Category Archives: Gulf of Mexico

Start of stone crab season in Cortez is worst in recent memory

Theories abound but one thing is for sure: The current stone crab season is off to one of its worst starts in recent memory for the oldest active fishing village in Florida. It’s that bad. “There’s nothing. There’s no crabs around because it’s all dead,” said John Banyas, a fourth-generation fisherman from Cortez.“The latest from our 400 trap haul was only 4 pounds, a record low in these local waters,” said Banyas, 52, who is also the owner of Cortez Bait & Seafood Inc., Swordfish Grill & Tiki Bar and Cortez Kitchen. >click to read<07:42

To our valued readers here at Fishery Nation.

To our valued readers here at Fishery Nation. You have probably noticed recently there have been no postings on our website. I’m sorry to say that I have recently taken ill and have been hospitalized for the past week in the intensive care unit of my local hospital.
As you know, I’ve made it a priority in my life to keep you all informed on the goings on in our commercial fisheries here in the US and also abroad with stories and information that we feel is important to you, and also stories of interest. For the past seven years we have fulfilled this goal 365 days a year, every single day!
Please bear with me as we get through this situation and I am able to get back on my feet and continue what has become my passion, and mission in life, to keep the commercial fishermen informed and up to date as to the goings on in your industry.
If all goes well this will be a short period of time and I’ll soon be on my feet and able to get back at it.
Thank you one and all for your support and understanding. God bless you all, stay safe out there and please stay in touch with us.

Sincerely,

Borehead

Disappointing early catches for area stone crabbers

The fishermen started putting their traps into the water on Oct. 5, and on Oct. 15, they began to legally harvest the first of the season’s claws and offer them for sale. With disappointing early catches from the first few days of pulling the traps, the crabbers will leave the traps in the Gulf longer to give the crabs time to fill them, said Pat Kirk of Kirk Fish Company in Goodland. Her husband, Damas Kirk, is a fifth-generation local fisherman, whose great aunt was Tommie Barfield, an icon in Marco Island history. Damas Kirk said the local crabbers are in serious need of finding and harvesting a bountiful catch. “These guys are needing a paycheck pretty bad right now,” he said >click to read<18:11

A 14-year-long oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico verges on becoming one of the worst in U.S. history

Between 300 and 700 barrels of oil per day have been spewing from a site 12 miles off the Louisiana coast since 2004, when an oil-production platform owned by Taylor Energy sank in a mudslide triggered by Hurricane Ivan. Many of the wells have not been capped, and federal officials estimate that the spill could continue through this century. With no fix in sight, the Taylor offshore spill is threatening to overtake BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster as the largest ever. >click to read<13:06

An Intimate Portrait of Louisiana’s Commercial Fishing Communities

Fish Town: Down the Road to Louisiana’s Vanishing Fishing Communities, a new book by J. T. Blatty about life in southeastern Louisiana’s fishing communities, is a compelling and unpretentious document of a region and its people, surviving in the face of economic decline and rising, warming seas. Blatty’s view of the region she photographed over the course of six years is unvarnished and unsentimental: washed and wrung of its color. >click to read<11:27

Job Opening in Brownsville, Texas – Commercial Fishing Vessel Examiner

The United States government is a massive employer, and is always looking for qualified candidates to fill a wide variety of open employment positions in locations across the country. Below you’ll find a Qualification Summary for an active, open job listing from the Department of Homeland Security. The opening is for a Commercial Fishing Vessel Examiner, GS-1801-12 in Brownsville, Texas Feel free to browse this and any other job listings and reach out to us with any questions! >click to read<18:40

Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meeting in Mobile, AL October 22 – 25, 2018

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will meet October 22 – 25, 2018 in Mobile, AL at the Renaissance Battle House, 26 N. Royal Street, Mobile, AL 36602.  The Committee and Council Agendas and meeting materials are posted on the Council website at >www.gulfcouncil.org<. Meeting materials will be posted as they become available. Council meetings are open to the public and are broadcast live over the internet. > Register for the webinar<. 12:48

Despite Hurricane Michael, Eastern Shipbuilding Keeps Working

In a display of resilience, Eastern Shipbuilding of Panama City, Florida is already getting back to work after Hurricane Michael, despite the storm’s devastating impact on the Florida Panhandle. However, yard manager Justin Smith says that only 100 out of 800 workers have returned to their duties so far, and many of them have lost their homes. “We are a family at Eastern Shipbuilding,” Smith said in a statement. Eastern says that it is helping to feed and take care of its employees’ families in order to help workers return to the yard.,,, Unfortunately, one of Eastern’s commercial shipbuilding orders suffered damage due to the storm. The newly-launched trawler North Star partially capsized in St. Andrews Bay during the hurricane,>click to read<09:41

