Nautical News: For the week of January 8, 2017



Two engineers with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have invented a lobster trap that could help prevent whale entanglements and potentially allow the re-opening of restricted waters to lobster fishing. For the third year in a row, between February 1st and April 30th, all lobster traps in Cape Cod Bay all of Massachusetts Bay along the South Shore must be removed from the water to avoid entangling a whale. The lobster pot buoy that was just invented stays on the bottom until it is beeped to the surface via remote control. Then the lobster pot marker pops to the surface so the trap can be hauled out of the water. The Woods Hole engineers have filed a patent for their invention and will soon be putting the pop up buoys on trial. John Haviland, the president of the South Shore Lobstermen’s Association has also designed a break-away line that won’t stop a whale.




Scituate was one of six coastal communities in Massachusetts, and the only one on the South Shore, to receive grant money for projects intended to improve saltwater access for recreational fishing. The money was granted by state’s Division of Marine Fisheries which collected fees from the state’s saltwater fishing licenses sold. Scituate will spend its share of the money improving the lighting and wiring system on the town’s boat ramp on Cole Parkway. The 5 other communities that got money were Fall River, Chatham, Beverly, Manchester, and Truro.




More seafood will be served as part of school lunches in Massachusetts, as the Massachusetts Farm to School Project expands to include seafood. The Division of Marine Fisheries Massachusetts Seafood Marketing Program is partnering with the nonprofit Massachusetts Farm to School Project to promote the consumption of local seafood in schools. “The Massachusetts commercial fishing and seafood industries provide delicious food and employment for thousands of people in the Commonwealth,” Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said in a statement. “This is a great connection to make and we look forward to the partnership between Massachusetts fishermen and farm-to-school programs to provide the Commonwealth’s children with fresh, nutritious seafood products that support cognitive development.” During the two-year partnership, the partners will promote seafood as part of Massachusetts Farm to School’s Massachusetts Harvest of the Month campaign and hold a series of local seafood cooking demonstrations for institutional food service providers. Over 150 K-12 schools, colleges, and hospitals in Massachusetts are participating in the campaign.




Since 2002, the Coast Guard has also been part of the Department of Homeland Security. With the election of Donald Trump as the next President and with Trump’s nomination of Gen. John Kelley for Secretary of Homeland Security, life is going to change for the Coast Guard. Trump has indicated that he wants to revive shipbuilding in the United States and secure our borders. Both these presidential priorities affect the Coast Guard whose role is to secure the maritime border. Coast Guard Commandant Zukunft underscored that the Coast Guard has taken the lead on security in America’s backyard, while the Department of Defense is heavily committed overseas.




NOAA is working on a plan to manage commercial fish farming in federal waters in the Pacific Ocean. The government thinks aquaculture is a promising solution to feeding the world, and would rather have control of it here than have no control of it in a foreign country. Many foreign operations already have U.S. companies supplying the breed stock. Then the fish are grown and sold back to the U.S. as imported seafood. However, scientists claim industrial-scale fish farms could do more harm than good to overall fish stocks and ocean health. Even environmentalists have said there is the risk of pollution and disease, and point out there is no conservation of the wild species. Farms that grow carnivorous fish such as salmon use at least two wild-caught fish to feed one farmed fish.




Tilikum, the orca who killed several people and was featured in the documentary movie “Blackfish” which made the case against keeping orcas in captivity, died this weekend while in captivity at SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. Tilikum was thought to be about 36 years old. The killer whale was captured in 1983 around the age of 2. In 2010, during a show, he dragged a SeaWorld trainer underwater and killed her. Prior to that incident, in 1991 Tilikum was involved in the death of a worker at a different marine park and in 1999, an Orlando tourist was found on the whale’s back after trespassing into its tank. Because of all the bad publicity related to keeping whales in captivity and a drop in attendance at the park, Sea World pledged last year to phase out its whale entertainment shows.




And speaking of whales, the New Bedford Whaling Museum is just wrapping up their 21st annual Moby Dick book reading marathon. They have been reading the book out loud over and over again since Saturday afternoon.




And last on today’s nautical news, the years haven’t been kind to Richard Phillips’s 60-foot Striker yacht. After working as a fishing boat in the Dominican Republic, the hull is damaged and has sprouted mold, and the engines need work. There is, though, one reason to salvage the vessel. It was the 60 foot Striker yacht used in the 1979 movie “Caddyshack piloted by Rodney Dangerfield. You might remember in the movie, the boat roared around a crowded marina smashing into everything in its path. After Dangerfield dropped the anchor through the hull of a sailboat, he yells, “Hey, you scratched my anchor!” In reality, the captain of the boat was the owner of the Striker Yachts who wore a matching green shirt, white pants, golf hat and gold Rolex just like Dangerfield did. He said that Rodney never touched the boat’s controls. Also starring in the movie were Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, and Ted Knight.

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