Monthly Archives: September 2020

Whale ‘roadkill’ is on the rise off California. A new detection system could help.

That so many whales of various species now traverse the California coast is a remarkable comeback tale.,, Today, blue whales and other endangered species, like fin and humpbacks, are recovering, but slowly. But while industrial whaling stopped in the late 1960s (some countries like Japan and Norway do continue commercial whaling on a small scale), these mammals are still frequently killed in collisions with large ships. Most container ships today delivering goods across the ocean are so large that even a collision with a 50-ton whale can go undetected. Ship strikes remain a leading cause of death to whales around the globe, and in some places, like California, they are on the rise. >click to read< 17:46

Lobsterman Arthur W. Pierce has passed away

Mr. Arthur W. Pierce, 75, of Salem, beloved husband of Gloria J. (Cote) Pierce, died Saturday, September 26, 2020, at the Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers. Born in Marblehead, he was the son of the late Arthur and Ruth (Dewis) Pierce. He was raised and educated in Marblehead and was a graduate of Fryeburg Academy in Maine. An honorably discharged veteran, he served his country as a member of the United States Navy. Following his active service, he was a member of the Naval Reserves. Professionally Mr. Pierce was Lobsterman and the proprietor and Captain of the Lobster boat, “Eliza Bee” out of Marblehead. He loved his days on the water and was a well-known builder of Lobster traps. He was a tireless worker and enjoyed his days on the sea. >click to read< 16:21

Recommended gear rules for Right Whale safety are adopted

With the National Oceanic Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) under a fast approaching, court-imposed deadline to develop new whale protection rules, the Zone C Lobster Management Council held a special meeting last week to get an update on the situation from Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher.  The meeting was also an opportunity to consider a zone-specific plan for gear modifications that will likely be required by NMFS. As with many things occurring during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the meeting took place in cyberspace.  >click to read< 14:43 

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 50′ FG Stern Trawler, 425HP Volvo, 12 kw Northern Lights Generator

To review specifications, information and 22 photos, >click here< To see all the boats in this series, >click here< 13:24

Permanent fish-passage solutions considered at Big Bar landslide

As most salmon are now moving past the Big Bar landslide on their own effort, crews are looking ahead to provide permanent fish passage in time for important early-spring migrations. In a progress update Sept. 29, Fisheries and Oceans Canada officials said roughly 151,000 salmon have now been detected with acoustic sonar north of the site, 8,270 of which relied on the Whooshh Passage Portal. >click to read< 11:56

Trump Administration ‘Slow-Walking’ Offshore Wind Permits says Sheldon Whitehouse

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, has accused the Trump administration of “slow-walking” offshore wind approvals with an eye toward helping natural-gas suppliers. (gas works, and its domestic!) The U.S. offshore wind industry, which is gearing up fantasizing to deliver 25 gigawatts or so of capacity over the coming decade, is effectively on hold while the country’s first major project, the 800-megawatt Vineyard Wind sited off the coast of Massachusetts, awaits its final federal permits. Last August the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) called for additional environmental reviews, delaying Vineyard and in effect the larger industry as a whole. BOEM has said it intends to issue a final decision in December. “I think what we’re seeing is a deliberate slow-walk, and not just staff unfamiliarity and hesitation [at BOEM],” Whitehouse said in a prerecorded interview played Monday at Greentech Media’s Power & Renewables Summit. >click to read< 09:56

Speech from the Throne recognizes both Indigenous rights and conservation as objectives for the fishery

The Government of Canada, in the recent Speech from the Throne has explicitly recognized the twin objectives of both reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and conservation of the fishery. According to the Speech from the Throne, “the Government will look at continuing to grow Canada’s ocean economy to create opportunities for fishers and coastal communities, while advancing reconciliation and conservation objectives. Investing in the Blue Economy will help Canada prosper.” The Coalition of Atlantic and Québec Fishing Organizations, recognized the statement as an important first step. “We support advancing both reconciliation and conservation of the fishery together,” said Joel Comeau,MFU local 9 President. “However, we still need action from the Government of Canada and action is needed now”. >click to read< 08:30

North Carolina shrimpers, fishermen concerned about mislabeled seafood

While brown shrimp, the most abundant of North Carolina’s shrimp landings, are typically harvested in the summer, now is the time for the whites, or green tails. “They are sweeter,” said Corey Galloway, with High Rider. “And when the water cools they are even better.” For Galloway, fall and winter weather improves a lot of local seafood. Breece Gahl of Fresh2U Seafood in Wrightsville Beach, for example, is looking forward to the wild oyster season, which begins Oct. 15. Until the pandemic, he often supplied seafood to restaurants. Earlier this year, Gahl switched to a “shore to door” delivery service and has been a regular at local farmers markets,, Pandemic related concerns aren’t at the forefront for this industry, though. Local shrimpers and fishermen are instead still being challenged by ongoing issues. >click to read< 07:35

