Category Archives: South Atlantic

Florida commercial fishermen could get $200 million in aid

Florida’s commercial fisheries, hit hard by Hurricane Irma, should pull in a $200 million boost from the two-year federal budget passed last week. The $200 million will be included as funding for the “catastrophic regional fishery disaster for Florida” in the proposed $300 billion increase in the federal budget, Florida U.S. senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio announced. Part of that federal money could go toward ongoing trap-recovery efforts, Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association executive director Bill Kelly said Monday. >click to read< 19:29 

HR 200 – 24 Fishing Groups from Around the Nation Call for Magnuson-Stevens Act Reforms

Twenty-four members of Saving Seafood’s National Coalition for Fishing Communities (NCFC) are calling on Congress to enact broad reforms to the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), including allowing for greater flexibility in how stocks are rebuilt and changes to how new management programs are implemented. The proposals, delivered in a letter to Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan, would, according to the signers, lead to a reauthorization that “allows for both sustainable fisheries management, and the long-term preservation of our nation’s fishing communities.” >click to read< 13:22 

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Declares Fisheries Disasters Following Hurricanes Irma and Maria

Today, in conjunction with the requests put forward by the Governors of Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross determined catastrophic fishery disasters occurred in the areas because of impacts from Hurricanes Irma and Maria that made landfall in August and September of 2017. Under the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Governors asked the Secretary of Commerce to determine whether a commercial fishery failure occurred due to a fishery resource disaster, in these cases caused by destructive hurricanes. >click to read< 12:25

ASMFC to require Maine to collect catch reports from all lobstermen

An interstate fisheries commission voted Tuesday to require all licensed lobstermen in Maine to start filing catch reports within the next five years. Lobstermen in Maine, where currently only 10 percent of licensed lobstermen are required to file catch reports, overwhelmingly have been opposed to such a requirement. Other states, all of which have lobster fisheries smaller than Maine’s, already require 100 percent of active lobster harvesters to file daily catch summaries. Maine’s Department of Marine Resources also has opposed requiring all lobstermen to file reports. >click to read< 16:08

UPDATE: Contact established with Coast Guard searching for overdue fisherman near Jacksonville

Original story: The Coast Guard is searching Wednesday for three fishermen who failed to return to Jacksonville. The fishermen, including the captain John Zimmerman*, departed from Safe Harbor January 31st in the 34-foot fishing vessel Jessi K. ,, watchstanders received notification at 4 p.m. Wednesday from the vessels owner when the vessel failed to return home Tuesday. Update: Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville Command Center watchstanders were able to ping the cell phone of the 34-foot fishing vessel Jessi K’s captain and make contact. The captain stated they were delayed and out of communications range. >click to read< 12:57

ASMFC Winter Meeting in Arlington, VA- February 6-8, 2018

Final Agenda >click to read<The agenda is subject to change. Bulleted items represent the anticipated major issues to be discussed or acted upon at the meeting. The final agenda will include additional items and may revise the bulleted items provided below. The agenda reflects the current estimate of time required for scheduled Board meetings.,, Board meeting proceedings will be broadcast daily via webinar >click here to listen< beginning February 6th at 9:30 a.m. and continuing daily www.asmfc.org/ 15:28

State attorneys general are spoiling for a fight over Trump Administration’s offshore drilling plan

As Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke prepared to travel to the Carolinas to discuss offshore drilling, state attorneys general condemned the Trump administration’s plan to expand development of oil and gas in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans as “outrageous” and “reckless.” Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D), one of a dozen state attorneys general on the two coasts to co-sign a letter Thursday that called on Zinke to cancel the proposal, said, “We intend to sue if they go forward with this, unquestionably. We’re going to do everything we possibly can to stop it.” >click to read< 17:49

2017-2018 Minke Whale Unusual Mortality Event along the Atlantic Coast

Since January 2017, elevated minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) mortalities have occurred along the Atlantic coast from Maine through South Carolina. A table of stranding numbers by state is below. While minke whales are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the species is not listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. This event has been declared an Unusual Mortality Event (UME). >click here to read< 13:22

NEFMC: Final Action on Deep-Sea Coral Amendment; Comments on Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling in North Atlantic

The New England Fishery Management Council has taken final action on its Omnibus Deep-Sea Coral Amendment and voted to submit the document to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for review and approval.,,, The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is soliciting comments through March 9, 2018 on its Draft National 2019-2024 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program, which includes the North and Mid-Atlantic Planning Areas. The Council agreed to send a letter to BOEM recommending exclusion of these two areasfrom the five-year plan because oil and gas exploration and extraction activities in the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf involve inappropriate risks that “may harm living marine resources,,, >click here to read< 10:45

Feds vote to protect more corals in Atlantic Ocean

Federal fishing regulators on Tuesday approved a compromise they said would expand the amount of coral habitat preserved in the Atlantic Ocean while also protecting fishing interests. The New England Fishery Management Council voted on coral protections in an area south of Georges Bank, which is one of the most important commercial fishing areas in the Northeast. The decision came about seven months after the council approved protections in another key New England fishing area, the Gulf of Maine, in June. >click here to read< 17:50 

“The Plight of the Right Whale” – What’s causing right whale decline?

