Category Archives: Gulf of Mexico

Family will carry on Captain Ben’s legacy

Ben Nguyen, known as Captain Ben, died unexpectedly three weeks ago at the age of 49. His family was faced with the shock of his loss as the opening of shrimp season was bearing down, but they were determined to honor his legacy. “We knew we had to make him proud,” said his daughter Amanda, “So that’s why we had to pick back up and just get going.” After years of working as a deckhand, and doing other enterprises, Captain Ben had built a fleet of eight shrimp and crab boats. Two years ago, he bought a small dock in St. Martin, Miss. where he sold seafood year-round. He left behind his wife, Trina, and three children, daughters Amanda, and Taylor, and son, Ben, who were determined to continue his legacy. Video, >click to read< 14:42

Alabama: Shrimpers having tough spring season

The COVID-19 global pandemic has caused the price of shrimp paid to fishermen to plummet, causing many to stay home. Those who are on the water say they are not having much luck finding shrimp. The season began on Monday, May 18, and only a sparse number of boats can be seen dotting the waters. Dock operators and shrimpers say COVID-19 caused restaurants to sell few shrimp, and this has meant processors haven’t moved much product. The low demand for new shrimp has dropped the normal $1.85 per pound for larger shrimp down to $1.05. Smaller shrimp, normally fetching near a dollar per pound, has dropped below $.50. Morris Liner, a shrimper of 42 years, said that the windfall that the lower oil prices could have brought has not materialized. >click to read< 11:14

NOAA – Their mission

Back in the sixties when I was fishing with my dad we would fish about a one hundred miles east of New Bedford for whiting in the spring. We had a ninety foot dragger. And there were Russian vessels there that were three hundred foot  and they were using a small mesh net that caught everything in the water. At the time there was no 200 mile limit. The Russians and other foreign vessels could come into our waters and were restricted to within fifteen miles of our coast. Today  no one knows how much damage they did but our fisherman would eventually pay the price. Finally in 1978, we enacted the 200 mile limit. That was great so we thought, but we created a monster. That being NOAA. >click to read< Thank You, Sam Parisi 08:52

“I’m in fear of my livelihood,” “They really don’t listen to us.” Florida shortens stone crab season over industry objections

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said the shortened season and other new limits are necessary to sustain Florida stone crabs,,,    The agency’s scientists said many crabs don’t survive their claws being removed, and crabs have been overharvested since the late 1990s. Its data, challenged as inaccurate by the industry, showed the fewest pounds of stone crab claws harvested since 1986 during the season that ended last year.  Wholesale claw prices in some areas have tanked from low demand, as diners avoid restaurants and consumers reduce spending amid concerns about the economy. The commission said Gov. Ron DeSantis may reduce the amount of money crabbers must pay for next season’s trap certificates as part of a crab-industry bailout related to the virus. >click to read or listen< 15:14

Eight Projects Selected for S-K Funding – Here we go again! Fisherman get the shaft, thanks to NOAA

To those fisherman who put in an application for Saltonstall-Kennedy Program Funding money, I feel badly for you who were not selected. Again, NOAA gave the money to universities, foundations, and other special interests and not you, who it should be for. Unfortunately for those who applied, this has been going on for years under NOAA’s selection of those that apply. I believe when authored by Senators Leverett Saltonstall (R-Mass.) and John F. Kennedy (D-Mass.) in 1954 to promote and market domestic seafood, that they didn’t think our fisherman would be left out. Two years ago, I was chosen by NOAA to serve on a panel to review those who applied.,, by Sam Parisi, >click to read< including the press release. 19:12

Brownsville: How Coronavirus pandemic is affecting shrimp producers

About two months ago, one of Andrea Hance’s boats came in with about 10,000 pounds of shrimp. Hance said on average the price of shrimp that they get from the boat is about $5, but buyers were not willing to pay that much. “They were coming back after they told us that they were not going to bid at all, you pressure them a little bit and then they said well we’ll give you a bid, but you’re not going to like it,” said Hance. “Well we ended up selling our shrimp for $3 a pound so we lost quite a bit of money on the last trip.” These are prices that John Keil Burnell, who is one of the owners of Shrimp Outlet in Brownsville, is seeing. Video, >click to read< 16:16

