Tag Archives: NOAA

US Embargo Hits Mexican Shrimp Industry Hard

The United States has suspended certification of wild-caught Mexican shrimp, preventing producers from export part of their production to the USA. Already financially weakened Mexican shrimp exporters are confident that the decision will be reversed soon, but have concerns about the severe economic consequences. US inspectors identified non-conformities in the turtle excluder devices (TEDs) in dozens of fishing gears inspected at Sonora, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Campeche ports. News of the embargo was received with concern by the shrimp fishermen all over Mexico. ‘But we haven’t felt any impact yet, given that we had already exported all stocks and we’re now waiting for the next shrimp season to start in September,’ >photos, click to read< 13:13

N.J. fishing industry to get another $9.5M for Coronavirus relief

An incoming tide of federal dollars aims to lift a few boats, bait shops and seafood markets in the Garden State. New Jersey is set to receive another $9.5 million in COVID-19 relief money for the state’s fishing industry,,, The influx of cash comes from the $900 billion relief package passed by Congress and signed by former President Donald Trump in December. The money will be given to New Jersey by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, after the state Department of Environmental Protection gets a spending plan for the money approved. The DEP plans to submit its plan in coming days. >click to read< 17:50

Fed Right whale plan could mean lobster industry changes – a reinvention of the fishery as we know it

Federal officials recently released plans,,, But it’s the risk reduction target, an aggressive 98 percent, that Maine Department of Marine Resources officials said means only one thing, “a complete reinvention of the fishery as we know it.” The conservation framework, an addition to the 582-page biological opinion, creates a four-phased approach to all but eliminate the death and serious injury of the whales in federally managed fishing grounds. The first phase calls for a 60 percent reduction in right whale deaths and serious injuries this year. Patrice McCarron, Maine Lobstermen’s Association, fears the industry can’t sustain that level of change.  “If you look at the changes we’ve made over the last 25 years, there’s not a lot left to give,”, >click to read< 10:27

Whales Are Shrinking. Scientists Blame Commercial Fishing Gear

The findings, published today in the journal Current Biology, reveal that when fully grown, a North Atlantic right whale born today would be expected to be about one meter shorter than a whale born in 1980. The stunted growth of the whales coincides with an increasing rate of entanglements. A 2012 study from the New England Aquarium revealed,,, Researchers acknowledge that entanglements do not explain all of the reduced growth. Other factors might be climate change, collisions and noise from ships, and the shifting availability of tiny crustaceans called copepods, their primary food source. >click to read< 13:30

NOAA Fisheries Releases Final “Batched” Biological Opinion & North Atlantic Right Whale Conservation Framework

NOAA Fisheries released its Endangered Species Act (ESA) section 7 Biological Opinion on the authorization of eight federal fisheries management plans under the MSA two interstate fishery management plans under the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act, and the implementation of the New England Fishery Management Council’s Omnibus Essential Fish Habitat Amendment 2. We also released the North Atlantic Right Whale Conservation Framework for Federal Fisheries in the Greater Atlantic Region (Conservation Framework). NOAA Fisheries has evaluated the effects of the authorization of the fisheries, as modified by the Conservation Framework, on endangered and threatened species. The 10 fisheries included in the Opinion are:  >click to read< 12:22

Silence from Shoreline Press on Undersea Electric Problems – We’re not talking what you can see, it’s what you can’t

All the exciting press about the installation of windfarms focuses on the seemingly blithe turbine blades swirling innocently in the free breeze,,, the mantra offered by Baker, Raimondo, Lamonte and Cuomo. The necessary undersea electric cables that connect the swan like turbines to the shore are viewed by the wind industry itself as their Achilles Heel. It has already shown its ugly face in the functioning of the five turbines off Block Island. This has placed an unexpected $80 million repair bill (just five turbines, mind you, and less that 18 miles of cable) on the rate payers. Orsted, which has  bought the Rhode Island wind company, has publicly said “we do not discuss our financial matters.” The repair will take two years, and a large swath of ocean is closed to commercial fishing—blues, sword, squid, lobster, clams, flounder, haddock. No fishing! Trawl gear hauled along the bottom will catch on that now exposed cable and strum it like a banjo string. Twang! Snap!!  >click to read< 16:54

Two dead whales found lodged under hull of Australian warship docked in San Diego

The whales were discovered as the ship, HMAS Sydney, berthed at Naval Base San Diego, the Australian Royal Navy said in a statement. Experts say the physics of the situation are somewhat common, even if the presence of more than one whale makes this scenario rare.,, John Calambokidis, a leading expert on West Coast ship strikes, said the incident highlights what he’s concluded in his research: ship strikes are dramatically underreported. “We think it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 or less of the number of ship strikes occurring are getting documented,” >click to read< 08:55

