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Friday, 23 February 2018

February's final #FishyFriday in Newlyn


Early Thursday evening and the Cornish sardiner Pelagic Marksman makes her way to the fish market to land...


where the latest refurbishment work reveals a more aesthetic exterior taking shape with granite quoins being used to embellish the fishmarket doorways...


as the sun drops below Paul Hill at the back of the village boats like the Sapphire II...


and the Manx Ranger - currently rigged as a mini-beamer keep their deck lights on so that the crew can work on repairing the trawls...


for the first time in years, the Scilly supply vessel, Gry Maritha has taken a berth on the Stone Quay waiting for the tide to enter Penzance Harbour...


its only a few minutes before late-season sardines are coming ashore...


just landed, another shot of cuttles...


who's presence leaves an indelible mark on just about everything that comes into contact with them...


the #FishyFriday morning market is underway with a big shot of hake for the netter, Govenek of Ladram...


while the rest of the market floor is filled with food supplies of top quality inshore trawl fish like these cracking red mullet...


John Dory...


and ray wings from young Mr Nowell...


when you're not so tall, being chest high in hake is an occupational hazard on the market...


small inshore boats like the netter, Girl Pamela can get good shots of pollack ashore from the wrecks and high ground at this time of year as the spawning season gets underway...


while the trawler, Spirited Lady popped a few boxes of good quality brill...


ray...


and Dover sole ashore...


to go with the superb brill from the Sapphire II...


keeping both auctioneers working flat out to shift the fish this morning...


the Sapphire also landed these cracking tub gurnards...


and just a sample of inky cuttles...


and some good sized plaice...


in the fridge there were plenty more flats to bid on...


while the Nazarene picked up a few flats from their gear to go on sale...


and the Girl Pamela and Govenek both took the time at sea to cut out, save and land all the big big roes from their hauls whitefish...


good fishing with the inshore boats and with the temperature hovering just above freezing no chance of the ice turning to meltwater...


snapped up by eager buyers, a good number of punts from St Ives Bay put plenty of mackerel in the fridge overnight...


as was the bug trip of groundfish from the Imogen III...


just a few of the fish that exemplifies a typical trip from a South West beam trawler, Dover sole along with monk and megrim sole go to make up the bulk of any beam trawler trip outside the cuttlefish season...


with the windchill factored in it's safe to say it was warmer in than out on the market this morning...


as a strong easterly breeze dragged its way across the up the harbour...


strong enough to keep smaller boats like the visiting Spirited Lady tied up for the day...


so there won't be much action on her working deck today unless the boys have some chores to do mending the twin-trawls...


all set to put 7,000 litres of fuel aboard the boat.

What can we learn from, "A hard look at NOAA’s observer program"?

Surely this is a place where we do not want to end up with here? - and a classic example of what happens when you effectively privatise an operation that exists to protect or preserve a given situation with a moral imperative as opposed to existing for the purposes of generating a financial reward as its raison d'etre.





A NOAA observer collecting scale samples from a yellowtail flounder. NOAA photo


With the Trump administration looking to reduce burdensome regulations and slash unnecessary bureaucratic jobs, it’s time for them to take a hard look at NOAA’s fishery observer program. This program has grown from a handful of employees just two decades ago, now to hundreds of them who swarm fishing docks each day looking for a ride. And if you dare refuse, you face possible fines, or NMFS enforcement will not allow you to go fishing.

I’m the owner of a 75-foot fishing vessel out of Point Pleasant, N.J. And in the last two years, I have seen my observer coverage double, despite my best efforts to avoid them. The coverage in the Mid-Atlantic has substantially increased because NMFS has put most New England fishermen out of business, so instead of reducing the workforce, they in true bureaucratic tradition increase coverage on those left — this despite the fact that the Mid-Atlantic fisheries have already had extensive coverage for more than 20 years. There is no new data to be gathered. It is simply an effort to enrich the observer provider companies and increase the workforce in the Northeast Fishery Science Center, which has to collate and analyze the data.

Since we have had such extensive fishery coverage over the years, why do we need to increase it? What exactly do they expect to find? In the summer flounder fishery in New Jersey, thousands of observed trips have been taken over the years. Do they expect to find something different?

The data will be the same. The coverage is redundant and a waste of taxpayer dollars. And soon it will be the death knell of the independent fisherman, as NMFS expects them to pay the $750 a day to the observer companies, which in many cases is more than the boat makes on a trip. Also the more data that gets gathered, the more employees at the science center need to analyze it. The pathetic performance of the science center in regard to stock assessments is legendary and documented by the National Academy of Sciences study of fishery management plans. More data will not help them until they fire the incompetent people who still are doing the same stock assessments.

