Daily Archives: August 9, 2016

Petersburg fishermen make big catch – nearly 400-pound halibut

08092016_Halibut_COLLINS-450x600A nearly 400-pound halibut caught by local fishermen near Petersburg over the weekend wasn’t record breaking, but was still pretty darn huge. Petersburg fishermen Brian Mattson and Doug Corl were out long-lining in Frederick Sound when they had an unexpected visitor. “Didn’t even know it was on until we saw it from the surface,” Mattson said. “Put the shark hook on it, used the winch to bring it up and didn’t even make a move whatsoever, it just came right in nice and easy.” He’s talking about a 396-pound halibut. The fish would have to weigh into the upper 400s to beat the world record. Petersburg Fisheries Inc., or PFI, one of Petersburg’s main fish processers, was bustling with workers, but a handful of people made their way outside to watch the F/V Day Spring pull up to unload an unusually large fish. Read the rest here 19:12

The jig is up

mackerelRichard Burgess, a groundfisherman in Gloucester, Massachusetts has an odd problem. Ordinarily, he’d be out on his boat with trawl and gill nets, catching pollock and hake–fish that are currently in abundant supply in the region, and which fetch high prices. But he isn’t out with trawl and gill nets. That’s because along with the glut of pollock they bring in, Burgess has to worry about catching too many cod. Burgess is currently among a small group of fishermen who are experimenting with electronic jigging–a new technology he hopes can help him target and catch specific, abundant species like pollock (though he is currently using it to target mackerel) and avoid catching protected species like cod. Read the story here Watch the video here 15:38

Fisheries Minister plans ‘concrete’ action to fight declining Fraser River sockeye run

Fraser River'sCanada’s Minister of Fisheries says the government is taking action in a ‘rigorous and robust’ way to restore the Fraser River’s sockeye salmon run, and it’s a top priority of the prime minister. Dominic LeBlanc says the federal government is committed to recommendations that came out of the Cohen Commission of Inquiry four years ago, agreeing delayed action has been “unacceptable.” He did not see an immediate need to sever the ministry mandate, to end the promotion of salmon farming, as Cohen recommended. “I wouldn’t describe it as a conflict of interest,” said LeBlanc. I think there is a way for world-class, transparent, open and available science and management decisions that are transparent to Canadians to be made with respect to aquaculture sector … that are complimentary to the protection of the wild salmon.” With the right science and regulatory regime, he said Canadians have confidence in the safety of B.C.’s beloved wild salmon Read the rest here 14:50

Lake Pontchartrain is crawling with crabs again, and it has the January opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway to thank

20885669-mmmainGary Bauer, owner of Pontchartrain Blue Crab in Slidell, said crab production was abysmal in Lake Pontchartrain for three straight years, but it’s rebounded in 2016. “When I fished for a living, when the spillway was open, you knew you were going to have crabs for the next year or two,” he said. “The old-timers consider that fresh layer of silt to be like fertilizer.” A New Orleans East native, Bauer crabbed from 1979 through 1994, and opened his factory in 1999. He said both the quality and quantity of crabs have been better this year. “Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne have been way off, and this year it’s been an improvement,” Bauer said. “We’re not out of the woods yet, but there is definitely an improvement.” Bauer said some fishers pull right up to his dock to sell their catch, but he also buys crabs from wholesalers based around the coast. “A lot of people who used to fish here have moved on to greener pastures, where the crab production has been better,” he said. “The first five years we were in business, we had only one truck. Now we have four. That tells you where the crabs have been coming from.” Read the story here 14:06

Dr. Robert E. Hueter – I am writing to share my strong opposition to S. 3095, The Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act.

3156413August 5, 2016 – The Honorable Bill Nelson United States Senate Washington, DC  20510   Dear Senator Nelson:  I am writing to share my strong opposition to S. 3095, The Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act. As the Director of Mote Marine Laboratory’s Center for Shark Research, which was designated by Congress in 1991 as the nation’s research center for shark studies, I have more than 40 years of experience with this issue.  That experience includes biological research, collaborations with fisheries, conservation education, and domestic and international policy work.  As an independent, nonprofit research and education institution in Sarasota, Mote’s history of shark expertise goes back to its founding in 1955 by Dr. Eugenie Clark, our famous “Shark Lady.” While possibly well-intentioned as a measure to improve the conservation of sharks, S. 3095 will be ineffective in making a dent in the global problem of shark overfishing.  Instead, it will punish the wrong people by putting American commercial fishermen, who are fishing for sharks legally and sustainably, out of business.  I outline below the reasons behind my opposition and those of many of my colleagues who work closely with the fishing community:  Read the letter here Read Behind the Fins: Dr. Robert E. Hueter Click here 12:05

