fishing industry for Euro wind farmers!

David Ismay is again being called out for his questionable comments — this time against fishermen. The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, that broke the first video on the $130,000-a-year official’s rhetoric, says he also told climate activists that in order to obtain enough (offshore) wind power, “something has to give” in regard to the fishing industry. “We need offshore wind, and yes there is fishing out in the ocean too, but you know, there’s, we can’t have no offshore wind, no transmission, no solar, and have clean energy. Right. Something has to give,” Ismay is quoted telling Vermont climate advocates. He goes on to discuss transmission lines that will be placed in the ocean. >click to read< 13:00