Nautical News: For the week of December 3, 2017



Local fishermen gathered in Scituate Harbor to mourn the loss of a legend. After 47 years on the sea, Frederick Dauphinee died this past Thursday after suffering a heart attack 10 nautical miles off the coast of Cohasset. His mate performed CPR and called the Coast Guard for help. The Coast Guard responded with a boat and a helicopter that flew him to Mass General Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Frederick Dauphinee was a delegate for the Massachusetts Lobsterman’s Association. He served on the Atlantic States Marine Council, the New England Gil Netters Association and served as president of the South Shore Lobstermen’s Association. His family said he taught himself the basics of fishing and when his three sons were old enough, he put them to work. All three brothers are fishermen today. His wife said her husband always fought for fishermen’s rights. Although he was an educated gentleman, she described him as tougher than the rock of Gibralter. Fredierick Dauphinee dead at the age of 76.




Good news for the boating industry. Consumer confidence is now at its highest level since 2000. Data showed that consumers were even more optimistic about the next six months. Economists said the US economy is on fire and growth has hit 3% for two quarters in a row and the streak could reach three for the first time since 2004-2005.




The Bourne Tidal Test Site has been fully installed in the Cape Cod Canal near the railroad bridge. Workers from AGM Marine finished the work on the Marine Renewable Energy Collaborative test site, which is the first of its kind in the U.S. The structure will allow developers to test out their hydrokinetic or underwater turbines in the canal for months at a time.




Although it appears that fewer lobsters are being caught in Maine, the prices have gone down. That’s good news for consumers, but it’s squeezing some of Maine’s fishermen right out of business. Despite less supply, lobster prices are also lower than they were in 2016, down around 20 percent all along the Maine coast. For the past 7 years, Maine lobstermen broke record after record hauling in lobsters. Last year’s record lobster haul was 130 million pounds that generated an all-time high of $533 million in gross revenue. Officials said this year they didn’t expect more than 100 million pounds to be counted. Combined that with lower prices, and the total catch of lobsters might be the lowest value in 10 years while fishermen struggle with higher bait and fuel prices.




Another shipwreck has emerged from the sands of Cape Cod’s Atlantic coastline. The wreck, located nearly two miles south of the Nauset Beach public parking lot, was found between the dunes and the high tide mark. Underwater archeologists believe the wreck is that of the Montclair, a three-masted schooner out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Montclair ran aground in a storm off Nauset in March of 1927. While thousands of documented shipwrecks have occurred off the Cape’s coast, very few occurred within a half mile in either direction of where this wreck was discovered. There is just no other ship that is known to have hit that particular section of beach.




The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw and members of the Chicago’s Christmas Ship Committee reenacted a tradition dating back to the late 1800s. The Mackinaw, serving once again as this year’s “Christmas Ship” arrived this weekend in Chicago loaded with more than 1,200 Christmas trees to be given to needy families in the area. Herman Schuenemann, the captain of the original Christmas tree ship the Rouse Simmons, came to Chicago from Michigan for more than 30 years with fresh evergreens and wreaths for the holiday season during the late 1800s and early 1900’s. Captain Schuenemann and the Rouse Simmons with a crew of 16 were lost when it sank during a storm on Lake Michigan on November 23rd, 1912. The Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, homeported in Cheboygan, Michigan, was commissioned in June 2006 and has a crew of 60. It is one of the Coast Guard’s most technologically advanced multi-mission cutters. The Coast Guard combines the route to deliver the Christmas trees with a mission to remove seasonal buoys for winter maintenance and replace them with ice buoys on Lake Michigan. Regular underway crew training and drills are also being conducted in preparation for the ship’s primary winter mission of ice-breaking to keep commerce moving through the Great Lakes.




This upcoming winter will be another quiet one for Gulf of Maine shrimpers. This past week, regulators decided to keep a four-year-old moratorium on commercial shrimp fishing in the Gulf of Maine in place. Mike Armstrong from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries said the shrimp stock still needs more time to rebuild. Only a small research crew will be permitted to land up to 13.3 metric tons of shrimp from the gulf in 2018 for health assessment purposes.




The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and NOAA Fisheries have awarded approximately $40,000 to researchers to use Environmental DNA to count fish. The use of Environmental DNA or EDNA, for biological research and monitoring is relatively new. This is how it works. As plants and animals interact with the environment, DNA is expelled and accumulates in their surroundings. Researchers collect DNA from the soil, seawater, and even air, rather than directly taking it from an individual organism. Sources of eDNA include, but are not limited to, feces, mucus, eggs, skin, scales, and carcasses. So even though the fish they are counting might not actually be present, they will know they exist by the DNA they leave behind.




And last on today’s nautical news, scientists have discovered a species of fish that live 5 miles down, which is almost as deep as Mount Everest is high. The new species are named Mariana snailfish for the place where they live, the Mariana Trench, the deepest place on earth in the western Pacific Ocean. The Mariana snailfish can survive and thrive under some 15,000 pounds per square inch of pressure. The discovery debunks the findings on the program Blue Planet which said no fish could survive that deep because of the enormous pressure, which was described as the “equivalent of 50 jumbo jets stacked on top of one another. Scientists said the fish can survive because they have no air-filled swim bladder, like most fish species. Also, fish have a chemical in their bodies called trimethylamine N-oxide, which enables the molecules in their bodies to withstand enormous pressure. It is trimethylamine N-oxide that gives seafood its “fishy smell”.

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