Nautical News: For the week of January 27, 2013

REGULATORS TO VOTE ON 81% CUT IN COD FISH

Nautical Talk Radio has learned that the New England Fisheries Management Council will be recommending an 81 percent cut in the annual Gulf of Maine Cod catch and a 61 percent cut in the Georges Bank cod this coming season. Pat Fiorelli, a spokeswoman for the New England Fishery Management Council, said based on last year’s landings, “There is little good news about the health of cod stocks in the Northeast.” However, these drastic cuts are far from being finalized. The council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee questions why fishermen caught only about half of last year’s allocation of cod. A UMASS Dartmouth scientist thinks maybe the cod simply moved because of changing sea water temperatures. Fishermen claim that an 81% cut is undoable. Boats would quickly be over their limits just on their bycatch alone. In 2008, before Dr. Jane Lubchenco took over as the head of NOAA and implemented her catch shares program, New England codfish were said to be abundant. The full council, will meet again next week and make their decision for the fishing year which starts May 1.


INSPECTOR GENERAL FOUND FLAWS IN FISHERIES MANAGEMENT

After a partial investigation, the U.S. Inspector General has found flaws in the way the federal government makes fishing rules as well as discrepancies in NOAA’s record keeping. It was recommended that NOAA strengthen its policies on financial disclosure and develop uniform procedures for managing their records and statistics that support fisheries decisions. Officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration agreed to accept all the Inspector General’s recommendations.


COAST GUARD CONVICT ONE OF THEIR OWN FOR HOAX CALL

The Coast Guard and U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that 24 year old Shane Coxon was sentenced for knowingly making a false distress call to the Coast Guard. He was held in jail three and a half months awaiting trial and was sentenced to time served. He was also ordered to pay the Coast Guard $4,500 in restitution and will be on probation for the next two years. However, the most disturbing thing about this case is that Coxon was a petty officer second class in the Coast Guard stationed at Sector Northern New England. On July 18th, 2010, he called the Sector Northern New England Command Center, gave a false name and reported a flare sighting off the coast of Old Orchard Beach, Maine. The Coast Guard was unaware that the call was a hoax or that it was on of their own reporting it. They searched for nearly an hour and a half, costing the Coast Guard more than $4,500, while putting the lives of the rescue crews at risk.


SHRIMP QUOTA IN MAINE CUT 75%

Maine’s shrimp fishing season got under way last week, but it isn’t expected to last long. This year’s Gulf of Maine shrimp quota was cut almost 75% of last year’s quota. Net fishermen have a quota of about 1.2 million pounds and can fish only two days a week. Fishery managers claim the Gulf of Maine shrimp population is in poor shape because of warmer sea water temperatures.


NO MORE MANDATORY SAFETY EXAMS FOR SOME COMMERCIAL FISHING BOATS

Mandatory safety exams for some commercial fishing vessels are no longer required following legislation that was recently signed into law. The Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act of 2012 amended the law passed a couple of months ago that commercial fishing vessels operating three miles offshore or farther had to be inspected by the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard simply did not have the manpower to do the inspections. Just in the state of Maine, the Coast Guard would have had to inspect 6 – 8,000 boats. However, any vessel that carries a fishery official still must pass a biannual exam and display a decal indicating compliance.


BRUNSWICK REPORTS 4TH QUARTER LOSS

In the business world of boating, officials at Brunswick, the makers of boats and boat engines as well as bowling balls and pool tables, said its fourth-quarter loss deepened as it marked down the value of Hatteras and Cabo, the two boat companies they are trying to sell. According to financial records released by Brunswick, the corporation lost 75.3 million dollars just in the last 3 months of 2012. That compares to a loss of 29.6 million dollars for the same period in 2011. However, analysts said that as soon as they sell the Hatteras and Cabo boat divisions, they would then show a profit.


WWII PT SKIPPER DIES IN ACCIDENT

John L. Iles Jr., a Shreveport, La., businessman and World War II veteran who served on PT boats with President John F. Kennedy, died in a Shreveport retirement village after a recent accident. He was 92. Kennedy and Iles met each other in Rhode Island in 1942 while in PT training. They shared a thatched hut on the Solomon Islands in 1943. Iles commanded the PT-105, often berthing his boat next to Kennedy’s PT-109.


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