Nautical News: For the week of August 12th, 2012

DANGEROUS BLOOM FOUND IN CHARLES RIVER

Boaters are being warned not to touch the water from the Charles River following the discovery of an algae bloom in the river. Public health officials said people as well as their pets should not touch the algae because contact with it could cause rashes, nose, eye and throat irritation, stomachaches and other gastrointestinal problems. The Charles River Watershed Association said this is the first time since it began monitoring algae in the river that a bloom like this has been noticed.


MASSACHUSETTS AGAIN ASKING FOR FEDERAL AID FOR FISHERMEN

Members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation are again asking the federal government to declare a disaster for New England fishermen. Their request followed a preliminary report from the New England Fishery Management Council that called for commercial fishing quotas of several species of ground fish to be cut by as much as 73% in 2013. This reduction is in addition to the 22% cut put in place this year. Dr. Jane Lubchenco, the head of NOAA and the National Marine Fisheries Service never responded to their previous requests nor to Governor Deval Patrick’s request for federal disaster aid.


GRAVES LIGHTHOUSE ON AUCTION BLOCK

The government is auctioning off the historic 107 year old Graves Lighthouse that sits about nine miles off the coast of Boston. The government offered it to state and local non-profits for free, and set August 6th as the deadline, but no one took it. Now it will go to the highest bidder who promises to maintain it. The five story lighthouse has two bedrooms and a kitchen and was named after Rear Admiral Thomas Graves, who came to America from England in 1628.


LOBSTERMEN DONATE TIME TO REPAIR PIER

Fifteen lobstermen from Hull donated their time, tools, and equipment to help repair the town’s pier located in between the Hull Yacht Club and the Nantasket Saltwater Club, adding another 15 to 20 years to the life of the pier which was built in 1945.. Money for the hardware and supplies came from the mooring fees paid by boaters. Taxpayers in that town saved an estimated $75,000.


HULL HARBORMASTER GETS GRANT FOR NEW PUMPOUT BOAT

Also in the town of Hull, Harbormaster Kurt Bornheim announced that he applied and received a $65,000 grant to go towards the purchase of a new pump out boat from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. Under the Clean Water Act, the grant pays up to 75% of the cost of the boat.


NOAA SURVEYING FISHING BOAT OWNERS

NOAA mailed a detailed economic survey to 1,700 fishing boat owners in the Northeast. The owners were selected based on the size of their boats and the type of fishing they do. The survey is trying to collect information on how much it actually costs to go fishing. Participation in the survey is voluntary and the responses are supposed to be confidential. Collecting this information is absolutely essential to show how fishermen are faring under the new management system called catch shares. A second survey in the fall will seek crewmembers’ feedback on how catch shares have affected their everyday lives.


BOAT CAPSIZES BECAUSE IT WAS OVERLOADED

A preliminary report by New York investigators found that a 34-foot Silverton powerboat with 27 people on board that capsized on Independence Day on New York’s Oyster Bay, killing three children, was structurally and mechanically sound. All signs of why this boat rolled over point to the fact that the boat was overloaded.


CANADIAN LOBSTERMEN BLOCKING MAINE LOBSTERS

Canadian lobstermen are boiling mad at Maine lobstermen and it is all because there are too many lobsters flooding the market. Another record breaking year for landings is being set by both Maine and Canadian lobstermen and it is affecting the price. Lobstermen are barely getting enough for their catch to cover fuel, bait, boat payments, and other expenses. While many lobsters are sold live, up to 50 percent of Maine’s annual catch is shipped to Canadian processors because Canada has more than two dozen lobster processors and Maine has only three plants of any size. Now, Canadian lobstermen are blocking truckloads of Maine lobsters from being delivered to the Canadian processing plants. The blockades have brought Canada’s lobster-processing industry to a near-standstill, putting thousands of employees out of work. Maine’s lobster industry leaders are asking Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to intervene.


EIGHTEEN CUBANS MAKE IT TO FLORIDA IN 21 FOOT BOAT

Eighteen Cuban migrants landed on a Florida beach after motoring from Cuba in a 21 foot wooden boat powered by a Russian made engine and a plastic sail. The 16 men and two women came ashore near Riviera Beach, which is north of West Palm Beach. Most Cubans try to land in Key West, but these people decided to land farther north and got away with it. Cubans who reach U.S. soil are allowed to remain in the United States under what is known as the “wet foot, dry foot” policy while migrants found at sea are usually returned to Cuba.


NAKED FISHERMAN RESCUED IN SHARK INFESTED WATERS

A naked fisherman was picked up out of shark infested waters off the coast of Australia. He and two others were thrown into the water after their boat capsized. Officials had searched for 24 hours before finding him, and when they did, they said a very large hammerhead shark was slowly circling him. The 49-year-old man was taken to a hospital where he was treated for hypothermia. It wasn’t clear how he lost his clothes. A 23-year-old man was also rescued, but died after being taken ashore. The third man who was aboard the boat has not been found and is thought to have been a victim of a shark attack.


EXTREME DIVING COMPETITION RETURNS TO BOSTON

Extreme diving returns to Boston harbor the end of this month. Rather than natural cliffs, the divers will use a specially built platform on the roof of the Institute of Contemporary Art building in Boston’s Seaport District. Divers will be jumping off the Institute of Contemporary Art’s 80 foot high platform into Boston Harbor. Last year, eleven divers from nine countries competed and Olympic Gold medalist diver Greg Louganis judged the event. The Boston event is scheduled for the last weekend in August.


About John Shea