Monthly Archives: May 2015

Last of the Eastern Side Wooden Draggers “Little Sandra”

little sandra leaving for the last timeWhen the distinctive white-tipped orange mast of the fishing vessel Little Sandra slipped below the ocean’s surface 18 miles off the coast of Rockport beyond Thacher Island this past weekend, the intentional sinking marked more than just the end of the line for the 63-foot-long vessel. It was the end of an era for Gloucester’s historic fleet of eastern-rigged trawlers as well. Original post June 5, 2013. The art of Gloucester’s  Paul F Frontiero Jr listed on e-bay is linked, as well as the GDT article about the end of an era. Photos and links here. 22:28

Greenpeace-friendly Boston Globe Botches Tuna Report

From the Letter-Another symptom of how Ms. Zwirn indulges Greenpeace is that they are presented with virtually no skepticism or scrutiny — not on their ideology, nor their methodology, nor their expertise, nor the feasibility or consequences of the demands they make.  Here are some easily confirmed facts, for instance, that might have been shared with readers: The methodology Greenpeace uses is entirely subjective, kept confidential, and unverifiable. They have precisely zero experience in fisheries management and the “seafood project leader” Ms. Zwirn cites repeatedly has actually spent his career in labor organizing, and joined Greenpeace only recently.  Read the rest here 20:38

North Pacific Fishery Management Council Meeting in Sitka! June 1st thru the 9th. This is a big one!

Blue NPFMC Sidebar The Council will meet the week of June 1 2015 at Centennial Hall, Sitka. Other meetings will be held during the week, and all can be reviewed in the Agenda by clicking here The Draft Agenda Schedule can be reviewed by clicking here Listen on line while the Council is in session, by clicking here  16:45

Cape Breton lobsterman enjoys good catches, prices

Blair Campbell doesn’t have much to complain about these days. Not after enduring a couple of less-than-stellar lobster fishing seasons. Take, for example, two years ago, when he and the other 19 licensed lobster fisherman here at Big Big Bras d’Or’s Factory Wharf were forced to sell their catch at a miserable $3.25 a pound. He considered calling it a career. But he persisted. Last year was a little better. Fishermen here recorded solid landings and while lobster prices increased to about $4.50, it was still below the five dollar mark they were after. Read the rest here  15:24

Underutilized fish can be overfished too – Sam Parisi, Gloucester

manatthewheelI keep hearing of the need to find markets to develop underutilized species, and it could help. The problem I have is every time we do this, all of a sudden these species are overfished. I blame NOAA for this because instead of putting a quota on these species they let the fishermen catch all they want. This is what happened to dogfish — there there was no quota and in no time, they were over fished.  Read the rest here 14:25

Seattle company has worst rate of halibut dumping and a lousy track record

There are big differences within the bottom-trawl fleet that works the Bering Sea in how much halibut is caught and discarded, a Seattle Times analysis found. For the past four years, Fishing Company of Alaska, a Seattle firm, has had the fleet’s highest rate of dumping halibut, which federal rules say must be discarded if caught by trawlers. Through the years, the company has come under scrutiny for the use of Japanese fishmasters who help conduct the harvest. Read the rest here  The struggle for power on doomed Alaska Ranger Satoshi Konno was a tall man with ramrod posture and a volcanic temper. Read the rest here  11:54

TV show ‘Briefcase’ poses tough decision for part-time Keys man

John Musolino the briefcaseA North Carolina man who works as a commercial fisherman in Marathon for about half the year had to make a decision that would be tough for anyone: If given $100,000, what does he do with it? That’s the premise of the CBS TV show “The Briefcase,” which includes and their three children. It debuts at 8 p.m. Wednesday.The show involves two families who are each given $100,000. They have the option of keeping all of the money or giving part or all of it to the other family. Read the rest here 11:25

Rhode Island Fishermen’s Alliance Weekly Update, May 31, 2015

rifa2The Rhode Island Fishermen’s Alliance is dedicated to its mission of continuing to help create sustainable fisheries without putting licensed fishermen out of business.” Read the update here  To read all the updates, click here 10:58

What is killing off the menhaden in Long Island Sound? ‘Whirling disease’ suspected

menhadenWhat is killing off the menhaden? The die-off has been reported at several locations, including in Long Island Sound along eastern Connecticut and in the estuaries of several area rivers. A viral “whirling disease” is believed to be the chief suspect in the die-off, said Mark Alexander, supervising fisheries biologist for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.  Read the rest here  10:08

Ignoring the instructions of Fisheries department 7,000 fishermen venture into sea sans permit

Ignoring the instructions of Fisheries department, over 7,000 fishermen ventured into sea in 1,400 trawlers without obtaining fishing permits on Friday night as the 45-day ban period drew to a close. The ban period ended on Friday midnight and the Fisheries department instructed fishermen to venture into sea on Saturday morning after getting permits, but the fishermen in Rameswaram, Mandapam and Pamban started from 8 p.m. on Friday. Read the rest here 09:37 Decision to resume fishing in TN, Puducherry decried 09:49

