Tag Archives: Oceana

Fishing Bycatch Regulations Pass Judge’s Sniff Test

Federal regulators ducked a conservation-minded challenge Thursday concerning rules meant to minimize fishing bycatch. The National Marine Fisheries Service adopted the rules in question two years ago, with approval from the D.C. Circuit. Though the rules requires fishing vessels to occasionally have a biologist document the amount of fish caught and discarded, the group Oceana complained in a federal complaint that the infrequency of such observation undermines its efficacy as a serious check on fishing abuses. U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle sided with the agency Thursday at summary judgment, saying the issue comes down to how the Fisheries Service allocates its funding for NMFS, short for standardized bycatch reporting methodology. click here to read the story 09:02

Lawsuit seeks to protect whales, turtles from California gillnets

Oceana filed a lawsuit seeking to force U.S. fisheries managers to implement plans for restricting the number of whales and turtles permitted to be inadvertently snared in drift gillnets used for catching swordfish off California’s coast. The proposed rule, endorsed in 2015 by the Pacific Fishery Management Council, would place numerical limits on “bycatch” of whales and other marine creatures, and suspend swordfish gillnet operations if any of the caps are exceeded.  The regulation was expected to gain final approval from the National Marine Fisheries Service. But it was withdrawn last month after the Commerce Department agency determined the cost to the commercial fishing industry outweighed conservation benefits, agency spokesman Michael Milstein said on Thursday. click here to read the story 17:11 Geoff Shester, a senior scientist at Oceana, who was “furious” when he found out the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had decided to against adopting the rule. (lmao!) click here to read 17:13

Cause of Action Digs In: Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Designation: Some Stakeholders Are More Equal Than Others

This week we review the procedural history of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument (“Atlantic Monument” or “Monument”) designation, which was made by President Obama on September 15, 2016 (“Proclamation”), and show that certain, privileged, non-governmental entities were granted access to detailed information on the forthcoming monument and allowed input into the designation, while other stakeholders—notably those with specific legal authority, such as Regional Fishery Councils—were denied input and access.,,,  The following history, derived from the partial responses to CoA Institute’s FOIA requests and other publicly available documents, is illustrative: In March 2015, the Conservation Law Foundation (“CLF”) and Natural Resources Defense Council (“NRDC”),,, click here to read the story. Hang onto your Sou’wester. 17:53

The “Redheaded Stepchild of Fishing” – Controversial drift-gill net fishery wins long-fought battle

Federal fishery managers denied a proposal this week to immediately shut down Southern California’s most controversial fishery in the event that wide-mesh gill nets accidentally kill a handful of certain marine mammals or sea turtle species. The swordfish and thresher shark fishery will remain open, even if it kills several whales or sea turtles, the NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries decided. The decision not to institute so-called hard caps on the fishery comes after a public review period initiated last year was extended to discuss the law proposed by the state’s Pacific Fishery Management Council in 2014. For the few dozen fishers who still catch swordfish and thresher sharks off Southern California in deep-water drift gill nets, the decision brought a big sigh of relief.  click here to read the story 08:38

Judge says Butt Out! Environmentalists Can’t Help Defend Fishing Rules

Three environmental groups cannot join the U.S. government to defend against a challenge to an Obama administration rule requiring seafood companies to report the origin of the fish they sell, a federal judge ruled (click to open). The National Resources Defense Council, the Center for Biological Diversity and Oceana asked the court on March 7 to join the government in defending a suit from a group of fishing companies challenging the seafood traceability rule, which requires companies to disclose on a government form the vessel or collection point of origin for their fish. The companies say the rule will make seafood more expensive. The environmentalists say it is critical to protecting fish populations from illegal fishing. The environmentalists made specific arguments in support of the rule, telling U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta that reversal would affect their daily lives. Lol! affect their daily lives? What lives! click here to read the story 10:07

