Monthly Archives: March 2023

Willapa Bay crabbers deliver record haul

More than 1.5 million pounds of Dungeness crab have been caught by commercial fishermen in the bay this year, far exceeding previous annual landings records over the past 25 years. Despite a two-month delay in the 2022-2023 season that eventually began Feb. 1, the current commercial Dungeness landings are about 1.54 million pounds as of Monday, March 27, a roughly 23% increase over the previous record of 1.19 million pounds caught during the entire 2010-2011 season. Pinched by inflated fuel and expenses and a low price from processors, commercial crab fishermen would rather put this current season behind them as they prepare for the next fishery. “It’s been above average,” said commercial fishermen Ross Kary. “But with the crab price it’s still not the best year I’ve had. With the price of everything, expenses are really high. We were lucky to not go bankrupt.” Photos, >click to read< 20:20

Hopes dashed for crab-pricing formula as union-producer talks end in failure

It started out six weeks ago as a rare show of unity between the fisheries union and seafood producers, but efforts to agree on a price formula for this year’s snow crab harvest have ended in failure. Jeff Loder, executive director of the Association of Seafood Producers, said in a press release issued Tuesday afternoon that the group couldn’t reach an agreement with the Fish, Food & Allied Workers union, which represents Newfoundland and Labrador’s inshore fishermen. “We negotiated in good faith with our best efforts to find a collaborative solution with the FFAW by defining a formula that works for both parties. Unfortunately, this was not possible,” says the release.  >click to read< 15:37

‘What we’re looking for is a fair shake’: Newfoundland inshore crab fishers resume pop-up protests around St. John’s

They didn’t get a clear answer from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on Monday, so inshore crab harvesters are holding “pop-up” protests again today, March 28, in St. John’s. Jason Sullivan and the 3L protestors say the crab stocks in the zone should be assessed as one biomass rather than as separate inshore and offshore stocks. That way, the protestors say, the inshore would be treated the same as the offshore fleets, using the same exploitation rate formulas if the crab stocks are growing.  >click to read<  14:52

Offshore Wind Farm Opponents to Rally in Trenton on Thursday

Protect Our Coast NJ, a coalition of groups opposed to offshore wind farms, will hold a rally Thursday at the Trenton State House Annex to demand that Gov. Phil Murphy stop the projects until the cause of a surge in whale deaths is determined. Keith Moore, of Defend Brigantine Beach, another coastal group, said wind farm opponents will deliver an online petition, signed by nearly 500,000 people, calling for the immediate halt of wind farm development. The rally is scheduled at 9 a.m. Numerous advocacy groups, some formed to address what they call the “transformative industrialization” of the ocean, have been speaking out against the construction of offshore wind energy farms. >click to read< 13:30

Norway ‘secure more out of fishing deal than Ireland’

Under the deal, Norwegian fishers can catch 224,000 metric tonnes of blue whiting in Irish waters this year, an increase of 110,000 metric tonnes on how much they were allowed to catch last year. In contrast, Irish fishermen and women are only allowed to catch 52,000 metric tonnes of blue whiting, up from the 28,000 tonnes they could catch last year. While unhappy with the lack of quota parity between the two countries, fishing representatives here say the deal has an upside to it. >click to read< 11:50

Halifax company pilots new technology to track lobster traps, locate and retrieve lost equipment

The company, Marine Thinking, has launched a pilot project that involves tagging the traps with high-tech devices. The tags send signals to specially designed consoles on fishing vessels that allow crews to monitor where their equipment is using their phones or other devices. The company is testing its equipment with three lobster fishers this season. One of them is 63-year-old Jamie Osborne, from Eastern Passage, N.S, who has fished lobster for 40 years. A big reason he’s interested in the technology is because of the financial hit he takes when he loses traps. >click to read< 10:27

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for 3/27/2023

Latent Commercial Fishing Licenses – Something that we keep hearing is only 40% of North Carolina commercial harvesters report landings while 60% never report landings. I heard it at the speckled trout scoping meetings, I hear it at Marine Fisheries Commission (MFC) meetings, and I see it written in articles. While technically this is true, it does not address why these licenses do not report any landings. More, >click to read< 10:01

