Tag Archives: Florida

Boaters clobber rare Right whale and calf, but they avoid legal consequences

There’s nothing like a good shipwreck story. The crash happened near dusk on Feb. 12, 2021. A captain and seven passengers were aboard the 54-footer. They were returning from a day of competing at the Northeast Florida Wahoo Shootout. The boat was doing about 21 knots, 24 mph if you’re a landlubber, as it headed for the Conch House Marina in St. Augustine. Nearing their destination, in the St. Augustine Inlet, the boat smacked into something — hard. The boat stopped dead in the water. So did whatever it had hit. Suddenly the “About Time” didn’t have much time. Both its twin engines shut down and the damaged boat began sinking fast. When a pair of Florida wildlife officers showed up, the owner of the boat, Dayne Williams of New Smyrna Beach, blurted out, “I think we hit a whale. I saw fins and blood.” Biologists immediately identified it as an endangered North American right whale. >click to read< 12:34

Commercial fishing vessel aground on Ponte Vedra Beach

It’s not a great day for this commercial fishing vessel…This story will be updated! >click to read< 15:06

F/V Miss Key West bringing shrimp industry back to Key West harbor

It was once a significant part of Key West’s economy, but due to numerous economic forces, the last of the shrimping vessels in the harbor left around 30 years ago, according to Dan Smith. But as of a few weeks ago, Smith and James Phelps have brought the first commercial shrimp vessel back to the Key West Harbor since that time. It now sits in the same place where the Schooner Western Union, the flagship of Florida, once was next to Schooner Wharf bar. On Monday, the two owners stood on the docks next to the Miss Key West, along with their captain, Mark Thomson, and some relatives. Phelps and Smith came up with the idea to bring a shrimp vessel back to Key West, both their families were historically part of the fishing and shrimping industry in Key West. Photos, >click to read< 07:50

Research vessel Lady Lisa may be nearing its end

Beach visitors were captivated by what appeared to be a shrimp trawler meandering close to shore along St. Augustine Beach last week. But this was no ordinary shrimp trawler, nor was it actually “shrimping.” The vessel in question was the Lady Lisa, a 75-foot former shrimp trawler, and now a research vessel, which has appeared for more than three decades in local waters – usually twice a year. Although it appears that it was in violation of off-shore limits, the regulations do not apply to the Lady Lisa, which was built in St. Augustine in 1980 by St. Augustine Trawlers Inc. But it was not the shrimp business that its owners had in mind. >click to read< 21:04

One fish, two fish: The local commercial fishing industry faces daunting challenges despite high demand

It’s just after noon on an unseasonably warm Friday in early spring. Naples has had a string of cold days and now this hot one, but no one standing in line in front of Mike’s Bait House in East Naples seems to mind. The line extends from the street, where cars are parked nose-to-bumper. It snakes through the parking lot and winds beside a black extended-cab Chevy. In the back of the truck, two young men from Dilly’s Fish Co, owned by Tim “Dilly” Dillingham, lean over Grizzly coolers. “What’s the difference between a lane snapper and a red snapper?” a man in line calls out. “A red snapper’s going to be a little more firm,” one of the young men in the back of the truck answers. That’s Dominick Biagetti, Dillingham’s right-hand man. Biagetti serves as boat captain and crew, and he helps with offloading and delivery. He has a seascape tattooed on his leg, an underwater reef scene with a turtle and a moray eel. >click to read< 12:10

Sea Hunt! Sub proposed for war on lionfish

Two marine enthusiasts are taking lionfish hunting to a whole new level, and depth as they are working on outfitting a submarine to wage war on one of Florida’s most-wanted invasive species. Scott Gonnello and Scott Cassell have begun plans to outfit a one-person Kittredge K-250 submarine into an underwater lionfish hunting machine and plan to bring the sub to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo for World Oceans Day on Wednesday, June 8. The sub was first welded together in the 1970s but was rotting away in a backyard in Cassell’s home state of California until he obtained it 1991. Cassell has since logged more than 15,000 hours under sea in it, he said. >click to read< 10:33

Fishing Boat Captain Pays $22,300 To Settle Federal Fisheries Case With NOAA

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced a settlement agreement with a commercial fishing captain. Darrell York of the commercial fishing vessel, F/V Watch Out, agreed to pay $22,300 restitution for resource-related crimes dating back to 2015. During a stop in January 2021, officers discovered 13 red snapper and one gag grouper in the hidden compartment.  >click to read<  13:20

Commercial fishermen concerned recreational fishing is leading to overfishing

“There are plenty of fish out here to be caught,” said Captain Matt Sexton for the Small Shellfishing vessel. “Everyone should have equal chance to catch fish out here, but there are a lot of rules and regulations that are going on that are not fair to the commercial fishermen.” Those same concerns were repeated by boat captains readying their boats for their next trip. Fishing captain Casey Streeter also owns Island Seafood Market in Matlacha. He says a big part of the problem isn’t coming from commercial or charter fishing, but rather recreational fishing; and a lack of knowledge about how much fish is actually being removed from the ecosystem. Video, >click to read< 08:42

