Nautical News: For the week of January 15, 2017



The Coast Guard rescued two people from their sinking lobster boat about 17 miles offshore from York, Maine. The Coast Guard received a MAYDAY call from a crew member reporting their 45-foot lobster boat, Miss Mae & Son, was hit by a rogue wave and the pumps were failing. A 47-foot Coast Guard boat arrived on the scene locating the boat thanks to an emergency radio beacon and found the fishermen standing on the pilot house in full survival gear. The fishermen jumped in the water and were pulled on board the Coast Guard boat. The water temperature was 42 degrees and the air temperature was 37 degrees. The fishermen were brought back to the Portsmouth Harbor station and no injuries were reported. A Coast Guard spokesperson said, “The lobstermen did all the right things. They activated their emergency personal indicating response beacon, called for help on the radio, and wore the proper survival gear.” The Coast Guard is now issuing a broadcast to mariners informing them the lobster boat is taking on water and adrift with nobody on board.




Off the coast of Scituate, scientists, fishery managers, environmentalists, and fishermen aboard the commercial groundfish vessel named Miss Emily, are working to get a more accurate number of codfish in the Gulf of Maine. They are using GPS, cameras, electronic fish finders, a number of computer monitors, and a $14,000 fish-measuring board to count the catch. The 55-foot Miss Emily, skippered by captain Kevin Norton, is hoping to prove that their crew and boat will catch more fish than the federal government’s crew aboard the Henry B. Bigelow, a 209-foot floating research vessel operated by NOAA. Fishermen claim that the federal catch quotas have devastated Massachusetts’ codfishery. Local fishermen hope the results of this latest fish count will yield what they are seeing – more fish in the sea. If it does, Dr. David Pierce, the Director of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries said, “that will give the federal scientists something to think about. It will force them to do some soul-searching.”




The Coast Guard will hold its third and final hearing on the El Faro cargo ship sinking that killed all 33 on board. The hearing will be the first since investigators recovered 26 hours of audio and data from the ship’s data recorder. The ship sank October 1, 2015, during Hurricane Joaquin on its route from Jacksonville, Florida to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Investigators and family members of those killed want to know why the cargo ship was in the path of the storm that led to the ship sinking. The Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation hearing will begin February 6th.




The National Fisheries Institute has sued NOAA and the Department of Commerce over a recently enacted rule that could cost the commercial fishing industry hundreds of millions dollars a year. The rule in question requires U.S. seafood companies to trace the origin of the fish they import to either the specific boat that caught the fish or to its collection point, as well as the date the fish was caught. The National Fisheries Institute, along with several major seafood processors and associations, also filed suits against the officials in the Obama Administration, including the heads of the Commerce Department and NOAA, claiming they exceeded the scope of their authority. In addition, miscalculating compliance costs violates the Regulatory Flexibility Act.




The New England Fishery Management Council has four vacancies to fill, one from Maine, two from Massachusetts, and one from New Hampshire. The New England Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional councils established by federal regulation in 1976. It is charged with conserving and managing fishery resources from three to 200 miles off the coasts of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. The process of filling council seats requires the governor of each New England state to submit names to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce for consideration. The Secretary then appoints the members and at-large members to the councils. The appointments process begins each year in mid-January with nominations due from governors by March 15. New council members take their seats on August 11th. The ideal council appointee candidate is knowledgeable in fishery conservation and management, or the commercial or recreational harvest of fishery resources through occupational experience, scientific expertise, or related training.




The National Marine Manufacturers Association announced sales of new powerboats increased between six and seven percent in 2016, reaching an estimated 250,000 boats sold. They expect the trend to continue through 2017 as consumer confidence soars and manufacturers introduce products attracting younger boaters. U.S. manufacturers are gearing up for a busy winter boat show season as the shows generate as much as 50 percent of annual sales for some manufacturers and dealers.




Like the Navy, the Coast Guard recently loosened its restrictions for tattoos. Women can now get permanent eyeliner, but not past the outer corner of the eye. Neck tattoos are now allowed, but it cannot be seen above the collar. Ring tattoos are allowed but not on thumbs or past the knuckle. Traditional old school tattoos like nautical stars, clipper ships, and anchors are still popular.




And last on today’s nautical news, getting Americans to eat sand sharks, which are also known as dogfish and are very plentiful, is a big goal for Cape Cod fishermen, who ship 90% of the fish to Great Britain and France, where they are served in soup and fish and chips. Now the United Nations wants to serve them around the world in a meal they call fish and chirps. It’s dogfish and crickets. Scientists claim both the dogfish and crickets have a lot of nutritional benefits. The chirps or crickets can be served whole, dried, sauteed or with ketchup. Neither the dog fish trend or the fish and chirps have exactly caught on in America or Japan, where farmers said it might make good food for their animals.

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