Daily Archives: April 1, 2017

1 dead, 1 missing in fishing tragedy in Gloucester, Va

One person is dead and one is missing following a commercial fishing and boating accident in the Swash Channel, Saturday morning. Virginia Marine Police were called at 11:15 a.m. by a family member who said the two fisherman did not return home. The two men were working a gill net in the Swash Channel near the Guinea Marshes in Gloucester. Around 1 p.m. marine police spotted a sunken vessel in the Swash Channel. The body of Phillip Brown, 47, was found nearby tangled in a gill net. Crews are still searching for the other fisherman, 30-year-old Anthony West, and will continue until dark. Read the rest here 20:08

Caught Dead to Rights: Video catches ocean polluters in the act

Video shot by a deckhand was the key piece of evidence that helped convict the owner of a Puget Sound fishing vessel for violating the Clean Water Act. A federal jury handed down a “guilty” verdict this week after the week-long trial of Bingham Fox, who owns the 80 foot Native Sun. Jurors determined that Fox intentionally dumped oily bilge water into the port of Blaine, Wash. The U.S. Coast Guard was alerted to the pollution scheme by a deckhand named Anthony, who shot cell phone video of a makeshift pump that sucked oily sludge from the Native Sun’s hull and pumped it into the ocean and the Puget Sound. Watch the video, read the rest here 18:50

Angry Fishermen protest Gillnet ban, shrimp boycott in upper Sea of Cortés

Fishermen in the upper Sea of Cortés, caught in the middle of efforts to protect a species of porpoise that is on the verge of extinction, faced off against environmentalists this week, protesting their presence in the area and their support for a boycott of Mexican shrimp. Protests in Golfo de Santa Clara, Sonora, and San Felipe, Baja California, were triggered by a call two weeks ago by United States conservation organizations for the shrimp boycott, followed by a proposal last week from Mexican officials to shut down gillnet fishing in the region. What is now “a pressure cooker,” said area fishermen, threatens to become a bomb because the gillnet ban would represent the final blow for local communities. continue reading the story here 17:21

Maine still has at least one sail-powered lobster boat

Before the 1920s, when combustion engines were first mass produced, lobster boats and other vessels were powered by wind and sails, and the Friendship sloop was the most ingeniously designed boat around. “This boat is representative of what is essentially the start of the lobstering industry,” boat builder and shipwright Tim Clark said Thursday as he stood on the recently rebuilt deck of Blackjack, a Friendship sloop he and others at the Sail, Power and Steam Museum in Rockland have been restoring for the past three years. When “combustion engines came along — by the teens and 1920s — they were basically obsolete,” and the ones left were either left to rot in people’s yards or were converted into yachts, according to Clark, lead builder for the project. “Most of us think of the schooner as the symbol of Maine maritime history, but this (type of boat) has the most interesting and dynamic history,” he said. continue reading the story, click here 11:20

Northern Shrimp quota slashed – Who will get the remaining shrimp quota? Who gets to financially survive?

The fights were starting to brew on Friday, as word spread of cuts to northern shrimp quota for 2017. Lean times in the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery are turning to desperate times. In response to declining shrimp numbers in areas off the province’s coast, the federal government has slashed quotas, with the result an expected wave of job losses. Shellfish shock is hitting the province. Shrimp is not the only consideration, with largely ecological factors including warming temperatures and a return of groundfish numbers also driving down crab counts (the province’s other big cash crop). Click here to read the article 10:50

Names revealed of fishermen whose $10M in debts paid by province

An investigation by Radio-Canada Acadie has revealed a list of names of crab fishermen who had their boat-building loans forgiven by the provincial government. In 2016, the public learned that from 2000 to 2008, the New Brunswick government spent approximately $10 million to erase the debts of 15 fishermen. They were given loans in the 1980s and 1990s as part of a provincial lending program organized by the department of Agriculture, Aquaculture, and Fisheries. At the time of the discovery in June 2016, the loan program, known as “Fishermen’s Loan Board” was criticized by the former executive director of the fishermen’s union, Jean St. Cyr, as a “program with good intentions, but from a financial point of view, didn’t make any sense.” continue reading the story here 10:05

Boat owner discharged waste into ocean waters; convicted of felony

A boat owner was convicted in U.S. District Court in Seattle of discharging oily waste directly into coastal waters, a felony violation of the Clean Water Act. Sentencing is set for July 11, 2017 for Bingham Fox, owner of the fishing vessel Native Sun, after the jury deliberated six hours following a five-day trial. According to court documents, Fox and others with the Native Sun repeatedly discharged waste into the ocean using unapproved submersible pumps and hoses.  According to evidence presented at trial, the Native Sun had multiple, long-term, mechanical problems that put substantial amounts of oil in its bilges. In addition, the vessel was leaky, so the bilges were constantly filling with a mixture of oil and seawater. Bingham Fox had at least one illegal pump installed on board and directed others to regularly dump oily waste from the bilges, even in port. continue reading the story here 09:29

Tendering for Herring – Fishery Support Vessel Has All Female Crew

On a door of the F/V Kamilar is a sticker with pink script: “Girls fish too.” And in the case of this boat, it is girls only. Vessel owner Brannon Finney is captaining the tender for the Sitka, Alaska, sac roe herring fishery with her all-female crew — something that’s rare for the fast and frenzied commercial fishery. Finney’s rotating crew is comprised of cousin Kelsey Kubik of Sitka; Bettina Nichols of Astoria, Oregon; Sandra Coats of Ketchikan and Annea Martinsen of Petersburg. They are packing for Petersburg’s Icicle Seafoods. “Tendering is usually really easy,” the 30-year-old long-lashed captain said. “You drop anchor and wait until the boats come to you.” But tendering for herring in the Sitka Sound sac roe fishery is different, she said. With so many boats in such a small area, the tender boats have to maneuver around a lot of obstacles. continue reading the story here 08:57

Congresswoman appeals the prohibition of American fisherman in National Marine Monuments

Congresswoman Aumua Amata has stressed  to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross the importance of removing the prohibition of American fisherman to fish in the waters of the National Marine Monuments. Aumua reports from Capitol Hill, “My conversation with Secretary Ross was about the need for American fishermen to be able to fish in waters that have been designated as Marine Monuments.“ While I think we can all agree about the importance of the National Marine Monuments, how they protect our pristine waters and coral reefs; the lack of consultation with the local American Samoan community and the fishing industry at large, has created detrimental effects on our economy. Read the rest here 08:28

Shark fins seized from shrimp boat off Key West

Florida wildlife officers made a grisly discovery aboard a Key West shrimp boat this week: dozens of pairs of dismembered shark fins. The boat was discovered about 20 miles north of the island Wednesday night, an indication illegal finning still occurs in Florida waters despite being banned more than 16 years ago. Buying and selling fins remains legal in most states, fueling a practice that targets some of the world’s biggest and longest-lived sharks, which are also among the planet’s oldest species. The boat was stopped by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers, who alerted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Service. FWC referred questions to NOAA, who declined to release details, saying it was too soon in the investigation. click here to read the story  07:49