Daily Archives: January 23, 2017

Fishing Company of Alaska is sold, ending a turbulent run in North Pacific harvests

Renton-based Fishing Company of Alaska has sold its three factory trawlers and catch quotas to two other seafood companies, a move that will end more than three decades of its sometimes turbulent operations in the North Pacific seafood industry. The sales agreement to Ocean Peace and O’Hara Corporation was announced Friday in an email by a Fishing Company of Alaska executive to other industry officials that was obtained by The Seattle Times. A sale price was not disclosed. Mike Faris, chief executive of Seattle-based Ocean Peace, confirmed that his company will acquire two Fishing Company of Alaska vessels. Frank O’Hara Jr., executive vice president of O’Hara Corporation, said his company will acquire the other vessel and half of the fishing quotas to harvests. He said these quotas will give his company a more diverse harvest that includes more higher-priced species. Fishing Company of Alaska, which once had a fleet of more than six vessels, was an important player in the trawl harvests that unfold in the Gulf of Alaska, the Bering Sea and off the Aleutian Islands. But Fishing Company of Alaska’s fleet has shrunk over time, in part due to high-seas disasters. Those include the 2007 sinking of the Alaska Ranger that killed five crew and the 2016 demise of the Alaska Juris, which did not result in loss of life but is the focus of a Coast Guard investigation. Read the story here 19:21

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for January 23, 2017

Click here to read the Weekly Update, to read all the updates, Click here 16:15

Are the Feds gonna let Carlos cop a plea? Trial pushed back again!

Indicted New Bedford scallops magnate Carlos “Codfather” Rafael has asked the court to postpone his upcoming trial in part to pursue talks with prosecutors about “resolving” the matter, court documents show. One of Rafael’s attorneys, William Kettlewell, asked the Massachusetts federal court of judge William G. Young to postpone Rafael’s Feb. 13 trial to at least March 20. Young granted the order. The delay, the second in recent months, is required as Kettlewell is expected to represent a different client in a two-week trial beginning on Jan. 30, the lawyer wrote. But, that time can also be used for negotiations with prosecutors about a possible settlement. Read the story here – The federal trial of New Bedford fishing kingpin Carlos Rafael has been pushed back more than a month to March amid indications that Rafael is looking for a deal from federal prosecutors. Read the story here 15:49

UNNAMED SOURCE: Career EPA Staffers will undermine Trump, will leak info to enviro groups and the media

An unnamed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) source warned that agency employees will leak information about “actions they deem ill-advised or illegal” to environmental groups and the media, Politico reports. The unnamed career staffer, whose identity Politico keeps anonymous, warned EPA employees “who stay to fight actions they deem ill-advised or illegal by quietly providing information of what is happening inside their agencies to advocacy groups and the media,” Politico reported. Employees are likely to leak to environmental groups and sympathetic media outlets critical of President Trump’s agenda. Trump plans to repeal EPA regulations aimed at tackling global warming and may cut the agency’s budget. Trump is also expected to sign an executive order freezing hiring across federal agencies, including the EPA. Politico reports that the plan is already angering many federal employees. Read the rest here 15:28

Beady-eyed creature, not to my taste – Looking for Wendell on Vinalhaven

Beady eyes stared back at me. As I looked at it I felt repulsed and yet sad. I didn’t really want anything to do with it and yet I wanted to save it from its fate. I stood back and let others handle it. There was no way I was going to get anywhere near it. Not that it could really hurt me. It was bound and so could do no one any harm. Just the same, I kept my distance. With a slight plop, it was dropped into a large pot of boiling water – the beginning of a lobster dinner. That was my first experience with these large marine crustaceans. We had traveled to Maine on vacation and had decided to visit the Vinalhaven Island. But neither the rich history, nor the lobster, is what took us to Vinalhaven for the one and only time. Family was why the decision was made to venture out to the island. An older cousin on Dad’s side lived there. Dad had met him when he was a boy after Grandpa Norwood had died. He had come to visit the family in Massachusetts and to offer to adopt and raise my father. While Grandma turned down the offer, Dad had remembered Wendell. Read the story here 14:34

