The New England Fishery Management Council is coming to visit this week, so we've aired out the FishOn guest room, changed the bedding and stocked the refrigerator with all manner of snacks. They just have to be sure to eat the ones on the right.

We are told by our pups in residence, Foster and Willie, aka The Boys, that the ones on the left are something called edibles, whatever those are. Well, we can't have council Chairman John Quinn rushing out for nachos in the middle of the meeting, so we'll go with The Boys on this one.

Quick aside on The Boys: They seem to lead a secret life. We just found out they're inviting sister poodles over in the afternoon when they've got the place to themselves. It's as if they're running a Parisian salon.

Back to the fish people.

This marks only the second time the council has held a monthly meeting in Gloucester in at least the last six years and this is a big one for the region's groundfishermen.

As you may have read last week in the Gloucester Daily Times, the council on Wednesday is set to discuss a rash of groundfish issues, including the range of alternatives contained in the amendment dealing with monitoring coverages.

It's a big deal. The fishermen ultimately will bear the burden of at-sea monitoring costs and probably will have to take on those associated with dockside and electronic monitoring should they be included in the final amendment.

And that, according to industry stakeholders, could bankrupt the fishery.

What we didn't get to write about is the agenda for the meetings — set to run from Monday through Thursday at the Beauport Hotel Gloucester on Commercial Street — also includes a Thursday presentation of the annual monitoring report for the small-mesh multispecies (starring whiting) fishery.

On Tuesday, the council is expected to take final action on the accepted level of biological catch for monkfish, skate and deep-sea red crab.

But the most interesting segment of all might be on Monday afternoon, when the council entertains reports on recent activities.

We understand the report by the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement will include a detailed breakdown by someone from NOAA of the agency's final settlement with fishing scofflaw Carlos Rafael that allows him to sell his remaining vessels and permits and keep the proceeds, which could reach into millions of dollars.

That, as you might imagine, should be a hot-take segment. But don't tell anybody we told you.

The ballad of Snake Eyes

Sad news last week on the discovery of the first dead right whale of 2019 in U.S. waters.

The approximately 40-year-old, 45-foot male — named Snake Eyes by whale researchers — was found off the coast of Long Island in a highly decomposed state. On Tuesday, researchers located the carcass about five miles south of Jones Beach.

The carcass was towed ashore Wednesday to Jones Beach State Park, where a necropsy team performed its examination and the carcass was buried. The results are pending.

The whale was last seen in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Canada on Aug. 6, entangled in gear after being observed gear-free there on July 16. He wasn't sighted again until his carcass was discovered.

Here's where sad collides with amazing, as in the amount of detailed information New England Aquarium researchers had on Snake Eyes' life history.

One researcher, Philip Hamilton, had known Snake Eyes — named for two bright white scars on his head — for just about all of Hamilton's 30 years with aquarium's Cabot Center for Ocean Life.

"It is with a heavy heart that we announce the death of an old friend — Snake Eyes, catalog #1226," Hamilton wrote to colleagues.

The aquarium maintains a right whale species catalog with every photo from researchers in the U.S. and Canada and Snake Eyes was a familiar presence. You can check out his history — and those of other whales — at http://rwcatalog.neaq.org/Terms.aspx.

Mo's final voyage

About 150 friends and family of Dwight D. "Mo" Montgomery boarded Cape Ann Whale Watch's Hurricane II whale watch boat last Saturday night to spread Mo's ashes into the ocean and celebrate the big man one last time.

Mo was 58 when he died last December from bone cancer. One of the best hockey players ever to come out of Gloucester, Mo played pucks at the University of Maine (Columbus Blue Jackets coach was a teammate) and drew attention from the Montreal Canadiens after leaving school.

He fished off many a Gloucester boat, including about 20 years with his brother John, known to all as Spicy. He also worked on the Hurricane II for Capt. Jimmy Douglass, giving birth to one of our favorite (printable) Mo lines.

When the whale watch trips were under way, Mo would tell the whale watchers that he was heading below deck to set out the whale food.

"How else do you think we get them to come to us?" asked Mo. 

Fair winds, Mo. Drive fast and take lots of chances.

A proposito de nada (our homage to the great Nick Cafardo)

Looking for Sox playoff tickets? Good seats. Should have plenty of room to stretch out.

As always, no fish were harmed in the making of this column.  

Contact Sean Horgan at 978-675-2714, or shorgan@gloucestertimes.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanGDT

Recommended for you