Off Squibnocket, NOAA Ship Pursues Mission to Survey Sea Bottom

The coastal mapping vessel Ferdinand R. Hassler is nearing the end of a two-month mission to gather data south of the Vineyard. The data will be used to update nautical charts that are based on surveys conducted mostly before 1940.

To Protect Cod, Start With Habitat

Will we be the last generation to enjoy cod in New England?

Three Sites Under Study As Marine Sanctuaries in Waters Off Vineyard

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.

NOAA Takes Over Sea Animal Rescues

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.

Paper Charts Go the Way of Sextant in Digital Age

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.

NOAA Research Vessel Charts Deep Water Secrets

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 it.

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.

NOAA Rejects Grant Proposal to Bolster Vineyard Shellfishing

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.”

Quest for Shellfishing Stimulus Millions

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.”

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.

State of Fisheries: Lawmakers Dubious

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