Recently the newest boat at our dock, totally refurbished less than a year ago, was informed that an observer had gotten bed bugs from it. The problem here is that it was an observer who brought the bedbugs onto the boat in the first place. The boat in question had new mattresses and bedding, with the same crew since its arrival. What they also had was an army of observers rotating on their boat, observing scallop and other fisheries. These observers hop from boat to boat, carrying their bags and bedding with them. Many of them are stationed in a group home near large fishing ports, where they live with up to nine other observers in the same small rental, sharing beds and furniture. They have become modern-day Typhoid Marys with the ability to contaminate multiple boats and houses with bedbugs, lice, crabs and fleas, among other unsanitary conditions. Observers and their belongings and group homes should be required to undergo weekly health examinations, just as fishermen are required to have their safety equipment checked.

Presently, all fishing vessels taking out observers face the real possibility of losing everything if an observer gets seriously injured on their boat. They are supposed to be covered by the government in case of an accident, but you can be sure if there is a serious accident that the victim’s lawyer will come after any and everybody. This is totally unfair to the fishing industry. We absolutely want nothing to do with having an army of inexperienced novices aboard our vessels. It endangers us all, and will at some point cause a fisherman to go bankrupt from an accident.

One of these observer provider company’s main shareholder and president is Andy Rosenberg, who is the former regional administrator for the Northeast regional office, now known as the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office. Rosenberg served for five years in that position before leaving in 2000. While there he championed increasing observer coverage in all fisheries, and after leaving, he continued doing so using his previous position’s prestige to influence NMFS’ observer policy. After the required federal employee time lapse, he then heavily invested in MRAG and has helped turn it into the largest observer provider on the East Coast, with 70 percent of the contracted employees. A congressional investigation into this seemingly cozy relationship between a high-ranking former NMFS employee, his company and the agency that awards the observer contracts is long overdue.

There is an answer to the observer problem that would save millions of dollars, but might upset Mr. Rosenberg’s gravy train. NOAA should contract working fishing vessels to have an observer onboard for all fishing trips. I think 10 to 12 boats that engage in various fisheries on the East Coast would provide adequate coverage. The boat would be paid $500 per fishing day, and the observer would act as an extra crewman, helping sort the catch, ice fish, unload, etc., while also documenting catch. He would be paid on a half share basis, by the boat, and $150 by the observer program. The boat would be required to provide his insurance coverage as an independent contractor and crewman, while the vessel would engage in all the different fisheries that it has permits for, abiding by all state and federal regulations, quotas and trip limits.

The full story courtesy of Jim Lovgren: A hard look at NOAA’s observer program by skipper Jim Lovgren February 20, 2018

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Newlyn Fish Festival 2019 - The festival is taking a year out in 2018!

Newlyn Fish Festival 2019 – We’re taking a year out in 2018!


Newlyn Fish Festival has raised nearly £3000,000 for the Fishermen's Mission in Cornwall.

The organisers of Newlyn Fish Festival have announced the introduction of a fallow year in 2018 to enable them to develop the popular annual fundraiser for the Fishermen’s Mission into an even more dynamic celebration of the sea, Cornish seafood and Cornwall’s proud fishing heritage in 2019.

Newlyn Pier and Harbour Commissioners (NPHC), led by harbourmaster, Rob Parsons are currently working hard to transform Newlyn Harbour into a modern, fit-for-purpose port that supports the development and sustainability of the Cornish fishing industry, and will launch its revitalised Fish Market later this year.


The completely refurbished fish market will be completed later this year.

This investment in new infrastructure will provide Newlyn Fish Festival – which has been staged annually for 29 years – with more space, improved facilities and enhanced insight into the Cornish fishing industry for the thousands of visitors who pour into the historic harbour and enjoy this action-packed, one day event on August Bank Holiday Monday each year.

“Although we did not take the decision lightly to devote this year to revita;lising the festival for 2019 to dovetail with the exciting new developments at Newlyn Harbour, we are sure it is the right decision and will be of great benefit to those who take part and join us for this uniquely Cornish celebration.” explains Chairman of Newlyn Fish Festival ltd and Harbour Commissioner, Kevin Bennetts. “I am immensely proud to witness the many positive changes that are taking place in the harbour, all of which will make a positive difference to the livelihoods of our hardworking Cornish fishermen, who put to sea in all weathers to catch and land some of the best fish in the world. We plan to reconfigure the Newlyn Fish Festival to reflect this transformation and will return with an event that is even bigger and better in 2019.”




“We are delighted that the festival has raised over £250,000 for the Fishermen’s Mission to date and to reaffirm our ongoing commitment to the charity during 2018” adds Kevin Bennets. “Newlyn Fish Festival ltd finances and helps maintain the harbourside meeting place for migrant and retired fishermen – The Man-Shed to which we have recently donated £10,000.”

“We fully support this decision by Nelwyn Fish Festival Ltd and look forward to working in conjunction with them to revamp the event which raises much-needed awareness of the Cornish fishing fleet and funds for the Fishermen’s Mission.” adds Newlyn Harbour Master , Rob Parsons.

Two quintessential Newlyn Fish Festival traditions will still be observed in 2018 however. During the evening of Sunday, 25th of August, the board of Newlyn Fish Festival Ltd staff from the Fishermen’s Mission will gather at ‘Tom’, the Newlyn Green Memorial statue to read out the names of the many Cornish Fishermen lost at sea since 1945.

