Monthly Archives: September 2016

A Clean Sweep On The Ocean Floor

Most of the reporting in the media about commercial fishing and declining stocks in the Northeast dwells on how dire the situation has become with the fault generally attributed to fishermen and “overfishing.” The view on the waterfront is very different however. Fishermen have long maintained that there is a huge disconnect between what they see on the water and the conclusions derived from the NOAA surveys and stock assessments. Their claims have been dismissed as self-serving. Now it seems the fishermen have a strong case. On a recent bottom trawl survey, a typical industry net caught four times as many flatfish as the rig used on the government trawl surveys. Written by Don Cuddy, program director at the Center for Sustainable Fisheries Read the story here 17:17

Deepwater Horizon oil spill impacted bluefin tuna spawning habitat in Gulf of Mexico

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was one of the largest environmental disasters in history, releasing roughly 4 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. For Atlantic bluefin tuna, it occurred at the worst time of year, during peak spawning season, when eggs and larval fish that are particularly vulnerable to environmental stressors exist in mass quantity. In a study (click here)published in Nature: Scientific Reports, scientists from Stanford and NOAA provide the best yet analysis of how the 2010 breeding season might have been impacted by the oil spill. Although the spill encompassed a relatively small proportion of the bluefin tuna spawning grounds, which extend throughout the northern Gulf of Mexico, the authors showed the cumulative oiled tuna habitat was roughly 3.1 million square miles, representing the potential for a significant impact on eggs and larval bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Mexico. Read the story here 13:43

Critics of Gill Nets Trying to Drive Fishery Offshore

ffaw-signThe Inshore Director for the FFAW says the latest allegations against the use of gill nets is nothing but an attempt to drive the industry offshore. Bill Broderick says the fishery has changed since its early beginnings in the province. He says if we’re going to build an industry we need to build it around a focus on quality rather than quantity. Former politician John Efford came out against the use of gill nets in commercial fishing because he says it affects the quality of the fish. Broderick says that allegation is an attempt to squeeze out the little guy. He says when the moratorium was called the conventional wisdom was if you shut down the capelin fishery, kill and the seals and stop using gill nets it would lead to utopia and we know now this was wrong. Link 13:22

Northern Gulf of Maine State Waters Exempted Scallop Fishery Meeting Scheduled

ngom-scallop-mngmnt-areaThe Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) will take public comment on a possible state waters exempted scallop fishery in the Northern Gulf of Maine (NGOM) scallop management area. A meeting is scheduled for: 5PM – 7PM Thursday, October 20, 2016 Annisquam River Marine Fisheries Station 30 Emerson Ave., Gloucester, MA. DMF was petitioned to apply for a state waters exempted fishery in the NGOM scallop management area (Figure 1). The petition requests an allowance for both Limited Access General Category – Northern Gulf of Maine (LAGC-NGOM) and Limited Access General Category – Individual Fishing Quota (LAGC-IFQ) permit holders to continue fishing for scallops in the MA state waters portion of the NGOM after the NGOM TAC is harvested. Federal regulations allow that “(a) state may be eligible for a state waters exemption if it has a scallop fishery and a scallop conservation program that does not jeopardize the biomass and fishing mortality/effort limit objectives of the Scallop FMP” (50 CFR §648.54(a). The Commonwealth’s primary scalloping grounds exist in Cape Cod Bay and along the backside of the Cape. A secondary state waters scallop fishery is conducted in Ipswich Bay, which is included in the NGOM scallop management area. DMF Statistical Areas 1-4 equate to the Massachusetts state waters portion of the NGOM (Figure 2). DMF will consider all comments (written comments must be received by 5PM on Friday, October 21st) in making a final decision whether or not to submit a request for a NGOM state waters exempted scallop fishery for the 2017 fishing year. NMFS has final approval of any request made. 12:26

