Marine archaeologists via the years have recognized 50 historic and trendy shipwrecks inside the Stellwagen Financial institution Nationwide Marine Sanctuary and there could also be as many as 200 extra that haven’t been recorded.
Now NOAA Fisheries and the sanctuary are reminding all vessel operators — together with business and leisure fishing vessels — to keep away from 4 of the shipwreck websites on the southern finish of the financial institution and inside the sanctuary. Business fishing vessels, notably these with bottom-tending gear, are a selected focus.
“NOAA acknowledges that fishermen need to keep away from shipwrecks to make sure the security of the crew and due to the dangers of damaging their gear when the gear will get hung up on a wreck or different objects on the ocean ground,” the company acknowledged in its bulletin. “Hanging up on a wreck may trigger severe injury to shipwrecks which have historic significance.”
The company and sanctuary, an oblong swath that runs from roughly three miles south of Cape Ann to 3 miles north of Cape Cod, urge business fishing vessels to maintain gear at the very least 400 toes away from the 4 wrecks that are situated near a big scallop mattress.
Solely about 22% of the 842 square-mile sanctuary is off limits to business vessels fishing with bottom-tending gear, in response to Ben Haskell, the deputy superintendent of the sanctuary.
The 4 wrecks — which embrace the 80-foot, steel-hulled, western rig Josephine Marie fishing vessel out of Gloucester that went down in 1992 — are clustered close to the southeastern finish of the financial institution close to Provincetown.
They embrace three unknown vessels considered historic shipwrecks, whereas the Joseph Marie, whose 4 crew members had been all rescued, is taken into account a contemporary wreck.
One unknown vessels is at 42° 11’ 07’’ north latitude, -70° 12’ 03” west longitude and sits in 19 fathoms (114 toes) of water; one other is at 42° 11’ 52” north latitude, -70° 11’ 01” west longitude and sits in 20 fathoms (120 toes) of water; and the third rests at 42° 13’ 50” north latitude, -70° 09’ 05” west longitude at depth of 27 fathoms (162 toes).
The wreck of the Joseph Marie, which flooded and sank about six miles north of Provincetown whereas returning to Gloucester on Feb. 1, 1992, is at 42° 10’ 55” north latitude, -70° 13’ 28” west longitude in about 96 toes of water.
The sanctuary stated it’s working to assist vessels enter these coordinates into their plotters to extra readily keep away from the wreck websites. Extra data is accessible at the Stellwagen Financial institution Nationwide Marine Sanctuary Shipwreck Websites useful resource web page.
“Historic shipwrecks are protected beneath the Nationwide Historic Preservation Act, the Nationwide Marine Sanctuaries Act and related federal laws,” in response to the sanctuary.
Six of the websites inside the sanctuary — containing seven vessels — are listed on the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations.
The sanctuary considers the websites very important historic assets, in addition to offering habitat to all method of marine life. The can also characterize closing resting locations for misplaced fishermen and mariners.
Rules governing the sanctuary’s historic websites prohibit “transferring, eradicating or injuring, or making an attempt to maneuver, take away or injure, a sanctuary historic useful resource.”
Federally permitted vessels working beneath a present fishery administration plan, nevertheless, are exempt from the prohibitions.
Nonetheless, fishing vessels that inadvertently injury a shipwreck with gear are requested to report the coordinates, circumstances and different information and get in touch with Haskell at (781) 546-6005 or at email@example.com.
Contact Sean Horgan at 978-675-2714, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comply with him on Twitter at @SeanGDT