Biden-Harris Administration Approves First Major Offshore Wind Project in U.S. Waters

Today’s Record of Decision (ROD) grants Vineyard Wind final federal approval to install 84 or fewer turbines off Massachusetts as part of an 800-megawatt offshore wind energy facility. The project is expected to create 3,600 area jobs and will power up to 400,000 homes. Turbines will be installed in an east-west orientation, and all the turbines will have a minimum spacing of 1 nautical mile between them in the north-south and east-west directions, consistent with the U.S. Coast Guard recommendations in the Final Massachusetts and Rhode Island Port Access Route Study. >click to read< 15:05

We’re on the Highway to Hell!

The Last of the Port Clyde Groundfishermen – Once robust, Maine’s groundfishery is on the ropes

When Randy Cushman was growing up in Port Clyde, some 300 trawlers were moored up and down Maine’s coast,,, Today, Cushman is 59 years old and might be Maine’s most knowledgeable commercial fishermen.,, But Cushman is barely scraping by. Prices for cod, flounder, and other groundfish have all but collapsed in Maine. The combination of rock-bottom prices, the need to protect the state’s fish stocks, and a dearth of fishing infrastructure make it harder than ever to be a fisherman here. Today, the robust Maine trawler fleet of Cushman’s youth has been reduced to around 30 boats. photos, >click to read< 14:21

Sen. John Kennedy – Sea turtle regulations hindered search for Seacor mariners

Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy criticized the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in a letter this week, claiming regulations for shrimpers caused an unnecessary hindrance in the search for missing Seacor Power members. Kennedy said he issued his letter after volunteers with the Cajun Navy said NOAA voiced strong opposition to the use of trawling nets in the recovery effort due to concern over federal regulations related to sea turtles. Kennedy alleges in his letter that NOAA would not allow volunteer shrimp boats to use nets with tied turtle excluder devices, knowns as TEDs, for recovery efforts. >click to read< 09:09

Senator Rubio Brings Back the Sustainable Shark Fisheries and Trade Act

Rubio has been pushing the “Sustainable Shark Fisheries and Trade Act” since 2018 and he reintroduced it this week. The bill “would require any country that seeks to export shark, ray, and skate to the US to first demonstrate it has a system of science-based management to prevent overfishing and a prohibition on the practice of shark finning” and ensure other nations “must also receive certification from the NOAA that its fisheries management policies are on par with US practices” and modifies the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act. >click to read< 08:54

‘Tragedy of the Commons’ Will be the Fate of Marine Environment in Atlantic Offshore Wind Farms

Like the English commons, the Atlantic waters could take just so much ‘grazing’. The Canadian government finally recognized the cod fishery had crashed and closed it;,, Recognizing that fish could not be owned until they were caught, government regulators attempted to at least partially privatize fishing rights. So too, the waters in which they swim (Hague Line dividing CN and US waters in the Gulf of Maine and on Georges Bank.) It was that bottom and those waters that wind farm builders wanted “rights”.,,, So, the question arises “why don’t the fishing interests move to protect these sensitive marine habitats?They have tried without much success. >click to read< 18:43

Lawsuit filed by Quinn Fisheries and Blue Harvest Fisheries against Carlos Rafael’s trustee and three arbitrators

Quinn Fisheries and Blue Harvest Fisheries filed a lawsuit last week against Carlos Rafael’s trustee and three arbitrators, alleging they are blocking a multimillion-dollar transaction of vessels and permits that was scheduled to happen April 16. The permits are for scallops and multi-species fish. The fishing seasons have already started or will soon start and because the transaction cannot be finalized, Quinn Fisheries and Blue Harvest state they will experience serious and irreparable financial harm. According to the 19-page complaint, Quinn Fisheries planned to transfer certain vessels and permits to Blue Harvest, and then purchase vessels and permits from Blue Harvest. >click to read< 11:08

Ocean Industrialization: The Biden Administration vs. Atlantic fisheries

In its rush to burnish its green bona fides, the Biden administration is showering billions of dollars of subsidies onto European offshore wind developers, and in the process threatening both the environment and the livelihoods of Atlantic coast commercial fishermen. Big Wind — money-making corporations, not philanthropists — stands to earn big bucks. And for what? The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from building all of that offshore wind will be minuscule and will have no impact on world climate whatsoever. Instead, it is poised to wreck an entire industry and the thousands of jobs that commercial fisheries support. >click to read< 08:50

