Monthly Archives: October 2020

Stolen memorial plaque honouring Hull’s 6,000 lost fishermen is returned

There was outrage among Hull’s fishing community after mindless thieves stole the plaque from the Bullnose on St Andrew’s Quay. The area is the last point families could stand to say farewell as fishermen sailed out to the dangerous grounds around Iceland, Greenland and Russia. “The Bullnose means so much to so many people. It is an iconic and sacred place. It is where people saw their fathers, brothers or sons for the last time.” >click to read< 11:28

Ropeless fishing gear won’t save whales

If you live in one of California’s historic fishing communities like Bodega Bay, (or Coastal New England) you’ve probably heard the term “ropeless” crab fishing gear. That’s the new buzzword for equipment being promoted by environmental groups to solve the perceived problem of whale interactions with fishing gear. These groups have convinced the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to adopt onerous new regulations that will force crab fishermen to adopt expensive, impractical and unproven fishing gear that will put most of us out of business. The truth, however, is something different.  How do we know this? Both the East Coast lobster fishery and the West Coast Dungeness crab fishery, each of which are made up of thousands of independent fishermen, have tested the pop-up ropeless gear and found it to be faulty. >click to read< 09:54

‘Deplorable Circumstances’ for Coronavirus Infected Freezer Trawler Crew

They’re out at sea and unable to go anywhere, watch men falling ill, but the processing of the fish continues, and they keep fishing; it is windy,” Finnbogi Sveinbjörnsson, head of the Union of the Residents of the West Fjords, “As our vice chairman so appropriately phrased it, ‘Fishermen work as long as they’re able to stand,’ but this is no joking matter,” he adds. He is referring to an issue widely discussed in Iceland over the weekend, where one after another, the crew members of  the freezer trawler Júlíus Geirmundsson, owned by the fishing company Hraðfrystihúsið Gunnvör, fell ill while the trawler was out fishing and were denied the opportunity to return to harbor to be tested for COVID-19 until three weeks had gone by. >click to read< 08:53

BilloTheWisp – The Obscene Profitability of Wind Power

Due to the pandemic and the virtual shutdown of the national economy the day-ahead wholesale price of electricity has plummeted. But one group of producers has no worries. The subsidy payments received by generators classed as “renewable” dwarf these market prices. Here I’ll just deal with the most outrageous and costly i.e. windfarms. Today almost all wind-farms are subsidised by the now defunct Renewable Obligation scheme (RO). This was replaced in 2017 with Contracts for Difference(CfD) which is arguably even more costly and inflexible than its predecessor. ,, The companies running these wind-farms are over-joyed at their profitability. Truly when comes to acting as money making machines all other unsubsidized generation capacity pales by comparison. >click to read< >Wrecking the Seabed with Offshore Wind, Part1-5<19:56

“Mixed Feelings”: Sipekne’katik chief says discussions with commercial fishers in Nova Scotia can wait

Responding to Ottawa’s decision to name Allister Surette as a facilitator in the dispute, Sipekne’katik Chief Mike Sack said he had “mixed feelings.” He said that while he was not fundamentally opposed to participating in the process, “right now, we’re not worried about that.” Surette, president and vice-chancellor of Université Sainte-Anne who has experience as a facilitator in fishery disputes, was named to the role on Friday. Surette said his work might lead to a resolution in the fishery dispute,,, Sack, however, maintained that the resolution lies in his band’s talks with the federal government, not with commercial fishers. >click to read< 16:00

Lawyer appealing for release of fishermen: radar casts doubt on guilty verdict for £53m cocaine haul

It began like most other fishing trips for the crew of the Galwad. The sea was choppier than they’d have liked but the four men on board were hopeful of rich pickings in the spring tides off the Isle of Wight. They had no idea that the same stretch of the English Channel was that night the focus of a sophisticated policing operation centred on a container ship from Brazil. Around midnight on 30 May 2010 the Galwad came to the attention of the police surveillance teams. When its crew arrived on shore hours later, lugging baskets of lobster, they were arrested. >click to read< 12:06

Mi’kmaw lobster fisherman in Nova Scotia says he plans to fight several fishery charges

Ashton Bernard, 30, says he was exercising his treaty right to fish for a moderate livelihood when officers with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans seized approximately 3,200 pounds of his lobster at the wharf in Pickney’s Point near Yarmouth, N.S. in Sept. 2019. “They took all of our lobsters. I don’t even know what they did with it,” Bernard explained. Bernard and his younger brother, Arden, were charged. Two other fishermen, Zachary Nicholas and Rayen Francis from Pictou Landing First Nation, were also charged. >click to read< 10:02