Tributes paid to popular Scots fisherman who died after falling overboard into the North Sea

Tributes have been paid to a popular Scots fisherman who tragically died after falling overboard into the North Sea. The 45-year-old, who has been named locally as John Mctaggart, fell into the water shortly before 2am on Tuesday around four miles off the Stonehaven coast. A massive search and rescue operation was launched to try and save the stricken sailor, who has been described as an ‘amazing man’. >photos, click to read< 18:26

‘Deadliest Catch’ Season 17: F/V Time Bandit Is Back Fishing, Will The Hillstrands Return?

Deadliest Catch fans who have missed the F/V Time Bandit may feel some happy anticipation. The Hillstrand’s famed crab fishing boat is in Dutch Harbor. And, it looks like it is getting ready to go out fishing. Does this mean that the F/V Time Bandit is going to return to the Discovery show? This is what we know now. The F/V Time Bandit is out of retirement. According to Neal Hillstrand’s new wife Sugayle Geissler, the F/V Time Bandit was in Homer, Alaska. No one is saying anything. But, it is clear that the family is quite excited. Everyone is posting photos of the famed boat and sharing them on social media. This is leading to a lot of speculation and fanfare. >click to read< 16:28

An Update from Commissioner Keliher

Dear Industry Member, I’m reaching to share what’s been happening recently at DMR. It’s been a busy summer. CARES Act – Negotiations with NOAA on our CARES Act spend plan have finally been completed.,,  Soon, we will be reaching out to you by mail and email with information on the application process. USDA Trade Relief, Federal Whale Rules, Aquaculture, Marine Patrol, and more.  Like I said, it’s been a busy summer. But, despite the ongoing challenges of Covid-19 we have established remote operations and the work continues. We will keep sending these updates until we can gather in-person. Until then, stay safe. Pat. >click to read< 12:21

Retired Arbroath boat builder reunited with renovated luxury ship he made almost 50 years ago

Harry Simpson, 68, former owner of MacKay Boat Builders, welcomed the Nova Spero into the town’s marina on Monday afternoon. The vessel, built in 1972, has since been turned into a luxury passenger ship, which overcame difficult conditions to berth in the marina on its way to the Forth. The crew and passengers stopped off in Angus after strong winds trapped them in Peterhead on Sunday. Harry, who waited at the harbour to welcome the ship home, was only an apprentice when he helped construct the vessel.,, “I did everything from laying the keel, the planking, the frames, the lofting, then to the fitting out. I was involved in all the bits and pieces, everything. That’s how I learned my trade.” photos, >click to read< 10:02

Cruises around Scotland on board Nova Spero – Skarvlines – photos, >click to read<

Trump’s Offshore Oil Ban includes a halt to Offshore Wind Farms

President Donald Trump’s decision to rule out energy development along the coasts of Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas will bar not just offshore oil and gas drilling — but coastal wind farms too. The broad reach of Trump’s recent orders, which was confirmed by the Interior Department agency that oversees offshore energy development, comes as renewable developers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars snapping up the rights to build wind farms along the U.S. East Coast.,, The approach is being condemned by both oil drilling and wind energy advocates. Blow me>click to read< 09:13

Christoffer Michael Harrison of New Castle, Maine

Christoffer Michael Harrison, 35, of New Castle died the morning of Sept. 21, 2020, at his home in Machias, Maine, where he lived since 2003. Christoffer was born on March 14, 1985. He was a stern man on the lobster boat FV Killin Time. He was loved and will be truly missed by all who knew him. He was preceded in death by his paternal grandfather, Edward Harrison; maternal grandmother, Jayne Garcia; and an aunt, Patricia Harrison. >click to read< 08:19

Submerged shrimp boat marked as abandoned vessel by Coast Guard

A vessel just outside the mouth of Shem Creek has been marked as abandoned after sinking on June 24. According to the Coast Guard, the vessel is not in the navigable channel and is not impeding traffic into or out of Shem Creek. The Coast Guard cannot legally salvage sunken vessels except under specific circumstances outlined by law. “In this case, the Coast Guard oversaw a federally contracted effort to remove oil from multiple tanks on the vessel after the owner failed to take timely, appropriate action to mitigate environmental impacts. photos,  >click to read< 19:24

