Monthly Archives: May 2023

Offshore Wind Litigation: Court Declines to Halt Vineyard Wind Construction

A federal court has denied a request by members of the fishing industry to pause offshore construction of the Vineyard Wind Project (Project), the first modern utility-scale offshore wind project in the United States to receive all permits and approvals necessary to begin construction. On May 25, 2023, Judge Indira Talwani of the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts denied a motion for stay, or in the alternative, for preliminary injunction,,, In Seafreeze Shoreside, Inc. et al. v. US Department of the Interior et al., the plaintiffs alleged that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and various other federal permitting agencies violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), and a variety of other statutes and regulations by issuing the Project’s lease and its final approvals. >click to read< 16:57

South Carolina’s shrimp harvest to open June 1

Commercial shrimp trawling is set to open in all legal South Carolina waterways on Thursday morning. Harvesting season typically opens in full by mid-to-late May after the opening of eight smaller provisional areas in the outer waters. But officials with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) said those provisional waters opened at the end of April, which allowed shrimpers to begin harvesting some larger white shrimp further offshore while “still protecting most of the spawning population closer to shore.” >click to read< 14:07

N.L. inshore crab boats accuse Royal Greenland of giving them the cold shoulder

In a crab fishing season that has been contentious from the start, allegations continue to be levelled by Newfoundland and Labrador fish harvesters against processing companies. The latest accusation is against Royal Greenland, the Danish-owned company that owns three processing plants in the province. A handful of harvesters took to social media in recent days, posting on the Fishermen’s Forum Facebook Page, that Royal Greenland has been refusing to buy crab from some boats in the under 40 ft fleet. However, Simon Jarding, manager of Royal Greenland operations in Newfoundland and Labrador, says those allegations are not accurate. >click to read< 12:21

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 65′ Steel Gladding and Hearn Lobster Boat, Cummins 855 Diesel

To review specifications, information, and 23 photos’, >click here<, To see all the boats in this series >click here< 11:28

Death by a Thousand Cuts – ‘We Have Fish, That’s Our Currency’

Just before midnight, David O’Neill navigated his trawler into the harbor in Union Hall, a small port in southwestern Ireland, the wake from the vessel sending tiny waves slapping against the pier. The crew swiftly unloaded their catch, using a crane to lift ice-packed crates of haddock and hake from the hold of the Aquila under bright spotlights. Less than an hour later, the Aquila would depart for its final trip. Two days later, the crew stripped the vessel’s contents — chains, buoys, ropes, steel cables, and hooks — and ejected them onto the pier, on their way to a shipyard to be scrapped. “This is coming with me,” Mr. O’Neill said as he unscrewed the Aquila’s wooden steering wheel. “It reminds you of all you’ve been through on this boat.” Photos, >click to read< 10:20

Benefit planned for captain whose boat caught on fire

A benefit for the captain who was injured in a boat fire leaving the Blessing of the Fleet parade in April is set for June 4. Larry Cobb was returning from the Blessing of the Fleet Parade on April 30 when a fire broke out on his shrimp trawler, The F/V Bridget. Unable to extinguish the flames, Cobb, who is 78 years old, was forced to abandon the ship, jumping from the boat into the pluff mud below. He suffered burns to his hands and face, and the ship was destroyed. The loss of The Bridget was upsetting, but the tight-knit fishing and shrimping community quickly rose to the occasion to support Cobb. >click to read< 09:28

Fishermen Face Unloading Delays After Fish Pier Packing House Tenant Departs

The packing house at the municipal fish pier has space for two companies to operate, receiving and packing the local catch for transport to market. But when Marder Trawling, one of the two fish buyers, departed last year, fishermen were lined up to unload with Red’s Best Seafood in the north bay. The south bay remains empty as commercial fishing ramps up for the season in the next few weeks. Last year, boats were “stacked up down the harbor to get offloaded,” Harbormaster Stuart Smith said. He has proposed allowing fishermen to use the south bay to unload their own fish to their own trucks or buyers of their choice, much as is currently done on the outdoor dock at the fish pier’s south jog. Smith told the select board that he’s making the proposal only after the town was unable to find a new fish packer to lease the south bay. >click to read<  8:47

Blue Harvest Fisheries’ Newest Vessel, F/V Nobska, Successfully Completes First Series of Fishing Trips

The newest, most modern vessel in the New England groundfish fishery, the F/V Nobskahas returned to port after its successful inaugural deployment. The vessel was acquired earlier this year by Blue Harvest Fisheries, as part of the company’s investment in the future of its groundfish operations.  The Nobska embarked on four back-to-back trips between April 7 and May 10, and landed 335,000 pounds of fish in its home port of New Bedford, Massachusetts, with additional landings in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The catch included several groundfish species, including monkfish, flounder, haddock, Acadian redfish, hake, and pollock. A series of three to four back-to-back trips, followed by a short break for maintenance and crew rest, is a typical operational plan for this vessel. Video, photos, >click to read< 07:45

