Category Archives: South Atlantic

Gov. Scott Directs FWC to Ease Reg’s, Waive Fees for South Florida Commercial Fishing Industry Following Hurricane Irma

Governor Rick Scott directed the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to implement several changes to help South Florida’s commercial fishermen recover from the effects of Hurricane Irma and get back to work. The elimination of these regulations combined with the waiving of fees will allow more commercial fishermen in South Florida, especially the Florida Keys, get back to work by easing certain tag requirements and allowing more cooperation in the industry. The Governor has been laser focused on ensuring that the entire state recovers from Hurricane Irma, as well as the Florida Keys, which was one of the hardest hit areas. The Governor has set a goal of October 1st to have the Keys open for business. click here to read press release 18:31

Trap fishermen, industry suffers record loses from Irma

Conch Key commercial fisherman Gary Nichols scoured the Atlantic Ocean for seven hours on Monday and only found 15 of his 5,000 spiny lobster traps. Fellow Conch Key fishermen Jeff Kramer was only able to locate a handful of his 2,000 traps he had placed in the Atlantic. Both are hoping that ones in the Gulf of Mexico fared better. Nichols’ daughter Kelly Cordova Nichols was able to locate 160 of the family’s 1,500 traps in the bay. Nichols and his daughter are also working with two boats that were damaged by Hurricane Irma and are “not properly operating.” “I feel a little bit defeated,” Nichols said. “It’s hard to keep focused and have a firm belief in God and happiness right now. click here to read the story 16:05

National Hurricane Center – Hurricane Maria Public Advisory

At 1100 AM AST, the eye of Hurricane Maria was located near latitude 16.3 North, longitude 63.1 West. Maria is moving toward the west-northwest near 10 mph (17 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue through Wednesday night. On the forecast track, the eye of Maria will move over the northeastern Caribbean Sea today, and then pass near or over the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Wednesday. Maximum sustained winds are near 160 mph (260 km/h) with higher gusts. Maria is a potentially catastrophic category 5 hurricane click here to read the update 11:23

National Hurricane Center – Hurricane Jose Public Advisory

Interests elsewhere along the U.S. east coast from North Carolina northward to New England should monitor the progress of Jose. At 800 AM EDT, the center of Hurricane Jose was located near latitude 33.5 North, longitude 71.2 West. Jose is moving toward the north near 9 mph (15 km/h) and this general motion is expected to continue through tonight. A turn toward the north-northeast is expected on Tuesday night. On the forecast track, the center of Jose is forecast to pass well offshore of the Outer Banks of North Carolina today, pass well east of the Delmarva peninsula tonight and Tuesday, and pass well to the east of the New Jersey coast on Wednesday. click here to read the notice 10:12

Georgia: Longtime St. Marys dock owner ready to rebuild

At 91 years old, it would be easy for Calvin Lang to throw up his hands and decide not to rebuild the businesses he has operated in downtown St. Marys more than five decades. Hurricane Irma destroyed his east and west marina docks sunk the Cumberland Queen, one of the boats used to ferry passengers to Cumberland Island National Seashore. The storm also ripped more than half the roof from his seafood processing building where he has hundreds of pounds of shrimp in freezers he hadn’t opened Friday afternoon. click here to read the story 10:20

Bi-Partisan Opposition: East Coast Republicans join Democrats to lobby Trump against Atlantic oil exploration

State and federal lawmakers from both parties have joined East Coast business interests to convince the Trump administration to halt its plan for fossil fuel development in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a surprisingly diverse collection of power players: members of Congress, dozens of lawmakers from both red and blue states, nine attorneys general, six governors and thousands of business owners from Florida through the Carolinas and up to New Jersey. They hope that mix and their economic, not environmental, argument will sway President Donald Trump’s Interior Department as it nears a decision on testing that could open the door to oil and gas exploration, and eventually drilling, off the coast. click here to read the story 18:14

Trade groups want 10-year requirement removed from Magnuson-Stevens Act

As Congress gets ready to address reauthorizing the Magnuson-Stevens Act, representatives from commercial fishing interests are urging lawmakers to revisit some of the current law’s regulations they feel have hindered the industry. In particular, they’re urging officials to do away with language that caps rebuilding plans for overfished species to 10 years. It’s an arbitrary figure that has too rigidly applied across all federally managed species, said Lori Steele, the executive director of the West Coast Seafood Processors Association, at a hearing Tuesday of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard. click here to read the story 10:50

The Magnuson Stevens Act and its Ten Year Rebuilding Timeline: Science or Fiction? By Meghan Lapp – click here to read the article

