Monthly Archives: June 2021

Maine’s having a lobster boom. A bust may be coming.

The waters off Maine’s coast are warming, and no one knows what that’s going to mean for the state’s half-billion-dollar-a-year lobster industry, the largest single-species fishery in North America. Some fear that continued warming could cause the lobster population to collapse. The Gulf of Maine, an ocean body brimming with marine life, is cradled by Cape Cod in the south and the Bay of Fundy in the north, and bounded in the east by two underwater shoals, George’s Bank and Brown’s Bank. In 2015, climate scientist Andy Pershing, formerly of the Portland-based nonprofit Gulf of Maine Research Institute, published a paper in Science concluding that the gulf was warming faster than “99% of the global ocean.” That eye-popping revelation was enough to keep fisheries managers and a whole lot of Mainers awake at night. >click to read< 16:27

Research concludes after years of studying the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and its effects in the Gulf

The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, a consortium of 17 institutions in six countries, was funded through a $500 million grant from BP. The money was spent on a variety of studies, looking at both the Deepwater Horizon incident itself, and also the long-term ecological impacts.,, Steve Murawski is with the University of South Florida College of Marine Science, which was a leader in the multinational project. The biggest takeaway, he said, is that we weren’t ready for this event. They didn’t have the technology to cap a runaway well, a mile deep, and the government wasn’t prepared,” >click to read< 14:01

Fishermen to stage protest in Dublin to highlight threat to income from Brexit and EU fish quota cuts

The protest will take place on Wednesday, June 23 and will include boats from Dublin, Louth, Donegal, Wexford, Waterford, Kerry, Cork and other counties.,, Irish fishing groups warned their livelihoods are now at stake because of quota cutbacks and the impact of the Brexit deal. “We want a renegotiation of EU Common Fisheries Policy so that Ireland is allocated a fair share of fish quotas that reflect the contribution of our fishing grounds to the EU,” a spokesperson said. Irish fishermen have also demanded that traditional access to fishing grounds around Rockall be reinstated immediately.   >click to read< 10:50

Retired Lobsterman Dennis Winthrop Norton of Martha’s Vineyard has passed away

Dennis was born on Oct. 16, 1945, in Vineyard Haven, and grew up in a bygone era of simple Island life. He was the son of Mildred Harriett Legg and Winthrop Mayhew Norton, A typical Island guy, Dennis was drawn to the water. He was a lobsterman, first out of a Novi skiff, then upgraded to the lobster boat Sea Foam out of Menemsha. In 1995, he purchased a new lobster boat, the Linda D. Normally not seeking the limelight, both he and Linda had a grand christening that summer during a spectacular Menemsha sunset, which was enjoyed by all attendees. The term “gentle giant” comes to mind for many islanders. He was just a soft-spoken, kindhearted man. >click to read< 09:10

Father and son keep their family fishing tradition alive

Like a lot of things on the old boat, the starter was beat up and broken. To get underway, Nick Nieuwkerk connected the electrical terminals with the metal end of a screwdriver. Then, with a zap and spark, the ancient Detroit Diesel engine roared to life. But then the throttle wouldn’t stay put, so Nick’s father, Knoep Nieuwkerk, rigged it open with a spoon and piece of string. Eventually, the pair were steaming out of Woods Harbor, Nova Scotia, on their way to Portland on April 7, aboard a 44-foot fishing boat that had seen better days since it first hit the water, 42 years earlier. There was no guarantee they’d make it, but they had to try. >video, photos, click to read< 07:38

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency to carry out unannounced inspections of fishing vessels across the UK.

The agency said that inspections are being carried out as part of ongoing work to improve fishing vessel safety in an industry recognized to be one of the most dangerous in the world. Since November 2020 there have been eight deaths in the industry including one in Shetland when a fisherman fell overboard from a local trawler in February. Between 2011and 2020 the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) reported 60 fatalities from UK fishing vessels. >click to read< 21:50

Coast Guard, CDC: We’ll change mask rule, but for now won’t enforce masks on fishing boats, commercial vessels, ferries

The Centers for Disease Control and U.S. Coast Guard, reversing their position from less than a month ago, said the federal agencies will no longer enforce its rule for wearing a mask in “outdoor areas of transportation conveyances or while outdoors at transportation hubs.” That means commercial vessels like cruise ships, ferries, fishing boats, and charters won’t require passengers to mask up for those who are outdoors. And people don’t have to wear masks at “transportation conveyances,” such as train stations. To be clear, the rule still exists, but the agencies will not enforce it. Earlier this year at a fishing conference, Sen. Dan Sullivan called the fishing crew mask rule “stupid.” >click to read< 20: 14