DOC Secretary Ross Allocates $88 Million in Fishery Disaster Funding for Fishing Communities Affected by 2019 Bonnet Carre Spillway Opening

Today, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the allocation of $88 million in fishery disaster funding to Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, where a catastrophic regional fishery disaster occurred due to extreme freshwater flooding in 2019 associated with the unprecedented opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway. “The Department of Commerce stands with our U.S. fishing communities, especially in times of hardship,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “These funds will help industries and individuals recover from this disaster, and build resilience for the future.” >click to read< 16:22

Over $21.3 million in federal fishery disaster funds allocated to Mississippi>click to read<

In the Coronavirus Economy, Texas’ Commercial Fishermen Are Barely Treading Water

Most of Texas’ commercial fishermen have seen similar struggles. As has been the case across food industries, the pandemic’s economic fallout on Gulf Coast commercial anglers and local wholesalers brought their boats and operations ashore like a summer storm. Their financial livelihoods and the industry’s future, as well as generations of rich commercial fishing tradition, are at stake. Without restaurants, in other words, seafood demand plummets. Commercial angler Buddy Guindon, who co-owns Katie’s Seafood Market with his wife, Katie, says their operation in Galveston felt the pandemic’s impact almost immediately. When local restaurants mostly closed up shop, they were forced to cut their employees’ fishing trips short. >click to read< 10:00

Trump Executive Order Opens the Door for Massive Industrial Fish Farms in Oceans

Last week, the Trump administration announced an executive order opening the door for large-scale fish farming. That order, as reported by the Food and Environment Reporting Network (FERN), is designed at its core to expand the scope and facilities for aquaculture. What that likely means is a reduction in regulations, and the creation of large offshore fish farms.,, While offshore fish farms would be a boon to major seafood corporations, smaller fishermen would be harmed by it in several ways. Those environmental effects could deplete the health of wild waters, which fishermen depend on. They could also flood the market with cheaper farmed fish, harming the demand for more sustainably caught seafood.  >click to read< 08:04

CARES Act Stimulus: Funding process for Florida Keys fishermen slowly unfolds

Both commercial and for-hire fishermen in the Florida Keys hit hard by the economic shutdown spurred by the novel coronavirus may apply to receive a portion of $23.6 million allocated to the state through the CARES Act Stimulus. Of the $300 million slugged for federal fisheries’ assistance, Florida is to receive about 12.7%, or the fourth largest share behind Alaska, Washington and Massachusetts. While Capt. Bill Kelly, executive director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association, says the Keys fisheries have been slighted, he remains optimistic about the upcoming lobster season. NOAA will administer the funds through the interstate marine fisheries arms. For here, that’s the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which will, in turn, contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to identify and establish a plan for fishermen to apply for funds. >click to read< 11:44

Coast Guard searching for a fisherman in the water offshore Marsh Island, Louisiana

The Coast Guard is searching for a person in the water offshore Marsh Island, Louisiana, Monday. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a report at about 3 a.m. that a 52-year-old male was missing from the crew of commercial fishing vessel Guiding Light 3, approximately 18 nautical miles south of Marsh Island, Louisiana. He is presumed to have fallen overboard. Involved in the search: Coast Guard Cutter Skipjack, Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-65 Dolphin Helicopter aircrew, Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew -USCG- U.S. Coast Guard 8th District Heartland Contact: 8th District Public Affairs, Office: (504) 671-2020 ,After Hours: (618) 225-9008

A Beautiful Combo! May 10th is Mother’s Day and National Shrimp Day!

