Tag Archives: Department of Natural Resources

Shell game: Conflict, secrecy cloud battle over SC oyster farming permit

A conflict of interest involving a floating oyster farm in a popular creek has spawned hard questions about government secrecy, insider dealing and the sanctity of public lands in South Carolina. Caged oyster farming has become a growing and potentially lucrative industry in recent years. It offers the promise of eco-friendly jobs and year-round, succulent bivalves for Charleston’s renowned dining scene. But a battle over one such operation sparked a state ethics investigation. That probe found a Department of Natural Resources permit coordinator had used his position to help his brother win approval to grow oysters along a Charleston County creek. The coordinator later quit his job and became a partner in his brother’s company, an Uncovered investigation found. >click to read< 14:11

New restrictions on commercial fishing amount to ‘extortion’

In a scathing letter, several Michigan legislators urged the state Department of Natural Resources to renew all commercial fishing licenses and permits from 2020. That’s after the DNR announced new restrictions that close the fishery for part of the year and limit the depth where fishers can catch whitefish to 80 feet. “The whole industry is out of business at that 80 feet,” Dennis VanLandschoot, of VanLandschoot & Sons Fish Market in Munising,,, These changes would not affect tribal fishers, whose fishing rights are guaranteed under federal treaty. >click to read< 14:25

Gloves Come Off In Fight Over Commercial Fishing In Michigan

The few commercial fishing businesses that remain in Michigan are suing the state’s Department of Natural Resources over changes to industry rules.  They say the new provisions will make commercial fishing all but impossible. The lawsuit, filed by the Michigan Fish Producers Association, claims the actions of the state threaten to deprive its members and their employees of their livelihoods. “Here in Leland, you can’t fish,” says Joel Petersen, the last state-licensed fishermen working out of Fishtown. >click to read< 09:35

Looks like it could be Happy New Year, Shrimpers! Georgia Shrimp Season Extended Into 2021

Georgia’s commercial and recreational shrimpers will have more time this season to harvest food shrimp after the state Department of Natural Resources extended the shrimping season Monday. State law normally closes the shrimp fishery Dec. 31, but the Commissioner of Natural Resources can lengthen the season if data show shrimp are abundant and likely to rebound the following year, explained Eddie Leonard, a biologist with DNR’s Coastal Resources Division, which manages marine fisheries in Georgia. This season in Georgia, there are 213 licensed commercial shrimp trawlers and 15 licensed commercial cast-net shrimpers. >click to read< 07:13

Michigan’s dying commercial fishing industry fears state fishery bills will be final nail in the coffin

The once vibrant commercial fishing industry in Michigan has dwindled down from thousands of businesses to just 13 full-time fisheries. And those that are left are afraid legislation in a state Senate committee could be the end of the industry all together. That their mom-and-pop style operations would move out of the Great Lakes for good, and leave the door open only for large, investor-style corporations to take over the industry. This is all part of an ongoing battle in the Great Lakes between commercial fishing and sport fishing. >click to read< 15:02

Soft-shell crab season is ‘the start of all the good stuff’

One local delicacy seafood is quite popular in the Lowcountry this time of year. Soft-shell crabs, or female blue crabs, are being caught, sold and cooked in homes and restaurants along the state’s coast. Callinectes sapidus or “beautiful swimmers” are more commonly referred to as Atlantic blue crabs. Although they can be caught all year long, the peak molting, or shedding process, of a female crab’s exoskeleton to create the soft-shell normally occurs during the springtime in South Carolina saltwater. “The timing is dictated by the crabs, and when they molt is really dictated by water temperatures. So in our waters, molting can occur year round, but the peak of molting for these females is really in the April-May,, photo’s, >click to read< 13:52

Great Lakes Recreational Grab-Bills would squeeze commercial fishermen, help sportsfishermen

Michigan House lawmakers last week advanced legislation to tighten regulations on Great Lakes commercial fishers, escalating a fight between the long-declining industry and sportfishing groups. The legislation would increase commercial fishing license fees from about $200 to $1,400; exponentially boost fines, tighten reporting requirements on commercial catches and how fishermen tend their nets… The biggest area of contention: The bills also will codify into law a current Department of Natural Resources ban on commercial harvesting of lake trout, walleye, yellow perch and other game fish, reserving them exclusively for anglers. > click to read< 19:06:16

