Tag Archives: Coronavirus

CARES Act Funding Available for Maryland Fishing Industry

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announces applications will be available Nov. 4 for economic relief funds for the commercial seafood industry through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), for those who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The application will be available to eligible members of the seafood industry on the Maryland OneStop website. The deadline to apply is Feb. 28, 2021. >click to read< 16:20

How an Ill-Fated Fishing Voyage Helped Us Understand Coronavirus

F/V American Dynasty, a commercial trawler, departed Seattle one day in May to fish for hake off the Washington coast. Before leaving, its 122 crew members were screened for the coronavirus using the highly accurate polymerase chain reaction (P.C.R.) method, and all the results came back negative. But because those tests are “good but not perfect,” they missed at least one case: Somehow SARS-CoV-2 found its way on board. When a crew member fell seriously ill, the vessel returned to port, and almost everyone was tested for the virus again,,, The finding is believed to be the first direct evidence that antibodies protect against SARS-CoV-2 infection in humans, and it offers clues about what sort of concentrations might be needed to confer immunity. >click to read< 10:24

Despite an uncertain start to the fishery’s season, Maine lobster rolls on as the industry pivoted to new markets

Stonington lobster fisherman John Williams usually hauls his boat out in February for annual maintenance and paint in preparation for the start of the spring fishing season. “Then COVID started,”  The health emergency was worsening and the economy shutting down. That included one of the lobster industry’s biggest markets — restaurants. The large cruise ship and casino markets also slammed shut. International freight and shipping to China, emerging as a large consumer of lobster, had nearly stopped. “I got thinking about it and said, ‘This doesn’t look very good. We won’t have any market,’” Williams says. >click to read<  10:31

It’s Important! N.J. cleared to provide $11M in relief for sinking fishing industry

Months after the pandemic rocked New Jersey’s fishing industry, millions of dollars in federal coronavirus relief is set to finally flow to the anglers that need it. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has approved New Jersey’s plan to spend $11.3 million in federal fisheries relief, U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-6th Dist., announced Tuesday. The approval allows state authorities to begin distributing the money, which was allocated to the state as part of the $2 trillion CARES Act that became law in March. >click to read< 09:25

Coronavirus Quarantine Period Shapes Unique Season For Deadliest Catch Fishermen

Today marks the opener for the 2020 red king crab fishing season. The beginning of the king crab season is always a busy time in Unalaska/Dutch Harbor,,, Despite the influx of fishermen and television crews, this season was a little quieter than usual due to the coronavirus pandemic and local mitigation protocol that required most fishermen to quarantine for two weeks.  Blake Smithmeyer, the greenhorn on the Summer Bay,, Smithmeyer said he was working as a chef at a restaurant in Tacoma, Washington, before his friend, Landon Cheney, the engineer on the Summer Bay, received the call that ended up bringing Smithmeyer to Dutch Harbor. >click to read< 07:52

Portland Fish Exchange seeks a bailout – If it closes, it could be the death knell for the groundfish industry in the state

The Portland Fish Exchange, the city-operated fish auction, is losing about $30,000 a month and is asking another city agency to help bail it out through the middle of next year. The daily auction, where fishermen sell their catch to buyers from seafood wholesalers and processors, has cut losses somewhat over the past few years and has made slight adjustments to cut expenses, said Tom Valleau, chairman of the Fish Exchange board. But fish landings plummeted this summer, mostly likely the because of disruptions caused by the pandemic, and the losses accelerated, Valleau said. >click to read< 10:59

Russians jet in to save New Zealand’s beleaguered deep-sea fishing industry

Hundreds of Russian and Ukrainian seamen will fly into Christchurch in the coming weeks to save the country’s beleaguered deep-sea fishing industry, which has been haemorrhaging cash and is on the brink of mass layoffs. About 440 fishermen will arrive on two flights chartered by fishing companies – the first of which touches down from Moscow via Singapore on Friday. New Zealand’s deep-sea fishing industry, largely reliant on overseas workers, has been crippled by Covid travel restrictions that have left operators unable to crew their boats, costing tens of millions of dollars.>click to read< 09:21

