Monthly Archives: February 2024

State fisheries advisory committees to review issue paper on trawling closures to protect submerged aquatic vegetation

A controversial proposal that could lead to shrimp trawling area closures to protect submerged aquatic vegetation took a step toward future consideration by the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission last week. The commission, policy-making arm of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, voted during its quarterly business meeting in New Bern to refer an issue paper pertaining to the concept to its northern, southern and shellfish/crustacean advisory committees to get input from the public. Glenn Skinner, executive director of the N.C. Fisheries Association, a Morehead City-based trade and lobbying group for commercial watermen, said he and his members are concerned, in part because the state has already permanently or seasonally closed more than 1.2 million acres of estuarine waters to shrimp trawling. more, >>click to read<< 10:18

Lillian’s dream of honouring Evans Head fishing industry comes true

Lillian Colless had her dream come true when a monument to the fishermen of Evans Head was unveiled yesterday, Saturday, February 24 as part of a Fishermen’s Reunion weekend. The monument honours the fishing industry – in the 1950s there were 70 trawlers fishing out of Evans Head. Lillian has been a volunteer at the Evans Head Living Museum for 22 years and has been working towards and waiting for the day that Evans Head had its own fishing monument. The Sydney Fish Market contributed $10,000 towards the statue with Lillian and the museum raising the rest. The stone statue stands tall at more than 2metres high and faces where the first Fishermen’s Co-op was built in 1946. Photos, more, >>click to read<< 09:17

Massachusetts: Lawmakers call for answers in wake of Blue Harvest Fisheries bankruptcy sale

Questions continue to surround the bankruptcy and sale of Blue Harvest Fisheries, the largest groundfish operation in New England, including its impact on the New Bedford fishing industry. The New Bedford company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in September 2023. For U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and Edward Markey (D-Mass) and Rep. William Keating (D-Mass) it’s part of a pattern, and they are seeking answers from Bregal Partners, a Dutch-owned private equity firm, and Blue Harvest’s majority equity holder that owned 89.5 percent of the company. more, >>click to read<< 08:05

Nova Scotia seafood sector far exceeds targets set a decade ago

Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay was roasted by opponents last week when he posted a photo on X (formerly Twitter) of himself eating a lobster in Malaysia while on a trade mission in the Indo-Pacific. The P.E.I. politician was denounced as tone deaf and out of touch with average Canadians, but overseas trade missions are one reason Nova Scotia seafood exports have exceeded goals set for the industry 10 years ago in the Ivany report — a blueprint for expanding the province’s economy. Veteran seafood analyst Peter Norsworthy, while not weighing in on the optics of the MacAulay image, said seafood exports from Nova Scotia to China have grown from $25 million in 2007 to $666 million in 2021, with almost all of that growth in lobster. Photos, more, >>click to read<< 06:31

Most New Jerseyans say they do not want massive wind farms at the shore 

Support for building wind turbines off New Jersey’s coast has taken a dive in the last four years, particularly among residents of shore towns, a Stockton University Poll reveals. Currently, half of the state’s residents are on board with plans to erect wind turbines at sea for electricity, a sharp fall from the 80% support measured in a 2019 survey. Back in 2019, nearly 80% of New Jersey adults were all for offshore wind farms, with a strong backing from 77% of coastal dwellers. Now, only 33% of those living near the coast are fans of the idea, according to the latest findings. more, >>click to read<< 17:20

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol wins one against American fish-shipping companies for violating antiquated Jones Act

Two seafood shipping companies have settled a lawsuit challenging penalties and fines levied by U.S. Customs and Border Protection for violating the Jones Act, a more than 100-year old law requiring merchandise be transported by U.S. flagged vessels between U.S. ports. An exception to the U.S. flagged vessel requirement allows seafood from Alaska to be transported to the mainland U.S. if it travels via Canadian rail.  The companies challenged the penalties and fines in the U.S. District Court of Alaska, saying they did not violate the Jones Act while transporting seafood from Alaska to the mainland U.S. because it was “transported” by Canadian rail.A settlement agreement was finalized between the companies and the U.S. in January. The agreement requires KIF and ARM to pay $9.5 million to the U.S. The companies also stopped using the BCR to transport seafood to the U.S. after this ruling. more, >>click to read<< 13:07

