Nautical News: For the week of January 21, 2018

TRAGEDY IN LEG 4 OF ROUND THE WORLD VOLVO RACE

 

In a strange twist of fate in Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race from Melbourne, Australia to Hong Kong, the winning team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag beat the other teams to their home port of Hong Kong. In fact the two Chinese teams took first and second place in Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race from Melbourne to Hong Kong. However, Team Vestas 11th Hour Racing retired from the race after colliding with a fishing boat with 10 men on board 30 miles before the finish line. The Vestas 11th Hour Racing team made a mayday call on behalf of the fishing boat that they hit, alerting the Hong Kong Marine Rescue Coordination Center. We are sad to report that the collision resulted in the death of one of the fishermen. The Team Vestas boat was damaged, but was able to make it safely to the dock under power. Nobody on the sailing boat was reported to be injured. A statement released by Team Vestas read: “Volvo Ocean Race and Vestas 11th Hour Racing are now focused on providing immediate support to those affected by this incident. All involved organizations are co-operating with the authorities and are fully supporting the ongoing investigation.

 

PROPOSE INCREASE IN QUOTA FOR COD FISH

 

This past year, fishermen have been reporting seeing lots of cod fish when NOAA said there were none. Now officials from NOAA say that codfish in the Gulf of Maine and George’s Bank are making a comeback and that quotas are on track to increase May I, 2018. It is hoped that the New England Fisheries Management Council will propose doubling the commercial cod quota to nearly 3.9 million pounds. Because of the previous strict quotas, cod imports from Iceland and Russia dominated the local fish markets.

 

RIGHT WHALES ALREADY SPOTTED IN CAPE COD BAY

 

At least 15 North Atlantic right whales have returned to Cape Cod Bay. Researchers said typically this time of year that only a handful of the right whales would be seen. The bay is considered an important right whale habitat for feeding. Right whales, which grow up to 50 feet long and 80 tons, are drawn to Cape Cod Bay every winter to feed on zooplankton. Last year more than 250 of the whales were counted in the bay between May and December. Then they head south to give birth. The population has nearly doubled since 1992, but nobody knows the exact number because it is a mystery where some of the male whales go.

 

3 TONS OF ILLEGAL SHRIMP SEIZED IN FLORIDA

 

The United States Coast Guard and agents from NOAA Fisheries seized an estimated 6000 pounds of shrimp from the 68 foot fishing vessel Ronald E., because the boat was illegally fishing inside the Dry Tortugas Shrimp Sanctuary Preservation Area off the coast of the Florida Keys.

 

PUSH IS ON TO ELIMINATE ETHANOL MANDATE

 

Some free-market conservative groups are pushing the Trump administration to cut the corn cord” and eliminate the ethanol mandate which is part of the Renewable Fuel Standards. The National Marine Manufacturers Association and marine engine makers are against ethanol in our gas claiming the ethanol damages marine engines as well as eats fiberglass. Everyone agrees that the mandate drives up the price of both fuel and food forcing those on a fixed income to pay a higher percentage of their incomes for basic needs. Even former Rep. Henry Waxman, a democrat from California, wrote that the ethanol mandate has not stood the test of time.

 

COASTAL STATES APPLY FOR EXEMPTION ON OIL AND GAS DRILLING

 

In a related story, because of opposition from coastal states to the recent Interior Department’s proposed offshore drilling strategy, federal officials are now seeking public comment on the draft plan. It was reported that the state of Florida received an exemption from the offshore drilling plan and that is now causing other states to seek exemptions. The only coastal states who support the plan are Alaska, Maine, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

 

RESEARCHERS COUNTING SEAL BIRTHS ON CAPE COD

 

There are now so many seals living on the Monomoy Islands that researchers from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center researchers are now in their 6th year determining how may gray seal pups are born during the winter. One drone even video taped a live birth. The researchers use drones to count the pups while also looking for natural casualties. The gray seal pupping season generally runs from mid-December to early February. Monomoy and Muskegat Island are the primary birthing places and haul-out places on the U.S. East Coast.

 

NEW APP FOR DESIGNATED CAPTAINS

 

And last on today’s nautical news, a new app for your smart phone is offering Florida boat owners who want to drink and party to hire a designated captain. The app will instantly connect boaters with a list of licensed captains to do the driving for them for $50 an hour. The developer of the app said he hopes to expand the service to all 50 states and even offer a list of charter boats and water taxis for those who want a ride or party on the water and do not own a boat. Ironically, the app is called Anchor and the website is anchorrides.com.


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