Category Archives: New England

Alewives show strong start to season

Jim Wotton and his crew of 10 prepare the day of fishing by ziplining hundreds of crates from the cliffside onto the jagged rocks below the Sebasticook River Dam in Benton, Maine. “We come up here every day at 9 or 10 in the morning, we get ready for the day, make our orders.  The amount we catch is based on what we need for the day,” Sunday is range of orders, according to Wotton. He said some of the fish they catch today will go to Canada, while others head to Maine’s many coastal communities. He is talking about alewives. > click to read < 08:37

Who’s really in the trap? How new right whale regs are hurting Maine’s lobster industry

I was five years old, opening my family’s refrigerator door in search of a juice box, when a live lobster fell out and started thrashing around on the floor. Naturally, I immediately screamed and ran out of the kitchen at the sight of this crustacean monster. That was the first time I really put the pieces together of what my father did for a living. As a local Maine lobsterman, he would often bring home portions of his catch while I was growing up. I’m not sure if that would be the case now if he were still in the industry. Even in the short span of my lifetime, the Maine fishing industry has faced new challenges as the world changes around us. >click to read <  By Hajna Nagy15:43

Straus speaks out against proposed changes to scallop permit leases

Plans to allow scallopers to lease out their fishing permits to others have been criticized by South Coast legislators, including Mattapoisett State. Rep. Bill Straus. In a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker dated May 6, the representatives wrote that they are “urging caution regarding the practice of fishing permit leasing”, the practice where scallop boats lease out their fishing days to other vessels rather then go out to sea themselves. The letter was also signed by Reps. Antonio Cabral, Chris Hendricks, Paul Schmid, and Chris Markey. Current regulations limit one permit per vessel. The state plan, from the New England Fishery Management Council, could allow fishermen to extend those leases and time at sea. > click to read < 13:15

Massachusetts: Lawmakers want to pay lobstermen during right whale conservation closure

State senators next week will debate a plan by South Shore lawmakers to pay lobstermen during a months-long annual fishing closure advocates say cuts income of some fishermen by as much as half each year. State senators Patrick O’Connor and Bruce Tarr have filed a budget amendment that would allocate $12 million to pay lobstermen $1 per week per trap they are licensed for during time they are not allowed to fish. The state annually shuts down more than 9,000 square miles of water for at least three months in efforts to protect migrating right whales. > click to read < 08:28

Conch May Be Doomed—by the Massachusetts DMF Target of Females

The sun permanently setting on a near half century old fishery processor in the nation’s lead commercial fisheries revenue port is not a pretty sight to contemplate. But it is real. And contemplated by a significant processor particularly well run key component to the channeled conch fishery supporting dozens of boats in Southern New England waters. New fishing rules increased the minimum legal landing size by 1/8” chute gauge width size bi-annually since 2019, each time reducing the commercial landings by 120,000 pounds—and revenues lost in that time over $500,000. The next increase is slated for 2023; independent marine economists say “the once $6 million annual fishery will be dropped from the recent annual landings of 806,000 pounds to about 600,000 pounds. Twenty boats will no longer economically function. And the fish processor loading dock will become part time. Or close. Or move out of state where species conservation and scientific awareness, and the fishery economics, will be in far better balance.” > click to read <  17:19

Let’s save Maine’s lobster industry from death by regulation

If you’ve ever been to the state of Oregon – home of the “other” Portland – you only need to drive south of the big city to see the human impact of overzealous conservationism. This is the habitat of the Spotted Owl, whose inclusion to the endangered species list in 1990 shut down the timber industry there, eliminating 32,000 jobs in the process. Something eerily similar is about to happen to iconic Maine lobstermen in an effort to save the Right Whale.  >click to read< 08:07

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 50′ Fiberglass Dragger/Permits, Cat 3206

To review specifications, information, and 36 photos’>click here<, To see all the boats in this series >click here< 13:11

Commercial fishermen dealing with off the chart fuel prices

The fuel prices are also affecting prices out at sea. Many commercial fishermen use diesel, which is now running well over 6 dollars a gallon. Captain James Keding has been running Mary K, named after his mother, for 38 years. He says his mussel harvesting operation is taking a huge hit from fuel prices.  “Back in 2019, I paid $1.50 a gallon, now I’m paying $6.50 a gallon,” said Keding. Lobstermen are also in a pinch. Captain Dave Hobson says the Right Whale restrictions were just lifted so everyone in his line of work is trying to run their traps out with the higher fuel costs. >click to read< 07:53  Video, Rising diesel prices having big impact on commercial fishermen, >click to watch<

