Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meeting August 15 – 18, 2016, New Orleans, LA

Gulf-of-Mexico-Fishery-Management-Council-logoThe Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will meet August 15 – 18, 2016, at the Astor Crowne Plaza hotel in New Orleans, LA.  Committee meetings will convene Monday at 8:30 am and conclude at 11:00 am Wednesday. The full Council will convene Wednesday morning beginning at 11:15 am. The Council is expected to adjourn by 4:15 pm Thursday. Committees & Council Agenda Click here .   Public comment is scheduled Wednesday from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Testimony will be taken on the following: • Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Draft Environmental Impact Statement • Open testimony on any other fishery issues or concerns  Council meetings are open to the public and are broadcast live over the internet. Register for the webinar Click here 20:48

PAT NEAL: Whales’ boundless salmon appetite

orca_mealThen there are the many other toxic concerns to keep you awake at night, such as: Are your whales getting enough salmon? A recent article in the Peninsula Daily News (“Diet Decline: Smaller Chinook Mean Lighter Meals For Resident Orcas,” PDN, July 28) detailed the exhaustive research by legions of dedicated researchers who have detailed the declining diet of the orca, or killer whale. Scientists studying the orca fecal matter (yes this is a real job) have revealed that Southern Resident killer whales have evolved to consume a diet of king salmon or chinook in preference to all the other species. The current salmon famine is threatening the most important component of the whale-watching industry: whales. The scientists are quick to parade a list of the usual suspects — overfishing, habitat loss and climate change — while ignoring another common conundrum of concern: the destruction of one endangered species by another. Read the story here 12:37

Lobstermen battle for bragging rights in 52nd annual Winter Harbor boat race

DL_20160813_BoatRace_01.jpgBoats lined up along both sides of the course to watch each wave of racers barrel down the stretch between Grindstone and Schoodic. The few landlocked spectators that braved the rain gathered around the closest vantage point at Frazer Point, donning ponchos, umbrellas and sets of binoculars. The 52nd annual Winter Harbor Lobster Boat Races was about to start, with more than 70 boats and their fishermen racing around Henry Cove Saturday from early morning to afternoon. Read the rest, and see 18 images of the event here 10:49

Life aboard the New Bedford trawler Nobska

The workload is daunting for Geoff Hatfield and his crew on the New Bedford-based fishing boat, but they wouldn’t have it any other way. The captain, Geoff Hatfield, was busy on deck but said he had a few minutes. I (Mark Patinkin) climbed aboard and followed him up to the wheelhouse. His trawler is named the Nobska, and it’s a big one, at 90 feet. It’s been fishing for haddock, which is plentiful these days — on their last trip they came home with 72,000 pounds. Because of that, Hatfield brought an extra man for this trip to make a crew of six. They were below helping guide 30 tons of ice into the hold. As soon as that was done, the Nobska would be off on a 12-hour steam to Nantucket Shoals. That would put them there near midnight, bedtime in most worlds but not in fishing. Right away, they’d set the net for a two-hour tow, haul it back, empty it and set it out again — and on like that for five days. That’s how long they’d be gone. Hatfield is 57 and has been a captain more than 30 years, the last eight on the Nobska. He takes 48 hours between trips but no more than that. “This boat,” Hatfield said, “doesn’t stop fishing.” Read the story here 10:00

Cod Is Dead—Is Dogfish the Answer?

doug-feeney-chatham-fisherman-dogfish-2On a wind-tossed autumn morning off the Cape Cod coast, the aft deck of Doug Feeney’s 36-foot fishing boat, the Noah, is buried beneath a squirming, slimy, shin-deep layer of sharks. The Noah’s hauler growls under the weight of the 300-hook long line emerging from the froth-tipped Atlantic. The reek of gasoline mingles with salt. A procession of small gray sharks, each pierced neatly through the jaw by a steel hook, materializes from the depths. Feeney, a lean fisherman whose goatee and hoop earrings lend him a vaguely piratical mien, yanks the sharks from the line with the steady rhythm of an assembly-line worker. A drained cup of coffee perches on the dashboard; James Taylor warbles on the radio. “Twenty-five years ago we’d catch 10,000 pounds of these things every day,” Feeney shouts over the roar of the engines and “Fire and Rain.” “We’d just throw ’em back over the side.” Like many Chatham fishermen, Feeney is a jack-of-all-trades. He gillnets monkfish in early spring, he trolls for bluefin tuna in late fall. But no species occupies more of his energy than the spiny dogfish, the dachshund-size shark now piling up on the Noah’s deck.  Read the story here 09:27