News Notes – Mid-Atlantic

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Maryland receives $10M for blue crab industry

The blue crab is the focus of a rebuilding effort by the State of Maryland.

The State of Maryland was given $10 million in federal fishery disaster funding to help rescue Chesapeake Bay’s struggling blue crab industry. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service is responsible for the fund, after the area received a federal fisheries disaster declaration earlier this year.

The plans for use of the fund include a focus on aquaculture and tourism to create long-term economic opportunities, investing in new processing methods to improve economic viability and product quality, as well as supporting habitat restoration, according to NOAA. The fund augments the $3 million in state capital funding already set aside to employ watermen and provide financial assistance to seafood business affected by the crab decline.

“The State of Maryland will invest this money in the essential habitat restoration projects and new economic opportunities that will help rebuild our blue crab population,” says Maryland governor Martin O’Malle.

For information, go to www.dnr.maryland.gov.

Bay coalition seeks aid for cleaner waters

A new alliance in the Chesapeake Bay area is requesting federal aid in cleaning up and protecting local waterways.

The recently launched Choose Clean Water Campaign comprises more than 60 organizations from the District of Columbia and six surrounding states.

“We want results and will expect leadership, resources and effective implementation of programs from officials in our federal, state and local governments,” says Tony Caligiuri, regional executive director at the National Wildlife Federation.

The coalition will seek to ensure all pollution sources to the Bay are reduced to no more than what the Bay can sustain, seek changes to federal transportation that will cut down pollution from highway runoff, and seek strong climate change legislation to address the impact of global warming on the waterways.

A full-time staff, hired by the coalition, plans to coordinate the campaign’s activities and strategize a meeting for federal, state and local decision-makers to report on the protection and clean-up efforts, according to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

An executive order, issued by President Obama, requests a federal role in cleaning the local waters of the Bay. The president’s order will provide assurance to the local communities of the legal authority and resources to clean up the local rivers and streams, protecting fishable and swimming waters, as well as providing every citizen the right to clean water, said the new coalition’s director, Hilary Harp Falk.

For information and a list of coalition and non-profit members, visit www.cbf.org.

BoatU.S. honors Va., N.J. franchises

The BoatU.S. Towing Services Annual Conference singled out two area companies for their heroism and professionalism at sea.

U.S. Coast Guard chief of search and rescue Capt. David McBride presented the BoatU.S. Life Saving Award to TowBoatU.S. Virginia Beach, Va., for its involvement in the rescue of four anglers during a storm last year off the coast of Cape Henry, Va. After a container ship notified the Coast Guard of the stricken vessel, Capt. Byron Farlow was first on the scene of the capsizing, which plunged three men and one woman into 48-degree waters.

As the container ship moved upwind to shelter the small towboat from rough seas and 50 mph wind gusts, Farlow pulled all four anglers from the ocean and sped them back to shore and waiting ambulances. Three of the people experienced mild hypothermia, but all survived.

Tower of the Year honors went to TowBoatU.S. Manasquan, N.J., owned and operated by Capt. Tom Hurst. The company was honored for its near-perfect towing dispatch operation, case management, and best safety record for a high-volume towing business.

Marine museum adds historic fishing vessel

The Calvert Marine Museum recently welcomed a new addition: a 45-foot wooden-hulled vessel dubbed Rock-A-Bye.

Harvey J. Poole Jr., a Tacoma, Md., native, purchased the original crab and oyster boat in 1958. After alteration, the boat was converted to a charter fishing vessel.

The boat operated out of the Rod-N-Reel in the Chesapeake in the late 1950s. After Poole Jr. sold her, she was relocated to Solomons, Md. She returned to the Eastern Shore in 1977.

For information, and to see a complete listing of events and programs, go to www.calvertmarinemuseum.com.

New owner’s club for Boston Whaler

Boston Whaler Boats now has a factory-sponsored owners club.

The Boston Whaler Owners Club features a still-growing package of exclusive discounts and offers, fellow Whaler owner interaction, special events and other benefits available only to Whaler owners. The club is operated as a totally interactive, online experience with free membership for current Whaler owners.

“For 50 years, Boston Whalers have been universally recognized as unique and superior products. As a result, Whaler owners have been an intensely loyal group,” said John Ward, president of Boston Whaler.

A partial list of the wide range of benefits for Boston Whaler Owners Club members currently includes sponsor discounts and benefits from Mercury Marine, BoatTrader.com, boat shows, apparel, insurance and on-water towing. Benefits include a free e-magazine and newsletter. www.bostonwhalerownersclub.com

This article originally appeared in the Mid-Atlantic Home Waters Section of the August 2009 issue.