Tag Archives: California

Taking a Pause – Ropeless fishing gear bill gets put on hold

The legislative push for ropeless gear in the Dungeness crab fishing industry is taking a pause after the Assembly bill’s author was sworn in as California’s 34th attorney general. Authored by Assembly member Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) in collaboration with Social Compassion in Legislation and the Center for Biological Diversity, the bill argued that fishermen use antiquated trapping gear that harms marine life. California Coast Crab Association President Benjamin Platt said the Center for Biological Diversity “lobbied hard to find somebody else to carry that bill. Platt calls the pause on the Whale Entangle Prevention Act a “David and Goliath moment for California fishers.” >click to read< 07:46

Nordic Aquafarms pushes forward with onshore fish farm in Humboldt County

Humboldt County has given Norway-based seafood company Nordic Aquafarms the green light to move forward,,, “We also expect the discharge draft permit to be sent out for public comments by the (Water Quality Control Board) soon,” said Marianne Naess,,, “Fishermen and the Humboldt Fishermen’s Marketing Association as a whole really have environmental concerns about the Nordic project,” Fisherman Jake McMaster told the Times-Standard. “Concerns from sucking 10 million gallons of water out of the bay every day as well as fish escapes. >click to read< 12:54

Multiple challenges hamper commercial Dungeness crab season

The commercial Dungeness season in California opened late because the state’s Risk Assessment Mitigation Plan (RAMP), which is in full-force for the first time this season,,, “It’s a little bit tough right now,” said Dick Ogg, who has fished commercially out of Bodega Bay for more than 20 years. “That’s kind of an understatement.” Ogg is a member of the Dungeness Crab Gear Working Group, which contributed to the RAMP. Ogg says he and other vessel operators have come up with a variety of strategies to reduce the chances of migrating whales or endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtles getting tangled up in gear. Ogg pulled his crab gear out early this year, deciding to put his energy into prepping for the salmon season. But he said for the vessels still at it, the higher market prices made up for low catches.  >click to read< 14:08

National Marine Fisheries Service designates critical whale habitat areas in Alaska and the West Coast

The National Marine Fisheries Service Wednesday published a final rule designating critical habitat for three populations of humpback whales including some areas in Alaska. The federal ruling affects the eastern Aleutians, Kodiak, Prince Williams Sound, as well as the coastlines of Washington, Oregon, and California. The rule establishes about 116,000 square nautical miles of protected area for the endangered Western North Pacific and Central American populations of humpback whales and the threatened Mexico population. >click to read< 09:14

California Fishermen are worried about the commercial salmon season

The commercial salmon season typically starts on May 1, but the season’s start for the coastal area of California is expected to be delayed due to low salmon numbers. Instead of having a wide-open season from May to September, there will likely be only one to two weeks each month for fishing, with expectations for a late June start for the Bay Area, according to Kandice Morgenstern, an environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Ocean Salmon Project. “It’s very personal, and it hits home. Don’t put your eggs all in that basket,” Half Moon Bay fisherman Don Marshall said.  >click to read< 08:54

Shipwreck lodged on Marin coast probed for pollution threat remains in place

Nearly a month after a 90-foot fishing boat ran aground on the Marin coast, the wreckage remains in place while specialists assess the risk of environmental damage. A team of marine engineers and safety experts has been enlisted to determine how much fuel is aboard the American Challenger, which drifted to shore on March 6. So far, the contractors have evaluated 13 of the 17 tanks onboard, but progress was halted when the ship shifted, making work conditions unsafe,,, >click to read< 08:08

California salmon season delayed and shortened, angering North Bay fishermen. Closest start may be May 1

Expected to be decided within the next few weeks, there are three proposals on the table, all shorten the season considerably. The closest start may be May 1, instead of April. Association President John McManus predicted a 40% loss in the season for sports fishermen, while Crescent City commercial fisherman George Bradshaw predicted the industry’s take would be down by two thirds. The bad news for a delayed and restricted salmon fishing season comes on the heels of a slow, sputtering start for crab fishing fleets, which were stalled while fishery officials waited for migrating whales to leave the coastal region. >click to read< 08:05

Wreckage Removal on Hold! F/V American Challenger stuck on Marin coast until salvage funds identified

State and federal officials are wrapping up their emergency response to a wrecked fishing vessel on the northern Marin coast,,, Tom Cullen, administrator for the state Office of Spill Prevention and Response, was outwardly frustrated by the long-running discussions about the problem and, in particular, by the American Challenger — an uninsured boat from out of state on its way to be scuttled being towed by a tugboat that also was uninsured.,, Both the tugboat and the 1975 American Challenger are owned by Ship International Inc., whose principal, Felix Vera, are not able to fund the salvage. video, >click to read< 10:04