Shrimp boat captain stranded during Irma rescued by Carnival cruise ship

A shrimp boat captain who was stranded in the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane Irma is back at home after he was rescued by a cruise ship. Edward Potter arrived Wednesday at Tampa International Airport, embracing family members who feared they would never see him again. Potter and first mate Carl Sheperd were caught in the storm in a 75-foot fishing boat based out of Tarpon Springs. “They were getting water in the engine room and Edward was working on the engine room, and we talked to Carl on the phone and then we couldn’t get in touch with him anymore,” friend Rick Shalansky said. Video, click here to read the story 11:51

Tarpon Springs boat captain returns after fateful encounter with Irma

The captain had few words to say after he got off the airplane, but most of them were about his former deckhand. “Carl Sheperd was the best man, best friend,” Capt. Edward Potter said. “I can’t say anything more … but I love that man.” It was just weeks before that the men had set off on Potter’s shrimp boat, the Capt. Eddie, from Pelican Point Seafood in Tarpon Springs for a shrimping trip to the Florida Keys. About a week into their journey, Hurricane Irma developed and came barreling west toward the Florida Straits. Potter, 61, on just the start of what is typically a 30- to 40-day excursion, thought they could outrun it. But the storm caught up with them, pummeling the boat, the two men on board and their feline passenger, Motorboat. Only Potter made it back alive. click here to read the story 23:16

Mayport shrimpers rode out storm on board their vessels in Jacksonville

Sixty-year-old Charles Long road out the storm with other shrimp fisherman and a lone grouper fisherman who moored about 20 boats in the St. John’s River near the Maxwell House building in downtown Jacksonville. Long, who told his girlfriend of 25 years that fishing comes before ladies — and everything — said weathering the storm on the 75-foot boat named “Judge” was a breeze. “Just another storm,” said the man who has been hauling in shrimp for 42 years. “We fared good. It all worked out. “ If history repeats itself as it has for the past four decades, it should work out very well for Long. He said after a good storm, shrimping is great. click here to read the story 18:23

Florida, Georgia, South Carolina Reeling After Irma’s Historic Assault; Navy Dispatches Ships, Aircraft Carrier to the Keys

An aircraft carrier has been dispatched to the Florida Keys to help with relief efforts as Irma after its historic assault on Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, killing at least nine people. Five deaths have been attributed to the storm in Florida, including two deaths in Hardee County, one death Orange County, one in St. Johns County and one in Winter Park. Deaths were also reported in Georgia’s Worth and Forsyth counties and the Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs. click here to read the story 09:59

Canadian power crews head to Irma-hit Florida to help restore service – Dozens of Canadian power crews are heading to Florida to help restore power to millions of people affected by Hurricane Irma. click here to read the story

Hearing! 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday – MSA Reauth – Oversight of Fisheries Management Successes and Challenges

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, will convene the hearing titled “Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act: Oversight of Fisheries Management Successes and Challenges” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 12, 2017. The hearing is the third of the series and will focus on the perspectives of commercial, charter, and recreational fishermen on the state of our nation’s fishery laws. click here to read the press release This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov. 23:24

On Hurricane Bay, a Florida fisherman tries to ride out the storm

As the winds started to roar in Hurricane Bay, P.J. Pike jumped from a high dock down to his fishing boat and began lashing ropes to the mast. The lines extended to anything solid nearby – dock posts, a palm tree, the Captain Tony’s Fishing Adventures sign – to anchor what would soon be his shelter for Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the Florida coastline. “I’ve been here since ’93, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” he shouted with a hoarse voice into a driving rain.   click here to read the story 11:29

Tropical Storm Irma Public Advisory – 1100 AM EDT

At 1100 AM EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Irma was located near latitude 30.3 North, longitude 83.1 West. Irma is moving toward the north-northwest near 17 mph (28 km/h), and this motion is expected to continue through Tuesday. On the forecast track, the center of Irma will move into southwestern Georgia later today, and move into eastern Alabama Tuesday morning. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 65 mph (100 km/h) with higher gusts. Continued slow weakening is forecast, and Irma is likely to become a tropical depression on Tuesday. click here to read the update 11:10

Hurricane Irma blasts Florida: ‘Monster’ storm charges up coast after hitting Miami and Tampa

5.8 million without power as Hurricane Irma tracks coast – Storm kills at least four in Florida after 38 dead in Caribbean – 10,000 could have stayed in Keys to ride out hurricane – After Tampa, Irma heads to southern Georgia and South Carolina – Hurricane weakens to tropical storm, but surge threat remains – Stranded Britons told French planes can’t take ‘UK refugees’ – Richard Branson shares video of devastation on Necker island – Island by island: How Irma brought havoc to paradise click here to read the story, live updates.

