Nautical News: For the week of April 28, 2019



NOAA scientists claim the offshore wind farm projects proposed for areas on the East Coast of the United States will have an impact on NOAA’s Fisheries surveys resulting in less-effective fisheries data. Wendy Gabriel, of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center, outlined a wide number of concerns regarding the development of wind power along the coast. Simply put, the wind farms will be built where the fish are and where NOAA does its surveys. The wind turbines will be built so close to one another, it will be impossible for the surveys to be done and too crowded for the fishing boats to work. The height of the turbines will also have an impact. The survey vessel Bigelow has about 85 feet of an air draft and surveys done by planes or drones which are also used to spot the right whales will be impacted. Currently, air plane surveys are done at 600, but the FAA requires a minimum distance over structures for airplanes at 1,000 feet, meaning it will be impossible to spot baby right whale calves or even dolphins. For the record, 319 wind turbines are proposed offshore by 2020. That number goes up to 2,340 by 2030, and over 9,000 by 2050.




The Weymouth herring warden reports that the herring have arrived in that city’s Jackson Square Herring Run. And you can celebrate the return of the herring to Plymouth’s Town Brook at the 2019 Herring Run festival on Saturday, April 27. The event begins in Brewster Gardens at 10 a.m., then moves to Plimoth Grist Mill and Jenney Pond Park from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. People can watch the herring swim up river to Town Brook and help scientists collect information about their progress. The 2019 Town Brook Herring Run is sponsored by Plymouth Department of Marine and Environmental Affairs, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Plimoth Plantation.




The Coast Guard has a message for mariners about to smoke a joint, eat an edible, or use oil. The rate of positive drug tests hit a 14-year high last year. Even though marijuana use might be legal in some states, the Coast Guard is reminding everyone that marijuana use is still illegal under federal law. Testing positive for marijuana or any other dangerous drug has serious consequences for mariners including immediate loss of your captain’s license, revocation of any other merchant mariner credentials, and possible termination of employment. Even in circumstances where the Coast Guard settles marijuana use cases, mariners are still required to complete rehabilitation and show a year or more of negative drug tests.




And speaking of the Coast Guard, the Coast Guard had a busy day Thursday offloading millions of dollars of drugs seized in the Caribbean Sea. Those seizures came from three vessels off the coasts of Jamaica, Haiti, and Colombia. 970 pounds of cocaine and 550 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $13.5 million were offloaded at Coast Guard Base Miami Beach. The Coast Guard Cutter Bear also seized 14,000 pounds of marijuana and more than 3,600 pounds of cocaine worth millions off the coasts of Columbia and Mexico, and offloaded them at the base in Port Everglades. This was the first time in 18 months that the Coast Guard worked with other federal agencies outside of the Florida Straits securing the waters around our southern border.




Plastic waste, mostly from rivers or careless dumping on land, washes into the oceans at an average rate of about nine million tons a year. Fish eat the plastic and we eat the fish, not to mention its impact on marine life, including rings of plastic around a bird’s neck or a turtle’s leg. Since the early 1970s, scientists have been finding micro plastic particles in the ocean that are invisible to the human eye. They now claim that the plastic consumed by the fish is affecting the growth or size of the fish as well as the size of the stock or number of the fish.




A new study offers a few reasons why fewer women choose to stay in the Coast Guard compared to men, and also reveals several reasons why they want to get out. This is the first time in 30 years that the Coast Guard has looked into the matter. At his annual State of the Coast Guard address last month, Adm. Karl Schultz pointed to several changes already in the works, including revamping the regs that disqualify single-parent enlistments, loosening weight standards, and easing tattoo restrictions. In focus groups, Coast Guard women raised sexual harassment and assault problems as reasons for lower retention rates. Some suggested that pregnancy affected a female Coast Guard member’s ability to acquire qualifications and experiences that would advance their careers, and at some point, they would have to choose between their service and their families.




They may not have sharks on a lake, but a fisherman on a lake in Arizona found a 5 foot long rattlesnake on his boat. Apparently the snake silently slithered aboard the boat while the fisherman wasn’t looking, and it wasn’t until the fisherman got up to change his bait that he saw the snake. He said he tried to remain calm and to move slowly, He picked up up a fishing net and nudged the snake back into the water. Fortunately, the snake didn’t need much convincing and slid back into the lake by itself and quickly out of sight underwater. Experts said that snakes are real good swimmers. The fresh water Game and Fish Department warden warned those who visit an unknown body of water this summer that poisonous snakes also live there. They said you just never know what you are going to catch on a boat on a lake.

About WATD Web Editor

WATD online and on air contributors include, but are not limited to: The Associated Press, Precision Weather Forecasting, local news stringers and reporters, in-house news and internet media staff, State House and town hall reporters, freelance reporters, special feature reporters and producers, and on air radio hosts and personnel.