Monthly Archives: January 2021

Coronavirus closes a third Aleutian plant, stranding Bering Sea fishermen at the dock

In the Aleutian port town of Unalaska, at least five local boats are stuck at the dock with nowhere to deliver their cod after the shutdown of the Alyeska Seafoods processing plant, according to a crew member on one of them, Tacho Camacho Castillo. Alyeska closed its plant Friday “based on a cluster of positive cases” identified through “surveillance testing,” the City of Unalaska said in a prepared statement. “There’s two days and this fish starts to spoil,” Camacho Castillo, a crew member on the 58-foot Lucky Island, said in an interview Friday. “Am I going to be throwing out fish into the ocean? It’s going break my heart, for real, if I throw all this fish away.” >click to read< 18:38

Federal Relief: Great Lakes fisheries finally get a cut of Coronavirus relief funds

After being snubbed in 2020, the folks who make their living by fishing the Great Lakes ­­– both commercially and for sport – have been included in the latest round of federal relief from the economic ravages of COVID-19.,, Neither group was included in the massive Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security  Act that passed in March 2020, even though $300 million was specifically earmarked for U.S. fisheries.,, Getting the Great Lakes included in CRRSA was just the beginning. Now comes the harder work of figuring out how to access the money. Video, >click to read< 16:10

East Hampton Approves South Fork Wind Farm Cable Agreements

Agreements for the South Fork Wind Farm cable landing and burial project from Beach Lane in Wainscott to an East Hampton LIPA substation, and for $28.9 in benefits to be paid by the developers to the community, were approved by the East Hampton Town Board on Thursday.,, The wind farm, just over 30 miles east of Montauk Point, will have 15 turbines capable of producing 136 megawatts of electricity. The agreement also calls for South Fork Wind to hire a liaison to communicate with the East Hampton commercial fishing community “until the project ceases commercial operation,” and calls for a wind farm support facility and transfer vessel base in Montauk. >click to read< 14:47

F/V Chief William Saulis: Royal Canadian Mounted Police end search for missing crew on sunken scallop dragger

More than a month after the crew of a scallop dragger from Nova Scotia disappeared on the Bay of Fundy, the RCMP are calling off their search for the five men suspected of going down with the vessel, citing “significant” risk to the lives of divers. The RCMP said at the time that their crews were not equipped to dive to the necessary depths to look inside, but they said they were studying their options. On Saturday, they announced in a news release that those options had been exhausted. >click to read< The RCMP is calling off its search for the Chief Willian Saulis>click to read< 11:43

‘Everybody’s worst nightmare’: Bering Sea fishermen on edge after Coronavirus closes second processing plant

Now, fishermen and industry leaders are anxious that they might not have places to offload their catch, and that their plants might be the next to close down, said Dan Martin, who manages a fleet of nine pollock trawlers for a company called Evening Star Fisheries. “Any hiccups like this, you really have to reshuffle the deck and try to figure out, ‘Okay, what’s the next step?’” said Martin, a retired skipper. He called the shutdowns “everybody’s worst nightmare.” >click to read< 10:32

Protect Maine’s Fishing Heritage Foundation is working to limit Maine’s aquaculture lease process.

With aquaculture growing, one organization is concerned about continued conflict on the coastline. Protect Maine’s Fishing Heritage Foundation was established two years ago. Executive Director of the non-profit, Cyrstal Canney said her group is fighting to reduce the size and amount of aquaculture leases. Canney did add her organization is not against aquaculture but wants to protect traditional fishing grounds. >click to read< 08:48

At two-day virtual conference, B.C. commercial salmon fishermen discuss cures for an industry on the brink

The United Fishermen And Allied Workers’ Union (UFAWU-Unifor) and active fishermen’s associations convened the conference, Future of BC Commercial Salmon Fishing,,,, The issues are complex and sometimes controversial. Allocation of stocks with recreational and First Nations fisheries, and access to healthy runs are priority issues, but interwoven are challenges with policy and governance that are not meeting the economic-development needs of fishing communities, a licensing regime established in the 1990s that’s consolidated power into the hands of corporations and so-called “armchair fishermen”, and an explosion in pinniped predation rates on juvenile salmon, to name a few. >click to read< 07:49

