Tag Archives: NOAA

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

Don Cuddy: NOAA scientist says manage fishery as a whole, not by individual stocks

It was interesting therefore to hear a presentation in Plymouth last Thursday by Dr. Russell Brown, a career NOAA Fisheries scientist with a specialty in population dynamics. In 1994, Brown said, the haddock stock on Georges Bank was estimated to be at a critically low point, around 10,000 metric tons. Fishermen had a 500-pound trip limit and were trying to avoid them to catch cod.,, Today the biomass is estimated at 280,000 metric tons and fishermen are trying to avoid cod catching haddock. Unfortunately they are not enjoying a lot of reward because cod have become what is known as a “choke species.” click here to read the story 22:40

Squid fishery shutdown won’t affect local calamari

The federal government is limiting squid fishing in certain areas, so what does this mean for Southern New England? As of this Friday, a short fin squid fishery, much of which sits offshore from Rhode Island, will shut down until Dec. 31. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says this is because 95 percent of the quota for that type of squid has been caught, so this is actually standard procedure. Richard Fuka of the Rhode Island Fishermen’s Alliance says it’s a sign that squid fishing has been hot this year, so it’s actually a good thing. “The Illex fishery, or the fishery in question that just closed, was a very large number and we actually had a very robust season to be able to meet the benchmark,” Fuka said. video, click here to read the story 09:06

New Jersey Anglers and Commercial Fishermen: Discussion on negative impact of Fishing Limits

A trip to Annapolis, Maryland might be what saves the 2018 New Jersey fishing season. Saltwater anglers and their allies crowded the Stafford Township municipal chambers, where the Marine Fisheries Council held its regular Sept. 7 meeting. Although the first hour was filled with its usual reports and comments, the Council’s second hour saw passionate arguments and discussion from Council and audience members about what to do with the ever-shortening fishing season and its negative impact on commercial fishermen throughout the state and beyond. click here to read the story 15:29

NOAA Fisheries Announces Illex (Shortfin) Squid Fishery Closure on September 15

After reviewing new landings information, we now project that the Illex squid fishery will reach its domestic quota for the 2017 fishing year on September 15. NOAA Fisheries is therefore closing the directed fishery in federal waters effective September 15 through the end of the fishing year, December 31, 2017.click here to read the notice 12:24

Something fishy in the quotas?

The clatter reverberated in the refrigerated cold as workers offloaded fish and wheeled full bins into a storage area on Fisherman’s Wharf. The catch was sorted, weighed, labeled, and eventually loaded onto large trucks headed for New York. It was a big haul, but not a big payday for Tom Testaverde Jr., captain of the Midnight Sun. “Our season’s been good. We caught a lot of fish, but the prices have been killing us all year,” Testaverde said. He pointed to imports that drive prices down, and regulations that limit what kinds of fish he can catch. Those federal limits on some species — particularly groundfish such as cod and flounder — are at odds with what commercial fishermen say they are seeing in the ocean. click here to read the story 14:34

Trump’s monument review is as secretive as Obama’s designations

Presidential use of the Antiquities Act is ripe for abuse, as major decisions impacting vast public lands, natural resources, property rights, livelihoods and private industry are left to the sole discretion of the president. After such a unilateral designation, the president does not need to substantiate his decision in any meaningful way, beyond the use of a few magic words on the face of the proclamation. It seemed like a positive step when President Trump in April issued an executive order seeking public input for a review of national monument designations over the last two decades. But it now appears that any hope for additional transparency may have been premature. click here to read the story 19:25

Warning signs for salmon

The numbers of young salmon caught off the Oregon and Washington state coasts during an annual federal survey cruise this June were among the lowest recorded in the past 20 years. In fact, numbers were low across nearly all the species researchers regularly catch or observe — from birds like the common murre to forage fish like anchovies and smelt. Months ahead of schedule, as a kind of heads up, West Coast researchers, project managers and program directors decided to send out a memo in mid-August detailing their initial findings — data that would usually be combined with other information and put out on a webpage at the end of the year. The data is preliminary, but researchers say it is clear many young coho and Chinook salmon didn’t survive the migration from freshwater streams and rivers to the ocean this year, while poor ocean conditions could impact salmon returns to the Columbia River for the next few years. click here to read the story 21:44

President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Personnel to Key Administration Posts

President Donald J. Trump today announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key positions in his Administration. The list is here and there are two positions with NOAA, and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, along with other nominations for various agencies. James Bridenstine of Oklahoma to be Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Mr. Bridenstine was elected in 2012 to represent Oklahoma’s First Congressional District. He serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee. Timothy Gallaudet of California to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere. Dr. Gallaudet is a Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy whose most recent assignment was Oceanographer of the Navy and Commander of the Navy Meteorology and Oceanography Command. click here to read the list 10:35

