Monthly Archives: April 2016

Fisherman-invented trap controlling Green Crab “cockroaches of the sea,” says Parks Canada scientist

green-crabsA researcher who spent years removing millions of green crab from a Nova Scotia estuary says evicting some of the cantankerous crustaceans has proven effective in controlling an invasive species that has wreaked havoc on marine ecosystems around the world. Known as the “cockroach of the sea,” the green crab can decimate marine environments as it reproduces quickly, mows down eelgrass with its claws and devours just about any species it comes across that’s comparable in size or smaller. “They can upset entire ecosystems. They cause cascading problems,” said Chris McCarthy, a Parks Canada scientist at Kejimkujik National Park. Read the rest here 19:55

Conn. lobster die-off: no link found to pesticides

live-lobsterConnecticut researchers found no pesticides in lobsters collected in Long Island Sound in late 2014, a new study has found, boosting evidence that warming water temperatures are the main culprit in a huge crustacean decline that has decimated the local lobster industry. The findings raise questions about restrictions Connecticut passed in 2013, amid concern over declining lobster stocks, limiting coastal use of pesticides that can control mosquito populations that transmit diseases, including the West Nile and Zika viruses. Michael Grimshaw, a Stonington lobsterman, said Friday that he was skeptical of the new study’s findings. He believes pesticides sprayed on land that drained into Long Island Sound contributed to massive lobster die-offs in Long Island Sound in the late 1990s. He expressed worries that removing restrictions on pesticides would cause more die-offs. Read the rest here 19:21

Father and son fishermen on board the Fishing Vessel Harvester that sank off the coast of Pembrokeshire

untitled HarvesterTwo men who were aboard a fishing boat which sank off the coast of Pembrokeshire have been named as a local father and son. Gareth Willington drowned and his son Daniel is still missing after their fishing boat hit rocks on Thursday. It is understood the pair were checking lobster pots when their 38ft vessel smashed into underwater rocks. The pair didn’t get a chance to make a Mayday call as their boat sank in minutes. Gareth, 59, was found alive but died in a rescue helicopter on the way to hospital. The search for Daniel, 32, was continuing on Saturday off the coast of St David’s, Pembrokeshire. Read the rest here 19:08

Montague Bay Foods to open lobster plant soon, looking to diversify

10-lobsters1A refurbished processing plant that will open shortly  to process lobster intends to become a year-round operation. That’s the hope for Montague Bay Foods, which is preparing for the upcoming lobster season and hiring about 100 people for the workforce. “But that’s just the start,’’ said comptroller Tim Simpson. “We hope to see the plant going year-round and a much larger workforce.” Officials expect to grow slowly and eventually employ over 200 people to process seafood, vegetables and even fruit. Read the rest here  17:36

Ready, go set! Lobster season opens in northern N.B. captured in pictures, video

lobster-season-opensThe lobster season in northern New Brunswick officially opened at 6 a.m. Saturday morning. Fishermen headed out from wharves across the region to set their traps in area 23 in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. People gathered at MacEachern’s Wharf in Tabusintac to watch the annual launch. Fishermen will set their allotted amount of traps Saturday and haul them Sunday, May 1, to provide lobster lovers with their first taste of fresh seafood for 2016. Video and photo’s, click here 12:07

Kitsilano Coast Guard Station reopening with new boats

ccg-pollution-response-vesselThe Canadian Coast Guard has confirmed that when the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station reopens on Sunday it will have two inflatable rescue boats and a specialized pollution response vessel. The station, which is located near downtown Vancouver, was closed by the federal Conservatives in early 2013, a move that was criticized by many, including local city councilors. The Liberals promised to reopen the base after winning the last election. After a cargo ship spilled several thousand litres of bunker fuel into English Bay, the government also promised to upgrade the base’s pollution response capacity. Yesterday Canadian Coast Guard spokesman Dan Bate revealed what vessels will be stationed at the base. They include: Read the rest here 10:10