Failed policies, decisions on the fly: How the moderate livelihood fishery file blew up

Documents obtained through a freedom of information request show the federal Fisheries Department knew that 21 years of kicking the moderate livelihood issue down the election cycle had resulted in there being little rule of law on St. Mary’s Bay. The feds knew that the bay had become a pressure cooker as two communities were pitted against one another over a limited resource. When the top blew off, they turned to coming up with new policy on the fly while seeking a daily scorecard on evolving public opinion. “This is about a culture (in Ottawa) that would rather avoid any conflict at all,” said Thomas Isaac, an aboriginal rights lawyer who has served as British Columbia’s chief treaty negotiator,,,>click to read< 13:49

President Biden’s flurry of actions to protect the environment reignites a controversy about the Atlantic’s only marine monument

Last June, as part of a concerted campaign to dismantle the environmental policies of the Obama administration, Donald Trump met with fishermen in Maine and signed a proclamation that allowed commercial fishing in nearly 5,000 square miles of federally protected waters southeast of Cape Cod. In all, Biden ordered federal agencies to begin reviewing and restoring more than 100 environmental regulations that were dismantled or weakened by the Trump administration. While many of Biden’s orders could have a significant impact on New England, the review of the (Northeast Canyons and Seamounts) marine monument, a Connecticut-sized area that lies about 130 miles southeast of Provincetown, has stirred immediate controversy. >click to read< 11:44

Dakota Creek Industries co-founder Dick Nelson dead at 78

Dick Nelson, who co-founded Dakota Creek Industries, died Thursday, the Anacortes shipyard announced. He was 78. Nelson’s passing was announced in a company statement read by Port of Anacortes Executive Director Dan Worra at the port’s commission meeting on Thursday evening. Dakota Creek Industries was founded in 1975 in Blaine and initially focused on repair and conversion work before relocating in 1977 to Anacortes, where it began building new vessels, including fishing vessels, tug boats, commercial and government vessels, according to the company’s website. >click to read< 10:13

Oyster Prices Plummet As Diners Stay Home Amid Pandemic

With several hours of daylight to spare, Ronnie Robbins and his son, Jason, had already docked their 36-foot deadrise workboat on Hooper’s Island and started unloading their briny cargo.,,, It isn’t a supply problem. Watermen in Maryland and Virginia alike say they are having no trouble landing their daily wild oyster quotas.,,, “We got lots of oysters, and they’re excellent quality,” said Bill Sieling,,,  The problem is decreased demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic. >click to read< 09:31

Gulf of Alaska Pollock fishermen agree to delay season, will allow roe to ripen, making fish more valuable.

Trawl fishermen targeting pollock in the Gulf of Alaska have collectively agreed to stand down from the Jan. 20 start of the fishery in order to target the fish in their more lucrative phase of harvesting the roe, instead of the flesh of the fish which is used more in fish sticks and surimi. The fishermen want to wait for two weeks to allow the roe to ripen, making the fish more valuable.,, In June 2019, the North Pacific Management Council voted to combine the four pollock seasons — two in spring and two in fall — to just two seasons: one that runs from Jan. 20 to May 31, and another that runs from Sept. 1 to Nov. 1. >click to read<  08:20

Five Days In, Crescent City Fishermen Continue To Pull Up Empty Crab Pots

“It’s a bleak year”,,,  After a delay initially due to poor quality crab and later because of price negotiations with seafood processors, Del Norte County fishermen and others on the North Coast were able to pull their crab pots at 8 a.m. on Saturday. But four hours into the season, when dock workers and fishermen should have been offloading the first of their catch, Citizens Dock was still quiet.,, Since fishermen went to work, Pacific Choice Seafoods and other processors raised the price they were offering to $4 per pound,,, >click to read< 07:32

Trident Seafoods to close Alaska plant for three weeks after COVID-19 outbreak

Seattle based Trident Seafoods is shutting down its largest Alaska seafood plant for three weeks after a COVID-19 outbreak, a difficult decision that points to a renewed assault by the coronavirus on the ranks of workers in a key part of the nation’s food-processing industry. Trident is suspending operation at its Akutan facility just at the start of major winter harvests for pollock, North America’s biggest single-species seafood harvest, as well as cod and crab. At Akutan, some 700 employees have stopped working amid a new round of testing, and a fleet of boats that would normally be delivering their catch is now tied to docks. >click to read< 16:39

