Tag Archives: Division of Marine Fisheries.

Fisheries division schedules day-long symposium on troubled summer flounder fishery

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries (NCDMF) has scheduled a day-long symposium on the southern flounder fishery, which is in such bad shape that the spring season was canceled in 2023 and the fall season was only a couple of weeks long. The event will be Wednesday, March 20 at the Riverfront Convention Center in New Bern and will begin at 9 a.m. The symposium will provide an opportunity for stakeholders, researchers and division staff to discuss various topics related to southern flounder, which up until the last few years has been one of the most valuable finfish species harvested by commercial and recreational fishermen in the state. more, >>click to read<< 07:41

MA Awarded $4.6 Million to Support North Atlantic Right Whale Recovery and Lobster Industry

The Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) will receive more than $4.6 million from a congressional appropriation through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to enhance the division’s nation-leading conservation program for the endangered North Atlantic right whale. DMF will use this funding and an additional $475,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), to bolster development of innovative fishing gear technologies, increase ongoing research and monitoring, and provide fishing gear to lobster industry participants to reduce harm to the right whales. As part of a 5-year program, DMF anticipates receiving more than $23 million from NOAA Fisheries between now and the end of 2028 subject to annual Congressional appropriations. more, >>click to read<< 06:59

Rhode Island’s commercial fishing industry, by the numbers

The calamari comeback is going strong, while lobsters lag and flounders flounder. That’s according to a new Department of Environmental Management report on the fishing industry last year. In 2022, the overall value of commercial fishing landings in Rhode Island was $100.6 million. That’s about 10 percent lower than 2021 when you account for inflation. The drop is discouraging, but there’s a lot that plays into seafood landings annually, including biological, fisheries management, and economic factors, according to Conor McManus, chief of DEM’s Division of Marine Fisheries. The full DEM report also takes a look at recreational fishing, but for today, we’ll stick with a seafood sampler of data about the commercial fishing industry. >click to read< 08:23

California sustainability group told people to stop eating lobster, so Massachusetts lobstermen file suit

Standing on a dock in his hometown of Gloucester, Mass., lobsterman Arthur Sawyer looked out at the peaceful, calm waters off of Cape Ann. Sawyer, president of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, and three other Bay State lobster fishers filed a class action lawsuit earlier this month against Monterey Bay Aquarium and the international Marine Stewardship Council, groups that consider lobstering a major risk to North Atlantic right whales and, hence, people shouldn’t buy lobsters anymore. “They have gone overboard targeting Massachusetts when we’ve been doing everything,” Sawyer told the Herald. “We have 100 percent closure right now. There is no place safer for right whales right now on the east coast than in Massachusetts waters.” >click to read< 11:12

Electronic vessel trackers coming for lobster fishers

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) announced that all commercial lobster permit holders with a federal lobster trap permit will be required to install a vessel tracking device beginning in the spring. DMF will cover the costs of the first three years for the 300 eligible vessels that fish from Massachusetts ports. “We expect to cover the costs of each eligible owner’s purchase, installation, and data plan for around $1,500,” the announcement reads. “Up to five different vendors are expected to offer devices for sale to the industry this winter. Eligible permit holders will be allowed to choose the approved tracking device that best fits their business.” >click to read< 18:33

North Carolina: New quota cuts Southern flounder fishing off in one week, frustrating fishermen

Maurice Mann, a commercial fisherman, expressed his frustration. Maurice and his son Jasper Mann were geared up for a good season of flounder fishing, getting new nets and catching around 100 pounds of Eastern Carolina’s popular sea dwellers. After less than a week on the water, they found themselves thousands of dollars in the hole when their buyer told them the Division of Marine Fisheries said to reel it in. They were told the number of flounder they allowed to be caught commercially in September had already been met. Video, >click to read< 14:34

Feds authorize 5-day period for ropeless lobster fishing in Massachusetts Bay

Federal officials gave Massachusetts lobstermen a temporary exemption Tuesday to allow them to use ropeless lobster gear in a restricted area of the Massachusetts Bay through Saturday after state regulators rejected a similar proposal earlier this month. The exempted fishing permit was issued to a group of lobstermen organized under the name “Pioneers for a Thoughtful Coexistence,” who had asked regulators to allow them to set as many as 200 ropeless traps in areas along the South Shore, where lobster fishing is closed three months a year. >click to read< 07:48