Stone crab season off to promising start in Florida Keys

The state’s stone crab fishery should expect to take a hit this season from the red tide algae bloom that’s been plaguing Florida’s west coast for months, but the Keys, which accounts for 65 percent of the harvest of the sought-after claws, does not appear to be affected. The eight-month commercial season began Monday, with fishermen pulling traps that have been soaking for the past 10 days. Monday afternoon, boats were still coming back from the water, but Bill Kelly, executive director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fishing Association, said captains were reporting a promising first day. >click to read<20:58

Coast Guard Assists Hurricane Michael Response Effort

First responders have swung into action in the wake of Hurricane Michael, providing assistance to survivors and beginning the difficult task of searching for the missing. 17 deaths have been confirmed so far, and teams are still combing the debris left by the storm. As of Thursday night, the U.S. Coast Guard reported that it had assisted 232 people and rescued 40 across the breadth of the disaster zone. In Panama City, a Coast Guard shallow-water response team assisted more than 140 residents at a rehabilitation center, providing food, water, and oxygen for the patients and helping them board buses for relocation. >click to read<11:19

Hurricane Michael: Alaska bound factory trawler ripped from mooring, left lying on her side

Hurricane Michael ripped an almost-finished Alaska factory trawler built for a Seattle company from a shipyard mooring in Panama City, Florida, and left it lying on its starboard side in the shallow water of Saint Andrews Bay. “The boat was nearing completion, and because of all the destruction down there we have not been able to survey the vessel,” said Jim Johnson, president of Seattle-based Glacier Fish Co., which is responsible for managing the ship. photo, courier journal>click to read<23:12

Hurricane Michael Death Toll Rises to 11 Overnight

Hurricane Michael continued its rampage through the mid-Atlantic early Friday morning after ravaging parts of the Florida Panhandle, Georgia and the Carolinas, spawning deadly floods that rose so fast that there was little time to evacuate. At least 11 deaths have been blamed on the powerful storm. Michael made landfall as a high-end Category 4 storm on the Florida Panhandle Wednesday, smashing towns to rubble. >click to read<08:48

National Hurricane Center – Hurricane Michael Public Advisory – 400 PM Update

At 400 PM CDT (2100 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Michael was located near latitude 26.0 North, longitude 86.4 West. Michael is moving toward the north near 12 mph (19 km/h). A northward motion is expected through tonight, followed by a northeastward motion on Wednesday and Thursday. On the forecast track, the center of Michael will move across the eastern Gulf of Mexico through tonight. The center of Michael is then expected to move inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area on Wednesday, and then move northeastward across the southeastern United States Wednesday night and Thursday, and move off the Mid-Atlantic coast away from the United States on Friday. >click to read<18:21

Tropical Storm Michael prompts hurricane watches in Florida as it picks up strength

Hurricane watches are now in effect in numerous counties along the Florida Panhandle as Tropical Storm Michael continues to strengthen ahead of an anticipated landfall as a Category 2 hurricane later this week. The storm, which has maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, was about 90 miles east of Cozumel, Mexico early Monday morning and is dumping rain on Cuba, the National Hurricane Center said. “Michael is forecast to be a hurricane, and possibly a major hurricane, when it reaches the northeastern Gulf Coast by mid-week, and storm surge and hurricane watches are now in effect for portions of the area,” the Center said in an advisory. >click to read<09:22

Program helps area shrimpers sell ‘ultimate premium product’

The Louisiana Limited Wild Plate Frozen shrimp program is informing buyers about the food preservation technology. “This is the ultimate premium product,” said Thomas Hymel, LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant fisheries agent. “It’s like it fell out of a cast net and it’s frozen.” Shrimp are packaged in 5-pound containers, then held on a plate freezer that is kept at minus 35 degrees. The products treated with this process look fresh from the ocean when they are thawed, Hymel said, with heads and even antenna intact. “This is as close to the ocean as you can get,” he said. The process also can be used for fish, Hymel said. >click to read<13:40

Coast Guard, partner agencies respond to diesel spill from grounded vessel northwest of Key West

The Coast Guard and partner agencies are responding to a diesel fuel spill that occurred approximately 7 miles northwest of Key West, Tuesday. At approximately 8:46 a.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Key West received a report of the fishing vessel, San Diego running aground on the Northwest Channel Jetty. Watchstanders launched a Coast Guard Station Key West 45-foot Response Boat—Medium crew who arrived on scene, embarked the four people that were aboard the vessel and determined the hull was breached causing pollution in the area. >click to read<14:19