D.B. Pleschner: Study: No correlation between forage fish, predator populations

On April 9-10, the Pacific Fishery Management Council is meeting in Sacramento to deliberate on anchovy management and decide on 2017 harvest limits for sardine, two prominent west coast forage fish. Extreme environmental groups like Oceana and Pew have plastered social media with allegations that the anchovy population has crashed, sardines are being overfished and fisheries should be curtailed, despite ample evidence to the contrary. Beyond multiple lines of recent evidence that both sardines and anchovy populations are increasing in the ocean, a new study published this week in the journal Fisheries Research finds that the abundance of these and other forage fish species is driven primarily by environmental cycles with little impact from fishing, and well-managed fisheries have a negligible impact on predators — such as larger fish, sea lions and seabirds. This finding flies directly in the face of previous assumptions prominent in a 2012 study commissioned by the Lenfest Ocean Program, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, heirs of Sun Oil Company. The Lenfest study concluded that forage fish are twice as valuable when left in the water to be eaten by predators and recommended slashing forage fishery catch rates by 50 to 80 percent. click here to continue reading the article 20:39

Pacific sardine population remains low, says National Marine Fisheries Service

A study released Friday by the National Marine Fisheries Service puts the northern Pacific sardine population off the West Coast at perilously low levels for the third straight year. The findings, which will be reviewed next month by The Pacific Fishery Management Council, while disheartening for both environmentalists and fishermen, are also disputed by some in the fishing industry who question the method by which these forage fish are counted.,, But Diane Pleschner-Steele, who is the executive director of the California Wetfish Producers Association and represents the majority of boat fishermen and processors who harvest wetfish, said that there’s significant error in the way the sardines are counted and that current government surveys are not surveying adequately the fish that are in the near shore ocean. “Closing the sardine fishery basically closes everything for us, except for squid,” said Pleschner-Steele. “We are seriously considering applying for disaster relief.” read the article here 09:26:19

The idea that “the public” will use Global Fishing Watch seems doubtful

At John Kerry’s 2014 “Our Ocean” conference, a tuxedoed Leonardo DiCaprio introduced a new technology that promised to end illegal fishing across the globe. Global Fishing Watch boasted real-time monitoring of the world’s ships. This machine-learning spy tool was the result of a collaboration between the conservation advocacy organization Oceana, the satellite surveillance firm SkyTruth, and Google. After it collects and maps vessel location data transmitted from onboard satellite tracking devices, the program organizes all data points on a user-friendly Internet platform. For the first time in history, all fishing activity is recorded–even on the high seas that lie outside national jurisdictions. With Global Fishing Watch’s all-seeing gaze, states can adjudicate crimes to which they were previously blind. But the idea that “the public” will use Global Fishing Watch seems doubtful. The web platform lacks common features without which vigilantes would need a lot of training: pop-ups of helpful tips on what to watch for, alerts to specific hot-spots, built-in reporting mechanisms, or forums for users to share their experiences. Worse, those who the technology could most benefit–local fishers forced to compete with larger illegal ships–often do not have access to a decent Internet connection. If Global Fishing Watch is unlikely to be used by ordinary citizens of the countries most affected by illegal fishing, why is it marketed like a neighborhood watch tool? Read the story here 11:27

Port of Savannah leads in the export of shark fins

For the last three years the port of Savannah has been the U.S. leader in the export of shark fins, a legal but controversial trade item used to make shark fin soup, a delicacy in parts of Asia. Federal fisheries data show that although no shark fin was exported from Savannah in 2013, the trade here jumped in the following years from 18,444 pounds in 2014 to 25,765 pounds in 2015. That amounts to about $1.2 million in shark fins over the two years. Last year through November the export amounted to 19,171 pounds, valued at $559,845. In each case the shark fins were shipped to Hong Kong. Oceana is now advocating a nationwide ban on the shark fin trade. Not all shark lovers agree. Shark researcher Chris Fischer, a founder of Ocearch and a leader of its expeditions to catch and satellite tag great white sharks, said shutting down trade here will merely create a bigger opportunity for unmanaged fisheries elsewhere. Read the story here 12:33