Lorne Gunter: Here’s the real back-story to the Maritimes lobster dispute

A 1999 Supreme Court decision, the Marshall decision, affirmed a supposed ancient treaty right to hunt and fish out of season. The only limitation the court placed on this apparently pre-existing right was that First Nations could earn only a “moderate livelihood” with their out-of-season activities. The problem now, we are told over and over, is the failure of the federal government over the intervening 20 years to negotiate a fisheries management framework that defines, limits and regulates “moderate livelihood.”  Twenty-one years ago, I covered the Marshall case,,, The Marshall decision was an example of judicial bias and pre-conceived judgement. >click to read< 07:55

Charlotte Goes To Sea

Martial Olivier admits it, and they both laugh, recalling when he saw her on the quay in Camaret, at the end of August. ‘When I saw her arrive, a featherweight in a rapper’s cap and her tank top, I said to myself, what are we going to do with this one?’ At 52, with 30 years of crabbing behind him, the skipper – and co-owner with Beganton – of crabber Bag Kevell, has seen plenty of crew. The last time female engineer was on his old crabber Intron Varia, she ended up being airlifted off after just a day at sea. So it’s understandable that he was concerned when Charlotte Sau arrived with her sea bag. But his fears turned out to be groundless, and his praise for the 22-year old engineer is almost enough to make her blush. photos, >click to read< 17:57

Report raises concerns over crabbing in Cromer – ‘Fishermen are seriously worried’

The Cromer Shoal Chalk Bed, located off the coast between Weybourne and Happisborough was designated a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) in 2016. Since the MCZ was created, Natural England has been investigating the health of the chalk bed and effect of potting -the method of using pots to fishing for crabs and lobsters- on it. John Davies, head of the North Norfolk Fisherman’s society,, “Right from the beginning of the MCZ project, they have said potting does no damage to the chalk and how important it is and we were happy doing what we were doing. “[The advice] has come as a bit of a shock and there’s an awful lot of fishermen seriously worried about where we go from here.” >click to read< 16:13

Big white shrimp return to Lake Pontchartrain in big numbers

People who like big shrimp are rejoicing. That’s because some of the biggest white shrimp many have seen are now showing up in Lake Pontchartrain. Old-timers say it’s like the good all days. Shrimp like they’ve never seen before in Lake Pontchartrain instead of offshore, and they credit a number of factors. “These shrimp are primo the best we’ve seen around here since 2010,” said shrimper Paul Newton, >Video, click to read< 11:42

Ottawa appoints special mediator in N.S. Indigenous lobster fisheries dispute

In a statement released late Friday, the government said former Nova Scotia MLA and cabinet minister Allister Surette will “communicate with and rebuild trust” between both sides in the weeks-long dispute that has turned violent in recent days. Surette was appointed by Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan and Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett, who have both voiced Ottawa’s support for the Mi’kmaq fishers and the 1999 Marshal decision that their fishery is based on. “A peaceful resolution is achievable, and (Surette’s appointment) will strengthen our fisheries and our communities,” she added. >click to read< 09:41 From: Fisheries and Oceans Canada –  Biograghy, Allister Surette, >click to read<

Man charged in fishing vessel slaying was accused of domestic abuse, immigration violation

It wasn’t clear what spurred the Sept. 23 attack. One crew member later told investigators he heard yelling, rounded a corner, was struck three times in the back of the head and fell. He looked up from the deck, he said, and saw a fellow crew member, Franklin “Freddy” Meave Vazquez Jr., 27, of Newport News, holding a knife in one hand and a hammer in the other. The boat’s chief mate, Javier Rangel Sosa, 54, of Newport News, lay on the deck nearby, blood rushing from his mouth. “He already cut the antenna or something off,” the captain relayed over the radio.,, A nearby German cruise ship, the Mein Schiff 6, got to the scallop boat first. >click to read< 09:02

Coronavirus: Maine Fishermen’s Forum board of directors has canceled the 2021 event

“There is no possible way that we can protect our forum participants in such a tight environment, due to COVID-19 and required safety restrictions,” Steve Train, a lobster fisherman on Casco Bay’s Long Island and president of the forum’s board of directors, wrote in an Oct. 21 letter to commercial fishermen and posted to the forum’s website. The letter added, “The board intends to continue serving the commercial fishing industry throughout 2021. We will be meeting soon to discuss options, and will share more details as they become available.” >click to read< >mainefishermensforum.org< 08:02

Coast Guard drops dewatering pump to disabled fishing vessel taking on water near Icy Bay, Alaska