There is no argument that the North Atlantic Right Whale is in dire straits. Dr. Mark Baumgartner, a biologist from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, gave a compelling presentation on “The Plight of the Right Whale” this past Tuesday evening, Jan. 23, at the Vineyard Gazette office. Since it was advertised, it was well attended. One point of interest was that the right whales were making a healthy comeback, a two-decade period of modest annual growth; the population rebounded from 270 living whales in 1992 to 483 in 2010. From 2010,,, >click here to read< 21:12

3 safe after shrimp boat takes on water off Little Talbot Island

Three people are safe and back on land after their shrimp boat took on water near Little Talbot Island Thursday morning.  According to Jacksonville Fire Rescue, a marine distress call came in some time before 7 a.m. The 62-foot shrimp boat is called the Russell Lee. It took on water east of Little Talbot Island. >photos, click here to read< Will be updated 10:57

Federal waters off Georgia, South Carolina closed to fishing for brown, pink, white shrimp

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources announced on Jan. 24 that NOAA Fisheries have closed federal waters off Georgia to all fishing for brown, pink, and white shrimp. During the closure, no person may trawl for brown, pink, or white shrimp in federal waters off Georgia effective at 8:45 a.m. on Jan. 24Georgia, South Carolina NOAA Fisheries will issue a new Fishery Bulletin announcing the re-opening to shrimp harvest in federal waters off Georgia once the date is determined.. >click here to read< and in South Carolina >click here to read<17:55

Keys lobstermen catch a break, traps get a $1 per-trap tag waiver

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, every dollar saved helps, say Florida Keys commercial fishermen. Untold thousands of spiny-lobster traps, the primary gear in the most economically significant Keys seafood harvest, disappeared or were destroyed by the Category 4 storm in September. The statewide lobster industry based in the Keys will get a bit of a break in the 2018 season that opens in August. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at its December meeting agreed to waive for one season the annual $1 per-trap tag fee for the allowed 473,500 traps in the lobster fishery. >click here to read< 13:44

H.R. 200 – More than one way to manage the nation’s fisheries

For the first time ever, reauthorization of the nation’s overarching marine fishery management law will take into account concerns of America’s recreational anglers. In mid-December, the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources approved H.R. 200, a bill sponsored by Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, amending the 1976 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. While the vast majority of the public hails progress on the bill as long overdue, an unusual coalition of environmentalists and commercial fishing entities has roundly condemned it, feverishly depicting the bill as an attack on the oceans and a threat to the future of the nation’s marine resources. >click here to read< 20:57

Lobster harvest takes a hit – Numbers starting to normalize after down season

The 2017-18 lobster season could produce half the expected harvest because of Hurricane Irma, and stone crab numbers are likely to suffer as well. “Harvest levels are returning to normal,” says Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association Executive Director Billy Kelly, but estimates that commercial lobster fisherman lost “six to eight weeks of their best production” to the storm. In total, the 2017-2018 season could yield 2-1/2 million pounds or less of lobster, an estimate Kelly says is half the expected amount. For stone crab numbers,,, >click here to read< 12:38

World’s largest sea turtle could come off ‘endangered’ list

An arm of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has received a petition from a fishing group asking that the Northwest Atlantic Ocean’s leatherback sea turtles be listed as “threatened,” but not endangered, under the Endangered Species Act.,,, NOAA officials have said the agency has reviewed the petition from New Jersey-based Blue Water Fishermen’s Association and found “substantial scientific and commercial information” that the move might be warranted. The agency now has about eight months to make a decision about the status of the turtles. >click here to read< 13:56

Commercial fishing captain accused of dumping dozens of traps

A Florida Keys commercial fishing captain was arrested on felony commercial littering charges this week after investigators say he illegally dumped more than 30 lobster traps along the reef that police considered evidence in an ongoing investigation. Ricardo Hernandez, 53, was booked on 31 counts of commercial dumping and 31 counts of evidence tampering Thursday following a two-years-long investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. >click here to read< 11:35

2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program Public Meetings Scheduled Nationwide

Public meetings will take place across the country using an open-house format, so participants can arrive any time during the scheduled meeting time. At the meetings, participants can ask questions, share information, talk with our team members one-on-one, and learn more about the National OCS Program. We also encourage participants to submit written comments to inform BOEM of specific issues, impacting factors, environmental resources, alternatives to the proposed action, and mitigation measures to consider in its analyses. For those unable to attend one of the scheduled meetings, BOEM is offering a Virtual Meeting Room where participants can visit the same stations available at the open house meetings. There they are able to review and download the same handouts and posters offered at the meetings and provide comments. >click for times, dates, and locations<15:36

Helping Mr. Charles Anderson Sr.