With Mother’s Day right around the corner on May 10th and having so many of our usual Mother’s Day traditions stomped out by Covid-19, you may find yourself wondering what you can do that’s special for Mom! What’s better than taking charge of the kitchen and cooking a nice meal for her? If you are still practicing social distance you can always cook the meal and deliver it at a safe distance!What’s unique this year is that Mother’s Day falls on National Shrimp Day! Shrimp can be a delicate protein to cook so to help make this Mother’s Day as special as can be here are a few tips to ensure your shrimp comes out juicy and delicious! Tips, and recipes, >click to read<  4 Ways to Celebrate National Shrimp Day – Ready to celebrate? Check out these four delicious shrimp recipes to get started >click to read< 10:21

Commerce Secretary Announces $300 Million CARES Act Allocation – NOAA will disburse funds through partners

As a next step, NOAA Fisheries will use these allocations (see below) to make awards to our partners—the interstate marine fisheries commissions, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands—to disburse funds to address direct or indirect fishery-related losses as well as subsistence, cultural, or ceremonial impacts related to COVID-19. “We are going to rely primarily on our partners at the interstate marine fishery commissions during the award process because they have a demonstrated track record of disbursing funds provided to them quickly and effectively,” said Chris Oliver, Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries. Read the Summary of Allocations, and review the question and answer section. Q. Who should affected fishermen and communities contact about accessing this funding?  >click to read< 11:00

Video: Coast Guard set out to rescues 3 people, dog from a capsized fishing vessel offshore Apalachicola, Florida

The Coast Guard rescued three people and a dog from a capsized fishing vessel offshore Apalachicola, Florida, Thursday. All passengers aboard, including the dog, were rescued and no injuries were reported. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Mobile received a report at approximately 11 a.m. that the 64-foot fishing vessel Pete’s Dream was taking on water about 70 nautical miles offshore Apalachicola, Florida, with three people and a dog aboard. In the process of launching rescue assets, Sector Mobile received an additional report that all three people and the dog abandoned ship and boarded a life raft. One of the passengers was able to use a satellite phone to communicate to shore. Video, >click to read< 21:17

President Donald J. Trump Executive Order Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to strengthen the American economy; improve the competitiveness of American industry; ensure food security; provide environmentally safe and sustainable seafood; support American workers; ensure coordinated, predictable, and transparent Federal actions; and remove unnecessary regulatory burdens, it is hereby ordered as follows: DONALD J. TRUMP, THE WHITE HOUSE, May 7, 2020. >click to read<

President Donald J. Trump Is Working to Secure America’s Seafood Supply Chain and Bring Jobs Home>click to read< 17:54

U.S. Department of Commerce Announces Availability of $1.5 Billion in CARES Act Funds to Aid Communities Impacted by the Coronavirus Pandemic

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross today announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is now accepting applications from eligible grantees for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) supplemental funds (EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance) intended to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.,, On March 27, 2020, President Donald J. Trump signed the $2 trillion CARES Act into law. The CARES Act provides EDA with $1.5 billion of which $1.467 billion is available for grant making. The remaining funds will be transferred to cover salaries and expenses and oversight activities. >click to read< 12:54

Coronavirus: Louisiana Shrimpers Uncertain of the Future

The seafood industry in Louisiana has seen highs and lows throughout the years.,, The ongoing competition from imported seafood and natural disasters have always been hurdles Captain AC Cooper and his family have had to navigate through, but now with the surplus of shrimp due to COVID-19 he’s unsure of the future. Acy said, “You just can’t get rid of the product that you normally get rid of because of the restaurants being closed and we went through lent but we still didn’t get rid of the excess. It’s hard to say that you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow and we don’t, and that’s very scary.” >click to read< 08:31

Mississippi’s Coast shrimpers cling to legacy through the industry’s choppy waters

