Nautical News: For the week of April 15, 2018



Groundfish fishing hasn’t been the same since November after NOAA revoked its operational plan for 14 groundfishing vessels following the arrest, trial, and conviction of Carlos the codfather Rafael. Landings are down by 25 percent at the local seafood auction house, which is now operating only two or three times a week instead of once a day. The owners of the auction house said if the boats don’t return to work by May then businesses in New Bedford will be closing. The ice company, the marine supply store, the fuel companies, the grocery stores, even the marine Insurance office are all feeling the pinch. Last year, New Bedford was ranked as the nation’s most valuable port for the seventeenth year in a row.




George Loring, the Weymouth herring warden has informed us that the herring are now climbing the fish ladder at the Jackson Square herring run on their way to spawn in Whitman’s Pond. Last week, volunteers helped clear the run of debris just in time for the return of the herring.




A change in policies for moorings and mooring permits on the North River was approved for the first time in a decade by Norwell selectmen. One of the biggest changes according to Norwell harbormaster Ron Mott was a 10A permit will be required for free standing floats or platforms used for swimming, wave deflection, and/or boat docking. Another big change is the requirement that winter sticks be placed on the mooring line during the wintertime. Although mooring stickers on boats have been previously required, it is now required the stickers be placed on the vessel’s starboard stern quarter two inches below the rub rail. If not displayed correctly, a $50 fine could be assessed.




This past week commercial and recreational fishermen from various ports sent a letter to Massachusetts Governor Baker asking to be included in the state’s plans for offshore wind development. So far, three companies have bid to construct offshore wind farms south of Martha’s Vineyard, and a decision on which company will receive the bid is expected to come from Governor Baker’s office by the end of this month. Fishermen acknowledge that the foundations of the wind turbines act as an artificial reef, but the heat, noise, and magnetic field generated from the underwater electric cables also have an impact on the fish, in some cases preventing them from coming close to shore. Other concerns pertain to the impact the wind turbines would have on safe navigation and navigation by radar.




BOAT U/S/ sent out the following message to its members, urging them to contact their federal legislators to protect boat engines and keep families safe on the water by reforming the Renewable Fuel Standard Act that is forcing more ethanol into the nation’s gasoline supply. The only way to meet the current federal government mandate called for in the Renewable Fuel Standard Act is to increase the amount of gasoline that must be blended with the gas that already contains 10% ethanol. Higher blends between 15% to as high as 85% ethanol will be sold even though it has been proven to damage boat engines. The other problem with the existing Renewable Fuel Standard Act is that it limits the supply of ethanol-free gasoline available. Many states have been offering ethanol free gas.




The North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries has certified a new state record for a trophy size bluefin tuna that was caught in that state. The bluefin tuna tipped the scales at 877-pounds and measured 113 inches long. Officials said it had a girth of 79 inches. The fisherman who caught it was a retired U.S. Army general. The new mark broke the previous state record of 805 pounds set in 2011.A bluefin weighing more than 1,000 pounds was caught in Beaufort earlier this winter, but because that catch was sold to a dealer it was not eligible for the recreational-only North Carolina Salt Water Tournament record.




Authorities in Spain seized 770 pounds of elvers as they were being smuggled out of Spain. Ten suspects were arrested. The European baby eel is subject to strict European Union regulations just like Maine is the only state in the U.S. to have an elver fishery. Elvers or baby eels can sell for $2500 a pound. According to Europol, the live eels were packed in bags ready to be sent to China. Officials released the elvers back into the ocean. By the way, the European elvers come from the Sargasso Sea off Bermuda just like the Elves in Maine.

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