Bering Sea Crab harvests set: Kings still in decline, snow and Tanner see bump

Commercial fishermen will be allowed to harvest a total of 45 million pounds of snow crab from the Bering Sea waters this year, with 4.5 million of that set aside for Community Development Quota groups and the rest for individual fishing quota, or IFQ, holders. That’s about 34 percent larger than the limit last season, which was also an increase over the previous year. Bering Sea Crabbers Association Executive Director Jamie Goen said that’s good news for the fleet. However, members of the fleet also think that TAC could have been a lot higher had the National Marine Fisheries Service been able to conduct its regular surveys. >click to read< 08:29

Collins and several colleagues call on NOAA to resume ‘usual operational tempo’

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) should get back to its regular schedule of conducting fisheries research surveys, which have been cancelled since May due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and several colleagues. Additionally, NOAA should identify and resolve any challenges created by the pandemic that prevented this year’s surveys to ensure surveys are safely conducted in 2021, the lawmakers wrote in a Sept. 30 letter sent to Dr. Neil Jacobs, acting administrator at NOAA. Among the members who joined Sen. Collins in signing the letter were U.S. Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Doug Jones (D-AL). >click to read< 09:00

To the editor: Thank you, fish processors

The 2020 commercial fishing season will go down in the history books. In March and April, the prospect of executing statewide fisheries was in question amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and even communities that rely upon fisheries as their economic drivers were pressing for partial or complete closures. Cordova and the opening of the Copper River District were in the spotlight as the first Alaskan salmon fishery to come on line for the summer salmon season. by Dennis Zadra  >click to read< 19:44

SW Cornwall fishing industry fears destruction from Coronavirus and a ‘no deal’ Brexit double whammy

The South West fishing industry faces potential destruction from a “no deal” Brexit coupled with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a leading industry figure says. Jim Portus, chief executive of the South Western Fish Producer Organisation, said there is concern a “bad deal” or “no deal”, when the transition period ends in January 2021, will be disastrous for the UK fishing industry, which led the march for Brexit. He said: “I don’t want to see fishermen sacrificed for the UK to get a good deal. We want to be part of that good deal. We’re in a situation where we could face a double dose of nightmare with Covid and Brexit and our fishing industry risks being destroyed. >click to read< 17:10

Do you think your seafood is cheaper? It is. The Coronavirus pandemic caused a drop in demand

The ongoing pandemic has impacted nearly every aspect of life on the South Shore, including the commercial fishing and lobster industries. “It’s hurt them big time,” said retired Cohasset fisherman Matt Marr. “There are so many things that factor in. Most of the restaurants are closed, hotels are empty, casinos are empty, cruise ships don’t exist anymore. Those places bought a lot of lobster. So, their markets have definitely diminished.” Reduced business at restaurants has caused a significant drop in demand, said Tommy Alioto. The pandemic didn’t affect lobstermen’s ability to do their job, but the low demand caused an excess of inventory and a drop in price. >click to read< 15:30

Stone crab season opens Oct. 15 with new regulations in place

For roughly a week now, armadas of Floridian crabbing fleets and their deckhands have boated miles offshore into the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean to lay their traps on the depths. Come Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, these crabbers will venture out again to launch Florida’s stone crab season, hauling in anticipated bounties of Menippe mercenaria and their treasured claws. “We’re putting them out right now,” Richard Stiglitz, owner of the Homosassa-based Salty Bones Fisheries, said about 650 of his 10,000 traps. It’ll take some time before crabbing crews know what kind of season they’ll have. >click to read< 10:05

Coronavirus Pandemic’s ‘second wave’ sending P.E.I. tuna prices down

Tuna fishers out of North Lake, P.E.I., are seeing the impact of rising Coronavirus case numbers in central Canada. Tuna buyer and processor Jason Tompkins said the season got off to a good and early start this year. “We had more fish go in July this year than any year in the last 20,” Tompkins told Island Morning host Laura Chapin. “A lot of guys did see the writing on the wall. They took our advice as buyers and went early, and the prices we saw in July and August were some of the highest we’ve seen in years.” But those prices have plummeted as COVID-19 cases rise. Tuna is almost exclusively exported off the Island, with restaurants the main market. >click to read< 13:16

