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Nautical News: For the week of February 9, 2020

The following content is compiled by Nautical Talk Radio and is not affiliated with the WATD News Dept

 

THREE MORE NORTH ATLANTIC RIGHT WHALE CALVES SPOTTED

 

Three new North Atlantic right whale calves were spotted Monday off Florida and Georgia, bringing the season’s total to nine – two more than last year and the highest number since 2016. Survey crews with the Georgia Wildlife Resources Division and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found the new calves and their moms. The birth of each critically endangered calf is celebrated by whale watchers. Right whales – between 45-55 feet long and weighing up to 70 tons – migrate southward each winter from the waters off Nova Scotia, Canada, for a calving season off the coasts of Florida and Georgia. The number of calves born has plummeted in recent years, from a high of 39 in 2009 to a low of no calves in 2018. One of the calves born this winter was wounded by what officials said appeared to be a ship strike. Scientists were able to remotely administer antibiotics to the calf, but no new sightings of the calf and her mother have been reported.

 

52 YEARS OF DATA FROM SHARK TAGGING PROGRAM

 

The Cooperative Shark Tagging Program is the largest and longest-running in the world. The program is a collaborative effort among recreational anglers, the commercial fishing industry, biologists, and NOAA Fisheries. Its goal is to study the life history of sharks in the Atlantic Ocean. A 52-year database of the distribution and movements of 35 Atlantic shark species revealed new information on some of the least known species. It also uncovered a few surprises about where sharks go and how long they live. Scientists collected data for sharks tagged and/or recaptured between 1962 and 2013. Participants tagged a total of 229,810 sharks of 35 species and recaptured 13,419 sharks of 31 species in that time span. Recreational fishermen, most using rod and reel, accomplished the majority of the tagging, followed by biologists using longline and net gear. Commercial fishermen using long line and net gear returned the most tags, followed closely by anglers using rod and reel. Blue sharks accounted for 51 percent of the tags at nearly 118,000, with sandbar sharks a distant second at just under 36,000. A blue shark set the record for traveling the greatest distance: 3,997 nautical miles. That shark was tagged off Long Island, New York and recaptured in the South Atlantic off Africa after more than 8 years.

 

LECTURE IN PLYMOUTH ON SINKING OF U.S. SUBMARINE S-4

 

On February 19, the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources’ Director David S. Robinson will present Fearless Devotion: An Accounting of the Sinking and Salvage of the US Submarine S-4 at the East Regiment Beer Company, 30 Church Street in Salem. On December 17, 1927, the submarine S-4 sank in 102 feet of water after being accidentally rammed by the Coast Guard destroyer Hiram Paulding off Provincetown. The effort to rescue six survivors trapped inside the submarine made national news, but the attempt failed due to winter gales that made diving impossible. Interestingly, Robinson’s great-great uncle, Thomas Eadie, served as Chief Diver in the effort and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism in rescuing a fellow navy diver who had become badly entangled during the submarine recovery effort. While tragic, the loss of the S-4’s crew resulted in dramatic improvements to the safety of U.S. Navy submariners. This event is free and open to the public but registration is required.

 

OUTBOARD ENGINE SALES ON THE INCREASE

 

It should come as no surprise that outboard engine sales have increased for the eighth consecutive year in 2019. Another growth year for outboard engines sales is expected in 2020. Many bigger boat manufacturers are putting 3 and 4 outboard engines on their transoms. Consumers demand for engines in the 200 – 300hp range account for 27 percent of sales, and sales of engines 300hp and more account for 18 percent of the sales according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

 

GENERAL DYNAMICS ELECTRIC BOAT NEEDS MORE WORKERS

 

Defense contractor General Dynamics Electric Boat will need to hire thousands more employees over the next decade as it ramps up submarine production in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. The company currently has nearly 17,000 employees, a level of employment not seen since 1993. Electric Boat will need about 20,000 employees around 2030 to build two classes of submarines. That will require hiring about 18,000 people to increase the headcount and account for attrition. Electric Boat currently builds Virginia-class fast-attack submarines under a teaming agreement with Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia. The U.S. Navy awarded the largest shipbuilding contract in its history in December, ordering nine more attack submarines for a total of $22.2 billion. Electric Boat is also the prime contractor for a new class of ballistic-missile submarines, the Columbia class. Construction is expected to begin on the first ship in October. With both submarine classes under construction, it will be a level of submarine production not seen since the Cold War.

 

HALF OF SEAFOOD CONSUMERS EAT FARM RAISED FISH

 

More than half of seafood consumers in key markets don’t have a preference between wild and farmed fish, although we know that wild fish is much healthier than farmed fish. Apparently they want products that take a responsible approach to protecting both planet and people, and that’s OK because it means there will be more wild fish for those who refuse to eat farm raised fish. This latest survey questioned more than 7,000 seafood eaters across Germany, France, The Netherlands, China, Japan, Canada, and the United States. 63 percent of respondents called for “radical” or “significant” change to feed the world’s growing population.

 

SPORTFISHING BOAT STOPPED BY COAST GUARD FOR FILETING FISH AT SEA

 

This past week, the Coast Guard stopped a sport fishing boat off Key Largo and found several conservation violations because the fish in their possession were filet at sea. A boarding party pulled over the vessel about 13 miles southeast of Key Largo and found 10 fillets of snapper and grouper, and 26 fillets of wahoo “in illegal carcass condition. They also found queen conch on board, the harvest of which has been illegal in Florida since the 1980s. A spokesman with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said any fish that has a legal bag limit must be brought back to shore whole. The Coast Guard said it escorted the boat back to shore, where wildlife officers waited to question the crew. The evidence was given to the National Marine Fisheries Service, which will determine if an official notice of violation will be issued.

 

 

FLORIDA SPENDS MILLIONS SPRAYING HERICIDE TO KILL AQAUTIC WEEDS

 

Florida spends millions spraying herbicide to kill aquatic weeds. A growing number of fishermen, hunters, and activists say the chemicals are killing fish, birds, and alligators. They also believe it is causing red tide. However, officials claim without the millions of gallons of herbicide poured into Florida’s rivers, the state would be choked with weeds threatening navigation of some waterways. Plants like water lettuce can clog navigation channels and tangle in propellers, but they are also natural filters that help clean all the pollution flowing out of farms, golf courses, and private sewer systems. Since 2013, hundreds of square miles of these wetland filters have been sprayed with dozens of different herbicides at a cost of over $100 million. What about the workers who are spraying this poison?

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