Category Archives: New England

Maine’s having a lobster boom. A bust may be coming.

The waters off Maine’s coast are warming, and no one knows what that’s going to mean for the state’s half-billion-dollar-a-year lobster industry, the largest single-species fishery in North America. Some fear that continued warming could cause the lobster population to collapse. The Gulf of Maine, an ocean body brimming with marine life, is cradled by Cape Cod in the south and the Bay of Fundy in the north, and bounded in the east by two underwater shoals, George’s Bank and Brown’s Bank. In 2015, climate scientist Andy Pershing, formerly of the Portland-based nonprofit Gulf of Maine Research Institute, published a paper in Science concluding that the gulf was warming faster than “99% of the global ocean.” That eye-popping revelation was enough to keep fisheries managers and a whole lot of Mainers awake at night. >click to read< 16:27

Retired Lobsterman Dennis Winthrop Norton of Martha’s Vineyard has passed away

Dennis was born on Oct. 16, 1945, in Vineyard Haven, and grew up in a bygone era of simple Island life. He was the son of Mildred Harriett Legg and Winthrop Mayhew Norton, A typical Island guy, Dennis was drawn to the water. He was a lobsterman, first out of a Novi skiff, then upgraded to the lobster boat Sea Foam out of Menemsha. In 1995, he purchased a new lobster boat, the Linda D. Normally not seeking the limelight, both he and Linda had a grand christening that summer during a spectacular Menemsha sunset, which was enjoyed by all attendees. The term “gentle giant” comes to mind for many islanders. He was just a soft-spoken, kindhearted man. >click to read< 09:10

Father and son keep their family fishing tradition alive

Like a lot of things on the old boat, the starter was beat up and broken. To get underway, Nick Nieuwkerk connected the electrical terminals with the metal end of a screwdriver. Then, with a zap and spark, the ancient Detroit Diesel engine roared to life. But then the throttle wouldn’t stay put, so Nick’s father, Knoep Nieuwkerk, rigged it open with a spoon and piece of string. Eventually, the pair were steaming out of Woods Harbor, Nova Scotia, on their way to Portland on April 7, aboard a 44-foot fishing boat that had seen better days since it first hit the water, 42 years earlier. There was no guarantee they’d make it, but they had to try. >video, photos, click to read< 07:38

Coast Guard, CDC: We’ll change mask rule, but for now won’t enforce masks on fishing boats, commercial vessels, ferries

The Centers for Disease Control and U.S. Coast Guard, reversing their position from less than a month ago, said the federal agencies will no longer enforce its rule for wearing a mask in “outdoor areas of transportation conveyances or while outdoors at transportation hubs.” That means commercial vessels like cruise ships, ferries, fishing boats, and charters won’t require passengers to mask up for those who are outdoors. And people don’t have to wear masks at “transportation conveyances,” such as train stations. To be clear, the rule still exists, but the agencies will not enforce it. Earlier this year at a fishing conference, Sen. Dan Sullivan called the fishing crew mask rule “stupid.” >click to read< 20: 14

Doctors and experts are skeptical, doubt lobster diver’s being “swallowed by a whale” claim

A lobster diver has been accused of lying about being swallowed whole by a humpback whale he says spat him back out because it didn’t like how he tasted. One doctor at Cape Cod Hospital, where self-described whale swallowing victim Michael Packard, 56, was treated, said Michael Packard should have suffered hearing loss following the freak accident.,, Other fishermen were also wary of Packard’s whale encounter. ‘People who are in the fishing industry, and people who know whales, are finding this hard to believe. It’s a first-ever that this would happen,’ said another lobsterman. photos, >click to read< 09:50

Fox News, and Maine lobsterman Kristan Porter brings Right whale “conservation” issue to the American public

Jun. 13, 2021 – Cutler, Maine lobsterman Kristan Porter explains how a federal whale conservation push could have a massive effect on the lobster industry >click to watch< 07:50

Here is another nail in our Commercial Fishing coffin. Offshore wind farms.

