Category Archives: South Atlantic

Trap-tag counts lodged against Lower Keys fisherman

A Lower Keys lobster fisherman was arrested Thursday on counts of using unlicensed traps, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports. Jeromy Roy Homerston, 42, of Stock Island booked on 29 counts of using a trap without a state-issued tag, and two other conservation counts.  All the charges are misdemeanors. Homerston was later released pending court action. According to the FWC, Homerston was running the commercial boat Ol’ Skool that was stopped for catch inspection by state and federal marine officers aboard the patrol vessel Interceptor, working near the Eastern Sambos reef south of Key West. click here to read the story 11:07

Fish Stocks And Our Balance Of Payments

Our balance of payments is overly burdened by our consumption of seafood: We import approximately 90% of the seafood that we eat. Given our natural resources, we should be net exporters of seafood. The total value of edible and non-edible fishery imports in the United States was $35.8 billion in 2016. The total value of edible and non-edible exports was $21.3 billion. The imbalance does not imply only a shipment of dollars abroad. It also implies a number of jobs exported, a number of jobs that could be created in this country, were we not to import that much more seafood than we export.,,, The reason for the imbalance in our accounts with other nations is not due to lack of fish in our waters. Not to put too fine a point on it, the imbalance is due to rules and regulations imposed by our National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) that prevent our fishermen from catching fish. click here to read the article by Carmine Gorga 09:21

As eels grow in value, US government clamps down on poaching

Law enforcement authorities have launched a crackdown on unlicensed eel fishermen and illicit sales along the East Coast.,, In Maine, more than 400 licensed fishermen make their living fishing for elvers in rivers such as the Penobscot in Brewer and the Passagassawakeag in Belfast every spring. They say law enforcement is vital to protecting the eels and the volatile industry. Randy Bushey, of Steuben, has been fishing for elvers since 1993. He said he saw his income balloon from as little as $5,000 per year in the 1990s to more than $350,000 in 2012. He said tighter quotas mean he’s earning less these days, and in the most recent season he made about $57,000. “I’ve seen the best, and I’ve seen the worst,” Steuben said. “I want to see it preserved. I want to see it straightened out.” click here to read the story 08:16

Our View: Federal fishery decision undermines management

Years of measured, responsible attempts to improve the effectiveness of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act in these dynamic and troubled waters are challenged by a new threat: the secretary of Commerce, the next to last stop (before the president himself) in the chain of command for fishery management. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, known as the “King of Bankruptcy” for his investment strategy, overruled at the end of July a decision by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, potentially undermining the cooperative management of near-shore fisheries of the 15 coastal states from Maine to Florida. click here to read the op-ed 09:38

Time is running out to protect the Atlantic coast

President Trump has proclaimed that his administration is seeking “American energy dominance.” The reality is we’re already there. The United States produces more natural gas and oil than any other nation. We do import about 25 percent of our oil needs mostly from Canada and Mexico. However, that’s only because we export about 1 million gallons a week of the type of domestically produced oil we don’t want. The U.S. is beholding to no other country for our energy security. If these facts come as a surprise to you, then you are ripe for being deceived by those who want to use airgun blasting to explore for oil and gas off the Atlantic Coast. The petroleum industry and its allies are trying to convince you that current technology and procedures for testing for offshore oil and gas deposits are safe. click here to read the story 09:13

The American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act: S-1322 – Sam Parisi, Gloucester

Last year I served on a panel to review applicants for S-K Grant money in Saint Petersburg, along with ten other experienced fisherman thru out the USA. After two days of reviews we graded those and our mission was done. We had no idea who was awarded the grant money at the end of the two days. After a month the ones that were chosen were published. I notice one recipient from the East Coast was awarded $375,000 dollars yet I never saw come before the panel. I called the head man in Saint Pete and ask why I never saw it, and he said it was on a different panel. I was on both panels and it never came up. I believe that NOAA decides who gets the funds and the panel is there to appease the public. A Senator from Alaska heard my story and told me he was putting in a bill to go back to an advisory panel like it had in 1954. Bear in mind, this a year in the making and he asked for my help by contacting our Politian’s in the North East which I did. Two days ago Commerce Department approved his bill S-1322. The vote was 26 to one. What this means is NOAA will no longer receive the SKG money. A panel will be chosen by the Secretary of Commerce. Perhaps our fisherman will now see some of this money. Thank You, Sam Parisi,  Gloucester Mass.  click here to read the bill  Commerce Approves Eight Bills and 10 Nomineesclick here Thank you, Sam!  10:46

