With a limberness that defies his 69 years, Frank Mirarchi heaves himself over the edge of a concrete wharf and steps out onto a slack, downward sloping dock line bouncing 20 feet above the lapping waters near Scituate, Mass. He shimmies laterally along the pylons, steadying himself with a grip on some steel rigging, until he reaches the roof of the pilot house on his boat, a groundfish trawler called the Barbara L. Peters, after his mother-in-law.
He descends to the motor room and rubs a hand along a clean stretch of engine piping. "I'll be done painting in here soon," says Mirarchi, who has been harvesting cod, flounder and other quarry from the Gulf of Maine and, further out, from the lucrative shallows of Georges Bank for the better part of five decades. "Then I'll move outside."
Painting is about all the action Mirarchi's boat has seen lately. Facing massive cuts in government-proscribed limits to the groundfish species at the very heart of New England's commercial fishing economy, the Barbara L. Peters -- like the 30 or so other nominally active boats remaining in this New England sector, and dozens more boats up and down the Northeast coast -- has been locked hard against its pier, rising and falling with the tides but going nowhere.
"We're gonna lose a bunch of boats," Mirarchi says, referring to the high odds that some fishermen, perhaps even himself, will be forced to abandon the livelihood that has sustained them for decades. Mirarchi barely broke even last year, and with official catch allocations for some crucial species down by nearly 80 percent for the season that opened May 1, he expects that he will be forced to put the Barbara L. Peters -- only eight years old -- up for sale. "What else am I going to do? My entire life's résumé is running boats, and they aren't hiring these days.
"It's a beautiful boat," Mirarchi adds. "It just doesn't have any fish to catch."
Read the full story at Huffington Post>>
National Fisherman Live: 1/13/15
In this episode:
Council hosts public hearing on Cashes Ledge
Report assesses Chesapeake water, fisheries
Warmer waters shake up Jersey fishing
North Pacific observer program altered for 2015
Woman aims to crowdsource lobstering career
National Fisherman Live: 12/30/14
In this episode, Michael Crowley, National Fisherman's Boats & Gear editor, interviews Chelsea Woodward, an engineer working with the NIOSH Alaska Pacific Office to design static guards for main drum winches used in the side trawl fishery in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute is still seeking public review and comment on the Alaska Responsible Fisheries Management Conformance Criteria (Version 1.2, September 2011). The public review and comment period, which opened on Dec. 3, 2014, runs through Monday, Feb. 3.
NOAA, in consultation with the Department of the Interior, has appointed 10 new members to the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee. The 20-member committee is composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experience who advise the departments of commerce and the interior on ways to strengthen and connect the nation's MPA programs. The new members join the 10 continuing members appointed in 2012.