Nautical News: For the week of March 10, 2013

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OCEAN STORM CLAIMS LIVES OF TWO BOATERS

The big ocean storm that came up the coast and dumped two feet of snow in New England took the lives of two of the three people aboard a 67 foot fishing boat of Ocean City, Maryland. The lone survivor said the biggest wave he had ever seen destroyed the boat in seconds. He spent 90 minutes in the water before managing to get into a lifeboat. It took another hour for a Coast Guard helicopter to hoist him out of the water before he nearly froze to death. The Coast Guard searched for the two lost crew members without any luck. In addition to this rescue, the Coast Guard also rescued three others further south. The Coast Guard said the huge waves rocked freighters as if they were toys.


FLOODING DESTROYS HOUSES IN MASSACHUSETTS

The Massachusetts Coastal Storm Damage Assessment Team has checked the damaged done to the coastline from the recent storms. Although access to the coast was limited in some areas due to flooding, fallen trees, downed power lines, and unpaved secondary roads, more than 215 damage reports were submitted by Storm Team members. They found widespread and severe beach and dune erosion and flooding from Hull to Plymouth and on the north and east facing shores of Cape Cod. Boston’s North Shore also took a beating. Specific reports included: extensive flooding of coastal neighborhoods, significant overwash of seawalls, damaged to pavement on coastal roads, several sinkholes behind seawalls, and destroyed decks and houses. One house in Plymouth was completely destroyed as were houses on Plum Island that fell into the ocean.


TEMPORARY BAN OF SHELLFISHING AFTER SEWAGE SPILL

Officials from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries have banned shellfishing near Hull for at least three weeks following the release of an estimated 11 million gallons of untreated sewage into the ocean. The ban was issued a crews were completing a makeshift system for processing sewage in Hull’s disabled wastewater treatment plant, which was knocked out by a sudden surge of water. Hull officials were able to keep sewage from backing up into homes by bypassing the plant’s pumps and sending untreated sewage into the ocean for two days.


THOUSANDS OF SHARKS MIGRATING OFF FLORIDA

Several beaches along South Florida’s Atlantic coast line were closed after thousands of sharks were seen migrating north between Boca Raton and Jupiter. Doctors at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach said that they see about five to six shark bite victims annually. These bites are usually minor, but can put the victim at risk for infections. Swimmers are advised to take off all jewelry before getting in the water as experts say sharks are attracted to the shiny silver and gold.


12 FATAL SHARK ATTACKS WORLDWIDE LAST YEAR

In a related story, according to National Geographic, the year 2011 saw a reported 12 fatal shark attacks worldwide. That is the most since 1993. By contrast, the same report estimates that humans killed anywhere between 63 million and 273 million sharks, and on average have killed 100 million sharks a year since 1993 as sharks remain virtually unprotected in international waters, but in the United States, hammerheads and great whites are among several species of sharks that are protected.


NEW REPORT ISSUED BY NOAA ON FISHERIES ECONOMICS

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service just released their latest report on fisheries economics in the United States for the year 2011. The report includes economic statistics on both commercial and recreational fisheries as well as marine related businesses for each coastal state and the nation. The report states that in the U.S., commercial and recreational saltwater fishing generated more than $199 billion in sales and supported 1.7 million jobs in the nation’s economy in 2011. Both the landings and value climbed in 2011 according to the report. Recreational fishing generated $70 billion for the economy and supported 455,000 jobs in 2011.


TWO UNIDENTIFIED SAILORS ABOARD USS MONITOR BURIED

The remains of two unidentified sailors from the Civil War’s USS Monitor were buried with full military honors Friday at Arlington National Cemetery, 151 years to the day after its famous battle with the Confederate ship CSS Virginia. Forensic work determined that the two were both Caucasians who stood about five-foot-seven. One was in his late teens to early 20s, the other in his 30s. The flag-draped caskets containing the remains of the two sailors were brought on horse-drawn caissons accompanied by a full Navy Ceremonial Guard and a Navy band. A crowd of several hundred spectators, several dressed in Civil War garb, gathered to witness the interment.


GERMANY DROPS ARREST WARRANT AGAINST SEA SHEPHERD’S LEADER

Germany has dropped an arrest warrant for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society founder Captain Paul Watson who is at sea aboard his ship named the Steve Irwin. The warrant was originally issued last year at the request of Costa Rican government who requested it at the behest of the Japanese. Watson had posted bail and then skipped out on it to return to his ship, but it appears that Germany understood his motives and has dropped all charges including his bail jumping. Costa Rica had wanted Watson in connection with a 2002 incident during which he apprehended an illegal shark finning vessel in Guatemalan waters with permission of the Guatemalan government while filming for a documentary.


STRIPERS FOREVER FILES PETITION FOR 50% CUT IN STRIPED BASS

And last on today’s nautical news, on March 8th, a petition signed by approximately 750 members from an organization called Stripers Forever was delivered to Paul Diodati, the Director of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. The petition requested that the commercial and recreational harvests of wild striped bass caught in Massachusetts be reduced by 50 percent for the 2013 season. The group claims that the recreational harvest in the coastal fishery has declined by 75 percent since 2005. However, last year, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted against further reductions.

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