Nautical News: For the week of February 3, 2013

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DRASTIC CUTS IN GULF OF MAINE COD FISH

It is now official. The New England Fishery Management Council voted to cut the quota of codfish in the Gulf of Maine by 77 percent for the coming fishing season that begins May 1st. The council also cut the quota for cod caught on Georges Bank by 55 percent. The new quotas will remain in effect until 2016. To put the cuts in perspective, the new quotas are equivalent to about 6 percent of the of Georges Bank and Gulf of Maine cod caught in 1981. Fishermen say they cannot survive and will go out of business.


LOBSTER BOAT BURNS IN SCITUATE

A 44 foot lobster boat named the “Jason James” was completely destroyed by fire in Scituate Harbor. Officials said the fire is not of a suspicious origin after watching security cameras where the boat was docked. The Scituate fire chief said he thought an electrical problem caused the fire. The security camera showed smoke coming out of the boat for about a half hour before flames showed. Strong winds then fanned the flames, burning the lines that secured the boat to the dock. The boat then drifted across the harbor and burned to the waterline. All that remained of the boat was a charred keel. The owner of the boat is Scituate resident and fisherman James “Tucker” Patterson who is the cousin of Scituate Harbormaster Mark Patterson.


WHOLE FOODS RECALLS ITS SALMON

Whole Foods Market has recalled its four ounce Whole Catch Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon packages due to concerns they contain listeria. The smoked and sliced salmon were sold in New England stores as well as stores Florida and New York. So far, no illnesses have been reported, but listeria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems. It can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. Symptoms of the disease are high fever, severe headaches, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Whole Foods encouraged anyone who has bought the affected product to throw it away immediately, and seek a full refund at the store.


COAST GUARD HEARINGS BEGIN ON THE SINKING OF THE BOUNTY

The Coast Guard announced they will be hearing testimonies from the crew aboard the tall ship Bounty when hearings begin next week. The 180 foot Bounty sank about 90 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras last October during Hurricane Sandy. One crew member, Claudene Christian, died and Bounty Captain Robin Walbridge was lost at sea and is presumed dead. The Coast Guard rescued the 14 other crewmates. The purpose of the hearings is to determine the mitigating factors that led to the sinking of the Bounty to prevent a future incident. The hearings are scheduled to be held at the Renaissance Hotel in Portsmouth, Virginia.


NATIVE AMERICAN’S LAWSUIT ALLOWED TO GO FORWARD

Mashpee Wampanoag tribal member David Greene’s lawsuit regarding his aboriginal fishing rights was heard last week in Plymouth Superior Court. The judge ruled in favor of David Greene and his lawsuit seeking damages against the Town of Mattapoisett and its shellfish warden is allowed to go forward. As you may recall, Dave was gathering quahogs for dinner in Mattapoisett when he was confronted and assaulted by then deputy shellfish warden Kenneth Pacheco. Dave insisted he had rights to fish in Mattapoisett without regulation or interference from local officials based on his native American heritage. The town and Pacheco didn’t see it that way so Dave was detained and his property seized. All of the town’s motions to dismiss the case were rejected and all of the claims against Pacheco and the Town of Mattapoisett will go forward.


NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR NEW ENGLAND FISHERIES COUNCIL

Thomas A. Nies, a member of the New England Fishery Management Council since 1997, has been named its Executive Director. Thomas Nies will succeed Captain Paul Howard who has served in that capacity for the past sixteen years. The transition will take place on March 1st. Thomas Nies is a graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy. He served in the Coast Guard for 21 years, completing his career in the service as Captain of the Coast Guard Cutter Spencer based in Boston. He resides in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.


RACE IS ON FOR AMERICA’S CUP

The race is on for the 34th America’s Cup races. 2013 is the Year of the Cup and in just about five months, the first of the races will be under way for the Louis Vuitton Cup. The end of January marked the end of the first limited sailing period – where test sailing and racing of the new 72 foot catamarans was limited to just 30 days. Between February and May 1st, the protocol governing the America’s Cup permits the teams to sail each boat for 45 days. Time is the one commodity the teams can’t buy in the America’s Cup, and whether the teams are ahead or behind in their designs, won’t become apparent until July.


MYSTERY SOLVED ON HOW HUNLEY SUNK

Researchers claim they have solved the mystery of how the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley sank. The Hunley never resurfaced after it became the first sub in history to sink an enemy warship. All of its eight-man crew died. Researchers now believe the Hunley was less than 20 feet away from the Housatonic when the crew ignited a torpedo that sank the Union blockade ship off South Carolina in 1864. They determined this after studying bent parts of the sub that were raised from the bottom. Experts said because the hunley was so close to the explosion from the torpedo that its crew were knocked unconscious and that they died before awakening. Until now, historians thought the Hunley was much farther away and had speculated the crew ran out of air before they were able to return to shore.


CLAMS AND MOLLUSKS PROVIDE NEW MEDICINE

The medical world could raise the level of demand for clams and other mollusks. Researchers from the Oregon Health & Science University have discovered that clams, oysters, snails and other mollusks could help to develop better medicines. For example, shipworms, which are not worms, but a clam like mollusk, are known for sticking onto the wooden parts of ships. They use bacteria to turn the wood into something they can eat. The bacteria works like an antibiotic, which is important because scientists are looking for alternatives to antibiotics because people and animals build up a resistance to antibiotics. In another medical study, researchers found that some snails produce a chemical that affects brain nerve cells. This could be promising in the development of future pain medications and treatments for degenerative brain disease.


TAYLOR SWIFT PERFORMS CONCERT ON YACHT

And last on today’s nautical news, Beyonce might be the star of today’s Super Bowl half time show, but 23 year old Taylor Swift was the star of a private concert on a yacht cruising down the Seine River in Paris, France. The name of the yacht was Yachts de Paris. The concert on the yacht came after she was cruising the Caribbean on a 30 foot express cruiser with 18 year old rock singer Harry Styles. Rumor was Harry dumped her while on that cruise, but Taylor got revenge by going back on the yacht singing “We Are Never Getting Back Together.”


About John Shea