Panama City man catches 330-pound Warsaw grouper – “Definitely a fish of a lifetime”

For as long as he can remember, commercial fisherman Brandon Lee Van Horn has wanted to catch a really big fish. Not your run-of-the-mill big fish, but a really big fish — the kind you tell your grandkids about one day or that strangers take pictures of, or that ends up in the newspaper. On Monday, Van Horn’s years on the Gulf paid off when he showed up at the dock of Greg Abrams Seafood with a 330-pound Warsaw grouper, 313 pounds after it had been gutted. “You have no idea how much that fish means to me,” he said. “I will probably never catch another one that big ever again.”>click to read<22:33

Plans for Texas City ammonia plant spark environmental, health concerns

Roy Lee Cannon stands on the deck of his shrimp boat docked at Eagle Point Fishing Camp during the golden hour of a summer evening,,, It’s the end of a long work day for Cannon, a shift that began before sunrise. The early-morning hours are harder for the 76-year-old Cannon, who has a titanium plate in his arm from an accident and a pig valve in his chest, but this time of day is undoubtedly the most productive. On a good day, Cannon will haul in 600 pounds of shrimp, though his yield steadily has decreased as the bay and ship channel have become a highway of commerce for the oil and chemical industries. So, when Cannon heard an $800 million anhydrous ammonia plant was in the works for the shores of Texas City, he decided that another potential bay polluter should not proceed without protest. >click to read<18:06

Bayou La Batre – Coastal Alabama Citizens Rise Up And Defeat Job-Killing Eco-Tourism Ordinance

Fearing the loss of both their livelihood and their way of life, residents of Bayou La Batre, Alabama, banded together earlier this summer and scuttled a city ordinance crafted to promote eco-tourism. Located along the Gulf Coast, a few miles southwest of Mobile, Bayou La Batre is a fishing village with a vibrant seafood-processing industry. The city of 2,500 souls has survived Hurricane Katrina and other unpleasant visitors from the tropics. But a 200-page zoning proposal developed by the city’s planning commission with assistance from the Southeast Alabama Regional Planning Commission (SARPC) and environmental groups triggered a storm of protest that sent the city’s mayor and his supporters running for cover. >click to read<12:04

Victory! Court Shuts Down Offshore Aquaculture in Gulf of Mexico

Today, Center for Food Safety, representing a coalition of fishing and public interest groups, won their lawsuit challenging the Department of Commerce’s new federal rules that would have permitted, for the first time, industrial aquaculture offshore in U.S. federal waters. “This is a landmark victory for protecting our oceans, for fishing communities and conservationists,” said George Kimbrell, CFS Legal Director and lead counsel in the case. “Allowing industrial net-pen aquaculture and its known environmental harms in the Gulf of Mexico is a grave threat. Very simply, as the Court properly held, aquaculture is not ‘fishing.’ These types of harms cannot be allowed under existing fisheries law never intended for that purpose.” >click to read<18:51

State of Louisiana seeks shrimpers for bycatch study

State fisheries officials are asking Louisiana shrimpers to participate in a study that aims to monitor how much other types of seafood get caught in trawlers’ nets. The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says the voluntary 2019 study is part of the agency’s commitment to “support the sustainability certification of Louisiana’s shrimp fishery.”,,, Participation in the state study will require commercial trawlers to allow agency staff members aboard their boats during designated trips throughout the 2019 shrimp seasons. The staff members will collect a sample from each haul. A background check and vessel and site inspection is required of each participating fisherman. >click to read<12:12

Four crewmembers rescued from capsized fishing vessel near Sabine Pass, Texas

The Coast Guard assisted in the rescue of four crewmembers from a fishing vessel after it capsized near Sabine Pass, Texas, Tuesday morning. Eighth Coast Guard District watchstanders in New Orleans received an emergency position indicating radio beacon signal from the 65-foot fishing vessel Captain M&M, which provided an approximate location of the vessel, and launched an Air Station Houston MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrew. >click to read<13:31

Southeast Texas shrimpers struggle with slow season

Shrimp boats along the Southeast Texas coastline remain docked as their owners try to navigate an industry whose hardships haven’t stopped since Tropical Storm Harvey entered the Gulf of Mexico a little more than a year ago. With federal regulations curbing production and unfavorable sea conditions hampering shrimp populations, Port Arthur and Sabine Pass shrimpers are hoping for the best after a season of loss. Peak shrimping season, from mid-July to October, is closing out this year with about 20 to 25 percent less production than last year, Texas Shrimp Association executive director Andrea Hance said. >click to read<18:38

