Nautical News: For the week of April 1st, 2012

FISHERMEN WANT FEDERAL “FISHERIES FAILURE” DECLARATION

The Northeast Seafood Coalition has urged the governors of New England’s coastal states and New York and New Jersey to issue a joint request for a federal “fisheries failure” declaration. The coalition says its membership includes more than 300 out of the roughly 450 ground fishing vessels active in the seven-state region. They claim Dr. Jane Lubchencno, the head of NOAA Fisheries, has achieved her goal of eliminating “a sizable fraction of the small owner operated fleet,” allowing larger boats and businesses to purchase the catch shares. The Northeast Seafood Coalition considers this, along with NOAA’s assessment of a shortfall of cod fish, a disaster, requiring federal aid to mitigate the economic damages to the industry. However, the Obama administration has yet to respond to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s filing for a “disaster” declaration, which was filed last November.


JAMES CAMERON FILMS THE DEEPEST PART OF THE OCEAN

After diving 7 miles down in a one man submarine to the deepest part of the ocean, James Cameron described the Mariana Trench, which is about 200 miles southwest of the Pacific island of Guam, as out-of-this-world, desolate, foreboding, and moon-like with no fish, but plenty of tiny shrimp-like looking animals. He spent more than three hours at the bottom, much longer than the 20 minutes spent by the only other two men to go that deep 52 years ago. The trip down to the deepest point took two hours and 36 minutes, but the trip up to the surface took just over an hour. Cameron said he had hoped to have stayed down there for 6 hours, but his submarine developed a hydraulic fluid leak.


MORE DOLPHINS STRAND ON CAPE COD

Ten more dolphins were found stranded alive and struggling in Wellfleet and Brewster, Cape Cod. The International Fund for Animal Welfare was called and successfully got 9 of the 10 dolphins back into deep water, but one of the dolphins had to be euthanized. Officials hope that these recent strandings aren’t a sign of another forthcoming mass stranding. So far, this year, 208 dolphins have beached themselves – far above the annual average of 38.


BP OIL SPILL BLAMED FOR DOLPHIN DEATHS IN GULF

Bottlenose dolphins in Louisiana now are showing signs of severe ill health after coming in contact with oily waters from the BP oil spill nearly two years ago. Since February 2010, more than 675 dolphins have stranded in the northern Gulf of Mexico – a much higher rate than the usual average of 74 dolphins per year. Most of the stranded dolphins were found dead. Researchers say the dolphins could have ingested the oil in the water while feeding or by eating oil tainted fish.


LEG 5 OF VOLVO OCEAN RACE WIPES OUT 4 OF THE 6 TEAMS

Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race, which goes from New Zealand to Brazil, has nearly eliminated 4 of the 6 boats. The sailors reported a storm with 70 knot winds and 50 foot waves tossed their boats around in the Southern Ocean like rag dolls. United Emirates Team Abu Dhabi returned to Auckland for repairs and is now a thousand miles behind. Team Sanya from China lost their rudder and pulled out of this leg. They will reportedly ship the boat to the next stopover port. New Zealand Team’s Camper suffered structural damage and was trying to reach the west coast of Chile in order to do repairs. And Telefonica from Spain, the overall leader in the race, also suffered structural problems, but is still heading to Brazil at a very slow pace. So that leaves the French team aboard Groupama and the American team aboard Puma racing. The 39,000 nautical mile round-the-world race features the world’s best offshore sailors risking their lives every day. The race began in Alicante, Spain on November 5th, 2011, and will finish in Galway, Ireland sometime in July.


AMAZON CEO FINDS APOLLO 11 ARTIFACTS ON OCEAN BOTTOM

Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon announced that an underwater sea expedition he financed has discovered artifacts from the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, nearly 43 years after it landed on the moon and the returned to Earth, falling into the Atlantic Ocean. The Apollo’s rocket engines were found 14,000 feet below the surface. Bezos said he now hopes to bring one or both rockets to the surface, but he noted that the rockets remain the property of NASA.


FELT SOLED FOOT GEAR BRINGS “ROCK SNOT”

And last on today’s nautical news, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management has revised its regulations that prohibited all fishermen from wearing felt soled foot gear. The ban only applies to fresh water fishermen and was not intended to apply to saltwater fishermen. Felt soled foot wear is banned in Rhode Island to prevent the spread of an invasive species called didymo, or more commonly, “rock snot.” No this is not an April Fool’s Day joke. Rock snot is now a problem in 19 states including New Hampshire. Just Google rock snot if you think I am fooling.


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