Fishermen prepare for the choppy waters of a no deal Brexit

“The French will always be the ones to cause the biggest amount of trouble,” says ‘Crystal Sea’ skipper David Stevens. His family have been trawling for generations and he’s prepared for any wave that hits on January 1st. So will it be a new post Brexit dawn at sea for fishing? Seemingly relaxed about the future he accepts there is trouble on the horizon but predicts a passing storm. We are five hours out of Newlyn in Cornwall, the nets are cast and conversation turns to the weeks ahead. “It was said that fishing would be the litmus test of how far we’ve come out of the EU. I think that is true,” says David. >click to read< 16:49

Vineyard Wind project has opposition, with considerable opposition among conservationists

I read with great interest “The power of wind” point of view (Sept. 21) by Allie McCandless. The writer enthusiastically defends the Vineyard Wind Project as one that will launch Massachusetts “into a clean future.” In fact, the Vineyard Wind project has raised considerable opposition among conservationists. The 84 projected wind turbines would install two 220,000-volt alternative current submarine cables, seriously disturbing the underwater ecosystem and the fishing industry by generating heat, noise and possibly disturbing the electromagnetic field.,, There is a powerful lobby behind the wind turbine industry. There is also a growing worldwide conservation movement that has taken stock of the issues caused by already installed wind,,, By Marie Huet, >click to read< 15:46

Louisiana Gov. Edwards requests Federal Disaster Declaration for Fisheries Impacted by Hurricane Laura

Gov. John Bel Edwards sent a letter to U.S. Sec. of Commerce Wilbur Ross requesting a federal fishery disaster be declared due to the profound and continuing impacts of Hurricane Laura on Louisiana’s fishing communities. Such a declaration may help in obtaining federal financial assistance for our fishers, processors, docks, and for the state to help rehabilitate the important fishery species upon which our seafood industry relies. >click to read<14:05

Robert Lester Odom stabbed the captain of the fishing vessel on which he was a crew member is prison bound

A Florida man, who stabbed the captain of a commercial ship of whose crew he was a part, was sentenced on Friday to 40 months in prison. Robert Lester Odom, 47, of Pensacola, Florida, pleaded guilty to assault with a dangerous weapon with the intention of causing bodily harm. Odom’s, who was a crew member of a commercial shipping vessel, stabbed the captain of the vessel in high seas. “This vicious attack was made even more serious due to the vessel’s location, so far away from help,” said Lawrence Keefe, US Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, in a statement. >click to read< 12:54

Bankruptcy fears after fishermen lose prawn fishing grounds so cable can be laid in North Sea

North East fishermen say they will be left “bankrupt” after losing their prawn fishing grounds to a cable being laid across the North Sea. The Havhingston fibre optic telecommunications cable, which will span 940km in total, will cross the sea between Denmark and Seaton Sluice. “It’s taking away our fishing grounds, we’ve got no say in it, and there’s no compensation package in place. >click to read< 11:14

NE Groundfish Fishery in Hail Mary mode – Monitor vote could be death knell for fleet

A quick recap: The council has been working on Amendment 23 for more than two years. It seems like 50. The amendment will set future monitoring levels for sector-based groundfish vessels. The council faces four alternatives: Monitors aboard 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% of groundfish trips. The council has chosen 100% coverage as its preferred alternative. That’s not good for the groundfishermen. Once the federal government stops harvesting spare change from between the sofa cushions to keep reimbursing the fleet for at-sea monitoring, the onus for paying falls on the fishermen at a current tune of about $700 per day per vessel. >click to read< Online access to the meeting is available by >clicking this link< 10:24

Kodiak Alaska, Crabpots Illustration, Bering Sea, King Crab Fishing, Habits, Spiritual Disciplines

I used to love the King Crab Festival which was celebrated in my hometown of Kodiak, Alaska every year. I used to love the activities, the food and the rides which pulled in to town each early summer. Many of my friends growning up had dad’s who were crab fisherman. Each year these dads and their sons would load dozens of crabpots onto their boats,, When looking at this industry and especially those nylon ropes which lifted those crabpots, there is a life and spiritual lesson which I would like to share with you all. When one looks closely at those all important ropes, there is a picture which we all need to be reminded of. What we reinforce or what we repeat is critical to our productivity and impact in our lives and in our worlds. >Video, click to watch< 08:14

Bodega Bay Crabbers struggle to protect whales frequenting their waters–while still making a living.