UK authorities pledge support for pollack fishermen

Fishermen mainly in the south-west of the UK who have been hard hit by the restrictions on fishing for pollack will be in line for support, according to a government statement. This includes fast-tracked applications for a share of £6 million in grant funding available through the Fisheries and Seafood Scheme, aimed at those fishing with lines for pollack from <10m boats. Pollack has become a by-catch-only species when the government followed advice to set a zero-TAC for pollack. more, >>click to read<< 11:38

MH370 10 years on: Should the search for the doomed flight continue?

Pressure is mounting on the Australian government to launch a new search for missing plane MH370, as the families of those on board the Boeing 777 prepare to mark 10 years since the doomed flight took off from Kuala Lumpur. 239 passengers and crew were on board the aircraft bound for Beijing when it vanished somewhere in the Indian Ocean on March 8, 2014. Waring believes the authorities should investigate the reported discovery of a large wing of an aircraft reportedly found off the coast of South Australia. Kit Olver told 60 Minutes he immediately thought of MH370 when the piece of debris got caught in the net of his fishing trawler seven months after the flight disappeared. Photos, more, >>click to read<< 09:54

Waiting for details on Gulf of St Lawrence redfish

Canada’s Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Diane Lebouthillier last month announced a long-awaited decision on the reopening of the commercial redfish fishery in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, known as commercial redfish fishery. Now the Atlantic Groundfish Council and its members are awaiting more information on the decision to better understand the details. ‘During the consultation process, we were pleased to see various stakeholders sharing the view that the significance of historical shares and the investments by existing quota holders should be respected and are an important part of a sustainable and successful Canadian redfish fishery,’ said Sylvie Lapointe, President of the Atlantic Groundfish Council. more, >>click to read<< 07:08

A crew member has died after an incident on a Clearwater Seafoods vessel in eastern Nova Scotia

A crew member has died after an incident on a Clearwater Seafoods vessel in eastern Nova Scotia, the province’s Department of Labour confirmed Saturday. The department says it was notified of the death Thursday, and a stop-work order is in place as officials investigate what happened. The death is the second workplace fatality in Nova Scotia this week. Christine Penney, a spokesperson for Clearwater Seafoods, said the incident took place Thursday on board the Anne Risley, which is a company vessel that has been undergoing annual maintenance refits in Mulgrave, N.S. More, >>click to read<< 18:58

Here’s how activists use lobstermen as bait to endanger Maine industry, communities

Far left activists are exploiting the recent death of an endangered whale to imperil the future of Maine’s iconic lobster fishery. These organizations have poor command of the facts and no knowledge of our industry. Their agitating imperils our fishery and the working communities that depend on it. Organizations like the National Resources Defense Council, the Conservation Law Foundation and others are exploiting this event to pressure regulators to impose new rules. These organizations are restless and can claim some success. A self-styled watchdog called Seafood Watch convinced Whole Foods to stop stocking Maine lobster products late in 2022. 3 Videos, more, >>click to read<< By Dustin Delano 16:12

Bailouts

The Alaska Congressional delegation is singing praises for a new $100 million bailout of the state’s floundering commercial salmon processing business. In a joint statement from the office of Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the trio applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) move with the state’s senior Republican lawmaker tried to spin it as a new poverty program to provide “almost $100 million of Alaskan seafood for people experiencing food insecurity. “This purchase won’t just bolster Alaska’s seafood industry and support our coastal communities,” Murkowski was quoted as saying, “but will help bring the highest-quality and healthiest seafood products in the world to families in need. I am grateful for the USDA’s investment in our fishermen and the health of Americans.” There has been no actual “investment in our fishermen,” presuming she is talking about Alaska fishermen. But they may benefit from a deal that helps processors clean out some of their inventory before the upcoming fishing season. More, >>click to read<< 13:06

