Nautical News: For the week of May 4, 2014


The Coast Guard budget for the next fiscal year is being reduced again by the Obama administration. For the upcoming year, the administration is requesting only $9,797,000, a 6% decrease from the current year’s budget, and considerably less than what the Coast Guard has requested. Under this new budget, two High Endurance Cutters and eight 110 foot patrol boats would be decommissioned, one aids to navigation team eliminated, and Ocean Sentry aircraft programmed flight hours reduced from 1200 to 1000 hours per aircraft. Although the Coast Guard is use to doing more with less, one official said it is possible that small harbor patrol boats would be eliminated since there is redundancy with local agencies already fulfilling that role.



As many police departments try to take over their towns’ harbormaster departments, the Town of Chatham has gone the opposite way. As of May 7, that town’s harbormaster department will no longer be overseen by the town’s police department. A Chatham town official said that it was more natural to have the harbormaster in a safety mode than a policing mode. Fishermen and boaters agreed and said that was what they were fighting for and they won.



Have you sometimes wondered if that “wild caught” salmon actually came from a fish farm? Or if the “catfish labeled U.S.” might actually have been farmed in Vietnam? Scientists at the Food and Drug Administration are now able to answer those questions using DNA barcodes to identify individual fish species even if they are small filets. The FDA is planning to undertake a massive project at solving the problem of fish fraud and unintentional species substitution by creating a fish DNA data base of thousands of fish species, so that every fish market will know exactly what they are selling. Random tests will catch those who mislabel their fish, representing a cheap fish as a more expensive one. Mislabeling of fish also threatens the public’s health. A few years ago, a prohibited and highly toxic variety of puffer fish was smuggled into the U.S. in boxes labeled as monkfish. This mislabeling resulted in many people getting sick.



A dead 7 foot long Atlantic Sturgeon washed up on a beach in Lyme, Connecticut. Why it died is still a mystery, but the biggest question is why it was 8 miles up the river from the mouth of the Long Island Sound. Atlantic Sturgeon native to Connecticut were believed to be extinct. Even though Connecticut’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection said this sturgeon was a female at least 12 years old, carrying eggs, the sturgeon was still too young to actually lay its eggs, but if baby Atlantic Sturgeon are actually discovered in the river, that would be the sign marine scientists need to redo their science.



A South African couple is about to become the first people ever to row from mainland Africa to the mainland United States when they land in Miami tomorrow. It has taken the couple more than 100 days to row the 5,000 miles from Morocco to Miami. They departed Morocco on December 15th in a 22-foot, 1,500-pound rowboat, named the Spirit of Madiba in honor of Nelson Mandela. They took with them a weeks’ worth of dried food and a desalinator. They had no contact with any humans other than themselves. About a thousand miles into their voyage, just past the Canary Islands, they got caught in a hurricane and had to fight for their lives. Wave lifted the Spirit of Madiba completely out of the water, capsizing it and throwing the man into the water. The woman’s feet got stuck under equipment on the boat and she would have drowned if the boat didn’t right itself which it did. She tossed the man a line and he was able to pull himself back up into the boat.



A boat that washed ashore on a beach in the state of Washington is believed to have come from Japan after it washed away during the tsunami 3 years ago. The boat had a large volume of vegetation and sea life growing on it. It appeared that the boat had spent a great deal of time underwater as it crossed the Pacific. A request will be made of the Japanese Consulate in Seattle to help identify the boat. Officials believe this boat is just one of many more that are sure to come.



Once again NOAA has released a report that is more than two years old. This one is an economic report that touts how recreational fishing generated $58 billion in sales and $19 billion in income and supported 381,000 jobs in 2012. Although this report shows that many U.S. fisheries are now rebuilt, and how fishing and boating is so important to the economy and the job market, it simply doesn’t jive with the times. Furthermore, NOAA’s Sam Rauch said that NOAA never satisfied the 2009 deadline that Congress required in 2006, when they ordered NOAA to replace its out of date data collection methods. Another problem with the report is that it is hard to believe that jobs in the fishing world increased by 18% in 2012 when we all know that unemployement was high two years ago and that recreational boaters took fewer trips because of the price of fuel. A reliable source has told Nautical Talk Radio that NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Department of Commerce released this report simply as a type of ideological marketing campaign in favor of the current administration.


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