Declining salmon runs to restrict 2021 commercial season

During a press briefing on Friday morning, John McManus President of the Golden State Salmon Association said the added restrictions will deal a blow to commercial fishermen. “You may wonder why we’re in this predicament this year, there are some near term and some longer-term reasons why but at the end of the day, we’re seeing a decline in our salmon runs here in the state of California,”,,, Joe Conte said his biggest concern is losing more of his fleet. “I saw a lot of guys just kind of hang it up during crab season, a lot of guys saying they were gonna see how salmon turned out before they made some life decisions,” >click to read< 09:55

I’m Desireé – Woman Reunites With Her Rescuers 35 Years After They Saved Her Life

In 1986, Desireé Rodriguez and her family went on a day trip on their family boat. What started as a carefree day trip soon turned into tragedy. At the time, Rodriguez, who was 9-years-old, had fallen asleep next to her little sister at a table on the boat’s lower deck. She was awakened by her father’s orders to get out of the ship because it was sinking. “One by one, her family members just let go of life. All hope seemed lost, but then a group of fishermen spotted her. Paul Strasser and Mark Pisano are two long-time fishermen based out of San Pedro. Great story, with an emotional video. >click to read< 07:33

State and local agencies continue work to address grounded vessel at Dillon Beach

Officials said the Coast Guard Sector San Francisco watchstanders received initial reports at 8:45 a.m. Friday, March 5, that the American Challenger was being towed southward by the Tug Hunter from Puget Sound, Washington, when the Tug Hunter lost propulsion due to a rope entangling the propeller. On Tuesday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said marine surveyors boarded the American Challenger to continue their inspection of the vessel’s fuel tanks by using sound tapes and paste to get an accurate reading of the amount of fuel aboard. >click to read< 07:45

Oil contamination found at Marin beach when vessel grounds following towing incident

The incident happened Friday morning while the 90-foot fishing boat was being towed south from the Seattle area, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The tugboat Hunter became disabled when a rope got tangled in its propeller. Rough sea and poor visibility forced the tug crew to discontinue the job, the department said. The tugboat was towed to Sausalito, and the fishing boat drifted into the rocks south of Estero de San Antonio. The boat, named American Challenger, is being watched by officials,,, On Monday, the Coast Guard did not have an estimated time in which the fishing boat could be removed. >click to read< 12:10

Momentum building for California offshore wind farms

Last month, Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, introduced a bill that sets a target of generating 3,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2030,  which could power hundreds of thousands of homes, and 10,000 megawatts by 2040. “Put in perspective, the larger target is nearly equal to the electrical generating capacity of all the large solar farms in California today and nearly double all the wind farms now operating on land in California,”. Chiu said his Assembly Bill 525 would create 14,000 jobs. (sure!) Commercial fishing organizations also have expressed concerns about whether the wind farms would put fishing areas off limits. >click to read< 13:02

Bill 534 could eliminate whale entanglements, hurt (destroy) the crab fishery

The Whale Entanglement Prevention Act introduced on Feb. 10 proposes that trap fisheries such as the crabbing industry use ropeless gear by Nov. 1, 2025,,, Authored by Rob Bonta-D California, in collaboration with Social Compassion in Legislation and the Center for Biological Diversity, Assembly Bill 534 argues that crabbers use antiquated trapping gear that needlessly harms marine life. California Coast Crab Association President Bejamin Platt said the industry has been against ropeless gear because it’s not cost-effective the current price for the gear is more than $1,700.  >click to read< 15:37

Herring Fishermen Sue Chevron Over California Oil Leak

A pipeline rupture that gushed hundreds of gallons of oil into the San Francisco Bay spurred a class action filed Tuesday that accuses a Chevron refinery of prioritizing profits over safety and threatening the survival of herring in the area for years to come. “We have been working for years to preserve and protect the herring that spawn in the Bay,” said plaintiff John Mellor, a longtime fisherman and vice president of the San Francisco Herring Association.  On Feb. 9, a Chevron refinery in the East Bay city of Richmond, California, discovered a pipeline leak,,, >click to read< 10:45

California lobstermen ride high-price wave from China

Since it became home to California’s first lobster fishery in the early 1870s, the coastal city of Santa Barbara has established a long and proud history of lobster fishing. The industry is now experiencing a surge in demand because of a trade war between nations that are thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean. Almost all of the lobsters caught in the waters off of Santa Barbara’s coast this season will end up in China, where an ongoing dispute with Australia has worked to the advantage of California’s lobster fishing community. The surge in demand from Chinese markets has resulted in high prices that fishermen and distributors here say are without precedent, as well as plenty of uncertainty. >click to read< 08:36

