Monthly Archives: June 2023

More women are casting their net into the salmon fishing industry

Breaking into a man’s industry isn’t easy, but “in large part, the industry is welcoming to women,” says Captain Allison Demmert, preparing her boat dockside at Fishermen’s Terminal. Allison is gearing up for the Alaska salmon season on the 58-foot F/V Chirikof (named for the Russian navigator who explored the Northwest coast of North America).  Having captained the F/V Ultimo, moored one dock over, with four women out of a crew of five aboard, this year she will co-skipper their purse seiner with her father Captain Guy Demmert and a crew of two men and two women. Born into an Alaskan family that has fished salmon for generations, she expanded her hands-on training with a maritime-engineering education. Mastering credentials like “advanced firefighting,” she’s in charge of “navigation, route planning and vessel maneuvering in all kinds of weather.” It’s a job that calls for “stamina, agility and above all, calm.” photos, >click to read< 14:38

Legal’s Berkowitz backs lobstermen in battle against Calif. aquarium

Roger Berkowitz, the previous president and CEO of the regional seafood restaurant chain, is supporting the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association during its months-long dispute with groups that say lobster fishing is killing too many North American right whales. Because of what they say are risks to the endangered species, California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium and the international Marine Stewardship Council last September made a plea for people to stop eating lobster. A group of four Bay State lobstermen in early March filed a class action lawsuit against the groups, seeking $75,000 in damages for disparagement of their product and interference with their proprietary rights. >click to read< 11:40

What’s behind the surge of blue, orange and calico lobsters in the Gulf of Maine?

If you have been to the Oceanarium at Hampton Beach, you know that we usually have some odd-looking lobsters. We currently have an orange, a blue, a calico, and a normal-colored lobster in our tanks. The question is always: How rare are these animals? The answer has gotten more and more murky as the years pass. The color of lobsters can be due to several things. Diet can cause them to be less vivid or more yellow from eating certain seaweeds. Shell disease can cause them to be spotted and appear to be calico. The color can also be caused by a genetic mutation, which affects the proteins in their exoskeleton. photos, >click to read< 10:53

Commercial fisherman in NJ speaks out about wind turbine plan

Brick Wenzel is a commercial fisherman at the Jersey Shore. He joined me on my “Common Ground with Bill Spadea” podcast and on the broadcast this week. Brick is speaking out against the governor’s wind turbine plan, joining a chorus of opposition hoping to end the project once and for all. As I mentioned, when he appeared on the podcast he came bearing gifts! The fresh squid right off of one of his boats was a welcome treasure! As you know, Jodi got it on ice and we cooked it up the next night. Brick explained that one of the missions he’s on, in addition to commercial fishing and battling the wind project, is to provide protein to the folks who are truly food insecure. His organization is able to gather fish that has very little to no market value and deliver them to food banks across the state. Watch the podcast, key to 30:07  >click to read< 09:31

MP says East fishing industry ‘still struggling’ after Brexit

Peter Aldous, the MP for Waveney in Suffolk, told a parliamentary debate on the state of fishing that there had been “no significant improvement” since Britain left the EU. He blamed high fuel costs and labour shortages as well as “the poor terms for fishing that were negotiated”. “In many respects the situation has got worse,” he told the debate. “Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex have some of the richest fishing grounds in northern Europe but I’m afraid catch opportunities for local fishermen remain poor because we do not have full control over our waters.” >click to read< 08:50

Portraits of a fishery: Sitka trollers gear up for an unexpected season

The commercial season for king salmon, or chinook in Southeast Alaska opens on Saturday, July 1. For trollers across the region, it’s the equivalent of New Year’s Day, the beginning of the annual salmon harvest that lasts through next March. For 50 anxiety-filled days this spring, it appeared that this fishery would not happen. On May 2, a federal judge in Washington ordered fishing closed to make more kings available to an endangered population of killer whales in Puget Sound. On June 21, the US Ninth Circuit Court issued a stay of that order, and allowed trollers to fish as usual while the case remains under appeal. Photojournalist Berett Wilber grew up in Sitka deckhanding aboard her family’s troller. She recently returned and spent a couple of afternoons visiting the docks, photographing and talking to trollers as they readied for the opening. Photos, >click to read< 07:40

