Category Archives: Gulf of Mexico

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

Deepwater Horizon oil spill didn’t really hurt Florida pro-drilling leaders say

Former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp caused a furor recently when he claimed oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster “didn’t even reach the shores of Florida.” He now admits he was wrong. Sort of. “I guess I overstated it,” said Kottkamp, now leading a group seeking to open the eastern Gulf of Mexico to oil exploration, said in an interview this week with the Tampa Bay Times. His attempt to walk back the remark could offer a preview of the campaign to come as groups push to expand drilling in federal waters eight years later. He and another industry representative say the BP oil spill was more of a public relations disaster fueled by the television news media, rather than an environmental disaster. >click to read<15:47

Shrimpers Still Impacted by Shortage of Workers

Shrimpers in the Rio Grande Valley say they are still experiencing a shortage of workers. Captain Jesus Moreno tells CHANNEL 5 NEWS it’s a tough job. He explains, new shrimpers quit within days and ask to go home. This year, the number of visas issued under the H2B program expanded. Still, only about 15 to 20 percent of the shrimpers received a visa worker. KRGV’s Christian von Preysing spoke with Andrea Hance with the Texas Shrimp Association. She says Texas shrimpers need a total of 750 workers. >click to watch<15:02

Will La.’s shrimpers strike? ‘It’s a last resort’

Acy Cooper bought his first shrimping vessel, an old wooden flatboat, when he was 15. Cooper followed his father and grandfather before him into the rich gumbo Gulf of Mexico waters from the fishing community of Venice on the coast of southern Louisiana. Today Cooper and his two sons and son-in-law operate two Laffite skiffs — one 35-footer and one 30-footer — docked in the same community for another generation. But although many American business owners are bracing for potential negative impacts of a trade war triggered by President Donald Trump’s tariffs, Cooper and his fellow shrimpers are pleading for such protections as foreign producers dump shrimp in the U.S. and cratering prices in the process. >click to read<18:51

Pasco shrimpers’ incomes cut by red tide

The red tide crisis is hitting home for Pasco County shrimpers. They worry their way of life could be coming to an end. With dead fish washing ashore by the truckload, the demand for bait shrimp is shrinking. It comes down to a drop in demand. Bait shops aren’t buying bait shrimp in the red tide zones.  And sport fishermen are staying away. That means, they’re not buying what fishermen catch. The shrimp is not the kind you see on your plate, it’s the kind other fishermen use to catch fish. Video >click to read<14:22

Senate MSA reauthorization a step back for fishing communities

In July, the House passed H.R. 200 the “Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act,” a much needed update of federal fisheries law that allows for both sustainable fisheries management and the long-term preservation of our nation’s fishing communities. Unfortunately, its counterpart bill making its way through the Senate would likely have the opposite effect. The Senate bill, S.1520, or the “Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2018,” introduces changes to the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA)—the main law governing U.S. fisheries—that would impose increasingly burdensome regulations on American fishermen and undermine H.R. 200’s goal of increasing flexibility in fisheries management. >click to read<17:51

Shrimpin ain’t easy, but shrimpers finding ways to navigate 30 yr low prices

Shrimpers across the state have been complaining about foreign imports that are driving prices to a thirty year low. Shrimpers with larger boats say they’re aiming for higher quantities to unload at processing plants on the Gulf Coast, while shrimpers with smaller boats are trying to build networks in communities by selling directly to the public. “With a bigger boat you can chase bigger shrimp to get more money for them. There’s nothing but little shrimp closer to land, the beach where the small boats gotta stay. I mean it’s all they can do really,” said Marty LeBlanc. >click to read<09:26

Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meeting in Corpus Christi, TX. August 20-23, 2018

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will meet August 20-23, 2018 at the Omni Corpus Christi hotel located at 900 N. Shoreline Boulevard, Corpus Christi, TX 78401. Public testimony is scheduled on Wednesday, August 22, from 1:30 PM to 5:00 PM. The Committee and Council Agendas are available 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 >click here< 19:49

Low shrimp prices are hurting local fisherman who blame imports

Local shrimpers are seeing some of the lowest shrimp prices in history, and most blame imported shrimp. Jimmie Dupré has been shrimping for 61 years. He says he plans to retire soon because the industry is taking a turn for the worst. He says, “We can’t get good prices and they drop every time they have an open season, they drop the prices. They claim it’s on the imports. Now, who imports the shrimp? The processors import the shrimp. And they keep saying well it imports if it’s the import shrimp stop importing the damn thing.” There’s been talk of shrimpers going on strike if prices don’t increase but Dupré says that won’t fix the problem. >click to read<09:35