Boothbay Harbor lobster boat parade signals solidarity of Maine lobstermen

On a chilly but sunny March afternoon, on the deck of Brady’s Restaurant about a dozen Mainers, some holding beers, watched a parade of lobster boats travel through the opening of the Boothbay Harbor Footbridge and into the inner harbor, right up to Brady’s deck, horns blaring and people cheering. The lobster boats steamed toward Brady’s and in less than a span of 10 minutes, circled around and headed back through the Footbridge. The photos captured on that day show a scene that will never be reprised again. As of mid-March, Maine lobstermen are fighting back by suing the Monterey Bay Aquarium over the “red list” designation. Lots of photos, >click to read< 09:30

SEA-NL on 3L

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador demands DFO immediately unify inshore and offshore snow crab fishing areas off eastern Newfoundland into a single biomass, and explain to the entire inshore fleet why the department divided them in the first place. “DFO disrespects the entire inshore sector in fishing zone 3L by favouring bigger boats over smaller boats in the same fleet,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. “DFO must reveal the science behinds its decision to divide the crab fishing zone in the first place,” added Cleary. “The absence of science or questionable science at best tells smaller boat owner-operators the department wants their enterprises eliminated.” >click to read the press release< 08:12

Brixham trawler sank rapidly after capsizing off Devon coast

Government experts have completed their investigation into the sinking of a Brixham-registered trawler off the East Devon coast. The Angelena capsized and sank off Exmouth in June 2021, and the skipper was rescued unhurt from the water by a nearby military launch. The interim report published today says the steel-hulled stern trawler Angelena, which was built in 1988, sank just before midday on June 18 2021 around eight nautical miles southeast of Exmouth while its fishing gear was being recovered by the skipper, who was operating the vessel alone. The cod end was full of sand, mud and fish. >click to read<  19:38

Windfall of €8m for family at heart of Atlantic Dawn fishing group

Atlantic Dawn, the Donegal-based international fishing group, has paid an €8m dividend to an entity controlled by the McHugh family who are behind the business. The dividend underscores how the group has continued to deliver a strong financial performance while keeping its turnover and profit details shielded from the public. Atlantic Dawn, headed by chief executive Karl McHugh, is one of Ireland’s largest fishing groups and estimated to control more than 7pc of the country’s entire fishing quota. >click to read< 17:40

No commercial Togiak sac roe herring fishery this spring, after years of a shrinking market

Fish processors have indicated they will not buy Togiak herring this season, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s outlook released March 20. It’s the first time there hasn’t been a commercial fishery there in decades. That means that this spring, over 57,400 tons of herring will go unharvested. But as the market has declined, so has the price for herring. Tim Sands, said they’ve seen an especially sharp decline in interest since the COVID-19 pandemic began three years ago. The size of the commercial fleet in Togiak has shrunk as well. It used to comprise hundreds of vessels. But last year no gill netters fished, and just eight purse seine vessels participated, hauling in less than a quarter of the available harvest. Togiak herring, meanwhile, are doing just fine.  >click to read< 13:50

Nova Scotia will lift moratorium on seafood processing and buying licences in 2023

Nova Scotia will end its five-year moratorium on issuing new seafood processing and buying licences. The “temporary” moratorium was imposed in 2018 while the province reviewed its licensing regime. Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Steve Craig says he does not know why the freeze was imposed by the previous Liberal government. “I’ve even had people tell me that the moratorium is the policy, which is not the case. The Nova Scotia Seafood Alliance lobbied for the moratorium, which still allowed for the sale or transfer of an existing licence. >click to read< 11:40