Dumping of halibut sparks fight among North Pacific fishing fleets

When Skipper Bill Hayes brings up his trawl net from the bottom of the Bering Sea, he often finds halibut mixed in with the yellowfin sole and other fish he pursues with a Seattle-based trawler.  People often pay more than $15 a pound for halibut at the store. But federal harvest rules only allow hook-and-line fishermen — not trawlers such as the boat Hayes captains — to sell these fish. To make trawlers try to avoid halibut, they are required to dump this “bycatch” overboard. They can’t even donate the fish to a food bank. Read the rest here 08:29  Related articles, click here

SMAST survey of groundfish has potential to improve regulation

smast 4 hardware tube in the netIt was May 14, a Thursday. The big yellow Caterpillar roared to life beneath us, throbbing through the steel deck plates; a signal that it was time to cast off the surly bonds of earth. Capt. Ron Borjeson backed the Justice down. The Justice is a scallop boat, but as the net reel above the stern ramp proclaimed, we were rigged for groundfish. But this was to be no ordinary fishing trip. Kevin Stokesbury was heading a scientific expedition, targeting groundfish but trying to count rather than catch them. The flatfish net on the Justice was designed to enable fish to pass through the mouth and escape through the open end unharmed. Their passing would, however, be filmed by cameras mounted inside the net, with their number and species recorded on video and stored for later analysis. Read the rest here  22:52

OP-ED: Fears Mount over NPFMC halibut bycatch quota vote

I have been an Alaskan since 1996. I live and work in Dutch Harbor and have built a labor and equipment company providing services to the Amendment 80 vessels.  The North Pacific Management Council is meeting in June to decide whether to adjust the Amendment 80 fleet’s allowable halibut by-catch.  The Council’s decision is likely to cost Alaskan jobs.  We have been providing longshore services either directly or indirectly since 1998. Our company has grown from a few hard working Alaskans to a little over 120 employees. Read the rest here  18:37

Bristol Bay’s halibut fishery is underway!


“There are halibut around and people are beginning to catch them,” said Susie Jenkins-Brito, the regional fisheries coordinator for the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp. Jenkins-Brito said the group had its first report of halibut caught in the area on May 22, and other fishermen in the area have started going out to catch halibut as well. There are 28 fishermen who have permits to harvest BBEDC’s quota in the area on longline vessels, out of 35 who initially applied. Read the rest here 18:20

Women put off fishing and brewing by safety and macho behaviour

Macho behaviour and safety fears are putting women off working in the brewing and fisheries industries, according to research. Genevieve Kurilec, a commercial fishing captain, who runs the Chix who Fish Facebook group and website, said: “In my experience women tend to be more safety conscious and detail oriented, which makes us an excellent asset to any crew working in a dangerous occupation.”  There would always be men in society who patronised women, she claimed. Read the rest here  16:45

Digby Fisheries officers stay busy, seize halibut and scallops and lay numerous charges

Department of Fisheries area have had a busy month – since April 10 they have seized halibut in Delaps Cove, scallops at the Digby wharf, and carried out a detailed inspection of the documentation of a fishplant in Delaps Cove. Various infractions – discovered six bags of scallops that had been segregated from the rest of the catch, seized 208 pounds of scallops and have laid charges for an inaccurate hail, fishermen offloading halibut in Delaps Cove without having hailed, found cooked lobster aboard a groundfish dragger, Read the rest here 15:23  [CORRECTION: an earlier version of this story INCORRECTLY said that halibut was seized in Delaps Cove, when in fact the halibut was seized in Parker’s Cove. The Courier regrets the confusion. (1:40 p.m. May 31, 2015)]

Maine Elver fishermen report ‘horrible’ season

The 2015 elver fishing season has come to a disappointing end, local fishermen say. “Horrible,” fisherman Abden Simmons described it. “I don’t think I’ve caught half of what my quota was.” “Normally we have an eight-week season, but this year we had a four-week season,” Darrel Young, head of the Maine Elver Fishermen Association, said. The season actually began March 22, but Young didn’t catch his first elvers until May 3. Prices per pound of elvers ranged throughout the season from under $1,000 to a high of $2,700,  Read the rest here 15:04

Fisheries observer Talilla Schuster – Provincetown upbringing, science and water-based career

fisheries observer talilla schusterCoping with homesickness, eating food that she is not used to, losing sleep with an erratic schedule, “grumpy fishermen and [her own] grumpiness” also are all part of her job. She knows her presence is not always a picnic for the fishermen either. “Having an observer onboard is a bit of a nuisance for the fishing crew. There are certain things I do in order to do my job that disrupts their routine no matter how hard I try not to,” she says.  Read the rest here  12:17

Inland Fisheries – Asian carp study reveals market for the invaders

The despised Asian carp in the Illinois River has been beaten with baseball bats and harpooned with arrows at local events, but a study from the University of Illinois commissioned by the city of Pekin shows that it may be time to invite them to the dinner table. The recent study, performed by the university’s Illinois Business Consulting School, shows that there is a market for Asian carp for human consumption, and non-human consumption for use as fertilizers, animal feed or beauty products, in both national and international markets.  Read the rest here 11:43

