Tag Archives: Coronavirus

North Pacific pollock fleet preps for season after tough 2020

Skipper Kevin Ganley spent most of the summer and fall pulling a massive trawl net through the Bering Sea in a long slow search for pollock, a staple of McDonald’s fish sandwiches. The fish proved very hard to find. “We just scratched and scratched and scratched,” Ganley recalls. “It was survival mode.” Ganley’s boat is part of a fleet of largely Washington-based trawlers that have had a difficult year as they joined in North America’s largest single-species seafood harvest. >click to read< 19:28

Coronavirus: Covid-19 discovered in second group of Russian mariners

The 11 cases of Covid-19 were discovered in a group of 190 mariners who flew into the city from Russia on Wednesday to work on fishing boats in New Zealand waters. The group was originally scheduled to arrive in November, but was delayed after more than 30 Covid infections emerged in the first group of 137 Russian and Ukrainian mariners who arrived in October. The approximately $1.2 million isolation cost for the second group of mariners will be met by the fishing companies where they will work, which include Sealord and Independent Fisheries. >click to read< 11:16

Safety on the Water Must Take Precedent

The year 2020 is nearly in the rearview mirror. Feel free to take a moment and let out a collective sigh of relief here. Who knows what 2021 has in store for us, but could it possibly be any more strange, troubling or unprecedented than the last 12 months? This past year will go down in history as one of the most turbulent for the fishery in Southwest Nova Scotia. Not only was the industry rocked by the global impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the self-regulated, moderate livelihood lobster fishery by First Nations led to protests, disputes and dissention across the breadth of the Nova Scotia fishing community. >click to read< 08:45

Bluefin tuna sells for low pandemic price at Toyosu’s 1st 2021 auction

The most expensive bluefin tuna sold under the hammer at 2021’s first auction at Tokyo’s Toyosu fish market failed to land a million-dollar bid or anything close on Jan. 5, reflecting the chill the novel coronavirus pandemic has on the restaurant industry. The 208.4-kilogram fish caught off Oma, Aomori Prefecture, went for just 20.8 million yen ($202,270) to Yamayuki, the market’s intermediary wholesaler.,,, Minoru Tanaka, 65, the captain of a tuna trawler based in Oma, caught the fish. 5 photos, >click to read< 10:30

New Zealand crayfish in hot demand in China, selling for $100, as China-Australia relations sour

Though this time of year is usually quiet a shift in global politics has made for a busier November and December than expected. A diplomatic stoush saw China refuse various Australian exports, including live crayfish, also known as kōura or rock lobster. Suddenly Chinese buyers are paying a lot more to get hold of New Zealand crays. The extra cash has been a welcome boost, after the industry’s $38m loss during lockdown. >click to read< 16:43

Coronavirus: Coast Guard offers extension on credentials, medical certificates, and course approvals

Coast Guard officials have announced an extension of merchant marine credential endorsements, medical certificates and course approvals to meet challenges caused by the global novel coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, the Coast Guard advised that due to these changes there may be a backlog in the processing of credentials and course approvals, especially near the end of the extension dates.,, Under the Coast Guard’s current statutory authority, the expiration dates of merchant mariner credentials may be extended for no more than one year. >click to read< 14:34

A lobsterman races the calendar in a COVID-disrupted season

Steven Holler walked off the back of his rumbling lobster boat, the November Gale, and stood on the pier. It was October, just six weeks before the end of the season, six weeks for Holler to make the money he needed to get through the winter. Even in ordinary years, fall was a money-making sprint,,, But this year was exceptional, thrown into chaos by the pandemic. Restaurants had closed and lobster prices plummeted. Some predicted doom for the industry. Holler could have opted to sit out the season, collecting unemployment and COVID relief checks. In fact he had stayed home in the spring. But, he was restless. He didn’t like the idea of sitting at home. So in June, Holler gambled and gave up government assistance in order to put his boat back in the water. >click to read< 09:39

New Zealand: A boost for training fishing recruits on the West Coast

The fishing industry is making a push to recruit more Kiwis into jobs by funding more scholarships. The industry was thrown a lifeline by the Government last year when it granted exemption for Russian and Ukrainian fishing crews to enter New Zealand to fill the shortage on deep sea fishing vessels because of Covid-19. A total of 440 Russian and Ukrainian fishermen were due to be flown to New Zealand on two flights chartered by fishing companies in an effort to save the local deep-sea fishing industry,,, To help boost the number of domestic fishermen, Westport Deep Sea Fishing School director Peter Maich said the fishing industry had increased the number of its industry-funded scholarships four-fold. >click to read< 16:22

