Tag Archives: new england

New England’s decades-old shrimp fishery, a victim of climate change, to remain closed indefinitely

New England’s long-shuttered shrimp business, which fell victim to warming waters, will remain in a fishing moratorium indefinitely, fishery regulators ruled on Friday. The industry has been in a moratorium since 2013 in large part because environmental conditions off New England are unfavorable for the cold water-loving shrimp. That moratorium will remain in effect with no firm end date, a board of the regulatory Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted Friday. The board stopped short of calling the move a permanent moratorium because it included a provision to continue monitoring the shrimp population and consider reopening the fishery if the crustaceans approach a healthy level. Some U.S. fishermen have advocated trying to save New England’s shrimp fishery with new management approaches. Glen Libby, a former shrimp trawler, said regulators need to gather more data before taking drastic measures to close a historic fishery. more, >>click to read<< 14:20

The collapse of fishing giant Blue Harvest exposes the weakness of catch share policies

In October 2023, wrecking crews finished scrapping the last of a dozen fishing boats that had once owned by the notorious New England fishing magnate nicknamed wrecking crews finished scrapping the last of a dozen fishing boats that had once owned by the notorious New England fishing magnate nicknamed “The Codfather.” Carlos Rafael, who started out as a fish gutter in New Bedford, Massachusetts, aggressively worked — and sometimes cheated — his way up the ladder, eventually coming to dominate New England’s groundfish fishery (which includes cod, hake, flounder and other white fish) before a 2017 court decision sent him to prison for nearly four years and forced him to sell off his fleet. The sale, completed during his prison sentence, would earn him another $100 million. It was a profitable end for a fishing empire built on seafood fraud, tax evasion and consolidation. So when the private equity-backed Blue Harvest Fisheries announced in 2020 that it was buying most of Rafael’s fleet and putting the boats back to work, some welcomed it as good news for the port of New Bedford, the hub of Cape Cod’s fishing industry. more, >>click to read<< 17:07

National mental health campaign targets commercial fishermen

The commercial fishing industry is known for its grueling work conditions and unpredictable nature, which can take a toll on the mental health of fishermen. However, despite the evident need, the industry has historically been underserved in terms of mental health care resources. Recently, the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association and Northeast Center for Occupational Safety and Health teamed up to work with Man Therapy to create a campaign specifically targeting commercial fishermen. Man Therapy is an innovative approach that uses humor and relatable content to raise awareness about mental health care and provide resources for fishermen, according to a press release.>>click to read<< 09:45

Delano: Biden administration won’t leave lobstermen alone

Lawmakers and a federal appeals court last year defeated a federal plan to save endangered whales by eradicating New England’s lobster industry. With those plans undone, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is crafting a workaround scheme to regulate lobstermen out of the fishery. Recent years have been brutal going for lobstermen, such that the survival of our trade is highly uncertain. Lobstermen are at once negotiating higher fuel costs, higher bait costs, higher shipping costs, and an agitation campaign from dark money nonprofits trained on major buyers of Maine lobster products. NOAA’s new regulatory plan is poised to decimate our inventory. >>click to read<< 09:18

Biden admin’s new rule could put pinch on lobster fishermen while letting others off the hook: critics say

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is planning to enact a new federal rule under the Marine Mammal Protection Act – which would expand an existing restricted area off the coast of Maine where lobster fishing is already banned for three months each year. The move would cut the lobstermen’s’ business by at least 25% of the already declining industry, critics say. The plans come as an attempt to protect the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale, but a group of fishermen say the agency have no data to support the tightening restrictions. They also claim the federal agency is playing favorites by greenlighting offshore wind developments even though recent studies show can be harmful to marine life.  “The federal government treats foreign offshore wind developers much better than lobstermen.  The corporations have official authorization to disturb and displace marine life. Working lobstermen aren’t as lucky as our friends,” Video, >>click to read<< 07:55

NE Fishery Management Council welcomes aboard Jackie Odell

The new face on the New England Fishery Management Council is no stranger to a group that advises on policy related to the region’s vital fisheries. That face belongs to Jacqueline “Jackie” Odell, who has been a longtime advocate and thought leader for the fishing industry as the two-decade executive director of the Northeast Seafood Coalition at 1 Blackburn Center. Odell was welcomed aboard the Newburyport-based council as it opened its latest meeting in Plymouth on Monday. She was administered the oath of office by NOAA Fisheries Regional Administrator Mike Pentony along with three members who were reappointed: John Pappalardo of Massachusetts, Daniel Salerno of New Hampshire, and Alan Tracy of Maine. Odell was appointed to her first three-year term to an at-large seat with the term running through Aug. 10, 2026. >>click to read<< 07:57

