Nautical News: For the week of September 23rd, 2012

COAST GUARD OFFERING REWARD FOR LASER POINTER

The Coast Guard is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever was on a small boat and pointed a green laser at a Coast Guard helicopter in Michigan. The pilot said the laser beam appeared to track the helicopter as it moved. This incident is just one of many recent incidents that has endangered the safety of Coast Guard aircrews. It has also happened along the New Jersey and New York shoreline.


NEW ENGLAND SCALLOP CATCH COULD BE REDUCED BY 30%

The New England Fishery Management Council’s scallop committee said the scallop catch could be cut by as much as 30 percent in each of the next two years. Fishermen say that would be devastating to the industry. The projected catch for 2013 and 2014 is in the neighborhood of 40 million pounds. That’s down from just under 57 million pounds in 2011. With prices ranging between 8 to $13 a pound, cutting the catch by 17 million pounds adds up to a lot of lost revenue.


MAINE LOBSTERMEN SENTENCED TO 45 DAYS IN JAIL FOR SHOOTING

A Maine lobsterman will spend 45 days in jail after pleading guilty to shooting at another lobsterman he accused cutting the lines to his traps. The victim opposed the reduced sentence. The lobsterman was initially charged with a felony – criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, and reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon. A search of the shooter’s truck the next day found live ammunition and spent casings, and oxycodone pills. The defense lawyer said the case would have boiled down to a question of self-defense if it had gone to trial.


SHARK FINNING BAN COULD HURT LOCAL FISHERMEN

A report in the Boston Globe claims new rules regarding shark finning could hurt fishermen who catch the sharks for meat and remove the fins later. Environmentalist groups in several states are passing laws to prevent the fishermen from selling, trading, or possessing detached shark fins. Local fishermen say that if they can’t sell the fins, then fishing for dogfish isn’t profitable. Dogfish is a low value type of fish, but a growing market for fishermen on Cape Cod and in southeastern Massachusetts who can no longer catch cod and flounder. About 200 fishermen in Massachusetts caught 11.5 million pounds of dogfish last year – up from a low of 1.2 million pounds in 2004. The fact is, the killing of sharks for only their fins is already banned in U.S. waters. You can’t sell the fins without selling the meat of the fish. This is to prevent fishermen from cutting off the fins of a shark and then throwing the fish overboard to die a slow death. Fishermen in other parts of the world do that and serve the fins in shark fin soup.


NEW BEDFORD AND DUTCH HARBOR TOP FISHING PORTS

NOAA just released its annual fishing statistics. They showed that Dutch Harbor-Unalaska, Alaska and New Bedford, Massachusetts remain the top commercial fishing ports. The report also showed that Americans consumed nearly 5 billion pounds of seafood in 2011, slightly less than the previous year. Per capita consumption dropped from 15.8 to 15.0 pounds per person. Still, the United States surpassed Japan and is now second only to China in seafood consumption. And finally, the report showed that recreational catch and effort declined slightly in 2011. Approximately 10 million saltwater recreational anglers took 69 million trips and caught 345 million fish, nearly 60 percent of which were released.


ANOTHER CRUISE SHIP PASSENGER FALLS OVERBOARD

The Coast Guard suspended its search for a missing cruise ship passenger who fell off the Royal Caribbean’s cruise ship “Allure of the Seas” 47 miles east of Ft. Lauderdale. The 21-year-old woman, whose name is not being released, is from Bartlett, TN. The ship departed last Sunday from Port Everglades, Florida, on a seven night Caribbean cruise. As soon as the captain heard of incident, he turned the ship around and retraced his route with hopes of finding the woman. Two other cruise ships that were nearby at the time, Carnival Fascination and Majesty of the Seas, assisted Allure of the Seas in the search, which at the time spanned about 320 square miles. No details were released about what caused the woman to go overboard, but the cruise lines admitted to having the fall on tape.


OCEAN WARMEST IN HISTORY OF RECORD KEEPING

Ocean temperatures from Cape Hatteras, N.C., to the Gulf of Maine were the highest ever recorded from January through June. Above-average temperatures were pervasive, from the ocean’s floor to the surface, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Northeast Fisheries Science Center. The previous record high was in 1951. This will have a profound impact throughout the ecosystem. Sea surface temperature measurements are based on satellite remote-sensing data and long-term measurements from aboard ships. Historical records from shipboard data date back to 1854.


PACKAGED FISH WRONGLY INCLUDES WEIGHT OF ICE

And last on today’s nautical news, an expose in today’s Boston Globe reports that a survey of 43 seafood packages from supermarkets across Massachusetts showed about 1 in 5 glazed with ice weighed less than the net weight stated on the label. The weight shown is supposed to exclude packaging and ice. The newspaper hired an independent lab to weigh the fish after removing the glaze. The FDA said that most complaints it receives on underweight fish come from businesses that have received offers from foreign distributors to provide fish with excess ice glazing. You know I like my fried fish covered with beer. Now if they packaged the fish in beer who would complain if there was little extra beer?


About John Shea