Tag Archives: NMFS

Feds Tap 300,000 Square Miles of Pacific for Humpback Whales

The proposed rule is the result of a settlement with the National Marine Fisheries Service, who were sued last year for not following through on a 2016 plan to designate two groups of Pacific Ocean humpback whales as endangered and a third group as threatened. The Center for Biological Diversity, joined by Turtle Island Restoration Network and the Wishtoyo Foundation, filed a federal lawsuit in the Northern District of California claiming the lack of action by the Trump administration violated the Endangered Species Act. >click to read<  16:25

NOAA answers lobstermen’s critique of whale rules science

NOAA Fisheries released a more detailed response Wednesday to criticisms of the science it used to develop new protections for North Atlantic right whales,,, The response was attached to a letter from NOAA assistant administrator Chris Oliver to Patrice McCarron, executive director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. (The letter is attached at the article) >click to read< 14:50

Eighteen scientists, environmentalist, blast Maine lobstermen’s stand on whale safety

“Reducing entanglement in East Coast waters of the United States is a critical part of a comprehensive strategy for right whale survival and recovery,” Scott Kraus, chief scientist for marine mammals at New England Aquarium’s Anderson Center for Ocean Life, and Mark Baumgartner, associate scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and chairman of the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium, said in a letter Tuesday to Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. >click to read<  19:44

LePage And The Whales

Fisheries managers from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are developing new rules that are likely to fall heavily on the lobster industry in New England, especially in Maine, where fishing activity is greatest.,,, Maine’s lobstermen and lobsterwomen found an ally in former Gov. Paul LePage, who recently wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal decrying the proposed rules as misdirected and unnecessary. >click to read<  13:14

Whale entanglments are down on the West Coast. The reason for the reduction is in question.

According to the NOAA, as of Aug. 23, the National Marine Fisheries Service reported 17 confirmed whale entanglements in 2019, compared to 40 for the same period a year prior.,,, The reason for the sharp reduction in entanglements is in question.,,, Pieter Folkens, a permitted whale disentangler for NOAA, said the Center for Biological Diversity’s claim of victory is premature. He said shortening the crab fishing season had little influence on the number of entanglements this year. >click to read< 11:01

IFAW Officials Disappointed with Lobsterman Association’s Position on Whale Issue

The Yarmouth Port-based International Fund for Animal Welfare is expressing disappointment for the Maine Lobstermen’s Association decision to withdraw its support for the Take Reduction Team Agreement concerning right whales. The association withdrew support last week due to what it calls “serious flaws in the data” presented during the agreement process.,, The MLA review of the data also found that current whale protection measures have been effective. Changes to the right whale plan in 2009 and 2014 resulted in a strong downward trend in the incidence of entanglement cases involving U.S. lobster gear, from seven cases prior to 2010 to only one case since then. >click to read< 12:40

Proposal would kill more sea lions to protect fish

More than 1,100 sea lions could be killed annually along a stretch of the Columbia River on the Oregon-Washington border to boost faltering populations of salmon and steelhead, federal officials said Friday. The National Marine Fisheries Service said it’s taking public comments through Oct. 29 on the plan requested by Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Native American tribes. The agency says billions of dollars on habitat restoration, fish passage at dams and other efforts have been spent in the three states in the last several decades to save 13 species of Columbia Basin salmon and steelhead protected under the Endangered Species Act. >click to read<  13:43

CT offshore wind may face some rough seas

The state and its offshore-wind-loving neighbors all face a year-end expiration of a federal tax credit that helps finance these projects – the first major attempts in the U.S. But in Connecticut some problems – including at least one self-inflicted one – could mean forgoing that money.,, One part of that balancing act involves the fishing industry, which seems to have driven the delay after the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), a division of NOAA, refused to sign off on the Vineyard Wind environmental impact statement. Indeed, the fishing industry is among the few cheering the government’s protracted analysis of the plan.,,, >click to read<  09:48

Maine: Second round of meetings scheduled on right whale issue

Earlier this week, DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher announced that he would hold a second round of meetings with each of the state’s seven Lobster Zone Management Councils to consider area-by-area suggestions of how to deal with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s proposed rule that would require a 50 percent reduction of vertical endlines on lobster traps in much of the Gulf of Maine. >click to read<  11:27

BOURNE: Lobstermen seek help in protecting right whales, Testimony cites burden on local industry.