DOJ will appeal court order forcing Southeast Alaska king salmon troll fishery closure

The United States Department of Justice will appeal a federal court order forcing the closure of the commercial king salmon troll fishery in Southeast Alaska. In early May, Washington U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones upheld an earlier recommendation that the Southeast summer and winter king fisheries were catching too much of the food source of a dwindling population of Puget Sound’s Southern Resident killer whales, in violation of the Endangered Species Act. The defendant intervenors in the case, the Alaska Trollers Association and the State of Alaska, filed motions earlier this month calling for a “partial stay” of the order, pending an appeal to allow the fisheries to proceed. >click to read< 15:58

Coast Guard responds to boat collision in James River, Virginia

The Coast Guard responded to a vessel collision Tuesday morning near the Newport News Small Boat Harbor. The Coast Guard was alerted at 7:50 a.m. that the pilot boat, Swift, and a 38-foot deadrise fishing vessel, F/V Miss Heather, collided near the Newport News Small Boat Harbor. The pilot aboard the Swift rescued two fishermen from the Miss Heather and brought them aboard the pilot boat as the fishing vessel rapidly took on water. >click to read the report< 14:50

‘A’ is for Algrie, end of a fishing era.

A piece of fishing history left through the gaps this week on her way to be scrapped in Ghent, Belgium – the Algrie was the very first trawler purchased by the Stevenson family fishing firm to enter the harbour in 1976 and start was to become the the largest privately owned beam trawl fishing fleet in Europe. In 1982, the 70ft Algrie found her beam trawls attached to the nuclear attack sub HMS Spartan in the waters off Land’s End in 1982 and towed her for quite some time before the sub surfaced. Legend has it that, at first, the Navy via the coastguard, denied there was a submarine in the area! Video, Lots of photos, >click to read< 12:48

Don’t make this mistake about Maine women who catch lobster

“One hundred percent of the women I talked to called themselves lobstermen, and some people asked me why I used what they said was an inappropriate word,” Farrell said. “I had to explain to them that female lobstermen aren’t lobsterwomen, or lobster fishers. They are lobstermen.” Across the board, lobstermen is the preferred term for anyone who works on a lobster boat in Maine. It doesn’t matter what age, background, sexual orientation or gender you are: If you’re working on a boat, you’re a lobsterman. Same goes for sternman, if you’re prepping bait and sorting through the day’s catch. >click to read< 11:33

USDA will invest $52 million to help fishing industry on the West Coast

The struggling fisheries industry on the West Coast is getting a much-needed financial boost from the federal government. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it will buy $52 million worth of Pacific groundfish for its food assistance programs. The money is the USDA’s third and biggest investment in the fish in as many years. In 2021, the USDA purchased $16 million of groundfish, specifically rockfish, pink shrimp and whiting or hake, a fish that’s popular in Eastern Europe. It increased that to up to just over $30 million the following year. This year’s $52 million surpasses the $50 million in wholesale sales for those fish last year, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, which tracks fisheries in Oregon. >click to read< 09:50

Boat caught fire May 21 in Naknek’s LMI boatyard

The commercial fishing boat F/V Midnight Hour caught fire in Naknek’s LMI boatyard on May 21. No injuries were reported. Boatyard Manager Micaela Emory-Wilson said the fire started around 12:30 p.m. Emory-Wilson said fishermen on a neighboring boat tried to put the fire out with extinguishers and garden hoses while others tried to contact the fire department. But she said GCI customers in Naknek have had trouble calling landlines from their cell phones. “So no one could get through to 911. The call kept dropping,” she said. The fishermen of the F/V Midnight Hour are staying in crew housing for the time being. They still hope to fish on another boat this summer.  >click to read< 09:01

North Carolina Joins Effort to Establish Regional Fisheries Mitigation for Offshore Wind Development

Governor Roy Cooper announced that North Carolina has joined other Atlantic Coast states involved with the Special Initiative on Offshore Wind on a coordinated project to support fisheries mitigation in the development of offshore wind along the East Coast. “It is important that we work to meet our state’s offshore wind energy goals while still protecting our marine fishery industry,” said Governor Cooper. “We are committed to collaborating with other states in this effort to make sure we achieve both goals.” Currently, the Initiative is focused on establishing a framework to compensate commercial and for-hire fishermen in the event of economic impact related to offshore wind development. The goal is to develop a regional approach for administration of any financial compensation paid by developers. Economic impacts from coastal fishing in North Carolina top $4.5 billion annually. >click to read< 08:26

