Category Archives: South Atlantic

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hurricane Irma Makes Landfall on Marco Island

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

Hurricane Irma activates Jacksonville’s riverfront

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

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

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

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

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

US Waives Jones Act to Secure Fuel for Hurricane Responders

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

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

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

Friends Awaiting Word from Missing Lobster Fishermen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump official’s flounder ruling clouds Atlantic coast fish conservation

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

Leaving death and destruction, Hurricane Irma’s storm path: What you should know

Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Caribbean on Wednesday with record winds and powerful waves. The Category 5 storm – the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded north of the Caribbean and east of the Gulf of Mexico – passed over the island of Barbuda overnight. The National Hurricane Center has warned of a growing possibility the hurricane could slam Florida later this week – as Texas and Louisiana are still dealing with the devastating aftermath caused by Hurricane Harvey.  Here’s what you should know about Hurricane Irma and its trajectory.  click here to read the story Hurricane Irma has killed at least 10 people and injured 23 in French Caribbean island territories as the dangerous Category 5 storm roared over the Caribbean, France’s interior minister said Thursday. click here to read the story 07:23

National Hurricane Center – Hurricane Irma Public Advisory 0:500 click here 

Hurricane Irma Passed Over Barbuda as a Potentially Catastrophic Category 5 Hurricane; Dangerous Threat for Florida, Southeast

Hurricane Irma, a dangerous Category 5 hurricane, blasted the island of Barbuda, an island of 1600 residents, with gusts of at least 155 mph. Irma is now heading toward St. Martin, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispañola, the Bahamas and Cuba before posing a serious threat to Florida and parts of the Southeast beginning this weekend. Irma became the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic basin, outside of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, on record on Tuesday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center. click here to read the story 07:37

National Hurricane Center – Hurricane Irma Public Advisory – Discussion and 48-hour outlook  click here

South Atlantic Red snapper season vote upcoming

The long push to reopen red snapper fishing off the Southeastern coast comes to a head Monday when the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will vote on one of five alternatives. Folks involved in recreational and charter fishing have advocated that the snapper stock is strong. Savannah charter fisherman Zack Bowen said at the fisheries council meeting on Jekyll Island in March, “The recreational anglers are mad as hell” about the fishery closure and charter operations are losing business because of unavailable snapper. Also, the regional fisheries administrator said at the March meeting that he thinks the population is in its best condition in 40 years. The preferred alternative is No. 4, which sets the commercial limit at 124,815 pounds and recreational limit at 29,656 fish. click here to read the story 09:49

UPDATED 23:00 – Hurricane Irma now a powerful and dangerous Category 5 storm

Hurricane Irma is now a very powerful and dangerous Category 5 storm. According to the National Hurricane Center, Irma has winds of 175 mph and is expected to affect the northwestern Leeward Islands as an extremely dangerous hurricane accompanied by life-threatening wind, storm surge, and rainfall. The latest data shows the storm moving west but that would keep Jacksonville and the First Coast in the front right quadrant or the worst side of the storm. All of Florida is in the cone of concern. click here to read the story 09:06

UPDATED 23:00 National Hurricane Center – 1100 PM AST Tue Sep 05 2017 Hurricane Irma Public Advisory click here

Hurricane Irma holding steady as Category 3 storm in Atlantic

Hurricane Irma was holding steady Friday morning (Sept. 1) as a Category 3 storm in the Atlantic, forecasters with the National Hurricane Center said. It’s unclear what impacts Irma might pose to land. Models are notoriously unreliable more than five days away, and Irma is not expected to near the Leeward Islands until sometime next week. The Leeward Islands are part of the eastern border of the Caribbean Sea. As of Friday morning, the storm was about 840 miles northwest of the Cabo Verde Islands and about 1,665 miles east of the Leeward Islands. It’s moving northwest at 12 mph. It’s expected to turn west again Friday night, followed by a turn to the west-southwest on Saturday. click here to read the advisory 08:29