Maine Fisherman Catches Rare Orange Lobster, Throws It Back

A TikTok video shows the moment a fisherman catches a “unique” rare type of lobster before releasing it back into the ocean. The video, which has been viewed more than 850,000 times since being posted a couple of days ago, was made by Jacob Knowles, a Maine fisherman who regularly posts videos documenting his time at sea and the various creatures caught. “We caught our first unique lobster,” Knowles says, holding a small orange lobster up to the camera. “She’s pretty cool, she’s all orange… she looks like she’s got gloves on.” Video, >click to read< 08:24

Need for legal defense fund spotlights failures of federal lobster management

The Legislature’s recent passage of LD 1916, An Act to Create a Legal Defense Fund for the Maine Lobster Industry, shows a clear move by the state to protect its lobstermen from assumed federal government oversight. LD 1916, sponsored by Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham, R-Winter Harbor, allocates money from an existing lobster license surcharge to help fund the legal battle against these tough regulations in the courtroom. Lobstermen have argued that the regulations aimed at protecting right whales are unfounded and not science-based. Some have argued that a right whale has not been found in the waters that have been closed off by NOAA since 2010. >click to read< 10:46

‘I don’t want to be a Wal-Mart fisherman’: Scallopers sound off about permit leasing/consolidation

The New England Fisheries Management Council held a scoping meeting Wednesday at the New Bedford Whaling Museum on its proposed Scallop Fishery Management Plan adjustment. Should it go through, the plan would allow scallopers to lease out portions of their days at sea license to other boats, causing concern among small fisherfolk and portside business-owners alike. “I was born a fisherman’s daughter and became a fisherman’s wife,” said Evelyn Sklar at the meeting. “And now I’m a fisherman’s mother and a fisherman’s grandmother. “I hope I can die in peace, because this doesn’t belong in the fishing family industry.” “When consolidation happened [in the groundfish fleet], the community dried up around it,” “As consolidation happened with draggers, they were forced out of business,” said Justin Mello, captain of the Temptress. “I can see the same thing happening. >click to read< 08:12

US fish landings fell 10% during first pandemic year

America’s commercial fishing industry fell 10% in catch volume and 15% in value during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, federal regulators said Thursday. The 2020 haul of fish was 8.4 billion pounds, while the value of that catch was $4.8 billion, officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. The early months of the pandemic posed numerous challenges for the U.S. fishing industry, which has remained economically viable despite the difficult year, NOAA officials said. NOAA made the announcement as it unveiled its “Status of the Stocks” report, which provides details about the health of the nation’s commercial fishing industry. >click to read< 15:22

New Bedford Scallopers tell fishery managers they don’t want leasing

More than 110 attendees, a mix of fishermen, shoreside business owners, marine scientists, attorneys and vessel owners, filled a meeting room at the Whaling Museum on Wednesday for the first of two public meetings in New Bedford on the leasing proposal. Those who spoke in opposition drew loud applause, while those who spoke in support drew little or none. “There was a time in this industry when a father owned a boat and he taught his son, and his son was able to rise up … buy and operate his own boat, and you know, those days are gone,” said Tyler Miranda, a New Bedford captain of two scallopers. “I think that if [leasing] does move forward and is developed, it will take even further away from the family and community dynamic that fishing is and always was — and will make it more corporate.” >click to read< 13:50

Offshore wind farm plans collide with fishing industry concerns off Carolina coast

The Biden administration’s plans to develop wind power off the East Coast are drawing concerns from the fishing industry, in the latest example of climate policy colliding with the livelihood of coastal businesses. Interior officials say they are aware of the concerns and are working on regulatory guidance that would lay out how wind farm developers can minimize harm to commercial and recreational fishing, while compensating businesses for losses. Wednesday’s auction is moving forward before officials finish that work. More lease sales are planned in the next two years for regions off the coast of California, the central Atlantic region and in the Gulf of Mexico. Without federal guidance, offshore wind developers have carved out their own settlements with local fishing groups. “Saddling project proponents with the costs of fisheries compensation would almost certainly have an adverse impact on ratepayers and/or project finance,” association officials said in a January letter to U.S. officials. >click to read< 14:50

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 72′ Steel Dragger with Permit, Cat 3412

To review specifications, information, and 50 photos’, >click here<, To see all the boats in this series >click here< 11:04