DMF resuming onboard observer program for estuarine gill net fishing May 1

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries announced Thursday, April 20 it will resume onboard observations of estuarine gill net fisheries beginning May 1. Onboard observations will be the primary method of observing the fisheries, with limited use of alternative platform observations primarily conducted by Marine Patrol officers. “The decision to resume onboard observations as the primary observation method is based on improved COVID-19 indicators,” Fishermen are reminded that an estuarine gill net permit is required to use anchored gill nets, both large-mesh and small-mesh, in estuarine waters for either commercial or recreational fishing. One of the conditions of the EGNP is to allow division staff to observe gill net operations. >click to read< 11:35

Massachusetts state regulators reject plan to use ropeless lobster traps

The proposal, submitted by a group of lobstermen organized under the name “Pioneers for a Thoughtful Coexistence,” asked regulators to allow them to set as many as 200 ropeless traps in areas along the South Shore, where lobster fishing is closed three months a year. DMF Director Daniel McKiernan denied the plan and laid out three reasons for his decision, the first being that the proposal “lacks a study design that will contribute meaningfully to further understanding the efficacy of ropeless fishing.” >click to read< 08:02

Proposal for Authorization to Conduct Ropeless Fishing Activity Within Mass Trap Gear Closure Area

The Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) has received a proposal from the Pioneers for a Thoughtful Co Existence, Inc. (“Pioneers”) for a Scientific Project Permit and Letter of Authorization. The Pioneers—collaborating with the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare—seek to fish so-called “ropeless” lobster trap gear through the use of on-demand vertical buoy line systems affixed to their trap gear. >click to read< 15:47

Shrimp industry vital to Eastern North Carolina economy

A recent proposal from the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries is shining new light on the impact the shrimping industry has on eastern North Carolina.,, That original proposition was voted down by state commissioners Thursday,,, Yet many shrimpers, and other county residents, are still reeling from the close call. One of those is 5th generation Shrimper, Cayton Daniels, who makes his entire living off of shrimping. He says he wouldn’t have survived the proposal’s closures. photos, >click to read< 08:41

Cape Cod Bay: Lobsters started dying in their traps. Now scientists think they know why

In September of 2019, Tracy Pugh started getting phone calls about dead lobsters. Pugh is a biologist with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, and a handful of fishermen in Cape Cod Bay were reporting traps full of dead lobsters, “anywhere from several dozen to hundreds,” she recalled. “So way, way more than normal.” Some reported dead fish and crabs in their traps, as well. One trawler came up with a bunch of dead scallops. Pugh, working with scientists at the Center for Coastal Studies, found the reason soon enough: >click to read< – Karenia mikimotoi, >click to read< 10:08

“We’re in pretty bad shape,” Commercial fishermen, fishing industry decline over the past 20 years

North Carolina commercial fishermen have complained for decades that government regulations and a variety of other factors threaten their livelihood and have them headed the way of endangered species. Glenn Skinner of Newport, executive director of the North Carolina Fisheries Association an advocacy group of commercial fishermen, said statistics back that up. “These declines are the result of many different factors. with regulations, the fear of future regulations or outright bans on commercial fishing gears being a significant factor,” Skinner said. He said public perception and political agendas drive the regulations. >click to read< 11:26

North Carolina commercial fishermen landed less seafood last year

In 2020, 42.9 million pounds of fish and shellfish were sold, a decrease of 19% from 2019 and about a 23% decrease from the previous five-year average, according to the Division of Marine Fisheries. The decrease in commercial harvest was linked to a 41.3% decrease in hard blue crab landings from 2019, which may be related to COVID-19 impacts. The Division of Marine Fisheries said several fishermen told officials that they found it difficult to move blue crabs at the beginning of the state’s stay-at-home order when many restaurants were closed. >click to read< 15:26

