Today's Main Story: Atlantic Scallop Surveys Delayed After NOAA Loses $450,000 Underwater HabCam
Atlantic scallop survey data could be limited after NOAA lost its underwater habitat camera during a survey expedition in Delaware Bay. Scientists aboard the research vessel Sharp lost the $450,000 camera after its tow cable was ensnared on a sunken ship in the Bay. It's expected to take about a week for NOAA to retrieve the camera. In the meantime, researchers said they will complete the scallop assessment using dredge surveys. Industry stakeholders said the accident was preventable. “It’s an accident that shouldn’t have happened — the wreck is well-known and its location is well known, so the captain shouldn’t have been towing in that area,” said Drew Minkiewicz an attorney for the Fisheries Survival Fund. “It’s going to take them over a week, of the very limited time on the research vessel Sharp, to get back on the survey. …We’re going to lose data.”
Provincial Fisheries Minister Steve Crocker said proposed quota cuts to Newfoundland's shrimp industry will hurt the inshore industry more than the offshore sector because of how the Last-In, First-Out (LIFO) policy is structured. "If LIFO is applied this year, the inshore harvesters are going to have approximately 10,000 tonnes to harvest. Last year they harvested I think it was 32 or 34,000 tonnes," said Crocker in a presentation to federal officials. Crocker also argued that the policy could cause the number of shrimp processing plants to drop from ten to two.
In other news, McDonald’s, Tesco, Birds Eye, Young’s Seafood, and Fiskebat, which represent the Norwegian oceangoing fishing fleet, will not source cod from Arctic waters. The industry agreed to work with the Norwegian government to define and protect areas that may be vulnerable to trawling. “From the 2016 season the catching sector will not expand their cod fishing activities with trawl gear into those areas where regular fishing has not taken place before," the agreement states.
Meanwhile, domestic seafood processors in Maryland and Virginia say they are short on labor because of five and six-week delays in getting workers from the Department of Labor's H-2B visa program. The Department is backed up from a flood of applicants and because of technical glitches with the agency's e-filing system.
Finally, the hike to Alaska's state fish taxes is part of Gov. Bill Walkers's proposed omnibus tax bill that will once again go up for consideration during fourth special session of the state Legislature. Most fisheries landing taxes would be raised 1 percent, as in the regular session legislation; the major exception being a tax decrease from 4 percent to 1 percent on developing commercial fisheries. Alaska's state government could shut down in six weeks if the bill is not passed.
To Read Full Story Login Below.