Mark Gentry pauses for an afternoon yerba mate on the dock by his boat, whose deck is littered with crusty lines and vinyl yellow “bib” coveralls. Tall piles of circular mesh crab pots sit idle nearby; this year’s crab season ended early as whales moved through the area.,, Since 2015, crabber Dick Ogg says he and his colleagues have been doing “everything we can to fish alongside the whales and coexist with them,” including starting a lost gear removal program and working to remove potentially dangerous excess slack from buoy lines. They even voluntarily delayed the 2019-2020 crabbing season due to high whale activity.  CDFW senior scientist Ryan Bartling points out that these programs weren’t just implemented by crabbers but actually suggested by them, as part of a working group of fishermen, regulators, and nonprofit representatives who convened to find solutions. >click to read< 18:50

Judge hears lawsuit over fish farms in Puget Sound

Whether Cooke Aquaculture’s plan to raise native steelhead at fish farms in Puget Sound is a simple business transition or a complex threat to the marine ecosystem is being debated in King County Superior Court. Judge Johanna Bender heard testimony Thursday over Zoom in a lawsuit environment groups brought against the state Department of Fish & Wildlife for granting a permit to the seafood company to raise steelhead. “Did the department make a mistake in comparing the impacts of one type of stock to another, as opposed to comparing it to Puget Sound without fish farming at all?” she said.,, , the state Legislature passed a law that phases out Atlantic salmon net pen aquaculture by 2022 >click to read< 15:48

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for September 25, 2020

Legislative updates, Bill updates, Calendar, >Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here< 14:59

As a fishing dispute in N.S. sees no swift end, ‘Peaceful and mutually beneficial coexistence is possible because it was once the norm here’

The fishery has always been essential to the inhabitants of what is known today as Nova Scotia, but a conflict has erupted over who benefits from the fishery, how much, and when. Ineffective governments have exacerbated the situation, no doubt, but historical amnesia has equally been a great abetter of ill feeling and a sower of confusion. Looking back might light part of the way toward a solution. We should begin with an observation that might seem counterintuitive in the present climate: contact and colonization were not at once and always an unmitigated disaster. >click to read< 11:44

NEFMC will vote Sept. 30 on changing requirements for groundfish monitoring, fishermen have mixed responses

Commercial fisherman Randy Cushman walks on top of his boat where he measures fish in front of electronic monitoring cameras, pictured to the right. Cushman is among a handful of New England fishermen who use electronic monitoring instead of a traditional human observer to track what they catch and discard.  The New England Fisheries Management Council (NEFMC) is scheduled to vote on changes to its groundfish management plan at a virtual meeting Sept. 30, culminating four years of research. “If we’re going to have accurate stock assessments, we need 100 percent coverage under this management system,” said Cushman. But, the prospect of increased monitoring concerns Terry Alexander, a fisherman who represents Maine on the NEFMC and operates his 62-foot boat out of Massachusetts. >click to read< 10:57

Baja shrimp fishermen defy rules designed to save vaquita

Fishermen are defying rules designed to protect the critically endangered vaquita marina porpoise as the new shrimp season begins in the upper Gulf of California. The federal government this week enlarged by 50% a zero-tolerance zone in the gulf’s northern region where the use of a range of fishing nets including gillnets are prohibited. “We’re just looking for a way to keep working,” García said. He said that fishermen are open to different ways of fishing but asserted that the alternatives currently on the table are not viable. >click to read< 09:41

Captain Antonio M. Pimentel – He believed in the American dream

Antonio Mano Pimentel, age 78, passed away peacefully at home in Palm Coast, Florida surrounded by his wife and children on September 20, 2020 after a courageous and hard fought battle with cancer. He was born in Figueira da Foz, Portugal, the son of the late Antonio deSantos and Arminda (Chuva). Yearning for freedom and opportunity, in 1967 he left his homeland for the United States where he met and married his devoted wife of 53 years, Susan (Gomes). He believed in the American dream and labored endlessly to make it true for himself and his family. As a lifelong Christian, he gave more than he received. Before retiring and relocating to Palm Coast in 1998, he was a Captain, commercial fishing boat owner and commercial fisherman in New Bedford, Massachusetts. >click to read< 07:30

Minnesota family spends summers fishing Alaskan salmon to sell back home

The Rogotzkes, brothers Jay and Tom, dad Roger and uncle Dave, all run their own boats in Bristol Bay, home to the world’s largest sockeye salmon run. The Rogotzkes fish in 32-foot aluminum boats that drift freely, even with 900 feet of net trailing. It was Roger who got the family started in the unlikely profession more than 40 years ago. Back in college in 1980, Roger read about Bristol Bay in a magazine. Intrigued, he bought himself a plane ticket north the next summer. Two years later, in what the Rogotzkes now recognize as an astounding act of faith, Roger’s dad, Bob, mortgaged the family farm in Minnesota to buy his son a fishing boat and permit. That investment paid off, and two years later Bob did the same thing for his other son, Dave. “We really just owe everything to him,” Roger said. That makes this season bittersweet: Bob died in May, just before the four fishermen headed north. >click to read< 18:12