Maine Lobstermen should see flexibility in enforcement of new NOAA gear rules

The deadline for lobstermen to comply with new regulations meant to protect North Atlantic Right Whales has come and gone. State officials estimate that 50% to 60% of federal lobster fishery permit holders are not yet fully compliant with new rules requiring either new “weak rope”  or plastic weak links be spliced into existing end lines. Supply chain issues are a big reason why. While they declined to move the May 1st deadline… NOAA recently announced they would allow a quote graduated enforcement effort that will focus on compliance assistance rather than civil penalties. Video, >click to read< 09:48

10 years in prison for fishy scheme involving theft of $830K worth of lobster, shrimp and ribeye

Paul Diogenes used stolen bank info from Rhode Island restaurants to buy pricey delicacies which he then sold back to the eateries he had defrauded. This fishy scheme has landed a seafood scammer a 10-year term upriver. A one-time aspiring chef-turned fraudster has been sentenced to a decade behind bars for using stolen bank information from Rhode Island restaurants to buy $830,000 worth of lobster, shrimp and steaks which he then resold, sometimes to the businesses he had just ripped off, federal prosecutors said. >click to read< 13:37

Massachusetts lobster industry feels impact of right whale protections

If you live in Massachusetts and you want locally caught lobster on Mother’s Day weekend, you’ll be out of luck. Commercial lobstering in Massachusetts waters is off-limits until later in May, which means, for the time being, any lobster being sold in Massachusetts has to be caught in Canadian waters. “It’s getting harder and harder every year,” lobsterman Tom Reilly said. “They make it more and more difficult for us with the closures.” Video, >click to read< 09:19

New England’s founding fish, may be returning to local waters

Atlantic cod, once a mainstay of the region’s economy, is being fished at historically low levels, but a research scientist whose past findings opened up a tightly regulated scallop fishery says cod may be staging a comeback. Before he heads out to sea, commercial fisherman Raymond Lees stops by Reidar’s Trawl Gear & Marine Supply in New Bedford to buy custom-designed fishing nets. The shape of the net, the width of its mouth and the size of its holes all help him target certain species of fish and, perhaps more importantly, avoid others. “I’ve spent so long running away from codfish that I’ve gotten better at running away from codfish,” Lees said during a recent run to Reidar’s. “I have specialized gear and I’m good at what I do.” “We went from a huge fishing business, as far as the groundfishing fleet’s concerned, of 300 boats down to 20 boats,” Bendiksen said. “It’s pretty much a 90 percent loss of what the fleet was.” >click to read< 08:10

Atlantic Herring: New England to get $11M in disaster relief funding

Disaster-level instability in the Atlantic herring industry has prompted the federal government to give $11 million to commercial fishermen and shore-side infrastructure in four states. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said Thursday that the herring industry in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island will get the assistance. More than $7 million is slated for Maine. Raimondo said the assistance “will help affected fisheries and communities recover from disasters and make them more resilient to future challenges.” >click to read< 15:49

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 78′ Steel Longliner – Price Reduced!

To review specifications, information, and 40 photos’, >click here<, A turnkey vessel that is in excellent condition. To see all the boats in this series >click here< 11:55

Gear to Go Fishing Supply opens in New Bedford’s Kilburn Mill

Kilburn Mill has added an experienced fisherman to its roster of knowledgeable vendors with the opening of Gear to Go Fishing Supply on the first floor. “I know what works and what doesn’t,” said Peter Farland, co-owner of the new fishing gear shop. “I’m out there fishing and using the products myself.” Farland comes from a family of fisherman. His father, as well as eight of his uncles, all fish commercially. The New Bedford native remembers his first fishing trip with his dad when he was only 9 years old: a three-day scalloping excursion out of Gloucester. Farland’s fiancè, AnaMaria Baptista, 34, co-owns the store. “She’s like my manager slash everything,” he said sweetly. >click to read< 08:27

Lobster industry groups mount uncertain First Circuit fight on fishery’s future

Arguing before a skeptical First Circuit, an attorney representing a group of Maine lobster fishermen said a federal rule designed to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale targets a portion of the ocean where there are no right whales. “We need to figure out where the whales are and target those areas,” said attorney Alfred Frawley IV at oral arguments Tuesday before the federal appeals court in Boston. But the First Circuit appeared to give Frawley a frosty reception, saying at one point that the record lacked evidence that the seasonal closure would lead to lost lobster boats and jobs across the coast of Maine. Judge Sandra Lynch asked Frawley if he had approached attorneys for the Marine Fisheries Service,,, Frawley began to make two points, but Lynch cut him off: “Will you answer my question rather than making a speech?” the Clinton appointee said. Frawley then said his clients were not allowed to sit on the take-reduction team. >click to read< 16:18