Coronavirus has hit commercial fishing hard

With restaurants and supply chains disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic, two-fifths of commercial fishers from Maine to North Carolina did not go fishing earlier this year, a new study shows. The study, which covers March to June and included 258 fishers, also examined data on fish landings and found that the catch for some species, such as squid and scallops, decreased compared with previous years. The catch for other species, such as black sea bass and haddock, was on par with or higher than previous years, suggesting that many fishermen fished as much as they had been before the pandemic, while earning less income. “They may have kept fishing to pay their bills or crew, or to maintain their livelihoods or their quotas until markets rebound,” >click to read< 13:32

Australian Lobster Sector Claws Back Trade After China Ban

Australia’s rock lobster exports are worth half a billion US dollars a year — and in normal times, 94 percent of them go to China. But all that changed a few weeks ago, when Beijing imposed a near-total import ban on lobster, part of a broader politically charged “shadow trade war”. “It has affected us drastically,” third-generation fisherman Fedele Camarda told AFP. “Our income has been reduced considerably.”,,,  local authorities recently changed legislation to allow commercial rock lobster fishers to sell large quantities from the back of their boats,,, >click to read< 10:40

New Jersey seafood workers aim to ensure they’ll be among first round getting COVID-19 vaccine

The New Jersey Seafood Coalition told Gov. Phil Murphy in the Dec. 17 letter that the crews on New Jersey’s commercial fishing vessels help ensure food security. “All Americans depend on these women and men to harvest, process, and distribute healthy foods,” the coalition wrote. “Effective vaccination of food industry workers will help vital food industry supply chains, including our own, continue to function during what appears to be a resurgence of this dangerous virus.” >click to read< 18;15

The Nova Scotia lobster fishery fight – Year in Review

Sept. 17, the Sipekne’katik First Nation launched a self-regulated lobster fishery outside the federally-regulated commercial fishing season. On Sept. 18, two people are arrested on assault charges following confrontations between Mi’kmaq and non-Indigenous fishers on the wharf of the self-regulated fishery in Weymouth, N.S. This was the beginning of a showdown that would spark solidarity rallies across the country. “We all have Indigenous blood. We always worked side by side. The Acadians are not racist. We know they (Indigenous fishers) have rights, but we can’t respect what’s happening in St. Mary’s Bay.  Video, >click to read< 08:29

Some bright spots for high-value salmon, halibut in 2021

Following the trend of the last several years, the salmon forecast for the 2021 salmon season in Bristol Bay looks positive. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is forecasting a total return of about 51 million sockeye salmon, with an inshore run of about 50 million. That’s about 6 percent better than the average for the last decade and 45 percent greater than the long-term average.,, Halibut outlook – Stock numbers in the Pacific halibut fishery are overall still declining, but there are individual bright spots in some regions. >click to read< 10:43

California: Don’t expect Dungeness Crab for Christmas this year

“Unless a miracle happens, which is highly unlikely, we won’t see crab for Christmas,” said Tony Anello, a veteran fisher who runs his boat, the Annabelle, out of Bodega Bay and offers up his tender product at Spud Point Crab Co. After several years of varied setbacks and more than a month of delays to the 2020 Dungeness season, local crabbers now face a new hurdle as they haggle over price with large wholesalers. “We should be traveling right now,” Dick Ogg,,, wholesalers are asking skippers to cut their prices by 30% to 35%, leaving both sides approximately $1 a pound apart from an agreement that would start the crab season.   >click to read< 08:05

Monkfish Price Tumble in Scotland Shows Pain of French Shutdown

At the Peterhead fishing port in Scotland, prices for haddock and monkfish were inverted on Monday, skewed by a closed border with France and a ticking clock that threatened to render some of its catch worthless. The price gyrations mark the latest setback for the U.K. fishing industry,  With French borders closed since Sunday, thousands of pounds of seafood could be left to rot in lorries that would normally speed through the Port of Dover to Europe. “This is the most important sales week of the year and it’s been caught up in a hurricane,” said Jimmy Buchan, chief executive officer of the Scottish Seafood Association. “We’ve got Brexit, we’ve got Covid and now on the back of Covid we’ve got this further restriction.” >click to read< 10:34