Trouble brewing if Royal Greenland doesn’t start buying crab from under 40’ fleet: SEA-NL

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) says enterprise owners in the under 40’ fleet warn there will be trouble if Quin-Sea/Royal Greenland doesn’t start buying snow crab from them, and processing companies are not reined in. “Forget tie-up, someone could be strung up,” says Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director. “The 2023 crab dispute is not over yet, and tensions will boil over unless the union stands up for its members, and the provincial government supports small-boat fishermen against the foreign country trying to drive them under.” >click to read press release< 07:26

Westport: Clear skies grace annual Blessing of the Fleet

A steady onshore breeze carried the smell of salt air over the assembled crowd at the Westport Fisherman’s Monument on Sunday as civilians, emergency personnel and Coast Guardsmen gathered to remember those claimed by the sea over the years. More than 50 fishermen and Coast Guardsmen from the area had set out and not returned, given over to the ocean, and that afternoon, the community gathered to remember them. “It means everything. Our job is to protect the fleet,” said surfman and bosun’s mate Petty Office 2nd Class Victoria True, a Coast Guardsman at Coast Guard Station Grays Harbor, who read the list of the Coast Guardsmen who had died at sea. “It’s our community too. We’ve got their backs.” Photos, >click to read< 20:09

Fish fight over West Coast licences and quota resurfaces at federal committee

A parliamentary committee investigating whether corporations and foreign owners have a stranglehold on Canadian fisheries is experiencing a serious case of deja vu. Witnesses speaking about the dire straits faced by commercial fish harvesters and coastal communities on the West Coast are raising the same issues first presented to the Standing Committee of Fisheries and Oceans (FOPO) starting in 2018.Independent operators, First Nations and young fishers are being squeezed out by  skyrocketing prices for commercial fishing licences and quota, a set share of the allowable catch, witnesses told the committee at ongoing meetings starting May 8. >click to read< 15:23

ASP Retaliatory Clawbacks Harm Crab Resource

FFAW-Unifor is calling for the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans as well as the provincial departments responsible for seafood processing regulation to take action against companies who are throwing environmental management protections out in an effort to retaliate monetarily against snow crab harvesters. Specifically, companies have unilaterally thrown out a longstanding conservation rule that states a 20% tolerance limit on under 4” snow crab size and implemented a 5% tolerance limit. The actions are the latest in a string of bad-faith business tactics and proof that federal and provincial intervention is required to ensure companies operate in a way that protects the important snow crab resource and the communities that rely on it. >click to read the press release< 12:52

A strong seal products industry is good for Canada: Senator Manning

Seal fur and leather are transformed into a variety of clothing items, accessories and home furnishings. Seal fats and oils, high in Omega-3 fatty acids, are used in health supplements. Seal meat is sold in various cuts for human and animal consumption. Encouragingly, new and emerging markets for seal products are being tested, including the use of seal bait in fishing. However, vocal anti-sealing campaigns and Europe’s ill-founded 2009 ban on the importation and sale of seal products have hampered the industry’s growth. Less demand for those products drove down their value. And as sealing became less profitable, participation in Canada’s annual seal harvest decreased. In the meantime, the seal population in the Atlantic has been growing and growing. Canada is now trying to grasp what effect more seals in the sea is having on fisheries, fish stocks and the ocean ecosystem at large.  >click to read< 11:30

Blue Float Energy’s offshore wind farm opposed by Port Macdonnell community due to fishing, tourism concerns

A small coastal community in regional South Australia is ramping up its opposition to a proposed offshore wind farm off the state’s south-east coast.  Renewable energy company Blue Float Energy has lodged plans for a 77-turbine wind farm off the coast of Port Macdonnell which would generate 1.1 gigawatts of clean energy. The proposal has already met resistance from Port Macdonnell residents where the local economy relies on commercial fishing and seaside tourism. Local fishers say the proposed area for the wind turbines, 8-20 kilometres offshore, is where many catch their lobster, with fears any exclusion zone placed around the turbines would make areas inaccessible. They are also concerned about any environmental impacts on lobster, despite no studies yet taking place. >click to read< 10:12

Biloxi: See photos as the 94th Blessing of the Fleet rings in the start of shrimping season

The sun was shining and the humidity was at a minimum as the shrimping season officially kicked off Sunday with the 94th annual Blessing of the Fleet in Biloxi. Two boats, the Captain Justin and Gunsmoke, were honored for their decorations with Captain Justin receiving first place in the boat decorating contest and Gunsmoke receiving the second place award. “Shrimp season is open. The blue economy is extremely important to the gulf coast,” said Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, who was briefly in attendance. “Literally we help feed not only Mississippi, but the world.” Lots of photos of boats and happy people! >click to view< 09:01

