Tag Archives: NOAA

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

Report: Imported seafood often contains dangerous drugs

In 2015, about 90 percent of seafood consumed in the U.S. was imported from overseas, and about half of that comes from fish farms, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The recent analysis released by the U.S. General Accountability Office found that some fish imported from other countries, including China, India and Vietnam, contain high levels of drug residue, yet few samples are ever tested. click here to read the story 12:04

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

Rhode Island Commercial Summer Flounder Fishery Closure

Effective 0001 hours November 14, 2017, fishing vessels issued a Federal moratorium permit for the summer flounder fishery may no longer land summer flounder in Rhode Island for the remainder of the 2017 calendar year. The 2017 commercial summer flounder quota allocated to Rhode Island has been harvested.  This closure is concurrent with the State of Rhode Island’s closure of its commercial summer flounder fishery to state permitted vessels and dealers. click here to read the notice 08:42

Number 1 – Highest Value Species: Lobster

The annual Fisheries of the United States report just released by NOAA includes 2016 statistics on commercial fisheries, with lobster ranking as the highest value commercial species. U.S. commercial fishermen landed 9.6 billion pounds of seafood in 2016 (down 1.5 percent from 2015) valued at $5.3 billion (up 2.1 percent from 2015). The highest value commercial species were lobster ($723 million total, which includes $666.7 million in American lobster and $55.9 million in spiny lobster), crabs ($704 million), scallops ($488 million), shrimp ($483 million), salmon ($420 million), and Alaska walleye pollock ($417 million). click here to read the story 08:33

Washington Crabbers Join Peers In Tackling Whale Entanglement Risk

Earlier this year, a gray whale calf died after getting tangled in crab pot lines near Seaview, Washington. Now commercial and tribal crab fishermen from the Washington coast have agreed to form a working group to discuss how to reduce the risk of a repeat. Fleets in Oregon and California have previously formed similar work groups. Whale numbers along the West Coast are rebounding, but so are sightings of humpback whales, gray whales and the odd blue whale entangled in fishing lines and buoys. click here to read the story 08:55

Right whale deaths spur regulators to eye fishing gear modifications

This has been a tough year for North Atlantic right whales. Late in October, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the badly decomposed carcass of a right whale was found ashore on Nashawena Island, south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. It was the 16th of the highly endangered species known to have died in U.S. or Canadian waters in 2017. Starting in the early spring and continuing through the late summer months, a dozen dead right whales were found floating in Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence.,,, Last year, the NOAA Fisheries Large Whale Take Reduction Team (TRT) began a five-year review click here to read the story 08:23

NOAA Fisheries Seeks Comments on Proposed Scup Quotas

NOAA Fisheries proposes to revise the 2018 quotas and announce projected 2019 quotas for the scup fishery. Compared to the current specifications in place for 2018, this action would increase the commercial quotas and recreational harvest limits each by approximately 40 percent. The recent scup stock assessment update indicated that the stock is not overfished and overfishing did not occur in 2016. The update also showed that the 2015 year class was about 2.1 times larger than the average recruitment (i.e., number of age 0 scup) from 1984 to 2016. huh! click here to read the press release 17:28

Senior NOAA appointee calls for retraction of paper on illegal fishing

A top US official at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who was recently appointed by President Donald Trump, has called for the retraction of a paper that suggests the country exports a significant amount of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. The paper, published July 6 in Marine Policy, estimated that in 2015 approximately one-fifth of Alaska pollock exports to Japan were either illegal, unreported, or unregulated — a value of as much as $75 million. click here to read the story 15:17

R.I. commercial fishing landed $93.9M in 2016

Approximately 82.5 million pounds of seafood were commercially landed in Rhode Island in 2016, an increase of 9.1 percent year over year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries of the United States 2016 report Monday. The year’s haul in the Ocean State was worth a combined $93.9 million, an increase of 14.7 percent… Rhode Island caught 22.5 million pounds of squid in 2016, 16 percent of the national supply and second most in the country to California. click here to read the story 07:21