Hearing: Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act

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: NOAA and Council Perspectives” at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 1, 2017. This hearing is the first in a series to examine the state of our nation’s fishery laws and guide the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Witnesses: – Mr. Christopher Oliver, Assistant Administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service, – Dr. John Quinn, Chair, Council Coordination Committee and Northeast Fishery Management Council Hearing Details: Tuesday, August 1, 2017 10:00 a.m. Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard 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. link 09:20

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Summer Meeting in Alexandria, Virginia – August 1 – 3, 2017

Starts August 1, 2017 12:00 am Ends August 3, 2017 12:00 am. Location The Westin Alexandria, 400 Courthouse Square, Alexandria, Virginia 22314; 703.253.8600 For ease of access, all Board/Section meeting documents have been combined into three documents – Main Meeting Materials1 click here.  (which includes all of the main meeting materials for August 1 through the American Eel Board on August 2); Main Meeting Materials 2 click here  (which inlcudes main meeting materials for Atlantic Menhaden Board all meetings on August 3)  and Supplemental Meeting Materials click here  (which include all Board supplemental materials with the exception of the Shad & River Herring Board). Links to individual board/committee materials can be found below. Board meeting proceedings will be broadcast daily via webinar beginning August 1st at 9:45 a.m. and continuing daily until the conclusion of the meeting (expected to be 4:30 p.m.) on Thursday, August 3rd. click here for webinar link 13:36

Myrtle Beach Shrimper enters the political ring

Mike Hobeika says his family was the third family to settle in Myrtle Beach many, many years ago. He grew up in a small motel on Ocean Boulevard and the city of years ago was his stomping grounds. Now, he wants to help lead the city that he has loved his entire lifetime and a city, he says, that has lost its way. Hobeika has decided to enter the race for one of the three city council seats up for grabs this November.,, Sitting on his shrimp boat along the Intracoastal Waterway, Hobeika said he’s just a hard working guy who wants Myrtle Beach to be the safe, thriving city it once was. click here to read the story 10:50

That trawler wasn’t harvesting shrimp

It’s not often that beachgoers see a shrimp trawler skirting the beaches less than a mile offshore and in broad daylight. That’s what happened last week along the Anastasia Island coastline as a 75-foot trawler made its way north and meandered close to shore, attracting the attention of vacationers. As it turned out, the well-equipped “Lady Lisa” wasn’t shrimping at all. She is one of four research vessels maintained by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The vessel is the primary sampling platform for several state and federal projects. It works near coastal waters between Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and Cape Canaveral, Florida. A vessel with a storied past! click here to read the story 14:21

Hilton Head Island shrimp boat catches fire

Hilton Head Island Fire and Rescue firefighters were kept busy Tuesday by a shrimp boat that caught fire behind Hudson’s Seafood Restaurant. The boat took on water and leaked fuel into the waterway, fire departament spokeswoman Joheida Fister said. The fire was reported around 6:30 a.m. and firefighters arrived to find a fire in the boat’s engine room, Fister said. Flames damaged the engine room and much of the shrimp hold area in the boat, which was docked behind the restaurant. More images, click here to read the story 14:20

DRILLING FISHERMEN By Karen Wall

For the last 20 years, the screws have been continually tightened on fishermen. A few flounder here, a few grouper there … slowly choking the life out of both commercial and recreational fisheries, with the incessant mantra that fishermen didn’t care about the resource and that at the rate we were going, the oceans would be empty by 2050. The contention was and has been that fishermen lacked any semblance of self-control, and that they needed to have their industry saved from themselves. That was the argument used in 2005 and 2006, when Lee Crockett, the director of federal fisheries policy for the Pew Charitable Trusts, was leading the charge to cut the summer flounder quota to 5 million pounds, economic issues be damned. Crockett continually insisted that summer flounder were in danger of reaching the extinction tipping point because of greedy, shortsighted fishermen — a common theme in the Pew-funded arguments about fishermen. click here to read the op-ed 07:07

Pew Trust proposes Arctic drilling standards – Many environmental groups flat-out oppose offshore Arctic drilling, but Pew’s Marilyn Heiman says they do not go that far. “Pew does not have a position that we oppose all offshore drilling, but we do believe there are ways that this can be done right,” Heiman said. click here