Gulf shrimp industry reeling from labor shortage

Nello Cassarino needs about 150 workers to dehead, peel, sort, package and freeze nearly 60,000 pounds of shrimp each day at his processing plant on Harborside Drive. And finding laborers is particularly difficult right now.,,, The industry has challenges from imported shrimp, but the labor shortage is the biggest issue commercial fishing faces, she said. Processing work typically pays about twice the minimum wage, which would be about $14 an hour, although it depends on the amount of shrimp being processed, Hance said. Pay for boat crews is more difficult to break down into an hourly amount because workers live aboard the boat for 30 to 45 days at a time. But workers may receive about $5,000 for a month at sea, depending on the catch, Hance said. >click to read<15:45

Local fishermen like to clean up on the water. This certainly wasn’t what they had in mind.

Red tide is still hanging around Manatee County’s coastline, making waters murky and beach conditions unpleasant. There are a lot fewer dead fish floating in the water, though. That is thanks in part to local fisherman Nathan Meschelle, who operates a commercial fishing operation called Inseine Fish Harvest out of Palma Sola. Knowing that he would be temporarily out of work when red tide arrived, Meschelle called Manatee commissioner Carol Whitmore and offered to help clean up in the aftermath. Dean Jones, public works manager for the city of Anna Maria, reached out right away.>click to read<16:43

Louisiana shrimpers consider strike as prices plummet

Louisiana shrimpers vowed this week to go on strike if shrimp prices take yet another tumble. About 200 shrimpers gathered in Houma on Wednesday (Aug. 8) to vent their frustrations about foreign imports that have driven shrimp prices to levels not seen since the 1980s. They also fumed over a lack of political support for tariffs and other measures that could shore up an industry they say is heading toward extinction.  “We can’t make it on cents. We need dollars,” said Dean Blanchard, a Grand Isle shrimp distributor. “There’s no way this can continue.” >click to read<21:59

Louisiana Shrimpers seek more federal protection

Speaking during the Louisiana Shrimp Association meeting at the American Legion Hall in Houma, shrimpers said import tariffs aren’t enough to protect their business. And foreign companies should not be able to sell shrimp in the U.S. if they are using banned antibiotics. “We’re being treated differently than other businesses that are in the same situation we’re in,” said Dean Blanchard, owner of Dean Blanchard Seafood Inc. in Grand Isle. “We’re comparable to rice farmers and sugar-cane farmers.” When these farmers, many of them in Louisiana, couldn’t compete with imports, they received help, Blanchard said. The federal government provides them subsidies. He added that they would be out of business if they had to work as hard as shrimpers. >click to read<12:30

Texas Shrimp Industry Lacks Willing U.S. Workers

It’s two weeks in the Shrimp Season and Texas shrimpers are dealing with another worker shortage. Last year about 20% of the Texas Shrimp fleet stayed in Port from a lack of workers. Andrea Hance is Executive Director of the Texas Shrimp Association based in Brownsville. She told The Texas Standard that about 8 to 10 percent of the state’s shrimp boats are still tied up at docks.  “And those boat owners or captains what happened to them is they don’t have enough people to even man the boat, um, so they may only have one other person, well, the boat needs at least three to go out and efficiently operate.” >click to read<11:48

Lawmakers urge more FDA inspections of imported seafood, win approval

An effort to increase the amount of imported seafood the U.S. inspects for health issues has crossed a hurdle in the Senate. Louisiana’s two Republican senators, John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy, won approval of a measure that would add $3.1 million the FDA’s budget for such testing. Shrimpers in Terrebonne and Lafourche, joined by their peers in other states, have pushed for the measure,, The group represents shrimp fishermen and processors in Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. Video >click to read<17:48