Review Shows Irish Fishing Industry Buoyed By Exports But Brexit & Coronavirus Cast A Shadow

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s latest Annual Review and Outlook for the fisheries sector is a generally positive one, though tempered by the challenges of Brexit and the coronavirus. Published today, Thursday 8 October, the review cites CSO figures for 2019 which put the value of Irish seafood exports at €577 million with increases in the value of both salmon and mackerel, Ireland’s most valuable export catches. The coronavirus pandemic has seen similar challenges experienced across the fisheries and aquaculture sectors over the course of 2020 thus far. “Nonetheless, in spite of the difficulties, the fishing industry has continued to keep food in our shops and on our tables during this extraordinary time,” >click to read< 14:10

Western Australia’s Crystal crabs immune to impact of coronavirus, selling for more than $300

The crabs are found in a thin trench of water, 80 kilometres off the Western Australia coast, at depths of 800 metres. West Coast Deep Sea Fishery takes to the pristine deep waters all year round in search of the product. Managing director Glen Bosman said he believed he had the best crystal crabs in the world. “Not arguably, it’s fact. We receive the highest price for that species of crab,” he said. The crystal crab is pale white in colour, with distinctly shorter walking legs, and can weigh more than two kilograms. “The crab sits in the middle of the table, is broken up, and then shared by a number or people because of its size. >click to read< 09:55

Commercial fishermen sinking as yields fall without China’s buyers

“Commercial fishing operations are an important component of Port Miami River’s marine industrial businesses, which generate countywide jobs,” said Horacio Stuart Aguirre, chairman of Miami River Commission. Offshore fishermen work in a predominantly healthy environment, so Covid-19 hasn’t been debilitating for the workforce, said Luis Garcia of Garcia’s Seafood, a commercial lobster and stone crab business, “but it’s a pandemic in the sense that it has trickled down economically. The price of our product is plummeting because restaurants and bars that buy our product were not in business and we were sitting on the product. “In the past several years we’ve had another revenue stream selling overseas – lobster to China, for example – but that market also shut down.” >click to read< 11:18

Coronavirus Tie-Up: NI Fishermen offered money to stop fishing

Northern Ireland’s fishing fleet is to be offered money to stop fishing as markets for its produce shrink due to Covid. A £1.7m pot is available to fishermen who wish to stop fishing for six weeks. They can apply to either of two “tie-up” periods between mid-October and the end of November. The closure of pubs, restaurants and workplaces across Europe has seen a big reduction in demand for full prawns and scampi – NI’s main exports. The cash will help will crew costs, mortgage payments on boats, insurance and harbour fees. >click to read< 10:35

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

For Alaska’s seafood processors, the Coronavirus pandemic has cost tens of millions

Heading into the 2020 fishing season, many people were concerned that seafood workers from out of state would bring COVID-19 to rural communities. Processing companies managed to keep the disease under control. but at a big cost. Now, economists are looking at that financial toll. To keep track of how the pandemic is shaping the seafood industry, economists at the McDowell Group have started to publish monthly briefs for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. “It’s interesting to describe a crisis when you’re in the crisis, right? And that’s our situation,” said Garrett Everidge, an economist at the McDowell Group. >click to read< 15:15

North Carolina shrimpers, fishermen concerned about mislabeled seafood

While brown shrimp, the most abundant of North Carolina’s shrimp landings, are typically harvested in the summer, now is the time for the whites, or green tails. “They are sweeter,” said Corey Galloway, with High Rider. “And when the water cools they are even better.” For Galloway, fall and winter weather improves a lot of local seafood. Breece Gahl of Fresh2U Seafood in Wrightsville Beach, for example, is looking forward to the wild oyster season, which begins Oct. 15. Until the pandemic, he often supplied seafood to restaurants. Earlier this year, Gahl switched to a “shore to door” delivery service and has been a regular at local farmers markets,, Pandemic related concerns aren’t at the forefront for this industry, though. Local shrimpers and fishermen are instead still being challenged by ongoing issues. >click to read< 07:35