US Embargo Hits Mexican Shrimp Industry Hard

The United States has suspended certification of wild-caught Mexican shrimp, preventing producers from export part of their production to the USA. Already financially weakened Mexican shrimp exporters are confident that the decision will be reversed soon, but have concerns about the severe economic consequences. US inspectors identified non-conformities in the turtle excluder devices (TEDs) in dozens of fishing gears inspected at Sonora, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Campeche ports. News of the embargo was received with concern by the shrimp fishermen all over Mexico. ‘But we haven’t felt any impact yet, given that we had already exported all stocks and we’re now waiting for the next shrimp season to start in September,’ >photos, click to read< 13:13

Doctors and experts are skeptical, doubt lobster diver’s being “swallowed by a whale” claim

A lobster diver has been accused of lying about being swallowed whole by a humpback whale he says spat him back out because it didn’t like how he tasted. One doctor at Cape Cod Hospital, where self-described whale swallowing victim Michael Packard, 56, was treated, said Michael Packard should have suffered hearing loss following the freak accident.,, Other fishermen were also wary of Packard’s whale encounter. ‘People who are in the fishing industry, and people who know whales, are finding this hard to believe. It’s a first-ever that this would happen,’ said another lobsterman. photos, >click to read< 09:50

End of the line? How Brexit left Hull’s fishing industry facing extinction

It was a Wednesday morning and it had been touch and go whether all of them would be able to get time off from their day jobs to make the trip. Seven hours later, they stood on the quayside at Greenwich, as Princess Anne swung a bottle of champagne at the looming yellow hull of the UK’s newest and biggest whitefish trawler. Many of the people gathered that day had voted for Brexit in the EU referendum and hopes were high that it would usher in a new era for a British industry that had been dwindling for years. The Kirkella was the larger of two new boats built by the private company UK Fisheries in 2018, at a combined cost of nearly £59m, landing fish at Hull for the first time in a decade. The Princess Royal summed up the optimistic mood on the quayside when she offered her congratulations “to the owner for their investment in the future of fishing”. As the bottle smashed against the boat, the players launched into a lung-busting rendition of Hearts of Oak. >click to read< 09:02

Fox News, and Maine lobsterman Kristan Porter brings Right whale “conservation” issue to the American public

Jun. 13, 2021 – Cutler, Maine lobsterman Kristan Porter explains how a federal whale conservation push could have a massive effect on the lobster industry >click to watch< 07:50

Here is another nail in our Commercial Fishing coffin. Offshore wind farms.

Our fisherman are having enough problems as it is, starting with NOAA, Monument area’s, Monitoring, SK Grant money not going to our fishermen, closed fishing grounds to save the whales, and politicians that are ignoring the issues of the fishermen, all of the fishermen, including the boots on deck fisherman that earns only a share for his skills, loyalty, and labor. The proposed Vineyard Wind 1 area off of Cape Cod is about 18,000 acres of rich fishing grounds. Fishermen from Maine to Rhode Island fish on those grounds. The President and Governor Baker are for it, but it still needs to go to Congress. Together we could stop this. >click to read< Thank you, Sam Parisi, Gloucester, Mass. 18:33

San Mateo County Harbor District considers a new permit and fee program for off the boat seafood sellers

The Harbor District met June 10 to discuss fee program options, with a potential tiered fee system proposed for fishermen who do off-boat sales, allowing the Harbor District to maintain public pier spaces and create a more equitable fee system for businesses, restaurants and fishermen. Off-the-dock sales 20 years ago were minimal, but now around 50 boats sell on Johnson Pier, bringing in lots of people on the weekends to Pillar Point Harbor, Frank Sousa, a Half Moon Bay fisherman, said prioritizing local fishermen who sell yearly on the dock and rely on local customers was necessary for fee consideration. >click to read< 13:10

UNITE TO FIGHT FOR THE FUTURE – On 23rd June, Irish fishermen plan to take their campaign to Dublin

A flotilla of over 60 fishing vessels steamed into Cork City last month to protest over quota cuts, the Brexit Deal, SFPA failures and the disastrous EU Common Fisheries Policy. The flotilla consisting of boats from Dingle, Castletownbere, Baltimore, Union Hall, Ballycotton, Kinsale, Dunmore East, Crosshaven, Kilmore Quay and other fishing communities steamed in single file from Roches Point, at the mouth of the harbour, to the docks in Cork city centre for a rally that was attended by nearly a thousand fishermen, friends and family. On 23rd June, Irish fishermen plan to take their campaign to raise public awareness of the plight of the industry to Dublin, building on the profile raised by the recent Cork Show & Tell demo by increasing the number of fishermen and families involved to include more inshore vessels and community groups from around Ireland’s coastal communities. >photos, click to read< 12:12

