Tag Archives: commercial fishing

Long a lifeblood, South Shore fishing industry faces numerous challenges

Over his more than five decades fishing commercially, Frank Mirarchi has watched the business evolve from thriving and straightforward to complicated and diminished, with skyrocketing costs, foreign competition and changing regulations choking an industry synonymous with the South Shore. In the late 1960s, when he purchased his first of three successive boats, fish was abundant enough to make a solid living off of. “By 1985 or so, fishing was pretty bad,” Mirachi said. With profits dropping, he switched from having two other crew members to one. In 1994, the federal government stared limiting the number of days fishermen can be on the water to combat overfishing. Before, some spent 200 or more days fishing each year. Over the years, it was gradually reduced to 30. Mirarchi said this “wasn’t particularly successful”,,, >click to read< 08:54

Kodiak Alaska, Crabpots Illustration, Bering Sea, King Crab Fishing, Habits, Spiritual Disciplines

I used to love the King Crab Festival which was celebrated in my hometown of Kodiak, Alaska every year. I used to love the activities, the food and the rides which pulled in to town each early summer. Many of my friends growning up had dad’s who were crab fisherman. Each year these dads and their sons would load dozens of crabpots onto their boats,, When looking at this industry and especially those nylon ropes which lifted those crabpots, there is a life and spiritual lesson which I would like to share with you all. When one looks closely at those all important ropes, there is a picture which we all need to be reminded of. What we reinforce or what we repeat is critical to our productivity and impact in our lives and in our worlds. >Video, click to watch< 08:14

Congress gave $300 million to help fisheries. The Great Lakes got zero. Why were they left out?!

The nationwide shutdown was especially ill-timed for fishers in the Great Lakes. “We had reports of commercial fishermen in Michigan who had a catch with absolutely nowhere to sell it,” Luckily, there was a plan in place to help commercial fishers and charter boats. But when it came time to distribute that funding, most of the Great Lakes states were left out altogether. That came as a shock to many fishers. “Right up until the final hour, a lot of the Great Lakes fishery participants thought that they were going to be included,” says Gravelle. Why the Great Lakes were left out? >click to read< 14:53

Gillnetters approve, anglers reel at Columbia River salmon policy change

A recent update to the state’s Columbia River salmon management policy to change harvest allocations and allow commercial gillnetting on the main stem has anglers reeling. “We’ve made a lot of changes over the last 30 years to how we fish in order to adjust to (federal Endangered Species Act) listings, in order to adjust to harvesting the best fish in the river at the best times,” said Robert Sudar, a commercial fishing advisor based in Longview. “It’s a totally different fishery than it was 30 to 40 years ago.” >click to read< 10:08

Coast Guard medevacs injured fisherman near Cold Bay, Alaska

The Coast Guard medevaced an injured fisherman approximately 40 miles west of Cold Bay, Alaska, Wednesday. At 2:30 p.m. an Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew hoisted the injured man and transferred him to awaiting emergency medical services in Cold Bay for further transport to Anchorage. At 8:34 a.m., command center watchstanders received a medevac request from the 89-foot fishing vessel Atlantico for a 40 year-old crewmember who sustained a back injury. Video, >click to read< 22:17

‘Deadliest Catch’: 8 Things You Didn’t Know About the Show

For 16 seasons, viewers have loved watching crab fishermen in the Bering Sea during the Alaskan fishing season. The Mike Rowe narrated show is now Emmy Award winning and has helped shed light on how commercial fishing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. Here are some things you might not know about the popular show. 1, How much do they actually make during crab season? (the first video features Captains Gary and Kenny Ripka). 3, Even though cameras are rolling, no one is actually safe onboard! When they say reality show…they mean reality. Captain Sig Hansen has claimed that the crew put their lives on the line every day, and that includes the cameramen. At one point, he had to save a cameraman’s life when a crane holding 900 lbs of crab almost knocked him off the boat. The crewmembers are a bunch of badasses, living on the water for three to five-week stretches right alongside the fishermen. It’s a dangerous job, but someone has to film it. >Videos, click to read< 16:43