North Carolina: Public Comment Opens for Shrimp Fishery Management Plan

The public has until June 30 to submit comments on proposed shrimp fishery management changes aimed to further reduce bycatch of nontarget species and minimize ecosystem impacts, the state Division of Marine Fisheries announced,, Draft amendment 2 to the shrimp fishery management plan contains a suite of management options that range from current management practices to a complete closure to shrimp trawling of all inside waters, including Pamlico Sound, according to the division.,, Draft shrimp amendment 2 also includes a shrimp trawl bycatch information paper,,, There are three ways to comment on draft shrimp amendment 2, >click to read< 12:51

Ban on trap fishing lifted, Massachusetts Lobstermen start setting gear

When last we saw Joe Mondello in early April, he was standing in front of a mountain of 550 traps,,, Mondello, as with many lobstermen at docks around Gloucester and the rest of Cape Ann, wasted little time getting back to work. The 71-year-old, flying solo on Friday, was on the water by 6:30 a.m. By 10 a.m., Mondello, using frozen redfish heads, had baited the first load of about 30 traps and set them off the Back Shore from his 37-foot Tully IV. Then it was back in to the Everett R. Jodrey State Fish Pier,,, Tied up behind him, Sam Harrington was similarly engaged on the Lady Marie. >click to read< 10:34

Mass DMF – Effective May 14, Seasonal Trap Gear Closure and Speed Restrictions Lifted

Beginning tomorrow, commercial trap fishermen may set their gear in those waters under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth east and north of Cape Cod up to the New Hampshire border. These waters have been closed to trap gear fishing since February 1. Additionally, mariners operating vessels less than 65’ overall length may run them at speeds greater than 10 knots. Operators of vessels with an overall length of 65’ or greater are reminded the federal 10 knot speed limit remains in effect in Cape Cod Bay Seasonal Management Area through May 15. >click to read< 18:36

Kathy Rawls named new director of N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries

When Kathy Rawls becomes the new director of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries on May 1, she will have plenty of experience to draw on. Rawls has been with the Division for more than 25 years, the past seven as the Fisheries Management section chief. She also will be the first woman to head the agency since the Fisheries Commission Board became the Division of Commercial Fisheries in the late 1920s. “There are already a number of women in pivotal roles at the division, and I do feel a responsibility to represent them and other female colleagues, but I also know that gender is not part of the job description,” >click to read< 13:29

David Ismay, undersecretary for climate change resigns following remarks about reducing emissions by seniors on fixed incomes

“Let me say that again, 60 percent of our emissions that need to be reduced come from you — the person across the street, the senior on fixed income,” he said. “There is no bad guy left, at least in Massachusetts, to point the finger at, turn the screws on, and, you know, break their will, so they stop emitting. That’s you. We have to break your will. I can’t even say that publicly.” >click to read< 09:18

Baker’s embattled climate undersecretary targets fishing industry for Euro wind farmers!

David Ismay is again being called out for his questionable comments — this time against fishermen. The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, that broke the first video on the $130,000-a-year official’s rhetoric, says he also told climate activists that in order to obtain enough (offshore) wind power, “something has to give” in regard to the fishing industry. “We need offshore wind, and yes there is fishing out in the ocean too, but you know, there’s, we can’t have no offshore wind, no transmission, no solar, and have clean energy. Right. Something has to give,” Ismay is quoted telling Vermont climate advocates. He goes on to discuss transmission lines that will be placed in the ocean. >click to read< 13:00

Massachusetts Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission bans inshore lobstering during whale migration

Meeting via webinar, the MFAC overwhelmingly approved five of the six recommendations presented by the state Division of Marine Fisheries, setting the stage for a hectic start to the state’s 2021 lobster fishing season.,, A Feb. 1 to May 15 closure to commercial trap gear in all state waters,, weaker buoy lines,, A Jan. 15 to May 15 gillnet closure in Cape Cod Bay,, All but one of the approved measures passed on unanimous 8-0 votes. The exception was the recommendation for the Feb. 1 to May 15 commercial trap gear closure in all state waters. The lone dissenting vote on the measure came from longtime Gloucester lobsterman Arthur “Sooky” Sawyer, “I can’t support this motion. The Massachusetts inshore lobster fishery has never killed a right whale. I’m voting no.” >click to read< 18:35

One lawsuit dismissed, another filed against State of North Carolina over fisheries management