Natural Connections: The Lake Superior Fishery in Wisconsin Waters

The boat engine rumbled and machinery whirred as a gillnet rose from the depths of Lake Superior. Captain Ross Lind managed the throttle so that the 55-foot-long gillnet-tug-turned-research-vessel named Hack Noyes moved toward the net at the same speed the net lifter reeled it in. A group of interested adults on this Museum-sponsored field trip gathered around the equipment. We were mesmerized by the clicking of the metal teeth on the spinning drum as they gripped and then released the line, and by the lengths of delicate nylon net attached to the line. Capable hands guided the net down a long, stainless-steel worktable and into the storage tub. (Check out the Museum’s Reels on Instagram and Facebook if you want to see a video of this operation.) Gillnets look like a long tennis net, anchored by weights along the lake bottom and held vertical by floats. Small fish swim right through, but bigger fish get caught. Whether a DNR biologist or a commercial fisherman is setting the net, they can choose the fish they target by the size of the mesh and the depth of set.  >click to read<  19:28

Recommendation made to MCA as man overboard investigation concludes

An investigation into the fatal man overboard incident on a Shetland trawler in 2021 has resulted in a recommendation being made to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to amend regulations around fishing boats having the means to recover an unconscious person from the water. No recommendations have been made to the owners of the Copious, 60 North Fishing (Shetland) Ltd, in light of the actions they have taken. Since the fatal accident the owners have brought in a replacement Copious, bought man overboard recovery equipment and upgraded lifejackets. Edison Lacaste, 45, died in the early hours of 18 February 2021 when he fell overboard from the Copious LK985 while the vessel was trawling 30 miles southeast of Sumburgh. >click to read< 17:19

Cold, storms, whales and seals ‘playing havoc’ with gulf lobster season, fisherman says

A New Brunswick fisherman is calling this year’s lobster season in the Gulf of St. Lawrence one of the worst he’s ever seen. Ernest Robichaud of Tabusintac said a reduction in the number of fishing days because of storms, North Atlantic right whale sightings and colder than normal weather means he’s out at least $100,000 this season. “Somebody’s going to have to wait for some money,” said Robichaud. “I can survive, but I’m thinking of the younger lads and [they’re] gonna have it pretty rough.”  >click to read<  14:40

MassDEP Fines F/V Capt Carl, LLC for Discharge of Oiled Bilge Water to New Bedford Harbor 

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has assessed a $10,465 penalty to Trawler Capt. Carl, LLC of New Bern, North Carolina, for discharging oiled bilge water to the surface water of New Bedford Harbor near 4 Washington Street in Fairhaven. MassDEP’s surface water discharge regulations prohibit unpermitted discharges which are not incidental to the normal operation of a vessel. On May 5, 2022, MassDEP responded to the report of an oil spill in New Bedford Harbor off Fairhaven. Because a responsible party was not forthcoming, the U.S. Coast Guard conducted a publicly funded cleanup. Later investigation of Trawler Capt. Carl’s commercial fishing vessel in the immediate vicinity of the spill revealed a pronounced “bathtub ring” of oil within the vessel bilge, indicating that the oiled bilge water had recently been pumped out. >click to read< 13:49

Reins Loosened Slightly On Chesapeake Bay Crab Harvest

“We’re being cautious, but I think we’re being responsible,” said Ed Tankard, a board member with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, which voted June 27 to ease certain bushel limits. In Maryland, the state Department of Natural Resources announced on the same day a raft of industry-friendly changes to its crab controls, including modestly increasing the allowable harvest of female crabs and lifting limits on the harvest of males over Labor Day weekend. Those moves came a few weeks after the panel that regulates the Potomac River’s fishing industry agreed to roll back bushel limits on female crabs to 2021 levels. >click to read< 12:21