17 tons of dead fish cleared from beaches due to red tide

One Florida county has dumped more than 17 tons (15,420 kilograms) of dead fish collected since red tide algae crept up from South Florida into Tampa Bay. Fish are dying off at such a rate that officials are seeking more commercial vessels to sift dead sea life from the Gulf of Mexico and haul it to a landfill. Currently, two shrimp boats and three other pieces of commercial equipment are being used to collect the fish. But it is not enough. Contractors are being asked to bring in more equipment, including large beach rakes. The rust-colored bloom could be seen from the air off Redington and Madeira beaches on Monday afternoon. >click to read<20:37

Louisiana shrimpers avert strike but their catch hits all-time low

Louisiana shrimpers are getting a little more money for their catch – but a lot less of a catch. The summer has been a roller coaster for the state’s shrimp industry. Last month, shrimpers threatened to strike if prices continued their steep decline, reaching levels early this year that hadn’t been seen since the 1980s. But a slight uptick – about a nickel more per pound of shrimp – placated many shrimpers. “It pacified them from doing anything,” Acy Cooper, a Venice shrimper and president of the Louisiana Shrimp Association, said Thursday (Sept. 6). “They’re kind of good with it, but not good with it, if you know what I mean.” >click to read<12:49

Red tide and green slime: Florida faces epic statewide fight with algae

We may smell it first, warned environmentalist Rae Ann Wessel. She was right. Along a wall of mangroves, the stench last week advertised of something to be buried. It was a greeting to Fort Myers’ algae horrors. Green slime and red tide are invading the Fort Myers region’s inshore and offshore waters, slaughtering marine life and threatening a more sinister outcome: Toxins produced by a green-slime variety may link to neurodegenerative illnesses, say some scientists who are investigating. For decades, Florida’s watery environment has been sickened by pollution from septic and sewer systems, storm water and fertilizer from landscaping and agriculture. That “nutrient” pollution, with nitrogen and phosphorus flavors,,, Video, >click to read<14:24

Gordon Strengthens A Little As It Heads Toward the North-Central Gulf Coast, Will Come Ashore This Evening or Tonight

At 400 PM CDT, the center of Tropical Storm Gordon was located by NOAA Doppler weather radars near latitude 29.4 North, longitude 87.8 West. Gordon is moving toward the northwest near 15 mph (24 km/h) and this general motion is expected to continue until landfall occurs tonight along the north-central Gulf coast. A northwestward motion with some decrease in forward speed is expected after landfall, with a gradual turn toward the north-northwest and north forecast to occur on Friday. On the forecast track, the center of Gordon will make landfall along the north-central Gulf Coast within the hurricane warning area this evening or tonight, and then move inland over the lower Mississippi Valley through Wednesday. >click to read<19:26

Tropical Storm Gordon Public Advisory

At 700 AM CDT (1200 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Gordon was located near latitude 28.1 North, longitude 86.2 West. Gordon is moving toward the west-northwest near 15 mph (25 km/h). A west-northwestward to northwestward motion with some decrease in forward speed is expected over the next few days. On the forecast track, the center of Gordon will move across the eastern Gulf of Mexico today, and will approach the north-central Gulf Coast within the warning area late this afternoon or evening, and move inlandover the lower Mississippi Valley tonight or early Wednesday. >click to read<08:10

Tropical Storm Gordon Public Advisory: Storm Surge Warning, Hurricane Watch is in effect

At 200 PM EDT (1800 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Gordon was located near latitude 25.8 North, longitude 81.9 West. Gordon is moving toward the west-northwest near 16 mph (26 km/h and a west- northwestward to northwestward motion is expected over the next 72 hours. On the forecast track, the center of Gordon will move farther away from the southwestern coast of Florida this afternoon and move across the eastern Gulf of Mexico tonight and Tuesday. The center of Gordon will approach the coast within the warning area along the central Gulf Coast by late Tuesday or Tuesday night, and move inland over the lower Mississippi Valley on Wednesday. >click to read<14:48

Coast Guard rescues 3 fishermen in response to EPIRB activation near Port Isabel, Texas

The Coast Guard rescued three crewmembers from a life raft after their fishing vessel caught fire approximately 40 miles east of Port Isabel, Texas, Friday morning. Eighth Coast Guard District watchstanders in New Orleans received an emergency position indicating radio beacon alert from the fishing vessel Master D, which provided an approximate location of the vessel. Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi watchstanders diverted the Coast Guard Cutter Coho to the location. The Coho crew located the fishing vessel on fire, as well as the three-person crew in a life raft nearby and transferred them aboard the cutter. >click to read<12:19