Category Archives: Gulf of Mexico

Appleyard: Pensacola’s fishing industry had a few odd twists

Northwest Florida’s economic history usually places illustrations on the years 1870 to 1965, when over time three large organizations plied the fishing trade. During those years the Sewell Cobb firm, Warren Fish Company and the E.E. Sanders and Company became sizable employers, using a total of as many as 60 well-built smacks for a trade that took the skilled lineman far into the gulf, often off the coast of Mexico. This trade became possible when local ice production provided practical cooling for the fish-filled box cars, the cars coming, of course, when the L&N Railroad’s trackage would bring the fresh-iced fish to markets to the north. Usually the industry is detailed within those factors; however, there were two other tales that illustrated the ingenuity of men in their desire to earn a dollar. click here to read the story 19:02

Houma man cited on shrimping violations

A Houma man was cited last week for alleged shrimping violations on Nov. 9 in Pointe-Aux-Chenes. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries cited Dwayne T. Hotard, 44, who is accused of illegally taking commercial fish, taking commercial fish without a vessel license, blocking the passage of fish, possessing over the limit of shrimp on a Wildlife Management Area and being in a Wildlife Management Area after hours. Around 5:15 p.m. Nov. 9, agents received a complaint about a net that was stretched across a flood control structure,, click here to read the story 11:42

Biloxi Man Cited for Illegal Shrimping Violation in Breton Sound

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement agents cited a Biloxi man on Nov. 7 for allegedly shrimping in state waters with illegal turtle exclusion device’s (TED). Agents were patrolling in Breton Sound conducting a Joint Enforcement Agreement patrol when they found a shrimping vessel in Breton Sound.  Agents made contact with the captain, Canh Huu Nguyen, 37, and performed a license compliance check and TED inspection. During the inspection, agents measured the two TEDS installed in the vessels two large nets and found them both out of compliance with state and federal regulations. click here to read the story 16:07

2 injured in oil platform fire in Gulf of Mexico

Two people were injured Wednesday morning (Nov. 8) in a fire on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, Shell said. The remaining 46 workers were safely evacuated. A Shell spokesman said the fire happened at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday on its Enchilada platform at Garden Banks 128. Shell said it had identified the source of the fire and was “actively responding to the situation.” “An early morning U.S. Coast Guard overflight is complete and there were no signs of oil on the water at that time,” Shell said. click here to read the story 11:03

New Mississippi rule on oysters not based on science, Vietnamese group says in lawsuit

A lawsuit alleges the state’s ban on basket dredges for harvesting oysters was illegally based on “personal opinion and conjecture” and erodes the livelihood of Vietnamese American fishers. Thao Vu and the Mississippi Coalition for Vietnamese-American Fisher Folks are suing the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources over a ban its Commission on Marine Resources recommended. The ban went in effect Sept. 1. The lawsuit, filed Oct. 16 in Harrison County Chancery Court in Biloxi, is appealing the ban. The DMR went against state seafood laws that say fishery management plans and conservation efforts must be based on “the best scientific information available,” according to the civil complaint. click here to read the story 10:27

Coast Guard medevacs injured fisherman near Freeport, Texas

The Coast Guard medevaced an injured fisherman from a fishing vessel approximately eight miles south of Freeport, Texas, Tuesday morning . At 9:29 a.m., Sector Houston-Galveston watchstanders overheard a report on Channel 16 of a crewmember aboard the fishing vessel Lady Tina who suffered a possible concussion and broken leg. A Station Freeport boatcrew arrived on scene at 10:40 a.m. and transported the injured man to awaiting emergency medical services personnel at Coast Guard Station Freeport. The man was last reported in stable condition. -USCG-

Rockport seafood business bouncing back after Harvey

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, about 40 percent of small businesses never open their doors to customers again after a disaster. Alby Godinich, owner of Alby’s Seafood, is determined that won’t happen to his historic Rockport-Fulton business that has been open since 1983. “We have lost a lot of money, I can tell you this. But hey, we are going to come back, we will come back,” said Godinich. Godinich lost thousands and thousands of dollars of retail inventory and most of his equipment was damaged during the storm. “We just reopened here a while back. We were shut down for five or six weeks. It will probably be a month or two to make up for what we have lost and everything, you know,” said Godinich. click here to read the story 13:58

Stone crab season in SWFL

Stone Crab season is in its fifth week, and crabbers say the beginning was a bit rough. Frank Rogues is a master crab catcher for Pinchers restaurants and said typically, 400 pounds of stone claw crab is the yield from a successful day, however, this year that number was reduced to about 100 pounds for the first few weeks the season. “You go out there and you spend a lot of money to set up a gear,” Rogues said, “which is quite expensive to do that, and you do that, and you’re not even making fuel money. That’s pretty tough.” click here to read the story 18:17

