Monthly Archives: November 2012

NOAA Fisheries to close white hake fishery for Groundfish Common Pool on December 5, 2012

NOAA announces, based on available data, that 90 percent of the available Trimester 2 white hake quota has been harvested. Effective 0001 hours December 5, the groundfish common pool will no longer be able to harvest white hake.  This closure will remain in effect until the end of Trimester 2, which is 2400 hours December 31.

Marjorie Mooney-Seus – NOAA Federal [email protected]

International Pacific Halibut Commission looks at possible 30 percent reduction

Halibut catch limits could be cut more than 30 percent under preliminary  numbers discussed at the International Pacific Halibut Commission’s interim  meeting Nov. 29. The commission met in Seattle and heard from staff about a new stock  assessment model and new format for harvest advice.  Read more:

Interior Secretary Announces First-Ever Renewable Energy Lease Sales on the Outer Continental Shelf

“Wind energy along the Atlantic holds enormous potential, and today we are moving closer to tapping into this massive domestic energy resource to create jobs, increase our energy security and strengthen our nation’s competitiveness in this new energy frontier,” said Salazar, with the look of discomfort like a fisherman that just got a windfarm stuffed up his ass. “Holding competitive lease sales on the wind-rich east coast means blow jobs all around,” promised the Secretary as he wore a pleasantly painful expression.

Fishing groups object to federal program putting part-time observers on small halibut boats

The new North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program was approved Nov. 20 by the National Marine Fisheries Service, an arm of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Starting Jan. 1, biologist observers will be placed on some of Alaska’s 1,300 small commercial halibut and sablefish boats to collect harvest data.–Halibut-Fishery-Observers

Commercial crabbers concerned about Center for Biological Diversity’s coral petition

“We’re terrified of the petition,” Linda Kozak, a fisheries consultant in Kodiak, told the Fisherman. “This could be another sea lion issue where just to be safe they close all the fishing to bottom contact gear.”

Fishing Permit the Main Catch in Viking Purchase – buyer is primarily interested in the inshore state fishing permits

With the sale of Viking, a 40-foot fishing boat that has plied the waters off the Vineyard for three generations, the Island’s once-vibrant fleet of small wooden draggers is now at the brink of extinction.

Craig Coutinho of Vineyard Haven confirmed this week that he will sell Viking along with his fishing permits.

photo Mark Lovewell

BURT PARKER, CHRIS PETERSON, AND DENNIS RYDMAN: NOAA must change Pacific whiting quotas to benefit small fishermen

The first inconvenient truth is that the allocation was purely political and was made primarily to gain support of those who wanted to retire from the fishery holding IFQ to lease or sell to active participants.

The second inconvenient truth is that the Pacific whiting fishery, after being listed as overfished in 2002-2004, had by 2010 become the model of good management, earning the right to use the Marine Stewardship Council sustainability logo.

The third inconvenient truth is that studies of earlier IFQ Programs, in particular the British Columbia halibut fishery, have concluded that IFQ Programs that do not consider the cost of leasing going forward have shown very little improvement in efficiency.

They called these hidden costs of leasing IFQs ”the elephant in the room.”  This elephant is now rearing its ugly head in the Pacific whiting fishery because of the poorly conceived initial allocation of IFQ approved by NOAA in 2010.

Read More Here.

City loses bid to have catch share tossed By Richard Gaines

The plaintiffs included U.S. Congressmen John Tierney, whose district includes Gloucester, and Barney Frank, who represents New Bedford.  The Conservation Law Foundation was allowed to intervene, allied with the government. A core complaint by the plaintiffs, rejected by the court, was the adoption of the catch share system without putting the regimen to a binding referendum. “Not allowing a referendum on such a measure effectively leaves the fishery up for grabs to the highest bidder,” said Tierney in an email. “This isn’t in the best interest of fishermen.”

Feds shut down 100-year-old oyster company, Stooge Salizar caught with smoking gun. Video of the year! Must see.

