PROPOSED PLYMOUTH HARBOR MANAGEMENT PLAN
For more than a year the Plymouth Harbor Committee has been working on a management plan for the harbor with planners from Urban Harbors Institute of UMass Boston. They are now ready to reveal their proposed plan for the public’s comments. The plan covers the water and its surrounding shoreline from Cordage Park to Saquish and Plymouth Beach to the downtown waterfront. Issues receiving top priority include dredging of the harbor, a new harbormaster building, docks with showers and restroom facilities for visiting boaters to go to restaurants, recreational and commercial fisheries, and aquaculture. The plan also suggests improved launch services that include stops throughout the harbor, with possible connections to town-owned land at Plymouth Beach and Saquish. The plan will be presented in the lobby outside the April 1 Town Meeting. The final plan will be adopted by the Harbor Committee this coming May.
CODFATHER TO PLEAD GUILTY
Carlos Rafael, also known as the Codfather and owner of Carlos Seafoods, the largest commercial fishing business in New England, is scheduled to plead guilty this coming week in federal court in Boston to evading fishing quotas and smuggling profits to Portugal according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. It is all part of a plea deal reached with the government. Rafael was charged with one count of conspiracy, 25 counts of falsifying records of the type and amount of fish caught, and one count of bulk cash smuggling. Rafael was also caught by federal undercover agents selling the fish for bags of cash. If Rafael had been convicted of false labeling, he could have been subjected to the forfeiture of his 13 boats.
TRUMP CUTS NOAA’S FISCAL 2018 BUDGET 17 PER CENT
President Donald Trump has a proposed a major reduction in the fiscal 2018 budget of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the elimination of the NOAA managed Sea Grant programs. NOAA faces a proposed 17 percent cut to its overall budget beginning October,1 2017, including a 26% cut in NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research budget. However, the National Marine Fisheries Service’s budget will only be cut five percent. The numbers may change as NOAA tries to negotiate with the White House.
FISHERMEN SUE OBAMA’S UNDERWATER AND SEA MOUNT AREA
More pressure is being put on Trump to reverse Obama’s executive order that declared 5000 square miles off Cape Cod as an Underwater Sea Mount and Monument area that prohibits commercial fishing. A lawsuit filed by a New England fishermen organizations claim that Obama overreached and exceeded his authority using the American Antiquities Act which was meant to be used only on lands owned or controlled by the federal government. This illegal, unilateral presidential action threatens economic distress for individuals and families who make their living through fishing, and for New England communities that rely on a vibrant fishing industry. The organizations filing the lawsuit are the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, Atlantic Offshore Lobstermen’s Association, Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, Rhode Island Fisherman’s Alliance, and Garden State Seafood Association.
NEW FACES AND TEAMS ON WICKED TUNA 6TH SEASON
TV’s “Wicked Tuna” starts its sixth season tonight on the National Geographic channel. There are a couple of new faces and boats in the fleet this year. Marshfield’s Paul Hebert captain of Wicked Pissah has a new crewmate. His former mate from New Jersey is now captain of a boat. According to a National Geographic spokesman, millions of viewers in 171 countries tune in every week.
SCIENTISTS STUDYING ROGUE WAVES
Scientists studying rogue waves say that rogue waves are not rare as previously thought and occur roughly twice daily at any given location in a storm. Data collected from one rogue wave showed it moving at 40 miles per hour and reaching a height of 50 feet above sea level. However, rogue waves bigger than that are less frequent, but still can occur somewhere about every three weeks.
STOLEN RHODE ISLAND BOAT FOUND IN MASSACHUSETTS
A boat stolen a month ago from a business in Bristol, Rhode Island was found abandoned on the side of Route 24 in Fall River, Massachusetts. State police called Vic’s Towing in Fall River to tow the boat off the highway. The tow company brought the boat back to their lot and suspected the boat might have been stolen because VIN and hull numbers were removed and ignition wires were cut. The tow driver said when he first saw the boat, he thought no one’s going to leave that nice of a boat on the side of the highway with a trailer still in good shape. So doing the work the police should have done, he used Facebook and found the owner of the boat. This past Wednesday, the boat was reunited with its owner and he said only fishing gear was missing.
COAST GUARD’S TWITTER ACCOUNT HACKED
And last on today’s nautical news, someone hacked the Coast Guard’s mid-Atlantic Twitter account. The Coast Guard tweeted an apology stating its account was compromised and used to tweet out invitations to meet for sex. The hacker even changed the Coast Guard’s profile photo to a scantily clad woman. Ironically, nobody in Homeland Security noticed the change until someone from the media notified them. It was unclear how the account was compromised or who did it. None of the region’s other accounts were affected.