Alligators eat sharks — and a whole lot more

Alligators don’t just stick to freshwater and the prey they find there. These crafty reptiles can live quite easily, at least for a bit, in salty waters and find plenty to eat — including crabs, sea turtles and even sharks. “They should change the textbooks,” says James Nifong, an ecologist with the Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Kansas State University in Manhattan, who has spent years documenting the estuarine gator diet. Nifong’s most recent discovery, splashed all over the news last month, is that the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) eats at least three species of shark and two species of rays, he and wildlife biologist Russell Lowers report in the September Southeastern Naturalist. click here to read the story 21:46

Drill, baby, drill in the eastern Gulf? Don’t even think about it

Only a lucky break kept oil from the historic BP spill in 2010 away from the Florida Keys and Southwest Florida’s beaches. Though the spill happened off the coast of Louisiana, so much oil gushed from the blowout that it reached the Loop Current, which is part of the Gulf Stream. Normally, the current would have brought the oil far enough to reach South Florida after blackening beaches in the Panhandle.  Yet oil lobbyists and Congress are firing again. Congressional Republicans want to open more of the Gulf of Mexico to drilling. President Trump, who favors more exploration for fossil fuels, is empowering them. click here to read the story 13:09

Louisiana: New restrictions create burden for local crabbers

For Whitney Curole of Des Allemands, being a fisherman is an “always” kind of thing — he’s been a crabber since his teenage years, following in the footsteps of his father, and that passion for fishing runs throughout his entire family. But all of that experience nonetheless doesn’t mean it’s not hard sometimes.  This year was the first in which the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries placed restrictions on blue crab harvest in an effort to restore the blue crab’s population in state waters.  “I fought against (the initial one-month ban),” said Curole, who catches crabs and ships them all over the country and who retails crabs himself through his family business in Donaldsonville. click here to read the story 09:05

NOAA: American Fisheries Remain a Strong Economic Driver

Commercial and recreational fisheries remain a strong contributor to the United States economy, according to the annual Fisheries of the United States report released today by NOAA.
Saltwater recreational fishing remains one of America’s favorite pastimes and a key contributor to the national economy,,, Also in 2016, U.S. commercial fishermen landed 9.6 billion pounds of seafood (down 1.5 percent from 2015) valued at $5.3 billion (up 2.1 percent from 2015). The highest value commercial species were lobster ($723 million),,, click here to read the report   click here for infographics 15:27

Coast Guard rescues four fishermen near South Padre Island, vessel sinks

Coast Guard crews rescued four fishermen from a sinking commercial fishing vessel 5 miles east of South Padre Island, Texas, Monday evening. At 6:20 p.m., the captain of the vessel Ben & Casey contacted Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi watchstanders on VHF Channel 16 to report the vessel was taking on water and in need of assistance. Two Coast Guard Station South Padre Island response boat crews arrived on scene at 6:41 p.m. and passed dewatering pumps to the crew of the Ben & Casey. click here to read the story 09:43

Alabama seafood: fresh from the Gulf to your dinner plate

October is National Seafood Month, and there’s no better place than Alabama to enjoy fresh Gulf seafood. Whether you prefer red snapper, shrimp, flounder, oysters or blue crab, you can find it all here in the Heart of Dixie. We are a state with abundant natural resources both on land and at sea. Millions of seafood consumers from our state and across the country depend on the hard working commercial fishermen and women of Alabama supply them with some of the best seafood the country has to offer. click here to read the story 21:28

Hurricane Irma cuts Florida lobster harvest by half

A fresh catch of spiny lobster arrives dockside. But for marina owner Gary Graves, this delivery is too little, too late. “Basically, lobster fishing is pretty much over for us this year,”said Graves, who is vice president of Keys Fisheries wholesaler. Graves says Hurricane Irma dealt a severe blow when it hit Florida in September. Leaving a trail of wreckage on land, the storm also came just a month into lobster harvesting season. “We’re going to probably end up maybe 50 percent of a normal season the way it looks right now,” he said. click here to read the story 11:19

Tropical Storm Philippe heads toward Florida Keys

Tropical Storm Philippe, which formed Saturday afternoon (Oct. 28) off the coast of Cuba, was closing in on the Florida Keys hours later and expected to cross the southern tip of the state overnight. According to the National Hurricane Center, Philippe was still a weak tropical storm as of 8 p.m. Central time with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph. It was was 75 miles southwest of Key West and moving north at 28 mph. The storm is expected to make a turn to the northeast overnight, taking it into the northwest Bahamas by Sunday morning. click here to read the story 21:36