Oregon: Fishing group reacts to BOEM news on offshore wind

Despite overwhelming opposition from tribes, fishing organizations and coastal communities, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced the release of the final wind energy areas (WEAs) off Oregon’s south coast today. The WEAs remain unchanged from the draft areas released earlier this year. State agencies, fishermen, environmentalists, state legislators and others raised significant concerns about the draft WEAs, apparently to no avail. “This is a slap in the face to the many stakeholders who have been trying to engage with BOEM for the last few years,” said Heather Mann, Director of the Midwater Trawlers Cooperative. “BOEM is a rogue federal agency pushing a dangerous agenda largely unchecked. BOEM will stop at nothing until our oceans are littered with wind turbines and all just to meet an arbitrary political deadline.” more, >>click to read<< 10:24

A day on the ocean with Maine’s tough winter scallopers

Their day began in the 5:30 a.m. darkness, when Josh Todd and his father, Alex Todd, steamed the F/V Jacob & Joshua from Chebeague Island to Littlejohn Island, where they picked up Blanchard. As Alex Todd piloted his boat to the day’s fishing ground west of Eagle Island, Josh Todd and Blanchard readied the vessel’s eight-foot, 1,500-pound dredge where it hung from scaffolding at the stern. Once in position, Blanchard lowered the dredge on a quarter-inch steel cable. The Jacob & Joshua shuddered, and the rigging groaned, as the dredge bit into the graveled sea floor, roughly 80 feet below. 8 photos, more, >>click to read<< 08:15

‘It’s definitely precedent setting:’ commercial prawn operator fined $250K

Prawning in an environmentally sensitive area off the lower Sunshine Coast resulted in a heavy fine and fishing gear seizure against a Delta man. A recent provincial court sentencing hearing in Sechelt followed the conviction of 13 violations under Canada’s Fisheries Act against Dean Keitsch in connection to incidents in July 2020 off the coastal community on board his vessel Dark Star. Fisheries officers retrieved more than 550 prawn traps set at the bottom of the Strait of Georgia Glass Sponge Reef Marine Refuge, which is closed to all forms of bottom fishing. photos, more, >>click to read<< 07:05

U.S. Coast Guard performs medevac recuse off coast of Nantucket for injured crew member

The U.S. Coast Guard performed a medevac recuse off the coast of Nantucket for an injured crew member on Thursday.  According to the Coast Guard, the fishing vessel F/V Rachel Leah was 150 nautical miles off Nantucket when a crewman sustained facial injuries. The victim was described as a 50-year-old with a large laceration. The Coast Guard says a tight line struck him in the face. Video, >>click to read<< 06:01

European fishermen furious as Britain ‘breaks Brexit deal’ to block them

The EU is facing pressure from Denmark and Sweden to take action against the UK in the latest dispute over fishing post-Brexit. The UK has banned catching sand eels on Dogger Bank in the North Sea – a move which could lead Denmark’s fishing industry facing a potential annual loss of €18million (£15.4million). The sand eel is crucial for the economies of both Denmark and Sweden for their uses in pig feed and fish oil. Discussions over how the EU should respond have even included imposing tariffs on UK exports if the dispute escalates to a breach of the on Dogger Bank. Other coastal states are also understood to have backed the demand by Copenhagen for the EU to stand up to London. More, >>click to read<< 16:37

Maine Fishermen’s Forum returns Feb. 28

The Maine Fishermen’s Forum comes to the Samoset Resort on Thursday, Feb. 28 to kick off the 49th annual event. “The Forum brings together fishermen, sea farmers, gear suppliers, state and federal scientists and regulators, and other stakeholders for education, collaboration, commerce, and more,” according to mainefirshermensforum.org. For three days the forum takes over the Samoset with fishing industry group meetings, educational seminars, a trade show with more than 130 exhibitors, children’s activities and social evening happenings. more info, >>click to read<< 15:14

