Tag Archives: Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association

Lobster industry is anxious over upcoming North Atlantic right whale protection rules

The federal government is working on new rules designed to reduce risk to North Atlantic right whales,,, One of the threats the whales face is entanglement in ropes that connect to lobster and crab traps in the ocean. Early indications show that the changes required by the rules could be significant. They’re also vulnerable to ship strikes, and face the looming threat of warming oceans. Acting NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator Paul Doremus said in June that the U.S. and Canada, which also harvests lobsters, must “take and sustain additional efforts to reduce right whale mortalities and serious injuries.” >click to read< 10:39

Biological Opinion to Protect Right Whales Met With Opposition on All Sides

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) released a key report called a Biological Opinion yesterday that calls for a 98 percent reduction in risk to North Atlantic right whales over the next 10 years. The goal is meant to be achieved over the course of four phases that correspond with increasingly tight restrictions on lobster and crab fisheries as well as other fixed-gear fisheries that use vertical buoy ropes. Vertical ropes attached to trap/pot gear is known to lethally entangle the whales. >click to read< 16:38

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

Lifejackets for Lobstermen Project works to get PFDs on every fisherman

From 2000-2016, the Centers for Disease Control charted 204 commercial fishing fatalities from falls overboard. None of the fishermen recovered were wearing a lifejacket, and 108 of the fishermen’s bodies were never found, according to a report of the Lifejacket Project, which was launched to identify solutions and increase fishermen’s interest in wearing lifejackets. In its recently published, 20-page summary report, the Northeast Center for Occupational Health and Safety in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing chronicles stories from the Lifejackets for Lobstermen Project and provides examples of the fishing community’s interest and engagement with the project. >click to read< 05:46

Courts Need To Stop Presidents From Calling Oceans ‘National Monuments’ To Illegally Put Them Off-Limits

In Lewis Carroll’s classic “Through the Looking Glass,” Humpty Dumpty says to the befuddled protagonist, Alice, “When I use a word … it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.” Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association v. Ross, a pending cert petition filed by my colleagues at Pacific Legal Foundation, asks the justices to resolve a curious circuit court split to clarify that the ocean is not land, up is not down, and words have meaning. In 2016, President Barack Obama made one such designation: 3.2 million acres of the Atlantic Ocean south of Cape Cod, beyond our nation’s territorial waters. How Did We Get Here?  >click to read< 09:45, Where are we headed?  The ocean under Biden -“Big picture, a return to science on how we approach the ocean and ocean policy,,,  Early steps include naming John Kerry as a cabinet-level climate czar and pledging to reenter the Paris Climate Accord that he signed. Climate change,,, >click to read< 09:56

A legal war, a Biden win: What’s next for Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Marine Monument?

Lobstering groups say they aren’t opposed to protecting the natural habitats that sustain their industry. But they question whether the 5,000-square-mile monument is consistent with the Antiquities Act’s provision that designations be limited to the “smallest area compatible” with protecting the rich supply of marine life and corals that populate the Atlantic site. They also questioned the Obama administration’s position, which Trump officials have defended in court,,, Blocking off industry’s access to thousands of square miles of the Atlantic Ocean should require a little more public input, the fishing groups argue. Trump instead chose to preserve the site, although he traveled this summer to Maine to announce that he would lift all fishing restrictions in the monument.,, And in a matter of weeks, President-elect Joe Biden, who was vice president when Obama created the Atlantic monument, will be sitting in the White House. >click to read< 08:05

Michael G. Dearborn, Navy Veteran, Self-employed commercial lobster fisherman

Michael G. Dearborn, 76, of Gloucester, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, October 9, 2020. He continued to own and operate a lobster fishing business in Massachusetts for over 50 years. At the height of his career during the late 70s and early 80s, Michael was known as an innovator, pioneer, and industry leader. In addition to his experience on the water, Michael was an avid legislator, conservationist, and industry advocate. He served as a member of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, the Atlantic Lobstermen’s Co-Operative, and the MA Lobster Committee Management Team. Above all, Michael’s proudest accomplishment was that of being a father to his three children – Peter, Christopher, and Courtney – whom he loved dearly and spoke of in the highest regard. >click to read< 09:24

Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument showdown reaches high court

The Obama administration exceeded its authority in 2016 when it designated the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument and cut off access to key fisheries, attorneys for the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association and other groups argued in their petition filed with the Supreme Court yesterday. A recent move by the Trump administration to preserve the monument but dissolve fishing restrictions has not erased the need for the high court to consider the case, the groups wrote. Those rollbacks are now subject to a separate lawsuit launched by environmental groups. >click to read< 12:28

