Nautical News: For the week of July 2, 2017

SIX RIGHT WHALES FOUND DEAD IN CANADA

 

Officials in Canada have confirmed the deaths of six North Atlantic right whales during the month of June. Scientists said it was very odd to have what appeared to be six healthy right whales suddenly die in one area like the Gulf of Saint Lawrence north of Prince Edward Island. Their deaths are a mystery, but a toxic algae in the water is thought to be the cause. North Atlantic right whales migrate north to Canada feeding on krill, their preferred food. Then as Fall approaches, they travel south along the East coast of the United States to the warmer waters in Georgia and Florida.

 

SEARCH SUSPENDED FOR POSSIBLE MISSING PERSON OFF PLYMOUTH

 

The Coast Guard suspended its search for a possible person in the water in Plymouth Harbor. A local fisherman originally spotted an overturned, unmarked 10-foot lime green kayak with a paddle and reported it to the Coast Guard. Following the report, the Coast Guard and local responders searched a 29-square-mile area for over four hours, but did not find anyone. The search included a helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod and a boat from Coast Guard Station. Harbormasters from Scituate, Duxbury, Plymouth, Kingston also participated in the search. Officials confirmed that there are no correlating missing person reports. Boaters are reminded to label their kayaks, canoes, skiffs and paddleboards with identifying information to allow officials to track down the owner and possibly prevent a needless and expensive search.

 

FIGHT IS ON FOR “CODFATHER’S” FISHING PERMITS

 

New England politicians and fishermen are now fighting over New Bedford’s Carlos Rafael’s groundfish permits. Rafael, known to locals as “the Codfather,” pleaded guilty to tax evasion and falsifying fish quotas last year. His sentencing is scheduled for July 28th and court documents indicate his fishing permits and quotas will be seized by NOAA fisheries. The number and type of permits Rafael owns is not publicly known, but it is believed that he controls 25% of New England’s quota allotted by the government for cod, grey sole, and haddock. New Bedford’s Mayor said removing the permits from New Bedford fishermen would harm his cty’s economy. However, others from within the regional fishing industry believe the permits should be returned to a general pool and redistributed equally throughout New England, saying fishermen throughout the entire fishery suffered as a result of Rafael’s actions.

 

APPOINTMENTS FOR NEW ENGLAND FISHERIES COUNCIL ANNOUNCED

 

The U.S. Commerce Department announced the appointment of members on the New England Fisheries Management Council. The Secretary selected members from nominations submitted by the governors of fishing states, territories and tribal governments. Three of the four members selected were reappointed to serve to another 3 year term. They were Peter Kendall from New Hampshire and Elizabeth Etrie and John Pappalardo from Massachusetts. Ernest Stockwell from Maine was a new appointment. The new and reappointed council members begin their three-year terms on August 12 and can serve up to three consecutive 3 year terms.

 

USS SALEM MOVING TO NEW PIER AT FORMER QUINCY SHIPYARD

 

The USS Salem, nicknamed the Sea Witch and built in Quincy, will be moving within the next two weeks a couple of piers away from where it is now at the former Quincy shipyard. The City of Quincy’s conservation commission approved its new anchoring plan while the owner of the pier installed electric lines and sewage pipes. The ship is owned by the non-profit U.S. Naval Shipbuilding Museum which has signed a five-year lease for its new home.

 

NEW ZEALAND WINS AMERICA’S CUP

 

Emirates Team New Zealand won the 35th America’s Cup defeating ORACLE TEAM USA in 7 out of 8 races. The kiwis had a better designed boat and were tactically brilliant around the race course. A number of questions now arise about what will happen in the next America’s Cup. It no doubt will be held in New Zealand, but maybe not until 2021. Another question is what kind of boat will be used. Debate is already raging about whether the boats should be monohulls or multihulls. Traditionalists want to go back to the days of the J Class and the big monohulls, while the new ‘foiling generation’ point to the high speeds and pure adrenaline excitement of the 50 foot catamarans.

 

WEST MARINE STORES SOLD

 

In the world of business, the chain of West Marine stores was just acquired by a New York-based private-equity firm called Monomoy Capital Partners. The companies announced they have executed a definitive merger agreement under which Monomoy will acquire all of the outstanding shares of West Marine’s common stocks at $12.97 per share. That represents a total equity value of $338 million, and a premium of 32 percent over the 30 day average performance of West Marine’s stock price. The transaction was unanimously approved by West Marine’s board of directors.

 

STARKIST TUNA OFFICAL PLEADS GUILTY TO PRICE FIXING

 

Also in the world of business, a former Starkist official pled guilty to fixing the prices of canned tuna in the United States and now faces up to 10 years in prison and a million dollar fine. He became the third executive in the tuna industry to plead guilty to price fixing. Previously, two Bumble Bee executives pled guilty in the conspiracy to price fix a can of tuna in the United States, and along with the corporation Bumble Bee Foods, agreed to pay a 25 million dollar fine. The FBI and Department of Justice are the lead investigators in the case, and more charges could be in the works.

 

DEVELOPERS FOR WIND FARMS WANTED IN MASSACHUSETTS

 

Utility companies in Massachusetts are asking developers to bid on a contract to build the state’s first offshore wind farm and competition is expected to be intense. Last summer, state lawmakers committed Massachusetts to procure more offshore wind than any other state in the nation. They want wind turbines to generate enough electricity to power about a million homes, or about twice the electricity produced by the Pilgrim nuclear power plant which will soon shut down. State officials said it is very windy off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard where the first offshore farm is planned to be built. Of course, we all know that the Cape Wind project planned on Horseshoe Shoals met resistance and failed to get developed, and the price of oil is dropping, so one must wonder what they all are thinking.


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