Lobstermen plagued by low catch, low prices

As the shedder, or soft shell, season winds down with higher value hard shell lobsters on the horizon, local lobstermen are hoping to turn what has so far been a dismal season around. Lobsters are in hiding, or so it seems to lobstermen. “I’d say we’ve caught about half the lobsters [than in recent years],” Stonington lobsterman Tony Bray said of the 2017 season. The Stonington Lobster Co-op, which buys a large proportion of the local catch, reported a 25 to 30 percent drop in volume over last year. “The lobsters are out there, so this is not likely reflective of a resource decline,” said Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries scientist Carla Guenther, who follows Department of Marine Resources data monitoring. “It may be reflective of a habitat shift as to where the lobsters are, and a behavior shift as a reaction to the colder water.” click here to read the story 15:16

New measures coming to protect right whales in Gulf of St. Lawrence: LeBlanc

As Canadian officials scramble to determine whether an endangered whale caught in fishing rope off Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula may have freed itself, federal Fisheries and Oceans Minister Dominic LeBlanc is promising a new set of rules around commercial fishing gear to protect the large marine mammals. A North Atlantic right whale was spotted entangled in ropes during a fly-over of the Gulf of St. Lawrence Monday, but LeBlanc said aerial and water patrols were unable to locate it Tuesday. LeBlanc said the federal government will usher in a new set of rules around fishing gear to improve the safety of whale migration in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. click here to read the story 13:37

Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program – 2017 Awards

NOAA Fisheries has awarded more than $2.3 million to partners around the country to support innovative bycatch reduction research projects through its . Bycatch of various species–fish, marine mammals, or turtles–can have significant biological, economic, and social impacts. Preventing and reducing bycatch is a shared goal of fisheries managers, the fishing industry, and the environmental community. click here to read the notice 14:10

Canada, U.S. launch joint investigation into deaths of 13 right whales

The United States and Canada are launching a joint investigation into the deaths of the endangered North Atlantic right whales, after the United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declared the die-off an “unusual mortality event,” or UME, on Thursday night. Confirmation of the investigation came on Friday, during a phone conference involving representatives of NOAA and Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). According to NOAA officials, a UME declaration is only triggered when there is significant die-off in a population and one that demands a significant response. click here to read the story 15:59

Fish pie – Everyone wants a piece

Representatives of the haves and have-nots of American ocean fisheries gathered in a packed college classroom here on Wednesday to offer Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, their ideas on what he could do with the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act. The now 40-year-old federal fisheries legislation is the legacy of the late and revered Alaska Sen.Ted Stevens.,,, And there is no doubt the MSA has problems when it comes to dealing with recreational fishing. Anglers, charter-boat operators, commercial fishermen and environmental groups are at the moment all in a Gulf of Mexico scrum fighting over red snapper. It is in many ways a tussle that almost makes the long-running fish war in Cook Inlet look tame. click here to read the story 08:25

Rep. William Straus request reveals NOAA has yet to penalize Rafael

Through a public records request, Rep. William Straus said he discovered that NOAA hasn’t disciplined Carlos Rafael since the indictment has been released. That included an incident on Aug. 5, 2016, which occurred after the indictment, where public records also show that the Coast Guard cited the Lady Patricia, a Rafael vessel listed in the indictment, for “fishing without proper VMS designation.” NOAA defines its Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) as a system supporting law enforcement initiatives and preventing violations of laws and regulations. It is used as evidence in the prosecution of environmental laws and regulations including regional fishing quotas, the Endangered Species Act, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. click here to read the story 21:40

Feds review annual bowhead whale quotas for Alaska Native hunters

Federal officials are reviewing annual catch limits for 11 Alaska Native communities whose subsistence hunters are authorized to harvest bowhead whales. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the public has until Sept. 14 to comment on quotas for a six-year period to begin in 2019. The International Whaling Commission, which has final say on quotas for subsistence harvesting of large whales, meets next in Brazil in 2018. click here to read the story 10:46

URI, Commercial Fisheries Center combine to create apprentice program in commercial fishing

In early July, a group of apprentices joined a pilot program designed to train new commercial fishermen and women. When the program ended 20 days later, not a single apprentice had dropped out. “We were very pleased with that,” said Barbara Somers, a research associate at the University of Rhode Island’s Department of Fisheries, Animal and Veterinary Science who helped put the program together. “We started with 12 and we ended with 12.” The program, funded by a $100,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), was a joint initiative of URI and the Commercial Fisheries Center of Rhode Island, a non-profit group representing nine fishing organizations. The goal was to produce skilled crews to replenish the declining ranks of the Rhode Island commercial fishery. click here to read the story 08:26