Judge restores Orin C deal, lawyer appeals

A federal judge last Friday ordered the parties in the wrongful death lawsuit tied to the 2015 sinking of the Orin C to adhere to a previous settlement agreement, halting the highly contentious case that was set to go to trial next month in Boston. But on Tuesday, Joseph Orlando Jr., attorney for the three plaintiffs, appealed the settlement order and dismissal by U.S. District Court Judge Patti B. Saris.,, The order by Saris and Orlando’s subsequent appeal are the most recent twists and turns in the case that has fixated the city’s waterfront amid accusations by Orlando that Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and others tampered with his expert witness, Gloucester Harbormaster T.J. Ciarametaro, by trying to pressure him to withdraw from the case or be fired from his harbormaster position. >click to read< 11:23

F/V Orin C Lawsuit – Lawyers say Samaritan, mayor threatened consultant

On Dec. 3, 2015, Capt. David “Heavy D” Sutherland died in the water after his disabled slime-eel boat, the Orin C, sank while under tow by the Coast Guard back into Gloucester Harbor. Now, an ongoing federal lawsuit filed by two surviving Orin C crew members and Sutherland’s estate has erupted with accusations of witness tampering involving Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and fisherman Philip Powell of Swampscott, the good Samaritan who is a co-defendant in the case and whose vessel F/V Foxy Lady was the first to come to the aid of the Orin C. The witness is Gloucester Harbormaster T.J. Ciarametaro, who through his Five Fathoms Consulting firm, is retained as an expert witness by plaintiffs’ attorney, Joseph M. Orlando Jr. of the Gloucester firm Orlando & Associates. Orlando’s motion also accuses Gloucester lobsterman Arthur “Sooky” Sawyer, the current president of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, of contributing to a pressure campaign against Ciarametaro, a Coast Guard veteran. >click to read< 08:05

Unmoored and unsure, fishermen make do – Direct boat sales stem the tide for some.

Saturday, folks came to Menemsha to buy directly off the decks of local scallop boats. Business was brisk. Captain Sam Hopkins, aboard the Endurance, mongered to a steady queue of masked customers. Like the nearby Martha Rose, sea scallops off the Endurance sold for $15 per pound. “It was really nice to have some local support and have people who bought scallops right off the boat,” Hopkins said. Lobsterman Jason Gale has also turned to direct boat sales. From the deck of the Watch Out at Lake Street Landing he sold lobsters at $8 apiece, regardless of weight, on Saturday. Gale said he put a 10 lobster cap per customer and sold out. photos, >click to read< 15:59

Coronavirus: COVID-19 hits lobster industry hard

On the day when Massachusetts restaurants officially were barred from offering on-site dining for at least three weeks, boat prices for live lobster were reported to dip to as low as $3 a pound in Maine and $3.25 in Massachusetts and wholesale dealers were trying to determine their next steps. “Right now, we’re trying to figure out what we’re going to do,” said Joe Ciaramitaro, one of the owners of Capt. Joe & Sons in East Gloucester.,, “It’s tricky right now,” said Monte Rome, owner of Gloucester-based Intershell. “The restaurant business for us is obviously over for now. It’s one minute at a time, not even one day at a time.” >click to read< 05:58

Fishery groups sue to get rid of Obama‘s New England ocean monument

We posted an article that wasn’t true, and we need to set the record straight>click to read< 09:19

A coalition of commercial fishing groups filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to challenge the creation of a national monument off the coast of New England. President Barack Obama created the monument in September using executive authority under the Antiquities Act. The monument is called the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, and it is made up of nearly 5,000 square miles of underwater canyons and mountains. >click to read< 17:37

Mysterious Lobster Deaths In Cape Cod Raise Climate Change Concern

Last month, lobstermen in Cape Cod Bay hauled up something disturbing. In one section of the bay, all of their traps were full of dead lobsters. Research biologists went to work trying to solve the mystery, and what they found suggests we may see more of this as the climate changes. But what was killing everything in the traps? “I don’t think any of us have heard reports of that before, at least not like that, where we had multiple fishermen all calling the same day, saying something’s going on,” said Steve Wilcox, one of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries’ biologists assigned to the case. >click to read<  19:28

China tariffs sinking overseas sales, Provincetown lobstermen not feeling the pinch

“It’s killed our price. It’s killed our markets,” said state Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante of Gloucester.,,, Multiple Massachusetts businesses, especially those in Gloucester, have been adversely affected as they cannot compete with Canadian wholesale prices. But the lobstermen themselves are not feeling the pinch, and if anything are seeing their prices rise, Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association Executive Director Beth Casoni said. “The fishermen are happy,” Casoni said. “They’re making money.” >click to read< 09:29