Hurricane Irma – Public Advisory – 1100 PM EDT Sun Sep 10 2017

At 1100 PM EDT (0300 UTC), the center of Hurricane Irma was located by NOAA Doppler radar near latitude 27.5 North, longitude 81.9 West. Irma is moving toward the north near 14 mph (22 km/h). A turn toward the north-northwest and then northwest at a faster forward speed is expected during the next day or so. On the forecast track, the center of Irma will continue to move over the western Florida peninsula through Monday morning and then into the southeastern United States late Monday and Tuesday. click here to read the update 23:34

Coast Guard urges mariners to contact watchstanders by phone during VHF outages

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Coast Guard requests mariners in life-threatening situations along Florida’s Gulf Coast contact Coast Guard watchstanders by phone during the absence or degradation of VHF radio communications caused by Hurricane Irma. Mariners unable to reach the Coast Guard by VHF radio should use contact Sector St. Petersburg Command Center at 727-896-6187 or 727-896-6188 until radio signals improve or are restored. -USCG- 23:17

Hurricane Irma – Massive airborne relief mission en route to Keys to help with ‘humanitarian crisis’

A huge airborne relief mission is en route to the Keys to help people impacted by the devastation caused when the eye of Hurricane Irma blasted through the Lower Florida Keys at daybreak Sunday morning. Monroe County Emergency Management Director Martin Senterfitt called the destruction caused by Irma, a massive Category 4 storm when it impacted the Keys, a “humanitarian crisis.” Among the services coming to the Keys are “disaster mortuary teams,” he said during a conference call.  Supplies and personnel could be coming in by air to Monroe County by early Monday morning, Senterfitt said. click here to read the story 17:52

Hurricane Irma Makes Landfall on Marco Island

3:45 p.m. Hurricane Irma has made landfall on Marco Island, Florida, as a Category 3 hurricane. The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Irma’s powerful eye roared ashore at Marco Island just south of Naples with 115-mph (185-kph) winds, for a second U.S. landfall at 3:35 p.m. Sunday. Category 3 storms have winds from 111 to 129 mph, but 130-mph (21-kph) wind gust was recently reported by the Marco Island Police Department. Irma’s second U.S. landfall was tied for the 21st strongest landfall in the U.S. based on central pressure. Irma’s first U.S. landfall in the Florida Keys was tied for 7th. click here to read the story 16:23

Hurricane Irma activates Jacksonville’s riverfront

Seeking shelter from Hurricane Irma, the First Coast shrimping and fishing fleet brings a little nostalgia back to the days when downtown Jacksonville was known as being an active working waterfront. In a strange twist of fate, the impending arrival of Hurricane Irma and the long abandoned piers of the defunct Jacksonville Shipyards have resulted in a bit of authentic Jacksonville returning to its historic downtown waterfront. Massive concrete piers built to complement the largest drydocks between Newport News and New Orleans, have become a key player in protecting the First Coast’s shrimping and fishing fleet from Hurricane Irma. click here to read the story 14:16

Hurricane Irma – Public Advisory – 1100 AM EDT Sun Sep 10 2017

At 1100 AM EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 25.0 North, longitude 81.5 West. Irma is moving toward the north near 9 mph (15 km/h, and a north northwestward motion with an increase in forward speed is expected later today, with that motion continuing through Monday. On the forecast track, the eye of Irma should move over the Lower Florida Keys shortly, and then move near or over the west coast of the Florida Peninsula later today through tonight. Irma should then move inland over northern Florida and southwestern Georgia Monday afternoon. click here to read the update. 11:10

Hurricane Irma – Public Advisory – 1100 PM EDT Sat Sep 09 2017

At 1100 PM EDT (0300 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 23.5 North, longitude 81.0 West. Irma is moving slowly northwestward away from the north coast of Cuba near 6 mph (9 km/h). A turn toward the north-northwest with an increase in forward speed is expected through late Monday. On the forecast track, the center of Irma is expected to cross the Lower Florida Keys Sunday morning and then move near or along the west coast of Florida Sunday afternoon through Monday morning. Irma should then move inland over the Florida panhandle and southwestern Georgia Monday afternoon. click here to read the update 23:05

US Waives Jones Act to Secure Fuel for Hurricane Responders

The U.S. government on Friday said it was temporarily waiving a law that limits the availability of cargoes on the U.S. coasts, a step that will ensure enough fuel reaches emergency responders during Hurricane Irma and in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The Jones Act mandates the use of U.S.-flagged vessels to transport merchandise between U.S. coasts. The Department of Homeland Security waived the requirement for one week. This will allow oil and gas operators to use often cheaper, tax-free, or more readily available foreign-flagged vessels. click here to read the story 10:03