B.C. spot prawn industry nets new markets close to home

For forty years, Guy Johnston has worked six-week stints on his fishing boat without a break harvesting spot prawns on the central coast of British Columbia. Johnston said he still likes fishing the red crustaceans, found only in West Coast waters, after all these years. Johnston lives in Cowichan Bay and, like many prawn fishers in the area, saw the international demand for his catch decline due to COVID-19. “The price dropped by over 50 per cent,,, However, along with the disappointment, Johnston also saw hope: Fishers pivoting to sell in local markets. >click to read< 08:20

The nations oldest fishing port’s lobster trap tree survives

The country’s oldest fishing port is celebrating the holidays once again with a community Christmas tree made from a stack of lobster traps, ornamented with lights and, soon enough, buoys painted by local children. “There is something really special about the whole thing,” said David Brooks,,, The lobster trap tree outside the Gloucester police station was put together this year during a nor’easter,,, Brooks and eight elves assembled the tree, The traps used to assemble the tree are supplied by the Brooks Trap Mill in Thomaston, Maine, and coordinated by a local supplier, Three Lantern Marine. “They have been huge supporters,” Brooks said. (Thank You!) photos, >click to read< 17:58

Crew Of O’Hara Corporation Trawler And Community Member Test Positive For Coronavirus

Unalaska reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. All but one is among the crew of the F/T Enterprise, a trawler. The infected crew members are in isolation in Unalaska’s quarantine facility and are being monitored by staff from Iliuliuk Family and Health Services, City Manager Erin Reinders said. Contact tracing is underway. “The O’Hara Corporation is greatly concerned by the recent positive COVID test results on board the F/T Enterprise,”,, “Our primary concern is the health of our crew and preventing impacts to the community of Unalaska.” The tenth case the city reported Monday is an Unalaska resident. >click to read< 17:57

New Bedford fisherman reflects on September battle with Coronavirus

The fishing industry, like most sectors, has not been immune to the pandemic. Tony Borges was catching fluke with his crew off the New Jersey coast in September when he developed a fever. The 63-year-old veteran fisherman, aware a crew member tested positive for coronavirus, took some Tylenol and got back to work for another tow. About two weeks later, he was in a hospital bed asking his doctor if he was going to die. >click to read< 07:44

Nearly Entire U.S. Seafoods Trawler Crew Test Positive, Six Fish Processing Plant Employees Test Positive For Coronavirus

Two crewmembers of the trawler F/V Legacy tested positive for the virus on Thursday, according to the City of Unalaska, prompting providers from the local Iliuliuk Family and Health Services clinic to test the rest of the 25-person crew.,,,  they showed that 22 more individuals were also positive.  All crew members remain on board,,, >click to read<

Six Fish Processing Plant Employees And Two U.S. Seafoods Crewmembers Test Positive – On Friday, the City of Unalaska reported eight new cases of COVID-19 among employees at two local seafood processing plants and crewmembers of a United States Seafoods trawler. Five of the individuals are employed at Alyeska Seafoods and arrived in Unalaska by chartered flight,,, >click to read< 10:40

Humpback whale boosts spirits in struggling Alaskan town

A humpback whale has been frequenting Ketchikan, Alaska, almost daily for the past month, helping to lift spirits as the city reels from a lack of tourism. The whale, nicknamed Phoenix, is feeding on herring and possibly salmon fry with dramatic upward lunges, sometimes just yards from onlookers on docks and walkways. As days shorten and a bleak winter approaches, more residents are discovering the joy of searching for Phoenix throughout the channel fronting the town. photos, >click to read< 08:02

Cuomo Announces $6.7 Million in Cares Act Funding to Assist New York’s Marine Fishing Industry – Application Period Opens Dec. 1

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $6.7 million in federal funding is available from the Marine Fisheries Relief Program established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act to assist New York’s marine fishing industry following extensive economic losses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible seafood, commercial marine fishing, and marine recreational for-hire fishing businesses will be able to apply for the funding beginning Dec. 1, to help provide financial relief for this hard-hit and crucially important industry. >click to read< 09:42

Charleston Fishing Families looks to help prepare for Christmas during tough crabbing year

The Charleston crabbing community in Coos Bay is hit hard yet again, not only with COVID, but with another delay to the start of the season this year. Crab season is delayed to December 16th and there is always the possibility of that changing. That’s why the Charleston Fishing Families organization is stepping up to help their community during the holiday season. “We’re going to provide the Christmas breakfast, dinner, and toys for the kids this year,”,,, The nonprofit is accepting applications for this holiday program. They are looking to help 25 commercial fishing families, and families associated with the industry, like dock workers,, >video, click to read< 17:41

