Nautical News: For the week of May 19, 2013

STUDY CLAIMS FISH MOVING TOWARD THE EARTH’S POLES

Lots of studies released this past week. According to a study just published in the journal Nature, fish and other sea life have been moving toward Earth’s North and South Poles in search of cooler waters for decades. University of British Columbia researchers found that significant numbers of species of fish and invertebrates they examined have moved from the warming waters of their original habitats. The new study is the first to assess the migration worldwide. In the Gulf of Maine, cod and haddock that once lived close to the coast have moved north and farther offshore. The conclusions have important implications for fisheries and the people who depend on them, blaming the demise of the New England inshore fishing boats on the migration problem.


CONSULTING FIRM PREDICTS RISING SEA LEVELS

In another study, closer to home, the towns of Scituate, Marshfield, and Duxbury joined forces to hire a consulting firm to study the local impact of rising seas. The study was funded by a $30,000 grant from the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment. The consulting firm released its report this past week at a public meeting in Scituate, and it warned that in 75 years, waterfront front homes and South Shore business centers in towns like Duxbury, Marshfield, and Scituate will all be flooded during every high tide, and during a major storm, they could be under 4 feet of water or more. The consulting firm said some possible solutions would be to build higher sea walls and put shoreline homes on stilts.


COAST GUARD REPORTS FEWER BOATING FATALITIES IN 2012

Still another study to tell you about. The Coast Guard released its 2012 Recreational Boating Statistics and its shows that boating is getting safer. Boating fatalities in 2012 totaled 651, the lowest number of boating fatalities on record. That compares to 758 fatalities in 2011. Also, the total number of reported recreational boating accidents dropped to 4,515 in 2012 from 4,588 in 2011.


THREE MEN RESCUED AFTER THEIR 21 FOOT BOAT FILLS WITH WATER

This years Spring weather has played havoc with New England recreational boaters. Although we have had a few warm days, the wind and the rough cold seas has put several boaters in jeopardy. This past week, three men in a 21 foot boat, fishing off Hyannis, had to be rescued as waves flooded their boat. Fortunately for them, the crew of a nearby charterboat spotted them in trouble and threw them a line. They tied the line on to their 100 foot charterboat to prevent the small boat from completely sinking. The Coast Guard was called and arrived to find the three men hanging on to the bow of their boat while the stern was underwater. They were not injured but were treated for hypothermia. The men were wearing life jackets. At the time, there were 8 foot waves and winds were blowing about 30 knots. What looked like a nice day from shore was anything but on the water.


LOBSTER BOAT BURNS IN MAINE

Two Maine lobstermen abandoned their boat and escaped serious injury after their boat caught on fire. The two quickly put on their survival suits and climbed into their life raft and called the Coast Guard on their cell phone. The Coast Guard said the 36-foot boat named the Miss Ellie, was gutted by the fire, but remained afloat. A passing research vessel found the two lobstermen in their liferaft and took them aboard.


ILLEGAL CLAM DIGGER FINED $50

Illegal clamming is happening all along the South Shore. The Patriot Ledger reported a man was caught illegally digging clams last week in the Houghs Neck mudflats in the city of Quincy. He was fined $50 and made to put the clams back. What many people do not know, is that no recreational clamming is allowed in the City of Quincy. The same is true in the town of Hull and many other South Shore beaches. Clamming can only be done by a licensed commercial “master digger,” who is responsible for ensuring that the clams are treated at the state’s purification plant on Plum Island in Newburyport. Under state law, it is a felony to dig clams in the nighttime without a license, and to sell clams dug in restricted areas. Officials also warned people who have a license to dig for bait worms not to take any clams.


DIRECTOR OF FISHING GROUP SAYS GOVERNMENT VIOLATED FISHING LAW

The Recreational Fishing Alliance sent a letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service and to several key members of Congress, accusing the National Marine Fisheries Agency with violating federal law. The accusation is based on the fact that since there has been no official Secretary of Commerce confirmation in Washington for the past year, and the Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere position has been vacant for the past three months, legal decisions are being made that fly in the face of what the regional fisheries management councils are approving. This is especially troubling for coastal fishermen who have been waging an uphill battle against over-burdensome bureaucracy for years.


ECONOMY FORCES KING OF SPAIN TO SELL YACHT

Apparently even some of the world’s royalty is affected by the worst economy since the “great depression.” Spain’s King Juan Carlos was forced to sell his 136 foot long yacht named Fortuna for $27 million after the King faced a great deal of criticism from his countrymen whenever he was seen aboard the yacht. Polls show public confidence in the royal family slumping as people suffer from severe welfare cuts, a double-dip recession, and an unemployment rate of more than 27 percent.


NEW SPECIES OF REPTILES DISCOVERED REWRITES EVOLUTION BOOKS

A new species of reptiles that lived in the ocean during the dinosaur-era was discovered and they are now rewriting the books on the evolution of so-called sea monsters. A full report can be found in this month’s National Geographic magazine. The newly discovered fossils revealed the reptiles were at least ten feet long, but could grow to 65 feet in length, and looked like the mammal dolphin, making it a very fast swimmer.


AMERICANS CONSUMING MORE SMOKED FISH

And last on today’s nautical news, there’s no smoke and mirrors about it – Americans are eating a lot more smoked seafood than they used to. And that demand has smoked seafood producers moving fast to expand production. Smoked salmon is by far the top-selling variety of smoked seafood in the U.S. Other popular smoke seafood includes trout, bluefish, and mussels. An economics professor at the University of Alaska-Anchorage, who has studied seafood trends for more than 20 years, said American diners have become more sophisticated about their seafood, and smoked seafood tends to be a higher-end product.


About John Shea