Save Our Shores Rally Beachgoers to Offshore Wind Fight

A day at the beach took on a different meaning Saturday as offshore wind opposition groups came together to educate the public about the impact of wind energy on Jersey Shore communities during a “Save Our Shores” event on the 68th Street beach in Long Beach Township. A short distance from where groups like Save LBI, Clean Ocean Action, Defend Brigantine, and Save the East Coast set up, Jon Shields and Emily Fiore, both of Surf City, put a familiar Save LBI sign in the sand and stood behind it. Shields said he comes from an engineering background, learned about wind turbines and what to do when they are built in school and that’s where his concerns stem. Lots of photos!  >click to read< 11:09

Breaking news: Scottish Government backs down over HPMAs

Mairi McAllan, Scotland’s Net Zero Secretary, announced today that both the timetable – with implementation due to take place by 2026 – and scope, covering 10% of Scotland’s coastal waters, were no longer government policy. The Scottish Government had published a consultation document last December, setting out plans for Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) in which virtually no form of commercial activity – including all forms of fishing, aquaculture or offshore renewable energy installations – would be permitted. The proposals drew strong criticism from coastal communities, the fishing industry and the fish farming sector, and even from some Scottish National Party (SNP) members of the Scottish Parliament, including former Fisheries Minister Fergus Ewing. >click to read< 09:55

Crew on ill-fated trawler Njord which sank after capsizing ‘weren’t wearing lifejackets’

Seven fishermen on board the Njord, skippered by Danny Normandale from Scarborough, were rescued uninjured. However, an eighth crewmember “succumbed to the effects of immersion in cold water” and drowned, the summary issued by the Marine Accident Investigation Board said. A rescue operation was launched after the alarm was raised on March 6 2022. The interim report said the stern trawler, which was 150 miles north-east of Peterhead, Scotland, capsized on calm seas, while processing a large haul of fish. >click to read< 08:55

We’re Being Regulated Out of Business, New England Fishermen Say

“The New England fishermen are the most regulated fishermen in the world,” Jerry Leeman says. Leeman has been fishing in Maine his entire life. His father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all fishermen. Federal regulations have now reduced the amount of haddock landings for commercial fishermen by more than 80%, Leeman said. The reduction in fish that fishermen are allowed to catch and “offshore wind development,” which is taking over “just under 10 million acres” of ocean, prompted Leeman, along with fisherman Dustin Delano, to create the New England Fishermen’s Stewardship Association to advocate for the region’s fishermen. Video, listen to the podcast  >click to read< 07:55

Atlantic mackerel moratorium extended for 2023 season

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has extended the closure of Atlantic mackerel commercial and bait fishing in Atlantic Canada and Quebec for the 2023 season. In a notice to fish harvesters on Wednesday, the federal department said it was continuing the moratorium “to allow the stock to rebuild.” The moratorium has been in place since March 2022. In its notice, Fisheries and Oceans Canada said results of a Canadian stock assessment found Atlantic mackerel “declined further in the critical zone since the last assessment, with spawning stock biomass at its lowest-observed value.” The critical zone means serious harm is occurring. >click to read< 18:36

‘Unacceptable sacrifice’ – Ottawa extends mackerel moratorium when U.S. continues to fish same stock

Seaward Enterprises Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (SEA-NL) says a decision by federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Joyce Murray to extend the moratorium on mackerel fishing in Canadian waters is an unacceptable sacrifice when the United States continues to fish the same stock. “How foolish is that?” questions Ryan Cleary, SEA-NL’s Executive Director.  “DFO science is questionable at best, and now without mackerel fishermen on the water again this year there will be even less data.” The federal Minister announced Wednesday a continuation of the 2022 closure of commercial and bait fishing for mackerel in Atlantic Canada and Quebec for the 2023 season. Fishing mackerel for food and ceremonial fisheries will remain open. >click to read< 15:55

‘Deadliest Catch’ Star ‘Wild’ Bill Wichrowski Was Initially ‘Skeptical’ of the Show