Our fisherman are having enough problems as it is, starting with NOAA, Monument area’s, Monitoring, SK Grant money not going to our fishermen, closed fishing grounds to save the whales, and politicians that are ignoring the issues of the fishermen, all of the fishermen, including the boots on deck fisherman that earns only a share for his skills, loyalty, and labor. The proposed Vineyard Wind 1 area off of Cape Cod is about 18,000 acres of rich fishing grounds. Fishermen from Maine to Rhode Island fish on those grounds. The President and Governor Baker are for it, but it still needs to go to Congress. Together we could stop this. >click to read< Thank you, Sam Parisi, Gloucester, Mass. 18:33

Fisheries Survival Fund: Change Offshore Wind Farm Areas to Protect Scallops

The Fisheries Survival Fund , is requesting that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which is responsible for leasing areas for offshore development, incrementally change its lease plans for the New York Bight. Currently, two BOEM Wind Energy Areas, Hudson South and Central Bight, are located in particularly sensitive areas for scallops. In their current form, these areas, including hundreds of thousands of acres of ocean, will have a serious negative impact on the fishery. BOEM’s proposed eastern-most lease areas in Hudson South are directly adjacent to the Hudson Canyon Scallop Access Area, one of the most important scallop grounds in the Northeast. >click to read< 19:06

Commercial Lobster diver caught in the mouth of a humpback whale off Provincetown Friday morning

A commercial lobster diver was seriously injured Friday morning when he was caught in the mouth of a humpback whale feeding off Race Point, his sister said. Michael Packard, 56, of Wellfleet, is in stable condition at Cape Cod Hospital with at least one broken leg, Cynthia Packard said. “He was swallowed by the whale, he was in his mouth for about 20 seconds,” Cynthia Packard said in a phone interview Friday morning. Packard spoke with J ‘an J  crewman Josiah Mayo, who relayed some of the details to her. >click to read< 14:46

Sundance Award-Winning Film CODA Filmed in Gloucester

Paul Vitale of Gloucester has been fishing off his boat, the F/V Angela Rose for 24 years. Most of the time, these days, he heads out to sea alone. Then, in the summer of 2019, a movie crew came to town. “All of a sudden you have the actors, the interpreters, the producers, the cameramen—all these people are on the boat,” Vitale says. “It was a little overwhelming, but not in a bad way.” Vitale and his boat weren’t the only locals to find their way onto the screen. The city harbormaster appeared in the film, as did local businessman Sam Parisi. The state fish pier, a city elementary school, and a popular harborside watering hole all served as shooting locations,, The movie’s title is an acronym for “child of deaf adults,” >click to read< 10:28

Lobstermen And Conservationists To Closely Watch Right Whale Court Case

Conservationists and fishermen will be closely watching a federal court case closely over the next 12 days. “Arguably, the existence of the Massachusetts lobster fishery is at stake today,” The case is being pushed by activist Max Strahan, who wants a judge to ban Massachusetts from authorizing fisheries that use vertical ropes that can entangle and kill North Atlantic right whales. >click to read< 08:07

“No Industrial Scale Fish Factory in Frenchman Bay” – American Aquafarms reps, critics take sides

Longtime South Gouldsboro lobsterman Frank Hammond has fished for decades in “The Hop,” an area northwest of Long Porcupine Island, where one of American Aquafarms’ sites would be located. He estimates about 15 to 20 lobstermen fish there from South Gouldsboro, Hancock, Sorrento and Lamoine. “I am dead against it. There is nothing to gain from this,” Hammond said at Saturday’s event. “The fishermen will never go for it if they’re going raise the fish in The Hop.” Another South Gouldsboro lobsterman, Jerry Potter, echoed Hammond. >click to read< 08:34

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 36′ Northern Bay Lobster Boat, 375 HP John Deere 6081 Diesel

To review specifications, information, and 15 photos>click here< , To see all the boats in this series >click here<11:15

North to Alaska: family fishes for salmon off Sitka Island

It’s a long commute from Plymouth to Sitka, Alaska, but Tracy Sylvester plans to make that trip this summer. The Cape Cod native and her family will be fishing for wild salmon just off the island,,, Sylvester’s catch is sold right here at the Plymouth Farmers’ Market, which is where you will find her this Thursday and again this fall. She and her partner Jesse Remund ply the waters off Sitka for salmon and other fish, often accompanied by their two children, Lilly and Eddy. The fish are knocked out, gutted and bled as soon as we catch them, then packed in ice to be flash-frozen at the processing plant.” Right now, Sylvester is selling fish caught by other members of the cooperative. They will head back to their home in Port Alexander on Southern Baranof Island, near Sitka Island, in July to catch salmon from their 42-foot wooden boat F/V Faithful. >click to read< 09:52

Lobster prices are through the roof!