Commercial lobstermen urged federal regulators Wednesday to take Canada to task for its failure to protect North Atlantic right whales and to remember that local lobstermen carrier a heavier burden of regulation than others in U.S. waters. “We as lobstermen do not want to see harm come to the right whale,” Plymouth lobsterman Tom O’Reilly said at a public forum at Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School, the eighth in a series of meetings held this month,,, >click to read<08:40

Lobstermen, environmentalists weigh in on right whale rules

Some of the largest and most powerful animal and environmental groups – including the Pew Charitable Trust, the U.S. Humane Society, the Conservation Law Foundation and Oceana – sent representatives to the hearing. They urged National Marine Fisheries Service to take immediate action to protect the whale, including proposals that even the team tasked by the fisheries service to come up with its whale protection plan had dismissed, such as offshore closures and ropeless lobster fishing. >click to read< 20:58

Opinion: Responsible Offshore Development Alliance Statement on Vineyard Wind Federal Review Process

In light of the recent decision by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to perform a cumulative impacts analysis regarding the proposed Vineyard Wind project, and the recently released communications between that agency and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), RODA would like to clarify certain statements and representations.  >click to read< 08:27

Ships are getting speeding tickets in the Chesapeake Bay to protect right whales

Eight years ago the COSCO Nagoya, a giant ship capable of carrying more than 4,000 cargo containers, was motoring around the Chesapeake Bay when it ran into a speed trap. Three months later, the Nagoya got dinged again for speeding, this time near the Port of Charleston. Over the next several months, the Nagoya was caught 13 more times up and down the east coast, from South Carolina to New York. Each speeding violation came with a price tag of $5,750 for a total of $86,250 in fines.  >click to read< 13:43

Lobstermen enjoy star-studded show of support in Stonington

The empire strikes back! That would be the Maine coast lobster empire.,,, Last Sunday, lobstermen, their friends and families gathered on the pier in Stonington to let loose about regulations, bureaucrats and the horse they rode in on. They came from all over the Downeast coast, several hundred strong, and stood in a baking sun for two hours, first to bear witness to the shortcomings of federal research and then to listen to a star-studded roster of Maine politicians pledge their support for the lobster industry. >click to read< 11:08

From the Legislature: Lobsters and Right Whales, Rep. Allison Hepler>click to read<

Southwest village prepares to harness river in harmony with salmon

A small Southwest Alaska village is trying to integrate the power of an iconic Alaska river into its electric grid without interfering with the millions of salmon that rely on the same water. The Village of Igiugig and Maine-based Ocean Renewable Power Co. are in the midst of a years-long partnership to refine and eventually utilize the company’s RivGen Power System generator in the Kvichak River. >click to read<14:29

Leatherback sea turtles likely to go extinct under Trump administration policy, lawsuit argues

Leatherback sea turtles are likely to be “effectively extinct within 20 years” if two new federal permits for fishing off the coast of California go into effect, environmental groups claim in a new lawsuit. In April, the Trump administration granted new two-year “exempted fishing permits” to two California-based vessels in what are currently protected waters.,,, National Marine Fisheries Service,,, the federal agency said the permits “are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any listed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat.” The longline fishing will have to halt immediately if “one mortality of a leatherback sea turtle is observed.>click to read<14:03

Maine lobster fishery agrees to deep cuts to protect whales

After a long and difficult week in late April in which the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Mammal Take Reduction Team met to address protections for the endangered right whale, the Maine lobster fishery now has a sense of what the future holds. There were some hard battles along the way, in which we lobster industry advocates fought to ensure a viable Maine fishery, both for today’s lobstermen and for future generations. By Patrice McCarron >click to read<14:39

Competing interests – “The farmer and the cowman should be friends,” according to Richard Rodgers’ lyrics in “Oklahoma!” Can a similar peace pact be visited upon Maine’s lobstermen and the advocates of whale safety? >click to read<

New England, Mid-Atlantic fishery councils ponder switch to electronic vessel trip reporting

The move, which is under an omnibus framework action, would require commercial fishing vessels to fill out all of their vessel trip reports electronically, eliminating the ability to fill out paper forms. Electronic vessel trip reporting (eVTR) has been an established way to submit reports since 2013, according to Karson Coutre of the Mid-Atlantic council. ,,, While the Mid-Atlantic council is the one considering the move to mandatory eVTR, the New England Fisheries Management Council (NEFMC) will also need to consider the implications of transitioning to mandatory electronic reporting. >click to read<16:39

NOAA Team Reaches Consensus on Right Whale Survival Measures

“This is hard work. The Team members brought not only their expertise but also their passion for the people and communities they represent to the table. Everyone understands that there are real and difficult consequences to fishermen as a result of the choices made in this room,” said Sam Rauch, NOAA Fisheries deputy assistant administrator for regulatory programs.,,, The group will meet in Providence, Rhode Island for four days. At the end of the meeting, they hope to agree on a suite of measures that will reduce right whale serious injuries and deaths in fishing gear in U.S. waters from Maine to Florida to less than one whale per year, the level prescribed by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. >click to read<09:15

Tuna Fishermen Say Agencies Rejected Input on New Rules

Representing large net-fishing vessels in the Pacific Ocean, the American Tunaboat Association filed a lawsuit Wednesday claiming government fishery regulators left industry experts in the dark about a forthcoming biological opinion that could limit commercial tuna operations. The complaint, filed by Baker Botts attorney Megan Berge in Washington, D.C., federal court, names as defendants Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association and the National Marine Fisheries Service, or NMFS.  >click to read<21:43

Maine cancels right whale meetings with lobster industry

The state Department of Marine Resources is canceling a series of meetings with the lobster industry next week to talk about right whale protections, saying it has nothing new to present to lobstermen until federal officials clearly identify a risk reduction target. The National Marine Fisheries Service, which is tasked with protecting right whales from entanglement in lobster fishing gear, is introducing new scientific methodologies and analyses that could cause large-scale changes to the lobster industry, Commissioner Patrick Keliher said. >click to read<11:11

