Category Archives: Gulf of Mexico

Ostego Bay Foundation Working Waterfront Tour returns

The shrimping industry has been a staple of the economy on Fort Myers Beach and San Carlos Island for decades, bringing in hefty hauls of the popular seafood appetizer for restaurants local and far away. The Ostego Bay Foundation Working Waterfront Tour on Fort Myers Beach is back for the season and provides a closer glimpse of the shrimping business for those interested. The tour has been getting more visitors of late now that the winter season has picked up again. “The boats are very busy.” >click to read< 06:47

6 Ocean Priorities for the Biden Administration from the Environmentalist

Since President-elect Biden was voted into office last November, he and his team have been sharing what they want to accomplish in their first 100 days in office.,, In the midst of any political transition, it is easy for environmental issues to be pushed aside in the name of more “urgent” issues.  Fortunately, the new administration has given us promising signals that environmental action is high on their to-do list. Here are six things that must be prioritized in the coming weeks and months,,, >click to read< 09:48

As Commerce Secretary, Raimondo to play key role in offshore wind.

In the selection of Gina Raimondo as the next U.S. Secretary of Commerce, the offshore wind industry would get a champion in Washington. What influence she could bring to bear for the emerging energy sector remains to be seen, but if confirmed to her new position in the Biden cabinet, Raimondo would oversee federal fisheries regulators who have raised some of the concerns about potential negative impacts of erecting what could be many hundreds of wind turbines in the ocean waters off southern New England. >click to read<09:45

‘It scared me’: Olmito man shares story of dramatic rescue from shrimp boat off South Padre Island

An Olmito man is sharing his story after the Coast Guard rescued him and three others near the jetties at Boca Chica on Monday. Felipe Hernandez says he feels lucky to be alive. “The sea is incredible,” Hernandez said in Spanish. “It gives, but it takes.” A four-person crew had been taking advantage of the shrimping over the last few weeks. On Monday as they were heading back, they ran into dangerously high seas and a monster wave crashed into them. video, >click to read< , Coast Guard rescues 2 people from vessel taking on water near South Padre Island>click to read< 07:10

Longtime, devoted Galveston shrimper Joseph “Captain Joe,” Grillo dies

Joseph Anthony Grillo, a commercial shrimper for more than 50 years who fought for legislation to protect the island industry, died on Jan. 1 at his home. He was 89. Grillo, affectionately known as “Captain Joe,” was born Jan.10, 1931, in Apalachicola, Florida. He moved to Galveston with his family in 1940. Grillo was a loving family man, a hard-working commercial shrimper and devoted Roman Catholic, his family and friends say. Grillo purchased his shrimp boat, which he named Santa Maria, in 1952 and he and his wife operated it until they sold the boat at their retirement in 2003 to the Galveston Historical Foundation, which made it a part of its Texas Seaport Museum on Harborside Drive. >click to read< 09:55

Low fuel prices may have saved Gulf Coast shrimpers

Texas shrimpers had a painfully low amount of shrimp harvested in the Gulf in 2020. It dropped from an annual average of 45-50 million pounds of shrimp to 38 million pounds. Yet in the beginning stages of a new year, there is interesting news about what actually happened. According to Andrea Hance with the Texas Shrimp Association, “We actually ended the year on a fairy positive note and it’s kind of hard to believe,,, video, >click to read< 16:48

Fishermen rescued, fuel, debris spilled near Anna Maria Island

The Coast Guard rescued three fishermen from a 70-foot commercial fishing vessel that took on water Friday evening two miles west of Anna Maria Island. The fishermen are “OK,” according to boat owner Joe Versaggi, of Tampa-based Versaggi Shrimp Corp. But pieces of the Warrior, along with some fuel, continued to wash up on Anna Maria Island’s beaches this afternoon, floating south past Holmes Beach and Bradenton Beach and reaching Longboat Key. While the Coast Guard reported earlier today that the hull of the vessel appeared intact, some of the 7,000 gallons of diesel fuel was reported leaking. photos, >click to read< 07:35

