Category Archives: South Atlantic

Mechanical Failure Blamed for Fire on Fishing Vessel

About 0545 on March 18, a rigman took the helm so that the captain could rest. About a half hour later, while the vessel was proceeding at “idle speed” (about 2.5 knots), the rigman heard something that sounded like a small “boom” or “heavy thud.” The captain returned to the wheelhouse when he heard the sound and told the rigmen to pull in the nets and gear. Lighting remained on and the vessel’s main engine continued to propel the boat. However, about a minute later, the vessel started shaking. >click to read< 08:15

Working Waterfront: SC commercial shrimp docks battle for public money

The privately owned Wando shrimp dock is under contract to be sold and go public. Three-hundred yards away, the Geechie dock owners want public money to help it stay in business. The fate of two of the last of Shem Creek’s commercial shrimp boat docks hangs on the hooks along the Mount Pleasant waterfront. The creek is a marquee destination, the place where the shrimp boat fleet is a treasured part of history and the hanging shrimp nets are what tourists and diners come to see. >click to read< 10:17

You should read this. Right whale extinction crisis gains momentum on Capitol Hill

Leaders from industry, science and advocacy convened on Capitol Hill this week for a congressional briefing and panel discussion on the North Atlantic right whale extinction crisis. Despite being a busy week in Congress, the room was packed with attendees interested in learning more about the status of the right whale and opportunities for Congress to support the recovery of the species. NRDC cosponsored the briefing and I had the pleasure of presenting on the panel, which was held in cooperation with Representatives Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Jared Huffman (D-CA). The panel provided a compelling overview of the severe threat posed by entanglement, ongoing and future actions aimed at reducing right whale deaths, and the international cooperation needed to secure the whale’s future. >click to read<20:51

Fishery Disaster Assistance Soon to Be Available to Georgia Shrimpers

The Southern Shrimp Alliance is pleased to inform the Georgia shrimp industry that $1.062m in financial assistance has been made available to address the 2013 Georgia shrimp fishery disaster. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the funding in a March 27, 2019 press release. In a February 10, 2014, letter to then U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, then Georgia Governor Nathan Deal filed a request for fishery disaster assistance pursuant to section 312(a) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). >click to read<17:07

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for April 12, 2019

>Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here<12:08

Sneads Ferry fishing community honored at annual Blessing of the Fleet

Reading from II Chronicles, Pastor Dane Yates of Covenant Church urged the fishing and shrimping families of Sneads Ferry to keep strong and not lose hope for there was a reward for their hard work. “Today we’re here to bless our fishing community,” he said in a booming voice that made up for the sounds of the gust and the drone overhead. “They work tirelessly through the winds and the rain and the cold and the heat … they do it day in and day out because they love our community and they love what they do.” Photo’s, >click to read<18:41

DMF Sends Hurricane Florence Commercial Fishing Relief Checks

Gov. Roy Cooper’s office announced Friday that a second round of assistance checks is on the way to North Carolina commercial fishermen affected by Hurricane Florence. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Marine Fisheries is distributing checks from $11.6 million available under the Hurricane Florence Commercial Fishing Assistance Program. The latest distribution includes 1,002 checks totaling more than $7.23 million to fishermen to help compensate for October and November harvest reductions due to Hurricane Florence, according to the governor’s office. >click to read<12:13

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for April 5, 2019

>Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here< 10:30

China bought lots of Florida lobster despite tariffs. Keys fishermen paid the price

Chinese importers bought Florida spiny lobsters in what could be near-record numbers this season, despite a 25 percent tariff their government placed on U.S. seafood last July, according to the leading Florida Keys commercial fishermen’s trade group. That’s great news considering the fear commercial anglers had about the potential impact of growing U.S.-China trade hostilities on one of South Florida’s largest industries. “Going into the season, the big questions were: Will the Chinese buy? How much and at what price,” >click to read<20:25

Blessing of the Fleet returns to Darien Friday – Information, and event schedules

A walk along the Darien waterfront usually comes with the smell of the marsh and the saltwater river. During a week in early April, however, the smell of new paint comes through as shrimp boat owners layer gleaming, fresh coats on their vessels and touch up the names on the sterns. All the work is done for the annual Blessing of the Fleet, a three-day festival that starts Friday and culminates Sunday afternoon as members of the clergy shower holy water onto the boats as they sail up to the U.S. 17 bridge. >click to read< >Blessing of the Fleet Website >Info and Schedules >click to read>

Con Groups File Intent to Sue to Protect Atlantic Sharks, Giant Rays From Lethal Longlines, Gillnets

On behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity and Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice today filed a notice of intent to sue the Trump administration for failing to protect oceanic whitetip sharks and giant manta rays from being killed by longlines and huge nets used by U.S. fishermen in Atlantic fisheries. >click to read<13:59

GA Among States to Receive Part of $20 Million in Fishery Disaster Funding

The U.S. Department of Commerce allocated $20 million to help tribes, communities, fishermen, and businesses affected by commercial fishery failures that occurred in Georgia, California, Oregon, and Washington between 2013 and 2017. “The Department of Commerce and NOAA stand ready to support communities working to rebuild and rebound from fishery disasters,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “We will continue to work closely with our partners to help American fishermen preserve their livelihoods.” >click to read<09:45

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for March 29, 2019

>Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here<18:21

North Carolina – Reforms would rebuild depleted fish stocks

A former director of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries asked a local wildlife group last week to seek state lawmakers’ support for three proposed fishing regulations aimed at rebuilding depleted fish stocks. Louis Daniel, who spent more than two decades with the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries and was director of the division for 10 years, told the Albemarle Conservation and Wildlife Chapter in Elizabeth City Thursday that current regulations have not done enough to protect fish species such as southern flounder. >click to read<09:45

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for March 22, 2019

>Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here<20:42

Working Watermen Commission Takes on Timely Issues at their Inaugural Meeting

The revitalized Dare County Commission for Working Watermen held their inaugural meeting on Wednesday, March 21, and tackled several pressing issues that are connected to the local fishing industry. The commission originally formed in 2008, but quietly ceased meeting in December of 2012 without formally disbanding. After public comments made by journalist and researcher Susan West at the BOC’s August 20, 2018 Dare County Board of Commissioners meeting, interest in reviving the commission was renewed, with County Commissioner Steve House signing on to be the Chairman and county commissioner representative for the endeavor. >click to read<15:13

Fake lobster-tag case leads to arrests in Florida Keys

Florida fisheries investigators have made at least two arrests following a long inquiry into the sale of counterfeit lobster trap tags required by law for commercial anglers to do business in the state. The suspected ringleader is a Palmetto Bay woman who is the registered agent of more than 50 active and inactive commercial fishing operations in Florida. She was arrested Monday in the Florida Keys on racketeering and fraud charges. Elena P. Reyes, 67, is being held in Monroe County jail on a total bond of $892,500. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigators also arrested Michael Enrique Sanchez,

Fisherman: New Jersey shark fin ban bill punishes wrong people

A New Jersey assembly committee will vote on a bill Monday that would prohibit the selling, trading, distribution or possession of any shark fin that has been separated from a shark prior to its lawful landing. The bill is part of a larger national and international movement to crack down on illegal shark finning, but fishing industry members here say this particular bill will also hurt local fishermen not involved in the illegal trade.,,, Greg DiDomenico, president of the Garden State Seafood Association, said the act will harm the legitimate U.S. fishermen.  “The U.S. is a leader in shark conservation and this legislation causes waste in U.S. fisheries,” DiDomenico said. >click to read<11:48

ASMFC expected to set stricter regs for harvesting striped bass

A new status review has found the striped bass population to be in worse shape than previously thought, a result that will almost certainly trigger new catch restrictions for the prized species next year in the Chesapeake Bay and along the East Coast. A preview of a soon-to-be-released stock assessment presented in February to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission indicates that the striped bass population is overfished and has been for several years.,,, While most everyone agrees on the need to act, many caution that the stock is nowhere near the crisis level that spurred the previous moratorium. Today’s spawning stock biomass, while declining, is still four times higher than it was in the early 1980s.>click to read<10:53

Blended Waters: Seeing is believing – Life teaches us…if we let it

Almost everyone who knows the commercial fishing industry and what’s really involved in it would likely confer with what I share with you in Blended Waters. Wives, or girlfriends who try to keep the bills paid when the ocean’s as rough as a cobb or when the nor’easter blows relentlessly for days on end know that the daily forecast can make or break you so, when you’re the primary income producer in a family and you fish, you fish hard. You fish like you mean it otherwise, cut the engine and leave your keys on the washboard. >click to read< by Marsha Brown14:38

North Carolina Fisheries Commission Forces Gill Net Ban

The state Marine Fisheries Commission voted Wednesday to overrule the director of the Division of Marine Fisheries and ban gill nets upstream of the ferry crossing points in the Neuse and Pamlico rivers. The commission, during what it called an emergency meeting in Kinston that was announced Monday, approved a motion directing Division of Marine Fisheries Director Steve Murphey to implement a year-round closure upstream of the Bayview-Aurora Ferry in the Pamlico River and upstream of the Minnesott Beach-Cherry Branch Ferry in the Neuse River. The proclamation to take effect Monday and the closure were expected to continue for about two years or until an amendment to the state’s Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan is adopted. The provision, called Amendment 2, could continue the closure or recommend other management actions. >click to read<10:44