Sec. of the Interior Ken Salazar decided todaythe farm’s lease will not be renewed, despite some support for it from from Sen. Dianne Feinstein and serious questions raised by scientists about the research used to impugn the Lunnys.

“After careful consideration of the applicable law and policy, I have directed the National Park Service to allow the permit for the Drakes Bay Oyster Company to expire at the end of its current term and to return the Drakes Estero to the state of wilderness that Congress designated for it in 1976,” Salazar said in a statement. “I believe it is the right decision for Point Reyes National Seashore and for future generations who will enjoy this treasured landscape.”

U.S. Court of Appeals Rules Against New Bedford & Gloucester et al- Sides with Feds and Special Interests

        The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down every one of a number of arguments the cities and their co-plaintiffs in the industry made in their appeal. The court upheld a 2011 lower court decision in the suit brought by the two ports as well as fishermen and fishing groups. Broadly speaking, the court ruled that the government stayed within the letter and spirit of the 1976 Magnuson-Stevens Act, which was designed to end overfishing in the Northeast.

Court rejects Mass. ports’ suit against fish law-Cape Cod Times
BOSTON – A federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected claims by New England’s two largest fishing ports that federal regulators improperly enacted fishing rules that they say are wiping out local fleets.
Attorney Stephen Ouellette, who represented the New Hampshire Commercial Fishermen’s Association, “The fishery is now available to the highest bidder,”
Peter Shelley, senior counsel of the Conservation Law Foundation, which intervened on behalf of the government, said the plaintiffs’ claims “bordered on frivolous” and amounted to a “political sideshow.”

He said with two unambiguous court rulings in the government’s favor, there should be no doubt now that the fishing law is legal. “The challenge now is to get this fishery functioning in the way it ought to be functioning,” Shelley said.

Read the official ruling here  Read the background on the case and appeal here

Did crab pot lines cause the Lady Cecelia’s sinking? Coast Guard Formal Board of Investigation starts second round hearings

Did crab pot lines cause the Lady Cecelia’s sinking?


The vessel was in good condition,” said Ward, adding that it was very strange to have a cluster of crab pot buoys underwater. Lt. Anthony Hillenbrand, the lead investigator, would later introduce the fishing term “flower pots” as a possibility for what the Lady Cecelia got tangled up in. It means a group of crab pot lines tangled and wound up during a storm or surge and appearing like flowers from the top.He said that, in his opinion, the vessel, which was rumored to have near its maximum load of fish, might have run into multiple crab pot lines, started listing to the left while caught on the lines, catastrophically rolled the opposite direction when the port side stabilizer finally snapped off, and capsized in a quick roll.

NOAA shelves turtle protection plans to require “turtle excluder devices” for small fishing operations-Center for Biological Diversity “critical”

“The information we now have suggests the conservation benefit does not justify the burden this rule would place on the industry. We need more research looking at different options,” Roy Crabtree, southeast regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries, said in a statement. The rules had been set to take effect by spring. Gulf of Mexico shrimpers had said the requirement could push them out of business. The change would have affected 2,600 fishermen, including an estimated 2,300 vessels in Louisiana. Crabtree said federal officials will continue their research to help prevent turtle deaths.

Limits set on bigeye tuna catches in Pacific – World Wildlife Fund says move by fishing panel doesn’t go far enough. Yeah yeah. We know.

The WWF’s Peter Trott criticized the system, saying plans to put monitors on boats would cover as little as 5 percent of the fishing fleets for all but two months of the year. It will make it almost impossible to prevent countries from underreporting their catches, he said. The commission is responsible for regulating commercial fishing in the region, which stretches from Hawaii to Asia and as far south as Australia.