Fernandina’s Shrimping Industry: Storied Past, Uncertain Future – A Look Back

Here we are in the birthplace of American shrimping industry. We greet visitors with a waterfront Shrimping Museum. Pink and blue larger-than-life statues of shrimp adorn our parks and street corners. Our major civic celebration is the annual Shrimp Fest, complete with a parade and people dressed like crustaceans. But is it all just nostalgia? Is our historic shrimping industry just a museum piece, or is it a vibrant business that will survive and thrive? At Dave Cook’s dock at the south end of Front Street, Roy Mc Henry, who was working on his 39-foot shrimper, Queen B, while his aging Golden Retriever, Sweetie, lounged in the cockpit. Capt. McKendree was not optimistic about the state of the local shrimp industry. >click to read< 09:22

3 people rescued from shrimp boat fire off Ft. Myers Beach

The Coast Guard rescued three people, Thursday, after a 63-foot shrimping boat caught fire in San Carlos Bay near Ft. Myers Beach. A Coast Guard Station Ft. Myers Beach 29-foot Response Boat-small boat crew arrived on scene, transferred the survivors without injuries, and established a safety zone around the vessel. >click to read< 16:27

Boat captain charged with fishing violations

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Offshore Patrol Vessel Program officers stopped the 48-foot commercial vessel, named Legacy, in the Pompano Endorsement Zone in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico. They found the captain, Ronald Birren, had a monofilament entanglement net, known as a gill net, which has been illegal in Florida waters since 1995. Birren, of Hernando Beach, was cited for 2,611 pompano over the limit, possession of 76 undersized pompano, and having the gill net. >click to read< 08:22

Commercial fishing vessel caught with $30,000 of illegal shrimp in Tampa Bay

Officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission boarded the ship on March 3 as part of a resource inspection, according to a press release. More than 11,000 pounds of shrimp, along with several pounds of cobia fillets were discovered in the vessel’s freezer, FWC said. The F/V Dona Lupa was operating illegally just south of MacDill Air Force Base, officials say. >click to read< 22:14

Keys commercial fisherman takes off rather than face inspection

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers Daniel Jones and Alex Piekenbrock were conducting vessel inspections at the Vaca Key Marina in Marathon last Thursday. They were waiting at the dock when Roberto Cabrera was pulling in on his commercial lobster boat. Capt. David Dipre, head of the FWC in the Keys, said when Cabrera, 37, saw the officers, he began pulling away from the dock. Dipre said Jones and Piekenbrick told Carbrera several times to stop the boat. He responded to them that he was turning his vessel so he could pull into his slip bow first. “Once the vessel cleared the slip, Cabrera slammed the throttle down and left the marina on plane,” >click to read< 10:37

The charm of a quiet fishing village in Aripeka, Florida

Mullet fishing has been a part of the region as far back as the Calusa Indians settlements. Iconic stilt houses were built as fish camps to store the catch. Boats were emptied quickly to ensure a prompt return to fishing. The stilt houses stand today as reminders of the once thriving Mullet fishing industry. The gulf coast of Florida has been responsible for close to 88.2% of the nation’s mullet harvest since at least the 1960s. Some of the harvests was from the shores of Port Richey as commercial mullet fishing was a very popular industry locally. Video, photos, >click to read< 08:29

Yucatecan fisherman survives four days at sea clinging to a cooler

A cooler saved the life of Erick AEH, a fisherman from Celestún , who was shipwrecked on Monday, January 31, when the boat sank while returning from fishing. After two days of drifting in that fiberglass structure, a merchant ship en route to Florida rescued him on Wednesday. The fisherman was found about 50 or 60 miles from the coast, the currents and swells moved him away from the site of the shipwreck that occurred about 24 miles off the coast of Celestún. >click to read< 09:25

South Atlantic: NMFS accepting input on “ropeless” black sea bass pots

The National Marine Fisheries Service is accepting comments on an application for an exempted fishing permit from Sustainable Seas Technology Inc. The applicant proposes deploying modified black sea bass pots with acoustic subsea buoy retrieval systems in federal waters off North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and northeastern Florida. Adaptation of “ropeless” systems for this style of pot fishing could reduce risk to these whales and other marine animals that suffer entanglements, according to the applicant. >click to read< 09:56 fixed gear