The afternoon during World War II when they made a ‘Beeline for Block Island’

Encounters with unexploded ordinance from World War II is not limited to Europe or decades after the conflict. The waters around Block Island in the spring of 1945 proved this latter point. While the war in Europe was winding down, three fishermen were killed off the southeastern shore of Block Island. These three fishermen were all over the age of 30, which of course resulted from the war taking any of the younger fishermen away to the far corners of the world. As result, a trawler out of Stonington accidentally bringing up an unexploded 550-pound bomb that rested on the ocean bottom some eight miles from Block Island, would not only take three lives but caused 11 children to be fatherless. World War II stands out in the history of human conflict for two main reasons. First, of course, is the unprecedented scale of the conflict, in terms of weapons used, nations involved, and lives lost. Second, and less understood, was the high percentage of civilians killed in the war. This would include the three Stonington fishermen. >>click to read<<  10:48

Experts fear American fishing industry, boating at risk as Biden prioritizes climate, green energy

The Biden administration has prioritized green energy at the expense of endangered whales and the U.S. fishing industry with regulation that limits both commercial fishing and recreational boating, according to experts. As they are imposing more regulations, they are also promoting offshore wind, which is actually harming commercial and recreational boating and potentially killing whales, Brady and Lapp said.  “They positioned us as being these evildoers and now, 20 years later, whales are dropping dead like pigeons in Manhattan,” Brady said. “Here commercial fishermen and coastal communities are at the front line of fighting to protect the ocean itself, and we have crickets from virtually every NGO.” Video, >>click to read<< 09:09

NOAA Fish Surveys: A way to improve – Capt. Sam Novello

First, you need the net, then a set of doors capable of spreading, the net and ground wire, and bridles connected to the net. The angle of attack should be at 15 degrees, this angle is best for catching flounders, cod and haddock. The lower of the angle will catch more flounders. This is the reason why R/V Bigelow did an inadequate job of catching flounders & codfish, (overspreading the net) The best net will not fish properly if the doors are not synchronized with the net. People are talking about a new net for fish surveys, which means more research is needed, more time lost and more money wasted. >click to read< 13:30

How Stellwagen Bank came to be named

Once upon a time there was a man named Henry Stellwagen. We know that time was the mid-1800s, and Henry served in the United States Navy. We invoke good old Henry Stellwagen because a swath of nearby water is named after him; Stellwagen Bank. Fishermen had long known about shallow grounds beyond the tip of Cape Cod, stretching roughly north and west toward Gloucester. Geologists will tell you that this arc from Provincetown to Cape Ann was dry land thousands of years ago, when sea level was much lower. Like many places where the bottom rapidly rises, currents and upwells create a fertile mix, attracting fish from tiny to huge which in turn attract fishermen from across New England. But this place had never been charted. >click to read< 11:39

Herring disaster funds should be used to phase out harmful trawling

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is releasing $11 million in disaster relief funds to Atlantic herring harvesters, of which $7 million will go to Maine. These funds should be used to phase out herring trawling by buying back fishing permits in an effort to increase herring stocks and to protect other marine life.  U.S.  Atlantic herring landings in the 2000s averaged 206 million pounds annually but have since decreased to below 22 million pounds in 2020 and 2021. The New England Fishery Management Council led a process to craft a 10-year rebuilding plan. This dramatic downturn in herring is likely because variables with climate change are reducing ocean productivity resulting in seven consecutive years of low numbers of young fish surviving to maturity.  >click to read< 12:58

Crab ice cream, anyone? How we might be able to eat our way out of an invasive green crab problem

They’re tiny and they’re wreaking havoc on our coasts, but they also taste pretty good. European green crabs have posed a problem off the coast of Vancouver Island for decades now, and while current conservation efforts have focused on deep freezing them and throwing them in a landfill, some suggest eating them instead. The species, which is found across the Pacific Northwest is aggressive and feeds voraciously on shellfish; they have no natural predators, and they reproduce at a high rate. Each female can have up to 185,000 babies at a time.  It’s not just a West Coast problem. Fisheries and Oceans Canada notes that the species, which originally came from Europe and North Africa and likely hitched a ride to North America on wooden ships in the early 19th century, first invaded east coast waters in the 1950s. >click to read< 09:50

Haddock quotas for fishermen have been drastically cut. What does that mean for haddock eaters?