Alaska fishing groups protest expanded observers program Ketchican, Alaska

“A lot of Alaska fishermen are sitting here saying this program, which is  scheduled to start in a month, is extremely onerous for the small  community-based boats and doesn’t contain the logistical detail that we need to  know – and didn’t have input on – in order to minimize the impact on our  businesses,” Falvey said.
The new program will include commercial boats  under 60 feet. For 2013, vessels under 40 feet will remain exempt.
Read more:  Fairbanks Daily News-Miner – Alaska fishing groups protest expanded observers program

McDonald’s getting their feet wet. The Dented Bucket

McDonald’s will be launching, late this year, their $1 Fish McBites. I’m guessing the fish is  U.S. caught Alaskan pollock. This is the opposite of buy local, keep your dollars in town. This is the other business model: fish/ process industry partners with mega-food giant McDonald’s and comes up with product at a very affordable price. The pollock industry ….Read More

Southeast Alaska Seiners Struggling With Salmon Observer Program

Commercial harvesters in the Southeast Alaska salmon drift gillnet fishery, mandated for observation under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act, say changes are needed in the program because it’s disrupting their fishery. “It’s just a colossal waste of money,” said B.J. King, a veteran commercial fisherman from Kent, Washington. “They’re not telling us what they’re really after. “I was observed twice this year, and it wasn’t a very pleasant experience,” he said.

Washington state confronts ocean acidification- threat to the state’s $270 million shellfish industry

The order signed by Gregoire, whose term will end in January, calls on the state to invest more money in scientific research, curb nutrient runoff from land, and push for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions on a regional, national and global scale. It accepts the recommendations that a blue-ribbon panel issued Tuesday on how to assess and limit the effects of ocean acidification. The group was co-chaired by former Environmental Protection Agency administrator William D. Ruckelshaus and former Gregoire chief of staff Jay Manning.

President signs whistle-blower bill for US workers. Could this be the beginning of getting justice for victims of NMFS OLE?

WASHINGTON — Federal employees who expose fraud, waste and abuse in government operations now have new protections against retaliation. President Barack Obama signed the bill into law Tuesday, 13 years after groups representing whistle-blowers began lobbying for the added protections

Will they roll, baby roll will they roll, baby roll, will they roll, baby roll, all night long,,,,,,,sung to the Roadhouse, The Doors.

The war over Menhaden @ Saving Menhaden Fisheries. Stock Assessment Exacerbates, Inflames Envirokooks

   November 27, 2012 — In the Fredericksburg (Virginia) Free Lance-Star, Mr. Deil argues that “while the environmental advocacy community claims these precipitous cuts are necessary to conserve the resource, the truth is much more nuanced.”
And in the Roanoke (Virginia) Times, Mr. Deil engaged in a “point-counterpoint” with Chris Moore of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Top lobster scientists gather for Maine symposium ( wonder if they have any experts coming. Like lobstermen?)

PORTLAND, Maine  — Top lobster scientists are meeting to look at fundamental changes that have affected lobsters in recent years after a summer that featured a potentially record-breaking haul in Maine and Canada and a crash in wholesale prices. The Maine Sea Grant program at the University of Maine is hosting a conference in Portland beginning Tuesday focusing on issues such as warming ocean temperatures, the changing food web and seafood economics. About 135 people have registered, including scientists from the United States, Canada and Europe, regulators and industry representatives.

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell proposes king salmon research

Alaska Gov. Sean Parnellsays he will propose $30 million over five years to study king salmon abundance. Parnell says the first installment will be $10 million in the fiscal year 2014 budget. Low chinook salmon returns this year resulted in fishing closures or limits. State commerce officials estimate commercial fishermen lost $16.8 million in direct revenue. Subsistence fishermen and the sport fishing industry also saw losses.

Editorial: NOAA chief’s stand to cut tuna limit must be last straw. Lubchenco has now shown her own disdain for fishery science itself.

They should also not be any surprise. She has, after all, ignored several calls for action from congressional leaders ranging from Congressman John Tierney to Sens. Scott Brown and John Kerry. And she has run her agency against the grain of the president’s own position, figuratively scoffing at his campaign promise to promote “jobs, jobs, jobs” by holding to her job-killing catch share management system that has produced a government-recognized “economic disaster” in New England and across the waterfronts of the Northeast.

