Category Archives: South Atlantic

Boat captain arrested in lobster case

fwc-logoA Marathon commercial fisherman wanted by state wildlife officers for allegedly fishing for lobster with untagged traps turned himself in Thursday after returning from Cuba. Ricardo Hernandez, 52, faces 71 misdemeanor conservation violations. Earlier this month, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers issued arrest warrants for Hernandez and his mates after surveilling their fishing boat for two months, said FWC Officer Bobby Dube. When the warrants were issued, FWC officers discovered he was in Cuba. Mate Juan Miguel Exposito-Carralero, 46, was also charged with 71 misdemeanor counts. He was arrested last week. Hernandez returned from Cuba recently and turned himself in at the jail, said FWC Capt. David Dipre. The case marks a shift in how some poachers are reacting to the FWC as well as the Florida Keys Commercial Fishing Association’s efforts to quelch trap robbing — they moved to fishing with untagged traps.  Read the rest here 09:13

Department of Interior’s final plan abandons oil drilling off Atlantic Coast

5d63ccd898b6bad3“I am pleased and relieved that the Department of Interior’s final plan abandons its earlier proposal to allow drilling in the Atlantic from Georgia to Virginia,” said Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-6th Dist.), the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “That proposal was incredibly shortsighted, and would have threatened the ecology and economy, and public health all along the Atlantic coast, including our New Jersey coastline. New Jersey lawmakers of both parties mobilized to fight the original proposal, citing the threat to tourism industry that generates $43 billion annually and supports 500,000 jobs, and a fishing industry that adds $7.9 billion a year to the state’s economy, responsible for more than 50,000 jobs. U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) urged President Barack Obama in a Senate floor speech Thursday to permanently put the Atlantic Ocean off limits to oil drilling, which he can do under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. Read the rest here 08:42

China-Bahamas fishing talks alarm Florida Officials

baha-mmap-mdFlorida wildlife officials expressed concern Wednesday that the government of the Bahamas is in talks with China to split fishing rights in waters east of Florida. State Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Executive Director Nick Wiley said the potential deal, as reported, could impact Florida’s commercial and sport-fishing industries. Under the reported terms of the deal, the government would lease to 100 companies — each jointly owned by Chinese and Bahamians shareholders — 10,000 acres in Andros Island, along with fishing licenses. “It is anticipated that the agricultural products and the seafood will be used either for local consumption or will be exported to China or the U.S.A. for sale,” the proposal says.  Commercial fishing for conch, lobster, snapper and grouper are mainstays of the Andros Island’s economy. However, the indication is that the Chinese firms want to target dolphin, kingfish, marlin, tuna and wahoo. Read the story here 19:27

Wanted fisherman fled to Cuba

Spiny lobsterA Marathon trap fisherman accused of using dozens of untagged traps apparently fled to Cuba following a two-month investigation into illegal lobster fishing, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the State Attorney’s Office.  FWC officers served a warrant on Nov. 4 after surveilling the vessel, said FWC officer Bobby Dube.  In all, 19 untagged traps were fished, according to the FWC. Some traps were also improperly numbered, records state. A mate aboard the vessel — Juan Miguel Exposito-Carralero, 46 — was charged with 71 misdemeanor counts of fishing illegal traps when FWC officers converged on the vessel after it was returning to port, said Assistant State Attorney Christina Cory. The captain that the FWC had been targeting, Ricardo Hernandez, 52, was not on the vessel at the time and happened to be in Cuba, Dube said. It does not appear he fled, but he left before the warrant was served, Cory added.  The case marks a shift in how some poachers are reacting to the FWC as well as the Florida Keys Commercial Fishing Association’s efforts to quelch trap robbing, said the latter association’s executive director Bill Kelly. Read the story here 08:22

Coast Guard crews rescue 4 people, dog from burning boat

The US Coast Guard rescued four people and a dog from vessel explosion near St. Simons Island Sound. According to the Coast Guard, the fishing vessel caught fire and exploded Thursday around 3:53 a.m. ” The fishing vessel Predator stated it was on fire and was going to abandon ship. The command center in Brunswick contacted station Brunswick crew and launched a 45 foot response boat to the location. When they left the station and got in the channel they saw the fishing vessel explode,” said Petty Officer First Class Luke Clayton. “They were able to hone in on the location immediately. They were able to recover the crew and their dog at about 4:25 a.m.,” said Clayton. EMS crews were on standby, ready to evaluate injuries to the crew members. “We’re concerned about smoke inhalation. But injuries were minor,” said Clayton.  Read the rest here 08:16

South Atlantic Region Offshore oil surveys to start as seismic testing opposition grows

5807cfdaa90fb-imageNearly a half million commercial fishing families have joined the opposition to seismic testing for oil and natural gas in the Atlantic Ocean, according to a South Carolina-based business chamber. Meanwhile, a first, non-seismic survey is set to start.  The families, numbering more than 400,000, are part of a coastal residents and business movement that has coalesced into the tens of thousands in South Carolina alone. More than 100 Atlantic coastal communities, thousands of businesses and more than 1,000 elected officials also have called on President Barack Obama to stop the testing, according to South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce and Oceana, an environmental advocate. Meanwhile the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management continues to process permit applications from seven probe applicants, including six that want to search in waters off South Carolina. “BOEM is currently in the process of reviewing those permits. Before the permits can be issued, careful environmental analysis is done to ensure the safety of the marine ecosystem,” spokeswoman Caryl Fagot said. Read the story here 09:26

National Marine Fisheries Service issues annual report on Fisheries of the United States, 2015

noaa nmfs logoThis publication is the annual National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) yearbook of fishery statistics for the United States for 2015. The report provides data on U.S. recreational catch and commercial fisheries landings and value as well as other aspects of U.S. commercial fishing. In addition, data are reported on the U.S. fishery processing industry, imports and exports of fishery-related products, and domestic supply and per capita consumption of fishery products. Information in this report came from many sources. Field offices of NMFS, with the generous cooperation of the coastal states and Regional Fishery Information Networks, collected and compiled data on U.S. commercial landings and processed fishery products. The NMFS Fisheries Statistics Division in Silver Spring, MD, managed the collection and compilation of recreational statistics, in cooperation with various States and Interstate Fisheries Commissions, and tabulated and prepared all data for publication. Sources of other data appearing in this publication are: U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Read the press release here, Read the full report here 09:34

