Tropical Storm Jose is just grazing New England, but it’s creating unsafe conditions for fishermen out at sea. Even as the storm moves north, many commercial fishermen remain in port, waiting for the storm to pass further away.
The docks at the port of New Bedford are filled with fishing vessels, from lobster boats to groundfish trawlers. It’s rare sight for this time of year when most of these boats would normally be out catching squid, scallops and other fish.
“Everyone’s in. Twenty-eight foot seas, so can’t do much with that,” said Derick Winslow, who comes from Maine each year to New Bedford, to work on a herring boat. “In this rough weather we can’t do nothing in it because it ruins the nets, and so we wait for the storm and then try and go back out.”
Because herring season is so short, the delay means Winslow may receive a smaller paycheck this season.
“I haven’t really made any money so far, so it’s been a grind,” said Winslow. “It’s a short season, you either hit it big in a couple months, or you end up broke and jumping on another boat.”
Scallop fisherman Chris Moore comes from Georgia to unload his catch in New Bedford. He will remain stuck in New England until the weather clears up.
“It means a long time from home cause we ported in Virginia, and we’ve been gone since August 16th up here,” said Moore. “We ain’t got but one more ten day trip left, then we’ll be done for the year.”
Though downgraded from a hurricane, Jose brought large swells and winds strong enough to keep many boats in port.
“No you wouldn’t want to be fishing in this,” said Joe Fogg, who comes from three generations of New Jersey fisherman and works out of New Bedford. “There’s a good 20-foot sea going out there right now with a 35-40 knot wind. It’s definitely not a place for man nor beast.”
As fishermen wait for Jose to pass, they also have their eyes on Hurricane Maria, which is in currently in the Caribbean, but heading north.