High-dollar sports fishing boat crashes into shrimp boat, sinks

A sports fishing boat worth more than $1 million crashed this weekend into a shrimping boat before sinking during a fishing tournament about 45 miles offshore from Port O’Connor. The crash of the 61-foot sports fishing boat, named Got ‘M On, was reported to the Coast Guard at 4:10 p.m. Saturday, assistant public affairs officer Kenneth Hawkins said Sunday. The Got ‘M On collided with a 79-foot shrimping boat named Lady Toni, the Coast Guard reported.,,, No one on the shrimping boat was in the water. No one was arrested or cited after the crash. Only minor injuries, such as scrapes and bruises, were reported, and no one was transported to a hospital. >click to read<10:08

Nearly 300 Sea Turtles Dead as Red Tide Plagues Southwest Florida

Hundreds of sea turtles have washed up dead along the southwest Florida coast as an ongoing red tide event persists in the waters. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has logged 287 sea turtle deaths since the virulent algal bloom started in October, the Associated Press reported. That figure is twice the average number of turtle deaths in those waters each year, Allen Foley of the commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute told the AP on Thursday.  Foley explained that the turtles get sick and die when their food gets contaminated by toxic bloom. >click to read<19:09

Shrimp boat worker found, accused of assaulting shipmates with sledge hammer

Lee County deputies arrested a shrimp boat worker who allegedly assaulted the boat’s captain and another worker with a sledge hammer before disappearing into the water off Fort Myers Beach on Monday, according to an incident report. Deputies led a search for Brandon Scerri, 23, after the boat docked outside of Trico Seafood on Fort Myers Beach and his shipmates reported that he had vanished. He was found “alive and well” Wednesday and was arrested on suspicion of aggravated battery shortly after.  Scerri was taken to Lee County Jail, where he remains in custody. >click to read<13:13

Louisiana Fisherman Talks Water Quality and Nutrient Reduction with Iowa Farmers

Nutrient runoff from Iowa agriculture is one of the leading causes of the growing “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico, an oxygen-deprived section of the Gulf, which last year was recorded to be the size of the state of New Jersey. “About 29 percent of the load coming into the Gulf originates in Iowa,” says Larry Weber, an executive associate dean professor in the University of Iowa’s College of Engineering. “If we take the Iowa portion out of the Gulf, then the nitrate load to the Gulf of Mexico would be going down. The real challenge in fixing the Gulf hypoxia starts in Iowa.” In this special edition of River to River, host Clay Masters talks with panelists about what Iowa farmers are doing, or not doing, when it comes to reducing nutrient runoff into the Mississippi River. He also speaks with Thomas Olander, Chairman of the Louisiana Shrimp Association and a fourth generation shrimper. Audio report >click to listen<10:23

After a hammer attack on a shrimp boat, Coast Guard searching for shrimper who fell or jumped into water off Fort Myers Beach

Members of the Coast Guard are looking for a man who fell (or jumped) off a shrimp boat. Brandon Scerri, 23, fell near Bowditch Point on Fort Myers Beach. He was on the shrimp boat “Jacob” on his way back from near the Florida Keys and Dry Tortuga area. Crime Stoppers said Scerri is a transient on Fort Myers Beach and doesn’t have any family in the area. Investigators said Scerri has gone missing before and may have mental health issues. >Video, >click to watch<08:30

How to turn around our local shrimping industry

Given the harsh local winter and hampered shrimp season this year, a more generous and innovative local community of seafood customers is required for shrimpers to survive. In fact, it’s the cheap, penny-pinching, wholesale-seeking shrimp customers who are mostly to blame for Lowcountry shrimp fleets going away. So many sing, shag, and smile from ear-to-ear each year at the Blessing of The Fleet and at every shrimping fundraiser –– yet these same people berate area shrimpers mercilessly for lower and lower prices all season long. That dog will never hunt… Here is a roster of solutions that will add years to the economic sustainability of the local shrimping industry as a Lowcountry seafood offering: >click to read<13:25

Sam Parisi: HR-200 was passed in the House and will now move on to the Senate. Push Your Senators!

There has been a lot of those for and against the bill, and after reading the forty-nine pages of the bill and trying to consume it, I have come to the conclusion that over all it is a move in the right direction. The enactment of the 200 mile limit was needed because of foreign fisherman from other countries were destroying our Fisheries and our government at that time had no jurisdiction, Japanese and Russian Factory Ships were invading our waters using small mesh netting scooping up small fish like haddock, cod, flounder, and other bottom dwelling species. I say this because while fishing for whiting off the Canyons near Cape Cod I saw in front of me and fishing along side of me, those factory ships. >click to read<17:48