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Fisherman: Justices ruled on technicalities, not merits

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear New Hampshire fisherman David Goethel’s case that challenged the federal government’s ability to force commercial fishermen to pay the costs of at-sea monitoring.

The rejection by the Supreme Court is the third defeat suffered by Goethel and co-plaintiff South Dartmouth-based Northeast Fishing Sector XIII since they first sued NOAA Fisheries and other federal officials in December 2015 in U.S. District Court in New Hampshire.

The court’s rejection closes the door on this particular legal challenge of the government’s right to impose the cost of at-sea monitoring on commercial fishermen, as the Supreme Court also declined to remand the case back to a lower court.

 “The Supreme Court was our last judicial hope to save the centuries-old New England industry,” Goethel said in a statement.



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At least 21 people are dead after a fishing boat carrying migrants sank off Turkey’s Black Sea coast Friday.  

ISTANBUL —At least 21 people are dead after a fishing boat carrying migrants sank off Turkey’s Black Sea coast Friday, according to the country’s coast guard.

The boat capsized near the coastal town of Kefken in northwestern Turkey. The coast guard said that 40 people had been rescued.

The nationalities of those on board was unclear, as were their destinations.

Rescue teams were still searching for five people reported missing. Coast guard boats and commercial ships were taking part in the search along with a helicopter and a plane.

While Turkey’s Aegean coast is popular with people smugglers to send Syrians and other refugees to the Greek islands, a growing number of migrants departing from Turkish coasts have recently been trying to reach Romania by way of the Black Sea.



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John Sladewski /Standard Times via AP/Carlos Rafael, talking on the phone in 2014 near his herring boat F/V Voyager in New Bedford, is due to be sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to evading fishing quotas and smuggling money to Portugal.

The specter of Carlos Rafael, along with his legal baggage and trove of groundfish permits, continues to hang over the New England commercial fishing industry like a shroud that most stakeholders wish would just go away.

The sentencing of Rafael, the New Bedford fishing magnate known as “The Codfather” for his expansive vessel and groundfish permit holdings, is set to begin Monday in U.S. District Court in Boston on charges of conspiracy, lying to federal fishing regulators about the nature and size of his groundfish landings and bulk smuggling.

“We can’t wait for this to be resolved,” said Maggie Raymond of the Associated Fisheries of Maine.

The sentencing of the 65-year-old Rafael, who pleaded guilty in March as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors, won’t end the contretemps. Not by a long shot.



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‘That’s good news to us and that’s all the fishermen ever wanted,’ says fishermen’s association president

Lobster fishermen on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore say they are relieved to learn the federal government’s plan to establish a marine-protection area in the waters along their coast won’t hurt the local fishery.

“That’s good news to us and that’s all the fishermen ever wanted, but we’re still concerned about the designation and the management of it going forward,” said Peter Connors, president of Eastern Shore Fisherman’s Protective Association.

“We certainly aren’t against the protection of the area here, and we’ve been working hard and spending a lot of money for years to help with conservation and protection.”

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is in the early stages of working out the logistics of protecting 2,000 square kilometres of water between the communities of Clam Harbour and Liscomb Point.



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Anglers will learn Monday whether there will be an open season for red snapper off the Atlantic Coast next month, which would be one of the few opportunities to harvest the highly-sought fish since strict protections went into effect in 2010.

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, which sets fishing regulations in federal waters off the Southeast coast, will consider several options during its meeting in Charleston, S.C., that would open red snapper Oct. 6 and last anywhere from seven to 23 days spread over three-day weekends.



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Saturday (Sept. 23) is a “free fishing day” in New York State, meaning residents and non-residents can fish for free on any of the state’s freshwaters without a fishing license.

The day is one of four new, free fishing days that have been added as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative.



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A report on cameras on fishing boats, dismissed by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy, had been described as “robust” by a top ministry science advisor, emails show.

It raised doubts about whether camera technology on fishing boats would be much use in court as evidence of illegal fishing.

MPI later called the report “misleading” and poor quality, and Mr Guy said scientists had binned it.

But in emails released to the Green Party under the Official Information Act, a top science advisor described the report as “robust and sound”.

The emails also show the controversial report, written in 2015, was done after two MPI forensic investigators decided unilaterally to test fishing boat cameras. They analysed pictures of snapper taken during a trial of cameras on fishing trawlers operating between Cape Reinga and the East Cape.



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Lake Palestine will serve as the site for a Texas High School Bass Association East Division fishing tournament on Saturday. This body of water will be fished twice during the regular-season slate.

BULLARD — High school bass fishing is growing in popularity, and you don’t have to leave the Trinity Valley to experience the growth.

Palestine, Oakwood and Elkhart are among the new high schools that have fielded fishing teams this season.

All three schools will join Frankston at the Texas High School Bass Association East Division tournament set for Saturday at Lake Palestine.

 The first cast is set for 6:45 a.m., and Bullard High School is serving as the tournament host.

“It has blown up,” said current Frankston team advisor Ryan McCoy. “Frankston started it four years ago. We had an average of 80 teams per tournament, but now it’s up to 200 two-man teams. That’s 400 student anglers.”



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ON THE SHORELINE OF THE DELAWARE RIVER — “I don’t pull trout out of a hole,” said Ed Tansue, “it was trout that pulled me out of a hole.”

Tansue, who lives in Saylorsburg, Pa., was awaiting a trip down a section of the Delaware River in a drift boat, fly-casting for whatever might be there.

Tansue was among 10 participants in Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, and spent a day on the river as guests of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

The program, founded in 2005 by a retired U.S. Navy captain, “is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings.”

That’s the formal statement from the group’s website (

It hits home a little harder when the idea of the group is spoken by one of the project coordinators, John Rocchio: “Trout live in very lovely places.”

A Vietnam Era veteran, Rocchio helps put together events such as the fishing trip earlier this week.

Nine of the group are from Pennsylvania and one came from Dover, Del. The Pocono Environmental Education Center, located within the national park, provided room and board for the trip.



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LONDON: More than a third of migrant fishermen in Thailand clearly were victims of trafficking over the past five years and even more workers in the industry were possibly trafficked as well, according to a report published on Thursday.

Routinely underpaid and physically abused, three-quarters of migrants working on Thai fishing vessels have been in debt bondage, working to pay off an obligation, said the study by the anti-trafficking group International Justice Mission (IJM) and the Bangkok-based Issara Institute, an anti-trafficking NGO.

(IJM’s website is here and the Issara Institute’s is here. The report cited in this story can be read and downloaded here or [PDF link] here.

Thailand’s multi-billion dollar seafood sector came under fire in recent years after investigations showed widespread slavery, trafficking and violence on fishing boats and in onshore food processing factories.

The politically unstable country, which is under military rule, has vowed to crack down on trafficking and recently introduced reforms to its fisheries law.



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