Catch Shares Editorials – Articles that are a must read for every fisherman concerned about their right to fish!!!!! click here

US congressman wants imported seafood tracked like domestic products

For the second straight congressional session, a representative from Texas has introduced a bill he claims would level the playing field between American fishermen and their foreign counterparts. Late last month, U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold filed the “Protecting Honest Fishermen Act of 2017.” The legislation calls for all seafood sold in America to be traceable from the time it was caught to the time it was served. Under current regulations, importers do not need to provide the same level of information as domestic fishermen. “American fishermen shouldn’t be at a disadvantage to foreign fishermen especially here in the United States,” the Republican said in a statement. click here to read the story 17:44

In Supporting Offshore Drilling, Virginia’s Governor Now Stands Alone in the Southeast

The North Carolina governor’s office — once the leading force behind the push to open the Southeast coast to offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling — has reversed course under new leadership and amid dramatic political shifts on the issue. Gov. Roy Cooper (D) held a press conference this week on a barrier island along the Crystal Coast, a popular North Carolina tourist spot, to announce that his Department of Environmental Quality would submit formal comments to the Trump administration opposing permits allowing seismic testing for offshore oil and gas reserves.,,, That leaves McAuliffe as the lone Southeastern coastal representative in the Governors Coalition,,, click here to read the story 13:47

Our View: Cooper rightly pans offshore drilling

Gov. Roy Cooper was right on the mark last week in declaring his staunch opposition to opening up North Carolina’s coast to offshore drilling.  Cooper made the announcement Thursday on the beach at Fort Macon State Park in Cataret County, one day before the deadline for elected officials to submit comment on the Trump administration’s request for companies to perform seismic testing under the Atlantic Ocean. Gov. Roy Cooper was right on the mark last week in declaring his staunch opposition to opening up North Carolina’s coast to offshore drilling. Cooper joins Republican South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan in opposing any plan to drill for oil and gas off the Atlantic coastline. click here to read the op-ed 08:08

Legendary Beaufort waterman caught the big one when ‘Forrest Gump’ came to town

Jimmie Lee Stanley was all but born in the river, and he was surf fishing for black drum, flounder and speckled trout the weekend before he died. He passed away in June in Beaufort, where he born, like his father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He was only 63. Stanley could hunt and fish and shrimp with the best of them, and cook what he brought home — always the more the merrier.,,, But his biggest catch was an odd one. It’s one he loved with all his heart. It happened when his 65-foot wooden hull shrimp boat, the Miss Sherri was plucked from a sea of trawlers by Hollywood directors to be christened the Jenny in the blockbuster movie, “Forrest Gump.” click here to read the story 11:00

Oversight Hearing “Exploring the Successes and Challenges of the Magnuson-Stevens Act” Wednesday, July 19, 2017 2:00 PM

On Wednesday, July 19, 2017, at 2:00 p.m., in Room 1324 Longworth House Office Building, the Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans will hold an oversight hearing titled “Exploring the Successes and Challenges of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.”  Witnesses are Mr. Jeff Kaelin, Government Relations, Lund’s Fisheries, Inc. Cape May, New Jersey. Mr. Sean Martin, President, Hawaii Longline Association, Honolulu, Hawaii. Mr. Nick Wiley, Executive Director,  Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Tallahassee, Florida. Mr. Charles Witek, Recreational Angler and Outdoor Writer, West Babylon, New York. click here at 14:00 Wednesday to watch the proceeding.  If you need further information, please contact Calvin Frauenfelder, Clerk, Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans at (202) 225-8331.

Hearing Memorandum detailsclick here  19:35

OPINION: Ban seismic testing, offshore drilling of NJ coast

Summer is in full swing at the Jersey Shore. Over the next couple of months and into the fall, millions of visitors will head “down the shore” for the beaches, fishing, boating and ecotourism activities like whale and dolphin watching. It’s hard to imagine New Jersey without its thriving shore tourism economy — dependent on a healthy ocean and a clean coastline stretching from Sandy Hook to Cape May. The same goes for its commercial fishing industry, which supplies fresh seafood to countless restaurants and markets. But tourism and commercial fishing in New Jersey are once again threatened by a bad idea that comes back again and again: ocean drilling for oil and gas along the coast of this state we’re in. click here to read the op-ed 11:17

Navy War Games Planned for East Coast and Gulf Waters – Public comment is open until Aug. 29

