Tag Archives: NMFS

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

New England Fishery Management Council to hear Sector IX’s post-Rafael plans

The New England Fishery Management Council will be updated on the groundfish crisis involving several New Bedford-based fishing sectors when it convenes for three days of meetings next week in Mystic, Connecticut. The groundfish presentation by staff from the Gloucester-based Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office will be the centerpiece of the groundfish report on Wednesday and is designed to provide “an overview of (Northeast Fishing) Sector IX’s steps to address its shortcomings, as well as a summary of Sector IX’s operations plan,” according to the agenda for the meetings. >click to read<19:26

Can anyone save the North Atlantic right whale? A group of South Shore lobstermen say they know what the answer is

By the time Mike Lane shoves off the Cohasset docks, it’s past 8 a.m. — practically lunch time for a lobsterman. But it’s early spring, and the South Shore fisheries are mostly closed, so Lane is keeping a somewhat relaxed schedule. Lobsters tend to hole up for the season several miles farther offshore, and Lane would like to be there, fishing his 800 traps. That area also happens to be a feeding area for North Atlantic right whales — one of our planet’s most endangered species. And so, four years ago, the federal government closed these grounds for much of the winter and spring. That means all Lane can do right now is set a few traps in a small area just outside Cohasset Harbor. >click to read<11:37

NOAA/NMFS to foot at-sea monitoring costs – Thank You Senator Shaheen!

Timing may not be everything but it sure counts for a lot. Just ask New Hampshire groundfisherman David Goethel. Goethel, who had persevered through cascading years of escalating regulation, slashed fishing quotas, a failed lawsuit and, more recently, the prospect of paying the full cost of at-sea monitoring, was ready to get out of commercial groundfishing. “I had planned to sell my boat this summer,” Goethel said Wednesday, referring to his 44-foot, Hampton, New Hampshire-ported Ellen Diane. “I was done.”  Last week, following a full year of working behind the scenes with U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Goethel got the news he and other groundfishermen wanted to hear: >click to read<08:24

Gear is in wrong place for right whales, scientists say

Speaking at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum on Friday,,, The NOAA Fisheries Large Whale Take Reduction Team recently established separate working groups to study two proposals to reduce the risk of entanglement: splicing several 1,700-pound breaking strength “weak link” sleeves into vertical lines such as those that connect lobster buoys to traps; and removing those ropes altogether by requiring the use “ropeless” fishing gear. Those working groups will focus on whether either solution is technologically feasible, whether it will actually work for fishermen, and whether it can be cost effective for fishermen.,, >click to read<10:32

NMFS Weighing Privately Funded Assessment of Summer Flounder Stock

For the first time, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) will consider privately funded science in formulating regulations for summer flounder. Funded by the Save the Summer Flounder Fishery Fund (SSFFF) and its contributing partners, a groundbreaking sex-structured model created by Dr. Patrick Sullivan of Cornell University was presented in January to the NMFS’ Stock Assessment Workshop in the hope of obtaining a clearer picture of the summer flounder population. The ultimate goal is to improve the accuracy of the next stock assessment,,, >click to read< 23:14

World’s largest sea turtle could come off ‘endangered’ list

An arm of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has received a petition from a fishing group asking that the Northwest Atlantic Ocean’s leatherback sea turtles be listed as “threatened,” but not endangered, under the Endangered Species Act.,,, NOAA officials have said the agency has reviewed the petition from New Jersey-based Blue Water Fishermen’s Association and found “substantial scientific and commercial information” that the move might be warranted. The agency now has about eight months to make a decision about the status of the turtles. >click here to read< 13:56

Seeking a 41 percent butterfish quota decrease, NOAA Fisheries Seeks Comments on Proposed Quotas for Squid and Butterfish

NOAA Fisheries proposes squid and butterfish quotas for the 2018-2020 fishing years and will maintain the mackerel quotas previously set for 2018. Based on the status of these stocks, we are proposing a 41 percent decrease in the 2018 commercial butterfish quota compared to 2017, and a 2 percent increase for longfin squid. Annual quotas for Illex squid would be maintained at current levels, as they have been since 2012. A March 2017 butterfish assessment update indicates that recent low recruitment may soon reduce biomass below target levels. click here to read the notice 12:55

Listing the Bearded Seal as Threatened: A Disturbing Victory for Untestable Hypotheses and Flawed Models.

The Center for Biological Diversity also petitioned to list thriving populations of Bearded Seals as threatened or endangered by melting sea ice. In response to their petition, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) assembled a Bearded Seal Biological Review Team (BRT). The BRT’s report can be read here. Oddly, despite promoting a threatened designation, the BRT reports Bearded Seals have existed for over 1-2 million years, surviving far greater bouts of climate change as the earth bounced between several ice ages and warmer interglacials. An interesting (click here) read by Jim Steele 18:25:37

NOAA/NMFS seeks input on proposed sea lion removal at Willamette Falls

NOAA Fisheries is seeking public input on an application from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to remove, by lethal means if necessary, California sea lions preying on endangered and threatened salmon and steelhead at Willamette Falls on the Willamette River near Oregon City. The approach would be similar to the ongoing removal of sea lions preying on vulnerable populations of protected fish at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River.  Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), each application NOAA Fisheries receives for removing problematic sea lions must undergo independent consideration. info, click here to read the story 08:36

NOAA/NMFS Seeks Comments on Proposed Rulemaking for American Lobster Fishery

NOAA Fisheries seeks comments on the American lobster control date, changes to lobster trap gear marking requirements, and allowing substitute vessels to fish lobster traps for federally permitted but inoperable vessels. In accordance with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Addenda XXI and XXII to Amendment 3 of the Interstate Fisheries Management Plan for American Lobster, NOAA Fisheries may select January 27, 2014, or another date, as a control date for the lobster fishery, depending on public comment and input from the Commission. click here to read the press release 12:53