The latest suit was filed on Tuesday in state court, the same day another group’s legal action against government officials’ management of marine fisheries in North Carolina was dismissed in federal court. The Coastal Conservation Association of North Carolina, along with 86 North Carolinians, filed their civil action Tuesday against the state in Wake County Superior Court. In an unrelated case, an organization called the North Carolina Coastal Fisheries Reform Group filed a federal lawsuit in August saying regulations that allow large, ocean-going shrimp trawlers to work in the state’s sounds violated the Clean Water Act. >click to read< 08:01

Baker Polito Administration Announces Coronavirus Disaster Relief Funding for Fishing and Seafood Industries

The Baker-Polito Administration has announced the distribution of $27.8 million in federal disaster relief funding to mitigate the financial impacts to the fishing and seafood industries from the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The Division of Marine Fisheries worked with fishing industry stakeholders to develop a plan to distribute the federal fisheries assistance, which has now been approved by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. >click to read< 11:12

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

A group threatens a lawsuit over NC shrimping rules

A group pushing for changes to North Carolina’s commercial fishing rules sent formal notice last week that it plans to sue the state and one of the largest shrimping companies on the coast. The N.C. Coastal Fisheries Reform Group said that after “over a decade of unsuccessful attempts to engage in meaningful fisheries management reform dialog” with multiple governors, lawmakers and state officials it was filing a notice of claim under the Federal Clean Water Act. That starts a 60-day clock ahead of a lawsuit. The group said in a news release that, with another shrimping season approaching, time is of the essence. >click to read< 12:00

Right whale sighting pushes back start of South Shore lobster season

Lobster season in southern Massachusetts has been put off for an additional seven days after endangered right whales were spotted feeding in the southern Cape Cod Bay. The Division of Marine Fisheries announced Tuesday that most of Cape Cod Bay and the Outer Cape will remain closed to lobster fishing until May 8. The area is is closed annually from February to the end of April to protect right whales. It was initially set to open on Friday. The lobstering season on the South Shore is limited by the season and by the lobster’s life cycle. They shed their shells in June and are not active again until mid-July, John Haviland, president of the South Shore Lobster Fishermen’s Association, said.  The bay closures started six years ago and increased the length of time lobstermen are out of the water. Before the closures,,, >click to read< 18:18

Federal study surveys spawning Atlantic Cod – Research area sits in waters zoned for offshore wind projects.

NOAA, the state Division of Marine Fisheries, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School of Marine Science and Technology are all participating in the study, which is funded by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The research is focused on what may be one of the last remaining major seasonal spawning gatherings in the Northwest Atlantic, according to the state Division of Marine Fisheries. “It’s certainly been a persistent spawning aggregation and there are not many in New England,” said fisheries scientist Steve Cadrin, principal investigator on the project for the School of Marine Science and Technology. Atlantic cod populations are at historic lows, hammered by chronic overfishing and climate change. >click to read< 07:06

Division of Marine Fisheries Reminder: Large Whale Seasonal Trap Gear Closure in Effect on February 1st

This advisory serves to remind recreational and commercial trap fishermen that the Large Whale Seasonal Trap Gear Closure (Closure) is in effect from February 1 through April 30. The Closure may be extended into May if right whales remain aggregated in the area. The Closure area encompasses the waters of Cape Cod Bay, Stellwagen Bank and eastern Cape Cod (see map). State officials will be patrolling this area in advance of and during the closure to identify gear and notify its owners. >click to read< 08:58

North Carolina: New blue crab management plan in the works

N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission recently announced it is moving forward with management measures for the blue crab that are designed to end overfishing. One of the biggest proposed changes is establishing closed seasons for the harvest, said Jason Rock, biologist supervisor with the Division of Marine Fisheries. >click to read<  15:09

Calls for reform, and a coming resignation, as fight rages over coastal fisheries

A wildlife conservation group called this week for an overhaul in the way North Carolina manages its coastal fisheries, and a member of the policy-setting commission in charge is contemplating resignation. The N.C. Wildlife Federation voted Saturday to recommend a massive management consolidation over one of the state’s most contentious issues. Under their plan the Marine Fisheries Commission, a board appointed by the governor, and the Division of Marine Fisheries, which enforces rules day-to-day along the North Carolina Coast, would be folded into the state’s Wildlife Resources Commission. Video >click to read< 07:24