Nautical News: For the week of August 27, 2017

INTERIOR SECRETARY ZINKE PLANS TO MODIFY UNDEWATER MONUMENT AREA

 

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke filed his report with the White House regarding whether the underwater seamounts and monument area created off Cape Cod under the 1906 Antiquities Act should be eliminated, reduced in size, or otherwise altered. The report was not released to the public, but “Nautical Talk Radio” has learned that the Secretary is in favor of keeping the underwater monument and sea mount area, but possibly reducing its size and eliminating the ban on commercial fishing. Zinke said his recommendations will provide a much needed change for those who rely on this area for fishing. Fishing groups, including the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, the Atlantic Offshore Lobstermen’s Association, the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, the Rhode Island Fishermen’s Alliance, and the Garden State Seafood Association, have already filed a lawsuit against the federal government, arguing the 5,000-square-mile monument was created through an illegal use of the Antiquities Act and that it jeopardized the livelihoods of their members.

OFFICIALS IN LOWELL PROPOSE TO BAN JET SKIS ON MERRIMACK

Officials in the city of Lowell are considering a ban on jet skis on the Merrimack River after two fatal collisions this summer. A 16 year old girl was killed when she was thrown off her jet ski after getting hit by a drunk jet skier at night and a 39 year old man was killed after his jet ski collided with another jet ski. The ban will be discussed in a public hearing on September 12.

 

GREAT WHITE BITES PADDLE BOARD

 

Sixty-nine year old Cleveland Bigelow was just pushing himself up into the standing position on his paddleboard when a great white shark bit into the board. The incident happened in three feet of water, about 30 yards off shore, at Wellfleet’s Marconi Beach. Cape Cod National Seashore rangers and Massachusetts shark expert Greg Skomal said the crescent shaped puncture marks on the paddleboard were made by a great white shark. Paddleboarder Bigelow said he never saw the shark. It was boom and off the board he went. It could have eaten him if it wanted, but sharks don’t like the way humans taste.” State shark scientist Greg Skomal said he has noticed that great whites have moved north a few weeks ahead of schedule. Reports of great whites and seals in Hull, Scituate, and Marshfield have surfaced this past week causing concern amongst swimmers.

 

GREEN HARBOR MARITIME CENTER APPROVED

 

The revised site plan for a new 4435 square foot harbormaster’s maritime facility on Green Harbor was approved by the town’s zoning board of appeals. The plan for the proposed building is slightly smaller than the original plan, but it will still be able to accommodate all of the originally intended uses, including boat storage, the harbormaster’s office, conference space, and public restrooms and showers. The proposal also includes a total of 69 parking spaces for boat trailers. Construction could begin this fall.

 

CAMERAS TO REPLACE HUMAN OBSERVERS

 

Last week, NOAA’s Northeast Regional director John Bullard admitted that current methods used to count fish stocks was an inaccurate science. He blamed the problem on data collected from false reports, especially those filed by New Bedford’s “codfather.” Reading in between the lines, Bullard also seemed to blame the government’s monitors as he now wants cameras and electronic monitoring to be employed. NOAA said they are already testing electronic monitoring on a handful of vessels in a one-year pilot program. While nothing is set in stone, the future of fishing appears to include cameras. A letter signed by 12 members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives requests electronic monitoring and they want the capital forfeiture associated with the “codfather’s” sentencing to pay for it. Carlos Rafael from New Bedford is known as the “codfather,” has already pled guilty to falsifying records and to other crimes. His sentencing is now scheduled for September 25th in U.S. District Court in Boston. Although fishermen and legislators may not agree on the use of human or electronic monitors, many do agree that the stiffest penalties be put on Rafael. They said his fishing enterprises had an economic impact of hundreds of millions of dollars the past 30 years, all at the expense of his fellow fishermen.

 

FARMED ATLANTIC SALMON ESCAPE INTO PACIFIC

 

Fishermen and environmentalists are furious after a fish pen containing 305,000 farmed Atlantic salmon collapsed on the west coast in the state of Washington. The potential of the farmed Atlantic salmon mating with the native Pacific salmon could have a huge negative impact. The farm’s owner said when the farm collapsed it trapped most of the fish inside, but thousands of fish still escaped into the wild. The farm was inspected by the Army Corps of Engineers to make sure it did not interfere with navigation, but not inspected for its structural integrity. Officials said there would be no size or catch limit on the farmed Atlantic salmon, encouraging recreational fishermen to try to catch all of them. Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd said, “you simply do not want these salmon farms in or anywhere near Washington waters. They’re causing too many problems transmitting diseases and parasites to wild salmon populations.” Another expert predicted the fish will make their way to fresh water areas, particularly in north Puget Sound, but would have a big negative impact on the local wild salmon as they compete for the same food.

 

CARCASS OF RIGHT WHALE FOUND EATS OF CAPE COD

 

The Coast Guard reported finding the carcass of right whale 145 miles east of Cape Cod. The whale was identified as a 26 year old female named Couplet. She was a frequent visitor to Cape Cod Bay and the 13th known dead right whale found this summer. The last time she was seen was in 2015. In 2014 she was seen in Cape Cod Bay with five of her calves. The cause of her death is under investigation. Eleven of the thirteen dead whales died in Canadian waters during the month of June. Canadians are just in the beginning phases of drawing up a plan to protect the right whales in their waters.

 

SEARCH FOR KAYAKER OFF PLYMOUTH CALLED OFF

 

Search for a possible person in the water off the coast of Plymouth was called off after the owner of a drifting kayak was found to be at home, safe and sound. A Coast Guard spokeswoman said the Coast Guard and the Plymouth Harbormaster department began a search after two boaters found the empty kayak with no paddles drifting in the water about a mile off of Gurnet Point. The owner of the kayak happened to see a news report about the search and notified officials that it was his kayak that had gotten loose and floated away. The Coast Guard encourages kayakers to put contact information labels on their kayaks to avoid having to search if a kayak drifts away.

 

WRECK OF WWII U.S. WARSHIP FOUND IN PHILIPPINE SEA

 

Researchers, led by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen aboard his research vessel Petrel, have found the wreck of the USS Indianapolis, a WWII Portland-class heavy cruiser that was sunk on July 30th, 1945 by Japanese torpedoes in the Philippine Sea. It was found lying on the bottom in 18,000 feet of water, west of its original presumed position. The attack came as the ship was transiting between Guam and the Leyte Gulf. She had just delivered parts for the first atomic bomb to be used in combat on Tinian, an island that is part of the Northern Mariana Islands. Only 316 of the 1196 crew were rescued. Others who survived the torpedo attack either perished from dehydration and exposure or were attacked by sharks.

 

BACHELOR PARTY ENDS ON BAR – A SAND BAR

 

And last on today’s nautical news, a bachelor party on a boat ended up at a bar – a sand bar after the boat they were on went aground. A fisherman spotted the group and called for help, but the only female in the party refused an offer of help because of what she was wearing. She eventually gave in to the rescuers as hypothermia set in.


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