Massachusetts Launches ‘Ropeless’ Fishing Feasibility Study

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) has launched a comprehensive scoping project to assess ‘ropeless’ fishing gear in the New England lobster fishery. A first of its kind on an accelerated timeline, the project will interview dozens of fishermen, technologists, policy experts, and scientists to fully evaluate the challenges and opportunities of the new gear type. The twelve-month project will evaluate fishing, legal, regulatory, technological challenges and opportunities of alternative lobster gear, which could reduce whale entanglements. >click to read< 12:47

Commercial Fisherman Scott Landis has passed away

Scott grew up in Saratoga, California. After attending college at Chico State and having a life-altering experience in Mexico, he headed north to Alaska in 1973. He wanted to get a mining claim and become a gold miner, but with a baby on the way and the cohos running, he quickly changed career paths and became a commercial fisherman, something he had great passion for. Scott and his partner, Amy Limber, settled in the small fishing village of Port Alexander and had two children, Lael and Sasha. Scott quickly outgrew his 16-foot Poulsbo skiff and upgraded to larger boats. >click to read< 08:34

Kenai Peninsula Borough to ask feds for fishery disaster declaration

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly voted Tuesday to ask the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to declare a sockeye salmon fisheries failure and economic disaster in the Upper Subdistrict of the Central District of Cook Inlet in response to a year that saw fewer and smaller fish, as well as lower-priced fish. >click to read< 07:55

Biden signs executive orders on first day as president

Several executive actions will make changes to the U.S. response to COVID-19 and try to ease some of the financial strain on Americans resulting from the pandemic. Other executive actions directly target and undo Mr. Trump’s actions on the environment, immigration, the U.S. census, and regulatory changes. Mr. Biden signed three executive orders in the presence of reporters, implementing a mask mandate on federal property, increasing support for underserved communities and rejoining the Paris climate accord. Mr. Biden also will reverse the 2020 decision by the Trump administration to allow land development at the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah and at the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine national monuments in New England,,, >click to read< 07:00

Son of a lost fisherman nominated for a 2021 Young Scot Award after his incredible fundraising efforts

It might have claimed his father’s life but Keiran Reid has a special affinity with the sea, remembering the days his dad would take him dolphin watching on the Moray Firth. The schoolboy was just six when fisherman Craig, 25, was washed overboard from the trawler Apollo in a gale-force storm off Orkney. A frantic search – involving helicopters, the Kessock Lifeboat and French and American aircraft diverted from a Nato exercise – was stood down after nine hours. Three months later, another fishing boat found Craig’s body. But only weeks after his father’s death, Keiran, now 11, from Avoch on the Black Isle, started raising money for the local rescue team who had searched so tirelessly for his dad. >click to read< 20:00

Astoria: Coast Guard issues warning to commercial fisherman turning off AIS

The Coast Guard has seen an alarming increase of commercial fishing and crabbing vessels disabling their AIS, purportedly in an attempt to keep their fishing spots secret from competition. “AIS is a vital tool in a host of Coast Guard missions including Search and Rescue and Port Security,” said Lt. Collin Gruin, boarding team supervisor at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River. “It’s not only illegal to turn it off but also incredibly dangerous.” “Crabbers may think that they are protecting their businesses, but they are actually making search and rescue efforts more difficult if an emergency happens at sea,” >click to read< 17:17

P.E.I. fisheries sector gets $3.1M in government funding

The federal and P.E.I. governments are investing a total of more than $3.1 million in the Island’s fish and seafood sectors. The announcement was made during a virtual news conference on Wednesday. The money will go toward nine projects that focus on the implementation of innovative technologies to improve productivity and sustainability within the aquaculture, harvesting and seafood processing sectors. >click to read< 15:31