Regulators increase menhaden quota – “Science says the stock’s in good shape,”

menhadenRegulators voted Wednesday to increase the annual quota for menhaden in 2017, giving Maine lobstermen a welcome boost in the supply of a popular bait fish, but no relief for Maine fishermen who want a bigger share of the national menhaden harvest. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has struggled to set its quota for the oily forage fish, also known as pogey, with members split between wanting to maintain the annual menhaden catch at 187,880 metric tons and those who say the stock has rebounded enough to raise the quota. On Wednesday, as the commission gathered for its annual meeting in Bar Harbor, the menhaden board voted 16-2 to increase the annual quota by 6.5 percent, to 200,000 metric tons, with Pennsylvania and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service holding out for keeping the quota unchanged. “Science says the stock’s in good shape,” said Bill Adler of the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association. “I find it difficult that we can deal with overfishing, we can do a good job of cutting things down, but then we have success and we don’t know what to do with it.” Read the rest here 08:07

Shrimp size on the rise after Hurricane Matthew

580e3b33ae227-imageIn the midst of fallen trees and other debris, Hurricane Matthew left a sweet little calling card: shrimp, big ones. The storm’s rain and river flooding evidently washed large white shrimp out to the commercial grounds offshore, at least in spots, and some commercial boats are reporting some of the biggest shrimp of the season, hoisting their optimism in a year that’s had its ups and downs. The current cold snap evidently slowed down the catch somewhat. But shrimpers expect it to come back and are looking forward to another big run before frigid winter weather sets in. Shem Creek shrimper Tommy Edwards didn’t net much offshore on Monday, after pulling in hundreds of pounds per day on recent trips. But he expected that to change mid-week, and “the big white shrimp are looking beautiful right now,” he said. “Oh yeah, they’re gorgeous,” Tina Toomer of the Bluffton Oyster Co., said about the catch her husband, Larry Toomer, has been bringing in. Read the story here 13:58

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission meeting at Bar Harbor, Maine October 24th-27th – Listen Live

logo%20jpegThe Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will meet in at the Harborside Hotel 55 West Street Bar Harbor, Maine.  The agenda is subject to change. The agenda reflects the current estimate of time required for scheduled Board meetings. The Commission may adjust this agenda in accordance with the actual duration of Board meetings. Interested parties should anticipate Boards starting earlier or later than indicated herein. Click here for details, Click here for webinar 12:10

Rock shrimp fishing pioneer Rodney Thompson passes away

636128371469832805-rodneyDuring his long career, he founded T-Craft Boats, Thompson Trawlers, Offshore 30, Thompson Industries, Sand Point Inn, Pelican Point Inn, Ponce Seafood, Dixie Crossroads Seafood Restaurant, Cape Canaveral Shrimp Company and Wild Ocean Seafood Market. Rock shrimp fishing was his claim to fame, with his family following in his footsteps. “Prior to our family getting involved with rock shrimp, they were considered a trash item. Because their shell was so hard, no one was interested in buying them. The conventional mechanical peelers that were used to peel white shrimp, brown shrimp, they would not work on the shell of the rock shrimp,” said Laurilee Thompson, Rodney’s daughter. She now co-owns Dixie Crossroads Seafood Restaurant. Read the rest here 20:17

After pursuit at sea, captain busted trying to smuggle illegal immigrants into South Florida

sfl-james-sawyer-20161020The boat entering the Hillsboro Inlet might have gone unnoticed, if the captain hadn’t made an “aggressive” U-turn beside a sheriff’s boat and headed back out to sea. Broward sheriff’s deputies called out and signaled for the captain to stop. But he just gave them a thumbs up, pointed in an easterly direction and kept going, investigators said. Sheriff’s deputies said they followed the boat — and only gave up when they were 25 miles off shore.The Sept. 14 excursion eventually ended with boat captain James Sawyer’s arrest on federal charges he tried to illegally smuggle 15 people into the U.S. On Thursday, he pleaded not guilty. A Coast Guard cutter stopped the boat nearly three hours after it left the inlet, about 10 p.m. Only two men were visible on the boat, but officers quickly discovered there was a total of 18 people on board. Read the rest here 20:38

Shrimpers with chainsaws: Local commercial fishermen carry on after Hurricane Matthew

gayfishco-2October is supposed to be a month for prime Lowcountry seafood but this month, Hurricane Matthew had other plans. The Category 2 storm put local seafood production on hold. The storm hit Beaufort County just a week after the start of the oyster season and in the middle of shrimp season. But not to worry. Most local fishermen stayed with their vessels through the storm and — with the resilience the trade has always required — are making their way to recovery. “A chainsaw becomes necessary equipment on a shrimp boat now,” Reeves said. “Anything you can imagine, we see: pilings, lawn chairs, refrigerators. Cutting through can be difficult and very costly.” The long-term impact on local shrimp populations is also still not clear, local shrimpers say. Read the story here 14:01

S.C. couple rode out Matthew on their shrimp boat

636116106364572999-billingtons1Richard Billington, who was aware of the storm and had taken special precautions with his boat, Village Lady, said the couple did not have cell phone service and they had lost power so they weren’t sure where the storm was. Unbeknownst to them, the hurricane was aiming for a landfall near McClellanville, the same spot where Hurricane Hugo made landfall in 1989 with a 20-foot storm surge and devastating consequences. “We came down here to make coffee and cook breakfast and all of a sudden the storm surge came in and we couldn’t get off,” he said. “The most amazing thing was right during the worst of it, I looked across the creek at a dock and there was about 20 seagulls with 95 to 110 mph winds blowing and the seagulls were still holding onto the dock,” he said. He also noticed an army of bugs coming out of the water and climbing onto the pilings. Read the story here 08:33

Fundraiser hopes to keep F/V Lady Bernice shrimp trawler working after Hurricane Matthew

The Lady Bernice shrimp trawler was set free Monday after Hurricane Matthew wedged the 80-ton shrimp boat in the mud of Hilton Head Island’s Skull Creek. But all is still not well with the Lady. There was other damage that may risk the future of one of the few shrimp boats still working near Hilton Head. After the boat was freed, longtime shrimp boat captain Charles Abner discovered that his trawler lost all electronics and that the radar system needed to navigate on the boat was damaged. The boat also suffered a broken propeller, shattered window and cosmetic damages to its side. Capt. Abner hopes the boat is still able to go on short shrimping trips, but knows it would be unsafe to go out longer. “I still fully intend to go out shrimping on Thursday,” Capt. Abner said. “We’ll see if it works then.” Read the story here  To donate to help keep the “Lady Bernice” runnning, go to the “Save Lady Bernice” page at GoFundMe.com. 07:59