Gulf of Mexico Now Largest Dead Zone in the World, and Factory Farming Is to Blame

Nitrogen fertilizers and sewage sludge runoff from factory farms are responsible for creating an enormous dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. As fertilizer runs off farms in agricultural states like Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri and others, it enters the Mississippi River, leading to an overabundance of nutrients, including nitrogen and phosphorus, in the water.,, This, in turn, leads to the development of algal blooms, which alter the food chain and deplete oxygen, resulting in dead zones. Needless to say, the fishing industry is taking a big hit, each year getting worse than the last. The featured news report includes underwater footage that shows you just how bad the water quality has gotten. Video, click here to read the story 14:13

Report on U.S. Marine Sanctuary Oil Drilling Sent to White House, Not Released to Public

U.S. Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross sent a report to the White House on Wednesday containing recommendations on whether to change the boundaries of 11 marine sanctuaries to allow more oil and gas drilling, but the report was not made public. Commerce reviewed sanctuaries containing 425 million acres of coral reefs, marine mammal habitats and pristine beaches, as part of an administration strategy to open new areas to oil and gas drilling. click here to read the story 07:18

Coast Guard, partner agencies search for missing fisherman in the Gulf

The Coast Guard is searching for a missing man who was last seen aboard a fishing vessel approximately 37 miles southwest of Morgan City, Louisiana, at approximately 10:30 p.m. Sunday. The missing man is reported to be Vietnamese and wearing a t-shirt and sweat pants. The vessel identified through inquiry is F/V Miss Quinh Chi II. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received the report of the missing person at approximately 11:30 p.m. and directed the launch of Coast Guard Cutter Skipjack, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans, and an HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane crew from Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile to search for the man. Marine units from Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office are also on scene searching for the man. –USCG– 15:34

This Wing Will Fly! Wing Trawling System Wins Ocean Exchange Neptune Award

The Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics Orcelle (R) and the Ocean Exchange Neptune Awards of $100,000 Each Were Given to Atlas Energy Systems and Wing Trawling System for Innovative Solutions That Support Zero Emissions and Sustainable Oceans. The winner of the Ocean Exchange Neptune Award in the amount of $100,000 USD is Wing Trawling System or WTS (USA-AL). This system can be adapted to existing commercial shrimp boats to reduce unwanted finfish by-catch by 60%+, while allowing a 20% increase in shrimp capture, and has shown 35% reduction in fuel consumption. The WTS looks like an airplane wing that flies just over the sea floor and holds the net open, eliminating the heavy sea floor contact of the trawl doors. The system was created and field-tested with six design generations by WTS founder, who has 49 years experience as a shrimper and many years experience as a mechanical designer. click here to read the story visit wingtrawlingsystem.com

Reassessed: More than half a million gallons of oil spilled in Gulf near Lousisiana

The U.S. Coast Guard has reassessed an oil spill that happened Oct. 13 (click here) near Venice Louisiana. While initial reports were thought to be at about 400,000 gallons of oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico, LLOG, the company which owns the pipleine, estimates that 16,000 barrels were spilled — approximately 672,000 gallons of spilled oil. The oil discharge from a damaged pipeline approximately 40 miles south east of Venice, Louisiana. click here to read the story 11:51

Coast Guard suspends search for missing worker after explosion

The U.S. Coast Guard has suspended their search for a Texas man who disappeared when an oil and gas platform exploded on a lake near New Orleans.  Authorities identified 44-year-old Timothy Morrison, of Katy, Texas, as the missing man. He was a subcontractor working on the structure. “The decision to suspend a search is never an easy one,” said Cmdr. Zac Ford. “We send our thoughts and prayers to the Morrison family and all those affected by this incident.”  click here to read the story 19:04

Of Shrimp and Petroleum

I am traveling south on Highway 1 through Iberville Parish, Louisiana. I pass fields of sugarcane, chemical factories, strange roadside cemeteries, and what appears to be a combination seafood restaurant and barbershop ambiguously advertising “‘Phresh Cuts.”’ It is Friday afternoon, the start of Labor Day weekend. It is a manageable 87 degrees outside, for now.,,, I’m headed to the annual Shrimp and Petroleum Festival in Morgan City. The festival is the oldest state-chartered harvest festival in Louisiana. It began in 1936 as a single day, when all the shrimp boats in Morgan City would line up in the Atchafalaya River to be blessed by a Catholic priest. In the 1960s, as oil became the dominant industry in town, petroleum was added to the name and the logo became a shrimp in a hard hat wrapped around an oil derrick. by Nick Chrastil   click here to read the story 11:02