Bristol Bay commercial halibut fishery opens Sunday

alaska-halibut__frontHalibut management throughout Alaska relies on a mix of state, federal and international rules, and Bristol Bay is no different, with sport, subsistence and commercial fisheries here. The Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation oversees the local small boat halibut fishery, which opens May 1 this year. More than two dozen fishermen are eligible to participate, and they’ll have access to 115,000 pounds of halibut. That’s a significant increase from last year’s 74,000 pounds. Audio report, Read the rest here 09:31

NOAA reduces monitoring/some catch limits for upcoming New England groundfish season

noaa destroying fishermenNOAA, according to the final rule filed Friday in the Federal Register, will cut monitoring to 14 percent of all vessel trips in 2016, down from about 24 percent in 2015. The reduction was welcomed by fishermen, particularly following recent federal policy changes leaving permit holders on the hook for the cost of at-sea monitoring. It was a disappointment for conservationists and environmental groups, who were seeking more coverage, not less. (The enviros are less than enthused!) Also reduced, Fishing advocates, however, were not pleased with the Framework 55 groundfish quotas that savagely cut catch limits for gray sole (down 55 percent from 2015), Georges Bank cod (down 66 percent), northern windowpane flounder (down 33 percent) and Gulf of Maine yellowtail flounder down 28 percent). Read the rest here 09:06

NOAA puts bigeye tuna on overfishing list

big eye tunaNOAA has put Atlantic bigeye tuna on the overfishing list in its annual Status of the Stocks update. It means the harvest rate is higher right now than the rate that produces its maximum sustainable yield — the largest long-term average catch that can be taken from a stock under prevailing environmental and fishery conditions. It could also mean potential reductions in the total allowable catch will be implemented. Jennie Lyons, from NOAA Fisheries Public Affairs, said the listing is based on the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas’ (ICCAT) most recent accepted stock assessment that showed fishing mortality rate in 2014 exceeded the overfishing threshold by 28 percent. Read the rest here 19:53

Fourth Amendment Issues Raised in Connecticut Clam-Poaching Dispute

conn deepAn odd dispute involving Long Island Sound clams has resulted in a criminal trial and a civil lawsuit challenging the authority of state environmental police officers. In December 2011, officers with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection responded to a complaint made by Christopher Walston, who accused Nicholas Crismale and his boat, the Mighty Maxx, of trespassing on Walston’s leased shellfish beds. Crismale, who is president of the Lobsterman’s Association of Connecticut, claims he was merely turning his boat around. Walston, who used to work for Crismale, claims his former boss was illegally harvesting Walston’s clams. He reported Crismale to state authorities as well as the Guilford Fishing Commission. Read the article here 17:23

Details emerge- Pilot may have seen missing Florida teens during search – Lawsuit filed

Boat-belonging-to-missing-Florida-teens-found-near-BermudaAccording to the FWC report, during the search for the boys on July 26, a pilot identified as Bobby Smith was searching for the boys and stated that he saw two pieces of white debris tied together by an orange lifejacket as he flew at an altitude of about 1,000 feet. He then circled the area “three or four” times at 200 feet and said he saw a person lying on the debris and lifting their arms above their head. James Dulin, a commercial fisherman who was fishing about five miles offshore, said that as the storm moved westward around 2 p.m., he saw 40 boats heading into Jupiter Inlet, presumably to take cover. Dulin said he saw a small boat with two “young people” on board head away from shore around the same time.  31 photo’s, Video, Read the rest here  The family of one of the two Florida teens who disappeared at sea last summer is speaking out for the first time after being sued by the mother of the other missing teen over the iPhone that was found aboard the boys’ derelict fishing boat.  Link 15:54

Bellingham commercial fishing fleet hosts garage sale April 30

garage saleBELLINGHAM The local commercial fishing fleet will be hosting a garage sale at the web lockers in Squalicum Harbor 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 30. The public will be able to purchase a variety of nautical items, including nets, buoys and tools, according to a news release from the Whatcom Commercial Fishermen’s Association. The lockers are near Zuanich Point Park. link 15:37

P.E.I. lobster fishermen begin the penny per pound Lobster Levy for marketing on Saturday