Oceana bites back at proposed rule for US dusky shark conservation

angry enviroU.S. President Barack Obama and his administration have released a proposal addressing the chronic overfishing of dusky sharks in U.S. waters. But suggested rule comes up short on its objective, according to marine conservation group Oceana. Oceana, which sued the federal government in 2015 in a challenge to its policies on dusky sharks,  has deemed the proposed rule as “grossly inadequate,” and charged that that the National Marine Fisheries Service fails to offer measurable means to stop dusky shark decline and facilitate the species’ recovery. Over the past two decades, dusky shark populations across the Atlantic and Gulf coasts have dropped by 65 percent as a result of bycatch and overfishing, said Oceana. Because the species is slow to grow and reproduces at low rates, recent studies suggest that the population would need between 70 and 180 years to recover. Read the story here 12:06

Opinion: Stop the Obama administration from destroying our coastal economy

ObamaThe Obama Administration is very close to unleashing an underwater sonic boom attack off our Atlantic Coast, including South Carolina’s. You probably have two immediate questions. What am I talking about? And why should you care? First, a sonic boom is how Richard Viso, a professor in the Coastal Environment School at Coastal Carolina University, describes seismic testing. Seismic testing is a highly dangerous process that uses intense airgun blasting to send extremely loud sound waves miles below the seafloor in a hunt for oil deposits. One seismic testing vessel can tow up to 96 airguns, which can cover an area 21 times larger than the National Mall in Washington. These sonic booms, which can be heard for thousands of miles underwater, are repeated every 10 to 12 seconds, creating one of the loudest noises in the oceans. Seismic testing under just one lease can go on for up to an entire year. The Obama Administration’s Department of Interior is set to issue up to 9 seismic testing permits because oil companies don’t share information. Read the story here 11:37

$300,000+ of Marijuana Seized ‘Floating off the Shore’ of Florida over 27 Days

In a span of 27 days, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, in cooperation with the U.S. Coast Guard, recorded the seizure of nearly 400 pounds of marijuana found floating off the coast of Florida. Between September 15 and October 12 fifteen separate drug seizure events have occurred in various parts of the Florida Keys and East Florida coastline, explained CBP in a press release. “There has been a significant spike in drugs washing up on shore,” said U.S. Border Patrol Miami Sector Division Chief, Todd Bryant. “This is at least partially attributable to improved partnerships across the state but potentially also to a shift in smuggling methods.” The drugs seized in that 27 day span reportedly have a street value of more than $300-thousand. Link 20:26

Coast Guard battles to reopen Georgia ports after hurricane Matthew

When Hurricane Matthew hit the Georgia coastline over the weekend, high winds damaged navigational signs and buoys, shutting down the state’s busiest ports. Now, the Coast Guard is working to reopen ports in Savannah and Brunswick. Tuesday, the Coast Guard was battling through damage to navigational aids, infrastructure and vessels along the waterways. Before the ports can reopen, they’ll have to fix 50 navigational aids and several major navigational buoys that were damaged, destroyed or moved by the storm. Ten boat crews from Georgia, Florida and South Carolina are leading the efforts in repairing these aids.Two 225-foot Seagoing Buoy Tenders, the Cutter Anvil from Miami and the Cutter Cypress from Pensacola are also headed to Savannah to help recovery efforts. Images, Read the rest here 14:04

Fishing Industry faces tough times – Sam Parisi

manatthewheelUS Fishermen from all over are feeling the effects of NOAA and conservation groups that are making it very difficult for our fishing fleets on every coast. Every day there is anther obstacle for our fishermen, the most recent on the East Coast. President Obama has designated a large area of Cape Cod, the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. I fished those waters back in the late 60,s for whiting and lobster. Fishermen depend on those deep waters for lobsters. Although the President, after up roars from the lobstermen, has given them seven years to vacate, in the end those lobstermen will lose their rich grounds. When does it end?  Every day some one else comes up with a brain storm and there are so many people out there that no idea of the effect, but think it is a good idea to protect whatever, not thinking of the harm to our fishermen. I believe the deck is stacked and our fishermen do not stand a chance to exist. We need help from our political leaders. I have heard over and over “we will help”, with good intentions but the fact remains NOAA holds all the cards. We have no say. We need political leader’s that will stand up to NOAA on our behalf, and follow through. We need help now. Here are the basic problems that need attention. Language written into MSA that would unlock the ironclad grip NOAA has on the “best available science” and accept other independent scientific data. SK Grant money needs to be removed from NOAA. Senator Sullivan of Alaska has such a bill pending and finally our fishermen should not have to pay for monitoring that is NOAA’s responsibility. Thanks for listing. Sam Parisi, Proud to be a fishermen. 19:24

Oct 8, 20:00 Hurricane Matthew – Center now east of Cape Fear, record breaking flooding developing over eastern N.C.

At 800 PM EDT (0000 UTC), the center of Hurricane Matthew waslocated near latitude 33.8 North, longitude 77.3 West. Matthew is moving toward the east-northeast near 13 mph (20 km/h), and this motion is expected to continue tonight and early Sunday. On the forecast track, the center of Matthew will be near the coast of southern North Carolina by this evening. Maximum sustained winds remain near 75 mph (120 km/h) with higher gusts.  While Matthew is expected to remain near hurricane strength while the center is near the North Carolina coast, the system could become a post-tropical cyclone later tonight or on Sunday. STORM SURGE:  The combination of a dangerous storm surge, the tide, and large and destructive waves will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.  The water could reach the following heights above ground if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide… Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, to Duck, North Carolina, including portions of the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds…3 to 5 ft Read the update here 20:18

Oct 8, 0800 Hurricane Matthew – strong winds and dangerous storm serge affecting coast of South Carolina

At 800 AM EDT (1200 UTC), the center of Hurricane Matthew was located by NOAA Doppler weather radars, and an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft, near latitude 32.5 North, longitude 79.8 West. Matthew is moving toward the northeast near 12 mph (19 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue today. On the forecast track, the center of Matthew will continue to move near or over the coast of South Carolina today, and be near the coast of southern North Carolina by tonight. Reports from the reconnaissance aircraft indicate that maximum
sustained winds have decreased to near 85 mph (140 km/h) with higher gusts. Although weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, Matthew is expected to remain a hurricane while the center is near the coasts of South Carolina and North Carolina. Read the update here 08:33