Investigators followed up on a lead. Couple on hook for $1,400 bucks for selling recreational caught crab

An eastern Oregon couple has been sentenced to pay $1,200 in restitution after illegally selling recreationally caught crab on the commercial market in Hermiston, according to the Oregon State Police. Shawna and Gerald Wilson of Hermiston also will pay $100 each to the Turn In Poachers Line fund, and they are barred from obtaining a fishing or shellfish license for three years, the East Oregonian reported. State Fish and Wildlife troopers began an investigation after receiving a call on the TIP Line reporting crab advertised for sale on Facebook. >click to read< 10:26

F/V Catherine Lane: North Carolina shrimp boat remains stranded on the rocks north of Amelia Island

Efforts are being made to remove the shrimp boat that crashed into the jetties north of Amelia Island on Wednesday. The U.S. Coast Guard has said contractors were able to remove fuel from the boat, though thousands of gallons have leaked from the vessel named Catherine Lane. It’s licensed out of North Carolina. On Friday, the Coast Guard said the responsible party hired contractors and removed 1,050 gallons of diesel from the boat. But Nassau County Emergency Management has said 3,200 gallons of fuel and oil has spilled into the water. >video, click to read< 09:37

Exciting times, eh, commercial fishers? BOEM kick-starts New York Bight offshore wind farm auction

The Biden-Harris administration published a preliminary sale notice today for a wind auction off the coasts of New York and New Jersey.  The proposal includes provisions to help commercial fishers, vocal critics of offshore development, including the designation of large lanes to ease navigation for fishing boats. “The Biden-Harris administration recognizes the urgency of this moment, and the development of renewable energy resources is an important piece of addressing this reality,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement. >click to read< 08:27

Fisheries Survival Fund: Change Offshore Wind Farm Areas to Protect Scallops

The Fisheries Survival Fund , is requesting that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which is responsible for leasing areas for offshore development, incrementally change its lease plans for the New York Bight. Currently, two BOEM Wind Energy Areas, Hudson South and Central Bight, are located in particularly sensitive areas for scallops. In their current form, these areas, including hundreds of thousands of acres of ocean, will have a serious negative impact on the fishery. BOEM’s proposed eastern-most lease areas in Hudson South are directly adjacent to the Hudson Canyon Scallop Access Area, one of the most important scallop grounds in the Northeast. >click to read< 19:06

Commercial Lobster diver caught in the mouth of a humpback whale off Provincetown Friday morning

A commercial lobster diver was seriously injured Friday morning when he was caught in the mouth of a humpback whale feeding off Race Point, his sister said. Michael Packard, 56, of Wellfleet, is in stable condition at Cape Cod Hospital with at least one broken leg, Cynthia Packard said. “He was swallowed by the whale, he was in his mouth for about 20 seconds,” Cynthia Packard said in a phone interview Friday morning. Packard spoke with J ‘an J  crewman Josiah Mayo, who relayed some of the details to her. >click to read< 14:46

Fishermen oppose offshore wind farm, opposition to construction on fishing grounds continues,,,

The construction of the Saint-Brieuc offshore wind farm with 62 wind turbines, each with an 8mW generating capacity, began on the 3rd May this year, while the fishing industry continues to voice its opposition to the project. The Normandy fishermen held a demonstration both on shore and on the water, while others in the Hauts-de-France region and elsewhere, demonstrated in solidarity with their colleagues in Brittany. In a demonstration of anger, on 7th May fishermen took their protests against the construction out to the offshore site. 70 fishing boats surrounded the Aeolus installation vessel in the Bay of Saint-Brieu,,, photos, >click to read< 11:40

Sundance Award-Winning Film CODA Filmed in Gloucester

Paul Vitale of Gloucester has been fishing off his boat, the F/V Angela Rose for 24 years. Most of the time, these days, he heads out to sea alone. Then, in the summer of 2019, a movie crew came to town. “All of a sudden you have the actors, the interpreters, the producers, the cameramen—all these people are on the boat,” Vitale says. “It was a little overwhelming, but not in a bad way.” Vitale and his boat weren’t the only locals to find their way onto the screen. The city harbormaster appeared in the film, as did local businessman Sam Parisi. The state fish pier, a city elementary school, and a popular harborside watering hole all served as shooting locations,, The movie’s title is an acronym for “child of deaf adults,” >click to read< 10:28