Blaine Marina to close after more than 50 years supporting fishing community

blaines marina closed mike doddThe Dodd family is known for being consummate entrepreneurs and it showed in their business, which not only sold fuel and supplies to fishing boats but just about anything else people in town needed, including furniture, appliances, floor coverings, groceries and hardware. We’re going to miss it. We made a lot of friends over the years,” Mike Dodd said. “I’ll especially remember the camaraderie with the fishing community and the residents.” More importantly, the business and the Dodd family were well-known for their willingness to extend credit,,  Read the rest here  11:27

Cape Breton lobster website directs you to lobster, fresh off the boat

A new website is highlighting where people in parts of Cape Breton can purchase fresh lobster right off the boat. Lobster fishermen from Bay St. Lawrence to Gabarus — what’s known as area 27 — have launched a website that shows users a map of all the ports where lobster is sold and what hours it is available. Most lobster from area 27 is exported, says Veronika Brzeski, the project manager for the fishermen in the area. Read the rest here, and visit  10:11

White House vow to veto fishing law changes sends a very poor message to fishermen

world_war_ii_fish_poster_1943_thumbDavid Goethel, a Hampton, New Hampshire-based fisherman of species such as cod and haddock, said the threat of a veto is premature and a “very poor message” to send to fishermen who are struggling with tough catch quotas. He said Young’s proposal is “common sense in fisheries management” and deserves a hard look. Goethel said Young’s proposal could help Northeastern regional managers rebuild cod while allowing fishermen to still seek similar species such as haddock and Pollock. Read the rest here 08:44

South Carolina – Price for local shrimp could drop this year amid predictions of increased landings

white shrimp atlanticThere could be a drop in local shrimp prices this year. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is predicting a big increase in the number of shrimp. DNR says the last two years, the local shrimp output has been around 300,000 pounds, but this year, they’re predicting more than 500,000 pounds of white shrimp, almost double. The big reason behind the shortage was the winter weather. This year because of a fairly mild winter, more shrimp could grow. Video, Read the rest here 08:20

Gulf Shrimpers Taking a Beating Thanks to Cheap Imported Shrimp.

louisiana shrimpPreviously crippled by disease, imported shrimp from countries such as Indonesia have made a major comeback and have flooded the U.S. market, experts say. In summary, shrimp wholesale is remarkably cheap right now and that means bad business for the local guys. “The industry is in outrage right now,” Thomas Hymel, specialist for the LSU AgCenter, said Tuesday. Last year, much of the foreign, farm-raised shrimp product was decimated by a disease called early mortality syndrome, or EMS. Less shrimp in the market meant a bump in prices. Read the rest here 07:54

The Dangerous art of chasing Patagonian toothfish in the Southern Ocean

Blistering sub-zero winds, icy cold sea spray and monster swells are all in a day’s work for the fishermen on the hunt for the Patagonian toothfish in deep Antarctic waters. A large fishing vessel docked in Albany’s port this week, on Western Australia’s south coast, with its 70-tonne cargo of toothfish set to be snapped up by seafood lovers across the globe. The ship’s Edward Templer said the Antarctic climate was unforgiving. In each expedition, the crew spend at least two months in open water 4,500km south west of Albany, Read the rest here 21:31

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for May 29, 2015

NCFAClick to read the Weekly Update for May 29, 2015 as a PDF  To read all the updates, click here  20:37

Frank Mirarchi – A Scituate fisherman’s perspective on government’s fisheries management

Thank you for the editorial “White House puts politics ahead of fishery science” published on Tuesday, May 26. You have provided your readers an insight into the utter dysfunction which pervades the government’s management of New England fisheries. By way of background, the Secretary of Commerce declared the northeast groundfish fishery an economic disaster in September, 2012. Subsequently, Congress appropriated approximately $33 million in disaster assistance to be distributed by the National Marine Fisheries Service,,, Read the rest here  20:20

Offshore wind farm shot down again by New Jersey

thumb downNew Jersey has taken the winds out these “fishermen’s” sails again. Fishermen’s Energy, a Cape May-based alternative energy developer, lost in its latest attempt for approval to build a wind farm off the coast New Jersey. The state courts have sided with the Board of Public Utility noting the board did not believe the benefits outweighed “the risks and costs of using an unproven technology to produce electricity,” according to the Press of Atlantic City.  Read the rest here  17:35

Greg DiDomenico: Fisheries law deserves reauthorization

The Garden State Seafood Association, a statewide organization promoting the interests of the commercial fishing industry and seafood consumers in New Jersey, last week joined with 150 businesses, organizations and individuals on the East, West and Gulf coasts to express support for the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee’s work on reauthorizing the act that regulates U.S. fisheries. Read the rest here 17:15

Halibut bycatch cap reduction should reflect what we know about the resource

pacific_halibutAs a fishery scientist who has worked for more than 20 years with trawl fishermen to reduce salmon, crab and halibut bycatch, I find the recent rhetoric around proposed North Pacific Fisheries Management Council changes to the cap very frustrating. In particular, I hear media campaigns underwritten by environmental NGOs claiming, “It’s been 20 years since the halibut bycatch cap was last reduced,” implying that this has created a conservation issue. Read the rest here 14:28