Oct 7, 20:00 EYE OF HURRICANE MATTHEW MOVING NORTHWARD OFF THE COASTS OF GEORGIA AND NORTHEASTERN FLORIDA

At 800 PM EDT (0000 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Matthew was located near latitude 30.7 North, longitude 80.6 West.  Matthew is moving toward the north near 12 mph (19 km/h), and this motion is expected to continue tonight.  A turn toward toward the north-northeast and then to the northeast is expected on Saturday.  On the forecast track, the center of Matthew will continue to move near or over the coast of northeast Florida and Georgia through tonight, and near or over the coast of South Carolina on Saturday. Maximum sustained winds are near 110 mph (175 km/h) with higher gusts.  Although weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, Matthew is expected to remain a hurricane until it begins to move away from the southeastern United States on Sunday. Read the update here 20:23

Oct 7 0500 – HURRICANE MATTHEW MOVING PARALLEL TO AND JUST OFFSHORE OF THE EAST COAST OF FLORIDA

At 500 AM EDT (0900 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Matthew was located by NOAA Doppler weather radars and an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft near latitude 28.2 North, longitude 80.0 West. Matthew is moving toward the north-northwest near 13 mph (20 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue today. A turn toward the north is expected tonight or Saturday.  On the forecast track, the center of Matthew will be moving near or over the east coast of the Florida peninsula through tonight, and near or over the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina on Saturday. Maximum sustained winds are near 120 mph (195 km/h) with higher gusts.  Matthew is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  Although weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours, Matthew is expected to be a category 3 hurricane as it moves near the coast of Florida today. Read the update here 07:30

Stay, or Go. McClellanville Fishermen face tough decision as Hurricane Matthew approaches

matthew-mcclellanville-shrimpersHurricane Hugo just devastated the sleepy fishing village of McClellanville, but they rebuilt and started fishing again. The community has since weathered several storms. As Hurricane Matthew  approaches, fishermen have some of the toughest decisions to make. “I have a house but i stay on my boat,” said shrimp boat captain Timmy Glines. “I don’t have insurance, a lot of money invested and i don’t want to lose it.” Glines will stay but he knows the destruction Hugo caused firsthand “It was very scary,” Glines said. “I don’t want to do it again, ever ever. This is just a bit less, if it was 150 mph, I’d get out of here.” The big question for the captains here– should I stay or should I go. The docks in McClellanville look like the back of an entertainment center — boats and ropes tied up so tightly — some captains staying, others will go. Video, Read the story here 06:57

Oct 6, 2016 17:00 EDT – Hurricane Matthew Approaching the Southeast U.S. Coast

At 500 PM EDT (2100 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Matthew was located near latitude 26.2 North, longitude 78.6 West. The hurricane is moving toward the northwest near 14 mph (22 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue tonight with a turn toward the north-northwest early Friday.  On the forecast track, the eye of Matthew should move near or over Freeport in the Bahamas in the next hour or so, and move close to or over the east coast of the Florida peninsula through Friday night. Maximum sustained winds are near 140 mph (220 km/h) with higher gusts.  Matthew is a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  Some fluctuations in intensity are likely while the hurricane moves toward the coast of Florida. Read the rest here 18:30

The Latest on Hurricane Matthew 0:500 EDT THU OCT 06 2016

CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY: The Hurricane Warning has been extended northward to Altamaha Sound, Georgia, and the Hurricane Watch has been extended northward to South Santee River, South Carolina. At 500 AM EDT (0900 UTC), the center of Hurricane Matthew was located near latitude 24.2 North, longitude 77.1 West. Matthew is moving toward the northwest near 12 mph (19 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue today.  A turn toward the north-northwest is expected tonight.  On the forecast track, the eye of Matthew should pass near Andros Island and New Providence in the northwestern Bahamas early this morning, then pass near Grand Bahama Island late today, and move very close to the east coast of the Florida peninsula tonight through Friday night. Read the advisory here 07:18 Be prepared.

The Latest BULLETIN HURRICANE MATTHEW – 800 AM EDT WED OCT 05 2016

At 800 AM EDT (1200 UTC), the center of Hurricane Matthew was located near latitude 21.5 North, longitude 74.9 West. Matthew is moving toward the north-northwest near 10 mph (17 km/h).  This motion is expected to continue today, followed by a northwestward turn tonight.  On this track, Matthew will be moving across the Bahamas through Thursday, and is expected to be very near the east coast of Florida by Thursday evening. Read the update here You can reach the National Weather Service by scrolling down the page and clicking on the NWS icon. 08:34

Hurricane Matthew Warnings Shift Toward Florida, Gov. Rick Scott declares a State of Emergency

At 800 AM EDT (1200 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Matthew was located inland Haiti near latitude 18.4 North, longitude 74.2 West. Matthew made landfall near Les Anglais about 700 AM EDT (1100 UTC).  The hurricane is moving toward the north near 9 mph (15 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue today.  On this track the eye of Matthew will be back over water in the Gulf of Gonave in the next hour or so, and then move over the Windward Passage later this morning.  A turn toward the north-northwest is expected by Wednesday, followed by a northwest turn Wednesday night. Read the rest here The alert warns that Matthew is expected to make a northwestern turn on Wednesday — and that hurricane-force winds are expected to reach up to 40 miles out from the eye of the storm. Meteorologists say Matthew is currently gusting 140 mph winds near its eye wall. Just before the warning was issued, Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in every county in Florida 09:41

Oops. Shrimp boat raises Holy Hell at the St. Simons Island pier!

