In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, January 8

Abandonment of the whalers in the Arctic Ocean, September 1871. Scanned from the original Harper's Weekly 1871, courtesy of Robert Schwemmer Maritime Library, Image via NOAA.

  • New Bedford, MA was the hub of the whaling industry in the 1800s. Although dangerous, the profitable nature of the industry made it an attractive one. As cited in a recent article in The Economist, “of the 900-odd active whaling ships around the world in 1850, 700 were American, and 70% of those came from New Bedford. The article dives into the business behind the industry in New Bedford, saying that its business model, which focused on aligning incentives between crew, owners and managers, was its biggest asset. Firms were often invested in more than one expedition, and those on the expedition were dedicated to the work, sailing the world to find whales. The article says that although whaling in New Bedford lost its charm, the business practices used still exist today.
  • Searching the Alaskan Arctic waters, NOAA archaeologists discovered the remains of two whaling ships that had sunk in 1871. The two ships were part of a group of 33 that had become trapped by ice, leaving more than 1,200 whalers stranded. Those stranded would later be rescued and sail back home to Honlulu, San Francisco, and New Bedford. The event is considered “one of the major causes of the demise of commercial whaling in the United States.”
  • NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement hired seven uniformed enforcement officers who will be responsible for on dock patrol. The officers will have a focus on compliance assistance and education. Enforcement officers typically investigate matters such as landing fish over the limit, prohibited species, and other related issues.
  • Maine’s legislature is considering a bill that would “provide increased flexibility” in managing the state’s lucrative elver fishery and “promote maximum utilization of the elver quota.” The legislature’s Marine Resources Committee scheduled a hearing on the bill for Wednesday, January 13th at 10:00am.
  • The Coast Guard is reviewing safety policies following the death of a fishing boat captain whose boat had gone under last month. Captain David Sutherland had been rescued, but was unresponsive and could not be revived. The Coast Guard is in the early stages of an investigation.
  • Republican presidential candidate John Kasich is scheduled to meet with New Hampshire fishermen today to discuss concerns over federal regulations, particularly funding for at-sea monitoring. He is expected to meet in private with commercial and recreational fishermen, as well as industry members.
  • NEFMC released the agenda for it January full council meeting. The meeting will be held January 26-28 in Portsmouth, NH.


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