California’s fish population rebounds thanks to strict fishing rules

Among the West Coast’s shrinking fish populations 30 years ago, the largely bottom-dwelling groundfish species were particularly hard hit by overfishing and were declared a federal economic disaster. That spurred one of the world’s most aggressive fishery management programs, with an approach that includes science- and data-driven catch limits and no-fishing zones. Of 17 global regions with ocean fishery management programs examined in a new study by the University of Washington, the west coasts of the United States and Canada had the strictest approaches. >click to read< 09:16

Del Norte County commercial fishermen will drop their pots Thursday

The first Dungeness crab of the season is expected to hit Citizens Dock on Saturday,,, Following a meeting Monday morning, fishermen in Oregon and California and wholesalers agreed on $2.75 per pound of Dungeness crab,,, Seafood processors, including Pacific Choice Seafood, Bornsteins Seafoods and Hallmark Fisheries had offered $2.50 per pound,,, The discussion Monday involved fishermen in Brookings, Crescent City, Trinidad, Eureka and Fort Bragg, Shepherd said. Fishermen agreed to set their pots starting at 8 a.m. Thursday for a 48-hour soak and bring their catch in on Saturday, he said. >click to read< 07:39

Rough Seas Delaying Crab Pot Deployment – A gale warning from the Eureka office of the National Weather Service, in effect now until 3 a.m. Wednesday from Point St. George to Cape Mendocino, states “strong winds will cause hazardous seas which could capsize or damage vessels and reduce visibility.” >click to read<

Half Moon Bay: Commercial crab fishing set to start Monday

Commercial crab fishing season will start Monday, Jan. 11, in the Half Moon Bay area after local fishermen reached an agreement with seafood companies,,, The agreement means local Half Moon Bay fisherman will sell fresh crab on Johnson Pier at Pillar Point Harbor as early as Friday, Jan. 15. Local stores could see fresh crab arrive that weekend, according to Half Moon Bay fisherman Frank Souza. “We’re excited to get it started and stop all the phone calls and the stuff we are not good at,” Souza said. Fishing associations representing San Francisco, Bodega Bay and Half Moon Bay have reached a gentlemen’s agreement not to start setting down nets and gear in fishing waters until 8 a.m. Monday,, >click to read< 08:48

California Crab Fishermen Reduce Asking Price To $3.10; Representative for Processors Says COVID-19 Effects On Dungeness Market Continue – >click to read<

Price strike drags on for California crab fleet holding out for better price

“We can’t afford to do these operations with the price they’re offering. We go backward,” said Ben Platt, president of the California Coast Crab Association. “That’s why everyone’s holding together, holding strong. We were starting at $3 a pound 10 years ago, and our costs have definitely gone up.” The additional two bits that crabbers are seeking before they’ll be wiling to leave dockside makes an enormous difference when multiplied by thousands of pounds.,, Veteran Bodega Bay crabber Tony Anello, part of a family long tied to the industry. “You’re not going to be able to keep your crew long, because you can’t sustain them. >click to read< 09:01

California: Dungeness crab fishermen unite during uncertain times

Commercial fishermen from the Half Moon Bay Seafood Marketing Association, the San Francisco Crab Boat Owners Association and the Bodega Bay Fishermen’s Marketing Association, have come together to broker an agreement that will ensure a safe and orderly start to the commercial Dungeness Crab season in California, once price negotiations are settled. Local groups are coordinating with all California ports,,, >click to read< 07:40

Five Days Into Commercial Dungeness Season, Seafood Buyers, Fishermen Haggle Over Price

Though California’s commercial Dungeness season opened five days ago, Crescent City’s commercial fleet has yet to drop pots as fishermen and buyers haggle over price. Fishermen are asking for $3.25 per pound while Pacific Choice Seafoods, of Eureka, is offering $2.50 per pound, Rick Shepherd, Crescent City Commercial Fisherman’s Association,,, “Pacific Choice has stayed on $2.50 and the boats in Oregon and California have not accepted that offer,” Shepherd said, adding that fishermen continue to negotiate with buyers. >click to read< 07:07

California Dungeness Crab season opens Dec. 23

The official opening date of Nov. 15 had been delayed for weeks in the central California zone, from the Sonoma/Mendocino county line south, because of the possibility of migrating whales getting tangled in fishing lines. And it had been delayed in the northern zone, which consists of Humboldt, Mendocino and Del Norte counties, because the sample catch failed to reach the poundage required for testing.,, Since 2015, there have been delays in all but one commercial Dungeness season. A toxin, domoic acid, that could sicken anyone who eats the tainted crab destroyed Northern California’s 2015-2016 commercial season and created delays in other years. >click to read< 09:52