NOAA/NMFS Seeks Comments on Proposed Measures for the Jonah Crab Fishery

NOAA Fisheries seeks comments on proposed measures for the Jonah crab fishery that complement the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Jonah Crab.,,, Proposed measures include limiting Jonah crab harvest to those who already have a limited-access American lobster permit, a minimum size, protection for egg-bearing females, and incidental catch limits.These proposed regulations do not expand trap fishing effort. They propose to regulate the catch of Jonah crabs that is already occurring in the American lobster fishery. >click to read<13:20

Another Government Shutdown Could Sink Scallop Fishery Profits

The world is smitten with scallops. Their subtle sweetness and firm but somehow delicate bite has many wanting more. When I previously worked in seafood sales, I couldn’t believe how much chefs in Los Angeles would pay to put the great New Bedford sea scallop on their menus. We’re talking over $35 per pound for the big ones. I’d think to myself, “These chefs know there are scallops in the Pacific, right?” >click to read<15:39

CoA Institute Highlights Deficiencies in Proposed Rule to Shift Burdensome Costs of At-Sea Monitoring to Commercial Fishermen

The New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC), in coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), seeks to approve and implement a controversial set of regulatory amendments that would create a new industry-funding requirement for at-sea monitoring in the Atlantic herring fishery and, moreover, create a standardized process for introducing similar requirements in other New England fisheries. Under the so-called Omnibus Amendment, the fishing industry would be forced to bear the burdensome cost of allowing third-party monitors to ride their boats in line with the NEFMC’s supplemental monitoring goals. This would unfairly and unlawfully restrict economic opportunity in the fishing industry. >click to read<14:29

Whale conservationist tackles fishing industry

A whale conservationist with a radical style says he intends to move forward with a “whale safety” initiative petition for 2020 in Massachusetts to ban vertical buoy ropes used in commercial fishing, among other efforts to protect whales and sea turtles. “We have to have a paradigm shift,” Richard Maximus Strahan, of Peterborough, New Hampshire, said of his advocacy efforts to stop the death and injury of whales and sea turtles from entanglement in rope used in commercial lobstering, crabbing and gillnetting. >click to read<19:29

Coast guard joins search for missing orca J50

Coast Guard personnel are assisting members of NOAA’s Fisheries Service in the search for the missing Southern Resident killer whale, J50. An intense search effort was launched Thursday in which a Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station Port Angeles, several NOAA researchers in separate boats and multiple whale watching vessels and organizations searched for the 31/2-year-old whale. Various news sources report the whale as dead. >click to read<17:07

New England/Mid-Atlantic – Illex Squid Directed Fishery Closes August 15

Effective at noon on August 15, 2018, vessels are prohibited from fishing for or landing more than 10,000 lb of Illex squid per trip per calendar day in or from federal waters through December 31, 2018. Landings information analyzed by NOAA Fisheries projects the Illex squid fishery will meet 95 percent of the annual quota for the 2018 fishing year by August 15, 2018. NOAA Fisheries is closing the directed fishery in federal waters through the end of the fishing year, December 31, 2018. >click to read<09:18

Don Cuddy: Sector reopenings benefit to New Bedford remains to be seen

The news emerged on July 19 that NOAA approved a plan that may now permit some New Bedford fishermen back to work. ,,,So while this decision is a small step forward for the groundfish industry here, it is not yet time to set the church bells ringing since the majority of the inactive quota is owned by inactive fishermen. When the catch share system was introduced in 2010 it gave all permit holders a slice of the pie- the “pie” being a share of the TAC, or total allowable catch, for the annual fishing year, which for groundfish begins on May 1. Individual allocations were based on a permit holder’s catch history over a ten-year period from 1998 to 2008, I believe it was. That effectively means all of the cod, haddock and flounder swimming around on Georges Bank, more than one hundred miles offshore, have someone’s name on their backs, similar to a herd of cattle,,, leased , sold, or traded,,, >click to read<20:53

Trump Is Reorganizing The Federal Government And Interior Secretary Zinke Loves It

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday to reorganize the federal government, a welcome move for Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke as he attempts to restructure the Department of the Interior (DOI). Trump’s order directs the Office of Management and Budget to suggest ways to consolidate the federal government, streamlining agencies and repositioning some under departments more closely aligned with each agency’s responsibilities, according to a White House statement. Zinke is currently making plans to reorganize his own department, but those plans have been complicated by agencies that he has no control over. For example, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) >click to read<11:31

2017 Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries

NOAA Fisheries NMFS is pleased to present the 2017 Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries managed under the science-based framework established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). The 2017 report highlights the work toward the goal of maximizing fishing opportunities while ensuring the sustainability of fisheries and fishing communities. Due to the combined efforts of NOAA Fisheries, the eight regional fishery management councils, and other partners, three previously overfished stocks were rebuilt and the number of stocks listed as overfished is at a new all-time low. >click to read<16:04