A shrimp boat out of South Carolina apparently tried to stop at the St. Simons Island pier late Saturday afternoon to sell shrimp, but the sales pitch didn’t go as planned. The boat is called the High Tide, and was registered out of Hilton Head Island, S.C. The boat got its nets tangled in the railing and caused damage to the western tip of the structure. Shark fisherman Jacob Key said the shrimp boat stopped on the eastern tip of the pier, and the shrimper began handing over buckets of shrimp to a woman he knew on the pier, with plans to sell them to the anglers and sightseers there. But this caused a commotion with the anglers’ fishing lines, and the boat relocated to the south tip of the T-shaped pier. The boat was on the shore side of the pier on the western tip when its net became entangled in a light post. The trawler booms were down and the net and boom tore down several yards of railing, two light posts and a new fish-cleaning table. Read the rest here 18:25

Baseball mourns Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez – Killed with two others in boating tragedy

57e8226776fb2-imageJose Fernandez escaped from Cuba by boat on his fourth try as a teenager, and when his mother fell into the Yucatan Channel during the journey, he jumped in and pulled her out. Fernandez’s heroic backstory made his death early Sunday that much more heart-wrenching. The charismatic Miami Marlins ace was killed in a boating accident at age 24. Fernandez and two other people died when their 32-foot vessel slammed into a jetty off Miami Beach, authorities said. Authorities didn’t know the time of the crash. The capsized boat was found shortly after 3 a.m. “It does appear that speed was involved due to the impact and the severity of it,” Veloz said. “It does appear to be that they were coming at full speed when they encountered the jetty, and the accident happened.” The boat was owned by a friend of Fernandez. Read the story here 17:46:17

Fisherman names his newborn son Andrew after the shrimp boat and crew that saved his life

little andrewA Murrells Inlet fisherman, who was pulled from the Atlantic Ocean by a nearby shrimp boat when his vessel capsized, became a new father Friday. And just as he promised, Adam Wiseman named his son, Andrew, after the crew that saved his life. “Baby Andrew made his entrance today weighing 10 pounds, 3 ounces,” Wiseman said on Friday. “True to my word (I) named (him) after a shrimp boat!” Wiseman and Cooper didn’t have time to call for help, but the Captain Andrew – Georgetown’s oldest wooden hull shrimp boat, still in service after 48 years – was shrimping nearby when Wiseman’s boat went under. Crew members saw Wiseman swimming for a floating ice box and set out to save the sinking vessel and its men. Baby Andrew came into the world at 7:41 a.m. on Friday. Ten fingers. Ten toes. Big smiles on a lot of faces. Read the story here 14:03

Feds Reach Deal To Protect Sea Turtles From Shrimpers

movi290915a_82-jpgA D.C. federal judge on Friday stayed a lawsuit filed by a conservation group accusing the U.S. Department of Commerce of not doing enough to protect endangered sea turtles from shrimp fishing operations off the southeastern U.S. coast, after the government agreed to propose a rule to help fix the problem.  Judge Paul L. Friedman signed an order staying the case after the U.S. Fisheries Service and conservation group Oceana Inc. agreed to a turtle excluder device, or TED, rule that requires expanded use of the devices that feature trap doors allowing most turtles caught in trawling nets to escape unharmed. The TED rule also places greater limits on the amount of time the shrimp boats can drag their nets. Under the terms of the agreement, if the stay is lifted and litigation recommences, Oceana will move for summary judgment within 45 days and the Fisheries Service will cross-move for summary judgment no later than 45 days after Oceana has filed its motion, Judge Friedman ruled. Read the rest here 10:14

F/V Captain Andrew rescues two fishermen and their sunken boat from the sea

The Captain Andrew is Georgetown’s oldest wooden hull shrimp boat was built in 1968. It has combed the waters ever since and on Saturday morning, the crew caught one of its greatest catches – rescuing two fishermen from the sea and their boat from the bottom of the ocean floor. Adam Wiseman was fishing with his friend, Troy Cooper, in the Atlantic Ocean near the North Santee Bay off South Carolina on Saturday morning when an ice box caused his boat’s weight to shift. The boat flipped. And within seconds, Wiseman was in the water along with a school of hungry sharks and the 300 pounds of jellyfish they had on board their craft before it capsized. “It was less than five seconds,” Wiseman said. “We didn’t have time to make a radio call. We didn’t have time for anything.” The Captain Andrew was shrimping nearby when crew members saw Wiseman swimming for the ice box. The crew picked up its nets and set out to save the sinking vessel and its men. Read the story here 11:49

Former shrimp boat captain helps preserve the industry’s history

In 81 years, St. Augustine resident James Edwin “Ed” Long has witnessed a lot of change in his hometown. From 1951 until the 1990s, Long worked in the shrimping and shrimp boat building industry. Today, he is a keeper of that industry’s history and has worked long and hard to make sure it has received proper attention for its financial, global and community contributions. Thanks to Long’s efforts, future generations can experience this chapter in St. Augustine history. Long saved thousands of photos, boat models, stories and other ephemera, now preserved in the collections of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum and part of an exhibit on the history of shrimping. Read the rest here with 15 images 18:33

Murrells Inlet fundraiser set for Lost at Sea Memorial Saturday, Sept. 10th

ar-160909929-jpgmaxh340q90People who would like to support the Lost at Sea Memorial in Murrells Inlet will gather at the Big Beaver Bar for a fundraiser on Saturday, Sept. 10. The event, which will features food, live music, raffles, door prizes and a silent auction, will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is a suggested $10 donation. “This is a benefit to help the memorial and continue adding names as necessary,” said event organizer Gary Pew. “It is for a good local cause.” The Lost at Sea Memorial is located at Morse Park Landing in Murrells Inlet. He said he attended the last Lost at Sea Memorial service held in April with a friend who lost her son at sea. He found out that more funds are needed to maintain the monument and add names each year. According to the Lost at Sea Memorial website, it was established in April of 2005 by the family of Johnny W. Brown. He was a native of Horry County and a commercial fisherman out of Murrells Inlet. Read the story here 13:33

FWC nabs lobster poaching brothers in the Card Sound Lobster Sanctuary

monroe_county_bail_bonds_webcardTwo commercial fishermen — brothers from Homestead — with a history of fisheries violations were nabbed by state wildlife officers Sunday afternoon poaching lobster in the Card Sound Lobster Sanctuary.  And after this incident, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission may keep their boat, said FWC spokesman Bobby Dube. The case began on Saturday when officers spotted the 17-foot bully net-style boat suspiciously in deep water, said FWC Capt. David Dipre. That spurred an undercover investigation, Dube said.  On Sunday, officers watched the boat near Little Angelfish Creek in North Key Largo and saw Javier Morales-Molina, 39, diving in the water, Dube said. His brother, Alfredo Morales-Molina, 41, was in the boat. Those officers called for a marked patrol boat to stop the brothers, Dube said.  Read the story here 14:05