Georgia: Shrimping season closes after record year

The end of the year also means the end of the current Georgia shrimping season, which is legally required to shut down at 6 p.m. Monday — that covers the traditional three miles from shore covered by state regulations. According to the state Department of Natural Resources’ Coastal Resources Division, activity has to cease on trawling, cast-netting and seining, and other food-shrimp harvesting efforts. However, “anglers and commercial bait-shrimp dealers may continue to harvest shrimp to use as bait.” >click to read<13:58

Washington state asks lawmakers for $90 million to improve habitat for orcas, salmon

If approved, a $90 million budget request to the state legislature could aggressively tackle what’s needed to help Puget Sound’s southern resident orcas survive. A request on Monday by Hilary Franz, the state’s Commissioner of Public Lands, would increases the money already being spent on restoring habitats for salmon, removing barriers that inhibit the fish from reaching their spawning ground, researching ocean acidification, and removing rundown vessels on waterways, according to an emailed statement from the state’s Department of Natural Resources. >click to read<

When a ship owner’s dreams die – Recycling Washington’s ghost ships could turn trash into treasure

This is an example of where owning an old boat ends with reality, a case of folks with “great dreams and aspirations, and no money,” says Troy Wood, the man in charge of dealing with derelict vessels in Washington. The unenviable job falls to the Department of Natural Resources, which manages 2.4 million acres of state-owned aquatic lands. There’s an old saying that a boat is simply a hole in the water into which you dump your cash. They can be cheap to buy, but are expensive to maintain, insure, berth, repair and operate. They age, they weather, they often sink.  When they do, they create another kind of money hole: a maritime cleanup project often leaves taxpayers with the bill for removal. >click to read<09:36

Fish farm caused Atlantic salmon spill, state says, then tried to hide how bad it was

Cooke Aquaculture Pacific vastly underrepresented the scope of a catastrophic Atlantic salmon net-pen spill at its Cypress Island farm last August and misled the public and regulators about the cause, according to a new report by state investigators that blames the pen collapse on company negligence. The investigation found that Cooke lowballed the number of escaped fish by more than half, and did not do essential maintenance at its farm, causing the escape. The company also misled agencies about the seriousness and cause of an earlier mishap,,, >click here to read< 20:26

Washington DNR chief: Cooke to dismantle fish pens at Ediz Hook

State Department of Natural Resources officials began discussions Wednesday with Cooke Aquaculture Inc. representatives on dismantling the company’s Atlantic salmon fish farm off Ediz Hook, said state Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz, the elected head of DNR. Franz canceled the New Brunswick, Canada-based company’s aquatic-lands lease Dec. 15, citing violations including Styrofoam discharges, a defective anchoring system and operating 500 feet outside of its leasehold area by placing its anchors outside the boundaries set in the agreement. click here to read the story 15:43

Georgia extends shrimp trawling season until Jan. 15, announce the opening of commercial harvest of jellyfish

The state has extended the food shrimp harvest season 15 days until Jan. 15 and announced the opening of the season for the commercial harvest of jellyfish. Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Mark Williams announced Wednesday he was extending the season that commercial trawlers may operate in state waters that are currently open until 6:15 p.m. Jan. 15.,, .,, The DNR also announced that state waters will open for commercial trawling for jellyfish from 6:30 a.m. Jan. 1 until 8:30 p.m. March 31. click here to read the story 16:04

Fisheries group blasts drilling regulations proposal ‘nobody knows about’

A Nova Scotia-based fisheries organization is raising concerns about changes the federal government is quietly proposing to the regulations governing oil and gas extraction in Canada’s offshore and northern regions. Environmental and fisheries groups say they only found out about the proposed changes by happenstance, even though the consultation process has been ongoing for over a year and is nearly complete. Consultation on the third phase of the initiative closes Sept. 20. John Davis, the director of Clean Ocean Action Committee, said his group was told about the initiative by the World Wildlife Fund, which only learned of it this summer. click here to read the story 16:54

South Carolina restricts flounder fishing in an effort to help the species recover

Anyone fishing for flounder from a dock or pier can keep only 10 fish per day, down from a limit of 15 flounder per day, according to restrictions approved this past spring by the Legislature. Fishing boats can keep no more than 20 flounder per day, regardless of how many anglers are in the vessel.The previous boat limit was 30 flounder.  The rules apply to recreational anglers as well commercial fishermen who use hooks and lines, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Violating the bag limit carries fines of $25 to $500 and possible jail time. In a news release Wednesday, DNR biologists said the tighter fishing limits mean 30 percent fewer fish will be landed in the next two years, giving flounder a chance to come back. click here to read the story 11:47