Deadline to Apply for Seafood Trade Relief Program Coming Up

“U.S. fishermen affected by retaliatory tariffs need to file an application for this program by Friday, Jan. 15,” said Richard Fordyce, Administrator for USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). “We still have funding available, and these direct payments will help them recover from the effects of retaliatory tariffs on their ability to make a living.” STRP is available for the following types of seafood: Atka mackerel, Crab (Dungeness, King, Snow, Southern Tanner, Flounder, Geoduck, Goosefish, Herrings, Lobster, Pacific Cod, Pacific Ocean Perch, Pollock, Sablefish, Salmon, Sole, Squid, Tuna, Turbot. To apply, visit farmers.gov/seafood or call 877-508-8364. >click to read< 12:20

Coronavirus: Coast Guard offers extension on credentials, medical certificates, and course approvals

Coast Guard officials have announced an extension of merchant marine credential endorsements, medical certificates and course approvals to meet challenges caused by the global novel coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, the Coast Guard advised that due to these changes there may be a backlog in the processing of credentials and course approvals, especially near the end of the extension dates.,, Under the Coast Guard’s current statutory authority, the expiration dates of merchant mariner credentials may be extended for no more than one year. >click to read< 14:34

Teamwork triumphs over trouble

Preparation met opportunity last week off Cape San Blas, when a team of first responders plucked a group of longline grouper fishermen off a boat sinking in rough waters on Christmas Eve morning. No trips to hospitals were needed for the captain and four crew members of the F/V Miss Adley, following the rescue Thursday morning, Dec. 24 by members of South Gulf County Volunteer Fire Department’s water safety and rescue team of first responders. >click to read< 07:15

Legislation to help next generation of young fishermen passes in Congress

Congress passed bipartisan legislation on Dec. 20 that would establish a national program to train and educate the next generation of commercial fishermen. It must be signed by President Donald Trump before becoming law. The Young Fishermen’s Development Act, H.R. 1240, would create $2,000,000 in yearly grant funding, which would be dispensed to various organizations to provide mentorship and learning opportunities to fishermen just starting in the industry. >click to read< 12:19

European Union is dropping tariffs on American lobster

President Donald Trump has signed a proclamation that finalizes an agreement with the European Union to eliminate tariffs on live and frozen lobster from the United States. In 2017, a trade agreement eliminated tariffs on live lobsters from Canada and slowly reduced and eliminated tariffs of frozen and processed Canadian lobster. At the same time, American lobster exports faced tariffs as high as 30% in the European Union. The new agreement will reduce tariffs on live and frozen U.S. lobsters to 0%, retroactive to Aug. 1. Video, >click to read< 11:24

Report on Fishery Failures: Urgently Needed Disaster Declarations Act, S. 2346

Purpose of the Bill: The purpose of S. 2346, the Fishery Failures: Urgently Needed Disaster Declarations Act, is to clarify and expedite the disaster declaration process, establish certain deadlines for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), reduce delays, and clarify eligibility for assistance to ensure that charter, recreational, and Tribal fishers have access to disaster funds. Additionally, the bill would provide employment opportunities for fishery employees displaced by a fishery disaster by prioritizing their hiring to undertake restoration, conservation, and other fishery rebuilding activities funded by disaster relief funds. >click to read< 09:22

Coast Guard rescues 4 from fishing vessel fire near Fort Morgan, Alabama

The Coast Guard rescued four people Monday aboard a vessel on fire near Fort Morgan, Alabama. The four people were safely recovered and transported to shore in stable condition. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Mobile received a report around 6:45 p.m. from the commercial vessel F/V  Alexandria Pearl that it was on fire and in need of assistance, about a half mile south of Fort Morgan. Short video, >click to read< 23:57

Coast Guard rescues 3 from commercial fishing vessel fire near Pascagoula, Mississippi

The Coast Guard rescued three people from a commercial fishing vessel on fire offshore Pascagoula, Mississippi, Thursday. All three people aboard F/V Lucky Angel were returned to shore safely. One person was transported to Singing River Hospital in stable condition after being evaluated by EMS. Watch standers at the Eighth Coast Guard District received a report around 10:30 p.m. from one of the crew members aboard the Lucky Angel that the vessel was on fire approximately 10 nautical miles south of Pascagoula Channel. >click to read< 14:08