Around The World: Fishing For Cordova Salmon

Located on Prince William Sound in southeast Alaska and framed by the Chugach Mountain Range, Cordova, AK, was home to Eyak native peoples when named “Puerto Cordova” after a Spanish admiral by explorer Salvador Fidalgo in 1790. In 1886 the New England Fish Orca Cannery was built three miles north of present-day Cordova. It at one time processed most of Prince William Sound’s salmon harvest and employed hundreds of workers. It remained in operation until 1986.,, Priced at about $175,000 apiece, around 500 salmon fishing permits are issued every year in Cordova. They are divided into three categories: drift gillnets, set gillnets, and purse seines. photos, >click to read<, To view past articles and pictures, go to www.DaveGibsonImages.com.   14:17

‘Amazing’ halibut, one of the largest fish in the Gulf of Maine, are making a comeback

Halibut are one of the largest fish in the Gulf of Maine, second only to bluefin tuna, swordfish and large sharks. Historically they were a mainstay of the fishing industry along with cod. The National Marine Fishery Service began regulating the halibut fishery in the 1990s and there is a one fish per trip per boat limit on catch. This has been a boon to their rebound. This past spring while fishing for haddock my husband, David, caught four huge halibut. They ranged in size from 40 to 60 pounds. In the past, he has caught one or two a year which were large enough to be legal to keep. The current minimum size is 41 inches. My husband caught two halibut near Jeffrey’s ledge in the mid-1990s which weighed 120 to 140 pounds.,, but David has noticed a strange thing about halibut, they seem to swim in pairs.   >click to read< 15:29

Mayday – Mayday – Mayday: Tuna boat throws curveballs to new owners

The last thing any fisherman ever wants to do is place a mayday call because their boat is sinking, but for Capt. Adam Hall and the F/V Tommy John, that’s exactly what happened late in the night on Saturday, July 25, about a 20-hour voyage off the south Washington coast. Hall and boat co-owner Greg Surgener of Southern California-based Surgener Fisheries sank big dollars into purchasing the Tommy John, moored at the time in San Diego. The duo wanted to find a boat to tuna and crab fish and felt the 50-footer was the right fit for their needs. Named for retired four-time Major League Baseball All-Star pitcher Tommy John, nicknamed “The Bionic Man,” the vessel was specifically built for tuna 40 years ago. >click to read< 08:48

“The Case Against Alaska’s Pebble Mine” – Tucker Carlson goes after Pebble

Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson has become the latest influential conservative to voice concern about the proposed Pebble mine in southwest Alaska. Carlson said in his “The Case Against Alaska’s Pebble Mine” segment, there is a clear partisan split. But not with Pebble. “Suddenly,” Carlson said, “you are seeing a number of Republicans, including some prominent ones, including some very conservative Republicans, saying, ‘Hold on a moment, maybe Pebble mine is not a good idea. Maybe you should do whatever you can not to despoil nature. Maybe not all environmentalism is about climate.'” >click to read< 17:38

For New England lobstermen, resilience in ‘a season of uncertainty’

This is a tough season so far for Ms. Rosen, but over her 15 years of lobstering off Vinalhaven, Maine, she’s always been a better fall fisherman, she says. This season is like no other – the lobsters are slow to appear, but more than that, the coronavirus has caused trade to plummet and tourists to stay home. Rosen is selling her lobster for $3.35 per pound – a dollar less than last year – and she’s torn between wanting to catch more and worrying about flooding the market by catching too much. To supplement, she picked up a job with UPS in the afternoons after fishing.  Ms. Rosen often fishes for her own bait rather than buying it.,, On Cape Cod, Glen Sveningson has been getting about $5.30 a pound wholesale, but it’s starting to fall. “Last year was one of the best years I’ve seen,” he says. >click to read< 13:17

Commercial fishing sails into final chapter

The final nail in the coffin? According to the news, the traditional mom-and-pop style operations would move out of the Great Lakes for good, and leave the door open only for large, investor-style operations to take over the industry. “What it does, it finally just chokes us out,” said Amber Peterson, operator of The Fish Monger’s Wife, one of the remaining commercial fisheries. “It doesn’t even offer us the dignity of a quick death.” >click to read< stories related to this post, >click here< 10:15

