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RIFA WEEKLY UPDATE: 12/13/2015

by R.I. Fishermen's Alliance on 12/13/15

New this week:

 

House Panel Supports Efforts to Safeguard Atlantic Coast Fisheries Access, Protect Against Obama Administration's Potential Unilateral Fisheries Closures

The House Committee on Natural Resources held an oversight field hearing in Riverhead, NY on public access to Atlantic fisheries and the impact and implementation of federal decision-making on the commercial and recreational fishing industry and local economies. The panel received testimony from fisheries stakeholders and a representative from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). One focal point of the hearing was the possible designation by the Obama Administration of National Marine Monuments along the Atlantic Coast using the Antiquities Act, which would deny public input and usurp established habitat and fisheries management plans. Commercial and recreational fisheries stakeholders before the panel supported Committee efforts to ensure public input in future potential designations.

 

Rhode Island's Groundfish Economic Assistance Program Now Accepting Applications

The following was released by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management: A new federal funding opportunity is available for Rhode Island fishermen through the Groundfish Disaster Economic Assistance Program, a direct-aid disbursement plan funded by the NOAA in response to the September 12, 2012 Northeast Multispecies (groundfish) disaster declaration by the Acting Secretary of Commerce. The groundfish disaster was declared for the 2013 fishing year in the states of Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, and New York. Additional information and applications can be found online at www.dem.ri.gov/groundfish.htm. Interested applicants should contact the program administrator, Amy MacKown, at 401-782-4492 or amy.mackown@dem.ri.gov. The deadline to submit an application is January 15th.

 

New England Fishermen file lawsuit over At-Sea Monitoring Mandate

Cause of Action is announcing that its clients, David Goethel, owner and operator of F/V Ellen Diane, a 44-foot fishing trawler based in Hampton, N.H., and Northeast Fishery Sector 13, a nonprofit entity comprised of over 20 groundfishermen located up and down the eastern seaboard, are suing the U.S. Department of Commerce over a program that would devastate much of the East Coast's ground fish industry. The complaint challenges the legality of a federal mandate requiring groundfishermen in the Northeast United States to not only carry National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ("NOAA") enforcement contractors known as "at-sea monitors" on their vessels during fishing trips, but to soon begin paying out-of-pocket for the cost of these authorities. In addition to the complaint, the Plaintiffs have filed a motion for a preliminary injunction that would protect fishermen from having to bear the costs of the at-sea monitors.

 

Pacific Seafood sues government calling fishery quota restrictions illegal

California-based groundfish catcher and processor Pacific Seafood Group has sued the US government seeking to overturn what they say are "illegal" regulations that threaten the company's future. A company subsidiary, Pacific Choice Seafoods, which operates a processing plant as well as vessels that fish the Pacific Coast groundfish limited-entry trawl fishery, filed suit on Dec. 4 in a northern California federal court against the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and its ultimate overseer, US commerce secretary Penny Pritzker.

 

 

Job Opportunities:

 

Captains, Mates and Crewmembers

Located in Point Judith Rhode Island, The Town Dock is looking to expand our fleet of commercial fishing vessels and we are seeking motivated and dependable self-employed Captains, Mates, and Crewmembers to meet the high demand for fresh seafood. These are year-round trip vessels that fish anywhere from Virginia to the Canadian line fishing for squid, scup, herring, fluke, whiting, and groundfish. Experience is helpful but not necessary. If you are interested, please send a resume and contact information to fishingjobs@towndock.com.

 

See our website for more job postings.

 

 

Proclamations:

 

Amendments to the RI Marine Fisheries regulations (RIMFR) were filed as a result of the public hearing held on November 16th, and RI Marine Fisheries Council meeting held on December 7th. These regulations will become effective on January 1, 2016. In summary, the amendments are as follows:

 

RIMFR - Finfish

  • Section 7.1.2(D): Notification of modifications to possession limits and/or seasons for marine species regulated under quota;

  • Section 7.2.4: Possession limit compliance;

  • Section 7.7.2: Commercial Summer flounder management;

  • Section 7.10.1: Commercial Bluefish management;

  • Section 7.14.1: Commercial Black sea bass management.

 

RIMFR - Part I Legislative Findings

  • Section 1.3: New and amended definitions.

 

 

Meetings:

 

NEFMC: Notice of Scoping Hearings Amendment 22 to the Northeast Small-Mesh Multispecies Fishery

The New England Fishery Management Council is conducting five public hearings to solicit comments on developing Amendment 22 to the Northeast Small-Mesh Multispecies Fishery. The purpose of this action is to implement measures that would prevent unrestrained increases in fishing effort by new entrants to the fishery. The need for the amendment is to reduce the potential for a rapid escalation of the small-mesh multispecies fishery, possibly causing overfishing and having a negative effect on red hake and whiting markets, both outcomes having negative effects on fishery participants.

  • Dec 8, 2015 at 7:00pm, MA DMF of Marine Fisheries, Annisquam River Marine Fisheries Station, 30 Emerson Ave, Gloucester, MA 01930, Phone (978) 282-0308

  • Dec 14, 2015 at 7:00pm, Fairfield Inn & Suites, 185 MacArthur Drive, New Bedford, MA 02740, Phone (774) 634-2000

  • Dec 17, 2015 from 3:00-5:00pm via Webinar, Register to participate, Call in info: (Toll) +1 (914) 614-3221 Access Code: 539-710-362

  • Dec 21, 2015 at 7:00pm, Montauk Playhouse Community Center Foundation, Inc., 240 Edgemere St, Montauk, NY 11954, Phone (631) 668-1124

 

Sea2Shore Project Open House: Dec 15

National Grid's sea2shore project, which will connect the under-construction Block Island Wind Farm to the statewide electric grid, is scheduled for completion by the end of 2016. National Grid anticipates construction on the land-based portion of sea2shore to begin in January and the offshore portion to take place from February-May. Because of the sea-based components for this project, National Grid is making an effort to keep you informed of progress and ensure that you have a direct line of communication with their team. As such, they will be hosting an open house specifically for those involved in the fishing and marine industries on Tuesday, December 15 from 6:00-7:00pm at the Coastal Institute at URI's Bay Campus. The evening will consist of a brief presentation by National Grid, followed by the opportunity to speak with many of National Grid's project team members about all project components. Advance registration is not necessary. However, if you have specific questions that you'd like answered at the event, please feel free to send them to info@sea2shoreri.com prior to December 11. National Grid will also be hosting an online webinar for the general public on Thursday, December 17 at 7:00pm. The webinar requires a computer, tablet or mobile phone and an internet connection, which allows you to interact with the project team from the comfort of your home or business. Please check the project website ngrid.com/sea2shore for more details and to register.

 

New England States Schedule Hearings on the Public Hearing Document for Draft Amendment 3 to the Atlantic Herring FMP: Jan 4

New England states of Maine through Massachusetts have scheduled their hearings to gather public comment on the Public Hearing Document for Draft Amendment 3 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Herring.

Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management

Monday, January 4th from 6-9 PM

University of Rhode Island Bay Campus

Corless Auditorium

South Ferry Road

Narragansett, RI

Contact: John Lake at 401.423.1942

 

 

ASMFC 2016 Winter Meeting Preliminary Agenda: Feb 2-4

The preliminary agenda and public comment guidelines for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's 2016 Winter Meeting, February 2-4, 2016 in Alexandria, VA is available at http://www.asmfc.org/home/2016-winter-meeting. Materials will be available on January 21, 2016.