South Shore charter fishermen oppose new federal Dusky shark regulations

The National Marine Fisheries Service, a federal agency that regulates fishing in U.S. waters, is proposing new rules to protect a vulnerable shark species off the East Coast. Some charter boat captains who fish off the South Shore, however, see a problem with that. They argue that the shark in question – the dusky shark – does not even exist in much of their New England fishing grounds. “There are no duskies north of Cape Cod. None, zero,” Capt. Mike Pierdinock, who sits on the board of the Marshfield-based Stellwagen Bank Charter Boat Association, said last week. His charter boat, “Perseverance,” fishes out of New Bedford. “It’s ridiculous,” he said. “It smells of someone sitting at a desk and not looking at the realities of how things really are.” The National Marine Fishery Service’s proposed regulations are a response to a lawsuit by the environmental advocacy group Oceana. Read the rest of the story here 07:56

Shrimp fishermen take issue with proposed TED rule

Shrimp boats that fish offshore already use TEDs. Turtle excluder devices use metal grates that prevent turtles from getting caught in the nets. The new rule would apply to skimmer nets, which generally shrimp in shallower waters. “It would affect about half of our fleet, which currently uses skimmer nets. They’ve been having to adhere to tow time restrictions. Now, they’ll have to use TEDs instead,” said Rick Burris, who directs the DMR Shrimp and Crab Bureau. The proposed regulation to expand the use of TEDs is the result of a federal lawsuit filed by a nonprofit conservation group called Oceana, which blames commercial fishermen for killing hundreds of sea turtles each year. “Certainly they’re being singled out. Oceana has had the shrimp industry as a target for a long time. Particularly as it relates to turtles,” said David Veal, executive director of the American Shrimp Processors Association. Veal says the statistics cited by the conservation group are suspect. Video, read the rest here 08:14

Plan for Dusky shark doesn’t please Oceana cons

The federal government isn’t going far enough with a plan to protect a threatened shark that lives off the East Coast and has been decimated by the fin trade, some conservationists argue. The National Marine Fisheries Service is proposing changes to federal fishing rules with the goal of protecting dusky sharks, a large species that is down to about 20 percent of its 1970s population off the East Coast and in the Gulf of Mexico because of commercial fishing for the species that’s now illegal off the U.S. Dusky sharks were long hunted for their meat and oil, as well as their fins, which are used to make soup in traditional Chinese cooking. The fisheries service is proposing a suite of new rules for recreational and commercial fishermen designed to protect the shark, which is sometimes still killed via accidental bycatch by fishermen seeking other species. But conservation group Oceana said the rules aren’t strict enough and leave the sharks vulnerable. Read the story here 11:29

NMFS Seeks Public Comment-Proposed Rule to Require Turtle Excluder Device Use for Skimmer Trawls, Pusher-Head Trawls, and Wing Nets (Butterfly Trawls)

More shrimp fishermen would have to use nets equipped with turtle escape hatches, to prevent sea turtle deaths, under proposed new federal rules. The National Marine Fisheries Service wants to require more shrimp fishermen to use “turtle excluder devices.” The devices are metal grates that allow turtles to escape the boats’ nets. The fisheries service announced the proposed rules Thursday. They will be subject to a public comment process through mid-February. Thursday was the deadline for the federal government to propose regulations to protect turtles under a settlement with the conservation nonprofit Oceana. Oceana sued the government in April 2015, arguing that government estimates indicate that more than 500,000 sea turtles get caught in shrimp nets each year, and more than 53,000 of them die. Link  NMFS Seeks Public Comment for Proposed Rule Click here  11:39