Welsh Fishermen to Tackle Safety at Sea Issues

638_shutterstock_196524308Seafish and the Welsh fishing industry’s deep concern over fishing safety, and the high number of tragic deaths of fishermen at sea this year, has led to a joint initiative to raise awareness and improve the safety of Welsh fishing vessels and fishermen whilst working at sea. Regional fishermen’s associations in Wales are being invited to meet and discuss key health & safety issues facing the fleet and identify practical, workable solutions. The recent tragic loss of the Harvester off Milford Haven has emphasised the need for an industry wide response and it is hoped that the meeting may lead to the formation of an industry-lead Fishing Safety Committee, or Forum, that addresses safety issues on behalf of the Welsh fleet to achieve zero fishing-related deaths in Wales. The first meeting of the fisherman’s associations to discuss fishing safety is due to take place on 4th October 2016 in Builth Wells. Read the rest here 11:43

Blessing of the Fleet Ceremony to honor fishermen Sunday, in Morehead City

57ed347510c48-imageEach October, as the N.C. Seafood Festival comes to a close, fishermen and their families are honored during the Blessing of the Fleet. This year’s ceremony is at 10 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 2, at the N.C. State Port, 113 Arendell St., in Morehead City. Fishermen spend long, hard days on the water providing a living for their families, and the ceremony draws attention to the work that these men and women provide for their community.  “Every year we gather at the Blessing to honor the men and women who continue to work the water, along with their fathers and grandfathers who went before them,” said Jonathan Robinson, of Atlantic. He is a fisherman, county commissioner and member of the Carteret County Fishermen’s Association. “It is a very special time to those of us who are part of this industry. We hope that somehow this service will inspire the next generation to hold on to this way of life. Read the story here 10:59

Someone sank a Maine lobsterman’s boat intentionally . Twice

me_maine_marine_patrolThe Maine Marine Patrol is investigating the sinking of a Port Clyde lobsterman’s boat on Wednesday, just days after the owner had repaired the boat after an earlier sinking on Aug. 17. Tony Hooper, 37, said his lobster boat was released from its mooring overnight, with hoses and bilge wires cut, and left to wash up on a nearby island. The sinking comes little more than a month after an earlier incident when his boat was found 30 feet underwater. “I’m doing all I can to keep my wits about me,” he said. “This is getting ridiculous.” Hooper said he had already lost around $30,000 to repairs for the boat after the first incident and weeks spent off the water. This time, he said he was lucky to have found the boat beached on a nearby island at low tide, with water in the engine. He said he does not know how much these new repairs will cost. “I’ve been losing traps all season,” Hooper said. “I’ve always had a little bit of a problem before, but not to this extent.” Read the story here 09:38

Three Chinese Fishermen Dead in S.Korea Coastguard Confrontation

Three Chinese fishermen were killed on Thursday in a fire that broke out on their boat when South Korean coastguard men trying to apprehend them for illegal fishing threw flash grenades into a room they were hiding in, a South Korean official said. Disputes over illegal fishing are an irritant in relations between China and U.S. ally South Korea, even as their economic relations grow close. They also share concern about North Korea’s nuclear weapon and missile programmes. The three men were believed to have suffocated, a coastguard official in the South Korean port city of Mokpo said, adding that the incident was being investigated. The fire broke out in the boat’s steering room, the official, who is not authorised to speak with media and declined to be identified, told Reuters by telephone. South Korean authorities were questioning the 14 surviving crew and coastguard members involved in the operation, the official added. China’s Foreign Ministry said it had lodged a protest with Seoul about the incident. Read the story here 08:54

Seven fishermen towed to safety after 15 hours

Seven fishermen have been towed to safety after a 15-hour operation to rescue an Orkney fishing vessel. The crew of Scotland’s only emergency Coastguard tug helped the stricken 89ft (27m) Kirkwall-registered Russa Taign, which broke down west of Westray. The crew raised the alarm at 18:20 on Thursday but a rescue attempt by a nearby boat failed after a tow snapped. The emergency tug crew were able to fasten a tow and led the Russa Taign back to Kirkwall at 10:00 on Friday. The crew of the Stromness Lifeboat also responded to the Russa Taign’s distress call after it reported losing engine power 12 miles west of Noup Head in winds approaching gale-force. Read the story here 08:29