National Hurricane Center: Tropical Storm Hermine Projected Path Update 8 AM

NOAA’s National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida issued a Public Advisory at 8 a.m. EDT on Friday, September 2, 2016, for Tropical Storm Hermine that made landfall on Florida and now threatens the U.S. east coast. A Tropical Storm Watch has also been issued for the United States east coast from Duck, North Carolina to Sandy Hook, New Jersey, including Chesapeake Bay from Smith Point southward and southern Delaware Bay. Interests along the United States northeast coast should monitor the progress of this tropical cyclone. Projected Path Tropical Storm Hermine is located about 120 miles west-southwest of Savannah Georgia, and is moving to the north-northeast at 14 mph. NHC forecasters believe that the tropical cyclone will continue north-northeastward through Friday and Saturday. On the forecast track, the center of Tropical Storm Hermine will move across southeastern Georgia today, move across the coastal Carolinas tonight and move offshore of the North Carolina coast on Saturday. Link 12:07

Florida and Hawaii brace as hurricane season hastens

Florida braces for life-threatening floods and fierce winds as Hawaii’s Big Island stares down the barrel of an encroaching hurricane. Forecasters issued a tropical storm warning on Wednesday for the Florida Gulf Coast. National Hurricane Center: ”Persons located within these areas should be prepared to take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water.” Florida Governor Rick Scott: Flooding, storm surge, fierce winds and tornadoes were all threats to the region. Could make landfall on Florida’s north-central Gulf Coast on Thursday. Resident on Hawaii’s Big Island warned of an encroaching hurricane expected to bring strong winds and heavy rains. National Weather Service (NWS): Hurricane Madeline [CAT 1] swirling about 235 miles (380 km), forecast to “pass dangerously close” on Wednesday. County of Hawaii: “Preparations to protect life and property should be completed by nightfall today.” Read the latest here 15:27

S.C. police body cam funds go to all — including oyster officers

IMG_Axon_Cam_Controller__5_1_U73S4MP9_L99616820After a bystander’s video last year showed a white North Charleston police officer shooting and killing a fleeing, unarmed black man, widespread outrage spurred South Carolina lawmakers to vote in favor of police body cameras, and to come up with $5.8 million to pay for cameras and data storage. Among the top recipients of the limited cash is the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. Its $135,100 grant will outfit its 32 armed officers in the divisions of drug control, shellfish monitoring and investigating environmental crimes such as illegal dumping, said agency spokesman Robert Yanity. State Sen. Greg Hembree said he knows “it seems funny” to put cameras on the officers who oversee shellfish harvesting. Read the story here  10:39

Born and bred lobstermen know how to hustle

trap brothersOn summer break, the alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m., and two Key West High School soon-to-be sophomores open their eyes. Cousins Demi Stiglitz and Peder Bidonne, both 15, brush their teeth, put on a little deodorant and climb into dad Richie Stiglitz’s truck. From there, they sleep for the 30-minute ride to Marathon from their Sugarloaf house, hope dad stops for quick breakfast from The Stuffed Pig, and by 5:30 a.m. they are fishing. “We’ve been on-and-popping since we were 12 years old,” said Demi, while sitting at the dinner table covered in fresh fried grouper after a long day on the boat. “Straight saving money.” The two are saving their money from their 500 lobster traps and 800 crab traps to buy their own boat. Read the rest here 09:07

The Science Suggests a Marine Reserve Zone Won’t Save Biscayne’s Reefs

rosAs many of you know, I have been proud to help lead a bipartisan group of Florida’s Congressional leaders, including Democrats like Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Gwen Graham, and Republicans like Sen. Rubio and Reps. Carlos Curbelo and Mario Diaz-Balart to ensure that Biscayne National Park utilizes the best science to conserve its environmental treasures while preserving our community’s right to access and enjoy all that Biscayne has to offer. In fact, the statutory language that created the National Park Service (NPS) – the Organic Act of 1916 – is still in force today and mandates just that! The NPS, by law, must conserve the nation’s natural resources and promote the public’s use and enjoyment of those resources. The Marine Reserve Zone proposed for Biscayne National Park that would eliminate fishing in more than 10,500 acres of prime reef fishing habitat with the goal of protecting Biscayne’s vulnerable coral reefs violates not only the spirit of the Organic Act, but also fails to use the best science to design and implement successful coral reef conservation strategies. Read the rest here  14:52

New superintendent named to head Biscayne National Park

Goodro%20picA seasoned ranger with posts in the chilly north including Glacier Bay and Crater Lake will become the new superintendent at South Florida’s subtropical Biscayne National Park, the National Park Service announced Monday. Margaret Goodro, now superintendent at Lake Clark National Park in Alaska, takes over from Brian Carlstrom. In November, Carlstrom was promoted to deputy associate director for the service after overseeing a controversial new management plan that for the first time establishes a marine preserve to help protect part of the park’s ailing reef. “I look forward to working with the park staff, stakeholders and partners to continue the great work of providing amazing recreational opportunities for visitors, while protecting and preserving this rare tropical park,” Goodro said in a statement. And while Goodro may have roots in the north where her family ran a commercial fishing business, she does have some local ties: Her spouse, Melinda, is a Tampa native. They plan to move to South Florida in late October. Read the rest here 10:38

Better science and data, not catch shares

csf logoWith the exception of three mini-seasons (2012-2014) the red snapper fishery in the South Atlantic has been effectively closed for over six years. By most accounts from fishermen, red snapper are very plentiful – they are routinely encountered while fishermen target other species and divers report large schools. Yet, the stock assessment presented to the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council in June says that red snapper are still overfished and that overfishing is still occurring. This despite a lot of uncertainty about the data used in the assessment. Give the SAFMC credit for not accepting the assessment and asking its Scientific and Statistical Committee to reexamine the assessment and stock status determination this fall. The ongoing saga of the red snapper fishery highlights the fact that stock assessments can be flawed because of the lack of good biological and historical abundance information. In other words, much better science and data on our fisheries is needed. Instead of devoting adequate financial resources into stock assessments, NOAA has spent about $160 million over the last six years pushing its National Catch Share Policy in an effort to privatize fisheries. Studies have shown that catch share programs hurt fishing communities by destroying jobs and don’t provide any biological benefit to fisheries. 10:36

