Hurricane Sandy devastation. (Photo: Stock File)
Hurricane Sandy stirs up trouble for NE fishing sector
Saturday, November 03, 2012, 03:00 (GMT + 9)
Hurricane Sandy did not spare New Jersey’s or New York’s fishing communities. Fishers are ready to venture out into the seas again soon, but nobody knows how long it will take for things to settle down so that the fish start biting again.
The hurricane also destroyed Atlantic Highlands Municipal Harbour in NJ. Captains took their boats to Tottenville on Staten Island, New York to keep them safe.
NJ fishers fear they are out of business because the docks are gone, and it is unclear when repairs would be made to the harbour docks – but it probably will be after Spring 2013, Asbury Park Press reports.
Fishing piers were destroyed too, News Day reports.
Another problem is contamination.
State officials warned people this week to stay away from water or fish from several waterways in northern New Jersey, after billions of gal of raw sewage poured out from treatment plants that flooded and lost power due to Hurricane Sandy.
"We would advise that people not fish, or eat fish, from the area surrounding each plant," said Larry Hajna, a spokesperson for the state Department of Environmental Protection, The Star-Ledger reports.
The advisory applies to the Hudson, Raritan, Passaic and Hackensack rivers, Newark and Raritan bays, and the Kill van Kull and Arthur Kill.
The Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission plant alone has been releasing about 400 million-500 million gal of untreated sewage a day into Newark Bay since it lost power on Monday night, Hajna said.
Further, the Middlesex County Utilities Authority treatment plant on the Raritan River in Sayreville has been discharging 300 million gal a day since it shut down early this week, he said.
Other damaged plants include the North Hudson Sewerage Authority near the Hudson River in Hoboken, across from New York City, and the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority in Union Beach, on Raritan Bay.
Untreated wastewater carries high levels of harmful bacteria, including the e-coli virus, which can cause diarrhea, kidney failure and death, as well as salmonella and even meningitis, officials cautioned.
Meanwhile, nobody is buying fish – even from safe sources – because power is out in many homes, and people have nowhere to store seafood, Morning Sentinel reports.
"There's been nothing going on -- no trucks, planes or anything going down through Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania," said McAleney, who owns New Meadows Lobster Co in Portland, Maine. "People aren't interested in seafood right now. They're interested in getting their lives back in order."
Experts say the result may be another lobster glut, except this time it will impact the entire seafood industry.
By Natalia Real