Couple Arrested for Stealing $2.5M from Keys Commercial Fishermen

A Miami couple was arrested in Miami-Dade County Friday on warrants related to the theft of an estimated $2.5 million from a Stock Island fish house and multiple commercial fishermen. Marianela Armenteros, 40, was charged with multiple counts of grand theft over $100,000. Yamir Gonzalez-Betancourt, 49, was charged with one count of grand theft over $100,000. Both suspects worked for a fish house on the 6000 block of Peninsular Avenue owned by the Valero-Duran Corporation. Armenteros worked as a general manager, while Betancourt was the assistant general manager. >click to read< Photos at this artice, >click to read< 15:18

Vessels collide near Sunshine Skyway Bridge

A fishing boat and a barge collided Tuesday near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, the Coast Guard reported. In a tweet, the Coast Guard said a patrol vessel from the St. Petersburg station responded to the collision. Both vessels had minor damage. No injuries were reported. The fishing boat was towed to the Tampa shrimping docks for repair. Photos, >click to read< We will update when we get more info! 14:25

Seventy smokin’ years: Ted Peters’ unlikely fish tale

Pasadena Avenue was just two narrow, unpaved lanes when Ted Peters bought a single acre of mangroves and sand in 1950. There was no retail in the scrubby, salty wilderness, no professional buildings, no apartments, no condo towers. You could cast a line right into the water across the road. Peters had to build a seawall, and backfill the rear of his property, to keep Boca Ciega Bay out. Ted Peters Famous Smoked Fish is still there, on the same land and in the same brown open-air wooden building Ted built with his half-brother and business partner Elry Lathrop, for their hard-earned and saved-up $15,000. Mike Lathrop, Elry’s son, now operates Ted Peters along with Jay Cook, Ted’s grandson. During the busy season, they go through around 2,000 pounds of fish per week. >click to read< 15:29

Stormy weather triggers 1st mullet run in ‘nick of time’ for a Christmas payday

It was the first substantial mullet run of the 2021-22 season and, by late morning, dozens of boats and anxious fishers were on the Intracoastal Waterway pursuing mullet near the Cortez Bridge. Along the way, fishers race and jostle to net them and unload their catch at the Cortez fish houses, which pay higher prices for egg-bearing females. Around 11 a.m. Dec. 21, Brett Dowdy, Shawn Childers and Ryan Sloan, mullet fishers with about 39 years of combined experience, unloaded their first haul of the day at John Banyas’ fish processing plant, Cortez Bait and Seafood. Photos! >click to read< 07:40

Mullet fishermen: A journey from Carteret County to Florida

The salt mullet trade to Cuba began to fade at the end of the 19th century, however. In the 1880s and 1890s, the first railroads reached Tampa. The railroads then began to inch further into southwest Florida, opening up the fresh fish trade to other parts of the United States for the first time. Like so many in Carteret County, Miss Lela’s husband wasn’t going to miss out on the opportunity. “So in July of 1911 we come on the sharpie to Morehead (City), me and him and our first two children, and then we got on the train to New Bern and stayed the night,” Miss Lela told Ben Green. They took the train to Tampa, boarded a steamer down the coast to Bradenton and then took a taxi to Cortez. “Once we got settled I liked it,” Miss Lela remembered. “But that first year I was still so homesick for North Carolina that I cried all Christmas Day.” photos, >click to read< 13:15

Keys Stone Crab: High Demand and Low Supply Equals Big Money

As one commercial fisherman colorfully put it, “I could catch more crabs on Duval Street right now than in the Florida Bay.” Understandably, Bill Kelly, the executive director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fisherman’s Association, expressed himself in a more understated way.  “It’s not overwhelming, I can tell you that,” he told Keys Weekly about the 2021 stone crab harvest’s first weekend. Gary Graves, vice president at Marathon’s Keys Fisheries Market & Marina, which buys stone crabs from the commercial fisherman then sells them to the public, is a little more blunt. >click to read< 10:03

Photo’s, Florida Stone Crab season begins for local crabbers

Stone crab season began in Florida on Friday prompting area crabbers to the Gulf of Mexico with traps loaded with fish heads and pigs blood. The goal: haul in thousands of pounds of the highly sought after crustacean claws, known for their delicate and succulent taste. Justin Ivers, left, of New Port Richey, and Josh Brokus, of New Port Richey, collect a basket of stone crab claws on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, while offloading them from a stone crab boat at Lockhart’s Seafood Fish and Stone Crab Market at 589 Island Dr. in Tarpon Springs. Photos, >click to read< 10:55

Tastes better

Every day it seems to become just a little more obvious that the future of the commercial salmon business is on land no matter what Alaskans might think about where the tastiest fish are to be found. This week the news is from northern Spain where a company named Norcantabric,,,On its website, the company boasts that its farm will produce salmon that are “fresh, reduces transport time up to 5 days; 100 percent natural, without antibiotics, free of toxins, heavy metals and other artificial materials, without hormones, without sea lice and free of parasites. There are long term implications here for an Alaska commercial fishing industry once the economic mainstay of the territory, and for decades after Statehood, the 49th state’s largest employer. >click to read< 16:50