10-lobsters1P.E.I. lobster fishermen are the first in Canada to offer money from their catch to help market their product. The one-cent-a-pound levy will begin to be tallied when the first Island lobster is landed on Saturday. The chair of the new 12-member P.E.I. Lobster Marketing Board, Charlie McGeoghegan, says around a dozen proposals with recommendations how to spend the money have been submitted so far. He said those have come from consulting firms, fishing groups and individuals both on and off the Island. McGeoghegan wouldn’t share details, but said some of the ideas have been rejected already but a handful are still on the table. Read the rest here 13:10

“foreign” NGOs, Pew instrumental in stripping indigenous people of constitutional rights with N.Z. Marine Sanctuary

conservation-groups-reprehensible-advocacy-threatens-indigenous-fishing-rights-in-new-zealand-body-image-1461859393When New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key announced the establishment of one of the world’s largest marine reserves at the United Nations last year, it was met with near unanimous praise. The proposal got the nod from big conservation groups and scientists, and media coverage was generally flattering. The 620,000 square kilometer sanctuary in the Kermadec region, northeast of New Zealand, is one of the most pristine and biodiverse on Earth, home to 35 species of whales and dolphins, 150 types of fish, and three of the world’s seven sea turtle species. Under the plan, fishing, oil, gas, and mineral exploration would be banned. But seven months later the sanctuary is at the center of a legal dispute and claims that “foreign” NGOs — most notably the Pew Charitable Trusts — were instrumental in a decision that will see New Zealand’s indigenous people stripped of constitutional rights. Read the rest here 12:26

Turtle Island Restoration Network sponsors bill to phase out gill nets, moves forward in Legislature

AR-160429826.jpg&maxh=400&maxw=667Marin’s Turtle Island Restoration Network has sponsored Senate Bill 1114, which would phase out the use of gill nets in favor of another method that better targets what the gill nets seek: swordfish. The change would prevent turtles, whales, dolphins, sharks and pinnipeds from being taken, the group says. The bill was approved by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water earlier this month, the first stop during its journey in the Legislature. An appropriations committee is expected to take it up next month before more votes. “Despite the fact that Pacific leatherback sea turtles are the largest sea turtles on the planet, they are no match for the driftnet fishery,” said Peter Fugazzotto, Turtle Island’s program manager. “This deadly fishery has been operating at too high of a cost to marine wildlife.” Read the rest here 11:48

Early New Brunswick crab season opener sees higher prices

canadian snow crabThe early opening of the crab season has resulted in good catches and increased prices for crab fishermen. The season opened April 22, three eeks earlier than the 2015 season. The early opening was due to a milder winter in New Brunswick and an earlier break up of ice. Crews on wharves on the Acadian Peninsula are busy unloading the good catches. The good catches have resulted in prices ranging from $3.50 to $3.60 a pound, which is 75 cents higher than last season. “The crab this season is as good and better than anytime,” said one crab fisherman who added many people on the Acadian Peninsula are enjoying eating the crabs. link 09:10

Former Commercial Fishermen’s Festival director resentenced after appeal

AR-160429677.jpg&MaxW=600The former director of the Commercial Fishermen’s Festival who stole money out of festival bank accounts, took signs and autographed memorabilia and kept a dunk tank was resentenced Thursday in Clatsop County Circuit Court. Ronald Kay Williams, 51, was originally sentenced to more than three years in prison in 2013 after a jury found him guilty of first-degree aggravated theft, first-degree theft and tampering with a witness. He immediately appealed the sentence, specifically claiming he never knew the person he contacted would be a witness in his trial. Read the rest here 08:18

Pembrokeshire fisherman search resumes: One fisherman has been rescued

untitled HarvesterCoastguards have confirmed one man has been found and taken to hospital in the search for the crew of a sunken fishing boat in Pembrokeshire. The vessel – believed to be “The Harvester”, from Milford Haven – got into trouble on rocks at St David’s Head at about 14:30 BST on Thursday. The condition of the rescued man is not known. The search for a second man resumed on Friday at 06:00 after being called off overnight. Speaking to BBC Radio Wales’ Good Morning Wales programme, Jim Phillips, from the RNLI in St Davids, said: “The gentleman who has been taken to hospital, we don’t know his condition at all, but the boys are out there now busy searching for this one remaining fisherman.” Read the rest here 07:55