Oceana bites back at proposed rule for US dusky shark conservation

angry enviroU.S. President Barack Obama and his administration have released a proposal addressing the chronic overfishing of dusky sharks in U.S. waters. But suggested rule comes up short on its objective, according to marine conservation group Oceana. Oceana, which sued the federal government in 2015 in a challenge to its policies on dusky sharks,  has deemed the proposed rule as “grossly inadequate,” and charged that that the National Marine Fisheries Service fails to offer measurable means to stop dusky shark decline and facilitate the species’ recovery. Over the past two decades, dusky shark populations across the Atlantic and Gulf coasts have dropped by 65 percent as a result of bycatch and overfishing, said Oceana. Because the species is slow to grow and reproduces at low rates, recent studies suggest that the population would need between 70 and 180 years to recover. Read the story here 12:06

Hurting US Shark Fishermen: Enviro and recreational groups lobby Congress to pass the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016

A collective composed of 80 nonprofit and conservation organizations penned and postmarked a letter to the United States Congress, asking that legislators pass the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016, in effect banning the trade of shark fins in the United States. The Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act of 2016 is supported by more than 200 businesses, non-profits, associations and scientific organizations and would help save species of sharks from going extinct. Specific supporters include the American Sportfishing Association, the Recreational Fishing Alliance, the Billfish Foundation, Guy Harvey Foundation, the International Game Fish Association, Discovery Channel, Landry’s Inc, Lokai, Sea World and many others. NGO Oceana, who also supports the ban, said it conducted a poll that found eight in 10 Americans said they supported a national ban on the purchase and sale of shark fins. (I’d like to see that poll!) Read this. Click here 16:48

Oceana going overboard on fish fraud with “misleading hyperbole”, distorts its findings by design

shutterstock_294415232The National Fisheries Institute (NFI) is calling into question both the findings and motives of the latest fish fraud study by Oceana, a global environmental group. The action marks a break between the two groups since they previously were largely in sync with one another over the worldwide problem of fish fraud, which is where lesser-value species are marketed as higher-value ones. NFI claims that by finding 20 percent of all seafood mislabeled globally, Oceana’s latest report is both overstating the problem and unnecessarily calling for an expanded regulatory bureaucracy when enforcement of existing laws is all that is needed. NFI, a trade association representing the seafood industry with a core mission of sustainability, charges that the environmental group has turned to “misleading hyperbole.” “Oceana’s focus on the most often mislabeled species distorts its findings by design. It is a common technique that ironically perpetuates a fraud on the readers of these reports,” the NFI statement adds. Read the story here 16:56

Oceana researchers say getting federal data on fish stocks is a challenge

cod_fisherman_la_poile_canadaA team of researchers that spent months digging up data, hounding scientists and chasing leads to assess the state of Canadian fish stocks say old, incomplete or inaccessible federal research means the health of nearly half of the country’s commercial fish stocks remains a mystery. Oceana Canada, a non-profit advocacy group whose work focuses on ocean health, released a report last week that it claims is “the most comprehensive public study ever conducted” on the state of Canada’s fish stocks. But the report’s authors say they faced barriers accessing federal data that could allow them to properly determine whether commercial fish stocks are healthy. (which didn’t stop them from saying the  fishery’s are in severe declineRead the rest here 12:35

Oceana wants the feds to require 2,400 skimmer trawls to use TED’s, increase observer coverage

dt.common.streams.StreamServerSkimmer trawls have been exempt from the requirement to use the devices while other nets on larger boats have been forced to comply since the 1980s, according to Tuesday’s Oceana report, “TEDs for All Trawls: A Net Positive for Fishermen and Sea Turtle.” The report calls on the federal government to require that all shrimp trawls use a smaller-spaced TED, require that trawls using the current TED to transition to a smaller spaced one, and to increase the number of federal observers for the shrimp industry. Currently, the TEDs have a 4-inch space between the bars, and Oceana would like to see shrimpers move to a 3-inch gap. Read the rest here 08:32