Morro Bay – Winds of Change

The offshore wind industry is expected to grow in coming years, sourcing a global market for renewable energy. The waters off Morro Bay have been sanctioned by The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) as a viable site for offshore wind development, considering the town’s existing electrical transmission capabilities. The introduction of an offshore wind farm would have devastating effects on Morro Bay due to the town’s historic reliance on the fishing industry. This project has the potential to displace fishermen and cause widespread economic harm to the community. Winds of Change explores the complexities of this case, while giving underrepresented fishermen a voice in the matter. Video, >click to watch< 10:01

Furious fishermen block France’s largest port in row over EU rules to eliminate trawling

French fishermen protesting against a European Union project to restrict bottom fishing symbolically blocked the main French fishing port, Boulogne-sur-Mer, on Sunday evening, the prefecture and the regional fisheries committee said. Seven fishing boats enacted a blockade at the entrance to the port, the prefecture said. Olivier Leprêtre, president of the Hauts-de-France regional fisheries committee told AFP the EU Commission’s plan “would be the death of the port of Boulogne”. He pointed out that with such a measure only 20 percent of the waters of the Pas-de-Calais Strait would remain accessible to fishing. >click to read< 09:01

‘Wicked Tuna’: T.J. Ott Pays 5-Figure Fine for Illegal Act

Back on Dec. 7, 2022, the Massachusetts Environmental Police revealed that its officers began investigating the illegal sale of bluefin tuna, a federally regulated species in October 2021. During the investigation, they discovered that bluefin tuna was being sold at a Gloucester fish market, and a captain faced criminal charges. In November 2022, the captain reached a plea deal with the state and paid $13,000 in fines for the illegal sale of the fish. Although the post didn’t mention Ott, the Gloucester Daily Times later reported that he was the captain involved. >click to read< 07:57

EXCLUSIVE: Federal Regulator Acknowledges Danger to Wildlife Caused by Offshore Wind Farms

Captain Jerry Leeman, who heads the fishing vessel F/V Teresa Marie IV, sent a copy of the Norwegian haddock study to Nies in a January 9 letter. “Thank you for your January 9 letter …  A federal fisheries council acknowledged that some power cables for offshore wind turbines could harm certain fish, according to a letter seen by the DCNF. Multiple recent studies have demonstrated that a variety of commercially popular fish can be negatively impacted by their exposure to magnetic fields emitted by high voltage direct current cables, which can confuse their ability to navigate and, in some cases, leave them exposed to predators. “We were previously aware of this study and agree that it has concerning implications for the possible effects of high voltage direct current cabling on larval behavior and resulting predation rates,” Thomas Nies, executive director of the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC), said in a January 18 letter.  >click to read< 20:01

‘The people’s fish’: Atlantic mackerel stocks have collapsed – can a moratorium bring them back?

Canada’s Atlantic mackerel population is a shadow of what it once was, and its decline threatens the well-being of the people who depend on it. Mackerel supports one of Atlantic Canada’s top recreational fisheries, and one of its oldest commercial fisheries. The fish is also used for bait, and it has an important place in Indigenous cultures. The same migratory stock supports recreational and commercial fisheries in the U.S. Last March, the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans closed Canada’s commercial and bait mackerel fisheries for one year and placed daily personal limits on the recreational fishery, to give the population time to rebound. But the U.S. fishery remains open, albeit with a reduced quota. Next week, federal Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray will decide whether to reopen the Canadian fishery. The DFO’s latest studies have found no sign of recovery in the mackerel stock. Photos, >click to read<  13:09

Starvation price for snow crab fishermen

A week into the snow crab fishing season, processors in Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia on Friday agreed to a temporary dock price of $2.25/lb to $2.50/lb. “There’s more inventory on the market now than we thought, says Jean-Paul Gagne, Director General of the Quebec Fisheries Industry Association (AQIP).  For his part, Marc-Olivier des Îles-de-la-Madeleine’s captain, Marco Turbide, promises to put his cages back this spring. “Expecting a price of only two or three dollars a pound doesn’t give ambition, he comments. It’s not fun. For a heavily indebted fisherman like me, we can’t expect to make a profit in 2023 because of the significant loss from crab last year. If we agree to $4/lb, I’m very I’ll be happy!” >click to read< 11:45

Another Dead Whale Washes Up – This Time in Ocean City, N.J.

