Category Archive: FISH SAFE

FISH SAFE: Pandemic stress is real, but fishermen finding ways  to cope, survive, push forward through COVID-19

We can always count on the fact that the full moon of August, the Sturgeon Moon, will give way to the full moon of September, the Corn Moon. It happens every year with astronomical consistency in the heavens. But here in 2020, on earth versus the heavens, any consistency we expected in past years – …

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FISH-SAFE: Vessel incidents and economic impact – Any relationship?

The fishing industry, as we all know, was hit hard beginning this past March when the COVID-19 pandemic really took hold in the US. While federal and state governments identified and designated fishing as an “essential industry” – one that could remain open while others had to shut down – the supply chains associated with fishing …

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FISH-SAFE: Fishing industry during COVID-19: Essential, but paralyzed?

What do you do when your industry is categorized “essential” — along with agriculture, pharmacies, grocery stores, manufacturing, and hospitals — but your supply chain is disrupted? You adapt.  Something that fishermen here are good at, though no one has ever seen anything quite like this. On Mar. 15, Gov. Janet Mills of Maine declared …

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FISH-SAFE: A review of 2019 casualties from the Coast Guard database 

When we reflect back on the past year in the region’s commercial fishing industry, we first remember those whom we lost. It was a difficult year. There are eight families and numerous friends who lost fishermen from our area in 2019.  These folks have endured difficult changes in their lives and have had to make …

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FISH-SAFE: Colder weather may spur “hot work;”  certain precautions should be taken 

Cold weather here in the Northeast means many fishermen have hauled-out and will be making repairs over the coming months – either by themselves or by working with local marinas or boatyard facilities. Cold weather, of course, also means that some materials — I am thinking metal pipes and such — may be under stress …

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FISH-SAFE: Looking-out for the observers

As most readers know, fishery observers are trained participants in the National Observer Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who accompany fishing trips. They observe how much fish and what species are being caught, how bycatch is handled by the captain, and whether the boat is adhering to catch limits. When the …

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FISH SAFE: EPIRBs – A cautionary tale for fishermen

In early August, the US Coast Guard District 17 in Anchorage, AK reported that roughly 16 false EPIRB activations since October 2018 had cost taxpayers about $534,000 — or close to an average of $33,400 per false activation.  The actual cost of a false activation depends on the context of the false activation and how …

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FISH-SAFE: Pondering two types of preventable fishing vessel casualties common in summer months

Are there certain fishing vessel casualties we see in the summer months that we could classify as preventable? Could we reduce fishing vessel casualties if we raised awareness of such preventable casualties? The answer is, yes.  That would seem to be the case. The USCG database of fishing vessel casualties — documenting incidents to which …

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FISH SAFE: Situational awareness and confined space hazards

Let’s start with situational awareness. It is my sense that most fishermen either naturally have, or seem to develop, excellent situational awareness skills. They have keen eyes and ears for non-normal situations – whether it be a change in the sound of their boat engine, the sense that another vessel is approaching through the fog, …

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A look back at 2018 Coast Guard casualty responses

Last year, for the Maine Fishermen’s Forum issue (see CFN Mar. 2018), I dug into the Coast Guard Division I database for information on the casualties to which the Coast Guard responded. I thought I would do the same thing this year for comparison. Once again this article will focus on the medico and medevac …

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