Real Reality – Men in the water on Deadliest Catch: Dungeon Cove

dungeon-cove-cg-alertLast nights showing of Dungeon Cove brought reality to the forefront of the viewing public when they interjected the tragedy of the fishing vessel Eagle III into the program. The Coast Guard put an alert out over the radio advising of three men in the water and they ask all mariners to keep an eye out for them and report any sightings. We posted some of the heartbreaking articles here, and the comments made by many were of shock, sadness, and despair as fishermen and friends reacted. Of course, there was also generosity through fundraisers to bring aid for those left behind and prayers. Lots of prayers. It’s what we do. This reality show is as close to it as it comes, and the emotion of the people America is watching is on display, uninhibited. This is the link to the articles we posted, and this link takes you to an article with a short video trailer. The Coast Guard alert is hair raising like it always is. Reality. 20:46

Final BP seafood settlement payments a milestone

Deepwater-Horizon-April-21-2010.-REUTERSBP’s oil spill settlement with private individuals and businesses hit a major milestone this week as the court-appointed claims administrator announced the final round of payments to those most directly affected by the 2010 disaster, fishermen and seafood businesses. The third and last round of payments in the settlement’s $2.3 billion seafood compensation fund totals $520 million, and claims administrator Patrick Juneau said payment letters will go out next week. He says that will provide a major influx of money into the coastal economy for shrimpers, crabbers, oystermen and fin fishermen. Juneau, whom BP once accused of “hijacking” the settlement and barraged with personal attacks for the balance of two years, says this final step is a hard-earned result of BP and plaintiff’s lawyers turning over a new leaf and working together. But a coalition of fishing leaders called GO Fish remains disappointed with the slow pace of claims payments. There was also a hiccup last December when hundreds of fishing claimants were identified as potential fraud cases, a mistake that scared people on Christmas Eve and wasn’t resolved for several months. Read the story here 18:57

Culvert design aimed at saving salmon in Langley Township

salmon-culvert-bcNat Cicuto carefully picks his way down the gravel slope on the south side of the new 86 Avenue culvert to reach the bank of Yorkson creek. It’s a grey, rainy day, and the muddy water is moving fast through the just-installed precast concrete box beneath the road that connects 204 Street to 205B Street. Cicuto, president of the Yorkson Watershed Enhancement Society, has to raise his voice to be heard over the sound. “This is huge,” he says, smiling. “We’re gaining about 100 metres of spawning habitat.” The replacement for the old culvert under the road has opened up the waterway and comes with fish baffles inside that will serve as habitat for wild Pacific coho salmon, he explains. Cicuto calls it a “history-making design” that will protect the fish from people and predators. Video, read the rest here 18:13

Canada Plays Leadership Role in Protecting Key Fish Stocks and Ecosystems in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean

nafo-areaCanada expressed its strong support for science advice and strict management measures that protect straddling fish stocks in the Northwest Atlantic at the 38th annual meeting of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) in Varadero, Cuba last week. Quick Facts – The Canadian quota for 2+3KLMNO Greenland halibut in waters off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador was set at 5,478 tonnes for 2017, which is a rollover from 2016. –  The Canadian quota for 3LN redfish in waters off the east coast of the island portion of Newfoundland and Labrador was increased by 1,619 tonnes to 6,049 tonnes for both 2017 and 2018. –  The Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) is an international regional fisheries management organization (RFMO) founded in 1979. NAFO’s overall purpose is to help its members work together and share knowledge to effectively manage and conserve the straddling fishery resources of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. Read the press release here  16:56

Construction of subsea power cable for Cutler Naval Communications Station has Scallopers concerned

machias%20cable%20_op_1_cp__1475116720456_6326345_ver1-0Fishermen in Machias Bay are on alert as the construction of a subsea power cable is set to get underway. Some met with representatives from the Navy and firms involved in the project in East Machias Monday night to clarify the final plan. “We’ve been in contact with the fishing community starting and throughout the design and environmental review process—so prior to the award of the project,” Kari Moore an environmental planner with the Navy said. Fishermen are worried about how the cable will be classified. They fear it will restrict fishing in parts of the bay. Their primary concern: dredging for scallops in a prime location. “If it gets classified a certain way as a cable area itself, we will lose a lot of bottom, but it’s not a safety concern where it’s buried,” said fisherman Michael E. Murphy. Video, read the story here 14:53