The Navy intends to fire missiles, rockets, lasers, grenades and torpedoes, detonate mines and explosive buoys, and use all types of sonar in a series of live war exercises in inland and offshore waters along the East Coast. In New England, the areas where the weapons and sonar may be deployed encompass the entire coastline, as well as Navy pier-side locations, port transit channels, civilian ports, bays, harbors, airports and inland waterways. “The Navy must train the way we fight,” according to a promotional video for what is called “Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing Phase III.” An environmental impact study of the war games was released June 30. Public comment is open until Aug. 29. A public hearing is scheduled for July 19 from 4-8 p.m. at Hotel Providence. Comments can be submitted online and in writing, or through a voice recorder at the hearing. The dates and exact locations of the live weapon and sonar exercises haven’t yet been released. In all, 2.6 million square miles of land and sea along the Atlantic Coast and Gulf of Mexico will be part of the aerial and underwater weapons firing. click here to read the story 18:41

Florida wildlife officials hope to ban shark fin imports

Florida wildlife officials want to look at banning the importation of shark fins through the state’s ports. But without support from Gov. Rick Scott’s office, they are not getting behind a federal proposal to prohibit possession of shark fins. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Executive Director Nick Wiley directed staff, after hearing from members of the commission and the public Monday, to look into what the agency can do about the importation of shark fins and determine what “we need to be pushing on that if we can.” With fins considered a delicacy in parts of Asia, “finning” is an illegal practice in Florida and the U.S. It involves cutting off shark fins at sea and then discarding the sharks. Commissioner Robert Spottswood was among those who questioned why the state allows the importation of shark fins separate from the rest of shark bodies. click here to read the story 13:28

The price to pay for spearing 320 spiny lobsters was a trip to jail Sunday

The price to pay for spearing 320 spiny lobsters was a trip to jail Sunday — and hundreds of charges for seven out-of-state men. The men, who were pulled over in a rented boat on the oceanside of the Vaca Cut Bridge around 4:30 p.m. by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers, also had four out-of-season stone crab claws and eight fish fillets on the boat, according to FWC spokesman Officer Bobby Dube. On the boat was a bag containing 137 out-of-season wrung spiny lobster tails — 117 of which were undersized — the stone crab claws and fish, Dube said. click here to read the story 11:37

Time is running out to protect the Atlantic coast from Seismic Testing for oil exploration

President Trump recently proclaimed that his administration is seeking “American energy dominance.” The reality is we’re already there. The United States produces more natural gas and oil than any other nation. We do import about 25% of our oil needs mostly from Canada and Mexico. However, that’s only because we export about one million gallons a week of the type of domestically produced oil we don’t want. The U.S. is beholding to no other country for our energy security.,,, The government estimates that up to 138,000 whales and dolphins could be injured or harassed if seismic airgun blasting was allowed in the Atlantic.,,, The government doesn’t even try to estimate the number of fish and invertebrates killed or harassed due to seismic airgun blasting. Ironically, in spite of its name the federal agency that approves applications for seismic testing, the National Marine Fisheries Service, requires absolutely no procedures to reduce the destructive impact of airguns on fish and invertebrates like squid. click here to read the op-ed 08:15

Mayport fisherman burned in accident, airlifted Friday night

The Coast Guard medevaced a 44-year-old man Friday, approximately 40 miles east of Mayport. Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville Command Center watchstanders received notification at 9:40 p.m. that a crewmember aboard the fishing vessel Charlotte Marie had suffered burn injuries during a fire aboard the vessel. An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Savannah, Georgia, was launched at 10:45 p.m. and arrived on scene at 11:15 p.m. The man was hoisted and transported to Florida Health hospital in Jacksonville. –USCG-.,,, A family member tells Action News Jax that the victim is 44 year old Brian Lloyd, owner of the Charlotte Marie fishing boat. Lloyd’s wife Shannon says he suffered first and second degree burns and that his condition is stable. She did not have immediate details about what happened. link 13:24

Brad Gentner: It’s time to rethink ‘catch shares’

Catch shares in marine fisheries is a concept unfamiliar to most people, and it is probably completely alien to most hunters and anglers in this country. It is a system of wildlife management that bestows some percentage of a public marine resource, like red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico, to private businesses for free, to use and sell for their own profit. It was thought that by giving away ownership rights to individuals, the fishery would consolidate and ultimately become easier to manage. While the same number of fish would be caught, the benefits of funneling access to the resource through fewer entities was thought to remove some of the uncertainty in the industry and thus would be worth the price of privatizing a public resource for free. While catch shares are still the darling of some fisheries economists, there is a growing backlash against this management tool worldwide for a variety of reasons. At the heart of these complaints is fleet and wealth consolidation, extraction of public wealth for private profit, and failure to capitalize share-cost into production costs. click here to read the op-ed 21:46