Florida Keys commercial lobster fleet prepares for Saturday’s opening

lobster-fireworks-Aug3Hopes are high for high prices and calm seas as the Florida Keys commercial lobster fleet prepares for Saturday’s opening of the regular crawfish season. “Based on the level of [juvenile lobster] recruitment we’ve seen, we expect another outstanding season,” Bill Kelly, executive director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association, said Tuesday. Last year, Key commercial lobster trappers and divers collected about 5.2 million pounds of lobster, which accounts for 90 percent of Florida’s statewide lobster harvest. “Lobster is the largest [commercial fishing] cash crop in the Keys, and the largest in the state of Florida,” Kelly said. “Every season, our biggest issue facing lobster and stone-crab trap fishermen is tropical storms and hurricanes that displace and destroy gear and disrupt the normal migratory pattern of lobster,” Kelly said. “We’ve been pretty fortunate since Hurricane Wilma in 2005.” Read the story here 07:55

The seemingly ‘unstoppable’ lionfish flooding Florida’s coast and beyond

1469726857_lionfish1995-2015In 2011, when Rachel Bowman saw an abundance of large, pretty reddish fish while riding in a boat across the Florida coast, she didn’t think much of it. But a year later, once she got certified to dive, she speared the exotic fish and recognized an opportunity. Three years later, the fisherwoman, who was born in North Carolina and whose father was a shrimper, is selling this creature, called lionfish, to restaurants, local markets and 26 Whole Foods Markets across Florida. “I’m the first person to sell [lionfish] to Whole Foods and to set up that deal,” Bowman told CNBC. And in the Sunshine State, many other commercial fishing operations have begun to sell lionfish as well. The fish’s reproductive habits may bolster their successful invasion. Females may be able to spawn as often as every four days, which could result in the release of up to 2 million eggs a year from a single fish, according to USGS. Read the story here 08:05

Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Summer Meeting – Alexandria, Virginia August 2-4, 2016

ASMFC Sidebar

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will meet in at the The Westin Alexandria August 2-4, 2016.  The agenda is subject to change. The agenda reflects the current estimate of time required for scheduled Board meetings. The Commission may adjust this agenda in accordance with the actual duration of Board meetings. Interested parties should anticipate Boards starting earlier or later than indicated herein. Board/Section meeting proceedings will be broadcast daily via webinar beginning at 10:15 a.m. on August 2nd  and continuing daily until the conclusion of the meeting (expected to be 4:00 p.m.) on Thursday August  4thClick here for details, Click here for webinar 10:45

National Marine Fisheries Service Announces Final Rule to Adjust the 2016 North and South Atlantic Swordfish Quotas

noaa nmfs logoThis final rule adjusts the 2016 annual North and South Atlantic swordfish quotas based on 2015 underharvests and international quota transfers, and modifies the annual quota adjustment public notice in certain circumstances. The final adjusted quota for North Atlantic swordfish is 3,359.4 metric tons (mt) dressed weight (dw).  This quota is allocated as follows: the directed category quota = 3,009.4 mt dw; the incidental category = 300 mt dw; and the reserve category = 50 mt dw.  The final adjusted quota for South Atlantic swordfish is 75.1 mt dw. Read the rest here  National Marine Fisheries Service Announces Proposed Rule To Remove Vessel Upgrade Restrictions For Swordfish Directed And Atlantic Tuna Longline Category Limited Access Permits Read the rest here 16:41

Shrimpers say blackgill mystery may wait in the St. Simons Sound

14836563 black gillThe crippling blackgill disease first appeared in local waters during the 1996 shrimping harvest, roughly six years after the last time state officials had permitted trawlers to operate in the St. Simons Sound. The parasitic disease, which affects reproduction and vigor in shrimp, is already showing up in the 2016 harvest that started June 1. It marks the earliest point in the season that blackgill has ever appeared in the harvest, according to Lindsey Aubart, a marine biologist with the state Department of Natural Resources. Scientists and marine biologists such as Aubart have studied the blackgill problem for years in search of a source and solution to the mysterious disease, which occurs from the Chesapeake Bay to the Gulf of Mexico but is most prominent in the waters of Georgia and South Carolina. Locally, a lot of experienced shrimpers suspect the answers may be found in those long-fallow shrimping waters of the St. Simons Sound. Read the rest here 08:46

Working Waterfront: Gulf Seafood on county’s agenda today

keys fishermenThe Monroe County Commission will take the first significant step today in purchasing the former Gulf Seafood commercial working waterfront on Stock Island. The commission will vote to accept a $2.2 million state grant that would go toward the roughly $7 million purchase of the waterfront property, which is currently home to about a dozen fishermen. The county set aside $5 million in sales tax revenue for the purchase more than a year ago. The project could accomplish the goal of protecting commercial fishing in an area that has seen a tremendous growth in waterfront hotels, resorts and upscale marinas recently, fishermen said. Lower Keys commercial fisherman Daniel Padron called the purchase “monumental” for protecting commercial fishing in the Lower Keys. Read the rest here 10:17

Lobster poacher jumps into the water, challenges game wardens to come and get him. They waited!

cantillosOne defendant in a lobster-poaching case Saturday reportedly threw his cell phone into the ocean at Bahia Honda, jumped into the ocean and challenged state officers “to come in the water and get him.” A second man booked in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission case ran from officers and hid for three hours before trying to return to his truck. He found that FWC Officer Adam Garrison was willing to outwait him. Miami residents Carlos M. Duran-Cantillo, 37, and Karel Cantillo-Martinez, 38, face multiple conservation counts after FWC officers charged them with possession of eight , all taken in a closed season. Five of the tails were undersized. Both also were charged with resisting arrest without violence and littering. Read the rest here 11:30

Seminar in Marathon Fla. looks at spiny lobster research

Spiny lobsterSome top experts on spiny lobster will meet Wednesday in Marathon to discuss the latest research on the crustacean, which is the top-grossing marine species in the Florida Keys generating $70 million a year to the local economy. The Keys waters account for nearly 90 percent of the spiny lobster harvest in the United States. A robust Asian market and a steady catch has made spiny lobster fishery the most lucrative in the Keys. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is hosting the all-day seminar Wednesday as a way to put out the latest research on spiny lobster to the local commercial fishermen and to the public, FWC lobster biologist Tom Matthews said. Bill Kelly, the executive director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association, said there is a need for new science on the fishery, as the current science used to make regulations is “outdated and goes back to the 1990s.” Read the story here 11:57