Cod numbers in the Gulf of Alaska fall dramatically

Last month, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, which regulates groundfish in Alaska and other federal fisheries, received some shocking news. Pacific cod stocks in the Gulf of Alaska may have declined as much as 70 percent over the past two years. That estimate is a preliminary figure, but it leaves plenty of questions about the future of cod fishing in Gulf of Alaska. The first question that comes to mind when you hear the number of Pacific cod in the Gulf dropped by about two-thirds is what happened? click here to read the story 21:14

NOAA: American Fisheries Remain a Strong Economic Driver

Commercial and recreational fisheries remain a strong contributor to the United States economy, according to the annual Fisheries of the United States report released today by NOAA.
Saltwater recreational fishing remains one of America’s favorite pastimes and a key contributor to the national economy,,, Also in 2016, U.S. commercial fishermen landed 9.6 billion pounds of seafood (down 1.5 percent from 2015) valued at $5.3 billion (up 2.1 percent from 2015). The highest value commercial species were lobster ($723 million),,, click here to read the report   click here for infographics 15:27

Cape fishermen push for action on habitat protection

Part of managing fisheries is identifying and protecting that habitat. But the ocean is a big place and a difficult environment to do analysis. Politically, it’s also fractious terrain as fishermen worry about the balance between conservation and being shut out of traditional and productive fishing grounds. And so, it took 14 years for the New England Fishery Management to craft regulations protecting fish habitat, passing Omnibus Habitat Amendment 2 in June of 2015. But after over two years of review by the council and the National Marine Fisheries Service, it still hasn’t been implemented,,, click here to read the story 11:19

NOAA Approves State Water Exemptions for Scallop Fisheries in Maine and Massachusetts

The State Waters Scallop Exemption Program allows federal permit holders to fish in the state waters scallop fishery on a more equitable basis where federal and state laws are inconsistent. The Program specifies that a state with a scallop fishery may be eligible for state waters exemptions from specific regulations if it has a scallop conservation program that does not jeopardize the objectives of the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan. click here to read the press release 12:41

Another North Atlantic right whale found dead on Cape Cod

Yet another North Atlantic right whale carcass has been discovered, the sixteenth confirmed death of the endangered species this year. The International Fund for Animal Welfare says the carcass was found on Nashawena Island, south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. The animal welfare organization says the carcass was “very decomposed,” but it is working alongside the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to determine the cause of death. click here to read the story 09:47

Biologists: Fisheries at Risk as Bills Target Science-Based Conservation – Reauth hearing tomorrow

Are fish the next casualties in the war on science? A group of distinguished marine scientists, including a former administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), apparently think so. More than 200 scientists have signed a letter addressed to the United States Congress opposing efforts to weaken the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the 1976 law that governs management of U.S. fisheries and is credited with preventing the collapse of fish stocks. Conservation group Oceana released the letter on Monday, October 23, the day before a Senate subcommittee holds a hearing on the Act.  click here to read the story 10:05

Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act: Fisheries Science – U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, will convene the hearing titled “Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act: Fisheries Science,” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 24, 2017. The hearing is the fourth of the series and will focus on the state of our nation’s fisheries and the science that supports sustainable management. click here for details 

NOAA Fisheries Recommends Actions to Help Right Whales

Coming at the end of a devastating summer for right whales, the North Atlantic Right Whale Five-Year Review and its list of recommended actions to promote right whale recovery is particularly timely.,, In July 2016, we initiated this Review, as we do every five years, to make sure that species are accurately listed as “endangered” or “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. Our Five-Year Review is now complete and provides updates on the right whale population in U.S. waters. The Five-Year Review recommends, not surprisingly, that North Atlantic right whales continue to be listed as endangered, and confirms that they experiencing: click here to read the recommendations 13:06

Barry Myers is Trump’s nominee to head NOAA – Why Does This Guy Make Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz Nervous?