Roberto Gonzalez of Key West, Florida has passed away. He found and lived the American dream

Born to his parents, Maria Paula Oliva and Pedro Gonzalez on the 31st day of March, 1933, in Quiebra Hacha, Cuba. At the tender age of 2, he lost his beloved mother, and, shortly after his father followed, leaving him an orphan at the age of 6. At the age of 23, Roberto met his love Benedicta Herrera. Building their home together in Key West, where he worked as Commercial Fisherman for Stock Island Lobster along side of Peter Bacle.  After hard work and sacrifice, in 1979, Roberto purchased his pride and joy, a 43ft. Torres, The Thunderbird, which is still up and running, and one of the most well known boats among the industry. >click to read< 10:39

Benedicta Herrera de Gonzalez – She met the love of her life, and later married her best friend, Roberto Gonzalez in 1956. She met the love of her life, and later married her best friend, Roberto Gonzalez in 1956. Together they voyaged into freedom, Although, she and Roberto separated they remained family, involved in their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren’s everyday lives, celebrating all their events together. They were a forever family. >click to read< 11:47

SAFMC votes to allow rock shrimp harvest adjacent to Oculina coral reefs

Commercial rock shrimpers are one step closer to being allowed to fish on the Oculina coral reef bank that’s been protected from their bottom-raking trawler nets since 2014. The SAFMC Friday morning voted 12-1 to reopen 22 square miles of ocean bottom off Florida’s central Atlantic coast, ending a process that began seven years ago. The decision needs more approvals to be final. Dismayed environmentalists said the measure will allow the destruction of Oculina coral, also known as ivory tree coral, a deep water, slow growing live coral that provides essential habitat to many fish and marine organisms, including the targeted shrimp. >click to read< 12:09

Coast Guard, partner agency rescue 2 from boat fire east of Skyway Bridge

Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg watchstanders received a mayday call via VHF Channel 16 from the vessel owner stating his vessel’s engines were in flames, and they had utilized all the fire extinguishers available, and needed immediate assistance. The Sector watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast notifying vessels in the area of the situation and diverted a Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg 45-foot Response Boat—Medium and a 29-foot Response Boat-Small II crews and a Hillsborough County Fire Rescue marine unit to the scene. video, photos, >click to read< 15:48

Captain William “Barnacle Bill” Louwsma of Everglades City, a commercial fisherman, has passed away

William “Barnacle Bill” Louwsma, 65 of Everglades City, FL died Friday, July 16, 202. He was a commercial fisherman for stone crab in the Gulf of Mexico and crawfish in Marathon. He was captain of the F/V Whatever and took great pride in working hard to provide for his family. He was a sports enthusiast who loved the Florida Marlins, the Miami Dolphins, and the Miami Hurricanes. He also followed the Detroit Lions when the Miami Dolphins were not depressing enough. He loved to tell stories, some of which might have been true. He hated prosecutors and cottage cheese. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Florida Stone Crabbers Association >click to read< 14:14

Spiny lobster season kicks off amid an unexplained population drop

The Caribbean spiny lobster commercial fishery in Florida average more than 5 million pounds per year,,, Valued at more than $40 million, the spiny lobster fishery is the second most lucrative commercial fishery in the state, behind shrimp.,, Since the 1990s, the population of the Caribbean spiny lobster has decreased 20%, which matters, not only to fisheries and spiny lobsters, but also to the entire food chain of Florida’s waters. “They’re a main food item for every other organism in the Florida Keys. Everything wants to eat little lobsters from snapper, grouper, even some herons. Matthews said while the American lobster is a “mean, nasty animal” not afraid to “fight to the death,” the Caribbean spiny lobsters are just the opposite. “They love to be in groups. They defend each other, and they are very social animals. >click to read< 12:04

Red Tide Crisis: ‘It’s a ghost town out there’ – Fishermen and Protestors ask DeSantis for Emergency declaration

“It’s a total ghost town out there, I mean, I’ve talked to fishermen that are fishing for mullet and other fish, they can’t hardly find nothing,” said Steven Morrow, a commercial fisherman based in Tampa. Hundreds gathered near the St. Petersburg Pier on Saturday for a “rally for red tide.” The group was standing in solidarity with city councilors, who earlier in the week, passed a resolution asking Governor Ron DeSantis to declare a state of emergency due to red tide. Commercial anglers say they want to step in to help clean up the dead fish, while their regular jobs aren’t there, video, >click to read< Protesters call for help dealing with Tampa Bay fish-killing red tide – More than 100 people took part in the event along the St. Petersburg waterfront carrying signs and shouting, “Save our bay, make polluters pay.” >click to read< -12:24