Category Archives: Gulf of Mexico

Florida Digests Worst Stone Crab Season In Decade

Florida’s worst stone crab season in recent memory closed last week marked by a lower-than-normal catch of the flaky, sweet crustaceans in many parts of the state and higher prices for consumers. Co-owner Stephen Sawitz of the iconic Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach, which recently celebrated its 105th season, said his business felt the pinch all season long.,,, Joe’s is a good barometer of the industry,,, Rich Tradition, Red Tide, Frozen Vs. Fresh, New Crab On Menu, >Video, click to read<16:07

‘I’m out of work:’ Open Bonnet Carre Spillway hurts local fisherman

The Bonnet Carre Spillway is currently open to keep the Mississippi River from overflowing and damaging the levee system.  But crab fisherman say there’s another side to the water diversion: The longer it stays open, the more damage it will do to the fishing industry. Fisherman along Lake St. Catherine say this time of the year their traps are usually brimming with crabs, but Saturday when Eyewitness News came to look, most of the traps had been pulled out of the water. >Video, click to read<15:16

Louisiana Shrimp Season to Open May 20 in the Remaining State Outside Waters

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced that the portion of state outside waters between the Atchafalaya River Ship Channel at Eugene Island westward to western shore of Freshwater Bayou Canal shall reopen to shrimping at 6:00 a.m. on May 20, 2019.  The area to open is defined as follows: >click to read<10:48

Gulf of Mexico: Containment System Complete at MC20 Oil Release Site

The U.S. Coast Guard and contractor Couvillion Group have successfully installed a containment system to capture oil leaking from Taylor Energy’s Mississippi Canyon 20 well, despite a lawsuit brought by Taylor to halt the intervention. The installation marks a major milestone in the USCG’s efforts to address the spill, which has been ongoing for 14 years. >click to read<11:18

How was the stone crab season? Good in the Keys, but rough in other parts of Florida

Florida Keys and Miami fishermen fared much better than their colleagues on the west coast of the state during this year’s stone crab season, but production varied depending on where they fished in South Florida, the head of the Keys commercial fishing trade association said. Wednesday was the last day of the eight-month season, which began in October. “Supply was good, prices were high and demand was strong,” said Bill Kelly, executive director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fisherman’s Association. But a persistent red tide algae bloom that plagued the Gulf>click to read<16:48

Brownsville captain lands foot-long giant in Gulf

The phrase “jumbo shrimp” doesn’t really do it justice. The captain and owner of a Brownsville shrimp boat is showing off the biggest Asian tiger shrimp he’s ever seen, measuring 12.5 inches, which is probably within an inch or two of the maximum size of the species. Capt. Seth Sanders was trawling for white shrimp just west of the Atchafalaya Channel off the coast of Louisiana recently when his net brought up the monster female Asian tiger. >click to read<12:49

NOAA – Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management Implementation Plans by Region

NOAA Fisheries has released nine implementation plans that identify priority actions and milestones for Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management nationally and regionally, including for Atlantic highly migratory species, for the next five years. Each plan identifies milestones for a specified geographic area. The milestones relate to six guiding principles laid out in the 2016 EBFM Policy and Road Map >click to read<13:03

Saving Fishing Into The Future, Rocky Novello

Most all fishermen in the U.S.A., are having the same problems in fishing which include: NOAA Fisheries which uses outdated science, and outdated fishing regulations, which should have been changed as our oceans were changing. The big environmentalist organizations, funded by big oil, who collectively spent hundreds of millions of dollars getting rid of many our fellow commercial fishermen from so many places. They did a great job.,,, >click tor read, and comments from others will appreciated<10:40

Teenage brothers open Gautier seafood market — all on their own

Make no mistake, Drake and Chase Killingsworth are not your typical teenagers. Drake, 18, is a senior at Gautier High School who will graduate with his class later this month. Chase, 16, is a freshman at GHS. They are also businessmen — successful ones, too. A week ago, the brothers opened Killer Crab Company on Ladnier Road in Gautier. They own and operate two fishing boats, along with 1,000 crab pots, which provide much of the seafood they sell. They also have trucks they send to Louisiana to bring back crawfish. >click to read<09:02

Shrimp industry eyes visas; Another 30,000 seasonal workers to be allowed in

The head of the Texas Shrimp Association said it’s unclear how much a Trump administration decision allowing another 30,000 foreign seasonal workers into the United States this year will help the state’s shrimpers. The 30,000 extra H-2B visas the government said it will issue are above the usual cap of 66,000 visas per fiscal year — 33,000 the first half and 33,000 the second half. The domestic seafood industry, seasonal hotels, landscaping companies and other businesses rely heavily on the H-2B program to fill positions, though the strong economy is making it harder than usual for employers to find enough workers. >click to read<09:31

Louisiana spring shrimp season late this year

While water temperatures are rising across Louisiana’s coast, it appears the unusually high and prolonged levels in the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers, the other bayous and rivers flowing into coastal waters has delayed the growth of brown shrimp in these estuaries. With these and other factors influencing the recruitment into and growth of brown shrimp in the state’s “inside” waters, the opening of spring inshore shrimp season will be extraordinarily late this year. >click to read<09:29