Danny Ross, an Ocean Springs shrimper, has been on a boat for as long as he could walk. He remembers driving the family vessel as a kid, having to climb onto the dashboard to see over the steering wheel. “Two spokes to the left,” his dad would direct. He remembers, back on land, getting bad grades in art class because he would only draw one thing. “I’d draw a pretty good boat too,” he said. “Me and my brothers were always on the boat. The rigging, the pipes – that was our jungle gym. And our swimming pool? The boat would be shrimping and we’d be diving off the bow, catching ropes on the outrivers.” Ross, 55, recently tied up his boat after a disappointing season that saw fresh water kill 56 percent of Mississippi’s shrimp. The plummeting price of shrimp has made it difficult for Ross to find crew members, and instead he’s gone to work on another captain’s boat. After following five generations of fishermen into the business, he’s worried about the direction the industry is headed in. photos, >click to read<. This is a two part series, >click to read Part 1< , with photo gallery 08:09

Shrimp season threatened by Coronavirus pandemic

With seafood processors across South Mississippi closed for business, the shrimping season slated to open in as few as four weeks could be sidelined by another disaster. Because many coronavirus restrictions are still in place on the Gulf Coast, processors, shrimpers and the restaurant industry could take a hit for the second year in a row. Freshly caught shrimp will soon be harvested from the Mississippi Sound, but with coronavirus restrictions still in place, seafood processors that have been closed already have plenty of stock on ice. video, >click to read< 12:21

‘Another punch in the gut’: Gulf Coast shrimpers navigate the coronavirus crisis

Shrimping is a hard business. Gulf Coast shrimpers, who bring in three quarters of the nation’s catch, have been battered with waves of bad luck. Hurricanes. A flood of cheap imports. The BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. Fresh water diversions that kill seafood. And now the coronavirus. Restaurants buy 80% of both imported and domestic shrimp, according to the Southern Shrimp Alliance. With restaurants closed or offering only takeout, no one is buying much shrimp. Next month would typically launch the peak of shrimp season as Gulf states begin their annual opening of nearshore waters to shrimping. >click to read< 07:45

Coronavirus Florida: Cortez fish company staying afloat

Fishing boats are still leaving the docks in Cortez, but coronavirus has changed the specifics of where the hauls wind up. Karen Bell, president of A.P. Bell Fish Co., said “we’re holding our own” when asked about the impact the virus has had on the fish house she owns in the historic village of Cortez that sends seafood all over the world. Business is far from brisk, but demand is still there, even if the target has been altered. “It (the virus) shifted everything around,” Bell said. “People are still eating but they’ve changed how and where they eat.” Of the fish being unloaded now, 60% are coming from inshore, 40% offshore, Bell said. Before the virus upended the economy, it was the other way around. >click to read< 10:20

A shrimper crashed his boat. Police said they found him with drugs and ready to fight

Ron Ray Anderson, 39, of Merritt Island, ignored officers’ commands and charged at them with a fist, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s arrest report. The officers said they had to spray him with Mace to take him into custody. FWC officers said they arrived at about 2 p.m. Wednesday to find a large shrimping vessel aground near the green channel marker No. 5 near the Safe Harbor Marina Channel. The vessel was listing to its port side about 100 yards outside the marked channel. >click to read< 14:42

In search of aid: Congress pushing for help to local fishing industry battered by Coronavirus

In Southwest Florida, perhaps no other industry makes its mark so directly on the culture and day-to-day life of its tourism business as the fishermen who supply the seafood to local restaurants. With most of the major restaurants that serve seafood to diners closed since last month (except for those serving takeout) in response to the coronavirus, the fishing industry has taken a major hit locally.,,  Erickson said the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shutdown measures have “hurt our market with all of these restaurants closed down because so much seafood is eaten at restaurants.” >click to read< 08:17

First a hurricane, then an algae bloom. Now Keys fishermen try to weather the coronavirus pandemic

