Tag Archives: massachusetts

New buoy marking changes in the works for Bay State Lobstermen

In late January, the Massachusetts Fisheries Advisory Commission approved a package of new protections for the imperiled North Atlantic right whales, including an extended state-water closure, required breakaway ropes and new rules for applying identifying markings on lobster trap buoy lines. The new gear requirements went into effect May 1, but commercial lobstermen may not want to get too comfortable with the buoy line marking rules. DMF already is looking to change them after this fishing season. The proposed new buoy line marking rules, if enacted, would go into effect Feb. 1, 2022. >click to read< 14:28

In New England, “The resource keeps diminishing.” Clammers Dig Through The Pandemic For Fewer Shellfish

In Maine, the largest clam producing state, fishermen produced their lowest haul in more than 90 years at a little more than 1.3 million pounds in 2020. Nationwide totals aren’t compiled yet, but Maine’s haul typically accounts for more than half the U.S. total, and hauls in other clamming states such as Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York have been trending downward in recent years. “The resource keeps diminishing.” The clamming industry has had to contend with more marine predators of clams such as green crabs and milky ribbon worm in recent years. >click to read< 13:33

Tight-Knit Fishing Communities Navigate Drugs

Johnnie*, a salt-and-pepper fisherman in his late 50s, is smiling as he tells me what happened one dark night last year. “It was like a movie star, dropping down from the sky off the helicopter to get to my crewmate, pitch of night,” he says. “The Coast Guard—this handsome guy, my wife would’ve loved him, like Rock Hudson—dropped down from the moon. Felt like hours after we had given him all the Narcan we had. The Coast Guard still didn’t carry it back then, did you know that? So they pulled him up into the clouds and we all were left below at sea.”, “It’s not the first time that’s happened on our boat,” Johnnie says. “If we didn’t have that Narcan on board though, kid probably wouldn’t have made it.”  >click to read< 19:13

Parading in protest – Lobstermen call for abolishment of closures

About 40 lobster boats participated Wednesday in the boat parade protesting Massachusetts’ current closure of virtually all of its state waters to commercial lobstering as a protection for the North Atlantic right whales. The boats, which primarily hailed from Gloucester, Manchester and Rockport, staged around Ten Pound Island in the late afternoon and then headed in single file toward the head of the harbor. Nancy MacDowell of Rockport was at the state fish pier to support her lobstering family in its effort to bring awareness to the closure and the negative impact its is having on those who lobster in state waters. photos, >click to read< 09:05

Right whale protection regs leave Cape fishermen feeling trapped

His house on the quarter-acre lot is nearly surrounded by gravel, with bright yellow and black fishing traps neatly stacked all around. Tolley is gearing up for the fishing season, is headed for a hip replacement in a month, but that wasn’t his only concern. New state regs require that he fit the buoy lines on all 1,200 of his lobster, conch and black sea bass traps with special sleeves that release under the pressure of an adult whale. “I don’t want to see a right whale entangled,”,,, He worries about the financial pressures imposed on him and other fishermen by regulations >click to read< 13:42

The Voices of Gloucester Fishermen: NOAA offers virtual trip through Gloucester fishing history

The voices speak to the experience of living and fishing in America’s oldest commercial seaport, of the challenges and the joys of working on the waters of Cape Ann and beyond. They are at once a snapshot and endurable timeline collected into recorded interviews and fashioned into an  integrated story map of the Gloucester fishing and community experience. The stories and the voices which tell them are contained in the newest online chapter of the Voices of Oral History Archives organized and produced by NOAA Fisheries’ Northeast Fisheries Science Center. It’s titled “Strengthening Community Resilience in America’s Oldest Seaport” photos, video, >click to read< 11:55

Big Blow Joe – Biden’s Rush to put Windmills off the Coast of Massachusetts

It didn’t take long for fishermen to realize that Joe Biden is not their friend. Biden, or whoever is calling the shots these days in Washington, rushed through a review of the Vineyard Wind offshore wind farm, moving the project, expected to be online by the end of 2023, closer to becoming a reality. It’s not the first time Joe Biden has dealt the fishing industry a losing hand. The Obama-Biden Administration closed fishing grounds off the New England coast by declaring the area a national monument. Trump reversed the decision upon taking office. >click to read< 07:10

New Protected Species Regulations Finalized for Fixed Gear Fisheries

New Protected Species Regulations Finalized for Fixed Gear Fisheries and Industry Outreach on Required Gear Modifications. This advisory serves to provide you with information regarding new protected species regulations. More details on each new regulatory provision are provided in the bullets below. Seasonal Commercial Trap Closure, Gillnet Closure, Weak Rope Requirements for Comm. Trap Gear, DMF’s ongoing efforts to protect the North Atlantic right whale.,,  >Click to read< 18:55

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

CARES Act relief funds for New Bedford fisheries topped $5 million

In May 2020, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced an allocation of $300 million for fisheries assistance. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Massachusetts received the third-highest amount in funding with about $28 million. Alaska and Washington received the most with $50 million each and Maine was fifth with about $20.3 million. New Bedford alone received about $3.8 million, or approximately 13.6% of the state’s allocation. The funds provided much-needed relief for an industry seeing up to a 49% drop in landings revenue,,,  >click to read< 08:12