As the country reopens post-pandemic, increased demand for lobster and a squeezed supply caused by a state ban on lobstering to protect right whales has resulted in a price spike of about 60% per live lobster. “If there’s no lobsters coming in, then the demand isn’t being met. Those are the cards,” said South Shore Lobsterman Association President John Haverland. According to business publisher Urner Barry, the retail price of a live, one-and-a-half-pound lobster increased from $5.47 a year ago to $9.05 on June 7 this year. >click to read< 08:41

Fed Right whale plan could mean lobster industry changes – a reinvention of the fishery as we know it

Federal officials recently released plans,,, But it’s the risk reduction target, an aggressive 98 percent, that Maine Department of Marine Resources officials said means only one thing, “a complete reinvention of the fishery as we know it.” The conservation framework, an addition to the 582-page biological opinion, creates a four-phased approach to all but eliminate the death and serious injury of the whales in federally managed fishing grounds. The first phase calls for a 60 percent reduction in right whale deaths and serious injuries this year. Patrice McCarron, Maine Lobstermen’s Association, fears the industry can’t sustain that level of change.  “If you look at the changes we’ve made over the last 25 years, there’s not a lot left to give,”, >click to read< 10:27

A dramatic rescue off the Maine coast changes the course of many lives

Russie Lane describes himself as a “reluctant storyteller.” All his life he has stuttered, and about fifteen years ago he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He prefers to be in the background. The story he set out to research had always been part of the Lane family history. Something they all knew about and remembered – but rarely spoke about. They referred to it simply as “the rescue.” All he had was one single newspaper article confirming what had happened that summer day off the coast of Maine. video, >click to read< 09:04

Lobstermen Protest Offshore Wind Farm in the Gulf of Maine

An ambitious wind power project in the Gulf of Maine could, years from now, make these family lobster dinners less frequent. Local lobstermen believe offshore wind will significantly disrupt the ecosystem and displace fishermen. Supporters say a project will provide clean energy for the region.,,  “When you think of Maine, lobster’s the first thing that comes to mind,” Dustin Delano, a fourth-generation lobsterman and the Vice President of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, told me a story about fishermen from the United Kingdom coming to Maine a few years ago to discuss the windmill arrays which had been recently installed where they fish. One Mainer asked, “What would you do if you were us right now?” An English fisherman leaned over the table and said, “Fight it with everything you have, because you have everything to lose and absolutely nothing to gain.” >click to read< 17:04

Everything You Didn’t Know About Andrea Gail, The Fishing Vessel Lost In ‘The Perfect Storm’

In the fall of 1991, a catastrophic storm swept the northeastern coast of the U.S., wreaking havoc along the coast of Massachusetts. The storm would strike the coast with no name, afterward only gaining the title of the ‘perfect storm’ and inspiring a movie of the same name. It made landfall suddenly with no one anticipating its hurricane-strength devastation, with those on land feeling its effects but those at sea having a first-hand account of the strength of its winds and rain. The Andrea Gail set out of Gloucester on what was meant to be a month-long fishing trip off the coast of Newfoundland, covering a total of 900 miles,,, What they didn’t know is that the storm heading up the coast would take the lives of 13 people and causing millions of dollars in damage from Florida all the way up to Nova Scotia. photos, >click to read< 10:20

William S. Maloney, affectionately known as “Cow Farmer”, has passed away in Port Clyde

William S. Maloney, 56, died peacefully in Port Clyde, May 22, 2021. Billy had many interests. His work ranged from dairy farming and gardening, to logging, forestry, and many things in between. In 2001, Billy completed a firefighter training with the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. Billy loved flying planes and worked at the Rutland airport. For the last seven years Billy worked with lobsterman Justin Thompson of the “Ruthless” in Port Clyde, Maine where he was affectionately known as “Cow Farmer.” >click to read< 08:50

Maine Man Pleads Guilty to Making Hoax Distress Call

On December 3, 2020, while at the Spruce Head Fisherman’s Co-op, Nathan Libby, 31, communicated a false distress call for a vessel and crew reportedly taking on water in the vicinity of Spruce Head. In response, the U.S. Coast Guard initiated a search lasting more than five hours, which included the use of a local Coast Guard vessel, a Maine Marine Patrol vessel, and a helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod. Further investigation identified Libby as the caller and the search was suspended as a hoax call. >click to read< 07:39

RI Coastal Resources Management Council backs South Fork Offshore Wind Farm, fishermen object

The vote by the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council in favor of the wind farm was made over the objections of fishermen, who argued that a mitigation package agreed to with developers Ørsted and Eversource would fall well short of adequately compensating them for losses caused by the installation and operation of the project’s 12 turbines. Certification that the wind farm is consistent with state coastal policies also came despite concerns raised by Save The Bay and others about the council’s permitting process for the wind farm, which would be built in an area called Cox Ledge in Rhode Island Sound that is home to a rich diversity of fish, including species of tuna and Atlantic cod. >click to read< 16:29