There is a haddock problem swimming around Gulf of Maine waters. But don’t blame the problem on fishermen catching too many haddock, say Maine commercial fishing advocates like Ben Martens, executive director of the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association. In fact, they have been fishing in accordance with mandated quotas for decades, he said, regulatory measures that have returned the haddock stocks in the Gulf of Maine to sustainable levels. The problem, rather, is grounded in inaccurate accounting of the boom-and-bust cycles of haddock biomass, that is, how many fish are swimming in the Gulf of Maine at any given time. In April, the New England Fishery Management Council, a regional body that uses industry and scientific data to recommend quotas that restrict how many metric tons of regulated species Maine fishermen can haul in each year, announced a cut in haddock quotas. It represents an 80 percent reduction in allowable catch; the new season began on May 1. >click to read< 08:50

We’re Being Regulated Out of Business, New England Fishermen Say

“The New England fishermen are the most regulated fishermen in the world,” Jerry Leeman says. Leeman has been fishing in Maine his entire life. His father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all fishermen. Federal regulations have now reduced the amount of haddock landings for commercial fishermen by more than 80%, Leeman said. The reduction in fish that fishermen are allowed to catch and “offshore wind development,” which is taking over “just under 10 million acres” of ocean, prompted Leeman, along with fisherman Dustin Delano, to create the New England Fishermen’s Stewardship Association to advocate for the region’s fishermen. Video, listen to the podcast  >click to read< 07:55

Haddock stock decline prompts catch limits

A low New England haddock stock has prompted regulators to cut the fishing quota of one of the region’s most popular fish. A staple in fish and chips and for fish burgers and home cooks, the amount available from the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank for 2023 will be more than 80 percent less than the previous year. Prices are relatively high for shoppers, too, with Hannaford, Shaw’s and local fish dealers asking anywhere from $11.99 to $14.99 per pound this month for wild caught Gulf of Maine haddock. Haddock is “subject to overfishing” in the Gulf of Maine while the Georges Bank stock is not, according to NOAA Fisheries.  >click to read< 19:02

NEFMC asking NOAA to increase catch limit for haddock in Gulf of Maine to protect fishermen

In a statement issued April 20, the New England Fishery Management Council, which oversees fishing issues for the region, said the catch limit for the season that began May 1 is 1,936 metric tons, an 84 percent drop from last year. But now the council wants to give fishermen a reprieve, citing a rebound in haddock stock and after hearing concerns at the panel’s meeting last month in Mystic, Conn. “Fishermen have been encountering Gulf of Maine haddock at very high catch rates,” the council said, adding that several fishermen voiced concern “that an early shutdown of the fishery was highly likely and would have wide-ranging impacts.” “Even without targeting haddock, fishermen need haddock quota to account for bycatch while harvesting other species,” the council said. >click to read< 09:43

Mega Cut: Haddock, a staple Atlantic fish, is in decline off New England, regulators say

A recent scientific assessment found that the Gulf of Maine haddock stock declined unexpectedly, and that meant the catch quotas for the fish were unsustainably high, federal fishing managers said.  “We seem to find plenty, but they can’t,” said Terry Alexander, a Maine-based fisher who targets haddock and other species. “It’s a disaster is what it is. A total, complete disaster.” The fishery management council mandated the 84% reduction in catch quotas for the current fishing year, which started May 1. The change applies to fishers who harvest haddock from the Gulf of Maine, a body of water off Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. Fishers also harvest from Georges Bank, a fishing ground to the east where quotas were also reduced for this year, including adjoining areas overseen by Canadian officials who issued their own major cuts. >click to read< 08:02

Environmental Regulations and Wind Turbines Are Backing New England Fishermen into a Corner