The Coast Guard assisted a fishing vessel taking on water and disabled, six miles south of Icy Bay, Alaska, Wednesday. A Coast Guard Air Station Sitka MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew delivered a dewatering pump at about 9 p.m. to the 55-foot fishing vessel Elise Marie that was taking on water. The Elise Marie crew was able to use the pump to keep up with the flooding while they waited for further Coast Guard assistance. Watchstanders in the Sector Juneau Command Center received initial notification requesting assistance from Elise Marie via InReach device at approximately 7 p.m. Watchstanders directed the launch of multiple assets to assist, including a plane, a helicopter, and Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick. >Video, photos, click to read< 18:33

Fishing Company under Fire for Keeping Coronavirus Infected Crew at Sea for Three Weeks

Despite crew members developing flu-like symptoms one by one, Júlíus Geirmundsson didn’t return to harbour until it needed to refuel last Sunday, after three weeks at sea. During refuelling, the crew was tested for COVID-19 but left again for the fishing grounds before the results were in. They returned as soon as it was discovered that the majority of the crew had contracted COVID-19.,,  Hákon Blöndal, the ship’s first engineer, called out the fishing company’s explanation,, “This isn’t the whole story, and people have to grow a pair and admit their mistakes,” >click to read< 15:38

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for October 23, 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< 14:29 – My view: I have not read the 300+ page bill yet, but others involved in commercial fishing have. In short, this would be a nightmare for the domestic commercial fishing industry. Elections have consequences! God bless, Jerry

For Acadian fisherman, early Mi’kmaq fishery in N.S. bay can ‘never’ be respected

As he stands calmly splicing anchor rope, Roger LeBlanc describes the anxiety, anger and suspicion over a Mi’kmaq lobster fishery that is coursing through his small Acadian community. The threat perceived by LeBlanc, 61, is the launch of a lobster fishery by Sipekne’katik First Nation in September,,, In the weeks that followed, Indigenous traps were cut, a boat burned, vehicles were destroyed, and one lobster pound that handles Indigenous catch was damaged while another was burned down. The actions by groups of up to 200 people have drawn condemnation from across party lines in Parliament. >click to read< 13:40

Elected Officials Hear Concerns From Watermen

Elected officials assured commercial watermen they heard their concerns at a meeting last week. On Oct. 16, Congressman Andy Harris joined Sen. Mary Beth Carozza and Delegate Wayne Hartman to meet with commercial fishermen at the West Ocean City Commercial Harbor. Harris offered support as they pursue changes to ensure local watermen can continue to earn a living. “You just tell us when and to whom we have to make the case,” Harris said. Harris joined Carozza and Hartman at Sea Born Seafood last Friday to talk about issues facing local fishermen. Sonny Gwin, who operates the Skilligallee, stressed the importance of maintaining local boats’ ability to fish for black sea bass. Watermen also asked Harris to work toward increasing limits on red crabs. >click to read< 12:20

Brexit May Be Too Late to Save Britain’s Fishermen

Derek Reader coats the deck of his 40-foot fishing boat in salt-resistant paint ahead of another punishing winter hunting plaice, turbot and cod in the Irish Sea. He hopes it will be his last season. The U.K. has made regaining control of its fishing grounds a central demand in protracted and fraught talks on a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union. Yet the last trawlerman in the English port of Fleetwood, which once boasted 120 vessels like his, plans to sell the MFV Albion and quit the industry. “I voted for Brexit and I hope that we do take back our waters, but it’s too late for Fleetwood,” said Reader, 60. “If a new fishing deal helps me get a better price that’s great, but I can’t make ends,,, >click to read< 09:39

Company willing to buy Sipekne’katik lobster from open fishing area 35

Bruce Gidney of Gidney Fisheries in Digby made the offer in response to Chief Mike Sack of Sipekne’katik, who has said buyers and suppliers won’t do business with the band amid ongoing tensions between Mi’kmaw and non-Indigenous commercial fishers. “The chief said no one was interested,” said Gidney. “We weren’t contacted and neither were other buyers I’ve talked to.” The Sipekne’katik band is sitting on 6,800 kilograms of lobster harvested by members under three commercial licences it holds in Lobster Fishing Area 35, or LFA 35. The commercial season opened there last week. It is the only area currently open to commercial fishing. >click to read< 08:45

Salaries can be high, with lots of time off – so why can’t fishing boats hire Kiwis?

The worker shortage in the deep-sea fishing industry is almost at crisis point as it struggles to attract new workers, industry leaders say. The issue has been highlighted this week by nearly 240 Russian and Ukrainian fishermen now quarantining in Christchurch’s Siduma Hotel after 11 of them tested positive for Covid-19. But this recent dilemma was only exacerbating a problem the industry had with recruiting new workers. >click to read, or listen to audio report< 19:05

Alaska Supreme Court hears challenge to fish landing tax

Since the 1990s, Alaska has taxed seafood caught by factory trawlers and floating processors through the Fisheries Resource Landing Tax. Even though the fish is caught outside the 3-mile line in what’s considered federal waters, it’s often brought to Alaska fishing ports before loaded on cargo vessels and shipped overseas. But the Washington state company, Fisherman’s Finest, is now challenging the state’s tax in court, arguing it violates a pair of provisions of the U.S. Constitution that restricts coastal states from imposing tariffs or duties on goods brought into and out of a state. >click to read< 17:28

What Would a British Columbia Seal and Sea Lion Cull Actually Entail?