Whales Are Shrinking. Scientists Blame Commercial Fishing Gear

The findings, published today in the journal Current Biology, reveal that when fully grown, a North Atlantic right whale born today would be expected to be about one meter shorter than a whale born in 1980. The stunted growth of the whales coincides with an increasing rate of entanglements. A 2012 study from the New England Aquarium revealed,,, Researchers acknowledge that entanglements do not explain all of the reduced growth. Other factors might be climate change, collisions and noise from ships, and the shifting availability of tiny crustaceans called copepods, their primary food source. >click to read< 13:30

Fire it up! Can Lobsters Get High? A team of scientists tested one restaurateur’s theory

A team of scientists at the University of California San Diego have written a paper in pre-print (meaning the work has not been published or peer reviewed yet), which looks at the effects of THC, the main compound in cannabis that gets you high, on lobsters. The scientists devoted their research hours to these questions in response to a 2018 media storm, started by restaurateur Charlotte Gill. At the time, Gill, owner of Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound in Southwest Harbor, Maine, wanted to find a way to cook her lobsters more humanely. So can lobsters get high? >click to read< 10:52

In partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project, ‘Wicked Tuna’ honors wounded veterans

A special episode of the National Geographic show ‘Wicked Tuna’ showcased six wounded veterans alongside their cast of boat captains in an effort to give back to the veteran community. One veteran who participated in the episode, Jeffery Nunez, served over five years in the Marine Corps and he believes his time on board the boat was part of his healing from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Captain Dave Marciano, featured on the show, has been particularly involved with WPP. Following season one of ‘Wicked Tuna,’ he partnered with WPP and began to take veterans on his boat for yearly charter fishing trips.   >click to read< 12:46

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 49’x16′ Scalloper, Cat 3406, with Federal Permits

To review specifications, information, and 12 photos>click here< , To see all the boats in this series >click here<11:14

A Fundraiser has been Established for stabbing victim Maximus Julian

Max Julian was in his last semester at the University of Rhode Island for business, and was about to graduate with high honors. His family has suffered a tragic loss. . Outside of school, he loved to ride BMX. Max also loved to go fishing, and worked on a commercial fishing boat out of Sakonnet Point in Little Compton, RI. Max was a shining light in the world, and will forever be remembered as being full of generosity, life and love. The Julian family has had to overcome great hardship in the past few years, including spending months in the hospital due to various medical emergencies, and suffering a large fire to their property. >click to read< , Fundraiser for Funeral Services for Maximus JulianClick to read, please donate if you can. Thank you. 10:05

Time to hit the brakes on offshore wind farms

2017, offshore wind generation appeared to be a dead issue in Maine. The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) had just completed an extensive study that deemed it too expensive for ratepayers. Now it is moving again at the speed of light. What I would like to know is, why haven’t we started an independent study on the environmental impacts of offshore wind development? We have been told that we need to move quickly given the Governor’s ambitious goals. I have heard this repeatedly and from many people in the Legislature, the bureaucracy, special interest groups and from high-paid lobbyists working for foreign corporations. Where did these goals come from, and why are we using these goals as a target? >click to read< 16:55

Fighting for the fishing grounds in the face of offshore wind farms

For almost a half century, Angela Sanfilippo has spearheaded campaigns to protect the physical and economic health of commercial fishermen, their families and the communities in which they live.,, The Vineyard Wind 1 project is positioned as the primary vanguard in the development of U.S. offshore wind farms. The project calls for the installation of 84 wind turbines about 12 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. Beyond the benefits of clean energy and conservation, developers say the project also will create 3,658 full-time jobs in Massachusetts between 2019 and 2047. “Nowhere have they said how many people, how many fishermen, they’re going to displace,” she said. “It’s like we don’t exist and the fishing grounds don’t exist.” >click to read< 08:13

With the Ocean Wind Offshore Wind Farm on the horizon, a storm is building

Ocean Wind, according to those closely following the project, is headed for a series of turf wars, loud debates and protracted legal battles, even before the first turbine is sited off the coast of southern New Jersey.,, even supporters and opponents of the proposed wind farm at times disagree among themselves on how to move forward. Environmentalists, commercial fishermen, recreational boaters, labor unions, homeowners, boardwalk businesses, NIMBYs and ratepayer advocates are all circling Orsted, the Dutch wind power company behind what could be one of the largest wind farms in North America. Local, state and federal officials are also starting to feel the heat. Just about everyone involved, including David Hardy, CEO of Orsted US, worries the project could devolve into chaos. >click to read< 13:11