A family of crabbers – Tradition provides a through line for generations

With his orange gloved hands, my dad pops the shell off the crab, then twists the crab in half and pulls the guts off, and then puts the crab halves in the tote beside him. We’re processing Dungeness crab at Mickey’s Fishcamp. My dad tells me when his mother first came up to live in Wrangell, she worked as crab shaker at the local cannery. Crabbing and shaking run in our family. We bought these crabs from my son, Mitch Mork, who’s deck-handing for his dad this summer, along with my two grandsons, Owen, 9, and Chatham, 6. They’re working 225 pots around the Wrangell area. Mitch crabs partially for work but mostly to hang out with his dad. He’s also teaching my grandkids how to work hard and showing them that being an employee isn’t their only option in life. >click to read< 11:05

Humpy harvest in PWS surges to exceed 12M fish

Harvests of over 9 million pink salmon over the past week have pushed Alaska’s yearly total to over 25 million fish, including upwards of 12 million humpies caught in Prince William Sound. Alaska Department of Fish and Game finfish area management biologists in Cordova said the cumulative pink salmon harvest in the Sound through Aug. 1 alone was estimated at 10.5 million common property fish and 1.5 cost recovery fish. Preliminary commercial salmon harvest data compiled by ADF&G through Tuesday, Aug. 4, put the total commercial salmon harvest in Prince William Sound at 11.2 million fish, including 12.3 million pink, 1.9 million chum, 902,000 sockeye, 4,000 coho and 4,000 king salmon. >click to read< 19:03

DMF begins process of distributing federal CARES Act relief to fishing and seafood industries

The Division of Marine Fisheries has begun the process to distribute federal disaster relief that Congress and the President approved to mitigate the financial impacts to marine fisheries participants that have suffered at least a 35% loss of revenue due to the ongoing pandemic. In the days ahead, some Massachusetts permit holders in certain sectors will be receiving mailed applications.  In March, the CARES Act provided $300 million of aid for the seafood industry with $27.8 million coming to Massachusetts, the third highest of all coastal states.  The funds were allocated among the states based on the relative contributions to the economy of four distinct sectors: commercial fishing, marine aquaculture, seafood processing, and for-hire (party and charter boats) fishing businesses. >click to read< 10:14

On the fishing docks of Point Judith: Sales are down, but they still work hard in the heat

She was surrounded by 450-pound barrels of the bottom fish, brought in by draggers. Despite wholesale lobster prices being down from the pandemic, boats are still going out to scratch out a paycheck. It’s all they have. Andrea was wearing orange oilers and rubber boots in the sun, driving a huge needle through four frisbee-size skates at a time to make a “string.” The bait not only lures lobsters but is good eating for them during the days they’re in traps before being hauled. Andrea joked that her skates are what makes lobsters taste good. I asked how old she is. She smiled and said, “None of your business,” then allowed she might be in her mid-60s. She’s a longtime fixture on the docks, having started “The Bait Company” there 36 years ago to serve the big boats that go out to sea. photos, >click to read< 22:15

Stop treating fishing like a second class industry

It is true that fishing represents only a small part of our total economy, but the Government should not undervalue the thousands of jobs fishing creates not just on boats large and small, but in processing, logistics and food service. They are also at risk of ignoring the cultural and historical importance of fishing as part of our maritime heritage and our communities. The creation of this Trade and Agriculture Commission is to be welcomed and the NFU and its supporters congratulated for their successful campaign. >click to read< 10:53

Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 24, 2020

A lull in returns today at 468,000 fish, the daily harvest bay-wide was about half what it was the day before. The total run is 55.9 million fish, about half a million away from last year’s. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released the final environmental review for the proposed Pebble Mine. A Seattle-based seafood processor will pay out more than $440,000 to workers at a Bristol Bay cannery, the result of a settlement after the company was sued in June. “We think that it is a fair and just compensation for the workers that were held for 12 days at a hotel without being paid,” said Jonathan Davis, a managing partner of the San Francisco-based Arns Law Firm, which filed the lawsuit. The firm took on the case pro bono, so it will not receive any compensation for its work. The processor, North Pacific Seafoods, was sued for false imprisonment and failing to pay the workers, among other charges.  >click to read< 15:30