Draft plan unveiled to curb Southern New England lobster declines

AR-160809943.jpg&MaxW=624&MaxH=400The American Lobster Management Board has released a draft plan responding to declining stocks of lobsters in Southern New England waters that will be considered by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission at its annual meeting in late October. The proposal presents a suite of management measures to increase egg production and lower harvesting mortality through a combination of management tools that include season closures, trap limits and reductions and changes in escape vent and lobster size regulations. The goal is to increase egg production for lobsters in Southern New England waters from zero to 60%. The draft responds to the 2015 American lobster benchmark stock assessment that found the Southern New England “stock severely depleted and undergoing recruitment failure with poor prospects of recovery,” according to Friday’s statement from ASMFC. Read the rest here 11:13

New superintendent named to head Biscayne National Park

Goodro%20picA seasoned ranger with posts in the chilly north including Glacier Bay and Crater Lake will become the new superintendent at South Florida’s subtropical Biscayne National Park, the National Park Service announced Monday. Margaret Goodro, now superintendent at Lake Clark National Park in Alaska, takes over from Brian Carlstrom. In November, Carlstrom was promoted to deputy associate director for the service after overseeing a controversial new management plan that for the first time establishes a marine preserve to help protect part of the park’s ailing reef. “I look forward to working with the park staff, stakeholders and partners to continue the great work of providing amazing recreational opportunities for visitors, while protecting and preserving this rare tropical park,” Goodro said in a statement. And while Goodro may have roots in the north where her family ran a commercial fishing business, she does have some local ties: Her spouse, Melinda, is a Tampa native. They plan to move to South Florida in late October. Read the rest here 10:38

Shortage of herring for lobster bait market maxes out Maines Pogey Quota for the first time.

625968-20160805_Feature_03-1024x683The offshore supply of fresh Atlantic herring, the go-to bait for most Maine lobstermen, has been in short supply, driving prices up as much 30 percent in late July, the Maine Lobstermen’s Association said. The shortage triggered near-shore fishing restrictions to try to stretch out the summer herring catch in hopes of keeping bait bags full as Maine’s lobster season hits its peak. With herring getting scarce and expensive, fishermen have turned to other bait for relief, especially the pogie, the local name for Atlantic menhaden. It’s the No. 2 bait fish among Maine lobstermen, according to a state Department of Marine Resources survey. Maine fishermen have never landed the state’s entire pogie quota, which is set at about 166,000 pounds annually. But this year they had caught all of that and a bit more by July 31, said Megan Ware, head of the menhaden program for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which oversees the pogie catch and other migratory fisheries on the East Coast. Read the story here 09:41

Fishermen in Atlantic Canada cash in on high lobster prices

565237When 50-year-old lobster fisherman Albert Sampson wrapped up the season a few weeks ago, he was pretty pleased with the results. During an intense two month season working 12- to 14-hour days, six days a week, in the high winds off the southeast coast of Cape Breton Island, he and his crew of two deckhands brought in $500,000-worth of lobster. This year, Mr. Sampson got an average price of $8 a pound for his catch, after averaging about $5.75 to $6 a pound last year. I think its been a banner season price-wise for anybody in the Maritimes, says Mr. Sampson, who has been fishing lobster for 20 years. I hope it stays the same next season. Mr. Sampson is one of thousands of lobster fishermen across Atlantic Canada who have benefited from high lobster prices in 2016. In a region where jobs can be hard to come by, especially in rural areas where the majority of lobster fishermen live and fish out of, the increase in lobster prices is welcome news. Read the story here 09:09

Coast Guard medevacs 19-year-old fisherman near Gold Beach, Ore.

3MissBerdie_03-48816A Coast Guard aircrew medevaced a 19-year-old man from Siletz who was reportedly suffering lower gastrointestinal bleeding aboard a commercial fishing vessel 30 miles west of Gold Beach, Monday.  An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew safely transferred the man to emergency medical services personnel waiting at Air Station North Bend, who took him by ambulance to Bay Area Hospital in Coos Bay. Watchstanders at Sector North Bend received a relay call requesting medical attention for the man at 12:21 p.m. from the crew of the 80-foot commercial . The aircrew arrived on scene at 2:20 p.m. and flew the man to emergency medical care. The man reported he was not in any pain but had suffered from similar gastrointestinal issues in the past and required medical attention.  The crew of Miss Berdie was reportedly fishing for Pacific whiting at the time of the rescue.  Link – Video 08:40