Tag Archives: Massachusetts Lobstermen

Massachusetts Lobstermen fear end of their livelihood

Dan Pronk is worried a new set of proposed NOAA and NMFS restrictions aimed at saving the North Atlantic right whale could be the nail in the coffin for the lobstering industry on Nantucket. “We’ve got five years left of lobstering down here,” said Pronk, the only commercial lobsterman on Nantucket, and one of only a handful of lobstermen around the region with traps south of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. “It’s career ending if they get their way. We’re bending over backwards to appease these people. >click to read< 13:28

Livelihoods Threatened: Massachusetts lobstermen concerned about proposed regulations to protect whales

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries is proposing multiple amendments to current rules regulating fixed gear fisheries in an effort to protect an the North Atlantic right whale. Two local lobstermen say the proposed regulations threaten their livelihoods. “It’s gonna take roughly 30% of my income away from me,” said Dave Magee,,, Tom Tomkiewicz, a Fairhaven lobsterman, was not sold on the regulation, the regulations could cut 30% of his catch and up to 50% of his income,,,  “All the bait guys, the marine supply guys, the shipyards, down to the restaurants we go to once or twice a week. We’re not going to be able to go because we won’t have the money. It’s going to affect a lot of people not even involved.” >click to read< 13:07

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<

Long a lifeblood, South Shore fishing industry faces numerous challenges

Over his more than five decades fishing commercially, Frank Mirarchi has watched the business evolve from thriving and straightforward to complicated and diminished, with skyrocketing costs, foreign competition and changing regulations choking an industry synonymous with the South Shore. In the late 1960s, when he purchased his first of three successive boats, fish was abundant enough to make a solid living off of. “By 1985 or so, fishing was pretty bad,” Mirachi said. With profits dropping, he switched from having two other crew members to one. In 1994, the federal government stared limiting the number of days fishermen can be on the water to combat overfishing. Before, some spent 200 or more days fishing each year. Over the years, it was gradually reduced to 30. Mirarchi said this “wasn’t particularly successful”,,, >click to read< 08:54

Massachusetts Lobstermen Test Ropeless Fishing Gear to Save Right Whales

Researchers say conservationists and the fishing industry must work together to save the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. Only about 400 of these whales are left living in the wild, and scientists say human activity is to blame. Proposed federal regulations,,, But these measures drastically reduce the number of lines lobstermen are allowed to have in the water. That’s why Massachusetts lobstermen are eager to try new technology that would enable them to set their traps without a vertical line. Patrick Ramage is director of marine conservation for the International Fund for Animal Welfare.,,, >click to read<10:33

Ropeless Fishing Gear Could Aid Maine’s Lobster Industry, Endangered Whales>click to read<

A Life-Long Lobsterman Also Works Hard On Ways To Avoid Whales

Rob Martin was five miles out on his boat, Resolve, lobstering with his crew, and made a call on his way back to port. Martin wasn’t calling his buyer. He was joining a conference call for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team, of which he is a member.,, The conversation revolved around installing breakaway sleeves in vertical lines from traps to buoys so whales can snap them on contact and not become entangled. Martin wasn’t required to make those changes, but he already had. He has been working for years ,,, >click to read< 14:20

Losing hope for lobster south of Cape Cod

Tom Tomkiewicz remembers when there were so many lobster traps in Buzzards Bay it looked as if he could walk across the water on their buoys. Now, the 42-year-old lobsterman and his dwindling number of colleagues have to set their traps far out to sea, well beyond view of the coast, to catch the few lobsters that remain. “There’s nothing here,” said Tomkiewicz, one of only 35 Massachusetts lobstermen who still have permits to fish in the state and federal waters that stretch from Nantucket Sound to Long Island Sound. “It’s crazy.”,,, The steep decline has left regulators in a quandary click here to read the story 21:20

Massachusetts lobstermen want to create in-state processing industry

With two of the top five lobster ports in the state, the South Shore could see newly created jobs and increased income for its local fisherman if legislators pass a law clearing the way for lobster parts to be processed in Massachusetts. The bill to allow shell-on lobster parts to be processed, transported and sold in the state passed the State Senate in January and is waiting on action by the House, possibly before April, said co-sponsor Rep. James Cantwell, D-Marshfield. Approval would allow Massachusetts to compete with Maine lobster processors that are going up against the dominant players globally – lobster meat processors based in Canada’s Maritime Provinces. Read the rest here 10:18

Massachusetts lobstermen are pissed off over NOAA’s Fisheries Observer Program, and I don’t blame ’em.

The specter of increased observer coverage on the decks of their boats is not sitting well with Massachusetts lobstermen, whose resistance to the NOAA Fisheries plan was in full flower at a public meeting Thursday night in Gloucester.  Regulator’s plan to expand its Northeast Fisheries Observer Program (NEFOP) in the New England lobstering industry and as far down the East Coast as Maryland. The lobstermen also were not happy with answers they received on why they are being targeted for expanded observer coverage. Read the rest here 13:59

Massachusetts Lobstermen go back to work after three-month closure

green harborJust a few weeks ago, Green Harbor was mostly empty just a few weeks –  aside from the unoccupied mooring balls dotting the water. But the harbor has suddenly come back alive. Lobster boats teeming with traps and buoys sit ready to go, while captains prepare their equipment on the pier. After a three-month closure, the lobstermen are finally back in business. “We’re just ready to get back out and work,” said lobsterman Scott Leddin, who keeps his boat Decisive in Green Harbor. Read the rest here

New regulations rankle lobstermen

Outer Cape lobster fishermen say that new federal regulations protecting whales don’t just threaten their livelihood, they threaten their lives. “This is the first (lobster) regulation where you will have wholesale civil disobedience,” predicted Orleans lobsterman Steve Smith, while transferring totes of lobsters from his skiff to his pickup truck at Snowshore Landing recently. “People just aren’t going to do it.” Read more here 08:53

Massachusetts Lobstermen oppose gear changes – “Fishermen are willing to help,” “We have helped. But does it ever end?

Along the Massachusetts coast, the idea favored so far by federal regulators would close waters along the Outer Cape and east of Chatham to trap/pot fishing from Jan. 1 through April 30. The favored approach would require more than one trap/pot on a single vertical rope, called a trawl, depending on region and distance to shore, and fishermen would have to put more and bigger identifying tags on both trap/pot and gillnet gear. [email protected]