Putting the Brakes on finfish aquaculture in federal waters, Young Introduces Legislation to Protect Wild Fish Populations

Don Young, the Republican congressman for Alaska, has introduced the Keep Fin Fish Free Act, which would specifically prohibit federal agencies from permitting marine finfish aquaculture facilities in federal ocean waters, unless and until Congress passes a future law authorising such permits. “My legislation takes needed steps to prevent the unchecked spread of aquaculture operations by reigning in the federal bureaucracy and empowering Congress to determine where new aquaculture projects should be conducted.>click to read<08:52

Please support our local commercial fishermen

If you don’t think commercial fishermen are an endangered species – think again. I have been very vocal over the years about my feelings on the commercial fishing industry being in jeopardy, and highlighting the importance of just what an integral part the industry plays in not only the economy, but the infrastructure as a whole, not only in our town and coastal towns across America. As someone with deep ties to our community and the fishing community in particular, I am in a unique position working as a mate on a commercial fishing vessel, and being a journalist. I see so much firsthand that I hope the general public will take into account when I write about it. So here I go again, with more food for thought on an issue that is near and dear to my heart. Thank you for reading, Shelley Wigglesworth >click to read<16:43

Do YOU want to know where your seafood is from in a restaurant? – Please sign the petition.

Louisiana HB 335 Is about mandating restaurants to label country of origin on their menus, boards and signs with no exemptions. This a health concern for Louisiana citizens and tourists due to the many studies showing the widespread use of illegal substances, bacteria and antibiotics showing up in imported shrimp. WE ARE ASKING FOR YOUR SUPPORT OF HB 335. Please take the time to contact your House of Representatives to tell them you’re in support of HB 335 through a phone call or email. Thank you! >Please sign the petition. >click here<

This! A Cajun protest for genuine Louisiana seafood- WATCH! – “What we have here is the restaurants are really committing fraud on their customers,” >click to read<11:02

House Bill 335 – Louisiana seafood labeling bill clears hurdle

Louisiana seafood processors are claiming victory after an early win for a measure they’ve sought for years. They say in many Louisiana restaurants, you’re eating at your own risk, and they hope state lawmakers are going to pass laws to change that. When it comes to the production of shrimp and crawfish, few states measure up. “If you’re looking at shirmp and crawfish, it’s a $500 million industry,” said Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain.,,, “For every 10 shrimp you eat, no matter where you live, including Louisiana, nine and a half of those are imported from somewhere else,” said David Veal with the American Shrimp Association. >Video, click to read<11:21

This! A Cajun protest for genuine Louisiana seafood- WATCH!

Dean Blanchard is a well known shrimper from Grand Isle. He paid a visit to the State Capitol on Wednesday. He wants the House to HB 335. It would mandate that restaurants display signage disclosing whether their crawfish or shrimp came from a country outside the United States. “What we have here is the restaurants are really committing fraud on their customers,” Blanchard said in the Health and Welfare Committee meeting. “Look on the wall, there’s pictures of shrimp boats, pictures of our Cajun culture. I’m required to label everything I put out. The store is required to label everything they sell you. Why isn’t the restaurant required to,,, >Video, Click to watch< 16:06

Louisiana: Shrimp Season to Open April 25 in a Portion of State Outside Waters

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced that the portion of state outside waters between Calliou Boca and the Atchafalaya River Ship Channel at Eugene Island shall reopen to shrimping at 12:00 p.m. on April 25, 2019. The closure area is defined as follows: >click to read<Recent biological sampling conducted by the department has indicated that small white shrimp, which have over-wintered in these waters from January through the present time, have reached marketable sizes and the closure is no longer necessary.11:30

NOAA says a group of whales in the Gulf of Mexico are endangered

Federal scientists say a tiny group of Bryde’s whales in the Gulf of Mexico is endangered, facing threats including oil and gas exploration and development. “They’re the only year-round baleen whales that make their home in Gulf of Mexico, and (they) have a unique and very important role in the ecosystem,” said Laura Engleby, a marine mammal biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries’ service.,,,Engleby said, “We don’t really know much about this species.”>click to read<15:31

Gautier firefighters battling boat fire and possible fuel leak

For the past 3 hours, firefighters with the Gautier Fire Department have been working to put out a fire on a shrimp boat at Pitalo’s Marine in Gautier Tuesday afternoon. The fire started around 11 a.m. on The Noah, which is in dry dock at the marine yard. Dept. Chief Derek McCoy said firefighters are having trouble putting the fire out because of the close quarters of the boat. Vid clip, photo’s, >click to read<19:09

Fishing vessel sinks, leaving fishermen stranded 90-miles off Naples

Three Pinellas County men floating in a raft were rescued by the Coast Guard early Monday morning. The three-man crew left from Fort Myers Beach last Wednesday. They were 90-miles off the coast of Naples, about five days into a two-week-long fishing trip when their boat started taking on water. The first mate said it was terrifying. Working on a 32-foot fishing boat named Miss Saturia, Kyle Haskins said they didn’t have time to react. >click to read<12:45