Carlos Rafael files a motion of opposition to forfeiture

Carlos Rafael filed a court motion Monday opposing the government’s motion for preliminary order of forfeiture. The New Bedford fishing heavyweight made the request in light of “ongoing discussions” regarding the vessels and permits associated with the guilty plea he made four and half months ago. Rafael pleaded guilty to falsifying labels and fish identification, cash smuggling and tax evasion on March 30. In the plea agreement, Rafael admitted the vessels listed in the indictment were subject to forfeiture. The agreement reserved Rafael the right to challenge the forfeitures. Rafael took advantage of that right,,, click here to read the story 20:49

Despite guilty plea, ‘Codfather’ continues to fish

New England fishermen are wondering how the fishing fleet owned by New Bedford fishing mogul Carlos Rafael continues to fish nearly five months after he pleaded guilty on March 30 in federal district court in Boston to 28 offenses, including conspiracy, false labeling of fish, bulk cash smuggling, tax evasion and falsifying federal records. Those vessels include many Rafael agreed to forfeit in his plea deal for their role in his scheme to sell fish he didn’t have enough quota to catch, under the name of species for which he had enough quota. The fishing year starts May 1 and Rafael won’t be sentenced until Sep. 25 and 26. Many are angry that Rafael’s fleet has been allowed to operate through the summer months when fishermen traditionally catch most of their fish. click here to read the story 09:51

Cruise ship arrives in port with massive whale carcass on bow

A cruise ship reached an Alaska port with a surprise on its bow: the carcass of a humpback whale. The Grand Princess, a 290 metre ship pulled into Ketchikan yesterday with the marine mammal lodged on its submerged, bulbous bow, a device designed to avoid wave-making. Princess spokesman Brian O’Connor said the company was surprised and saddened to discover the whale. “It is unknown how or when this happened as the ship felt no impact,” he said in a statement. “It is also unknown, at this time, whether the whale was alive or already deceased before becoming lodged on the bow.” The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is investigating the incident. click here to read the story 15:28

Wanchese fisherman pleads guilty to federal charges

Gaston L. Saunders, 53, of Wanchese, pled guilty on Aug. 3 to federal charges regarding the illegal harvest and sale of Atlantic striped bass from federal waters. The charges stem from a 2010 Lacey Act investigation by NOAA, assisted by the Coast Guard. Since 1990, there has been a ban on harvesting Atlantic striped bass in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which spans between three miles and 200 miles seaward of the coastline. Eleven other commercial fishermen have entered guilty pleas for conduct uncovered in the investigation. Saunders also pled guilty to one count of federal tax evasion and three counts of failure to file federal taxes. In the plea agreement, he agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $544,946.35 payable to the Internal Revenue Service. A sentencing hearing will be set at a later date. Saunders faces a total maximum sentence of 13 years imprisonment and/or a $800,000 fine. click here to read the story 14:19

Feds slash Red Hake possesion limit – BIG reduction from 3,000 lbs per trip to 400 lbs per trip

The northern red hake commercial possession limit is reduced from 3,000 lbs per trip to 400 lbs per trip. Effective immediately, federally permitted vessels may not possess on board or land more than 400 lb of northern red hake per trip for the remainder of the 2017 fishing year (i.e., through April 30, 2018). This reduction is required because the northern red hake fishery is projected to have reached or exceeded 37.9 percent of the total allowable landings. Vessels that have started a fishing trip when this possession limit reduction becomes effective may retain northern red hake under the previous possession limit of 3,000 lb for the remainder of that trip Dealers issued federal dealer permits for small-mesh multispecies may not purchase more than 400 lbs of northern red hake per trip from federally permitted vessels for trips started after August 7, 2017. Read the full notice click here 21:19

Pacific bluefin tuna not considered engangered

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries branch has determined that Pacific bluefin tuna are not endangered and do not need protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. The determination was announced Monday by Chris Yates, assistant regional administrator for protected resources, NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region, in response to a petition from activists and environmental groups across the nation asking the Trump administration to list Pacific bluefin tuna as endangered.,, A scientific review team found that the population is large enough to avoid the risks associated with a small population, such as a year with low survival, and that Pacific bluefin has recovered from similarly low levels in the past. click here to read the story 09:17