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 Launches ‘Ropeless’ Fishing Feasibility Study

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) has launched a comprehensive scoping project to assess ‘ropeless’ fishing gear in the New England lobster fishery. A first of its kind on an accelerated timeline, the project will interview dozens of fishermen, technologists, policy experts, and scientists to fully evaluate the challenges and opportunities of the new gear type. The twelve-month project will evaluate fishing, legal, regulatory, technological challenges and opportunities of alternative lobster gear, which could reduce whale entanglements. >click to read< 12:47

Capt. Douglas M. Swain, 78, of New Bedford has passed away

Captain Douglas M. Swain, 78, of New Bedford died January 12, 2021 peacefully at home. He was the husband of Claudette E. (Verville) Swain. Born in New Bedford, son of the late Robert J. and Helen F. (Goss) Swain, he lived in New Bedford all of his life. He was formerly employed as a fisherman for many years retiring as captain of F/V Ambassador. Doug had a great relationship with his crew and the owner Geir Tonnessen. He served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. Doug received the Purple Heart and the Vietnam Service Medal with 2 bronze stars. >click to read< 10:40

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

Huh!!! Massachusetts Lobster Poachers Charged!

You can call it the “Illegalest Catch” after a lobster boat docked in Beverly was caught taking in illegal and undersized lobsters.,, Massachusetts Environmental Police Officers, responding to a tip from a concerned citizen, conducted surveillance of lobster boats offloading their catch at a facility in Beverly. Officers subsequently conducted an inspection of the lobster crates they had observed being offloaded. The first lobster measured was found to be undersized; after finding several violations within the first crate,,, it gets better! >click to read< 15:04

Massachusetts Lobstermen Raise Concerns Over Proposed Whale Regulations

At a public hearing on Tuesday, the Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries (DMF) shared its recommendations to extend a seasonal commercial gear closure to areas north and east of the Cape from February 1 through April 30. “I’m just trying to plan for the future of fisheries. I mean, if we have a closure this will really close down the state to any type of income,” said Mike Lane, a fisherman who asked whether the state would require modifications to other kinds of fishing gear. Officials were unable to provide an economic impact report based on these recommendations,,, (someone that was there said there was a lot of ropeless chatter) >click to read< 07:30

Opinion: The Reason for No Season – Jim O’Connell

These are 2 females. The black shelled female on the left did not shed this year for the first time skipping the yearly shed. It now has eggs. It was a pound and a half and does not have to shed every year anymore.,,, Canada is not protecting the reproductive potential with it’s seasonal rules. They force the lobstermen to throw the baby out with the bath water. Lobstermen who are trying to make a living for the whole year in two months are targeted on the most important lobster for reproduction.,,, The First Nations have publicly come out and said they want to improve the regulations on the present method for sustainability. Jim O’Connell, >click to read< 15:36

Menemsha Fish House Closes Up Shop

Menemsha Fish House, one of the Island’s largest wholesale seafood distributors has been shut down by its parent company, the owners confirmed Monday, as the pandemic continues to churn up rough waters for Vineyard fishermen and decimate the region’s seafood industry. But with the season ending, former operator Peter Lambos and Red’s Best owner Jared Auerbach said the economics of the wholesale market became impossible, forcing Red’s Best to officially close the business at the beginning of October. >click to read< 13:00

District Court judge denies injunction that would shut down lobster and gillnet fishing in Massachusetts

In a hearing Thursday in United States District Court, Judge Indira Talwani denied an injunction that would have shut down lobster and gillnet fishing in Massachusetts to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales until a trial seeking that closure takes place. Richard “Max” Strahan, who identifies himself in court documents as a lobster fishermen, whale watcher and “protector of endangered wildlife species,” sued the state Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs last April under the federal Endangered Species Act. >click to read< 11:41

Gloucester: Lobstermen push against whale rules – ‘We’ve borne the brunt’ – >click to read<

Lobsterman Arthur W. Pierce has passed away

Mr. Arthur W. Pierce, 75, of Salem, beloved husband of Gloria J. (Cote) Pierce, died Saturday, September 26, 2020, at the Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers. Born in Marblehead, he was the son of the late Arthur and Ruth (Dewis) Pierce. He was raised and educated in Marblehead and was a graduate of Fryeburg Academy in Maine. An honorably discharged veteran, he served his country as a member of the United States Navy. Following his active service, he was a member of the Naval Reserves. Professionally Mr. Pierce was Lobsterman and the proprietor and Captain of the Lobster boat, “Eliza Bee” out of Marblehead. He loved his days on the water and was a well-known builder of Lobster traps. He was a tireless worker and enjoyed his days on the sea. >click to read< 16:21

Hot Air And The Offshore Wind Industry – Claims it will invigorate these state economies are thin gruel

