Daily Archives: August 20, 2016

National Marine Monuments: N.E. Marine Preserve Proposal Ignites Debate Over Fishing

Proposals to create a vast national marine preserve off the New England coast are generating a whirlpool of debate that’s sucking in commercial fishermen, recreational anglers, environmentalists, multistate bureaucrats and politicians. Environmental groups are calling on President Obama to use his executive powers to establish a 6,180-square-mile New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts national monument. They insist it would protect a unique and ecologically critical marine environment lying about 150 miles off New England’s shores. If Obama heeds those calls, virtually all fishing and commercial operations such as oil and undersea mining would be banned within the new national preserve. The controversy has exposed deep fault lines between commercial fishermen fiercely opposed to new federal restrictions on their industry and many recreational anglers who argue the preserve would benefit fishing in the region. Read the article here 18:03

A Huge Haul! £80m of cocaine found on fishing trawler near Falmouth

More than a tonne of cocaine with a street value of £80 million was recovered from a vessel off the English coast. Officers from the National Crime Agency and the Border Force boarded the British-registered converted fishing trawler just south of Falmouth in Cornwall on Thursday. They discovered approximately 50 bags of the drug on the vessel, named Bianca. All three crew were charged with importing cocaine. The owner of the vessel, Michael McDermott, 67, and the crew, Gerald Van De Kooij, 26, and David Pleasants, 57, were remanded in custody by Bodmin Magistrates’ Court. Their next hearing is at Bristol Crown Court on the 20 September. Read the rest here 16:46

P.E.I. – Only five tuna have been landed so far this season

pei tuna season 2016Michael McInnis’s tuna season is over before most members of the Island’s fleet even toss a baited hook over the sides of their boats. The Island’s fleet has landed only five of the big fish since the season opened Aug. 1, and McInnis has one of them. “I was just about to take in the hooks and call it a day when it struck,” he said. The fish gave him a 45-minute fight before he was able to bring it alongside his boat. Doug Fraser, a member of the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association’s tuna advisory committee, said there have been three good-sized fish landed in western P.E.I. over the past week and two smaller ones in eastern P.E.I. prior to that. “As we move into September, the next four or five weeks, it really ramps up pretty quickly.” Read the story here 14:49

Search for a Scapegoat: Offshore Trawler Bycatch Suspected in Disappearance of Shad

shadMid-Atlantic fisheries regulators are weighing whether to take additional steps to protect American shad and river herring as they migrate along the East Coast, as some new research suggests significant numbers of herring may be accidentally netted by offshore trawlers. The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council is scheduled to receive a staff-written white paper this month reviewing whether to move toward imposing tighter limits on the amount of shad and river herring that could be caught by offshore fleets pursuing another species, Atlantic mackerel. The council, which regulates commercial fishing within federal waters from New York to North Carolina, plans to make a decision at its October meeting. “We’ve got industrial-scale fishing vessels targeting mackerel and Atlantic herring in the southern New England area, and we barely have any observer coverage on those vessels,” complains Roger Fleming, a lawyer with Earthjustice. “Some of those vessels can hold up to 1 million pounds of fish. . . . They can virtually wipe out a river herring stock in one tow [of the net].” Read the story here 12:20

Shark researchers question DFO policy on catch-and-kill derbies

screen-shot-2016-08-17-at-9-53-23-amThe catching of a large female mako shark has prompted some researchers to question the Fisheries and Oceans Canada policy on Nova Scotia’s annual shark derbies. The shark derbies are annual community festivals that include a shark-fishing event. Fishermen compete to catch large sharks, which are then turned over to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans so scientists can gather biological data. Sharks smaller than 2.4 metres are tagged and released. Brendal Townsend, a shark researcher at Dalhousie University, says she is concerned that the data collected is no longer scientifically useful. She believes the same information could be gathered through catch-and-release methods. Read the rest here 10:13

Police save naked RI man from water off pier in New Bedford

new-bedford-police1Two New Bedford police officers are credited with saving a 46-year-old man who was nude in the water, holding onto a rope and screaming, off Pier 3 early Thursday. Officers Johnny Galarza and Steven Alers were dispatched to Pier 3 after the captain of a nearby fishing vessel heard screams and found the victim in the water holding on to an anchor rope at about 3:30 a.m., New Bedford Police Det. Capt. Steven Vicente said. The man had apparently been in the water for quite some time and was going into shock, Vicente said. Officers were able to throw him a life ring and guide him to a dock ladder. With the assistance of the fire department, the victim was brought out of the water. He was transported to St. Luke’s Hospital by medics, where he was treated for hypothermia, Vicente said. The victim is from Rhode Island and is believed to be a fisherman on one of the docked vessels, Vicente said. Link 09:21

Maine Rep Proposes Owner/Operator Requirement for Scallop and Urchin Fishery

maine rep lydia bloomRep. Lydia Blume, D-York, is proposing legislation to require license holders in the scallop and urchin fisheries to own and operate their own vessels. Owner-operator provisions help to increase stewardship in a fishery and help to ensure the fishery’s revenues stay in local communities, she said. “Maine’s lobster fishery has an owner-operator requirement, and this is one of the reasons why it is looked upon as a textbook example of a sustainable fishery,” Blume said. “We should try to replicate what works with lobster in harvesting other species.” Entrance to both the scallop and urchin fisheries is now closed, but there are several factors, like the rebuilding of stocks and increased dockside prices, that are increasing pressure to open them to new license holders. Read the rest here 08:28