National Fisherman

National Fisherman – September 2015

15sept NF Cover 148x195px

Well done

By Jessica Hathaway

Five years ago, we celebrated the capping of BP’s Macondo oil well. It was a subdued celebration. What came next was a long wait. Surely it was longest for fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico, who were wondering if their livelihoods might be ruined, if their health might have been compromised by exposure to the chemicals they helped deploy in the cleanup effort, and if there would be a market for their fish even if it did bounce back and come out uncontaminated.

For months and even years, there were more questions than answers. Then the answers started to come, but they were not what anyone wanted to hear. Corexit exposure was causing respiratory distress for some of the folks who had accepted assignments to clean up the oily mess. Sunken oil mats were possibly interfering with the spawning of commercial species (among others). Environmental groups were attacking fishermen for turtle and dolphin deaths, which happened to coincide with the aftermath of the oil spill but not with fishing seasons. Even local restaurants were declaring that they were not serving Gulf of Mexico seafood. Fishermen were being targeted on land, on sea, online and in court.

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Small Point's big fish

A Mainer casts about before returning
home to the lure of the bluefin tuna harpoon


By Corky Decker

Sometime around 1900, Orlando Wallace, out of Small Point in Phippsburg, Maine, flipped a trap off his gunwale and looked offshore. Flat greasy calm, a good afternoon to go harpoon a swordfish. He didn’t find a sword, so he had a go at another giant off the bow of his lobster boat. The rest is all speculation, but the fish was not. He brought the monster into Small Point, and a new fishery was born. Orlando’s grandson Sonny McIntyre lives in Cape Neddick, Maine, and fishes out of Perkins Cove. Sonny followed his father, Carl, who followed in Orlando’s footsteps, generation after generation of harpooners, the direct line of the very first one. They are and always have been the very best at putting tuna fish on a deck.

Back in the ol’ days, the bluefin would be acres thick outside of Small Point, the fish boiling in amongst the lobster gear, the Gilliams, Wallaces and McIntyres would rig wooden pulpits and rope steering in the masts and harpoon the bejesus out of bluefin tuna. A young Merle Gilliam landed 500 fish before his 20th birthday. Bluefin tuna are really smart (the brain of a grander you’ll need two hands to hold). After so many of them were getting hoisted onto the dock in this little village, they had enough and moved. To Boon Island off of Cape Neddick.

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00 ATYicon NorthEastIt’s Maine’s lobster boat racing season;
first-time Canadians turn in fastest run


By Michael Crowley

Most everyone enjoys a Fourth of July fireworks show. This is certainly true along Maine’s Moosabec Reach, when locals get together at dusk for pyrotechnics from Perio Point.

But Roman candles and firecrackers aren’t the biggest Independence Day tradition in these parts.

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Alaska & Pacific / SQUID

Rising water temperature makes stock 
scarce, but fleet has few alternatives


By Charlie Ess

An upward swing in ocean temperatures appears to have hampered this year’s West Coast squid harvest. Last year, cooler ocean temperatures near the coastline translated to heavy fishing, with some boats landing upward of 40 tons per day. The season’s harvest for California, Oregon and Washington was 113,000 tons for a value of $71.82 million, according to data from PacFIN.

This year, however, rising ocean temperatures are threatening to have an adverse effect on landings. California is a major squid contributor early in the season, but its coastline has been averaging three to five degrees higher water temperature than normal, which is affecting landings. As of June 26, the fleets from the three states had landed just over 82 tons.

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Trouble towing

From U.S. Coast Guard reports

A 60-foot wooden shrimper with a crew of three got under way off the coast of South Carolina at 8 a.m. After a full day of fishing, they anchored to take a break for dinner, stow their nets and get ready for a run up a small river to off-load.

Meanwhile, a 57-footer that was fishing nearby had fouled its propeller while hauling back, leaving the boat disabled. At about 5 p.m., the skipper of the disabled boat dropped anchor and made a call for assistance on channel 16. The skipper of the shrimper was familiar with the disabled boat and knew they were headed to the same dock, so he responded to the call and agreed to provide a tow.

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National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 3/10/15

In this episode, Online Editor Leslie Taylor talks with Mike McLouglin, vice president of Dunlop Industrial and Protective Footwear.

National Fisherman Live: 2/24/15

In this episode:

March date set for disaster aid dispersal
Oregon LNG project could disrupt fishing
NOAA tweaks gear marking requirement
N.C. launches first commercial/recreational dock
Spiny lobster traps limits not well received

Inside the Industry

NMFS announced two changes in regulations that apply to federal fishing permit holders starting Aug. 26.

First, they have eliminated the requirement for vessel owners to submit “did not fish” reports for the months or weeks when their vessel was not fishing.

Some of the restrictions for upgrading vessels listed on federal fishing permits have also been removed.

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Alaskans will meet with British Columbia’s Minister of Energy and Mines, Bill Bennett, when he visits Juneau next week and will ask him to support an international review of mine developments in northwest British Columbia, upstream from Southeast Alaska along the Taku, Stikine and Unuk transboundary rivers.

Some Alaska fishing and environmental groups believe an international review is the best way to develop specific, binding commitments to ensure clean water, salmon, jobs and traditional and customary practices are not harmed by British Columbia mines and that adequate financial assurances are in place up front to cover long-term monitoring and compensation for damages.

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