Following a traditional Blessing of the Fleet and remembrance service there will then be the usual, Last Night of the Proms-style celebration of Cornish songs at the Newlyn Centre complete with pasty supper.


Exhibitors and others who need to know more please email your questions to: enquiries@newlynfishfestival.org.uk

For the latest up-to-date information visit the Newlyn Fish Festival website

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Filey salmon fishermen face extinction - why?

Filey driftnet salmon fishermen are about to be put out of business largely because the MMO do not have the staff to satisfactorily deal with their plight - instead they are simply implementing a ban devoid of any consideration for the livelihoods of generations of fishermen.

In a blog post exactly a year ago, Mike Warner write penned an in-depth look at just how far the fishermen of Filey have been prepared to go in order to comply with every regulation thrown at them


For generations, the North Yorkshire coast has been home to vibrant fishing communities. Fishing has shaped towns and coastlines, offered careers to local families, provided delicious, sustainable food, and contributed hugely to local tourism.


These coastal fisheries are small-scale, low-impact and working hard to protect the environment they depend upon.


In Filey, the fishery is down to just seven small-scale, artisanal boats. Fishermen have inherited their licenses from their fathers, and want to pass them on to their children and grandchildren. But all of this is at risk due to new proposed regulations from the Environment Agency (EA).


Why?


The EA is working to protect salmon stocks in the area, which are under pressure. Some salmon are caught by these small, commercial boats, but many more are caught by anglers - who fish the spawning grounds for the salmon along river beds. The EA is proposing to drastically reduce fishing opportunities for the remaining commerical fishermen in Filey, and along the whole North Yorkshire coast. Eventually, the plan is to remove licenses from these fishermen entirely.


All fishermen - whether at sea or in-land - want to make sure there are plenty of salmon for future generations. To protect stocks, boats in Filey have been voluntarily releasing salmon throughout the months of April and May for over a decade, and they focus their commercial operation entirely on catching sea trout. They have voluntarily captured data on all fish they catch, reduced the length of their nets, and only fish for 5 months of the year.


Per year, the average catch of salmon by this small commercial fleet is just 157 fish. In comparison, the catch of sea trout is over 4,600 fish. This valuable, sustainable sea trout fishery will be completely eliminated by the EA's proposals.


We believe the EA should work with the local fishermen to find a solution that is sustainable for the community, as well as the environment - and not put an end to generations of fishing heritage in local Yorkshire communities. Fishermen want to be part of the solution: let them be!


With a new spotlight on UK fishing due to Brexit, this government should not allow small-scale, low-impact, sustainable fishing businesses to go out of operation - with a huge impact on local families and businesses - when alternative options exist.


Please help protect the fishing heritage of the North Yorkshire coast.







News update from DEFRA:

Therese Coffey (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) provided a response when asked:

The North East coast net fishery, including drift nets at North Shields, operates as a coastal mixed stock fishery, catching salmon from a large number of different populations from rivers in both Scotland and England on the eastern coast of Britain.

The UK Government has international obligations as a member of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO) to close coastal mixed stock fisheries as it is not possible to manage them in such a way as to effectively protect contributing salmon stocks. Closing fisheries is not an action that is taken without careful consideration. In reaching this position the Environment Agency (EA) has followed the NASCO guidelines and applied the Precautionary Approach to the conservation and management of salmon populations, giving priority to conserving and protecting salmon stocks.

The EA understands that these new management measures could impose a financial burden on licensed drift netsmen. It has not taken the decision to propose measures lightly, but salmon are in decline across the country. On the grounds of ensuring stocks exist at a sustainable level now and in the future, these are the measures that are being proposed.

The EA intends to formally advertise its proposals later this month and all stakeholders will have the opportunity to respond to the proposed byelaws and to request changes or modifications.

Wednesday's fishing news from Newlyn.


A bonnie morning aboard the Bonnie Grace...







Newlyn fish market might not have grid girls but it does have blondes by the boxload on the market most mornings...


and a few reds...





while the beam trawler, St Georges popped a few haddock...


and gurnards ashore...


the handliners were busy on the mackerel yesterday...


the big hake were landed by the netter, Ajax...



along with a few pollack...


while the St Georges added to the year's cuttlefish tally...




young Mr Cripps removed the last of the boxes ready to be loaded into the back of the transport...



while Edwin picked up the last of the Falfish insulated tubs for cleaning back at base - with the oil content now well below ideal, Falfish have suspended taking any more sardines at this late stage in the season...





a few of the boats in between trips caught in the morning light...


along with some of the ports regular gull population...



including this unusual winter visitor much loved by twitchers far and wide...



the old Ttegen Mor is looking good...




as is some of the harbours luxurious growth...


found in the oddest of places...




one of the port's regular tug visitors now they are based in Newlyn...


enjoying some of the warmth in the morning glow...




as is Captain Courageous; great to see Cod headed out to sea again...


he's not the only one to make an early start...




Billy and the baby gull...


the latest crabber project in the port.