National Fisherman


As a writer, if I make a mistake it's in print and everyone knows about it. Fortunately, our talented editors make sure that doesn't usually happen, but I could still sympathize with skippers of grounded boats that made headlines this week. Stranded on land, their vessels were the subject of spectacle, curiosity — and video.

The fortunate part is there were no injuries reported. Plus it's good to talk about our mistakes. If you've ever been the skipper of a grounded boat and would like to share your side of the story, please leave a comment below.

First up, I can imagine it was a bad day turned worse for a couple of shrimp trawlers in South Carolina's Jarvis Creek. According to WTOC, the Lady Essie was sent out to tow the Diane, but then it ran aground and both boats were stuck.

Then it got worse. After the Lady Essie tipped on its side it began leaking hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel into the creek. According to the news report, the Coast Guard is working with a private contractor to clean it up. As of this writing they are still stuck, perched in the creek and an invitation for news crews' continuous coverage. You can watch the action here.

Things went a little more smoothly for the skipper of the 56-foot Jessica Heather, but he got a lot more attention. According to news reports, the boat was on autopilot when it hit the beach overlooked by hotels and casinos in Atlantic City, N.J. It became an instant tourist attraction with interviewed bystanders saying they thought it was "cool." Not everyone was pleased, however, with one woman saying, "I think it shouldn't be parked there."



The Jessica Heather remained "parked" on the beach for 18 hours before it was towed back into the ocean. According to the latest report from Press of Atlantic City, the Coast Guard is still investigating exactly how it ran aground. The initial report said the captain was not at the helm and that one of the ship's two deckhands may have fallen asleep while driving.

Fate_HunterIn Alaska at least, there's less of a crowd. Unfortunately the skipper of the 65-foot Fate Hunter from Astoria, Ore., has bigger problems to worry about. The tender ran aground last week four miles west of Valdez, Alaska, and a salvage operation is currently under way to recover fuel — including 1,500 gallons of diesel, 300 gallons of hydraulic oil and 100 gallons of lube oil — along with 150,000 pounds of fish onboard. On the bright side, none of the crew were reported injured and the boat does not appear to have any major structural damage.

According to the Coast Guard the cause is still under investigation.

USCG photo

Inside the Industry

The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:

The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.

Read more...

Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.

Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.

Read more...
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