The popular show reels viewers in with its unvarnished look at the rough-and-tumble world of commercial fishing. But not everyone who participates in the show was initially sold on the idea. Captain ‘Wild’ Bill Wichrowski has said that when he first heard about the series, he wasn’t eager to sign on. These days Wichrowski is a fixture on Deadliest CatchBut he actually wasn’t part of the show’s initial cast. He joined the series in season 6, which aired in 2010. The Great Recession had just happened, and the economic downturn prompted him to say yes to filming. Wichrowski, however, was a holdout. The idea of being on TV “just didn’t hold interest,” he said. Wichrowski said his reality TV fame helped him promote causes he was passionate about, such as the Wounded Warrior Project.  photos, video >click to read< 14:51

Dunmore East designated as landing port for UK vessels

Dunmore East has been redesignated as a Fisheries Landing Port for UK and Northern Irish fishing vessels. Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue signed the Statutory Instrument allowing the vessels to land in the county Waterford village. On Friday, March 3rd, a UK-registered boat requested permission from the Irish authorities to enter the local harbour after suffering a mechanical problem. However, the captain received a reply instructing them to go to Howth instead. Despite this, the vessel entered Dunmore East, which they were much closer to, and subsequently got into trouble with the Irish authorities for doing so. >click to read< 13:21

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 60′ Duckworth Steel Longliner/with permits, Cat 3406T Diesel,

To review specifications, information, and 24 photos’, >click here<, To see all the boats in this series >click here< 11:45

State asks marine council to revoke sustainable label for Russian seafood

The commissioner of Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game has urged the organization that certifies seafood harvests as sustainable to revoke its endorsements for Russian-caught fish. Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang is calling on the Marine Stewardship Council to stop certifying Russian harvests. “It is nothing short of outrageous that over the last 15 months the MSC has observed Russian actions in Ukraine, assessed the implications for its Russian client fisheries, and chosen a path of accommodation and appeasement,” Vincent-Lang wrote in a letter to Rupert Howes, chairman of the London-based nonprofit organization. >click to read< 10:45

Omega Protein and Fishing Partner Ocean Harvesters Successfully Test Fish Spill Response Vessel

Ocean Harvesters, the exclusive fishing partner of Omega Protein, is continuing its commitment to responsible stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay with the deployment of a new response team and recovery vessel to more effectively respond to rare incidents like net tears and fish spills. As part of this effort, Ocean Harvesters, in cooperation with the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC), has successfully tested a skimmer vessel, which will arrive at the scene of a net tear and work to recover spilled fish from the surface that threaten shorelines. This vessel will begin operating in the Bay with this upcoming fishing season. photos, video, >click to read< 09:57

Lobster catches down – ugly spring brings wind and cold

North Lake fisher Kent Poole, who is also the president of the Eastern Kings Fisherman’s Association, said there were struggles along different harbours, particularly on the north shore where last fall’s hurricane left a path of destruction. “They were seeing a lot of damaged lobsters, shells broken and half shells coming up in the traps. Whether you could attribute that to (Hurricane) Fiona, I’m not sure, but they’d never seen it before,” Mr Poole said. On the south side, Souris fisher Max MacDonald said the water temperature remained low. “It was a slow start for about the first three weeks and things kind of got rolling after that and it has been pretty steady,” the captain of Strait Ahead said. >click to read< 09:03

Biden admin under fire for offshore wind impacts on military operations

Earlier this week, Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., industry stakeholders and experts met with officials from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a top federal watchdog agency, to discuss their concerns about offshore wind development. According to Smith, who represents a district along the Atlantic coast home to a naval weapons depot and where offshore wind projects have been proposed, more than an hour of the three-hour meeting was devoted to military impacts. The GAO recently agreed to investigate the wide-ranging effects of offshore wind development after Smith, fellow New Jersey Rep. Jeff Van Drew, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., and several other lawmakers called for a probe. The investigation will look, in part, into wind turbines’ impact on military operations and radar. >click to read< 07:55

The Newfoundland and Labrador Groundfish Industry Development Council are Disappointed with the Northern Cod Maximum Allowable harvest announced today by DFO