Workers respond to a fishing boat that ran aground in Homer Harbor

Quick action by salvage crews last Wednesday, June 2, prevented a Homer fishing boat from flooding and sinking when it ran aground on the wood grid in the Homer Harbor. The 40-foot F/V Redoubt heeled over after the boat got stuck on the edge of the grid as the tide went out.,, “With the tide flooding, without those bags it would have filled the boat,” Hawkins said. “”He (the boat owner) was so fortunate in that everybody and everything was in place to make it work so they could save his boat.” >photos, click to read< 09:16

Lobstermen And Conservationists To Closely Watch Right Whale Court Case

Conservationists and fishermen will be closely watching a federal court case closely over the next 12 days. “Arguably, the existence of the Massachusetts lobster fishery is at stake today,” The case is being pushed by activist Max Strahan, who wants a judge to ban Massachusetts from authorizing fisheries that use vertical ropes that can entangle and kill North Atlantic right whales. >click to read< 08:07

A group of Indigenous Fishermen want to take the Government of Canada to court with a class action lawsuit

Cody Caplin is frustrated. “They just keep taking away from me and my family,” he says. “The “they” he’s referring to are officers from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, who Caplin alleges keep him under surveillance. He says these officials are often around when he comes back to the wharf from fishing. “If we go drop traps, they’ll park their vehicle, walk on down to our boat, and say ‘you guys can’t put those traps in the water without tags.’ [And I’ll say] ‘well, actually, we can,’” he says. That’s why Caplin is part of a group of Mi’kmaq fishermen from across Atlantic Canada looking to launch a class action lawsuit against the Canadian government, claiming that their rights are not being respected. >click to read< 20:33

California: New regulations shut down Commercial Dungeness Crab season early

After a particularly hard start to the season, commercial Dungeness crab fisheries closed several weeks early on June 1. June 7 marked the start of the Lost and Abandoned Gear Program, which incentivizes retrieving and turning in leftover fishing gear. Both the closure and the gear removal program aim to protect migrating humpback whales and other marine life from getting tangled in fishing equipment. The Center for Biological Diversity sued the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) after a fishing season with 71 whale entanglements in 2016. New regulations imposed after the settlement allow officials to shut down the season when the risk of whale or leatherback sea turtle entanglements is high. >click to read< 17:37

Plan to removal Snake River dams should be supported

As a commercial fisherman, I have never felt more abandoned or frustrated by the elected officials I voted into office. The governor and senator say that they care about local jobs. They would do well to remember this: Washington’s fleet of coastal commercial salmon fishermen has gone from 3,041 in 1978 to 102 people fishing in 2018. >click to read< By Tele Aadsen

“We’ve been sitting on the beach for 16 days” – Copper River salmon fishery reopens

“We are back to getting into the goal range,” said Jeremy Botz, finfish area management biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Cordova. “I think we are seeing a late compressed run. I still feel it is a relatively small run, but higher than in 2018 and 2020.”,, While eager to be fishing again, veteran Cordova harvesters felt they should have been allowed out on the grounds earlier to get a better handle on what the run, albeit late and maybe compressed, was really stacking up to be.,, Cordova harvester John Renner said the fleet should have been used earlier to collect data, to see if the run was weak or strong, rather than just waiting for the sonar count. “We’ve been sitting on the beach for 16 days,” >click to read< 14:15

In North Carolina, an ambitious goal – Cooper seeks to ignite offshore wind farm projects

The governor issued an executive order directing his Commerce Department to create a task force that would seek to advance projects and boost their economic benefits, and to name a clean energy economic development coordinator. Cooper’s order also sets a electric production goal for offshore wind energy of 2.8 gigawatts off the North Carolina coast by 2030 and 8 gigawatts by 2040. Meeting the 2040 goal would be the equivalent of powering roughly 2.3 million homes,,, >click to read<  Gov. Roy Cooper has set ambitious goals for wind energy off the North Carolina coast over the next two decades as part of his plan to fight climate change by shifting away from fossil fuels. >click to read< 11:08

3 rescued from shrimp boat that crashed onto jetties off Fernandina Beach

A group of shrimpers was rescued Wednesday by a good Samaritan vessel off the coast of Fernandina Beach, according to the Coast Guard. The shrimp boat hit the north jetties near Fort Clinch State Park about 9:30 a.m. when the rocks were underwater. Capt. Alan Mills, with AC Charters, rescued the three crew members from the shrimp boat, which was taking on water. Mills happened to be on the water at the time and heard their mayday call. Before the Coast Guard arrived, Mills said, the shrimpers were pretty shaken up. “They were relieved. They laid right here. They were in shock for a while. video, >click to read< 09:51