This day’s haul was a good catch — hundreds of claws ranging in size from large to “colossal.” But this was among the last trips the crew of the Risky Business II will make this season to harvest the Florida delicacy. With restaurants mostly closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Piton and most other Keys commercial anglers are calling it an early season, which is scheduled to end May 10. Piton, 54, has been in the lobster and crab business for nearly 40 years and is among the most successful operators in the Keys. He said he’ll be able to weather the pandemic, but he feels for the many other commercial anglers who won’t. video, >click to read< 10:37

While coronavirus threatens seafood economy, community fisheries find ways to stay afloat

Major commercial fisheries, including the iconic Maine lobster fisheries, have ground to a halt.,, Consider the lucrative Pacific halibut fisheries, which opened in mid-March. These fisheries largely serve fine dining restaurants. Combined with the loss of sales to markets like China, seafood producers from east to west are without a market for their product. Combined with the loss of sales to markets like China, seafood producers from east to west are without a market for their product. But decades of globalization, industrialization and environmental change have brought many coastal communities to the brink, because of coastal development, climate change or they’ve lost fishing rights to industry consolidation. To meet this moment, many need more than just an invigorated customer base. >click to read< 12:16

With Coronavirus pandemic ravaging our country, temporary relaxation of fishery regulations is urged to help fishing industry

Thanks to our Senators and Congressmen who worked to get specific aid to the fishing industry, that has been hit particularly hard by the closure of restaurants, where 70 per cent of seafood in this country is consumed. Fishermen and wholesalers have had to adapt on the fly and find other ways to market their product to various degrees of success. The closure of so many vital aspects of our domestic economy will have effects that will still be felt a long time after the Virus is tamed.,, I am requesting that NMFS immediately contact the various management councils and commissions to request that special meetings [webinars] of fishery advisory panels be held to discuss the pro’s and cons of this idea, and what fisheries could benefit.,,, By Jim Lovgren. >click to read< 20:48

Louisiana Shrimp Association donates shrimp to Second Harvest Food Bank

A food pantry in New Orleans has received nearly 2,500 pounds of shrimp to help families in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Second Harvest Food Bank is the recipient of the donation, announced Friday by Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board. The donation, which will cover a few pounds each for families, was given by Ronnie Anderson and David and Kim Chauvin, owners of Bluewater Shrimp Company, based in Dulac, Louisiana. >click to read< 08:28

Coast Guard medevacs Commercial Fisherman 55 miles offshore of Lake Charles, Louisiana

The Coast Guard medevaced a mariner from an 86-foot fishing vessel approximately 55 miles offshore Lake Charles, Louisiana, Thursday morning. Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston watchstanders received a call from the captain of the fishing vessel Captain Taruong Phi who reported a crewmember was suffering from symptoms of a heart attack and in need of medical assistance. Watchstanders consulted the duty flight surgeon who recommended the medevac. photos, >click to read< 13:33

Coronavirus: Louisiana Direct – LSU AgCenter, Louisiana Sea Grant aim to help seafood industry cope

Restaurants that use large amounts of seafood are only offering carryout service, and they have drastically scaled back their seafood purchases. “I’m sure it’s less than 10% of its previous quantity,” said Rusty Gaude, LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant fisheries agent in the New Orleans area. A seafood marketing program, Louisiana Direct Seafood, is one way of helping fishermen and dealers by connecting them directly with consumers. The Louisiana Direct Seafood program helps consumers buy seafood from fishermen and vendors. Video, more info, >click to read< 15:26

Coronavirus: Louisiana’s $2 billion seafood industry hard, leaders urge public to buy local

Louisiana’s $2 billion seafood industry is struggling. “These are all very small family-owned businesses, and they are very dependent on local sales,” Twin Parish Port Commissioner Wendell Verret said. Larger seafood businesses will also be hurt. As demand for seafood goes down, they’ll be stuck with too much inventory. When businesses stop buying seafood from fishermen, the effects could be disastrous. “Once the fishermen are impacted and they cannot continue to fish, they lose their boats. They lose their equipment. Video, >click to read< 07:09