Global Diving Helps Refloat Boats After Hurricane Harvey

The fishing vessel R&R is floating once again after spending a month at the bottom of Conn Brown Harbor in Aransas Pass, Texas. The 100-ton shrimp boat got entangled with another vessel and sank during Hurricane Harvey. She was refloated by Global Diving and Salvage, which was contracted by the Coast Guard and the Texas General Land Office (GLO) to remove her from the waterway. Approximately 6,000 gallons of diesel fuel and other pollutants were pumped off before de-watering the vessel. images, click here to read the story 21:08

Louisiana – 1 missing after oil rig explodes on Lake Pontchartrain

An oil rig explosion on a lake north of New Orleans, apparently caused when cleaning chemicals ignited, injured seven people and left authorities searching for another who was missing. There were “a lot of injuries,” many of them serious, with at least seven confirmed and more expected from the Sunday evening explosion on Lake Pontchartrain, Kenner Police Department spokesman Sgt. Brian McGregor told The Times-Picayune . No deaths were immediately reported. click here to read the story 07:53

The consumer demand for local seafood: Industry leaders want to bypass imports

Brenda Johnson was having a pleasant time at last month’s Best of the Bayou festival in downtown Houma when she got a little hungry and was drawn to a vendor booth where the fare included golden fried shrimp. “I was getting ready to order some shrimp when I asked the girl where they were from,” said Johnson, a retired city court worker. The woman serving the shrimp wasn’t sure so she asked a man working the booth, who said with a smile that the shrimp were “Asian farm-raised shrimp.” Johnson waved her hand at the booth and went elsewhere. “I couldn’t believe they were selling that shrimp at a ‘Best of the Bayou’ festival,” said Johnson, who contacted her parish councilman and asked if anything could be done. click here to read the story 12:51

“The fact is, law abiding, licensed commercial fishermen are considered by our government to be the most dangerous people in America.”

In September 1983 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the Balelo v Baldridge decided the first court challenge against the government policy of placing federal observers on commercial fishing vessels to monitor their operations. The plaintiffs were Pacific tuna purse seiners. This the first observer program in the American fishing industry was enacted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The first observers spent many weeks on the high seas with the fishermen at a time when there was literally no other way to assure that the newly enacted law — meant to bring the mortality of marine mammals in the tuna fishery as close to zero as possible — was being followed by these operations. It was provided for in this portion of the MMPA that the captains be given notice well in advance of the required observer trips and that the funding be fully covered by Congress. click here to read the story 19:21

Coast Guard, federal agencies responding to offshore oil spill in the Gulf

The Coast Guard is responding to the report of a crude oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a report from the National Response Center at 1:30 p.m., Friday of a discharge from a damaged pipeline associated with a subsea well approximately 40 miles southeast of Venice, LA.  The pipeline, which is operated by LLOG Exploration, has been secured. LLOG exploration reported that the volume of oil released is estimated to be between 333,900 and 392,700 gallons.  Initial overflights identified three light sheens in the vicinity. click here to read press release 15:14

Coast Guard responds to oil spill off Louisiana coast – LLOG Exploration Company LLC, a privately-owned deepwater exploration company, reported the spill, which occurred 40 miles southeast of Venice, La., click here to read the story

Stone crab season opens Sunday — but will the hurricane affect the haul?

But the big question this year is how abundant — and how expensive — the claws will be a month after a hurricane wrecked a huge swath of the fishing areas in the Florida Keys. Fresh Florida spiny lobster was hard to find in the last month, after the trapping industry bore Hurricane Irma’s brunt. The storm scattered and destroyed tens of thousands of lobster traps as the Keys’ fishing industry — the second-largest economic driver in Monroe County at more than $150 million — was paralyzed for three weeks. “What did Hurricane Irma do to the stone crab haul? We’re going to find out,” said Bill Kelly, executive director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association. click here to read the story 11:23

Alabama Red Snapper Reporting System – Snapper checks show fear of exceeding quota unfounded

Preliminary numbers from the Alabama Red Snapper Reporting System, aka Snapper Check, indicate the fear that Alabama anglers would exceed the 2017 quota were unfounded. “Using the Alabama Snapper Check numbers, we’re going to be well within the historic allocation for Alabama, so the 39-day season did not put us over, which was a concern for the commercial fishing community and part of the charter fishing community,” said Scott Bannon, Acting Director of the Alabama Marine Resources Division (MRD). “Now the concern we have is what the MRIP (Marine Recreational Information Program) numbers will show, and those numbers are not out yet.” click here to read the story 09:11