Mr Charles was victimized by theft of his materials. With a retired fisherman’s income, it will be a daunting task for him to replace what has been lost. He has helped so many around here that it is time, IMO, to help him in his need. The nets he builds are the best around here and supplements his living expenses. He’s a living legend in our game and it burns me up to see him suffer because of a thief…Please join me in Helping him to regain his footing… A fundraiser by Joseph Daughtry >click here<21:35

Nearly every governor with ocean coastline opposes Trump administration drilling proposal

The Trump administration’s proposal to open vast portions of US coastline to oil drilling was met with ferocious opposition from a number of the coastal governors it would affect. At least one governor, Florida’s Rick Scott, a Republican, asked for and received a waiver from the administration. That move by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke drew accusations of favoritism, which have been denied. But the fact remains that nearly every governor with ocean coastline opposes drilling off their coast or, in one case, has concerns. >click here to read<11:12 

US cold snap was a freak of nature, quick analysis finds

Consider this cold comfort: A quick study of the brutal American cold snap found that the Arctic blast really wasn’t global warming but a freak of nature. Frigid weather like the two-week cold spell that began around Christmas is 15 times rarer than it was a century ago, according to a team of international scientists who does real-time analyses to see if extreme weather events are natural or more likely to happen because of climate change. >click here to read< 12:46

Trump administration backs off Florida drilling proposal

In the face of vocal bipartisan opposition, the Trump administration said Tuesday it would not allow offshore oil and gas drilling in Florida waters, partially rolling back a proposal it unveiled last week. “We are not drilling off the coast of Florida,” said Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke at a hastily called news conference in the Tallahassee airport after meeting with Gov. Rick Scott. click here to read the story 19:08 

Hearings set for changes to black sea bass fishing

Interstate fishing managers are holding hearings in East Coast states about a plan to change the rules about one of the Atlantic Ocean’s most popular recreational fisheries. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is considering changing the way it manages the recreational black sea bass fishery. The commission says the proposed changes could alter the way it allocates harvesting limits for the fish. The hearings began on Wednesday in Lewes, Delaware. click here to read the story 13:31

Coast Guard suspends search for fisherman 21 miles east of Myrtle Beach

The Coast Guard suspended their search Saturday at sunset for Howard “Dale” Smith missing 21 miles east of Myrtle Beach since late Friday evening. Coast Guard Sector Charleston Command Center watchstanders received a call at 9:29 p.m. Friday, from the crew of the Addis Sylvester, a 42-foot fishing vessel out of Little River, S.C., stating a crewmember had fallen overboard. Search crews completed 20 searches covering approximately 3,052 square miles. click here to read bulletin 23:47

FISHBILL-US: Fishermen, Lets unite like never before!

It becomes clearer by the day that our industry needs protection in the form of legislation for fishermen and supporting industries. While fishermen and those supporting industries are struggling to survive in various regions, many of them await federal assistance in already declared federal fishery failures, much of it beyond their control. Congress has mandated the NOAA is the agency that controls the “best available science”, while other data is not considered, by law. This must be addressed as we watch the industry retract based on the science many of us have no confidence in. They control our fate. click here to read the full post 20:22

Missing fisherman’s wife: ‘there’s not a person who didn’t love him’

Friday night, 42-year-old Howard “Dale” Smith, reportedly fell overboard on a fishing vessel about 21 miles East of Myrtle Beach, according to the Coast Guard. Today, his loved ones are looking for answers and looking for him. The Coast Guard is continuing their search in the water and air for the missing man. His wife, Cyndi Kramer Smith, describes Dale as someone who always has a smile on his face. photo’s click here to read the story 13:51

Coast Guard searching for fisherman that fell overboard 21 miles east of Myrtle Beach

The Coast Guard is searching Saturday for Howard “Dale” Smith, a 42-year-old fisherman who was reported falling overboard 21 miles east of Myrtle Beach. Coast Guard Sector Charleston Command Center watchstanders received a call at 9:29 p.m. Friday, from the crew of the Addis Sylvester, a 42-foot fishing vessel out of Little River, S.C., stating a crewmember had fallen overboard. -USCG- click here 11:20

Florida: Fishery agency floats commercial bullynet plan

Since Florida has created new rules on commercial harvest of spiny lobster by bullynetters, a federal marine fishery agency wants to hear thoughts on extending the gear regulations beyond state waters. Staff with the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will hold online webinars Monday and Tuesday to outline a draft proposal to federal rules that could resolve “inconsistencies between state of Florida spiny-lobster regulations and those in federal waters off the coast of Florida….”click here to read the story 09:41

Trump admin intends to roll back ban on offshore drilling

The Trump administration Thursday announced plans to roll back a ban on new offshore drilling off the coasts of Florida and California and is considering more than 40 sites for leasing of natural gas and oil production. The proposal is yet another blow to the Obama-era environmental agenda, and it has the potential to open up nearly all US federal waters that were previously protected. The proposal would increase drilling sites off the coasts of Alaska and in the Gulf of Mexico. It would reinstate leasing sites in Pacific and Atlantic waters. click here to read the story 16:53