Mount Pleasant Blessing of the Fleet & Seafood Festival set for April 25

The 34th annual Town of Mount Pleasant Blessing of the Fleet & Seafood Festival is slated to be held on April 25. After 2020’s event was canceled due to COVID-19, organizers are hoping to hold the yearly ceremony this time around. Applications are now open for the event’s craft show, with the deadline set for Feb. 26. “The Blessing of the Fleet & Seafood Festival aims to promote local fishermen and the town’s seafood legacy, educate the public on the importance of supporting local fishermen and shrimpers by buying wild-caught and local seafood,,, >click to read< 13:04

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 72′ Steel Offshore Lobster Boat, Caterpillar D343

To review specifications, and information, and 51 photos, >click here<, To see all the boats in this series >click here< 11:22

6 Ocean Priorities for the Biden Administration from the Environmentalist

Since President-elect Biden was voted into office last November, he and his team have been sharing what they want to accomplish in their first 100 days in office.,, In the midst of any political transition, it is easy for environmental issues to be pushed aside in the name of more “urgent” issues.  Fortunately, the new administration has given us promising signals that environmental action is high on their to-do list. Here are six things that must be prioritized in the coming weeks and months,,, >click to read< 09:48

To honor our lost fishermen, we must act

Every time a Coast Guard crew embarks on a rescue mission to a commercial fishing vessel, we all want the same outcome – a successful rescue and safe return to shore. Maine communities know too well those outcomes vary. We rescued four fishermen in November 2018 after the Aaron & Melissa II sank 50 miles south of Rockland. Two years later, last November, we lost four fishermen when the Emmy Rose sank northeast of Provincetown. And a year ago this Saturday, Joe Nickerson and Christopher Pinkham perished when the Hayley Ann sank 47 miles southeast of Cape Elizabeth. >click to read< 08:14  More lobstermen in New England are wearing life jackets while they work>click to read<

Trinidad fisherman credits survival training and the Coast Guard for saving crew

Captain David Rohbrach says, his crab season ended before it started. “I was going to set some gear inside the engine over heated and broke down, things can get, go bad in a real quick hurry,” he said. Rohbach says – when he lost power – his boat started drifting toward the shore – worried his would roll over he radioed the coast guard. “When this happened, I knew exactly how to handle it, what to do, I didn’t have to second guess anything,” he said. Required safety training helped him remain calm – which allowed him to follow proper procedure. video, >click to read< 07:28

NOAA Fisheries reports on early pandemic impact on fisheries

NOAA Fisheries Friday, January 15 released a report on the economic impact on the seafood catch and recreational fishing nationwide and here in Alaska through last summer.,, Nationwide the commercial fishing industry started off 2020 with increases in revenue from seafood sales. But as the pandemic hit in March, that income dropped off 19 percent compared to the most recent five-year average. Those declines swelled to 45 percent by July. >click to read< 19:25

Commercial southern bluefin tuna fleet battles turbulent La Niña weather and global market

More than 40 vessels and six spotter planes are involved in the search for large schools of bluefin tuna off the picturesque tourist town of Robe. About 10,000 fish at a time will be captured and towed in cages to farms at Port Lincoln — the home of the state’s tuna industry — to be grown out for key markets in Japan and China. Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Industry Association chief executive Brian Jeffriess said the La Niña weather event was causing problems for the sector. He said the cooler weather conditions were fuelling “unpredictable” fishing trends and lower catch rates. >click to read< 13:50

Public Hearings for Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Commercial/Recreational Allocation Amendment

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission) are seeking public comment on the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Commercial/Recreational Allocation Amendment. Comments may be submitted at any of five virtual public hearings to be held between February 17 and March 2, 2021 or via written comment until March 16, 2021. >click to read, click for links< 12:41

F/V Chief William Saulis: Families say everything possible should be done to recover bodies from sunken boat

Laura Smith, the sister and next of kin of Gabriel, says it would give her family closure to have her brother’s body back home, and she favours raising the boat for further investigation if it can be done without endangering lives. “We all would like to see the boat raised and the bodies returned for closure and to have a proper burial,”,,, “As long as I know they have done everything in their power, until they can’t do more, I’ll be happy with that.” Lori Phillips, Cogswell’s mother, said she continues to expect a federal agency, whether it’s the RCMP or the Transportation Safety Board, to inspect the sunken boat with the ROV, and she believes it should be raised. “We need the final ritual. . . . I’d like to have him home,” she said. >click to read< 11:18