DFO bust targets 12 year old boy for catching and selling a few smelt

A Gander Bay South man says his 12-year-old son was unfairly targeted by a Department of Fisheries and Oceans sting over $20 in smelt. Donnie Harris told CBC News his son, Jayden, has been catching and selling smelt for the last few years — for just $2 a dozen — and this year posted an ad on a classified website using his father’s account. Jayden said he hoped to attract a few more customers with the ad on the website. “I wanted to get some money to buy an ice shelter,” Last Wednesday, Jayden’s ad prompted an email from a “Bob Smith,” requesting 10 dozen — four fresh, six frozen — and said he’d be by around the next afternoon. The next afternoon, with Jayden back in school, Smith stopped by to pick up the fish. Harris said they chatted for a little while about Jayden’s love of fishing. “So he knew, even before he done what he done, that it wasn’t me, it was my son that he was setting up,” said Harris. Eventually, Smith paid $20 for the fish, and about five minutes later he returned — this time with a DFO truck and three officers, Read the story here 13:48

North Carolina: Small Victory for Trawling Industry – But the fight isn’t over

Around 20 trawl boats made their way up the Neuse River to anchor in front of the New Bern Convention Center on Tuesday in a show of protest to proposed rules that would severely impact and ultimately kill their industry. Inside, the spacious conference room was filled to capacity with mostly advocates and supporters of commercial fishing. Donning badges saying “Deny the petition” with a trawl boat on the back drop, the show of solidarity was palpable.,, Throughout the meeting, advisory members unraveled what could be determined as a poorly thought-out petition, pointing out large factors that were omitted – namely economics and science. One of the biggest flaws the panel pointed out repeatedly is the fact that no other environmental factors were considered in the NCWF’s accusation that trawlers were destroying the finfish population. From cormorants to construction and economics to foreign imports,  there were many elements the NCWF admittedly left out. It was very clear that the group had one purpose with their proposed petition for rule-making- to shut down trawling in NC waters. Read the story here 11:36

Strong harvests, more oversight marked 2016 groundfish fisheries

Last year was a good year overall for groundfish fisheries in the region. With a few standout harvests and favorable proposals with the Board of Fisheries, managers are feeling optimistic heading into the new year. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game oversees several groundfish fisheries within the Cook Inlet Management Area, which extends outside of Kachemak Bay to the north Gulf coast. “These fisheries include Pacific cod, sablefish, a directed pelagic shelf rockfish fishery, lingcod, and a small commissioner’s permit Pollock fishery,” said Jan Rumble, Fish and Game area groundfish management biologist. Pacific cod stood out in 2016 as it was open all year long for pot and jig gear in either a parallel or state waters fishery, Rumble said. Read the story here 11:19

Board of Fish finalizes recommendations on fish habitat permitting

The state Board of Fisheries, the body that sets regulations on state-overseen fisheries, voted to send a letter to the Legislature at its Kodiak meeting, held Jan. 10–Jan. 13 recommending the state review Title 16 of the Alaska Statute, which addresses how the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game should issue permits in streams determined to be fish habitat. Any activity that may use, divert, obstruct or change the natural flow of a body of water determined to be fish habitat requires a permit, granted by the commissioner of Fish and Game. The current statute says the commissioner shall grant a permit unless an activity is deemed “insufficient for the proper protection of fish and game.” The request was born out of a non-regulatory proposal submitted to the board for its 2016/2017 cycle by a group of 13 citizens of various user groups in fisheries. Read the story here 09:46

‘Fish feel pain’ rhetoric is nothing but a myth

The anti-fishing brigade has once again rolled out the “fish feel pain rhetoric” in an effort to convince people that fishing is a bad thing to do. Any suggestion of equivalence between what fish and humans feel in relation to a hook lodged in the lip has been well and truly dismissed by science. The differences between humans and fish are pretty clear to most people. Fish live in a very different environment and have evolved a very different physiology to humans. Fish have tough mouths and eat hard, spiny and bony food including crabs, prawns, oysters, mussels and fish. It is simply not correct to accept that fish have a human-like capacity for feeling pain. Unfortunately this false argument is something that is continually peddled by groups with a vested interest in ending all recreational and commercial fishing. Read the story here 08:27

The struggle to preserve Charleston’s ‘working waterfront’

In McClellanville, longtime commercial fishing businessman Rutledge Leland is mulling retirement from Carolina Seafoods and talking to the town’s cadre of shrimpers and other fishing professionals about forming a co-op along Jeremy Creek. In Mount Pleasant, town officials stepped in to moderate an intensifying feud among residents, recreational boaters, commercial fishing interests and others over just what to do about Shem Creek. The town formed an ad hoc committee from among them. At issue is whether the working waterfront can be saved. As those two towns suggest, the answer might just vary from spot to spot. Read the story here 07:59