‘We have no market, but lots of lobsters’: a Maine lobsterwoman fights for her livelihood

“If I’m not fishing, I’m working on gear or my boat. Or meetings involving fishing. It’s what I eat, sleep and breathe,” lobsterwoman Julie Eaton tells me.,, I ask her what it’s like to start lobster season. “How do I even begin to tell you what it feels like?” she says, sighing. “It feels like I’ve held my breath all winter. Finally, when I turn the key to my boat and I’m going across the bay, my lungs fill with air for the first time in months. All of a sudden I feel alive.,,, “The pandemic is killing us,” Julie Eaton tells me. “It’s a terrible thing. We have no market, but lots of lobsters. We’re safe to fish on our boats. On my boat, it’s just me and my stern-woman. But I have no place to sell my catch! >click to read<  08:44

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

Seattle seafood company reports 6 more crew have Coronavirus in Dutch Harbor

The cases are onboard the American Triumph, which is operated by Seattle-based American Seafoods. Last month, the company announced that more than 100 crew members on three of the company’s six vessels had tested positive for the virus. At the time, experts questioned the company’s decision to mandate a five-day quarantine period, rather than the 14 days recommended by many health officials. American Seafoods subsequently said it had extended its quarantine period to two weeks. The cases announced Friday bring the total tally of positive cases on American Seafoods vessels to 117 since late May, according to spokesperson Suzanne Lagoni. >click to read< 10:18

Apalachicola Bay Oystermen to Lose Livelihoods – Supreme Court defers ruling on water war

Florida is poised to close Apalachicola Bay to oyster harvesting in a board vote slated for July 22. The proposed closure is the most dramatic step to be taken by Florida during its longstanding complaint against Georgia. The closure would start Aug. 1 and extend through Dec. 31, 2025. “You’ve got people out there working in the bay,” commission Chairman Noah Lockley Jr., a commercial fisherman said at the commission’s July 7 meeting. “These people need to either get some help or get some retraining, or something. That’s what they’re supposed to do, but they’re just going to come shut the bay down. Possession of an Apalachicola Bay oyster in or on the bay would be banned, as would be possession of the wooden tongs used to harvest oysters. >click to read< 11:09

Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 13, 2020

Baywide daily harvest dropped below 2 million for the first time since July 4th. The total harvest is over halfway to the pre-season forecast swimming in at 25.2 million fish. Total escapement throughout the bay is now just over 12 million, and has now passed the pre-season escapement forecast. The total run in Bristol Bay so far this season is 38.4 million fish.  Average fish per drift delivery was below 1,000 in every district of the bay yesterday.  >click to read< 09:48

Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 11, 2020

The run in Bristol Bay is over 30 million fish, 30.8 million to be exact. Total harvest baywide was 2.1 million yesterday, bringing the season’s harvest in Bristol Bay to 20.9 million fish. Total escapement so far this season across the bay is 8.8 million. Fish per drift delivery saw a bit of a swing yesterday. Ugashik fishers averaged over 2,500 fish per delivery, the Naknek-Kvichak saw an average of over 1,000 fish per drift delivery, but other districts were between 180 and 700 fish per delivery. audio report, Messages to the fleet,  >click to read< 17:26

Bob Guzzo Talks Quotas, Offshore Wind, Coronavirus, and Fishing out of Stonington, Connecticut

“We’re giving up traditional fishing grounds that we’ve had for hundreds of years, that have fed the country, that are now going to light a light bulb and it’s not going to be worthwhile,” Guzzo said of the proposed wind farms located in federal waters. The location of the wind farms also destroys longtime fisheries, said Guzzo. “They’re taking away places that we’ve fished for this country over hundreds of years and we’re losing that ground,” he said.,, Quotas and Coronavirus, “I got tired of throwing fish overboard, I could never stand it. I started too long ago and never had to do this. The way they make you fish today is a crime,” >click to read< 08:01

