Daily Archives: March 3, 2023

Coast Guard, good Samaritans rescue crew of sinking fishing vessel

Honolulu — The Coast Guard and good Samaritans aboard two commercial fishing vessels located and rescued the crew of the 52-foot commercial fishing vessel Sea Smile 545-miles southwest of Hawaii, Friday. The six crewmembers are reportedly in good condition and are making their way to Honolulu aboard the commercial fishing vessel Captain Minh. “Anytime you get word that a crew is preparing to abandon ship, you immediately become worried about the time required to reach the survivors,” said Cmdr. Marc McDonnell, operations officer for Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point. “In last night’s case, we appreciate the support of the good Samaritans aboard the commercial vessel Ying Rong No 638, who made this rescue possible. >click to read< 20:58

Tauranga skipper Bert Aitken retires after 43 years in fishing industry

After 43 years working at sea, commercial skipper Robert ‘Bert’ Aitken has “never” been seasick. Aitken has been working in the fishing industry for 43 years, spending the majority of that time at commercial seafood company Sanford. Wednesday was his last day. He started his career as an unqualified deckhand, eventually working his way up to become a skipper. For a typical fishing trip, Aitken would travel from Tauranga to Auckland on a Wednesday. The boat would then leave Thursday morning and not return until the following Wednesday. Everything needed to be organised beforehand, including checking the weather, making a plan on where to fish and getting ice and bins, he said. He and his two crew members, Matangaro “Mat”’ Ben and Mike Jones, would then head out. Aitken said they fished on the East Coast, anywhere between Cape Brett in the Bay of Islands and Cape Runaway. Photos, >click to read< 19:21

SEA-NL calls on DFO to delay mandatory introduction of electronic logbooks

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) is calling on Fisheries and Oceans to delay the mandatory introduction of electronic logbooks (ELOGS) until concerns are addressed about the security of personal information and commercial catch data. “Red flags have been raised over the security of highly valuable catch data and personal information,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. “The federal government must ensure Canadians that the country’s food supply is secure, commercial sensitive catch data will remain with owner-operators and fleets, and that individual privacy is protected.”  >click to read< 1:14

In Depth: Alaska’s Fisheries Are Collapsing. This Congresswoman Is Taking on the Industry She Says Is to Blame.

The late 1990s and early 2000s were boomtimes for halibut fishermen in Alaska. Over 80 million pounds of the flatfish were being harvested annually. Deckhands could earn $250,000 a season. The small boat harbor in the southcentral city of Homer, known as the “halibut capital of the world,” was bustling. Erik Velsko, 39, was one of those fishermen. He started buying annual shares in 2001 when the halibut population was at near historic highs. But within a few years, the stock plummeted by more than half and the quotas for commercial fishermen were slashed accordingly. Halibut wasn’t the only so-called directed fishery to experience such a catastrophic drop. The crab fleet — made famous in the reality show “Deadliest Catch” — has been mostly stuck in port for two years after the near total collapse of the snow crab population and the decades long decline of red king crab. Photos, >click to read< 11:42

Over a Million Bucks for Bruce – Offshore Companies Get Leg-Up from DFO

This week, news broke that DFO spent untold millions completing two weeks of science work for redfish on the Mersey Venture, a 200-foot factory freezer trawler owned by Mersey Seafoods and part of the offshore lobby group, the Atlantic Groundfish Council headed by Bruce Chapman. Go on, ‘by. Surely the Union’s not out complaining about the government doing more science work when that’s what they’re going on about half the time? In an effort to simplify the complex history behind the issue, I’ll give readers some background. In a nutshell, DFO Science is directly subsidizing corporate offshore fisheries development at the expense of coastal communities and the owner-operator fishery. >click to read< 10:32

Crab fishing remains lucrative, critical industry for Gig Harbor fishermen

Off the coast of Washington, several Gig Harbor residents are hard at work on crab fishing boats, handling all that comes with the job. A handful of Gig Harbor residents hold commercial crab fishing licenses. Several others are crab license lease holders. The state capped the number of available commercial crab fishing licenses at 220 in the 1990s. The intent was to manage crab populations, and also limit the amount of gear in the water to protect other sea life, such as whales, said Dan Ayers, coastal shellfish manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Commercial crab fishing was an estimated $86 billion industry in Washington state in 2022. That total includes boat sales, gear, and processing facilities that handle the harvests. >click to read< 09:24

Landlocked Congressman Targets Maine’s Lobstermen Over Whales

When a senior congressman from a land-locked state in the American West drops a bill pertaining to the Atlantic right whale out of the blue, it just seems fishy. But that is exactly what happened when Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-NM) introduced a bill for the sole purpose of undoing the six-year pause on enforcement of NOAA rules that Maine’s congressional delegation had wrestled out of budget negotiations late last year. Why? A long-time progressive, Grijalva until recently chaired the House Committee on Natural Resources, where he welcomed the testimony of Monterey Bay Aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard. Home to Seafood Watch, the group that “red-listed” Maine lobster last year, Packard’s Monterey Bay Aquarium has made fast enemies in the Pine Tree State. >click to read< 08:07