“The NLGIDC were hoping for an increase in the harvest level for 2023 based on the extremely successful cod fishery in the 2J3KL area in 2022”, said James Baird, the chair of the NLGIDC. “Weekly harvest rates for the first 4 weeks of this fishery in 2022 all surpassed the highest weekly landings observed in this fishery since 2016”, continued Baird. “Additionally, the lack of science assessments for Northern cod in 2022 and 2023 continue to hinder the development of this iconic fishery and is a cause of considerable concern for the Newfoundland and Labrador fishing industry”, said Paul Grant, the Executive Vice-President of Beothic Fish Processors Ltd. >click to read< 18:48

DFO Rolls Over Cod Quota, Fails to Use All Available Data for Assessment

Today, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) announced a rollover to the Maximum Allowable Harvest (MAH) for the 2J3KL Northern Cod Stewardship fishery. The rollover comes as a surprise to harvesters, who requested an increase this year in line with the health of the stock and commercial needs for both harvesting and processing. Harvesters consider Northern Cod to be one of the best fisheries for both quality and catch rates, and both harvesters and processors are looking for more product this year. >click to read< 17:25

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for June 26, 2023

A little over one week ago (June 16, 2023), a group of fishermen and fish buyers from North Carolina and Florida filed a lawsuit (South Atlantic Red Snapper Dead Discards Lawsuit) against the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for declaratory and injunctive relief challenging the lack of accountability for dead discards of red snapper in the South Atlantic. The case outlines three claims where the Secretary and NMFS have violated the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) by refusing to manage and address recreational dead discards and rebuild the South Atlantic stock of red snapper. >click to read< 16:54

Offshore wind proponents, critics square off at Atlantic Shores hearing

Both proponents and critics of New Jersey offshore wind power generation faced off on Monday during a hearing for a project, that if approved, would construct up to 200 wind turbines less than 9 miles off the Jersey Shore. Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, a project by the power companies Shell and EDF Renewables North America, promises to power about 700,000 homes in New Jersey through the construction of up to 200 ocean wind turbines. Supporters of the project say Atlantic Shores and other offshore wind projects are needed to quickly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are contributing to ocean warming, acidification, coastal flooding and stronger storms. But opponents of the project say it amounts to industrialization of the Atlantic Ocean and will irreparably harm a delicate coastal ecosystem. They argue Atlantic Shores will eliminate crucial scallop and oyster beds to commercial fishing and ruin the ocean view on which local tourism depends. Video, >click to read< 15:06

Federal Fisheries disaster declared for Louisiana over 2020 hurricanes – Mississippi also sees disaster declaration

The federal government has announced its approval of a disaster declaration over damage to Louisiana fisheries due to three 2020 hurricanes, opening the door to federal aid for commercial fishers. Separately, Mississippi fisheries were issued another disaster declaration over the unprecedented 2019 Bonnet Carre Spillway openings in Louisiana. The governor noted the affected parishes were home to nearly 2,500 commercial fishers and vessels combined along with more than 100 wholesale dealers and a similar number of charter captains. The storm led to damaged docks and boating facilities, lost gear and vessels, lost housing and loss of stored seafood, Edwards said. >click to read< 13:14

The Fight Rages On As Byler Inches Closer To A Federal Trial Against The US Coast Guard And City of Kodiak

In late 2022 and early 2023, Professional Mariner Darren Byler of Kodiak, Alaska filed two separate multi-million-dollar lawsuits: one against the United States Coast Guard and Special Agents for fraud and evidence tampering and the other against City of Kodiak and City Officials for the illegal sinking of the 110’ M/V Wild Alaskan. It would appear that Darren Byler has successfully applied hard-hitting evidence against all involved in this case coupled with his undeniable sense of humor, “I’m not a lawyer but I did just recently stay at a Holiday Inn Express”. Byler has a full-court press going after elected and hired public officials which includes City, State and Federal Law Enforcement Officers that Byler claims, “are covering up many State and Federal Felonies in this case” and “we are now obviously living in a Two-Tier Justice System”. Photos, >click to read< 11:43