Hurricane Irma Public Advisory – 0:800 UPDATE from the National Hurricane Center

At 800 AM EDT (1200 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Irma was located by a reconnaissance plane and Cuban radars near latitude 22.6 North, longitude 79.5 West. Irma is moving toward the west near 12 mph (19 km/h), along the north coast of Cuba. A northwest motion is expected to begin later today with a turn toward the north-northwest tonight or on Sunday. On the forecast track, the core of Irma will continue to move near or over the north coast of Cuba this morning, and will reach the Florida Keys Sunday morning. The hurricane is expected to be near the southwest coast of Florida Sunday afternoon. click here to read the update AMX Radar NWS Forecast Office Miami – South Florida click here 08:23

Friends Awaiting Word from Missing Lobster Fishermen

Some lobster fishermen haven’t been heard from in several hours after trying to move traps out of the path Hurricane Irma. According to fellow commercial fisherman, Mike Henry, three or four fishermen had picked up lobster traps and were moving them closer to the Dry Tortugas, about 70 miles west of Key West, where the water is deeper. “They were trying to get them out of the way of the storm and put them out there,” Henry said. The men haven’t been heard from since 10:30 pm Friday night. click here to read the story 07:55

Mayport fishing vessels scramble for docks in Jacksonville in advance of Hurricane Irma

The entire First Coast shrimping and fishing fleet is in the process of moving away from the coast and into a safer docking space in downtown Jacksonville as Hurricane Irma bears down on Florida. While the storm is still churning in the Caribbean, about two dozen shrimp vessels from the Jacksonville area have retracted their nets and are leaving their usual port of Mayport. That’s where Safe Harbor Seafood is the main warehouse and wholesaler of the local catch operates. Gerald Pack, owner of Safe Harbor, said Thursday that shrimp boats and other fishing vessels, usually docked at the historic village about a mile from the mouth of the St. Johns River, have mostly headed to the old Shipyards docks that are girded with concrete near Metropolitan Park. click here to read the story 09:00

UPDATED: 23:00 Hurricane Irma a Potentially Devastating Category 4 Strike on South Florida Sunday After Raking Through the Bahamas

Hurricane Irma, a potentially catastrophic Category 4 hurricane, is now hammering parts of the Bahamas and Cuba, and will turn its fury on Florida in what is likely to be the state’s strongest hurricane strike since Charley 13 years ago. Below is everything we know about Irma right now, including its latest status, along with potential forecast impacts in the U.S. and the Caribbean Islands. click here to read the story

National Hurricane Center – Hurricane Irma Public Advisory 23:00 update click here 07:38

There’s a new girl in town – Geechie Girl calls Shem Creek home

Renee Rector Suggs is no stranger to the life of shrimping. She is the daughter of Bubba and Pam Rector who has owned numerous shrimp boats docked in Shem Creek. Bubba’s most current is the Warren H. Rector found at Geechie Dock down Magwood Ln. Her mom came from six generations of shrimpers. And while Warren is a first generation shrimper he provided a life for his kids that put shrimping in their blood. Shrimping is not an easy profession. It’s hard work, it’s seasonal and has it’s ups and downs. But despite it all, Renee and her husband Terry took the plunge and have purchased a trawler out of Darian, Ga. and named her Geechie Girl. click here to read the story 16:47

Former NOAA Expert, High-Accuracy Hurricane Predictor Says “Natural Cycles” Major Driver

A former NOAA meteorologist and 40-year veteran of hurricane predictions believes Irma will continue to move move west toward Florida and reach near the southern tip of the Florida Peninsula around Sunday, September 11th, as a major category 4 hurricane. Both David Dilley of Global Weather Oscillations and the National Hurricane Center now believe Irma will make landfall near the southern tip of Florida, from near or just west of Miami to just west or near Jacksonville and then run up the coast into eastern Georgia. Dilley had predicted a harsh hurricane season already back in early February, long before most forecasters were ready to go public with their forecasts.So far his predictions for the current season have been impressively accurate.  click here to read the story 10:20

Trump official’s flounder ruling clouds Atlantic coast fish conservation

No one considers summer flounder an iconic Bay species. But fishery managers and conservationists say the ripple effect of a controversial Trump administration decision to let more “fluke” be caught in New Jersey may impact how important species such as striped bass and menhaden are managed in the Chesapeake. In the wake of an unprecedented decision by the U.S. Department of Commerce, some in Maryland are already calling on fishery managers to challenge how coastwide fishing restrictions are implemented in the Bay. The concern stems from a July ruling by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that allowed New Jersey to reject harvest limits accepted by all other East Coast fishery managers, which were aimed at stemming a seven-year decline in the summer flounder population. In recent decades, states had appealed similar harvest cutbacks ordered by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission 22 times. Never before had the commerce secretary overturned a decision by the interstate panel. click here to read the story 08:47