Nautical News: For the week of August 26, 2018

REWARD OFFERED TO FIND WHO IS STEALING GONGS AND BELLS

 

The Coast Guard Is offering a reward to find who is stealing gongs and bells off its buoys. Ten bells have been stolen from Coast Guard buoys along the coast of Maine since late 2017 and it is not an easy task to steal them. Each bell or gong can weigh between 225 and 375 pounds. The Coast Guard thinks the bells are being sold for their copper. The thefts are putting mariners’ lives at risk and creating an added burden for the Coast Guard crews responsible for maintaining the aids to navigation system. A Coast Guard spokesman said the service has spent about $30,000 so far to replace the bells and gongs that have been stolen. Tampering with navigation aids is a federal crime, punishable by fines up to $25,000 a day or a year in prison. The Coast Guard has asked those with information about the missing devices to call the Northern New England sector command center in Boston. The reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction can total up to half the amount of fines imposed.

 

MILLION DOLLAR GRANT FOR NEW PLYMOUTH MARITIME BUILDING

 

America’s Hometown, Plymouth, is getting a $1 million grant from the Seaport Economic Council to help pay for that town’s new maritime building. The building will have a laundry, showers and restrooms for transient boaters, and will be new home for the harbormaster’s office. Total cost of the new building is expected to be around $3.5 million. There is the possibility of additional port security grant money becoming available reducing the total cost for Plymouth taxpayers. It is hoped construction will begin this fall coinciding with harbor’s $13.5 million dredging project. The dredging will allow smaller cruise ships to navigate the harbor and will also allow for the full-sized cruise ships to anchor offshore. Everything is hoped to be finished in time for the town’s 400th anniversary celebration in 2020.

 

DEAD FIN WHALE WASHED UP ON DUXBURY BEACH

 

Marine Biologists from the New England Aquarium and the International Fund for Animal Welfare are investigating the cause of death of a male adolescent fin whale that washed up on Duxbury Beach this past week. The most common causes of whale mortality are collisions with boats or entanglement in fishing gear, but this whale didn’t show any signs of trauma or marks from entanglement. This was the second fin whale to wash up on a South Shore beach in as many weeks. Two weeks ago a 27-foot minke whale washed up near death in Marshfield. Assistant Duxbury Harbormaster Mario Thompson said he was shocked to see how big the Duxbury whale was. He said he had never seen a creature that big before. The whale was 52 feet long and weighed roughly 50,000 pounds. A large tractor was needed to move the whale for researchers to perform the necropsy. After the necropsy, the whale will be buried on the beach.

 

CITATIONS ISSUED TO CAPE COD CANAL FISHERMEN

 

The Massachusetts Environmental Police report they are issuing more than the usual number of citations to recreational fishermen along the banks of the Cape Cod Canal. Fifty citations were issued the past few days. A state trooper said they are receiving more than 10 calls a day, and sometimes 10 calls an hour from people reporting violations along the canal. Some people are catching and keeping more than the legal limit of 1 fish per day, while others keep fishing trying to hi-grade, or catch and keep a bigger fish and then give the smaller fish away or throw it back dead. The minimum legal size of a keeper is 28 inches. Police said the huge number of stripers in the canal is attracting out of staters and groups who may not be aware of the Massachusetts regulations, especially since they can legally buy much smaller farm raised stripers at their local neighborhood markets.

 

400 SEALS FOUND DEAD ON NEW ENGLAND BEACHES

 

More than 400 dead seals have been found washed up on New England beaches so far this year- 57 of them on Massachusetts and New Hampshire beaches. Four seals, three babies and one adult, were reportedly found dead on Plum Island just in the last week but southern Maine has had the greatest number of dead seals washing ashore. Marine biologists believe the animals are dying either from a disease similar to the flu or from a distemper virus. Live seals have been found coughing, sneezing, and having seizures according to a spokesperson with NOAA’s office in Gloucester. Some believe that because there are so many seals in New England, that the die off is a part of nature. Still others blame it on man for polluting the water with PCBs, fertilizers, and other pollutants that weaken the seals’ immunity systems. People are urged not to touch a seal and not to let their pets touch a seal either. If you should come across a live or dead seal, call the Marine Mammal Rescue Team Hotline.

 

FLORIDA RED TIDE CAUSES HUGE ECONOMIC LOSSES

 

Restaurants, charter boat captains, marinas, and seafood companies are suffering huge losses in Florida from red tide and blue green algae, which have killed millions of fish and even some manatees. A state of emergency was declared last week after more than a hundred miles of coastline in Southwest Florida were affected. Consumers are afraid to buy or eat fish. Residents and patrons of hotels are advised not to swim at the local beaches.

 

BOAT BURNS AT MERRIMACK RIVER FISH PIER

The Newburyport Fire Department responded to a Merrimack River pier after a 42 foot fishing boat caught fire while waiting to offload its catch. The fishing boat named “Hit List” had an Atlantic bluefin tuna on board and was waiting to offload when it suddenly caught fire. The captain and mate aboard the boat escaped without injuries. There was no word if the tuna fish was offloaded or burnt. The boat was deemed a total loss and a boom was placed around the area to control pollution. The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Newburyport Fire Department and Newburyport Harbormaster.

 

COMMERCIAL FISHING TRAWLER BURNS 65 MILES OFF CHATHAM

 

And here is another story about a fishing boat on fire. Coast Guard officials said nearby fishermen on three fishing boats rescued the fishermen off the burning Rose Marie, a 77-foot stern trawler. At the time, the Rose Marie was about 65 miles east of Chatham when the fire started. The four fishermen abandoned ship and safely got into their life raft. A witness said it was a huge Good Samaritan effort with the fishing fleet taking care of each other. Eventually the fire burned itself out and the badly damaged fishing boat was towed back to port by a commercial salvage tugboat. No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Coast Guard.


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