Gloucester: Lobstermen push against whale rules – ‘We’ve borne the brunt’

The evening began with a presentation from NOAA Fisheries’ Mike Asaro and Colleen Coogan that offered a historical backdrop on the status of the North Atlantic right whale stock and an explanation of the specific protectionist measures adopted in April by the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Team.,, In Massachusetts and New Hampshire, lobstermen are tasked with reducing their vertical lines by 30 percent. In Maine, where there has been significant pushback by state officials and the nation’s most formidable lobster fleet, the target is significantly higher — 50 percent. Then came the comment period and the usual choosing of the sides. Photo’s,  >click to read< 22:04

Lobster processing claws its way into Mass. law

The long-sought measure to expand and modernize lobster processing regulations in Massachusetts is now law, as of Gov. Charlie Baker’s signature on Wednesday.,,, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, who has championed the measure through more than four frustrating legislative cycles, estimated that up to 80 percent of lobsters landed in Massachusetts — the nation’s second-largest harvester of American lobsters, behind Maine — are transported to out-of-state processors only to see them return here as value-added products for retail and restaurant consumers. >click to read<  09:11

Atlantic Herring: Fishermen face another quota cut, could hit lobster prices

Regulators on the East Coast are contending with a drop in the population of herring, a key forage fish species that has been used as lobster bait for generations.,, A fishery management board is due to make a decision about the 2020 catch limits in early June.,, “I’ve heard from other fishermen up and down the coast, from Maine to Massachusetts. It’s going to be survival of the fittest,” Casoni said. “Every year is challenging, and every year just gets a little more.” >click to read<11:16

Massachusetts Lobstermen to rally in Plymouth over Cape Cod Bay closures

After a period of bad weather, surveyors of North Atlantic right whales were able to fly on Tuesday over Cape Cod Bay, where the continuing presence of the animals has led state officials to extend seasonal bans on high boating speeds and lobstering through May 14. But commercial lobstermen are beginning to bristle at the closures, citing the impact on their livelihood. South Shore lobstermen are planning a rally Thursday morning in Plymouth to protest the extended ban. “There’s a lot of people that are suffering with this closure,” said rally organizer Sheryl Holmes, whose husband, Roscoe “Stoney” Holmes, is a commercial lobsterman who owns the F/V Haley’s Comet out of Plymouth. >click to read<21:59

Sandwich lobsterman raises concerns about offshore wind farms

After 40 years in the business, Sandwich commercial lobsterman Marc Palombo foresees the presence of fog in the summer months as his biggest worry as he considers whether or not to navigate through the proposed swath of offshore wind turbines south of the Islands.,,,The Coast Guard has begun a study of vessel traffic — a Port Access Route Study, or PARS — in and around the seven offshore energy lease areas south of the Islands, off both Massachusetts and Rhode Island, to determine if any new vessel travel routes are necessary to improve navigational safety,,, >click to read<22:17

Sen Bruce Tarr champions expanded in-state lobster processing, proposal backed by Senate

The state Senate has approved a measure authored by Gloucester Sen. Bruce Tarr, and championed by a bi-partisan coalition of state senators, that will reform state lobster laws would permit licensed wholesale dealers to process unfrozen lobster parts, import unfrozen shell-on lobster parts, and allow for the sale of processed lobster parts.,, “We have the second-largest lobster catch in the nation yet, without this bill, our raw and frozen lobster parts are processed in Canada or Maine only to then be brought back to local consumers,” said Tarr. >click to read<11:27

Black sea bass gobbling up lobsters

Black sea bass, a saltwater fish taken commercially and recreationally in Massachusetts, have increased in number throughout southern New England waters and rattled the lobster industry with their wolfish appetites. “They feed aggressively,” Rutgers University marine biologist Olaf Jensen said. “They’re not picky eaters. If it’s the right size and it’s alive, they’ll eat it.” The young of New England’s iconic crustacean fall into the right size category. “Black sea bass love little lobsters,” Michael Armstrong, assistant director of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, said. That’s of deep concern to Beth Casoni, president of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, who says lobster traps are being pillaged by these fish. >click to read<18:41