Georgia shrimping season spawns unusual crop: optimism

The rope that dangled down into the hold of the Jo Ann B from a small square opening in the deck suddenly went taut. The winch overhead hummed Friday as it strained, slowly raising a 55-gallon plastic can loaded to the brim with Coastal Georgia’s most-prized saltwater delicacy. The bounty of wild Georgia shrimp swayed high above the boat Friday morning, then swung over to the City Market docks. Jake Wilson took it from there, manhandling the huge bucket of white roe shrimp and dumping the catch into a spacious water trough for processing at the City Market plant on Brunswick’s East River. This process repeats itself many times before Capt. Joe Williams’ Jo Ann B had unloaded its plentiful catch for the day. Entering the third week of the 2017 shrimping season in Georgia’s state waters, the folks who ply the coast to bring the Golden Isles these delicious crustaceans are feeling something strange: optimism. click here to read the story 11:18

Georgia shrimp season opens June 1

Georgia waters will open for commercial and recreational harvest of food shrimp at 8 a.m. Thursday. “The white shrimp abundance in our May coastwide trawl survey is higher compared to historic averages for the month of May,” said Lindsey Aubart, the Coastal Resources Division biologist supervising monthly shrimp sampling. “The shrimp sizes are highly desirable to recreational harvesters and valuable to commercial fishermen. The recommendation to open on June 1 was made after taking into consideration our May survey results and input received from our Shrimp Advisory Panel.” Last year there were 261 licensed shrimp trawlers and 25 cast-net shrimp harvesters. They brought in an estimated $8.3 million worth of shrimp. click here to read the story 09:56

Commercial fishermen catch carp and more in the cold waters at Point Douglas.

It was cold and windy on March 21 when Jim Shiely went down to the beach across from his home in Prescott. Waves washed against the sand. The commercial fishermen were out in their big broad-beamed boats and chest waders, hauling in nets full of rough fish: a writhing mass of suckers, sheepshead, and assorted bottom-feeders. “No paddlefish that I saw,” Jim wrote. “Saw one good sized musky which the MN DNR weighed and measured around 44 inches and one small sturgeon. A lot of quillback, all of which they threw back. Saw a nice number of huge walleyes, which of course are thrown back along with all other game fish.” view the photo gallery, read the rest here 08:38

MD lawmakers call hearing on DNR crab manager’s firing

Maryland lawmakers have scheduled a special hearing to investigate the Hogan administration’s firing of the state’s longtime manager of the blue crab fishery. The House Environment and Transportation Committee and the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee plan to meet jointly Monday to seek more information on the termination last month of Brenda Davis. A 28-year employee of the state Department of Natural Resources, Davis was dismissed Feb. 21 after a small group of watermen complained about her and crabbing regulations to Gov. Larry Hogan. Sen. Paul Pinsky, a Prince George’s County Democrat, said the committees want to know whether politics is influencing science and scientific decision-making in the department. “We have to shine a light on the firing of Brenda Davis,” Pinsky said Thursday. “It seems that the Hogan administration has made her a sacrificial lamb to a small group of watermen who have, to date, not been able to change state crabbing policy.” continue reading the story here 20:17

Maryland’s veteran crab manager fired after watermen complain to Hogan

Maryland’s veteran manager of the state’s blue crab fishery was fired this week after a group of watermen complained to Gov. Larry Hogan about a catch regulation that they contend hurts their livelihood — but that scientists say is needed to ensure a sustainable harvest. Brenda Davis, crab program manager for the Department of Natural Resources and a 28-year state employee, said she was informed Tuesday that her services were no longer needed. In an interview Wednesday, Davis said Fisheries Director Dave Blazer gave no reason for her summary dismissal. But it came after Hogan met last week with about a dozen Dorchester County watermen who had been pressing Davis and the DNR for a change in a long-time regulation setting the minimum catchable size for crabs. Continue reading the story here 11:46