Just three weeks ago, Jerry Leeman was a commercial fishing captain in New England and a very successful one at that. Now, as executive director of the newly formed New England Fishermen Stewardship Association, he’s leading the charge against Biden administration policies that threaten the industry he loves, including overregulation and wind-turbine development in the Gulf of Maine. Leeman said that he and fellow New England fishermen have serious concerns about the accuracy of the NOAA data. Fish-population assessments fell to the wayside during the Covid years — 2021 and 2022 — and the data-collection process has not yet been corrected. “Whether you’re a lobsterman or a ground fisherman, a trend up and down the coast here is that nobody wants wind turbines placed in our environment. It’s going to mess up our stocks and our species. Not to mention it’s going to change the viability for generations to come in the fishing grounds,” Leeman said. Photos, >click to read< 07:51

Profitable Port of New Bedford draws IRS scrutiny of tax evading fishermen

As the nation’s number one commercial fishing port, New Bedford is very much on the radar. “The statistics we have cover the six New England states but really the fishing industry is significant in Rhode Island, Maine and Massachusetts, with, of course, New Bedford being the most valuable port not only in New England but in the United States,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Supervisory Special Agent Matthew Amsden. Seven New England fishermen, including three from New Bedford and one from Fall River, were charged last month with tax evasion and failing to file returns. The other three indicted were from Rhode Island, according to a press release from the IRS Criminal Investigation unit. >click to read< 07:40

Fishermen: Haddock limits to lead to shutdown

In two tows during a fishing trip in March, Gloucester fisherman Joe Orlando caught what could have been almost his entire allocation for Gulf of Maine haddock under catch limits proposed for fishing year 2023, which begins May 1. Orlando harvested 7,000 pounds in those two tows, about a half day’s worth of fishing, Jackie Odell, executive director of the Northeast Seafood Coalition pointed out to members of the New England Fishery Management Council, NOAA Fisheries and others in an email. His allocation for the upcoming fishing year is expected to be 8,000 pounds. >click to read< 07:57

NEFMC Requests Emergency Action for Gulf of Maine Haddock to Prevent Significant Fishery Impacts

The New England Fishery Management Council is asking NOAA Fisheries to take emergency action under the Secretary of Commerce’s authority to address a critical Gulf of Maine haddock situation that is expected to result in significant fishery impacts during the 2023 groundfish fishing year. The crux of the problem is this. Fishermen have been encountering Gulf of Maine haddock at very high catch rates. The proposed 2023 annual catch limit (ACL), however, is extremely low. The Council recently learned of one industry member who, in a single trip, harvested an amount of Gulf of Maine haddock equivalent to what will become his entire allocation for 2023. Several fishermen expressed concern that an early shutdown of the fishery was highly likely and would have wide-ranging impacts. >click to read< 15:43

New England fishermen, many from New Bedford, Fall River charged with tax offense

Federal grand juries in Providence, Rhode Island, and Boston returned separate indictments charging seven commercial fishermen with tax evasion and failing to file returns. According to the indictments, the commercial fishermen each worked for fishing companies operating primarily out of New Bedford, Massachusetts, or Point Judith, Rhode Island, and received substantial compensation. The companies allegedly paid the fishermen as independent contractors and documented that income by, among other things, filing Forms 1099 with the IRS that reported the funds paid to the fishermen. >click to read< 09;11

Mammoet Wins Contracts for Two ‘large’ Offshore Wind Projects in United States

Heavy lift and transport services firm Mammoet said Monday it had secured contracts for two large offshore wind projects for undisclosed clients in the United States, both of which begin in 2023. The contracts set for 2023 have been secured for work on two new offshore wind farms being built off New England’s coast. “In the coming year, Ampelmann’s motion compensated gangways will assist with the hook-up, cabling and commissioning of turbines on Vineyard Wind and Southfork Wind Farm, two of the first commercial offshore wind farms in the USA that will provide clean energy to the region,” Ampelmann said. >click to read< 17:50

EXCLUSIVE: Federal Regulator Acknowledges Danger to Wildlife Caused by Offshore Wind Farms

Captain Jerry Leeman, who heads the fishing vessel F/V Teresa Marie IV, sent a copy of the Norwegian haddock study to Nies in a January 9 letter. “Thank you for your January 9 letter …  A federal fisheries council acknowledged that some power cables for offshore wind turbines could harm certain fish, according to a letter seen by the DCNF. Multiple recent studies have demonstrated that a variety of commercially popular fish can be negatively impacted by their exposure to magnetic fields emitted by high voltage direct current cables, which can confuse their ability to navigate and, in some cases, leave them exposed to predators. “We were previously aware of this study and agree that it has concerning implications for the possible effects of high voltage direct current cabling on larval behavior and resulting predation rates,” Thomas Nies, executive director of the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC), said in a January 18 letter.  >click to read< 20:01