Factory farmed salmon: inland farms offer alternative to diminishing wild stocks, with bigger carbon emissions

One of these land-based salmon farms is planned for Bucksport, Another is intended for Belfast,,, Meanwhile, Nordic Aquafarms, a Scandinavian company with two farms in Denmark, one in Norway and plans for another in northern California, has chosen Belfast for its site. A more ambitious project than that planned for Bucksport, the company hopes to create the second largest such farm in the world. Welcomed by officials for its potential contribution to the town’s economy, there has been opposition from some local people,,, Land based farming using an RAS, recirculating aquaculture system, raises the fish with no exposure to the ocean other than fast flowing, temperature controlled water which is pumped in and out of the fish tanks round the clock. >click to read< 14:15

Blue collar fishermen deserve to make a living, not persecution from weak minded politicians and wealthy enviros

Austen Brown started fishing commercially with his father off California’s coast when he was only 8 years old. By the time he was 13, Austen was making his own living as a fisherman, and he has spent the past few decades fishing for everything from codfish to shark. But perhaps his favorite target is the elusive swordfish.,, The swordfish is also a favorite catch for Chris Williams, who has spent more than 40 years plying his commercial fishing trade off the California coast, including targeting swordfish with drift gillnets. Tragically, California’s drift gillnet ban comes at the expense of the fishermen and their families who will be put out of business for no good reason. Video, >click to read< 08:34

Extended Closure of CA Dungeness Crab Fishing Season Will Hurt Working Families, Eliminate Holiday Crab Traditions

“Since mid-November, fishermen have had to sit idle at the dock and accept delays in the opening of their crab season due to the new, highly restrictive and unfair RAMP rules. “And now the season is being postponed for a full month,” said Ben Platt, president of the California Coast Crab Association (CCCA). Called the Risk Assessment Mitigation Program (RAMP), the new CDFW rules are more restrictive than even the strictest fishery laws in the nation,,, Our fishery is having zero impact on the species,,, “This is a huge success story, and in light of it, the new regulations constitute a solution in the absence of any real problem,” >click to read< 11:29

California Lobster season debuts amid changing seafood industry

It’s California spiny lobster season, from October through mid-March. Local fishermen and seafood retailers are celebrating its arrival, announcing the happy news that prices are the lowest in many years and the supply plentiful. What’s changed? In recent years, more than 95 percent of these well-loved California crustaceans were shipped to China, leaving only high-priced, limited quantities for local consumption. Rumors circulated that some fishermen were contemplating suspending operations, discouraged by their lost markets. Then, just as quickly, attitudes changed, as reality sank in. “People have to eat. If we don’t fish, what are people going to eat?” >click to read< 09:40

Lobster season fast approaching – International market struggles could prove for huge domestic boost this year

With lobster season fast approaching, for some it means the return of one of the best seafood delicacies out there. But for Ray Kennedy, it’s a chance to return to the ocean one more time and enjoy doing what he’s loved nearly his whole life: catching lobsters. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years now and I believe I was fish in a former life, so I just always gravitate back to the ocean,” Mr. Kennedy, CEO of Defiance Seafoods and the man who runs the fishing vessel “Rain Man,” said with a laugh. >click to read< 20:59

CARES Act: California Fisheries Relief Funding Soon to be Available for Select Sectors Affected by Coronavirus

Coastal and marine fishery participants – including licensed commercial fishermen, fish buyers, aquaculture businesses, charter boat owners and guides – who have experienced a loss of income due to the effects of COVID-19 may be eligible for federal relief funding disbursed through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). The funding is part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This more than $2 trillion economic relief package provides direct economic assistance for American workers, families and small businesses that have been impacted COVID-19. About $18 million in CARES funding was earmarked specifically for fisheries assistance in California. >click to read< 12:07

Coronavirus: Commercial Fishing During A Pandemic

My name’s Jake Bunch and I’m a commercial fisherman based out of Half Moon Bay, California. Jake started fishing in 2012. He fishes for king salmon, Dungeness crab, and sablefish, or black cod. Jake says he hasn’t been fishing anywhere near as much as he usually would this time of year. With shelter-in-place and other coronavirus related restrictions there just haven’t been enough buyers and reliable markets to make it worth it. Before COVID, about 75% of commercially fished salmon in California went to restaurants. Now, that market has mostly dried up. >click to read< 10:36