Hull Lifesaving Museum to host bestselling author, fishing boat Captain Linda Greenlaw

Although the 43rd annual Snow Row takes place next weekend (Saturday, March 2), the world- famous rowing race is not the only large-scale event on the Hull Lifesaving Museum’s winter calendar. Greenlaw, the only female swordfishing boat captain on the East Coast who was featured in “The Perfect Storm” by Sebastian Junger (and in the film based on the book), will discuss her remarkable career on Saturday, March 9 at in the auditorium of the Memorial Middle School. Greenlaw wrote three best-selling books about life as a commercial fisher: “The Hungry Ocean,” “The Lobster Chronicles,” and “All Fishermen Are Liars.” She now lives on Isle au Haut, Maine, where she captains a lobster boat. more, >>click to read<< 13:01

Wicklow TD Calls For Ministers To Compensate Wicklow Fisherman

Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady speaking at the Dáil Petitions Committee following evidence given by Arklow Fisherman CJ Gaffney, has called on Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to intervene directly in the issue of the MV Mary Kate in order to cut through the wall of obfuscation constructed by Ministers Charlie McConalogue and Eamon Ryan. Following years of frustration and false leads and unnecessary roadblocks put in place by government Ministers CJ Gaffney continue with the fight to find justice for their case. more, >>click to read<< 11:46

Canadian scallop quota valued at $200M sells to 3 Nova Scotia companies

In a blockbuster seafood deal, St. John’s-based Ocean Choice International (OCI) has sold its Canadian offshore scallop quota, worth an estimated $200 million, to three Nova Scotia companies. Ocean Choice held 16.77 per cent of the offshore scallop quota, which is fished mostly on Georges Bank off southern Nova Scotia. A key driver in the sale was the sinking of the company’s factory trawler Atlantic Destiny on Georges Bank in March 2021. CEO Martin Sullivan says they opted not to replace it. “We were looking at our options and we talked to these three Nova Scotia companies that have been industry partners of ours for a long time.” more, >>click to read<< 08:08

War On Maine’s Lobstermen?

If you want an emblem of the “man’s man,” larger than life, daring and doing, self-reliant, depend-on-nature, a make-it-happen guy, who rises with the dawn, works hard, asks little, wants little, values independence, and will never fly a desk… that’s the Maine lobsterman or woodsman. Now, they are being scapegoated for wind farms – or some other cause – apparently killing Right whales. Go figure. A more cynical irony is hard to imagine. The wind subsidy crowd, sure they will make money off the taxpayer-funded “green wave” with gold at the end of a government-funded rainbow, has decided – in Washington and “activist cells” around America – to hit Maine’s lobstermen. Wrong. more, >>click to read<< by Robert B. Charles 07:17

Russia pointlessly rips up deal allowing British fishermen access to their waters

Fishing boss Mike Cohen poked fun at Russia over the “outlandish” claim that 40 percent of the diet of the average Briton consists of fish. Vladimir Putin has pulled the plug on a decades-old deal which allows British fishermen access to its seas in response to the UK’s decision to impose sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. However, a spokesman for the British fishing industry has pointed out that no British crews have worked the icy waters of the Barents Sea since the 1960s – dismissing the move as “domestic political theatre” “I cannot see any way in which this will affect British fishermen or British consumers.”. more, >>click to read<< 06:23

F/V Cape Cordell: Fishing boat that ran aground near Fortune Harbour returns to dock

A fishing boat that had been grounded near Fortune on Newfoundland’s south coast is back in the water after a week of efforts to return it to safety. The ship, called the Cape Cordell, ran aground just outside Fortune Harbour last Wednesday as a blustery winter storm hit much of Newfoundland and Labrador. Blain Trainor, the Canadian Coast Guard’s acting deputy superintendent of hazard response, said crews successfully got the boat back to Fortune Harbour on Thursday morning. “The biggest challenge for us out here was the weather,” more, >>click to read<<  17:41