When things don’t add up. By Jerry Leeman

Sitting here towing along thinking back 20 years ago fishing in the Gulf of Maine. We used to land a lot of white hake. An average trip was always around 15k to 30k of hake 5k of monk tails on average. These days you worry of catching too many and you try to stay within the realm of your allowable catch because fish cost money to catch. Yes, even as crazy as that sounds boat quotas have been restricted from bad data collection to be so low, we have to purchase quota from other permits to maintain fishing. Then with these restrictions it puts a damper on markets. Imagine, markets that used to take in 200-500k of one specie a week then no longer are capable of taking in those fish because markets are not strong due to poor biomass data and allowable catches which have altered markets. >click to continue reading< 16:28

Green groups targeting blue-collar lobstermen are largely funded by dark money

Environmental groups that have led litigation targeting the lobster fishing industry have been heavily funded by various liberal dark money groups that don’t disclose their individual donors, a Fox News Digital review of tax filings found. For example, the Center For Biological Diversity has received millions of dollars from left-wing dark money groups including the Rockefeller Family Fund, the Patagonia Fund and Pew Charitable Trusts. The center has been the recipient of grants worth nearly $8 million from the Sandler Foundation, $1 million from the Wilburforce Foundation, $850,000 from Environment Now and another $815,000 from the Frankel Family Foundation, according to Influence Watch. Video, >click to read< 07:42

Council Presents 2022 Award for Excellence to Maggie Raymond

The New England Fishery Management Council honored Maggie Raymond, former Executive Director of Associated Fisheries of Maine and a 25-year participant in the Council process, by presenting her with the 2022 Janice M. Plante Award for Excellence. Council Chair Eric Reid called the recognition “long overdue.” “Maggie represents the epitome of someone dedicated to both the commercial fishing industry and sustainable fisheries management,” said Chair Reid. ““Today we’re highlighting Maggie’s contributions to our own Council process,” said Chair Reid, “but her work for fishermen and the fishing industry was not limited to the Council. She was a key member of the New England fishing community for over 27 years and continues to make contributions even in her supposed ‘retirement.’” >click to read< 13:50

New monitoring rules for Northeast fishermen

Changes to U.S. rules about the monitoring of Northeast commercial fishing activities are going into effect this month with a goal of providing more accurate information about some of the nation’s oldest fisheries. The U.S. mandates observers to work onboard fishing boats to collect data and make sure fishermen adhere to rules and quotas. The National Marine Fisheries Service has adopted new monitoring rules for Northeast fishermen of groundfish, like haddock and flounder, to try to improve the accuracy of the data. >click to read< 11:57

In Connecticut, frustration grows over lack of access to Canadian hydropower

State Sen. Norm Needleman, co-chair of the legislative Energy and Technology Committee, recently said in a radio interview that efforts to diversify the regional grid’s energy supply by importing more hydropower from Canada have been scuttled by New Hampshire and Maine, which turned down plans for more transmission lines through their states. Needleman said his comments about the northern states were made in the context of his general frustration with energy policy, which he finds “mind-numbingly complicated” and frequently contentious. “People are going to find fault with solar on farmland; there is consternation around offshore wind because it may impact the fisheries,” he said. >click to read< 10:16

Cod: The New England Council has proposed a plan to restore cod by 2033

What that will mean is our fishing fleet would have to reduce their catch by whatever the council thinks will be helpful. Over the years NOAA has made reductions on cod and other species, based on their studies and science. Under law, they do not have to compare their findings. We need to update the Magnuson–Stevens Act that would require them to compare data before making restrictions on species of fish. Put this aside, if we want to bring back the cod, no fishing vessel can land cod over the next ten years. Great! So be it. Pay our fisherman to not catch cod. Farmers have a Farm Bill and pay farmers not to grow certain crops. So why can’t our government create a Fish Bill to do the same for the U.S. fishing industry? This could be paid for by increasing the duty on imported fish. This is a Win-Win solution. Sam Parisi, Gloucester, Mass. 19:27