It’s time to talk crab season projections – NPFMC to meet to approve catch limits, discuss management plan

red-king-crab-2432px-608x400The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will meet in Anchorage from Oct. 5-11 to overview crab season projections, hear further discussions of halibut management, and decide what to do about a recent federal appeals court decision that will require more attention to salmon management. The council will approve catch limits for the 2016-17 crab fisheries and review the stock assessment for the last year. Stocks for both snow crab and Bairdi Tanner crab were down according to surveys in 2016, and stakeholders are holding their breath to see if the Alaska Department of Fish and Game will need to close fisheries if abundance doesn’t meet the department thresholds. The crab fishing management plan, or FMP, requires federal scientists to set an overfishing limit, or OFL, and an acceptable biological catch, or ABC. Based on these numbers, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game will determine a total allowable catch, or TAC, under its joint management with the council. Read the story here 14:13

Shell Canada offshore drilling incident too close for comfort in area near rich fishing grounds

When heaving waters in the North Atlantic wrenched a string of massive steel pipes from a drilling ship off Nova Scotia’s coast, one of the 20-tonne sections of the plummeting coil struck the seabed just 12 metres from the top of an undersea oil exploration well. The distance is one of several details in a Shell Canada accident report received through access to information legislation, prompting critics to say the entire incident was too close for comfort in an area near one of Atlantic Canada’s richest fishing grounds of the Scotian Shelf. A summary report by the regulator issued earlier this year had said a heavier portion of the drilling system fell 22 metres from the wellhead, but didn’t mention the closer distance of pipes that are coiled and criss-crossed through an area of seabed the size of three football fields in length and breadth. Read the story here 12:32

Missing fish catch data? Not necessarily a problem, new study says

university_of_washington_seal-svgRecording how many fish are caught is one important requirement to measure the well-being of a fish stock — if scientists know the number of fish taken from the ocean, they can adjust management of that fishery to keep it from being overfished. Missing , however, are rampant, causing concern that fisheries around the world are overfished. A new study by University of Washington scientists finds that in many cases, this isn’t true. Specifically, misreporting caught fish doesn’t always translate to overfishing. The study was published online this month in the journal Fish and Fisheries. “While quantifying total catch is important for understanding how much is removed from the system, it is possible to manage sustainably even if we don’t know those numbers,” said lead author Merrill Rudd, a UW doctoral student in aquatic and fishery sciences. “This paper shows there are some situations where, just because there is unreported catch, it doesn’t mean we are overfishing.” Read the article here 11:56

St. George lobsterman charged in sinking of rival’s boat

me_maine_marine_patrolAccording to documents filed in Knox County Unified Court, Alan B. Norwood, 47, of St. George, was charged with aggravated criminal mischief, class C, for allegedly paying two others, Vincent Hilt, 22, of Vinalhaven, and Devin Meklin, 20, of Warren, to sink a boat owned by another lobsterman, Josh Hupper. In interviews at Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Hilt and Meklin admitted to stealing the skiff and using it to get out to Hupper’s boat, which they then sank. They said Norwood had offered them $500 to sink the boat. Both have been charged with aggravated criminal mischief and theft. Norwood had told the Marine Patrol that he did not pay anyone to sink Hupper’s boat. A search warrant was issued Sept. 9 for the Marine Patrol to examine cell phone records,,, Read the story here 11:27

Dungeness crab get qualified thumbs-up in tests for domoic acid


The fate of the Dungeness crab season will hang on the test results coming out of an East Bay lab. With the beginning of the season approaching in November, the California Department of Public Health has begun safety tests on Dungeness crab a few weeks earlier than usual. Dungeness crab samples collected from Crescent City (Del Norte County) all the way down to Monterey are filing in to the Food and Drug Laboratory Branch in Richmond, where they are tested for domoic acid, the naturally occurring but potentially devastating neurotoxin that wreaked havoc on last year’s season. So far, results are normal for this time of year, said Patrick Kennelly, chief of food safety at the state health department — even though crabs from four of six regions are testing positive for domoic acid. But you can be sure that crabbers, as well as officials from the departments of public health and fish and wildlife, are watching the results closely, with Dungeness crab season due to start Nov. 5 for recreational fishers and Nov. 15 for commercial crabbers. Read the story here 09:42