Coast Guard rescues 3 fishermen following collision off Cape May, NJ

Tug+Cape+May+Coast+Guard+RescueThe Coast Guard rescued three men Thursday from their life raft approximately six miles east of Cape May, New Jersey. The Coast Guard received a request for assistance from the captain aboard the 42-foot boat Last Stand, reporting they were sinking following a collision with the 78-foot Tug Dean Reinauer. A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew from Coast Guard Station Cape May launched to assist. The RB-M crew arrived on scene and took the three boaters aboard from their life raft. “The crew of the fishing vessel Last Stand was extremely prepared and knowledgeable on their safety equipment and procedures,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class James Pappas, Station Cape May officer of the day. “Their readiness allowed them to abandon ship within 10 minutes of the collision, including scrambling into their survival suits and ultimately into their life raft. They saved their own lives.” The Last Stand sank, and no injuries were reported. link 07:30

Maine fishermen’s group doesn’t just want to catch fish

11ada5bA group representing various parts of Maine’s seafood industry on Thursday will set to crafting a plan to build its future workforce, a problem it and other trades in the state see ahead. Monique Coombs, who founded and leads the Maine Seafood Network, said the group so far has been loosely organized, but she “wanted to get to the point where we could affect the supply chain in a productive and useful way.” Coombs said the focus on workforce development came from speaking with the group’s members about common challenges, with training posing a challenge for employers like seafood processors and fishermen alike. Read the rest here 22:43

Terrebonne Parish men cited for shrimping and fishing violations

logol f&wFour Terrebonne Parish men are accused of illegally trawling for shrimp and fishing for red snapper in two separate incidents this week, according to the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Tracy Trahan, 37, of Houma,and Sterlin Billiot Jr., 22, of Dulac, were charged Wednesday for trawling during a closed shrimp season, agents said. According to the report, the two were caught trawling for shrimp around 11:30 p.m. in a boat without any navigation lights about four miles inside state waters in Terrebonne Bay. Agents seized more than 660 pounds of shrimp, two trawls and Trahan’s boat, according to the news release. Trahan and Billiot were booked Wednesday into the Terrebonne Parish jail. Read the rest here  20:44

Latest Puget Sound salmon fishing talks failed to produce an agreement

Washington-Department-of-Fish-and-Wildlife3With salmon fishing in Puget Sound expected to close Sunday, the state of other fisheries remains unclear after the state and tribes failed to reach an agreement in talks Wednesday. Without an agreement, and the necessary federal approval, salmon fishing will not be allowed in the Sound and the rivers and streams that feed into it as of Sunday. The current federal permit that allows salmon fishing expires Saturday. “Both sides had fishing packages that met our conservation goals, but we could not agree on how to make it happen,” Ron Warren, salmon policy lead for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, said of Wednesday’s talks. Read the rest here  18:34

2 fishermen lost at sea saved by cooler

Two fishermen survived two days at sea thanks to their trusty cooler. Michael Watkins and Raymond Jacik went missing in Galveston Bay on Monday morning after embarking on what was supposed to be a five-hour fishing trip, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The men said their 20-foot fishing boat started taking on water and a rogue wave capsized the vessel before they could even put on life jackets. “I had no time to grab anything. Nothing. No keys, no wallet, no phone,” . Read the rest here  17:44

North Carolina Startup Kepley Biosystems synthetic lobster/crab bait could boost supplies of forage fish

Organobait-450x300After winning a competition for a $750,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) phase II grant in early March, a North Carolina-based startup plans to commercialize its synthetic lobster and crab bait alternative upon obtaining additional funding Kepley Biosystems, one of 50 winners of the grant, has spent several years developing Organobait, a hockey puck-shaped product that mimics the smell emitted by decaying forage fish, the traditional crab and lobster bait. The synthetic bait is made with inorganic chemicals and avoids the use of animal byproducts. Read the rest here 14:09

Coast Guard tows disabled fishing boat 90 miles to Portland, Maine

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Moray towed the 60-foot fishing boat Paulo Marc after it became disabled Wednesday about 90 miles east of Portland, Maine. Watchstanders at Sector Northern New England’s command center received notification at approximately 1 p.m. Wednesday that the Paulo Marc, homeported in Gloucester, was disabled with four people aboard. The Moray crew launched and arrived on scene to establish the tow at approximately 8 p.m. Wednesday. Early Thursday, once near shore, the Moray passed the tow to a good Samaritan crew who arrived safely at the State Fish Pier in Portland at about 9 a.m. 13:39

Video shows man attacking Hawaiian monk seal, culture expert mentions commercial fishermen?