Massachusetts state lobster closure extended

As has become an annual tradition, the state’s yearly fishing closure to protect right whales has been extended until mid-May, cutting short a season already slashed in the name of species protection. The state sent out a notice to lobstermen Friday that the closure for 9,000 square miles of water, tentatively set to end May 1, would be extended through May 15 due to the presence of whales off the coast and near the Cape. For now, Massachusetts lobstermen are restricted to fishing in federal waters, where the season started at midnight Sunday, May 1. >click to read< 11:12

2021: A Year of Historic Value for Maine Commercial Fishermen

On the strength of an historic year for lobster and a rebounding elver fishery, the value of Maine’s commercially harvested marine resources in 2021 reached an all time high at $890,668,873. According to recently released data from the Maine Department of Marine Resources, the overall value earned by harvesters in 2021 jumped by more than $365 million and exceeded the previous overall record of $733,691,455, set in 2016, by $150 million. >click to read< 09:30

Maine is being set up to sell its coastline to Industrial Scale Aquaculture

On March 18th, a letter was sent to Gayle Zydlewski the Director of the Maine Sea Grant College Program, signed by several academics from the University of Maine, Bates College, scientists, business owners, students, members of the 2003 Aquaculture Task Force, and a former Department of Marine Resources Commissioner, calling into question whether the report, in part directed by the Maine Aquaculture Association, is simply a promotional tool for large scale industrial aquaculture. The report is more of a railroading than a roadmap, Protect Maine’s Fishing Heritage Executive Director Crystal Canney said, “The 10-year aquaculture roadmap is an economic development plan that isn’t about what’s best for Maine but what is best for large scale industrial aquaculture. >click to read< 14:45

Commercial Fisherman Clifford M. Sambrook, Jr., of Narragansett, R.I. has passed away

Clifford M. Sambrook, Jr., 66, of Narragansett, passed away Wednesday, April 27, 2022, at home surrounded by his family. Born in Derby, CT, he was the son of Harriet E. Sambrook and the late Clifford M. Sambrook, Sr. Besides his mother, he is survived by his partner Susan Chandler of Narragansett RI, and his two sons Kenneth Sambrook of Georgetown TX and Clifford and Elizabeth Sambrook of Boynton Beach FL. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, May 7th, 2022, at 10 AM in St. Mary Star of the Sea Church, 864 Point Judith Rd, Narragansett. Military Honors will follow. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations in Clifford’s memory may be made to The Point Judith Fisherman’s Memorial Foundation, Attention Kathryn Manning Butler (Treasurer PJFMF), PO BOX 3315, Narragansett RI. 02882. >click to read< 12:12

House Passes Sullivan’s American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act

U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, welcomed House passage this week of S. 497, the American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act, bipartisan legislation he introduced to create an industry-led committee to assist in the administration of fisheries marketing, research, and development grants. The Saltonstall-Kennedy (SK) Act provides funding for fisheries marketing, research, and development. These funds are derived from a portion of fishery import duties. To inform how these funds are allocated, Congress authorized a group of experts from different segments of the fishing industry to advise on commercial fishing problems and needs. Following a 1972 law, the original American Fisheries Advisory Committee was disbanded. In the committee’s absence, the National Marine Fisheries Service decides, by its own criteria, who receives grants. >click to read< 12:36

Big Story: Lobstermen fear disaster as new gear regulations take effect

Doug McLennan isn’t worried about the state of the fishery. What worries McLennan and thousands of other Maine lobstermen is the latest round of federal regulations designed to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale, and additional measures being planned for the next decade. The newest regulations took effect Sunday, though their enforcement has been delayed until supply chain issues for some of the required gear are resolved. This is just the latest in gear regulation change required by the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan,,, Many lobstermen have raised concerns about safety and the potential for gear failure and loss of expensive traps under the new rules, and they worry about what is coming next. >click to read< 09:16

F/V Nobska: Back-to-Back Hydraulic Hose Failures Caused Destructive Blaze

On April 30, 2021, while fishing for haddock at Georges Bank, the crew of the F/V Nobska spotted a fire on the lagging of the main engine’s exhaust pipe. After putting it out, they determined that the source of the fuel was a broken hydraulic hose located in a pipe tunnel, which ran between the wheelhouse and the engine room. The crew replaced the hydraulic hose and removed the oil-soaked lagging from the exhaust pipe, leaving the pipe bare. With the situation apparently resolved, they went back to fishing.  About four hours later, the captain of the Nobska noticed that there was black smoke coming out from underneath the wheelhouse winch-control console,,, >click to read< –  SEARCH RESULTS FOR: F/V NOBSKA 19: 40