It’s become like a broken record, where people are starting to become numb to it all … but, for what it’s worth, another whale has washed up. This time in Ocean City, New Jersey. It’s a badly decomposed 9 foot Pygmy Sperm Whale, which our Brigantine source said may have been dead for many months. We caught up with Brigantine Mayor Vince Sera regarding the latest whale washing ashore. Sera provided us with comprehensive and thoughtful comments as follows: “It’s absolutely heartbreaking to see yet another dead whale wash up on our shore.” “How many more whales and dolphins need to die before Governor Murphy pauses these offshore wind activities?” >click to read< 09:40

French Master and fishing vessel owner fined at Plymouth Magistrates

The owner and the master of France-registered fishing vessel ‘Felir’ SB918511 were fined a total of £8,000 and ordered to pay £6000 in costs plus £380 in victim surcharges by Plymouth magistrates. The financial penalties were imposed after the vessel’s owner Felir SAS and master Ludovic Fourgault admitted using fishing gear to which was attached a device, namely a piece of diamond shaped mesh placed over the square mesh panel, that obstructed or otherwise diminished the mesh size of part of the towed gear. >click to read< 08:43

Resistance to Offshore Wind Is Growing on US Coasts

A growing chorus of interest groups is calling for a pause in offshore wind activities to allow further assessment of the sector’s impacts on the marine ecosystem.  Fishing groups and local residents have filed five lawsuits against proposed or under-construction wind projects along the Atlantic seaboard. A leading body for the U.S. Pacific fishing industry is urging the federal government to call off its proposed auction for offshore wind off the Oregon coast. And the United States’ largest lobbying group for Native Americans recently called for a halt to all offshore wind scoping and permitting. Wind energy is a key component of the Biden Administration’s climate agenda. >click to read< 08:10

Linda Greenlaw to be featured on upcoming season of ‘Deadliest Catch’

The state’s most famous living fishing boat captain will be featured on the upcoming season of the popular reality television series, “Deadliest Catch.” Greenlaw said Friday that she went to Alaska last fall with “a positive attitude, strong work ethic and the good sense to know what I didn’t know” about the particular challenges of fishing for Bering Sea crab. She said she learned a lot from ‘Wild’ Bill Wichrowski, the notoriously grumpy captain and owner of F/V Summer Bay who has appeared on the show for 13 seasons. “I wanted to learn from the best — and I did,” Greenlaw became well known 30 years ago after being written about in “The Perfect Storm,” a nonfiction book by Sebastian Junger about a powerful Nor’easter storm that sank the sword fishing boat F/V Andrea Gail in 1991.   >click to read< 07:15

Michele Longo Eder of Newport, Oregon has passed away

Michele Longo Eder was born on the Fourth of July, 1954 in Albany, N.Y., to Joseph and Betty Longo. She died at 68 in her oceanfront home at Agate Beach. Michele was taken by lung cancer, with metastasis to the brain. Forty-seven years an Oregonian, she loved this coast and its community.  She came west after graduating with honors in political science from Johns Hopkins University. In 1988 she married Bob Eder, a commercial fisherman, Marriage to Bob enriched an already full life for Michele. She was now a mother to two sons, Ben, aged 7, and Dylan, aged 5. Helping them grow into the young men they became made every day challenging and worthwhile. Ben’s tragic death in 2001 in an accident at sea led to the publication of Michele’s book, “Salt In Our Blood: The Memoir of A Fisherman’s Wife.” To say Michele embraced the role of a fisherman’s wife does not begin to cover it.  >click to read< 12:52

Blue Harvest to close New Bedford processing plant, lay off 64 workers

“All Blue Harvest employees who perform food processing work at this facility will be separated. This action is expected to be permanent,” the company wrote in a letter to its staff, signed by company president Chip Wilson and dated Friday, March 24. Blue Harvest employees, both processors and fishermen were confused and frustrated by the sudden announcement. “Everyone’s making decisions, but they’re not talking to the guys catching the fish,” said one Blue Harvest fisherman, who asked not to be identified. “I still have my job. But who knows? We’re just told to go fishing.”  >click to read< 11:25