Mississippi DMR hearing public comments on spillway relief funding

The 2019 openings of the Bonnet Carre Spillway are still being felt here on the Gulf Coast a year later. NOAA has allocated about $88 million in relief funding due to the spillway impacts, and a little more than $21 million is coming to Mississippi. “Everything from the fin fish, to the crab, to the oysters, to the shrimp. Any type fish in the Gulf, it covers that,” said Joe Spraggins, “We’re not going to have that without our commercial fishermen. We’ve got to have them,” said Spraggins. “It’s a matter of whether you stay in business or not, and if these companies leave, if they ever leave us, we’ll never get them back, If these oyster fishermen shrimpers, crab fishermen, we’ll never get them back.” Video, >click to read< 08:56

25 years after the Florida net ban – “When they take your gear from you and they tell you that you can’t fish,,,

Generational islander Rhonda Dooley has a burning desire that no one forget the Florida net ban. She says many people still don’t realize what it was really about, and how it continues to affect the island and the families who made their living on the water. “When they take your gear from you and they tell you that you can’t fish,,, She said commercial fishermen are food producers. “There were over 300 fishing families on the island back in the day,” she said, referring to life before the net ban. “Everyone had their hand in fishing — that was all they did and all they talked about.” >click to read< 13:04

Fishermen want to uplift Mullet Run Season

Steve Johnston and his wife bought a fish house from the original owners in 2019 and are hoping to keep the history alive at Jug Creek. “We share the same passion as them, they were generational fisherman that developed Cayo Costa and this end of the island. So, it was real important for them to keep it the way it is,” said Johnston. Mullet fish are their specialty. “Last year we moved 300,000 this year we’re hoping 1 million or more this year and we didn’t have enough fishermen,” Johnston said. >video, click to read< 14:37

Florida: One month into stone crab season, and there’s good news from the docks and markets

Fishermen are reporting a strong supply while markets and restaurants are saying customer demand is just as promising. “It’s been an outstanding season so far,” said Kelly Kirk, owner of Kirk Fish Company.  For customers, that means good news: Prices have held steady compared to last year. And large claws, usually more elusive, have been especially abundant, Kirk said.  The strong landings come despite new restrictions imposed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission aimed at protecting the stone crab population after years of declining harvests. Kirk said those declines aren’t being seen this season. “We’re seeing the opposite of that, actually,” Kirk said. “Had COVID not hit and the whole market turned upside down (last year), we probably would have broken records as far as production. >click to read< 10:34

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 54′ Fiberglass Shrimp Dragger, 2 John Deere 6081’s, Kubota – 21 KW genset

To review specifications, and information, and 3 photos >click here<, To see all the boats in this series, >click here<12:10

Yes, the fleet will be blessed on Friday

They did not summon a queen and they did not call for a king, because the contagion had wafted across the land. The Florida Seafood Festival, which would usually be flooding the county with visitors this upcoming weekend, instead had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. But the board of directors has made sure that one important aspect of the festival, the blessing of the fleet, will not be abandoned, and leading it will be an honorary King Retsyo. “Everybody needs a blessing at some point,” said board member Tress Dameron. >click to read< 08:12

Hurricane Zeta Public Advisory

At 400 AM CDT, Zeta is moving toward the north-northwest near 17 mph (28 km/h). A turn toward the north is expected soon, and a faster northward to north-northeastward motion is expected to begin later this morning. On the forecast track, the center of Zeta will approach the northern Gulf coast this morning and make landfall in southeastern Louisiana this afternoon. Zeta will move close to the Mississippi coast this evening, and move across the southeastern and eastern United States on Thursday. >click to read< 07:30 

Port Fourchon moves to Storm Phase 3, Recommended Evacuation as Zeta heads into the Gulf