Four fishermen rescued by fishing boat off Newfoundland when boat burns

Four fishermen are safe today after a rescue at sea from a burning boat about 50 kilometres off the coast of Newfoundland’s northern peninsula. The fishermen from the Atlantic Provider were brought back to Port aux Choix Wednesday afternoon on board the fishing vessel Avalon Voyager. The Avalon Voyager was close by when the distress call was issued and steamed to the aid of the burning vessel. Capt. Liam Mather of the rescue co-ordination centre says a cormorant helicopter was sent from Gander but didn’t participate in the rescue. He says the helicopter returned to its base after the Avalon Voyager took the fishermen on board. Link 08:10

Fishermen, state, in flux after circuit court overturns state control of Cook Inlet salmon

09282016_erik-huebsch_mcchesney-300x200In Cook Inlet, managing the salmon runs for commercial, sport and subsistence interests is so controversial, it’s often called a fish war. A group of commercial fishermen who think the state is mismanaging the fisheries, have won the latest battle. A three-judge panel at the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that the area needs federal oversight. But no one knows exactly what that will mean. The United Cook Inlet Drift Association and the Cook Inlet Fishermen’s Fund say that instead of addressing habitat problems or fighting invasive species that eat salmon in Cook Inlet – the state simply restricted commercial fishing. So the fishing groups sued the National Marine Fisheries Service. They argued against a 2011 decision to remove several Alaska salmon fisheries — including Cook Inlet — from federal management and transfer the responsibility of managing salmon to the state.  A three-judge panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed. For commercial fishermen like Brian Harrison, in Homer, the court’s decision is a victory. But, he’s not sure what to expect going forward. Read the story here 18:53

Commercial Fishermen Question Obama’s Ocean ‘Monument’ Preserve

f-viking%20village%20fleet“All commercial fishing is excluded from the area, but fisheries in the top 10 to 20 feet, no way in the world they’re going to impact the bottom,” pointed out Nils Stolpe, communications director of the association. Such is the case for a lot of the Barnegat Light-based boats, he said, for example, longliners and some hook-and-line tuna boats. “They’re fishing 3 miles up above all of this on the ocean floor.” “Longliners are probably affected more than any of our other fisheries up there” by the declaration, said Ernie Panacek, general manager at Viking Village Commercial Seafood Producers in Barnegat Light. “Our bottom longlining boats and surface longlining for sword and tuna boats are going to be affected up there.” Golden tilefish is found on the bottom and tuna and sword on the surface, “and they’re banning all commercial fishing,” Panacek noted. “It’s not a big area, necessarily, but my biggest concern is an expansion of this national monument just like they did in Hawaii,” he added. Panacek said fishermen have done “extensive work” with the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Council and the Garden State Seafood Association to protect deep-sea coral reefs and sea mounts in the North Atlantic, and were awarded for it. “And now President Obama had to step ahead and do this; I don’t understand,” Panacek said. The federal Magnuson Stevens Act has been managing these areas “and they have been managed properly,” he said. Read the story here 17:47

Invader green crabs from Europe threaten havoc in Puget Sound

20160914_gd_green_crab-550x440Emily Grason and Sean McDonald trudge through the mud of San Juan Island’s Westcott Bay on the hunt for something they hope not to find: A 3-inch menace: the European green crab. In late August, a single adult male was found for the first time in Washington’s inland sea. University of Washington researchers responded, arriving at the location of that first sighting  with hundreds of traps in tow. “It might seem like it’s crazy for us to have such an intense trapping effort for just a single crab being found. One crab, what’s the big deal?” says Emily Grason, project coordinator for the Washington Sea Grant Crab Team. “But these crabs do tend to show up in numbers and where there’s one, there’s often more.” Video, read the story here 17:24

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 44ft. 11in. Fiberglass Crab/Groundfish, 375HP, John Deere Diesel

8093%2001Specifications, information and 24 photo’s click here To see all the boats in this series, Click here 15:10