Shrimpers say blackgill mystery may wait in the St. Simons Sound

14836563 black gillThe crippling blackgill disease first appeared in local waters during the 1996 shrimping harvest, roughly six years after the last time state officials had permitted trawlers to operate in the St. Simons Sound. The parasitic disease, which affects reproduction and vigor in shrimp, is already showing up in the 2016 harvest that started June 1. It marks the earliest point in the season that blackgill has ever appeared in the harvest, according to Lindsey Aubart, a marine biologist with the state Department of Natural Resources. Scientists and marine biologists such as Aubart have studied the blackgill problem for years in search of a source and solution to the mysterious disease, which occurs from the Chesapeake Bay to the Gulf of Mexico but is most prominent in the waters of Georgia and South Carolina. Locally, a lot of experienced shrimpers suspect the answers may be found in those long-fallow shrimping waters of the St. Simons Sound. Read the rest here 08:46

Michigan Considers Controversial Commercial Net-Pen Aquaculture in Huron and Michigan

Several State agencies are looking at proposals to allow commercial net-pen aquaculture on the Great Lakes. The practice is controversial because of environmental concerns. WDET’s Amy Miller spoke with Tammy Newcomb; Senior Policy Advisor for the Department of Natural Resources. She says Ontario has allowed a few net-pens near Georgian Bay and now there are two Michigan proposals. This week the State is holding two public hearings on the two Great Lakes net-pen aquaculture proposals. Listen to the report here 08:29

Crisfield watermen up in arms over DNR’s peeler crab regulations

It’s another winter day that Crisfield watermen are forced to stay off their boats, but the spring may be the start of even bigger problems. “We were hoping it wouldn’t come to this,” says Doug Hall, a waterman in Crisfield, Maryland. In Maryland, the current law requires that the minimum size of “peeler” or soft-shell crabs that watermen can harvest is 3.25 inches until July 14th, when that requirement jumps to 3.5 inches. However, this year the Department of Natural Resources is making that regulation go into effect three months earlier, on April 1st. Read the rest here 15:41

Georgia waters opening to shrimping June 10

BRUNSWICK, GA. | Georgia will open its waters for the commercial and recreational netting of food shrimp at 8 a.m. Tuesday, June 10, the state said. That means commercial trawlers can operate in Georgia’s territorial waters to the three-mile limit and individuals can use beach seines and cast nets to catch shrimp in waters where the shrimping gears are allowed. Read more here 13:55

Half of Hawaii’s Bottomfishing Restricted Areas Opening Up

A long-simmering dispute over the state’s Bottomfishing Restricted Areas (BRFA’s) between Hawaii’s fishing community and the state’s  and fisheries scientists has resulted in a move by the state to open six BRFAs and keep six BRFAs closed. Read more here 17:45

Maryland Seafood labeling legislation could pose problems for restaurants

ANNAPOLIS — Marylanders — lawmakers included — take their crabs very seriously, which prompted a legislative proposal that would let residents know when their “Maryland style” crabcakes aren’t the real deal. Some members of the seafood and restaurant industries fear that legislation introduced in the state House of Delegates proposing tighter regulations on seafood labeling could be impractical and costly for Maryland restaurants. Read more here  somdnews.com 13:31

Oyster lease bid plan unpopular with Louisiana’s oyster industry

A draft of proposed legislation to lift the moratorium on new oyster leases in Louisiana doesn’t even have a sponsor yet, but two provisions in it are raising the ire of the oyster industry. One provision would require bidding for new leases instead of the current process of leasing these state-owned water bottoms for $2 an acre per year for 15 years. The provision would apply only to new leases, not to renewals. Read [email protected]  17:59

Kent Md. Poacher convicted of overfishing striped bass

According to a news release from the office of Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler, state Natural Resources Police began an investigation after receiving information that Pierce had been using fishing licenses that did not belong to him during the striped bass season in January and February of 2011. Striped bass regulations from 2011 allowed Pierce to catch the daily legal limit of 300 pounds per striped bass allocation. There also was a maximum permitted allotment for total catch per boat of 1,400 pounds per day. [email protected] 14:39

Wisconsin DNR issues commercial fishing citations in Two Rivers

MANITOWOC — The Department of Natural Resources has issued 44 citations for commercial fishing violations against Susie Q Fish Co. of Two Rivers, its owners and employees. The ordinance violations occurred in 2007 through 2010, according to court records. Among the charges were fishing with an illegal net, failing to return game fish and failing to keep accurate records. Read more here