Seven Atlantic Coast states—Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Virginia have enacted mandates to subsidize the development of thousands of megawatts of offshore wind turbines. In addition to making bold claims about environmental benefits, proponents promise the mandates will create new offshore wind manufacturing and service industries that will create jobs, and lots of them, along the eastern seaboard.,, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority claims that developing 2,400 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind will create 5,000 new jobs and $6.3 billion in infrastructure spending. Similar claims of economic grandeur have been made in New Jersey and Virginia. Not to be outdone, the American Wind Energy Association claims the offshore wind industry will create between 45,000 and 83,000 new jobs by 2030. >click to read< 12:05

As Wind Farm Proceeds, So Does Pushback – Orsted U.S. Offshore Wind and Eversource Energy, which are developing the proposed South Fork Wind farm, filed a joint proposal with the New York State Public Service Commission,, Commercial fishermen are almost universally opposed to the wind farm, fearing an impact on their livelihood, >click to read< 13:47

BP, Equinor Partner to Develop Offshore Wind Farms off New York, and Massachusetts

Two of Europe’s largest oil companies will develop offshore wind projects jointly in the U.S. in yet another example of energy giants migrating towards the development of renewables. Equinor of Norway, and has entered into an agreement to sell a 50% stake in two of its U.S offshore wind farm projects to Britain based BP for $1.1 Billion. Empire Wind, located just southeast of the Long Island coast, spans 80,000 acres, with water depths of between 65 and 131 feet. Beacon Wind is located 20 miles south of Nantucket, Massachusetts, and covers 128,000 acres. >click to read< 15:40

Federal judge gives NOAA time to craft new whale rules

A federal district court judge, in a decision issued late on Wednesday, Aug. 19, gave the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) nine more months to craft new rules to protect endangered right whales from entanglement in lobster fishing gear. Judge James E. Boasberg also denied a request by conservation organizations for an immediate ban on lobster fishing in a vast area of the ocean south of Nantucket Island in Massachusetts. >click to read< 09:45

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

Fishermen? Or Offshore Wind Farmer Wannabe’s?!! Massachusetts Group Grants for Offshore Wind Workforce Training

Massachusetts’ Baker-Polito administration has this week announced $1.3 million in grants to nine Massachusetts institutions and organizations to establish or expand workforce training and development programs that support the state’s emerging offshore wind industry. The awards include a $100,000 commitment from Vineyard Wind’s Windward Workforce Fund and a $100,000 commitment from Mayflower Wind’s Offshore Wind Development Fund, and collectively, the grants leverage an estimated cost-share from awardees of approximately $950,000. The programs will be led by institutions located in Taunton, Bourne, Martha’s Vineyard, Lowell, New Bedford, Boston, North Dartmouth, Burlington, and Gloucester, and will serve workers throughout Massachusetts, the administration said. “Massachusetts is a national leader in the responsible development of the emerging offshore wind industry,” said Governor Charlie Baker. >click to read< 14:10

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<

Con groups propose total lobster fishing ban

According to the Center for Biological Diversity and several other plaintiff conservation groups, the area “has increasingly become important right whale foraging and socializing habitat in recent years. The conservation groups filed their request last Friday, three weeks after the judge ruled that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) violated the federal Endangered Species Act when it continued to allow lobster fishing with gear that used fixed vertical buoy lines in which whales could become entangled. As a practical matter, a ban on the vertical lines that connect traps on the sea floor to marker buoys on the surface would amount to a total prohibition against lobster fishing in the area south of the two Massachusetts islands. While scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and a few others have experimented with “ropeless” lobster trap gear (laughter and scorn, erupts from the crowd),,, >click to read< 09:18

Activist Seeks Preliminary Injunction To Halt Lobster Fishing In Maine

There are new developments Friday in the legal battle over whether rope used by Maine lobstermen poses a deadly threat of entanglement to endangered North Atlantic right whales. Richard Strahan’s case is similar to one he brought in Massachusetts, where a federal judge ruled recently that the lobster fishery there violates the Endangered Species Act. Strahan says state governments and NOAA have deliberately ignored the law. In another case, a coalition of conservation groups late Friday filed their proposals for protecting the right whales. That’s after a judge’s finding that the federal government violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to stall the whales’ slide toward extinction. The Conservation Law Foundation and others say the judge should immediately bar use of vertical rope,,, >click to read< 11:42

Massachusetts Lobstermen push against whale rules – Aug 22, 2019 >click to read<

Federal regulations to protect right whales are delayed until at least this summer

Officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is responsible for protecting the critically endangered species, had planned to issue the regulations last year. But they were delayed after months of criticism from the region’s powerful lobster industry, which is worried that new requirements could be harsh and expensive. >click to read< 18:03

New Hampshire: Lobstermen lament coming whale entanglement regulations

Seacoast lobstermen weighed in on the proposal at a meeting Thursday night in Portsmouth with the state Department of Fish and Game. They’re still skeptical that their fishery poses enough of a threat to the whales to merit new regulations. And they want more details and input on the new, more easily breakable lines or gear they’ll have to use to keep whales from being entangled. >click to read< 07:10