Temporary restraining order against the State in southern flounder lawsuit

57ebd4a356e5a-imageSuperior Court Judge John Nobles issued a temporary restraining order Wednesday during a hearing in superior court against the state enjoining officials from going forward with new southern flounder fishery regulations. Groups fighting the new regulations had requested a preliminary injunction. But the judge went with the TRO because not all of the defendants had been notified of the action. The next hearing date is to be announced, but officials hope to have it the week starting Monday, Oct. 10. Commercial fishermen and supporters of the civil action were present in the courtroom. Read the story here 13:40

Investigation may lead to charges in the Nathan Carman “Chicken Pox’’ boat sinking

A multi-state investigation is underway into Nathan Carman and the disappearance of his mother while on a tuna fishing trip with him, a trip that authorities said took them farther out to sea than Linda Carman wanted. The mother and her 22-year-old son were aboard the son’s 32-foot aluminium boat, the “Chicken Pox’’ when it began to take on water Sept. 18 and sank near Block Canyon, an area in the Atlantic Ocean about 100 miles off New York. It has been reported (His Mother Inherited $21 Million After the Murder of Her Father) Nathan Carman told Coast Guard investigators he deployed the ship’s lifeboat, but when he turned to look for his mother, she was gone, and he never saw his mother again. The mystery deepened Tuesday after revelations that authorities had searched Carman’s Vernon, Vt., home. Rhode Island authorities wrote in court papers seeking the search warrant that repairs that Carman was making to the boat himself rendered the vessel unsafe. Read the story here 12:44

Marine Harvest Canada sues Alexandra Morton for trespassing on fish farms

alexandra-mortonAquaculture company Marine Harvest Canada has filed a lawsuit against activist and independent biologist Alexandra Morton for allegedly trespassing on three of their salmon farms on the B.C. coast last month. Morton spent the summer visiting salmon farms — uninvited — aboard the R/V Martin Sheen owned by the group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, looking for a controversial virus prevalent in salmon farms. In the lawsuit, Marine Harvest alleges she and others trespassed on their Glacier Falls, Midsummer Island and Sonora Island operations without permission and intentionally tampered with the equipment. At two facilities, they’re accused of violating biosecurity procedures. The group is also accused of flying a drone and diving at one facility, putting an object in the water at another and ignoring Marine Harvest’s instruction to leave. Read the story here 09:57

Federal Government has signalled it would consider a shark cull on the NSW north coast

As shark attack victim Cooper Allen recovers in Lismore Hospital, the Federal Government has signaled it would consider a shark cull on the NSW north coast. Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg’s statement comes as the State Government announces a further three- month trial of shark-spotting drones and additional drum lines for the area. He said he was open to proposals for a cull of great white sharks. Culling great whites would need federal approval because they are a vulnerable species. Read the rest here 09:26

New England: Twin trawl survey validates industry concerns with NOAA assessment

Fishermen in New England do not believe that the survey vessel used by NOAA is catching fish in amounts comparable to what they haul up and have long questioned the fishing gear NOAA employs. To address these doubts a Rhode Island captain, Chris Roebuck went out and towed two nets simultaneously to compare the different gear types. here is what he found. Watch the video here 08:41

Commercial fishing closures in Port Stephens will be lifted

williamstown-afb-closureThe closures were put in place in September last year after it was revealed that toxic fire fighting foam used at the nearby Williamtown RAAF Base had for years been contaminating the surrounding environment. Similar voluntary bans were put in place in the Hunter River. On Tuesday the deputy director of primary industries, Geoff Allan, said the closures would be lifted after advice provided by the Williamtown Contamination Expert Panel. “Reopening Tilligerry Creek and Fullerton Cove to both commercial and recreational fishers was recommended by the Williamtown Expert Panel and follows the Commonwealth’s Human Health Risk Assessment and the enHealth Guideline review,” Dr Allan said in a statement. “These fishing closures have been in place since September 2015 and were implemented while testing and analysis of seafood in the vicinity was undertaken, to determine the level of impact in the Hunter and Port Stephens waterways.” An ongoing restriction will be placed on dusky flathead caught in the Hunter River for commercial fishers. “The public can be confident that seafood for sale is safe to eat,” he said. Read the rest here 19:37