The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reminded mariners to keep a sharp lookout for North Atlantic right whales in southeast US waters from November 15 through April 15. North Atlantic right whales are among the most endangered marine mammal populations in the world. Vessel strikes and entanglement in fixed fishing gear are the two greatest threats to their recovery. This species is protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973 and the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, and NOAA’s Fisheries Service reminds mariners and anglers of some specific regulations implemented to protect the species. • Federal law prohibits approaching or remaining within 500 yards of right whales. • Gillnet fishing and possession is prohibited in the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area North from Nov. 15 through April 15, with an exemption for transiting through this area if gear is stowed in accordance with the rule. • Gillnet fishing is prohibited in the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area South from Dec. 1 through March 31, with limited exemptions for gillnet fishing for sharks and Spanish mackerel. • Effective Dec. 9, the Right Whale Ship Strike Reduction Rule restricts vessel greater than 65 feet to speeds of 10 knots or less in seasonal management areas including calving and nursery grounds in the southeastern U.S. from Nov. 15 through April 15.
A USCG boat crew from Station Juneau cited and terminated a commercial fishing boat crews' operations in Stephen's Passage. The USCG crew stopped 31-ft. gillnet boat Lil' Lugger for a federal requirements compliance check. The boat contained only one immersion suit for three fishermen. The Station Juneau crew also noted an insufficient number of fire extinguishers and sound producing devices used for signaling help during distress situations
By Larry Pearson Marine science is making great strides forward due in large measure to several new vessels that have delivered recently and others under construction Headlining this news is the Oscar Dyson, the first of four vessels loaded with scientific gear that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is having built at VT Halter Marine, Pascagoula, Miss. The first vessel was completed in September of 2004 and as the Oscar Dyson was being completed
After 50 years at the helm, founding President Harold Mathers has retired from ZF Mathers. Mathers signed papers a year ago transferring ownerships of the company to ZF Marine, the world’s largest supplier of marine propulsion systems. Russ Polansky, formerly branch manager of ZFI Marine in Seattle, was appointed to head up the AF Mathers facility. As part of the agreement with ZF Marine, Mathers stayed actively involved in day-to-day operations until a smooth transition had been made.
Great Lakes Shipyard this month awarded Rapp Hydema NW the deck machinery packages for two U.S. Geological Survey research vessels now under construction. Rapp’s award includes a pair of trawl winches, a centerline winch, side-sampling winches port and starboard, and a dual net reel, for each vessel. Rapp will be providing its state-of-the art PTS Pentagon Canbus system for winch control and monitoring, as well a Rapp Syd gillnet lifter for each boat
Tyler Boats of Sedro Woolley launched its second 22-ft by 11-ft Seine Skiff. Powered by a John Deere 6081, 375 hp engine, this seine skiff is designed to pull. Helped by a 32-inch nozzle steering these skiffs have a pull measurement over 9,500 lbs. This pulling power is harnessed within a stable designed platform for the operator. The seine skiff is often described as the “weak link” in a purse seine operation
The Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises Ocean Fund awarded $796,000 on March 30 in 15 new grants to marine conservation and environmental organizations, including a $100,000 grant to The Conservation Fund for its Alaska land preservation program and a $100,000 grant to Conservation International for its campaign to conserve Caribbean biodiversity. Almost $9 million has been awarded to 64 non-profit organizations working to protect the marine environment since the fund’s