Three Sites Under Study As Marine Sanctuaries in Waters Off Vineyard
Remy Tumin

An Island-based group that includes fishermen, a documentary filmmaker and a world-renowned oceanographer are leading an unprecedented effort to create three marine protected areas in waters south of the Vineyard.

Read More

NOAA Takes Over Sea Animal Rescues
Sara Brown

The New England Aquarium is shifting its mammal rescue efforts to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It will no longer be the lead response agency for seal, dolphin and whale strandings Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and the north shore of Massachusetts.

Read More

Paper Charts Go the Way of Sextant in Digital Age
Mark Alan Lovewell

For many boaters the writing was already on the wall, but now it’s official. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, office of nautical charts, announced last week it is moving out of the chart printing business. Next April the Maryland government facility that prints them will close.

The NOAA Office of Coastal Survey Marine Chart Division will continue to keep all its waterway information up to date using high-tech measures involving survey work, and charts will be electronically accessible for free in a number of ways.

Read More

NOAA Research Vessel Charts Deep Water Secrets
Mark Alan Lovewell

Quick's Hole is a narrow passage that lies between the islands
of Pasque and Nashawena, a treacherous passage lined with boulders on
either side that earned its name from the swift currents running through

The hole lies seven miles northwest of Menemsha. Vessels traveling
between Menemsha and New Bedford use this channel to thread the chain of
the Elizabeth Islands. Rocks are visible along the shoreline, and many
more dangers lie below, charted and uncharted.

Read More

Quest for Shellfishing Stimulus Millions
Sam Bungey

Last month Congress allotted $170 million to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) — an unprecedented funding pool for the fisheries service — with the goal of creating several thousand jobs.

Warren Doty knew he wanted a piece.

“They said, we want jobs,” said the Chilmark selectman and member of the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group. “And I thought, okay, let’s go, I’ll give you jobs.”

Read More

NOAA Rejects Grant Proposal to Bolster Vineyard Shellfishing
Sam Bungey

A grant proposal to rejuvenate Island shellfishing was rejected in a nine-figure National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) stimulus program announced this week, and it is fair to say that Warren Doty, the Chilmark selectman who spearheaded the Vineyard bid, is somewhat miffed.

“There are no jobs for the little guys,” he told the Gazette. “Our proposal had $20-an-hour employees and a five per cent overhead. Meanwhile there was $8 million to Maine to build a dam and a big chunk of that goes to the contractor for their profits.”

Read More

Cod Rebound in Question, Study Bearish on Stocks

After years of what seemed an encouraging recovery for the once-storied New England cod fishery, federal regulators recently announced that an important stock is failing.

A 2008 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study of the Gulf of Maine cod stock revealed a fishery rebounding after decades of overfishing, and on pace to be rebuilt by a 2014 deadline set by federal regulators. But just three years later NOAA now says that the fishery is near collapse and may require a fishery-wide shutdown to recover.

Read More

State of Fisheries: Lawmakers Dubious
Peter Brannen

The outlook for the fisheries is improving, a leading federal administrator told a congressional panel in Boston early this week, but lawmakers were unconvinced.

Read More

Bluefin Tuna Denied Endangered Status
Mark Alan Lovewell

Bluefin tuna — the center of a highly lucrative commercial fishery and heated controversy about overfishing — will not be listed as an endangered species, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced last week.

“NOAA is formally designating both the western Atlantic and eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean stocks of bluefin tuna as species of concern under the Endangered Species Act,” a press release that accompanied the decision said.

Read More