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for March 15, 2019

>Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here<10:26

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries issues proclamations that close striped bass season

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has issued proclamations that close striped bass season for commercial and recreational fishermen in all internal waters from just south of Oregon Inlet to the South Carolina line. Both commercial and recreational fishermen across the state could find themselves heavily impacted as the result of a new fishing ban passed at the special meeting Wednesday in Kinston. The commission passed a motion by a vote of 5-4 to ban the use of gill nets above what are known as the ferry lines, in areas of the Pamlico and Neuse Rivers. >click to read<10:06

Maritime Center ice machine breaks leaving shrimp fleet troubled

The ice machine at Charleston Maritime Center broke in November 2018. As a result, shrimp boats throughout Charleston and Shem Creek are starting to fret about how they’ll keep their shrimp cold this season. Jack O’Toole, director of communications for the City of Charleston explained that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently changed ice machine regulations.,,,  Tommy Edwards, captain of the shrimp boat Playboy, docks his boat at Wreck of the Richard & Charlene. Edwards said he’s been going to the Maritime Center since they opened for ice because it’s the only resource he has. Edwards said that he called the Maritime Center on March 4 and found out they didn’t have plans to replace the ice machine.“The only way I found out is I called them. They didn’t notify us. They’re letting us hang on thinking it’s back to the regular routine,” Edwards said. >click to read<17:52

U.S. Attorney’s Office sells convicted Tybee shrimper’s boat for $15K

A shrimp boat seized in a federal fraud investigation has a new home with a North Carolina seafood company. Assistant U.S. Attorneys with the Southern District of Georgia’s Asset Recovery Unit recently completed the sale of the 80-foot trawler to Lee Bland Williams of Scranton, N.C. Williams and his wife, Madge, own Hobo Seafood, a commercial fishing operation in Swanquarter, N.C. He purchased the boat for $15,000, and said despite significant repairs, the craft needs to make it seaworthy, he plans to have it ready for this summer’s shrimping season. >click to read<19:51

New experiment raises possibility of fresh N.C. soft-shell crabs year-round

An experiment to farm soft-shell crabs in North Carolina ponds could augment declining wild stocks and lead to having plenty of the delicacy fresh almost year round. Scientists from North Carolina and Mississippi will work together in a three-year venture to raise blue crabs and harvest them for the lucrative soft-shell market. Fresh soft crabs flood the market typically in May and June, at the height of molting season. A $339,239 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will fund the project, managed by Sea Grant programs in both states. >click to read<20:24

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for March 8, 2019

>Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here< 18:59

A Trump official said seismic air gun tests don’t hurt whales. So a congressman blasted him with an air horn.

A hearing on the threat seismic testing poses to North Atlantic right whales was plodding along Thursday when, seemingly out of nowhere, Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) pulled out an air horn and politely asked if he could blast it. Before that moment at a Natural Resources subcommittee hearing, Cunningham had listened to a Trump administration official testify, over and over, that firing commercial air guns under water every 10 seconds in search of oil and gas deposits over a period of months would have next to no effect on the endangered animals, which use echolocation to communicate, feed, mate and keep track of their babies. It’s why the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration gave five companies permission to conduct tests that could harm the whales last year, said the official, Chris Oliver, an assistant administrator for fisheries. >click to read<11:29

Florida Keys Maritime business back after Hurricane Irma

Editor’s note: It’s been 542 days since Hurricane Irma swept the Keys. By in large, the Keys have recovered. But there are still some pockets that are working on rebuilding, including commercial fishermen. Many lost thousands of traps and are still struggling against the vagaries of Mother Nature. It’s something to note this weekend of the Marathon Seafood Festival. Many homes and businesses were destroyed when Hurricane Irma swept through the Florida Keys. Some will never be rebuilt; many small businesses were forced to close forever. >click to read<10:48

“I have never seen sharks like we have now!” – Fishermen say sharks continue to dog efforts

Fishery regulations do not change quickly, but over recent years, commercial fishermen have expressed frustration with the perceived impunity of the actions of sharks in federal waters from North Carolina south to Florida, and the desire to do something about it to protect their ability to do their jobs to the best extent possible. That continued Wednesday during the public comment hour at the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting on Jekyll Island. >click to read<10:36