Contentious – Fishermen look to replace human monitors with cameras

160326observers0121-U821533435080B4C-U822491753897tIF-300x225@BostonGlobe.comThe relationship between the region’s fishermen and the government observers who monitor their catch has long been uneasy, and that tension has only intensified since federal officials in March began requiring fishermen to pay hundreds of dollars every time an observer accompanies them to sea. But in the coming weeks, fishermen and federal regulators are poised to launch an experimental new program that could go a long way toward ending the conflict, while also potentially curbing costs and allowing broader oversight. With the help of private grants and the government’s blessing, fishermen from Cape Cod to Maine will rig their boats with an expensive suite of cameras, computers, and sensors to monitor their catch, replacing the on-board observers. Read the article, Click here  08:09

Spreading misinformation about our fisheries

cfsf 1Anyone knowledgeable about the commercial fisheries of the United States will find nothing original in the op-ed piece recently submitted to the New York Times by the environmental organization Oceana. Even its title ‘A Knockout Blow for American Fish Stocks’ is misleading. American fish stocks are healthy. NOAA’S annual report to Congress, submitted at the end of 2014 showed that only twenty-six of the three hundred and eight fish stocks assessed were subject to overfishing. ‘Overfishing’ occurs when too many fish are removed from a population to produce maximum sustainable yield. As a scientific term it is quite misleading, carrying, as it does, the clear implication that low stock assessments result solely from fishing pressure; whereas ‘overfishing’ can result from a number of other factors, such as changes in water temperature or salinity, degraded habitat and increased predation. Read the article here 21:20

What’s eating at Dr. Ray Hilborn today?!! Dr. Geoff Shester from Oceana

CFOODLast week Dr. Geoff Shester, California campaign director for the nonprofit advocacy group Oceana criticized the Pacific Fishery Management Council for the persistence of low numbers of California Sardines. The lack of a population recovery may cause the commercial moratorium to last until 2017. The author explained this sardine population decline as being 93 percent less than it was in 2007. Dr. Shester does not believe this is because of environmental causes like climate change, El Nino, or natural fluctuations in forage fish species however – instead he blames the management body. “They warned of a population collapse and the fishery management body basically turned a blind eye and continued moving forward with business as usual.” Response Comment by Ray Hilborn, University of Washington, Read the rest here 11:49

Oceana, fishers and scientists differ on heavy anchovy declines

oceana anchovy baloney“Sea lions rely on forage fish for survival. But years of overfishing have put this important food source in jeopardy,” Ushkowitz narrates while underwater footage shows her swimming through kelp. “Join Oceana and help protect forage fish in the Pacific. … We need to stop this and replenish.” The West Coast’s leading fishery scientists, however, disagree. They believe the fish are most likely enduring natural population fluctuations and are on the cusp of making a big comeback. Oceana, a nonprofit advocacy organization favored by celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio,,, Read the article here 09:40

Europeche accuses Pew of defending the ideas of “false and contrary” to the weight and impact science discussion forums, advisory councils and ideas.

193X122PEWLogoAs fishermen provide more and more data and reap the benefits of their efforts to curb by-catches and fish more sustainably through technical methods so the big NGOs will respond in ever more aggressive ways as the evidence begins to undermine their attempts to indirectly and directly influence legislators – in this instance they have upset Europeche who have accused the Pew Foundation (an American charity like the Oak Foundation which sees fit to fund many anti-fishing activities here in Europe – High Fearnley-Whittingstall’s infamous FishFight being one to the tune of,,, Read the rest here 15:00

Monterey Bay anchovy numbers in decline, groups say

Geoff Shester, the California program manager for the conservation group Oceana, said, “The problem is we know anchovy goes way up and way down. What was a sustainable level of fishing back then, might be wiping out the population now.” “I’ve been fishing anchovies since 1959, and I don’t see any problem with the anchovies for the whales,” said fisherman Neil Guglielmo of Monterey. “Perhaps this is the time of year the whales move or El Nino, but the fact that we’re scaring whales or catching their food source is ridiculous.” Read the rest here 18:40