Sig Hansen Opens Up About Deadliest Catch

The longtime boss of the F/V Northwestern still characterizes the crab season depicted in the epic 17th season of the Discovery Channel hit “Deadliest Catch” as the most calamitous one he’s ever endured. Aside from the thorny Coronavirus protocols that challenged any television production in 2020 and 2021, the crabbing crews faced another seemingly insurmountable obstacle that had nothing to do with making a TV show. For the first time ever, the captains and their crews were fishing blind,,, Hansen chats about it all, from the most grueling “Deadliest Catch” season ever, >click to read< 17:16

Watch National Stock Assessment Seminar – Dr. Cadrin will discuss “Optimal Spatial Boundaries and Strata for Stock Assessment

Dr. Steve Cadrin, Chair & Professor of the Department of Fisheries Oceanography at UMass Dartmouth , will present at NOAA Fisheries’ National Stock Assessment Seminar on Thursday, May 6 at 3 pm. His presentation on “Optimal Spatial Boundaries and Strata for Stock Assessment…and confronting practical realities” will be followed by a Q&A session. This online event, hosted by NOAA Central Library, is free and open to the public. Register to attend. >click to read< 11:34

NOAA and its new “partner” Ørsted agree to share data on wind farm lease areas

NOAA has reached an agreement with leading offshore wind developer Ørsted to share physical and biological data from Ørsted’s offshore lease areas. The memorandum is the first of its kind between an offshore wind developer and NOAA, and the agency says that it paves the way for similar data-sharing agreements with other developers.  “This partnership with industry will deliver data Americans use for business, science, and education, while at the same time mitigating effects of climate change,” said Ben Friedman, NOAA’s acting administrator.,,, The partnership is one element of a wide range of offshore wind initiatives that the Biden-Harris Administration announced at the end of March. (what crap!!!) >click to read< 14:36

PEI fishermen to integrate ‘weak rope’ in 2023

Gear adjustments regarding the North Atlantic Right Whale for the 2021 fishing season are consistent with last year. Rope markings on fishing gear, first implemented in 2020, are designed to help pinpoint where right whale entanglements in gear take place. The fact there haven’t been any entanglements since the marking became mandatory is positive, Melanie Giffin, Program Planner with the PEI Fishermen’s Association, said. “It is kind of a good news story that we don’t know if they are working or not,” she said. According to Barre Campbell, DFO Media relations, there were no North Atlantic Right Whale entanglements or deaths reported in Canadian waters in 2020. However, there is a plan to follow,,, >click to read< 23:08

#ShowUsTheRope – Blamed for Right Whale Entanglements, Lobstermen say Show us the rope!

Snow Cone has triggered an outcry of frustration from fishermen, who say they’re being unfairly blamed for the decline of the critically endangered species. On Wednesday, March 10, a team from Provincetown’s Center for Coastal Studies freed Snow Cone from 300 feet of rope. The center described the team’s success on its Facebook page, and used a photo from an aerial survey that shows the whale and the telltale rope from 1,000 feet in the air. “So, I remember seeing this,” said Nick Muto. The Facebook post said the retrieved rope likely came from a fishery, but there was no close-up picture. “So my hashtag, #ShowUsTheRope, is me trying to lay it right on the Center for Coastal Studies,” >click to read< 20:06

Right whale protection regs leave Cape fishermen feeling trapped

His house on the quarter-acre lot is nearly surrounded by gravel, with bright yellow and black fishing traps neatly stacked all around. Tolley is gearing up for the fishing season, is headed for a hip replacement in a month, but that wasn’t his only concern. New state regs require that he fit the buoy lines on all 1,200 of his lobster, conch and black sea bass traps with special sleeves that release under the pressure of an adult whale. “I don’t want to see a right whale entangled,”,,, He worries about the financial pressures imposed on him and other fishermen by regulations >click to read< 13:42

Study shows three times as many Red Snapper as previously estimated in the Gulf of Mexico

The $12 million Great Red Snapper Count estimated that the Gulf holds about 110 million adult red snapper, those at least 2 years old. A 2018 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration marine fisheries’ estimate was about 36 million. Clay Porch, director of NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center Director in Miami, said peer reviewers will be going over the science for the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council, which is likely to consider revising quotas in April, Porch said Tuesday. >click to read< 14:24

Right whales: Public comments range from ‘save the whales’ to ‘save the fishermen’

Samuel Sautaux posted his comment from Lentigny, Switzerland, located north of the Alps. His comment is among about 171,208 received from individuals who live near and far from the right whales’ cruising grounds and posted an opinion on the latest federal effort to protect the species on the public comment page overseen by NOAA. These comments are now being processed,,, Some of the comments are quite succinct, as was Sautaux’s. Others are more elaborate – including one from an author who signs as a 69-year-old, sixth generation lobsterman from Maine who says the proposal amounts to a “death sentence” on the industry. >click to read< 07:16

