National Fisherman

National Fisherman - October 2013

NF Oct13 cvr

Excerpt: Pumping iron

Maine lobstermen put their engines and reputations on the line

By Michael Crowley

When Glenn Holland first considered racing his 32-foot Red Baron in 1981, there was a rule that limited a boat's engine to 400 horsepower. At that time, the major Maine lobster boat race was on July 4, down Moosabec Reach, which separates Jonesport and Beals Island.

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Excerpt: Research in motion

Fishermen and scientists haul back the last tows in a spring survey of East Coast fish

By Linc Bedrosian

It's a little after 6 a.m. when the 90-foot Darana R leaves Point Judith, R.I., on the last day of the Northeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program's spring 2013 trawl survey of Mid-Atlantic and southern New England nearshore waters.

The mission on this gray, foggy, drizzly late May morning is to make survey tows at the final two of 150 stations the NEAMAP crew has sampled on a cruise that began April 24.

Skipper Jimmy Ruhle, a veteran Wanchese, N.C., fisherman and longtime industry advocate, was named a 2004 NF Highliner Award winner in part for his work to improve fisheries data. He and the Darana R became involved in the survey project in 2008.

"At first, I didn't think I could do it," Ruhle says, sitting at the helm. "There would be five or six people on a boat with room for three or four."

But he was also frustrated with the data being used to make fisheries management decisions.

"At that point, I was fed up with the science. I wasn't comfortable with it," Ruhle says. "I agreed to do the pilot program to prove we could do it, and that I could trust these people. The pilot program showed I could, which was very appealing."

Excerpt: BETA data

Collaborative input reveals real-time fish habitat and ocean conditions for East Coast fishermen

By Jessica Hathaway

This summer, New Jersey gillnetter and NF Highliner Kevin Wark noticed a distinct difference in water color east and west of Hudson Canyon between New York and New Jersey.

"Kevin called me and said, 'There's bait, but there's no pelagics,' no fish," says Greg DiDomenico, executive director of New Jersey's Garden State Seafood Association. He sent an email to Rutgers professor Josh T. Kohut in hopes of getting a scratch at an answer. "Boom," says DiDomenico. "He had it within a couple of minutes." The cause was an onslaught of summer rain and turbidity in the water.

The rapid response was thanks to a groundbreaking collaboration between research scientists and fishermen. Kohut, assistant professor for Marine and Coastal Sciences, has been involved with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Association for Coastal Ocean Observing Systems, or MARACOOS, since its inception. The project formed officially in 2007 when NOAA established the Integrated Ocean Observing System as an umbrella for 11 regional coastal observing systems.

MARACOOS covers the region from Massachusetts' Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. It provides information to the National Weather Service, Navy, Coast Guard and Army Corps. The system has assets in the water — autonomous underwater vehicles, remotely operated vehicles, gliders, buoys — high-frequency (Doppler) radar that collects ocean air stats, and access to NOAA satellite data. The program also incorporates oceanographic models running at Rutgers in New Brunswick, N.J.; the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J.; University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth; and the University of Connecticut in Storrs, as well as the data management to make all this information available to the public and to vested parties like the Coast Guard.

Welding gone wrong

From U.S. Coast Guard reports

One December day, a 170-foot steel longliner/processor was secured to the dock in a harbor along Alaska's Aleutian Islands, outboard of another company boat. The longliner was undergoing some repairs and maintenance with just a caretaker crew of four.

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Alaska & Pacific King Crab

Influx of unregulated Russian product undercuts Alaska's Bering Sea harvest

When Alaska king crabbers splashed their pots last year, they began fishing on the 2012-13 season's total allowable catch of 7.85 million pounds, which was slightly higher than the 2011-12 TAC of 7.83 million pounds.

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Come together

One of the first things I learned about the fishing industry is that fishermen tend not to trust federal managers. It makes sense: they're independent small-business owners being managed from the top down as if they all run their businesses the same way. I also soon learned that there is a wealth of scientists who want to help improve fisheries data and management. These people are arguably as passionate about their work and fisheries as fishermen themselves.

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Delivering twins

Mississippi boatyard converts southern oil supply boats for Mid-Atlantic menhaden fishery

By Larry Chowning

Omega Shipyard at Moss Point, Miss., recently delivered two menhaden steamers to the Omega Protein plant in Reedville, Va. They will be fishing in Chesapeake Bay and off the Virginia coast.

Both steamers are converted offshore oil supply boats that operated in the Gulf of Mexico, carrying equipment and personnel to and from oil platforms.

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ATY Northeast

Sea trial turns into at-sea rescue; N.H. builder has new 21-footer

The 38-foot wooden lobster boat Sea Song was tied to the dock at Billings Diesel & Marine in Stonington, Maine, for what was expected to be an engine sea trial, says Peter Buxton, the boat's builder.

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Inside the Industry

The Center for Coastal Studies recently announced that Owen Nichols, Director of the Center for Coastal Studies’ Marine Fisheries Research Program, has been selected as this year’s recipient of the John Annala Fishery Leadership Award by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. 

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Cummins  announced the opening of a new Alaska service location on Kodiak Island last week that will serve as a service and support location for commercial marine applications.

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