Offshore Aquaculture: Groups divided over Gulf fish farming

While proponents of aquaculture support expanding fish and shellfish farming in the Gulf of Mexico, local fishermen and food safety groups are wary of the consequences. “Developing offshore aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico will benefit everyone. Consumers will get additional access to sustainable domestically grown seafood,” said Jim Gossen, president of the Gulf Seafood Foundation. “Using the latest proven management practices, this should provide more wild fish to both the recreational and commercial fisheries.” In 2016, NOAA filed a final rule implementing the nation’s first comprehensive regulatory program for aquaculture in federal waters. The rule allowed for the establishment of a regional permitting process to manage the development of an environmentally sound and economically sustainable aquaculture industry in the Gulf. However, local and national groups oppose the current plan in its entirety or how it’s being implemented. click here to read the story 08:56

The American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act: S-1322 – Sam Parisi, Gloucester

Last year I served on a panel to review applicants for S-K Grant money in Saint Petersburg, along with ten other experienced fisherman thru out the USA. After two days of reviews we graded those and our mission was done. We had no idea who was awarded the grant money at the end of the two days. After a month the ones that were chosen were published. I notice one recipient from the East Coast was awarded $375,000 dollars yet I never saw come before the panel. I called the head man in Saint Pete and ask why I never saw it, and he said it was on a different panel. I was on both panels and it never came up. I believe that NOAA decides who gets the funds and the panel is there to appease the public. A Senator from Alaska heard my story and told me he was putting in a bill to go back to an advisory panel like it had in 1954. Bear in mind, this a year in the making and he asked for my help by contacting our Politian’s in the North East which I did. Two days ago Commerce Department approved his bill S-1322. The vote was 26 to one. What this means is NOAA will no longer receive the SKG money. A panel will be chosen by the Secretary of Commerce. Perhaps our fisherman will now see some of this money. Thank You, Sam Parisi,  Gloucester Mass.  click here to read the bill  Commerce Approves Eight Bills and 10 Nomineesclick here Thank you, Sam!  10:46

NOAA seeks jurisdiction of Lake Michigan waters next to Wisconsin – Protecting shipwrecks or shipwrecking the economy?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is preparing to designate the waters of Lake Michigan next to Manitowoc, Sheboygan, and Ozaukee counties as a national marine sanctuary, and that has set off a howl of protest that the state is surrendering its jurisdictional authority to the federal government, which critics say could threaten commercial fishing and coastal recreational activities, among other things. Meanwhile, both the Trump administration and Congress are looking into the national marine sanctuary program and into what some say are its overreaching and unilateral power to impose restrictions in the sanctuary areas. click here to read the story 09:41

Jury clears fish broker in alleged tuna smuggling scheme

A Marblehead tuna broker has been cleared of federal charges  that he orchestrated a scheme to illegally catch and export bluefin tuna. Robert Kliss and his Lynn-based business North Atlantic Traders were found not guilty of charges that included conspiracy, smuggling and falsifying records, by a U.S. District Court jury on Friday. Kliss, his business and a captain-for-hire, John Cafiero, were indicted in April following a four-year investigation by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and federal prosecutors. The allegations came to the attention of investigators in 2012, after a member of the crew on the famous fishing boat the F/V Hannah Boden came back from a swordfishing trip off the coast of Long Island, New York, and reported to the boat’s manager that Cafiero had also been fishing for bluefin. click here to read the story 21:17

New Hampshire fleet dwindles as at-sea monitoring decision heads to Supreme Court

A New Hampshire fisherman leading the fight against a decision by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association to shift the cost of at-sea monitoring to industry has appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. David Goethel of Hampton, New Hampshire, said he filed the appeal in early July. He is challenging the decision of a federal district court and the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in NOAA’s favor, according to the Associated Press. Goethal, who filed his original suit in December 2015, has been joined in his appeal by the Northeast Fishery Sector 13, which represents fishermen from Massachusetts to North Carolina. His legal support is being provided pro bono by the Cause for Action Institute.,, In Goethel’s appeal to the Supreme Court, he argues that NOAA’s requirement of at-sea monitors represents an illegal, warrantless search of private property, and that forcing the industry to pay for its own monitoring represents a violation of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. click here to read the story 10:51

Fisherman David Goethel takes case to US Supreme Court

After losing a lawsuit alleging a federal agency has imposed unfair regulations, Hampton fisherman David Goethel is taking his case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Cause of Action Institute, which is representing Goethel and a group of other fishermen pro bono, filed a petition to be taken up by the Supreme Court Tuesday. The suit was originally filed in U.S. District Court against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Department of Commerce in 2015. It alleges NOAA unfairly requires commercial groundfishermen to fund at-sea monitors to join them on fishing trips and observe their compliance with regulations.  click here to read the story 15:52