Ropes are latest flashpoint in tug of war over right whales

The lobster industry is willing to consider switching to weaker rope to protect the endangered right whale from deadly entanglements, but whale defenders say that doesn’t go far enough to help a species that can’t bear even one more death. A team of scientists, regulators, animal rights groups and fishermen met this week in Providence to review proposals,,, The team is advising the National Marine Fisheries Service on how to prevent whales from getting entangled in fishing gear as they migrate, feed and mate as they travel back and forth along the East Coast of the United States and Canada. >click to read<11:54

Fishing Groups Lose Legal Battle Over Marine Monument

The national monument that former President Barack Obama established in the Atlantic Ocean survived a court challenge Friday. When Obama created the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument in 2016, he relied on a 1906 law passed in Roosevelt’s administration.,, A year later, the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association and four other groups filed suit to unravel the 5,000-square-mile designation,,, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg disagreed on Friday, dismissing their case.,, “I believe the public is being led astray in thinking the area in question is fragile and in need of more protection,” said Bonnie Brady, “It has always been protected while being commercially fished with federal sustainability and essential habitat regulations through the federal Magnuson Stevens Act and the regional fishery management councils.”>click to read<21:52

Push on to brand, market Massachusetts lobster

Building on the success of its Gloucester Fresh seafood branding campaign, the city of Gloucester plans to apply the same formula to help brand and market Massachusetts lobsters to lobster lovers the world over.,, Gloucester has dominated the lobster trade in Massachusetts and the industry’s high profile here has helped mitigate some of the misery foisted upon the community by the continuing groundfish crisis.,, It is the state’s No. 1 port in both number of active lobstermen — an average of 136 annually during the past five years — and amount of lobster annually landed. Gloucester has averaged 2.94 million pounds per year over the past five years, according to the state Division of Marine Fisheries. >click to read<12:02

First U.S. Offshore Wind Developer Acts on Fishing Gear

U.S. offshore wind developer Deepwater Wind has adopted a first-of-its-kind procedure designed to prevent impacts to commercial fishing gear from its activities. Deepwater Wind’s Block Island Wind Farm is America’s first offshore wind farm, and the company is currently in active development on utility-scale wind farms to serve Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Maryland. The procedure was developed in close coordination with the commercial fishing industry and is based off extensive feedback from fishermen in ports up and down the Atlantic coast. Deepwater Wind believes that keeping fishermen informed is the key to preventing damage to fishing gear. >click to read<18:19

If courts are ever going to strike down an illegal national monument, this’ll be it

Often, it seems the federal government has it out for the English language. The President and federal agencies routinely twist the words in statutes beyond recognition. For instance, PLF has long challenged EPA’s bizarre claim that dry land is “water” under the Clean Water Act. The government’s no fan of consistency, so it should come as little surprise that the President also claims the ocean is “land” when that suits his purposes. In Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, et al. v. Ross, PLF is challenging the designation of 5,000 square miles of ocean as the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, under a statute that expressly limits designations to “land owned or controlled by the Federal Government.” The government has moved to dismiss that case arguing that the President can essentially do whatever he wants, the language of the statute be damned. Today, we filed our response to that motion. In our brief we explain that: Pacific Legal Foundation >click to read<21:52

The High-Stakes Battle Over Obama’s Atlantic Ocean National Monument

Mining and drilling for oil are already banned in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, established by former president Barack Obama in 2016 as the first marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean, 150 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. Within five years, too, all commercial fishing will be phased out – or, at least that was the plan. A federal judge is now weighing the fate of those protections in a lawsuit originally filed in March 2017 by a coalition of New England fishing groups – and it has led to a rare case of President Donald Trump defending his predecessor’s authority.  >click to read<10:27

Judge denies bid for temporary halt to lobstering in Massachusetts

A federal judge has declined to issue a temporary restraining order to temporarily stop commercial lobster pot fishing in Massachusetts costal waters to protect North Atlantic right whales. The emergency motion seeking the order, filed May 4 by marine animal conservationist Richard Maximum Strahan, named the state Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association as defendants, although Strahan’s broader lawsuit, filed Feb. 28, includes federal agencies as well. >click to read<11:58

Lawsuit challenges fishing methods that could threaten right whales

An environmental activist is seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the use of vertical buoy fishing lines in Massachusetts waters to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales. In lawsuit filed in late February in U.S. District Court in Boston, conservationist Richard Maximus Strahan of Peterborough, New Hampshire, has sued the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the assistant administrator of the Nation Marine Fisheries Service, the secretary of the Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the director of the state Division of Massachusetts Fisheries Service, the commissioners of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, as a representative of its members. Strahan wants to stop the state’s lobster association members from further lobster pot and gill net commercial fishing operations unless they can scientifically demonstrate the endangered whales and sea turtles would not be killed or injured. >click to read<19:14