Lobster Being Stolen in Large Numbers From Commercial Traps

Some South Florida lobster fishermen say they’re suffering what they call an “organized and orchestrated effort” to steal their valuable lobsters. “It’s an epidemic,” said Mike Henry, who owns Bleaufish and catches lobsters exclusively for Fountainbleau Miami Beach. He says he’s seen substantial losses since the beginning of lobster season in early August. “These are not recreational divers taking our lobsters, but commercial divers systematically taking the lobster traps,” he said. video, click here to read the story 09:03

Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program – 2017 Awards

NOAA Fisheries has awarded more than $2.3 million to partners around the country to support innovative bycatch reduction research projects through its . Bycatch of various species–fish, marine mammals, or turtles–can have significant biological, economic, and social impacts. Preventing and reducing bycatch is a shared goal of fisheries managers, the fishing industry, and the environmental community. click here to read the notice 14:10

New Group Is Dedicated to Liberating Lobsters

The lobster heroes are here: Crustacean Liberation is a new advocacy group dedicated to saving one of the most overlooked and abused groups of animals: lobsters, crabs, shrimp, and other crustaceans. The organization, started by Robbie Ruderman of Miami, Florida, is just getting off the ground with lobster liberations. Its goals are to “set captured crustaceans free and to raise awareness about the obscenely cruel and barbaric treatment of these innocent, feeling beings,” says Ruderman. The group buys lobsters and then works as a team to release them into the wild.,,,“If you’ve ever seen a lobster or crab lowered into a pot of boiling water,,, I have! I’ve enjoyed the end results! click here to read this,,, story 12:37

Fish pie – Everyone wants a piece

Representatives of the haves and have-nots of American ocean fisheries gathered in a packed college classroom here on Wednesday to offer Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, their ideas on what he could do with the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act. The now 40-year-old federal fisheries legislation is the legacy of the late and revered Alaska Sen.Ted Stevens.,,, And there is no doubt the MSA has problems when it comes to dealing with recreational fishing. Anglers, charter-boat operators, commercial fishermen and environmental groups are at the moment all in a Gulf of Mexico scrum fighting over red snapper. It is in many ways a tussle that almost makes the long-running fish war in Cook Inlet look tame. click here to read the story 08:25

Magnuson Reauthorization, let’s get it right this time – Nils E. Stolpe/FishNet USA

When the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) became law 0n April 13, 1976, one of its primary selling points, along with reserving the fish and shellfish in our coastal waters out to two hundred miles for U.S. fishermen, was that the eight regional Fishery Management Councils that it established had as voting members both government employees who were involved in fisheries management and private citizens who were knowledgeable about fisheries. Ideally this made for balanced decision making, allowing for both the official view of what’s going on in particular fisheries and the on-the-water observations of people with an actual working knowledge of the fisheries, and with the Secretary of Commerce required to sign off on any fishery management actions. (It’s important to note that this was well before supposed environmental crises were supporting a multi-billion dollar industry.) click here to read this article. 12:21

Congress Picks Sides on Trump Plan to Expand Offshore Drilling

President Donald Trump’s plan to expand offshore oil drilling spurred dueling letters from members of Congress last week, 118 of whom say the plan is critical for U.S. energy security, while 69 others doubt it — plus nearly 18,000 letters of public comment, most of them opposing expanded drilling. Only 6 percent of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf is available for leasing to oil and gas drillers from 2017 to 2022, under a drilling plan completed in the final days of President Barack Obama’s presidency. The shelf is 1.7 billion acres of submerged federal land from 3 nautical miles off the coastline, state-regulated waters, to 200 nautical miles out. click here to read the story 11:06

Trap-tag counts lodged against Lower Keys fisherman

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

Fish Stocks And Our Balance Of Payments

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

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

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

Our View: Federal fishery decision undermines management

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