Nautical News: For the week of September 22, 2013

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PROPOSAL TO CLOSE 55 SQUARE MILES WILL HURT LOCAL FISHERMEN

Local charterboat fishermen say a proposal to close a portion of Stellwagen Bank to recreational fishing would drive them out of business. The plan proposed to the New England Fishery Management Council by the Stellwagen Bank Sanctuary management people, will be voted on in November. If approved, a 55 square nautical mile area will be closed to all fishing and turned into a dedicated habitat research area so that a study can be done to determine what happens when fishing is stopped in an area that has been fished for 300 years. Charterboat fishermen in Marshfield, Scituate, and Plymouth say the closure will be put them out of business and have a negative affect on motels, restaurants, marinas, and other businesses in the community.

 

NEW ENGLAND STATES SUE NOAA FISHERIES

Attorney Generals in Massachusetts and New Hampshire have now joined forces in a federal lawsuit that accuses NOAA of wanton disregard for the catastrophic economic impact its catch quota policies have inflicted on their state’s fishing communities. A spokeswoman for Rhode Island’s Attorney General said that Rhode Island is monitoring the lawsuit and has not ruled out the possibility of also joining in the lawsuit. Massachusetts Attorney General Coakley originally filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Boston this past May. New Hampshire became a co-plaintiff last week. The lawsuit seeks to block any further implementation by NOAA of its drastically reduced catch quotas. The lawsuit also argues that NOAA used flawed science to over-regulate the Massachusetts fishing industry and did nothing to mitigate the economic damage caused by the reduced catch quotas.

 

WOMAN FALLS OVERBOARD IN BOSTON HARBOR AND DROWNS

A 53-year-old woman fell overboard into Boston Harbor and drowned. The accident happened while the boat was docked in East Boston at the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina. Authorities said the woman had been living on a boat with her husband. He jumped into the water after her and tried to save her. When CPR failed, he called 911. An external examination of the woman’s body revealed no signs of trauma, but an autopsy will be performed to determine her exact cause of death. In the meantime, the woman’s distraught husband was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for observation.

 

DEALERS SAY OYSTERS REMAIN PLENTIFUL DESPITE LOCAL CLOSURES

Despite the oyster bed closures in the northeast, dealers say that oysters remain plentiful in the marketplace. Health officials closed a number of oyster beds in the northeast when an outbreak of vibriosis was spreading in Connecticut. Vibriosis is a gastrointestinal disease linked to eating oysters contaminated with the vibrio bacteria. By the end of August, Massachusetts followed suit, issuing a similar closure of oyster beds in Plymouth, Kingston, Duxbury and Marshfield. The state followed that with another closure in Edgartown on September 9th. Dealers say when the beds in Massachusetts and Connecticut open up again, there will be a bumper-crop of oysters coming in.

 

POPULATION OF GULF OF MAINE SHRIMP REACHES RECORD LOW

The Gulf of Maine shrimp population has fallen to its lowest level on record. Regulators will use the latest population survey when they meet in November to decide if there will be a shrimp season this winter. Scientists last year recommended shutting down the fishery, but regulators ended up setting a short season with a 74 percent cut in quota. In an average year, the Gulf of Maine accounts for only about 3 percent of the U.S. shrimp catch. However, scientists admit that the Gulf of Maine shrimp fishery has seen boom-and-bust cycles before. This past season’s decline was blamed primarily on warming seawater temperatures.

 

POSSIBLE HOAX DISTRESS CALL IN MAINE

The Coast Guard searched 2,000 square miles of ocean off the coast of Maine for a 55 foot fishing boat taking on water. No boat in trouble was found and the Coast Guard now believe this was a hoax call. The Coast Guard said it received a distress call reporting two people were on board the boat about ten miles northeast of Mount Desert Rock, but a trace of the radio signal suggested it came from close to shore and not the 10 miles offshore the caller said. Aircraft from Air Station Cape Cod and two Coast Guard boats participated in the search.

 

U.S. TEAM ORACLE FACES ELIMINATION IN AMERICA’S CUP RACES

With its back against the wall facing elimination, Oracle Team USA stayed alive in the America’s Cup by winning its second race in a row on Friday. New Zealand holds an eight to three lead in the best of 17 series, so they only need one more win. Racing resumes later today.

 

ANNUAL BOSTON HARBOR ISLANDS REGATTA SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 28TH

And speaking about races, the 9th Annual Boston Harbor Islands Regatta will take place next Saturday, September 28, 2013. A hundred boats are expected to race making the regatta the largest sailing race in Boston Harbor. The awards ceremony and victory celebration will be held on Spectacle Island. The public is invited and can buy tickets which will include round trip ferry transportation, food, and two drinks. For more info, Google Boston Harbor Island Alliance.

 

TRAIN DEMOLISHES BOAT AND TRAILER STUCK AT CROSSING

And last on today’s nautical news, here is a story about a boating accident that has insurance company actuaries scratching their head. An Ohio man, trailering his boat, became stuck at a railroad crossing. Somehow his trailer got hung up on the railroad tracks near the Ohio River and he was unable to free it before the train came along. The man said he attempted to call the emergency number to stop the train, but it wasn’t more than a minute after he got stuck that he saw the train coming. At that point there was nothing he could do except run. The train crashed into the boat and trailer. The train engineer was finally able to stop the engine. He noticed a small amount of damage to the engine, but said the boat and trailer were completely demolished. Fortunately no one was injured.

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