Cast an eye upon Canada’s Pacific coast and it shouldn’t take long to spot its most ubiquitous marine mammal, the harbor seal. At least 100,000 are thought to occupy the coves and nearshore waters along British Columbia’s coast. You may view seals with wonder, as evidence of a productive marine ecosystem on the doorstep of civilization. Or, just as easily, as a ravenous predator gobbling up the same fish populations sought by humans. Enter a divisive proposal to cull the seals and sea lions. Enough time has been spent studying the species’ impact on fish stocks, advocates of the cull say: it’s time to cut them back. >click to read< 11:42

Study: Captive-bred salmon in wild may do more harm than good

Releasing captive-bred Atlantic salmon into the ocean, a long-standing practice to boost stocks for commercial fishing, reduces the rate at which wild populations reproduce and may ultimately do more harm than good, researchers cautioned Wednesday. On average, salmon born in hatcheries in Ireland’s Burrishoole catchment only produced a third as many offspring in the North Atlantic compared to wild fish, according to a study in the Royal Society’s biological research journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. It has long been assumed that wild and captive-born fish were “ecologically equivalent,” but the new research shows otherwise. Fish reared for any period of their life in an aquaculture environment, it turns out, somehow change compared to their wild counterparts. >click to read< 11:13

Would Biden bring offshore wind to the West Coast?

Offshore wind supporters say Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden could be a deciding factor in a long-standing battle if he’s elected: bringing the first turbines to the West Coast. The idea of mooring turbines onto floating platforms in California’s deep waters has been in the works since the Obama administration, when Interior Department officials responded to unsolicited proposals from wind companies by mapping three potential areas for turbine construction and asking for comment on their viability. If completed, the plan could have major implications for the state’s emission profile and the offshore wind industry, which to date has largely been focused along the U.S. East Coast. >click to read< 09:36

‘Blacklisted:’ Nova Scotia First Nation pulls commercial lobster boats from the water

The chief of the First Nation behind a disputed moderate livelihood lobster fishery in Nova Scotia says recent vandalism and the loss of potential sales have cost the band more than $1.5 million — and he wants those responsible to be held accountable. Mike Sack, chief of the Sipekne’katik First Nation, also alleged the band had been blacklisted by lobster buyers. Sack later told reporters the band has filed an application for a court injunction aimed at preventing people from harassing Indigenous fishers at the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., where the livelihood fleet is based. The First Nation attracted national attention on Sept. 17 when it launched a “moderate livelihood” fishing fleet in St. Marys Bay in southwestern Nova Scotia, almost two months before the federally regulated fishing season was set to open.  >click to read< 08:29

New ice plant at terminal, Community Ice

After the F/V Evolution took on eight tons of flake ice last Friday, Oct. 16, Ed Backus, general manager of Community Ice, walked out the gangway to thank the captain. It wasn’t the first time the boat filled up at the new ice plant. “It’s good ice,” the News-Times overheard someone on the boat tell Backus. The F/V Evolution is a shrimping boat, mixing in the ice as the shrimp is loaded on board. When delivered, the ice and the shrimp are mixed. “What’s important to a shrimp vessel is that the ice stays cold and loose, so they can shovel it easily when they’re mixing it with the harvested product,” Backus said. >click to read<  18:12

New Bedford port nets $20 million to protect against natural disasters

A $16 million grant is bound for the city of New Bedford to improve the city’s port, helping prepare it for future natural disasters. According to a U.S. Economic Development Administration press release, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the grant funding on Tuesday. The money, according to the press release, will “make port infrastructure improvements needed to protect commercial fishing businesses from floods and severe weather events.” >click to read< 16:13

Sipekne’katik seek injunction from Nova Scotia Supreme Court to end threats, interference in lobster fishery

The Sipekne’katik band is seeking a temporary court injunction to end blockades, interference and threats over its lobster fishing in southwest Nova Scotia. The band applied to Nova Scotia Supreme Court Wednesday for an injunction to prohibit anyone from trying to stop members from accessing two wharves in the region, in Saulnierville and Weymouth, and a lobster pound it uses in New Edinburgh. The band also seeks to end interference at sea, where it says traps have been damaged, destroyed or taken by non-Indigenous fishermen. >click to read< 14:01