One of Kauai’s most popular Hawaiian monk seals was attacked on Tuesday night at Salt Pond Beach Park, and a video recording of the scuffle is circulating on social media. The footage shows an unidentified man enter the water at Salt Pond at sunset and attack RK30, a full-grown female monk seal, in what appears to be an attempt to chase the her from her resting place on the beach. Kumu Sabra Kauka, who teaches Hawaiian culture through education around the island, said she was disturbed when she saw the video. “That kind of behavior is uncalled for and is inexcusable,” she said. “Being high or drunk is no excuse. She said sometimes this kind of aggression toward the Hawaiian Monk Seals stems from the commercial fishing community and the mindset that the seals are stealing the fish from their nets. Read the article here Watch the video here 13:03

FF & Wildlife Conservation Commission considers alternatives to closure of St. Joseph Bay scallop harvesting

Following a public meeting Wednesday the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is taking under consideration alternatives to closure of St. Joseph Bay to scallop harvesting. One emphasis is that the closure involves only closure to scallop harvesting; all other water activities would not be impacted. A spokeswoman with the FWC said this morning that staff and researchers were digesting the feedback from last night’s meeting and could make a decision on next steps within days. She emphasized that no final decision on closure of the bay has been made, though that remains the direction the FWC is leaning. “We wanted to try to get ahead of this and make the public aware of the situation,” she said. “We had a good discussion.” Read the rest here 12:00

Electronic Monitoring — Straight talk about New England’s fisheries, Chris Brown, Bob Dooley

camera_view_of_skate_catchIn any relationship, uncertainty and mistrust tend to circle back and magnify themselves over time. In the case of New England fishermen and federal regulators, the result is what we see today. These two parties — who can and should be working together to ensure the economic and environmental health of our fisheries — are deadlocked in mistrust while the fishing industry lurches between federal bailouts and major criminal busts. As fishing industry leaders with a combined seven-plus decades on the water, we know it doesn’t have to be this way. Chris Brown is president of both the Rhode Island Commercial Fishermen’s Association and the Seafood Harvesters of America. Bob Dooley is a lifelong commercial fisherman and former president of the United Catcher Boats, an association of Alaska pollock and whiting trawlers. Read the op-ed here 10:40

Ocean acidification: yet another wobbly pillar of climate alarmism

NOAA ScientistLast year, no fewer than 600 academic papers were published on the subject, so it must be serious, right? First referenced in a peer-reviewed study in Nature in 2003, it has since been endorsed by scientists from numerous learned institutions including the Royal Society, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the IPCC. Even the great David Attenborough — presenter of the Great Barrier Reef series — has vouched for its authenticity,,, Howard Browman, a marine scientist for 35 years, has published a review in the ICES Journal of Marine Science of all the papers published on the subject. His verdict could hardly be more damning. Read the article here 09:51

Oregon commission reviews impact of Former Governor Kitzhaber fishery harvest reform plan

s_topTEMP325x350-8532The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission at its March meeting reviewed fishery harvest reforms on the Columbia River that effectively remove commercial gillnetters from the mainstem river by 2017 but allows gillnetting in the lower river in select areas. The three-year transition will be complete by next year. It consists of harvest allocation shifts, with recreational anglers taking a larger chunk of the mainstem fishing while commercial fishing transitions to select off-channel areas, such as Youngs Bay and Knappa and Blind sloughs in Oregon, and Deep River and eventually to the Cathlamet Channel, all in the lower Columbia River estuary. Read the rest here 08:22