Hawaii relies heavily on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — in some ways, for its very safety. NOAA, which oversees the National Weather Service, is the agency that helps predict and anticipate hurricanes, tsunamis and dangerous floods, issuing warnings that help people prepare or get out of the way. But in this case, it’s President Donald Trump’s nominee to run the agency, a business executive from Pennsylvania, who is causing a political storm. Barry Myers, chief executive officer of AccuWeather, a private weather and data services company based in State College, Pennyslvania, has been named by Trump to serve as U.S. Commerce Department Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, a job traditionally held by biologists and climate scientists. This position is usually also called the Administrator of NOAA. click here to read the story 22:44

Groundfishermen: ‘It feels like we’re just forgotten’

New Hampshire fishermen say temporary federal aid for at-sea monitor coverage is barely holding their industry afloat now that a court battle over the cost appears to have ended. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is currently covering 60 percent of the cost for third-party at-sea monitors to observe commercial groundfishermen’s compliance with federal regulations. That coverage is projected to end May 1, 2018,,, Jamie Hayward, a commercial fisherman out of Portsmouth, said it will be devastating for fishermen to go from paying 40 percent of those costs to the full bill when NOAA stops assisting.,, will be like we got hit by a bomb,” he said.  click here to read the story 16:57

NOAA Fisheries rule should alarm taxpayers

NOAA Fisheries has discovered a devious way to increase their budget without the checks and balances guaranteed by our forefathers, and the courts have let it stand. I have been involved in a lawsuit with NOAA Fisheries over who pays for at-sea monitors (ASM) for the last three years. These are basically our own personal state police men who ride along on the boat and watch and record everything fishermen do at sea. Fishermen have been forced to sign contracts with for-profit third-party companies that provide this service for $710 per day. Recently, the Supreme Court refused to hear our case, effectively ending our pursuit of justice. Readers should be concerned, not only because this job-killing regulation effects their ability to obtain local seafood, but also because the loss leaves in place a precedent that will allow regulatory agencies to tax citizens by passing regulations while bypassing Congress. click here to read the op-ed 08:56

Groundfishermen: ‘It feels like we’re just forgotten’ – Fishermen who followed Goethel’s path through the federal courts said they were disappointed with the outcome. Goethel said he was “disillusioned” by the process. “Talk about feeling forgotten,” said Jamie Driscoll, a commercial fisherman from Kingston. “That’s how it feels. It feels like we’re just forgotten.” click here to read the op-ed 

 

NOAA has yet to determine fines and penalties in civil case involving Carlos Rafael

So far, New Bedford fishing mogul Carlos Rafael has lost a fraction of his fishing empire after pleading guilty to 23 counts of false labeling and identification of fish, as well as cash smuggling, conspiracy, falsifying federal records and tax evasion. He was found guilty and sentenced to nearly four years in jail last month. But there could be millions more in fines and penalties as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration decides what civil measures to impose on Rafael. Fishermen and environmental groups have been lobbying for that money to go toward restoring the fishery, and many would like to see it pay for better monitoring of what fishermen catch at sea and land on shore. click here to read the story 12:47

Civil penalities from NOAA could be next for Carlos Rafael

Judge William Young’s judgment filed Wednesday appeared to be the finish line to Carlos Rafael’s case. Young, though, by ordering the forfeiture of four vessels and every permit associated with the Bull Dog, the Olivia and Rafaela, the Lady Patricia and the Southern Crusader II began a new ripple effect throughout the commercial fishing industry revealing some questions but very little answers. It’s likely NOAA will take center stage now that the Department of Justice has closed its case. NOAA can bring civil penalties to Rafael. click here to read the story 09:47

Trump nominates AccuWeather CEO to run NOAA

President Trump has chosen Barry Myers, the CEO of the private weather forecaster AccuWeather, to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). In that role, Myers, who has served as the chief executive of AccuWeather since 2007, would head the agency charged with executing a broad portfolio of responsibilities ranging from providing severe storm warnings to managing the nation’s fisheries. If confirmed by the Senate, the nomination would install a business executive at an agency more recently headed by scientists. click here to read the story 13:12

Alabama Red Snapper Reporting System – Snapper checks show fear of exceeding quota unfounded

Preliminary numbers from the Alabama Red Snapper Reporting System, aka Snapper Check, indicate the fear that Alabama anglers would exceed the 2017 quota were unfounded. “Using the Alabama Snapper Check numbers, we’re going to be well within the historic allocation for Alabama, so the 39-day season did not put us over, which was a concern for the commercial fishing community and part of the charter fishing community,” said Scott Bannon, Acting Director of the Alabama Marine Resources Division (MRD). “Now the concern we have is what the MRIP (Marine Recreational Information Program) numbers will show, and those numbers are not out yet.” click here to read the story 09:11