Persistence pays off for protesting fishermen – Hints of “flexibility”, and a meeting with DFO officials on Monday

Five days of persistence appears to be paying off for the 550 Newfoundland crab fishers from the 3L inshore fleet. The 3L fishing zone is off the island’s east coast. On Friday, March 24, the fishers received a letter from Fisheries and Oceans Minister Joyce Murray committing to review the possibility of amalgamation of the 3L inshore and offshore areas into one area of biomass. Murray also indicated in her letter, delivered to the Fish Food and Allied Workers’ (FFAW) union that “there is flexibility” in the precautionary approach framework,,, The protests this week, however, were not initiated by the FFAW. “I’ve gotta say thank you to Jason Sullivan. You sir deserve a medal for bringing this to light for 3L inshore fishing !! Without you I don’t think we’d be as far as we are,” wrote Jason Elliott. >click to read< 10:19

Monterey Bay Aquarium In Hot Water Over Alleged Defamatory Statements About Maine Lobster Industry

The aquarium’s Seafood Watch program assigns ratings to varieties of seafood based on environmental impact and sustainability. In September of 2022, Seafood Watch published a “red” rating for lobster caught in certain Canadian and U.S. fisheries. Seafood Watch’s current red, “avoid” rating instructs the public to “take a pass on these for now. They’re caught or farmed in ways that harm marine life or the environment.” The aquarium’s rating, allegedly based on “all scientific data,” claimed that lobster fishing practices in the stated region (specifically, pot, trap and gillnet fisheries) pose “significant risks of entanglement” to North Atlantic right whales and that the fisheries are putting the species “at risk of extinction” and therefore could not be considered “sustainable.” The Gulf of Maine is the center of the U.S. lobster industry.  >click to read< 09:12

‘A bloody lie!’ Boris torn apart over ‘take back control’ promise as UK fishermen rage

Boris Johnson has been branded a liar over his Brexit promise that the UK would “take back control” of its waters, with warnings the UK fishing industry is now “on its last legs”. The former Prime Minister, who pledged to “Get Brexit Done”, had promised to protect the industry before signing a trade deal with the European Union. The fishing agreement states there would be a five-year transition period that would see EU boats continue to gain access to UK waters until 2026. But June Mummery, the former MEP for East of England and founder of Renaissance of the East Anglian Fisheries, has launched a furious attack against Mr Johnson, claiming UK fishermen have been “stabbed in the back”. >click to read< 08:16

Point Pleasant loses a fishing industry icon; Oscar John Stensland

On March 19 th , Oscar John Stensland passed away at age 90 after battling recent health issues. John was a former Commercial fisherman who was part owner of the Trawler Snow White in the nineteen sixties and early Seventies, until he decided to work with his late father, Oscar [senior] who had founded the Fisherman’s Supply Company back in 1948. Fisherman’s Supply was a crucial component of the development of the commercial fishing industry in the Ocean and Monmouth County
areas as the local fleet rapidly developed during the last century, and it provided Fishermen with a local store to purchase gear such as rope, twine, wire, hardware, tackles, blocks, etc. Without Fisherman’s Supply Company, fishermen were forced to travel to Rhode Island or New Bedford for fishing gear until Cape May started becoming major industry suppliers during the Seventies. >click to continue< 17:22

Banff and Buchan MP urges rethink of Highly Protected Marine Area plans

David Duguid MP has written to Scottish Government minister Mairi Gougeon MSP urging her to rethink proposals for Highly Protected Marine Areas following concerns that they restrict twenty times as much as the UK Government’s plans for English waters. In his letter to the rural affairs secretary, Mr Duguid has hit out at the impact the proposals will have on Scotland’s fishing fleet and has asked why HPMAs in Scottish waters are being implemented on an immediately permanent basis and not on a trial/pilot period like the rest of the United Kingdom. >click to continue< 14:58