Bering Sea red king crab in high demand

Gabriel Prout, owner of Alibi Seafoods and part-owner of the F/V Silver Spray, brought 175 king crab totaling 1,000 pounds to the docks last week, which he and his crew had caught in the Bering Sea. After the F/V Silver Spray delivered their 28,000-pound quota of crab to a seafood processor, they were free to deliver the extra unblocked quota to whomever they wanted.  Cars lined up for the next six hours until the crab sold out. Prout, who owns and operates the Silver Spray with his family and a friend, brought back triple the amount of crab as last year to sell at the docks. >click to read< 09:43

Monterey Bay Fishermen hit with new wave of Dungeness crab season delays

You couldn’t blame crab fishermen Tim and Dan Obert for feeling like they’re passing through the perfect storm. First there was the pandemic, which shut down restaurants and, in turn, much of the demand for Dungeness crab. Then a new regulation took effect on Nov. 1 that heavily restricts the Dungeness fishery’s operations when whales and sea turtles are around. Then the state delayed the opening of the Dungeness crab season until after Thanksgiving. “If you take all three of those things, you will destroy this fishery,” said Tim Obert, 35, of Scotts Valley. “There will be no crabbers left.” >click to read< 08:47

Florida: One month into stone crab season, and there’s good news from the docks and markets

Fishermen are reporting a strong supply while markets and restaurants are saying customer demand is just as promising. “It’s been an outstanding season so far,” said Kelly Kirk, owner of Kirk Fish Company.  For customers, that means good news: Prices have held steady compared to last year. And large claws, usually more elusive, have been especially abundant, Kirk said.  The strong landings come despite new restrictions imposed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission aimed at protecting the stone crab population after years of declining harvests. Kirk said those declines aren’t being seen this season. “We’re seeing the opposite of that, actually,” Kirk said. “Had COVID not hit and the whole market turned upside down (last year), we probably would have broken records as far as production. >click to read< 10:34

Clearwater Reports $133.7-Million In Sales, Drop Due to Coronavirus sales decrease

On a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Clearwater CEO Ian Smith said the Covid-19 pandemic was the main reason for lower sales. Although international borders weren’t closed to Clearwater’s exports, the pandemic’s effect on the worldwide restaurant industry created less demand for seafood products. “We did not lose access to any markets, but historically our business has been weighted towards food-service establishments,” said Smith. “In fact, seafood disproportionately is eaten in food-service establishments, because knowledge of how to shop and how to prepare it is less than what it is for other proteins.” >click to read< 09:06

Brexit: Will Scottish fishing boats move to Northern Ireland?

Most of the fishing that takes place close to the west coast of Scotland is for shellfish, and most of the catch is exported to Europe. But an industry that is already struggling because demand has dried up during the Covid-19 pandemic is now facing the prospect of no trade deal between the UK and the EU. That would lead to tariffs (or taxes) on goods traded between them – making the produce of some Scottish fishermen too expensive for European customers. Whatever happens in the final weeks of post-Brexit trade talks, Northern Ireland will have easier access to the EU economy next year than the rest of the UK. Could some Scottish fishermen continue to fish in the same waters, but re-register their boats in Northern Ireland? >click to read< 09:17

Yes, the fleet will be blessed on Friday

They did not summon a queen and they did not call for a king, because the contagion had wafted across the land. The Florida Seafood Festival, which would usually be flooding the county with visitors this upcoming weekend, instead had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. But the board of directors has made sure that one important aspect of the festival, the blessing of the fleet, will not be abandoned, and leading it will be an honorary King Retsyo. “Everybody needs a blessing at some point,” said board member Tress Dameron. >click to read< 08:12

Varied New Jersey Fishing Businesses May Apply for Grant for 35 Percent Loss in 2020

Since the pandemic began, fishing revenue in New Jersey is down about 35 percent, according to the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection. Viking Village commercial dock General Manager Ernie Panacek said, “All the commercial entities will be awarded something … it depends on each individual case” and may not be “a lot,” he said. “We deferred some (fishing) trips away from March and April because of the business slowdown. I kept everybody working here, but we lost revenue because we lost trips and limited the trips, made them smaller.” Fortunately, there are always consumers attracted to a quality product. If they weren’t able to get it inside a restaurant, a number of consumers bought it anyway. >click to read< 13:04