Gillnet fishermen work to reduce porpoise bycatch, are continuing to make concerted, proactive choices

Preliminary data from October indicates that delaying the consequence closure of the gillnet fishery did not have a negative impact on harbor porpoises. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration planned to impose a consequence closure on the gillnet fishery for October and November because fishermen failed to comply with a section of the Marine Mammal Protection Act that restricts bycatch of harbor porpoises. Gillnetters use stationary nets anchored by weights to catch groundfish such as cod and flounder, and bycatch occurs when harbor porpoises or other marine animals are inadvertently caught.


Fishermen hope legislation benefits industry. Charlston Huckster wearing a cheap rug strokes’ em with Pew Lotion!

Locals in the fishing industry, including Baumann, hope the research could lead to further regulatory change to the Magnuson-Stevens Act which sets catch limits designed to prevent overfishing, but also has fishermen stuck at the docks.J. Dean Foster, with Foster Associates, a marketing group based in Charleston, said the congressional committee likely will debate the bill early next year. Foster is working with Pew Environment Group to drum up support for the bill the bill

Seafood processors fined for releasing millions of lb of seafood waste into the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska and North Pacific Ocean

Three seafood processors agreed to settle federal Clean Water Act violations for their vessels’ seafood waste discharges off Alaska’s coast with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and pay fines. Aleutian Spray Fisheries, Inc, United States Seafoods, LLC and Ocean Peace Inc, and their vessels are responsible for releasing millions of lb of seafood waste into the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska and North Pacific Ocean every year.

NOAA / NMFS Reopens public comment period. Proposed Rule to Expand Exempted Redfish Fishery for Groundfish Sectors

ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of comment period.

SUMMARY: This action reopens the comment period for an Acadian redfish proposed rule that published on November 8, 2012. The original comment period closed on November 23, 2012; the comment period is being reopened to provide additional opportunity for public comment through December 31, 2012.

GEARNET Northeast Groundfish Gear Conservation Engineering & Demonstration Network- Proposals are due December 31, 2012

Northeast Groundfish Gear Conservation Engineering & Demonstration Network  FINAL CALL FOR PROPOSALS –GEARNET is currently scheduling port and sector meetings for December to develop your  ideas for a second round of proposals. Our goal is to address your gear needs through pilot ‐scale projects funded by NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center Cooperative Research Program. Proposals are due December 31st, 2012.

Why should you get involved?

Are you struggling to catch your allocation because you run into fish for which you have no allocation?

Are you interested in improving fuel efficiency and lowering your operating costs?

Would you like to try sensors to measure door spread or indicate when your codend is full?

Do you have ideas for improving your gear’s selectivity but cannot afford to make the changes?

Would you like to try a topless trawl or raised footrope gillnet? Or other fishing gear that you’ve heard about but don’t have access to?

For more information about GEARNET and current projects please visit us at


Friends of Captain Jean Frottier devastated by loss of fisherman

Frottier’s friends and fellow fishermen, many of whom have spent much of their lives at MacMillan Pier by his side, said they are devastated by the loss of a man who served as an emblem for so much of what is special about their lifestyle.

New England Fishery Management Council November 2012 Meeting Report

SD’s tuna fleet went to war, changed an industry “You’re going to Guadalcanal,” one of the skippers was ordered. “This cargo has got to go through.”

The two vessels, the 110-foot Paramount and the 128-foot Picaroto, sailed northeast from the New Hebrides and into The Slot, one of the South Pacific’s most dangerous passages. Evading Japanese patrols, the two vessels reached Guadalcanal’s Red Beach in November. They were greeted by a band of Marines who, though exhausted by combat and malaria, unloaded both boats in record time. “We won’t take a chance on you boys getting sunk,” one Marine assured the Paramount’s captain, Ed Madruga. “This cargo is really important.”

The cargo? Turkeys, potatoes, cranberries, oranges: Thanksgiving dinner.