Scotland: North-east fishermen start selling direct to find new markets in lockdown

Fishermen across the north-east have resorted to selling catches directly off the boat instead of markets to try to make ends meet during the coronavirus lockdown. Orders from restaurants and hotels have plummeted,,,Instead, crews have turned to advertising catches on social media to drum up trade online among local residents to fill up the order book. Macduff-based Salt Water Seafood has been coordinating landings in the town’s harbour as well as from five vessels operating out of Peterhead and Fraserburgh. >click to read< 12:35

Can New England’s cod fishing industry survive? (How can the scientists and regulators ignore the ever increasing seal predation?!)

Gloucester, Massachusetts, grew up around cod. The waterfront teemed with boats and fishermen, heaps of fish thrashing in wire baskets. Boats were inherited from fathers and shipyards boasted of operating since 1684. As late as the 1980s, the cod were so abundant and large (30-50lb each) that the fishermen still brought in big hauls. Cod remains the state fish of Massachusetts., “We’ve been regulated out of existence,” former Gloucester fisherman Sam Sanfilippo said in 2017. “This used to be the biggest fishing community in the world. Ice companies, wharves, fish dealers, truckers, supermarkets … All through high school, I was always a fisherman. And here I am today: recycler, bike seller, furniture-maker. “I’m 50 years old and I don’t know what the hell I am.” >click to read< 07:30

Canada to ban ‘nuisance seals’ killing to keep access to U.S. market – Canada will abolish permits that allow the killing of “nuisance seals” by commercial fishermen and aquaculture in an effort to maintain access to the lucrative U.S. seafood market, Fishery management failure enacted for fish farmers >click to read<

In Lobster Town U.S.A., When the industry suffers, the pain ripples.

Blaine Olsen, a lifelong lobsterman, was navigating his 30-foot boat off the coast of Stonington, Maine, when his sternman, who’s also his wife, yelled above the diesel engine’s din about the pittance the local cooperative was paying harvesters. He shot Ginny a doleful stare for a good five seconds. “Holy sh-t, man,” he said. “It costs us $600 a day to go out.” The dock price, $2.25 a pound for soft-shell lobsters, was half what it was a year ago, making it virtually impossible to earn a profit. The novel coronavirus has barely touched the public health of this corner of rural down east Maine, with Hancock County reporting just 16 cases and one death as of June 30. Its economic health is another matter,,, >click to read< 10:50

Honoring a legacy: Commemorative tote honors Maine fishermen who died at sea

When Hayley Brown’s father Captain Joe Nickerson died at sea, she said she was in shock. And while the pain of losing her father is still with her, she’s getting creative to honor his legacy and support the causes he was truly passionate about. Nickerson and his crewmate Chris Pinkham were fishing aboard the boat named after Hayley, the Hayley Ann, off the coast of Portland when it capsized in January., Nickerson was the chairman of the Maine Coast Fisherman’s Association (MCFA), so Hayley teamed up with them and Sea Bags to create totes in memory of her father. All proceeds from the sale of the bags will support MCFA in advocating for Maine’s fishing communities and the next generation of fishermen in Maine. On Father’s Day, the MCFA introduced the totes. >Video, click to read< 18:21

Bureau of Prisons: ‘Codfather’ Carlos Rafael transferred from prison to ‘community confinement’

Community confinement indicates Rafael, 68, is either in home confinement or a Residential Reentry Center (RRC, or halfway house), according to Taylor, which is overseen by the BOP’s Philadelphia Residential Reentry Management Office. According to the BOP’s inmate database, the projected date of his release from custody is March 4, 2021. Rafael was sentenced to 46 months in prison in September 2017 after pleading guilty to 28 offenses, including conspiracy, false labeling of fish, bulk cash smuggling, tax evasion and falsifying federal records. At the time his attorney William Keating requested he serve his sentence at FMC Devens, which is a federal prison for male inmates that need specialized or long-term medical or mental health care. >click to read< 15:30