Nautical News: For the week of November 3, 2013

DISASTER AID APPROVED FOR FISHERMEN

Thanks to a group of fishermen and industry leaders known as the Northeast Seafood Coalition, the federal Small Business Administration has finally decided to provide federal disaster assistance to Massachusetts fishermen. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick officially certified that Massachusetts fishermen had suffered substantial economic injury because of devastating cuts in the allowed catch. The disaster aid will also help some fishermen in New Hampshire. So, on one hand the government’s money will help the fishermen to stay afloat while the other hand of the government tries to sink them with regulations.

 

COAST GUARD DROPS PLAN TO BUY NEW BOATS

The Coast Guard has dropped its plan to buy a number of small patrol boats, 6 cutters, and an icebreaker this year. The decision to cut back was announced after the Obama administration requested a 40 percent cut in the Coast Guard’s capital and acquisition funding budget for fiscal year 2014 so that the U.S. could funnel billions of dollars to the Afghan military and police. The President blamed the cuts on the sequester even though he endorsed the sequester bill. As part of its modernization plan, the Coast Guard planned to purchase 91 new ships, replacing its some of the boats that are more than 50 years old.

 

HEAD OF THE WEIR RIVER RACE

The Hull Lifesaving Museum hosted its annual Head of the Weir River Race yesterday. Conditions were perfect with little wind and flat seas. More than 60 boats and about 150 rowers from New England and New York jockeyed for position as they raced out of the narrow estuary where Hingham, Hull, and Cohasset meet. The race course is 5 1/2 miles long and takes the rowers in gigs, single and double scullers, currachs, ocean shells, and kayaks into open water around some of the Boston Harbor islands. The race ends at Windmill Point in Hull.

 

CHARTER BOAT SINKS IN BOSTON HARBOR

An 85 foot wooden charter boat named the Virginia C II sank in Boston Harbor. The owner of the boat was the only one on board. He called the Coast Guard and told them the boat was taking on water and that he thought he could solve the problem on his own, but the boat ultimately sank. Coast Guard officials said a light oil sheen was seen coming from the boat. A private salvage company was hired to re-float and remove the boat. No injuries were reported.

 

FT LAUDERDALE BOAT SHOW OCT 31 – NOV 4

The biggest Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in the event’s 54-year history opened this week. Exhibitors occupy more than 3 million square feet of dock and exhibition hall space. Word from the show is that pontoon boats are selling like hotcakes around the country. The Fort Lauderdale Mayor said the boat show has a half billion-dollar impact on the South Florida economy. He exclaimed, “It’s the Super Bowl, it’s Christmas, it’s New Year’s – it’s all this rolled into one.”

 

AMERICANS EAT LESS SEAFOOD

According to NOAA Fisheries, the average American ate 14.4 pounds of seafood in 2012. That is a 4 percent drop from the 2011 figure of 15.0 pounds. Total consumption of seafood by Americans was 4.5 billion pounds. In a related story, American commercial fishermen landed 9.6 billion pounds of fish and shellfish in 2012 with a total valued of 5.1 billion dollars. That would mean 5 billion pounds of fish caught by the fishermen were exported. NOAA claims that U.S. fishermen now have some of the most responsibly managed, sustainable fisheries in the world. New England fishermen saw a 7 percent growth in total landings volume and value. Massachusetts and Maine ranked 2 and 3 in revenues from fisheries. And for the 13th consecutive year, New Bedford had the highest valued catch, due mostly to the highly valued sea scallop fishery. Sea scallops accounted for more than 80 percent of the value of New Bedford landings. Interestingly, farm raised fish accounted for only 5 percent of the market, with Washington and Maine leading the nation in fish farming, primarily raising Atlantic salmon. Washington, Virginia, and Louisiana led in shellfish farming, primarily oysters.

 

NEW NON-TOXIC BARNACLE AND MUSSEL REPELLENT TESTED

Will mussels and barnacles on the bottom of the boat be a thing of a past? A U.S. bio-company has created a non-toxic mussel repellent that is now being tested in several bodies of waters. If successful, this could be the answer to control invasive species like Zebra mussels that have been carried into U.S. rivers and the Great Lakes from boats and ships. The repellent would prevent mussels and barnacles from attaching to the bottom of a boat or its underwater hardware. Forty-six of the 50 states have some form of contamination from Zebra or Quagga mussels. The owner of the bio-company said results thus far have been fantastic.

 

FIVE CANNONS RECOVERED FROM BLACKBEARD’S SHIP

Five cannons from the sunken pirate Blackbeard’s ship named the Queen Anne’s Revenge were recovered by scientists from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources after being under water for nearly 300 years. The scientists got assistance from the Coast Guard who helped bring each cannon weighing more than a ton to the surface. A total of 20 cannons have now been salvaged from the wreck. Each cannon could shoot 6 pound cannon balls. All the artifacts recovered from the ship are on display at the Quenn Ann’s exhibit in Beaufort, North Carolina. Blackbeard was born in Britain and his real name was Edward Teach. He terrorized the Atlantic between the American colonies to the Caribbean. He survived after intentionally grounding his ship in the Beaufort Inlet in June 1718, leaving his crew marooned while taking most of the booty. Blackbeard lived six more months before he was killed in a battle with British troops. His head was cut off and displayed on the bowsprit of the victors’ ship.

 

MYSTERY BARGES APPEAR IN PORTLAND, MAINE AND IN SAN FRANCISCO

And last on today’s nautical news, people have been asking the Coast Guard about a pair of mystery barges with a modern looking structure on them in San Francisco Bay and in Portland Harbor in Maine. Word spread that the barges were owned by Google, but the Coast Guard remained silent about them. Then a request under the freedom of information act was filed and the Coast Guard confirmed that Google owned them. The Coast Guard said that they kept quiet about the barges in order to protect Google’s sensitive proprietary information and possible trade secrets. Nautical Talk Radio has heard that the Google barges will travel to different ports and operate as Google data bases.

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