P.E.I. bait company puts seal meat plans on ice, fearing U.S. fallout

Bait Masters Inc. started producing bait sausages in its $1.4-million facility in Nine Mile Creek in April 2021, using a mix of fish, fish oil and other organic matter inside a biodegradable casing. In March, the company did a test run of sausages using a seal-mackerel mix and the results were promising. However, as word spread that the bait would contain seal byproducts, that triggered some red flags in the fishing industry because of U.S. rules around the seal harvest, laid out in the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act. Prevost received an email that was being circulated to people in the lobster industry, warning of the implications if seal were to be used in trap bait. Photos, >click to read< 07:29

Memorial Day – Thank you for our freedom

Joy as new Altaire is launched in Denmark

The new 80 metre Altaire LK429 was launched at the Danish shipyard Karstensens Skibsværft, in Skagen, at the weekend. A large group of crew, family members, friends and invited guests travelled to Denmark for the occasion. The large pelagic trawler was ordered in December 2020 and will based at the Collafirth Pier. At 79.95 metres in length and a beam of 16.60 metres, Altaire is powered by a Wärtsilä 12V31 main engine driving a two-speed gearbox and a 4200mm propeller. 2 photos, >click to read< 17:01

Fishing area closed after North Atlantic right whale sighting set to reopen this week

A lucrative lobster fishing area in the Maritimes is set to reopen this week after a sighting of North Atlantic right whales shuttered the fishery just weeks into the spring season. The endangered whales were spotted earlier this month in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, northeast of Prince Edward Island’s Malpeque and Cascumpec Bays. The sighting triggered a 15-day closure of popular lobster fishing grounds — part of Lobster Fishing Area 24. The federal Fisheries Department says the fishing area is set to reopen Friday. But it says two surveillance flights are required before the area reopens to fish harvesters to determine whether whales are still present.   >click to read< 13:32

Commercial shrimpers adjusting to new spring fishing season

Three commercial pot shrimp fishery areas near Ketchikan are closed or set to close as fishermen approach area-specific spot shrimp harvest limits about two weeks after the fishery opened May 15. Fishermen targeting spot shrimp with pot gear this month are testing new waters after the Board of Fisheries during its 2022 rule-setting process voted to change the pot shrimp season start date from Oct. 1 to May 15; the fishery had occurred during fall and winter months since the mid-1900s. “It changed some of the players slightly, some of the people that typically fish in October are unavailable in the spring,” Meredith said. “You’ve got some new people on the grounds that weren’t available to do it in October that are now participating in May.” Meredith said that most of the fishermen who have been long-time pot shrimp fishermen “expected it to be a little different.” >click to read< 11:38

New South Wales: Stop the prawn farming, save the commercial fishermen

I’m Elih Brooks. 5th generation baker fisherman in Yamba. I currently work on ocean trawlers catching king prawns on the FV Little River. I’m starting this petition to help our river fishermen as they haven’t been able to get to work this season or for at least 2 years at this rate, mainly due to prawn farming. Some of these fishermen are family friends and it hurts me to see how much they’re struggling and everyone else is literally in the same boat. These people are like the rest of us, they have mortgages, families to provide for and so much more it’s disgusting to see that our government isn’t doing nothing about it and I want to change that with these signatures so please help our FISHERMEN !!! >click to sign the petition< 10:46

Deepwater Horizon settlement projects surpass $1B

A milestone was surpassed this year when projects funded through the Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement exceeded $1 billion, Blankenship said. ADCNR Deepwater Horizon Restoration Coordinator Amy Hunter and her staff oversee the projects funded by the settlement. “The big takeaway is we have $1 billion, $29 million in projects underway in Mobile and Baldwin counties that we are managing through our Deepwater Horizon Section,” Blankenship said. “That is 176 individual projects. That’s a lot of money and a lot of work going on. We have six people in that section, and they’re doing a very good job of managing projects that will make generational changes on the Gulf Coast. >click to read< 09:56

Baby eels remain one of America’s most valuable fish after strong year in Maine

Baby eels, called elvers, are often worth more than $2,000 per pound because of how valuable they are to Asian aquaculture companies. That makes them one of the most valuable fish species in the U.S. They’re raised to maturity so they can be used in Japanese food, some of which is sold in the U.S. in unagi dishes at sushi restaurants. The elvers have again been worth more than $2,000 per pound at the docks this year, according to the Maine Department of Marine Resources. South Carolina is the only other state in the country with a fishing industry for baby eels, and that state’s fishery is much smaller. >click to read< 09:12