Senator Warren: New Bedford should keep Rafael’s fishing permits

And another voice enters the fray. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has weighed in on the debate over the ultimate fate of Carlos Rafael’s seized commercial fishing permits, saying in a letter to NOAA Fisheries the permits should remain in New Bedford. “It has been reported that (Rafael’s) fishing permits may be cancelled or seized by the federal government and I am urging you to do everything possible to ensure that those permits stay in the port of New Bedford,” Warren wrote to Chris Oliver, NOAA Fisheries’ assistant administrator for fisheries. “Not doing so has the potential to devastate the local economy and effectively punish numerous innocent workers and businesses in New Bedford for Mr. Rafael’s crimes.” click here to read the story 18:57

Conservationists plan to sue over right whale deaths

Animal conservation groups say they intend to sue the U.S. government unless North Atlantic right whales are better protected, following the deaths of 15 along U.S. and Canadian coasts. “We are literally facing the extinction of right whales due to human causes,” said Regina Asmutis-Silvia of Whale and Dolphin Conservation North America. In August, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, declared the deaths of North Atlantic right whales since June 7 an “unusual mortality event,” which triggered a focused and expert investigation into the causes. But the conservation groups want more. click here to read the story 10:01

Fisherman David Goethel: Justices ruled on technicalities, not merits

The rejection by the Supreme Court is the third defeat suffered by Goethel and co-plaintiff South Dartmouth-based Northeast Fishing Sector XIII since they first sued NOAA Fisheries and other federal officials in December 2015 in U.S. District Court in New Hampshire.,,, “The Supreme Court was our last judicial hope to save the centuries-old New England industry,” Goethel said in a statement. Later, in an interview, Goethel let loose against what he said is the “stacked deck” of standing up to regulators, as well as his frustration with the justice system. click here to read the story 20:56

SAFMC – Officials OK red snapper fall season

Federal fishery officials approved a plan Monday to allow Southeastern anglers to harvest red snapper in the Atlantic Ocean later this fall, which would be the first open season for the popular game fish since 2014. Under the plan, the season would last six to 12 days spread out over several three-day weekends and would begin at the end of October. The decision must be approved by NOAA Fisheries, the federal agency that oversees all fishing regulations in federal waters. If the agency approves the decision, it will set the exact number of days the season will last and when it will start. The decision also opens red snapper to commercial fishing, although boats will be limited to just 75 pounds of fish per trip. click here to read the story 19:12

What would they say if it were commercial fishermen? – D.E.C. Officers Target Another Party Boat

On Saturday, for the second time in three weeks, State Department of Environmental Conservation officers boarded a Montauk-based party boat and charged anglers with possessing undersize and over-the-limit black sea bass and porgies. Benning DeLaMater, a D.E.C. public information officer, said in an email yesterday that the agency’s officers, along with a fisheries enforcement officer from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, had been on patrol in Montauk Harbor and inspected the Viking Starship when it returned to port.,,, A subsequent inspection of the vessel allegedly turned up more than 1,800 additional fish in 9 coolers and 19 buckets, all of which had been abandoned.,,, On Aug. 31, State D.E.C. officers observed fish being thrown overboard from another party boat, the Fin Chaser, click here to read the story 07:57

Hang him! Hang him high!

OK, OK, I get it! Carlos Rafael, aka, “The Codfather,” has done some pretty reprehensible things while amassing what seemingly is the largest percentage of ownership of the US multispecies groundfish fleet. I am not going to try to defend his actions, or his reasoning, but I would like to point out that there is plenty of guilt to go around and some people should not be so quick to point their finger at him alone. What is it that they say about casting the first stone? Apparently, among his sins is his aforementioned ownership of the largest fleet of multi-species groundfish vessels, as well as some scallop vessels. While this may be true, let us ponder what enabled, abetted, and allowed him to gain such an advantage over everyone else. At this point, he wasn’t breaking the law, he was only taking advantage of it, and of those who most fervently wanted it! click here to read the op-ed 09:27