The Port Fourchon area is anticipating more or less a direct hit from Zeta’s center of circulation sometime Wednesday evening. Fortunately, Tropical Storm Zeta is forecast to move quickly, lessening the length of time we receive severe impacts from wind and rain, but be prepared for significant storm surge outside of the levee system. >click to read< 10:58  Tropical Storm Zeta was entering the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday morning on its path toward landfall in Louisiana, forecasters said. It weakened after making landfall overnight in the Yucatan, but Zeta is expected to strengthen and regain its hurricane status Tuesday. It’s forecast to make landfall Wednesday in southeast Louisiana as a tropical storm or a Category 1 hurricane. >click to read< 11:04

Ronnie Max Andrews, 52, enjoyed a career as a commercial fisherman, has passed away

Ronnie was the son of Eyela Merrill Stouffer of Pensacola, Florida, and the late Ronald Clinton Andrews. Ronnie spent his adult life on the water as a commercial fisherman along the East Coast and spent much of that time in the Brunswick County area. He was a great fisherman and shrimper and will be missed by all who called him a friend. At the time of his death, Ronnie was a valued friend and crewman aboard the Capt. C.L. Holden out of Shallotte Point. >click to read< 17:44

Big white shrimp return to Lake Pontchartrain in big numbers

People who like big shrimp are rejoicing. That’s because some of the biggest white shrimp many have seen are now showing up in Lake Pontchartrain. Old-timers say it’s like the good all days. Shrimp like they’ve never seen before in Lake Pontchartrain instead of offshore, and they credit a number of factors. “These shrimp are primo the best we’ve seen around here since 2010,” said shrimper Paul Newton, >Video, click to read< 11:42

Fisherman medevac’d from shrimp boat 15 miles off Baffin Bay, Texas

The Coast Guard medevac’d a 58-year-old male from a fishing vessel 15 miles off Baffin Bay, Texas, Thursday evening. Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi watchstanders received a report at 8:30 p.m. Thursday from the crew of the Los Nietos, a 77-foot fishing vessel, stating a crewmember suffered a head injury. >video, click to read< 13:51

Collins and several colleagues call on NOAA to resume ‘usual operational tempo’

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) should get back to its regular schedule of conducting fisheries research surveys, which have been cancelled since May due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and several colleagues. Additionally, NOAA should identify and resolve any challenges created by the pandemic that prevented this year’s surveys to ensure surveys are safely conducted in 2021, the lawmakers wrote in a Sept. 30 letter sent to Dr. Neil Jacobs, acting administrator at NOAA. Among the members who joined Sen. Collins in signing the letter were U.S. Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Doug Jones (D-AL). >click to read< 09:00

Three people and three dogs rescued from a 40-foot shrimp boat taking on water

The Coast Guard rescued three boaters and three dogs from a 40-foot shrimp boat taking on water Tuesday, near Pascagoula, Mississippi. Coast Guard Sector Mobile watchstanders received a radio call at 7:47 a.m. via VHF Chanel 16 from Coast Guard Cutter Jacob Poroo, reporting a person in the water holding on to a life ring in the Pascagoula Ship Channel. The Jacob Poroo’s 26-Foot Over the Horizon-IV crew and a Station Pascagoula 29-Foot Response Boat-Small II launched to assist. The name of the vessel is F/V Miss Angela. >click to read< 16:12

Stone crab season opens Oct. 15 with new regulations in place

For roughly a week now, armadas of Floridian crabbing fleets and their deckhands have boated miles offshore into the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean to lay their traps on the depths. Come Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, these crabbers will venture out again to launch Florida’s stone crab season, hauling in anticipated bounties of Menippe mercenaria and their treasured claws. “We’re putting them out right now,” Richard Stiglitz, owner of the Homosassa-based Salty Bones Fisheries, said about 650 of his 10,000 traps. It’ll take some time before crabbing crews know what kind of season they’ll have. >click to read< 10:05

Coast Guard conducts overflight of areas near Lake Charles affected by Hurricane Delta

The Coast Guard is conducting critical incident search and rescue overflights Saturday along the Western Gulf Coast Region for Hurricane Delta post-storm operations. A Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew conducted overflights near Lake Charles to assess damage and identify hazards. Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrews conducted overflights near Lake Charles and other impacted areas. As of 1 p.m. Saturday, there have been no reports of Coast Guard post-storm emergency distress calls, or search and rescue incidents.photos, >click to read< 16:03