Rubio’s red snapper red herring

rubio redI see by the paper that Sen. Marco Rubio is getting into the political swim again. And once again he shows how unqualified he is for public office. Instead of weighing in on our really pressing problems here in Florida, he has chosen to take up the rights of sport fishermen to catch more red snapper. Seriously?,,,  But there are rules, which aim to protect all Floridians, including commercial fishing businesses. These rules are based on fact and science, a subject Sen. Rubio seems to know nothing about. We have some big problems to solve here in Florida and in our nation. A few examples include gun control, expanding health coverage by accepting the return of Florida taxes from the Fed, energy and education. These are the things I want to hear candidates talk about. Red snapper quotas are nothing but a “red herring.” Read the letter here 16:58

Shrimp slaves are a sign of the international seafood industry which we cannot compete with

Thailand-Shrimp-Slaves3It’s been almost eight months since officials in Thailand raided a shrimp-peeling shed and freed dozens of Burmese slaves. Also last year, an investigation by The Associated Press led to the freeing of 2,000 slaves that were being held on an Asian island and being forced to process seafood that was on its way to Thailand and the U.S. The people who have been discovered and freed from those operations are in the minority. Far more remain in bondage, helping to produce the seafood that eventually makes its way into our nation. The fact is that much of the international seafood industry is fueled by slave labor and other unsavory practices. Our shrimpers cannot compete with industries that make widespread use of slave labor. Read the rest here 14:25

The ghost trap problem in Biscayne Bay

04GHOST%20TRAPS_CPJBeneath the glittering surface of Biscayne Bay, a menace lurks, wiping out fragile sea grass habitat, catching and killing as brutally, efficiently and indiscriminately as any monster from the deep: ghost traps. What goes inside the abandoned or lost traps stays inside — crabs left to cannibalize each other, baby lobster and fish too disoriented to escape. Heavy-grade plastic crab traps can even outlive their owners. “Just because someone’s not actually fishing a trap, it doesn’t mean the trap isn’t fishing,” said John Ricisak, a Miami-Dade County environmental resources project supervisor who heads county removal efforts. Ghost traps are so ubiquitous it’s hard to know how many exist. A 2013 study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimated more than 1.1 million ghost and derelict traps litter the Florida Keys. Read the rest here 19:29

Sen. Marco Rubio calls for Commerce IG to review controversial red snapper regulations

sen marco rubioThe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which sets the rules, announced last month that the 2015 ban would be extended into 2016. In his letter, Rubio argues that the years-long plan isn’t working and that public distrust is at “an all-time high.” A study of red snapper populations released in April found that the species still hasn’t recovered from over fishing and is still being overfished despite the strict regulations. While anglers must release red snapper, biologists estimate that roughly 40 percent of fish caught and released will later die due to the trauma of being reeled in from the ocean’s deep depths. But many fishermen dispute the study’s findings and have long criticized the regulations. Skeptics say they’re catching plenty of red snapper, which suggests the species is healthy enough to support harvesting. Read the rest here 08:23

U.S. Commerce Department announces 2016 regional fishery council appointments

commerceThe U.S. Commerce Department today announced the appointment of 19 new and returning members to the eight regional fishery management councils that partner with NOAA Fisheries to manage ocean fish stocks. One at-large seat on the Mid-Atlantic Council will be announced by the Secretary at a later date. The new and reappointed council members begin their three-year terms on August 11. Each year, the Secretary of Commerce appoints approximately one-third of the total 72 appointed members to the eight regional councils. The Secretary selects members from nominations submitted by the governors of fishing states, territories and tribal governments. Council members are appointed to both obligatory (state-specific) and at-large (regional) seats.  Council members serve a three-year term and can get reappointed to serve three consecutive terms. Asterisks preceding a member’s name indicate a reappointment. Read it here 17:24

Black gill disease shows up early in Georgia shrimp

Black Gill in shrimp“We’re seeing 40 percent of our white shrimp infected,” said Pat Geer, chief of fisheries at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. “We have never seen that before. Ever. So why, why are we seeing it that much earlier?” Geer put that question to a gathering of researchers, shrimpers and fisheries managers from Georgia and South Carolina on Wednesday at the University of Georgia Aquarium at Skidaway. Though unattractive, black gill shrimp are safe to eat. The discoloration is a result of a parasite that infects the gills. When it does, that tissue reacts by producing melanin, resulting in the tell-tale blackening. Researchers have determined the culprit is a ciliate, a single-celled organism with hair-like structures that propel it, but they haven’t been able to nail down which species it is. Read the story here 15:12

Frank Blum – Boost production to keep S.C. seafood industry afloat

AR-160629707.jpg&maxw=400&q=90Where did, where does, where will your seafood come from? The year 1995 was a pivotal point for South Carolina seafood production. From 1950 to 1995 the average landings of seafood was 19.5 million pounds annually. Over the last 12 years the landings have averaged about 11.0 million pounds — a decrease in production of 43 percent. Average 2014 dollars per year to producers 1950 to 1996 were $38.7 million, and from 2003 to 2014 were $22.7 million. This is a decrease in revenue of 41 percent. Today 90 percent of all seafood consumed in the U.S. is imported. Here in the Lowcountry of South Carolina our consumption of imported seafood is somewhat less than this 90 percent because of our direct access to the ocean. Low-cost imports, consisting of 50 percent aquaculture, were major players in pushing many South Carolina watermen out of the seafood business by drastically undercutting their prices. Wild shrimp producers were hurt the most by low-priced imports. One quarter of all seafood consumed in the U.S. is shrimp. Read the rest here 09:58

Editorial: Gulf states take on NOAA: More power to them

NOAA-LogoWe wish the Gulf states well, but Florida’s East Coast anglers must be tasting the twang of sour grapes this week. The U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resource Committee passed a landmark bill, H.B. 3094. If it clears the larger legislative hurdle in both chambers, it would basically put federal red snapper management out of business in the Gulf of Mexico, in terms of stock oversight. The bill would remove the red snapper stock from under the federal thumb of the Gulf Fisheries Management Council and the Magnuson-Stevens Act. It would, instead, establish a new agency, the Gulf States Red Snapper Authority. This would have five representatives from the Gulf states — Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas — who would set snapper regulations by majority vote. Magnuson-Stevens is perhaps the most perfect example of a decent idea so poorly managed as to make it a national embarrassment. Read the rest here 18:30