Assembly introduces bill to further restrict commercial fishing in California

A new bill introduced in the California State Assembly would significantly limit gillnet fishing in the state, and end trafficking of certain species of fish. Would require the Department of Fish and Wildlife to adopt and enforce regulations requiring any commercial fishing vessel operating with a validly issued permit from the State to have an independent third party on board the vessel when operating within the State fishery. The party’s observer will need to be taken. The bill also states that all incidental exceptions to the catch of giant sea bass and great white sharks would also. A complete ban will be imposed on commercial fishing of both these species. Finally, the use of gill nets and gill nets will be completely banned in all ocean waters off California beginning January 1, 2025. more, >>click to read<< 15:38

“Not For Sale”: Ocean City Firmly Rejects US Wind Offer

Ocean City officials have issued a resounding public rejection of offshore wind company US Wind’s Community Benefits Package offer. The Community Benefits Package, which was extended to various Delaware Coastal Towns as well, included up to $2 million disbursements to communities over a 20-year period. According to Ocean City, in exchange for the commitment, US Wind expects local government officials to refrain from commenting negatively or objecting to US Wind’s offshore project.  Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan says US Wind approached him in December with the Community Benefits Package offer. more, >>click to read<< 12:53

Senate committee hears setnet buyback bill

A Senate committee on Monday considered legislation that would give Cook Inlet’s east side setnet fishermen the opportunity to retire their fishing permits through a volunteer, lottery-style buyback program. The bill, which still needs to pass in both the Alaska House and Senate in the next 12 weeks, would create the program, but not fund the buyouts. That money would need to come from outside groups. The bill, S.B. 82, is named the East Side of Cook Inlet Set Net Fleet Reduction Act and is sponsored by Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, R-Nikiski. The bill aims to make Cook Inlet’s east side setnet fishery more economically viable and to reduce tensions between fishery user groups by reducing the amount of fishing gear in the water and giving permit holders an opportunity to exit the fishery. more, >>click to read<< 10:24

Wolastoqey fishers say proposed elver fishery shutdown infringes on treaty rights

Some Wolastoqey fishers say closure of the fishery for baby eels, or elvers, this year will infringe on their treaty rights and impact their right to earn a moderate livelihood from fishing. Last week, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) issued letters to commercial licence holders that it will not renew licences ahead of the elver season that typically starts in late March. DFO shut down the elver fishery in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia last April because of conservation and safety concerns, after reports of violence and overfishing by unauthorized harvesters. Tyler Sabattis, a lobster and scallop fisherman, said he got into elver fishing last year to earn extra income for his family and community in Bilijk (Kingsclear First Nation), near Fredericton. more, >>click to read<< 09:34

Bacher: CDFW salmon info webinar to discuss 2023 returns, 2024 ocean abundance estimates

Will there be salmon seasons this year on the ocean waters off the California Coast and on the Sacramento and Klamath rivers? We will get an idea of the potential for recreational and commercial salmon seasons this year when the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) holds its annual Salmon Information Meeting via webinar at 10 a.m. March 1. The meeting will provide informational presentations on topics including last year’s spawning escapement, estimates of forecasted ocean abundance and management goals for 2024 ocean salmon season. Last year all ocean recreational and commercial fishing and river recreational fishing for salmon was closed in California. more, >>click to read<< 07:58

Fishermen rescued from sinking boat after capsizing in strong winds

RNLI’s Oban lifeboat was tasked by Stornoway coastguard after a 17-metre fishing boat began taking on water south of the Garvellachs on Wednesday afternoon at around 1pm. When the lifeboat arrived, they discovered two members of the crew on a life-raft while two others had remained on board in a bid to stem the flow of water coming in. The Prestwick-based Coastguard helicopter Rescue 199 and a local workboat were standing by, however, strong winds and a heavy sea made it impossible to transfer across members of the lifeboat crew to the fishing boat with a salvage pump. photos, more, >>click to read<< 06:42