Visualization of Hurricane Sandy’s widespread impact; credit: NOAA
Note: current updates are being made at the bottom of this post as we find them. Please add yours in the comments!
First and foremost, we hope all of you managed to stay safe during Hurricane Sandy, wherever it hit you, and whatever your moniker of choice ended up being. Bonus points if you stayed warm and dry. The fish can head to deep water, and the birds can fly on through, but those of us with neither fins nor feathers batten down the hatches, stock the cupboards and hunker down until the storm passes. Fishing news from this coast slowed to a near stop, although the news that was being made will affect us all for a good time to come.
In Rhode Island, fishermen prepared their boats as best they could. Some fishermen were determined to catch that last fish, warnings be damned. Sandy took to New Jersey late afternoon Monday, doing significant damage to coastal homes and businesses. Fishing piers up and down the coast were hit hard, with news that the Ocean City, Maryland fishing pier had been destroyed circulating as early as Monday mid-day. Impact reports are still rolling in, and there are ultimately too many stories to list here, but CBS News has a state by state impact report here.
Away from the front lines of the storm, debates are raging about where Frankenstorm came from, how it’s related to climate change and what other measures we could have taken to prepare for it (Paul Greenberg says: more oysters). One conversation of note is the renewed concern that’s circulating about gaps in the federal budget that would have funded the satellites that allow us to track this storm with such accuracy. We are already facing holes in satellite coverage as a result of austerity cuts to NOAA’s budget, and although the administration has tried to plug the hole by shifting funds from other programs (including fisheries), this is a major reminder of how appropriations—a process that often plays out as a closed-door, abstract game for the wonkiest of wonks—translates into real life impacts. We’ve worked very closely on NOAA’s budget here at the Network, and will come back to that soon. The takeaway right now is that this matters.
In other storm related fish news, fresh fish will likely be in short supply around the country thanks to the fact that 600 miles of coastline was being battered by unfishable conditions. If you’re in Chatham, you can go straight to the source though; the Cape Cod Hook and Line Fishermen’s Association still has power and plenty of oysters for their Meet the Fleet event. Now that’s how to beat cabin fever.
We’re also keeping an eye on scheduled meetings and events that have been disrupted by Sandy and have been postponed or canceled. Of particular note: the Atlantic States Marine Fishery Commission has postponed some menhaden hearings along the coast. Their press release is here, and the Herring Alliance has a helpful list of which meetings have been postponed or rescheduled.
Let us know if we’ve missed any important fishing related storm news in the comments—we’ll also update as we find more.
[Update 10/31/12 5:40 p.m.]
Richard Gaines gives a rundown of the storm’s impact on the fishing industry, but not without a few barbs out for the government. His sources speak largely of a static market for fish due to widespread transportation system shut-down.
Seafoodnews.com reports that the port of New York still does not have power. [subscription required]
This story points to raw and partially treated sewage that spilled into rivers and estuaries along the coast as a result of the storm. Virginia has suspended shellfish harvesting in the Chesapeake as a result.
And Climate Central has a great roundup of all the places the web is talking about Sandy.
[Update 11/1/12 12:40 pm]
A swordfish crew from New Bedford got swept up in Hurricane Sandy while at sea; they have made safe landing in Shelbourne, Nova Scotia. They are reported to be exhausted but alive. Significant damage was done to their boat.
Maryland Department of Natural Resources is calling the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the Chesapeake Bay “less than expected“.
The Savannah Morning news offers a forecast of how Sandy will affect local fishing in Georgia.
[Update 11/2/12 11:12 a.m.]
National Geographic has posted a write-up on the recovery of fishing communities after hurricanes, including a look at potential disaster declarations and their history in the Mid-Atlantic.
Asbury Park Press predicts that no one will be fishing the Jersey coastline anytime soon. Harbors are destroyed and it may take a while for fish to come back after the storm.
Long Island Newsday features similar devastation to the Long Island fishing community.
More on how Sandy is impacting seafood supply and demand, including low demand due to continued wide-spread power outages, and difficultly in the supply chain.
We have word from a longtime Network friend and New Jersey member that he and family are safe, although they suffered significant damage to their home of many years. Our hearts are with them and all the others coping with loss.