Nautical News: For the week of June 30, 2019

RED TIDE CLOSES SHELLFISH BEDS BOSTON TO PLYMOUTH

The state announced on Thursday that shellfish from beds in Hull, Cohasset, Scituate, Marshfield, Duxbury and Plymouth tested positive for paralytic shellfish poison toxin, also known as red tide. Harvesting soft-shell clams, surf clams, mussels and carnivorous snails from beds in communities between Boston and Plymouth is prohibited until further notice. Officials said they closely monitor the harmful algal blooms because it can be fatal if ingested through shellfish. However, sea scallops are still safe to eat according to the state.

 

LOSS OF “HABCAM” GIVES DOUBT TO SCALLOP SURVEY

And speaking of scallops, the loss of the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center’s Habitat Mapping Camera, “HabCam,” during a recent scallop survey has raised concerns about the transparency of the survey process. The sea scallop survey performed by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center uses a combination of dredging and the HabCam to determine the densities of scallops in the areas that are typically fished. Data from both the camera and the dredge are used by the New England Fisheries Management Council to create a model to set quotas for the coming year. However, during a survey of the Great South Channel on June 6th, the HabCam struck an uncharted object in 130 feet of water and went to the bottom after separating from its tow cable. It was recovered 4 days later but electrical problems with the camera forced the survey to be conducted using only the dredge. Then to make matters worse, weather problems contributed to the inability to complete some of the dredging surveys. A similar incident occurred in 2016 making folks wonder about the reliability of the surveys. Some members of the industry, and the New England Fisheries Management Council complained about how they were told about the loss of the camera. One official said it was like pulling teeth trying to get to the facts.

 

FRESH WATER AQUIFER DISCOVERED UNDER OCEAN

If this doesn’t stop the development of offshore wind farms, I do not know what will. Scientists have found a massive freshwater aquifer off the coast of Massachusetts that could stretch as far south to New Jersey and as far east to the continental shelf that could help mitigate water crises in North America and abroad. Scientists said if the fresh water contained in the aquifer were on the surface, it would cover about 15,000 square miles. The discovery confirms theories that date back to the 1970′s when oil companies reported finding freshwater while drilling off-shore. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has now delayed for one month the release of its final assessment of Vineyard Wind’s offshore wind farm plan.

 

ENCORE BOSTON HARBOR CASINO OPENS

The Encore Boston Harbor Casino in Everett opened today at 10am to a long line of waiting customers. The $2.6 billion gambling, hotel and entertainment complex brings Las Vegas opulence to the unlikeliest of places: a largely industrial waterfront that is home to a subway train repair yard, a water and sewer agency facility, and a power plant. However, a new 6-acre park featuring a harbor walk and gardens will give the public access to the city of Everett’s waterfront for the first time in more than a century. The casino has also invested in beautiful MJM Boats to ferry patrons from downtown Boston’s harbor front.

 

YOUNG BOY ON FERRY POINTS LASER AT COAST GUARD BOAT

A young boy aboard the Island Home ferry crossing from Vineyard Haven to Woods Hole shined a laser into the bridge of a Coast Guard vessel Thursday night and, for a short time, passengers aboard the ferry were held on board until he confessed. The Island Home crew made an announcement on the loudspeaker telling the customers that no one would get off the ferry until they found out who pointed the laser at the Coast Guard vessel. It took about 10 minutes before the boy stepped forward and the Coast Guard gathered his information, his family information, but declined to get local law enforcement involved. According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, “the light energy from a laser aimed into the eye can be more damaging than staring directly into the sun.” A Coast Guard spokesperson said that while this one didn’t cause any injury, the Coast Guard’s mission had to be cancelled.

 

CRABS AND LOBSTERS MOVE OFFSHORE TO COLDER WATER

As waters warm, fish and invertebrates like crabs and lobsters, are moving north and into deeper waters to find the cooler waters they prefer. The habitats that these species depend on for food, shelter, and spawning are changing, too. According to data from the NOAA Fisheries bottom trawl survey on the Northeast Shelf, the average shift in distribution for all species from 1967-2016 has been almost 8 miles north per decade and almost 8 feet per decade in depth. That changes what fishermen are catching, and changes the ways they fish.

 

NATHAN CARMAN INSURANCE CLAIM SCHEDULED FOR COURT

Remember the story about Nathan Carman and his battle with the insurance company over his sunken boat named Chicken Pox? The case is expected to head to trial August 12th. The insurance companies allege that Carman committed fraud by deliberately sinking the boat in September 2016. While Carman was rescued a week later on a life raft, his mother, Linda Carman was never found. The companies allege that Carman made faulty repairs that caused the boat to take on water and then failed to call for help. Police have also identified Carman as a “person of interest” in the 2013 shooting death of his grandfather who left more than $42 million to his four daughters. Carman has denied all allegations.

 

DUGOUT CANOE 700 – 800 YEARS OLD FOUND IN MAINE

Archaeologists have recovered the oldest dugout canoe ever found in Maine. The 10 foot long Native American vessel is estimated to be between 700 and 800 years old. Only three other dugout canoes have ever been located in Maine and they were all made after Europeans arrived. The canoe, made from a single yellow birch log, is further proof of a booming Native American settlement in Maine. It’s also a reminder that American history doesn’t start with Columbus in 1492. It stretches back thousands of years before European contact and recorded history. An archaeologist said it is rare to find wooden artifacts this old in Maine because of Maine’s acidic soil. The boat now sits in a box covered with fresh water to preserve it. Once it’s clean, the canoe will be structurally stabilized with special chemicals and someday go on display in a museum. Can you canoe?

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