Nautical News: For the week of August 5, 2018



The Conservation Law Foundation is suing the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and its commissioners over discharges from that state’s largest fish hatchery. The hatchery has been raising different species of fish including trout and salmon. The lawsuit claims the discharge of hatchery food and fish waste from the facility has been polluting nearby lakes and rivers for years in violation of the federal Clean Water Act. They also claim outbreaks of cyanobacteria have made people very sick, forcing the state to close nearby waterways to swimming.




The southwest coast of Florida is experiencing its worst case of red tide. Inlets and waterways that are normally brimming with wildlife have become a red tide slaughterhouse. Thousands of dead fish have clogged inlets and canals. Goliath grouper that can live up to 40 years have been found dead along with a manatee and a whale shark. At least 90 sea turtles were found stranded as the tide stretches well into their nesting season. Birds are dying too. Hundreds of double-breasted cormorants, brown pelicans, and other seabirds have been washing ashore on beaches in Fort Meyers, Sanibel, Venice, and Cape Coral. At last report, the red tide is heading to Florida’s east coast across Lake Okeechobee. Health officials warn that humans are not immune to the red tide.




And closer to home, last week about 40,000-50,000 pogies were found dead along the banks of the Mystic River in Everett and Somerville. David Pierce, the director of Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, said that when large schools of fish like menhaden enter a river from the ocean during the summer months, they can deplete the oxygen in the water, and without oxygen, they cannot survive. Pierce further explained that although his agency oversees the management of the fish, it is the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission that makes the rules. Despite objection from recreational fishermen, the menhaden are so abundant, quotas for commercial fishermen in Massachusetts were raised.




Harwich police arrested three men and a woman the other night after they stole a boat and led officers and the Harwich harbormaster on a wild pursuit 3 miles into Nantucket Sound. The boat was stolen from its dock at the Allen Harbor Marina in Harwichport. According to the police report, staff at the marina said they saw four people they didn’t know get on board the boat and drive it out of the harbor. The owner of the marina immediately called the boat’s owner who told them nobody should have been on his boat, a 36-foot Albemarle worth about $400,000. Three police officers and the Harwich harbormaster quickly went in pursuit on the harbormaster’s boat. They chased it in rough seas with blue lights on and the siren sounding for about 3 miles before the thieves slowed down. Officers jumped on board and shut the engines off. The four were arrested and arraigned in Orleans District Court where they pleaded not guilty. One of the men said he thought he was driving a boat owned by his father. The four are expected to be back in court the end of this month.




On August 1st at an event in Hull, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton was joined by legislators and local officials to announce more than $3.2 million in grants for South Shore towns to reduce the impacts from flooding, erosion, storm surge, and sea level rise. Grants were awarded to Braintree, Chatham, Dennis, Duxbury, Gloucester, Hull, Ipswich, Kingston, Marion, Mattapoisett, Nantucket, Provincetown, Salem, Wareham, and Winthrop. Projects funded include efforts to stabilize and restore coastal buffers, retrofit critical infrastructure, evaluate long-term shoreline management alternatives, and develop creative public outreach and communication products on coastal hazard and climate change impacts. Republican State Senator Patrick O’Connor said communities on the South Shore have been increasingly impacted by winter storms and extreme weather.




The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has estimated that the country’s seafood industry may need more than a billion dollars in aid if tariffs are implemented between the Chinese and the United States. After the Department of Agriculture announced it would offer billions in aid to American farmers affected by the tariffs, fishermen now want relief too. Maine lobstermen said the Chinese have stopped importing Maine lobsters and are now buying them from Canada. President Trump is asking everyone to be patient. He claims the Chinese have been taking advantage of us for years, and if his negotiations are successful, things will dramatically improve and be better than ever before.




Eighteen member countries attended the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas in Spain last week, and decided that the bigeye tuna stock was overfished by 18 percent last year. Big eye tunas are usually found in the tropics and should not be confused with Atlantic Blue fin tunas. The committee believes additional conservation measures are needed and that will also help rebuild the yellow fin tuna stock.




A pair of photographs taken by a drone off of Cape Cod’s Nauset Beach captured the silhouette of a large great white swimming past an unsuspecting paddleboarder. When the paddleboarder returned to shore, he was approached by a surf instructor who was a friend of the person who took the pictures. When the paddleboarder first saw the pictures, he thought they were great and wondered who the paddleboarder was. Then he realized it was he in the picture and how close the great white was. The photographs were posted to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy’s Facebook page Monday and they went viral. The paddleboarder felt lucky that the shark didn’t mistake his board for a seal.




And last on today’s nautical news, on August 4th, 1790, the first Congress authorized the construction of 10 vessels to enforce tariff and trade laws, prevent smuggling, and protect the collection of federal revenue. At the time, Alexander Hamilton was the United States Secretary of Treasury, so he oversaw the Revenue Cutter Service. In time, the Revenue Cutter Service merged with the Lighthouse Service and in 1915 merged with the Lifesaving Service to form a single maritime service dedicated to the safety of life at sea and enforcing the nation’s maritime laws. The agency became known as the United States Coast Guard. The Coast Guard is a multi-mission, maritime, military service and the smallest of the five Armed Services. It is the only armed service in the U.S. with law enforcement powers. Its mission is to protect the public, the environment, and U.S. economic interests on the nation’s waterways, along the coast, on international waters, or in any maritime region as required to support national security. Happy 228th birthday to the United States Coast Guard.

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