Earthjustice files Oceana Lawsuit Against Federal Government to Save Dusky Sharks in Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic

earthjustice $upereco-manIn the lawsuit filed today, Oceana claims the National Marine Fisheries Service violated the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the primary law governing federal fisheries, by failing to end the overfishing of dusky sharks. Oceana also claims the federal government failed to establish an annual catch limit and measures to enforce such a limit as well as failed to revise dusky shark management measures once it became apparent that the current measures were not rebuilding the population to healthy levels, as required by law. Read the rest here 17:54

Obama: new measures to crack down on illegal fishing at “Our Ocean” 2015 Pow Wow!

investing blueprints for fisheries.The Obama administration on Monday announced plans to further crack down on illegal fishing, a global problem that can hurt both fishing communities in impoverished nations and the seafood industry in the United States. President Barack Obama announced new steps to tackle illegal fishing. They include the launching of a program called “,”  Experts say the problem is extensive around the world. The Pew Charitable Trusts said  Read the rest here 18:03 It’s a big ENGO Spankfest in Chile! All the Big Green “Big’s”  are there, and plenty of Global Capitalists just itching to help save the fish from fishermen through “investment”. Click here for the latest! https://twitter.com/hashtag/OurOcean2015?src=hash

Judge rules against Oceana, Greenpeace in Stellar sea lion lawsuit over increased Aleutians fishing

A US judge ruled against the US arms of Oceana and Greenpeace in a lawsuit in which the NGOs sought declaratory and injunctive relief against the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), US Department of Commerce, and others, challenging recent authorization of increased industrial fishing in the western and central Aleutian Islands. Oceana and Greenpeace argued the defendants, groups involved in the federal groundfish fishery, violate the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Read the rest here 18:17

Meghan Lapp’s response to Oceana Gib Brogan’s NY Times Article “A Knockout Blow for Fish Stocks”

Unfortunately for NY Times readers, this article is full of false and misleading information. It has caused quite a stir not based on fact, but based on deliberately inaccurate statements.  The article begins with a woeful tale of Atlantic cod. What it does not tell you is that just a few years ago, a 2008 assessment for Gulf of Maine cod showed that the stock was healthy, and would attain desired levels within all specified timeframes. During this time, fishermen stayed within the allowable catch levels, and even below these levels- From Seals, to Closed area’s, and the Observer Program, She lay’s it all out. Read the rest here 16:14

Center for Sustainable Fisheries Don Cuddy Rips and Gut’s Oceana’s ‘A Knockout Blow for American Fish Stocks’

CSF BOOMAnyone knowledgeable about the commercial fisheries of the United States will find nothing original in the op-ed piece recently submitted to the New York Times by the environmental organization Oceana. Even its title ‘A Knockout Blow for American Fish Stocks’ is misleading.,, If the recent Oceana opinion piece is a fair reflection of the environmentalist mindset, it reveals the apparent contempt with which commercial fishing, America’s oldest industry, is regarded by such groups. The scallop industry stands accused by Oceana of being “dissatisfied with its current profits.” This is wrong? Cast them into the pit! Perhaps Oceana might test reaction to that proposition on Wall St. or at Wal-Mart. Read the rest here 08:08

The distorted view of reality – A Knockout Blow for American Fish Stocks?

gib01Today, in the New York Times, Oceana’s Gib Brogan ignores the facts of the New England fishing industry, a hollowed out shell of what once was an industry of prosperity, dismantled by disgraceful government science, that ignores predator/prey of an out of balance eco system, and of all things, climate change redistribution of certain stocks, Cod, insinuating all fish stocks of the multi specie fishery collapsed. Click the links at the article. Read the Op-ed here. The comment section is open. 09:31