The Destin Fisherman’s Cooperative has provided fuel and supplies since 1989

On Feb. 9, 1989, local fishermen established the co-op to help them and other fishermen to buy discounted fuel. “We had three or four fuel facilities back in the day that were gouging us, and some fishermen expressed an interest in getting some sort of a discount and they laughed at us,” said Kelly Windes, a member of the founding co-op board. “There were a lot more of us than there were of them, so we took control of it.” After buying their own fuel tanks and pumps and finding suppliers, the cooperative opened shop in an old building on March 23, 1989, at what is now HarborWalk Village. >click to read<10:56

Gulf Council Votes to Relax Quotas on Shrimp Fishing

Today, the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council took final action on shrimp Amendment 18, allowing shrimpers to increase the amount of fishing allowed under the red snapper rebuilding plan. The Southern Shrimp Alliance advocated for this change for more than two years. The Council was unanimous in its decision. Once again, the Alliance won its arguments before regulators by presenting scientific research. The Council’s actions acknowledge that the shrimp fishery has made a substantial contribution to the rebuilding of the red snapper stock. Since the plan went into effect, shrimpers have achieved 100% compliance with the red snapper management plan’s goals. >click to read<17:28

China bought lots of Florida lobster despite tariffs. Keys fishermen paid the price

Chinese importers bought Florida spiny lobsters in what could be near-record numbers this season, despite a 25 percent tariff their government placed on U.S. seafood last July, according to the leading Florida Keys commercial fishermen’s trade group. That’s great news considering the fear commercial anglers had about the potential impact of growing U.S.-China trade hostilities on one of South Florida’s largest industries. “Going into the season, the big questions were: Will the Chinese buy? How much and at what price,” >click to read<20:25

Copeland man pleads not guilty to killing his father aboard fishing vessel

Casey Hickok, the Copeland man charged with killing his father aboard a fishing vessel about 66 miles west of Marco Island last month, pleaded not guilty Wednesday at the federal courthouse in Fort Myers. Robert Hickok, 54, also of Copeland, was sleeping when he was bludgeoned to death by his 32-year-old son within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the U.S., according to a criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Casey Hickok was charged with second-degree murder when the criminal complaint was filed on March 19. >click to read<09:15

Con Groups File Intent to Sue to Protect Atlantic Sharks, Giant Rays From Lethal Longlines, Gillnets

On behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice today filed a notice of intent to sue the Trump administration for failing to protect oceanic whitetip sharks and giant manta rays from being killed by longlines and huge nets used by U.S. fishermen in Atlantic fisheries. >click to read<13:59

Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will meet April 1-4, 2019 in Biloxi

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will meet April 1-4, 2019 at the IP Casino & Resort located at 850 Bayview Avenue in Biloxi, Mississippi. 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<22:51

Murder on the high seas? Complaint says Collier man beat dad to death on fishing boat

A Collier County man is facing charges in what the U.S. government says was an apparent murder on the high seas out in the Gulf of Mexico off Marco Island. Casey Lowell Hickok, 32, of Copeland, near Everglades City, was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, while aboard a commercial fishing vessel, Hickok was witnessed bludgeoning a sleeping member of the boat’s crew to death with a spare boat alternator, which he later threw off the vessel. The charges were filed in the Middle District of U.S. District Court in Fort Myers. >click to read<15:27

Fake lobster-tag case leads to arrests in Florida Keys

Florida fisheries investigators have made at least two arrests following a long inquiry into the sale of counterfeit lobster trap tags required by law for commercial anglers to do business in the state. The suspected ringleader is a Palmetto Bay woman who is the registered agent of more than 50 active and inactive commercial fishing operations in Florida. She was arrested Monday in the Florida Keys on racketeering and fraud charges. Elena P. Reyes, 67, is being held in Monroe County jail on a total bond of $892,500. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigators also arrested Michael Enrique Sanchez,

Florida Keys Maritime business back after Hurricane Irma

Editor’s note: It’s been 542 days since Hurricane Irma swept the Keys. By in large, the Keys have recovered. But there are still some pockets that are working on rebuilding, including commercial fishermen. Many lost thousands of traps and are still struggling against the vagaries of Mother Nature. It’s something to note this weekend of the Marathon Seafood Festival. Many homes and businesses were destroyed when Hurricane Irma swept through the Florida Keys. Some will never be rebuilt; many small businesses were forced to close forever. >click to read<10:48

Game wardens seized large amounts of shrimp

Local Texas Parks & Wildlife game wardens seized just over 1,800 pounds of shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico Sunday afternoon. According to Calhoun County Game Warden Chelsea Bailey, she along with a couple other game wardens were patrolling the Gulf of Mexico specifically for shrimp boats. “We inspect their catch, the net and the Turtle Excluder Device (TED) that they use on the boat,” Bailey said. These guys get rousted. >click to read<15:57