Opposition to Atlantic Siesmic Blasting – The Bipartisan Fight for Quieter Oceans

Last night, to celebrate the fourth of July, the air over the U.S. filled with fireworks. The noise they created was extremely loud and, mercifully, brief. But imagine having to listen to even louder explosions once every ten seconds, for days or weeks on end. Starting this fall, that may be the new reality for whales, fish, and other marine life off the eastern seaboard, if the Trump administration’s plans go ahead. Following the president’s executive order to open the Atlantic to offshore drilling, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is set to permit five companies to begin seismic airgun blasting—an old but controversial technique for detecting reserves of oil and gas.,,, It is easy to paint environmental issues as fights between moralizing tree-huggers and hard-working business-owners. But the opposition to airgun testing transcends such caricatures. “There is no separation between the interests of environmentalists and the business community,” says Knapp, whose bipartisan organization represents 41,000 businesses and 500,000 commercial fishing families who oppose seismic testing. click here to read the story 17:34

One Month Later: Clearing, rebuilding start at Vaca Key Marina following devastating fire

It has been one month today since an early-morning fire tore through the bayside Vaca Key Marina near mile marker 47.5. In the four weeks since thousands of lobster traps, a house, boats and forklifts were destroyed on the one-acre property owned by the Berdeal family of Miami on June 5, fishermen at the marina have been busy rebuilding. Clearing of the many piles of charred wood and concrete began Monday at the marina, said Juan Carlos Berdeal. Marathon business Discount Rock and Sand did the clearing with front-end loaders and dump trucks. click here to read the story 13:14

Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling renews push against seismic testing as a deadline nears

Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling has formally opposed federal permits that would allow companies conducting seismic testing to harass marine life as a byproduct of the process. A public comment period seeking input on the authorizations ends Thursday. Five companies have applied to use seismic air guns to survey the Atlantic Ocean for potential oil and gas deposits. Seismic testing requires separate approval from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for the companies “to incidentally, but not intentionally, harass marine mammals.” The proposed testing would violate federal law by affecting more than a small number of animals and would have more than the “negligible impact” required for the authorizations,, click here to read the story 17:26

Seismic blasting, oil & gas drilling in Atlantic? Now’s the time to comment

The public is now being asked to comment on the president’s proposal to open up the Atlantic and all other federal offshore planning areas for potential oil and gas drilling. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and President Donald Trump announced Thursday that the 45-day public comment period on a new Five-Year National Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing Program on the Outer Continental Shelf will begin Monday. The comment period will close Aug. 17. To comment on the proposed Five-Year National Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing Program: click here to read the story, scroll down page for instructions. 08:43

Nils Stolpe, Fishnet USA – So how are we doing? (2017 edition) A Report on our Domestic Commercial Fishing Industry

I occasionally share my impressions of how the domestic commercial fishing industry is doing, using as my primary data source the NMFS online database “Annual Commercial Landing Statistics” (click here). We are fortunate to have these extensive records of commercial landings of fish and shellfish in the United States extending back to 1950 because they allow a fairly comprehensive view of long term industry (and resource) trends. Among the most useful statistics are those dealing with the value and weight of the total landings for each year. Together they give an overview of how the domestic fishing industry is progressing (or regressing) from year to year. Click here to read the report 11:49

Rutherford, others sign letter opposing Atlantic coast seismic testing for oil exploration

The same day that President Donald Trump touted new energy policies during a speech at the U.S. Department of Energy that he said were part of a “golden era of American energy,” Rep. John Rutherford’s office released a letter signed by him more and than 100 other members of Congress that voiced opposition to the use of a controversial oil and gas exploration technique off the Atlantic Coast. “We are writing in strong opposition to your recent secretarial order to move forward with offshore oil and gas exploration in the Atlantic Ocean,” the letter, signed by members of both parties and addressed to Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, began. “Offshore oil and gas exploration, the first step of which is seismic air gun testing, puts at risk coastal economies based on fishing, tourism, and recreation,” it said before asking Zinke not to issue any permits for the surveys. click here to read the story 09:10