Mississippi Commission on Marine Resources talk Bonnet Carré Spillway, CARES Act funding

Many fishermen got some help from that $1.5 million of CARES Act money that was granted to the state of Mississippi, with most of that going to the seafood industry. $734,222 of that money went to local commercial fishermen, $451,284 went to seafood dealers and processors, and $239,179 of it went to the charter boat fleet.,, At Tuesday’s Commission on Marine Resources meeting, Joe Spraggins, Department of Marine Resources executive director, explained the process of how $21 million in Bonnet Carré Spillway relief funding will get to those in the industry. >click to read< 18:25

Massachusetts Lobstermen fear end of their livelihood

Dan Pronk is worried a new set of proposed NOAA and NMFS restrictions aimed at saving the North Atlantic right whale could be the nail in the coffin for the lobstering industry on Nantucket. “We’ve got five years left of lobstering down here,” said Pronk, the only commercial lobsterman on Nantucket, and one of only a handful of lobstermen around the region with traps south of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. “It’s career ending if they get their way. We’re bending over backwards to appease these people. >click to read< 13:28

The Voices of Gloucester Fishermen: NOAA offers virtual trip through Gloucester fishing history

The voices speak to the experience of living and fishing in America’s oldest commercial seaport, of the challenges and the joys of working on the waters of Cape Ann and beyond. They are at once a snapshot and endurable timeline collected into recorded interviews and fashioned into an  integrated story map of the Gloucester fishing and community experience. The stories and the voices which tell them are contained in the newest online chapter of the Voices of Oral History Archives organized and produced by NOAA Fisheries’ Northeast Fisheries Science Center. It’s titled “Strengthening Community Resilience in America’s Oldest Seaport” photos, video, >click to read< 11:55

Stokesbury’s image-based, drop camera survey has been pivotal in the revival of the scallop industry

Stock assessment is one of the many key areas of research being conducted by several professors at UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science & Technology (SMAST). Efforts led by Professors Steve Cadrin, Pingguo He, and Kevin Stokesbury help characterize how offshore wind development interacts with the marine environment, including important fisheries and critical habitat. Their findings are also critical in advancing offshore wind in a sustainable manner while minimizing impacts to existing marine activities and resources.  >click to read< 13:34

N.E. Aquarium Scientists urge NOAA to consider more aggressive Right Whale steps

In response to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Proposed Rule to amend the regulations implementing the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan to reduce the incidental mortality and serious injury to North Atlantic right whales, fin whales, and humpback whales in northeast commercial lobster and crab trap/pot fisheries to meet the goals of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act, the New England Aquarium submits this comment to express our strong reservations that the measures outlined in the Proposed Rule and accompanying Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) are not nearly aggressive enough to change the fate of North Atlantic right whales in U.S. waters. Based on our decades of NARW expertise, the Aquarium strongly urges NOAA to revise this Proposed Rule substantially before finalizing it. >click to read< 07:07

Lobster industry changes require more evidence on North Atlantic right whale deaths

Environmentalists and the lobster industry have rarely agreed on anything related to the effort to save the North Atlantic right whale. So when they do, people should pay attention. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is now taking comment on its Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan, aimed at reducing risk of rope entanglements and ship strikes to the endangered mammal by at least 60%. But members of both sides say no one has enough information to say that the sweeping changes would be effective. Our comment? Don’t pass a plan that puts the deaths of right whales on the backs of Maine lobstermen unless you can show that’s where it should be. >click to read< 08:14

“What I’m reading now being proposed by NOAA will essentially put me out of business,,,”

Lobsterman John Drouin said in his 42 years of fishing around Cutler, he has never seen a right whale. Many other Maine lobstermen have said the same thing about their experience on the water. But that may not matter.,,  he and Maine Marine Resources Commissioner Pat Keliher said the true threat in the NOAA documents would come in 10 years when scientists say the threat to whales should be reduced by 98 percent, effectively eliminating all lobster ropes and potentially ending the way they have fished for generations. “It’s devastating. Totally changes the face of the Maine lobster fishery,” said Keliher, “and we’d have no idea from an economic standpoint what it will mean in the long run.” >video, >click to read< 09:38

Lobstermen fear new rules as Biden revokes Trump executive orders on regulation

New executive orders are flying off President Joe Biden’s desk. Many of those orders seek to reinstate regulations lifted by former President Donald Trump or enact new ones. Mainers who make a living on the water are particularly concerned about new regulations, and Maine’s Congressional delegation is concerned, as well. They’ve sent multiple letters to federal agencies, attempting to inform the rulemaking process on fishery management plans. >click to read< 08:16