An Update from Commissioner Keliher

Dear Industry Member, I’m reaching to share what’s been happening recently at DMR. It’s been a busy summer. CARES Act – Negotiations with NOAA on our CARES Act spend plan have finally been completed.,,  Soon, we will be reaching out to you by mail and email with information on the application process. USDA Trade Relief, Federal Whale Rules, Aquaculture, Marine Patrol, and more.  Like I said, it’s been a busy summer. But, despite the ongoing challenges of Covid-19 we have established remote operations and the work continues. We will keep sending these updates until we can gather in-person. Until then, stay safe. Pat. >click to read< 12:21

Maine lobster industry salvaged its summer despite pandemic

The Maine lobster industry is in the midst of a multiyear boom, and fishermen have caught more than 100 million pounds (45,360,000 kilograms) for a record nine years in a row. It’s hard to guess whether they’ll reach that total again, but summer 2020 hasn’t been half bad for a season in which many fishermen expected collapse, said Kristan Porter, president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. “Especially early in the season when nothing was open, no restaurants were open. We were thinking it would be a complete disaster,” Porter said. “If it stays like this, we can struggle through and have a season, and then get ready to fish next year.”>click to read< 17:03

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

A Lobsterman Slogs On Through the Pandemic

Mike Dawson (self-employed) Location: New Harbor, Maine Employees: 1 Status: Open, essential industry.  During the summer, “catch landings are probably down. But we can gain quite a lot in October, November, and December,” says Mike Dawson, a lobsterman who fishes off the coast of Maine. “August was kind of slow. Not an overabundance of lobster.” But Dawson this year is still grappling with the tepid demand and disruption caused by the pandemic. Lobster recently fetched $3.60 a pound for soft-shell, down from $4.05 a year ago. The occasional hard-shell lobster—which is rarer to catch at this point in the growing season for lobster—got $4 a pound, down about 25 cents a pound from a year ago. >click to read< 09:41

Tied-up fishing boats signal overseas worker crisis for industry

One fishing company is effectively out of business while others are bracing for large financial hits as the deepwater New Zealand industry, unable to get skilled foreign workers into the country, have begun tying up vessels. At least three New Zealand-flagged big autonomous trawler reefer (BATM) deepwater vessels associated with Canterbury based Independent fisheries have been tied up at Lyttleton as it repatriated its Russian and Ukranian crew following the end of their visa periods. Sealord now urgently needed 160 skilled fishers to crew the two vessels  >click to read< 18:49

Second attempt to get Kiwi fishing crew home from Mauritius ready for take off

The crew of Sealord fishing vessel Will Watch have been unable to return to New Zealand due to Coronavirus, so the Nelson-based company has chartered private jets to finally enable a crew changeover after seven months’ fishing. After being scuppered by red tape and mechanical delays, fishing company Sealord’s second attempt to bring its crew home from Mauritius is set for take-off. >click to read< 18:53

Georgia: Impacts of Coronavirus pandemic on selling shrimp

It’s been three months since the start of shrimp season. Back in June, a McIntosh County shrimp boat captain said his first catch could have been better. Shrimp boats hit the Georgia waters early in the morning Thursday. Darrell Gale said he’s had average catches, but when it comes time to selling the shrimp, that’s where he’s struggling. >video, click to read< 10:07

NOAA Fisheries Needs to Declare Fishery Disaster for Northeast Fisheries

NOAA Fisheries needs to declare a fishery disaster for the north Atlantic fisheries of the east coast due to complications caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. Due to government shutdowns of the primary market for US seafood, the restaurants, the fishing industry has been suffering not from a shortage of fish, but from a shortage of markets to sell them. 70% of the sea food consumed in the United States is sold in restaurants, the Corona pandemic has caused complete shutdowns of indoor dining in many states or reduced capacity seating in others. This has resulted in no demand for fresh local US caught fish, a very perishable product, and the resultant low prices that haven’t been seen in 50 years. By Jim Lovgren,  >click to read< 07:38