Tag Archives: Florida

Commercial Fishing Captain Gregorio Rodriguez – Lived the American Dream

Captain Gregorio Rodriguez, a commercial fisherman in Key West of nearly 50 years, went home to the Lord peacefully in his home on Monday, March 1, 2021, in Key West, Florida at the age of 75. Gregory (Goyo to those who knew and loved him) was born in Mariel, Cuba in 1945 and came to the U.S. in 1961. In 1971 he started a life of fishing and never looked back. He loved his career and his boat F/V Trinity with all of his heart. He is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Maria Rodriguez, whose strength and care in his last days was remarkable. The love he had for his wife and the bond they shared was unheard of and the envy of many. >click to read< 17:36

Florida to Supreme Court: Ga’s excessive water use killing bay’s oysters

In the early 1980s, Steve Rash would drive across the bridges that ring Florida’s Apalachicola Bay and see fishing vessels so crammed together on the water that a person could walk from boat to boat. There were hundreds of oystermen using traditional wooden hand tongs to harvest the estuary’s culinary jewel. Business was good. As recently as 2008, one in every 10 residents of Franklin County held an oyster license. Together, they harvested roughly 10% of the country’s wild oysters. But all of that came crashing down in 2013, when the oyster population collapsed and never recovered. >click to read< 12:23

Sources: Body found in St. Johns River near Buckman Bridge is missing crabber

According to a spokesperson for the FWC, the lead agency in the search, FWC and Clay County personnel recovered the body and took it to the Mulberry Cove Boat Ramp at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. Authorities have not yet said if the body found in the river Thursday is 20-year-old Michael Vaughn III, of St. Augustine, who disappeared on the river last week. But a family friend told News4Jax it’s him. Vaughn had worked with his dad on a crab boat since he was 8 years old and took the lead role in the family business when his dad had to deal with medical issues. >click to read< 11:53

25 years after the Florida net ban – “When they take your gear from you and they tell you that you can’t fish,,,

Generational islander Rhonda Dooley has a burning desire that no one forget the Florida net ban. She says many people still don’t realize what it was really about, and how it continues to affect the island and the families who made their living on the water. “When they take your gear from you and they tell you that you can’t fish,,, She said commercial fishermen are food producers. “There were over 300 fishing families on the island back in the day,” she said, referring to life before the net ban. “Everyone had their hand in fishing — that was all they did and all they talked about.” >click to read< 13:04

Florida: One month into stone crab season, and there’s good news from the docks and markets

Fishermen are reporting a strong supply while markets and restaurants are saying customer demand is just as promising. “It’s been an outstanding season so far,” said Kelly Kirk, owner of Kirk Fish Company.  For customers, that means good news: Prices have held steady compared to last year. And large claws, usually more elusive, have been especially abundant, Kirk said.  The strong landings come despite new restrictions imposed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission aimed at protecting the stone crab population after years of declining harvests. Kirk said those declines aren’t being seen this season. “We’re seeing the opposite of that, actually,” Kirk said. “Had COVID not hit and the whole market turned upside down (last year), we probably would have broken records as far as production. >click to read< 10:34

Ronnie Max Andrews, 52, enjoyed a career as a commercial fisherman, has passed away

Ronnie was the son of Eyela Merrill Stouffer of Pensacola, Florida, and the late Ronald Clinton Andrews. Ronnie spent his adult life on the water as a commercial fisherman along the East Coast and spent much of that time in the Brunswick County area. He was a great fisherman and shrimper and will be missed by all who called him a friend. At the time of his death, Ronnie was a valued friend and crewman aboard the Capt. C.L. Holden out of Shallotte Point. >click to read< 17:44

President Trump to to prohibit offshore drilling along Florida, Georgia and S.C. coasts

The president signed a memorandum on Tuesday instructing the interior secretary to prohibit drilling in the waters off the South Carolina coast, Georgia coast and both Florida coasts. The ban would last for a period of 10 years, from July 1, 2022, to June 20, 2032. “South Carolina is blessed with the most beautiful and pristine beaches, sea islands, and marshes in the nation. Seismic testing and offshore drilling threatens their health and jeopardizes the future of our state’s $24 billion tourism industry. Today’s announcement is good news, but we must remain vigilant in the conservation and preservation of our coastline,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. The existing moratorium covers the Gulf of Mexico, and Trump said the new one would also cover the Atlantic coast.  >click to read< 08:30

Florida stone crabbers asking FWC to hold off on new rules

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission may enforce tougher rules on fishing to help increase the stone crab population, but fishermen say that could destroy their business. We talked to some of the members of the Florida Stone Crabbers Association who say a one-two punch of COVID-19 and these new rules will make a bad situation even worse. “I’m afraid that’s it’s going to cripple the livelihood of so many people out there,” said Carrie Doxsee. FWC says the state’s stone crab population is declining due to overfishing. Video, >click to read< 09:59

“I’m in fear of my livelihood,” “They really don’t listen to us.” Florida shortens stone crab season over industry objections

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said the shortened season and other new limits are necessary to sustain Florida stone crabs,,,    The agency’s scientists said many crabs don’t survive their claws being removed, and crabs have been overharvested since the late 1990s. Its data, challenged as inaccurate by the industry, showed the fewest pounds of stone crab claws harvested since 1986 during the season that ended last year.  Wholesale claw prices in some areas have tanked from low demand, as diners avoid restaurants and consumers reduce spending amid concerns about the economy. The commission said Gov. Ron DeSantis may reduce the amount of money crabbers must pay for next season’s trap certificates as part of a crab-industry bailout related to the virus. >click to read or listen< 15:14

Video: Coast Guard set out to rescues 3 people, dog from a capsized fishing vessel offshore Apalachicola, Florida

The Coast Guard rescued three people and a dog from a capsized fishing vessel offshore Apalachicola, Florida, Thursday. All passengers aboard, including the dog, were rescued and no injuries were reported. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Mobile received a report at approximately 11 a.m. that the 64-foot fishing vessel Pete’s Dream was taking on water about 70 nautical miles offshore Apalachicola, Florida, with three people and a dog aboard. In the process of launching rescue assets, Sector Mobile received an additional report that all three people and the dog abandoned ship and boarded a life raft. One of the passengers was able to use a satellite phone to communicate to shore. Video, >click to read< 21:17

Florida warns of Apalachicola River’s ‘doom’ if Georgia isn’t forced to release more water, Looks to US Supreme Court

Warning that a special master’s recommendation would “spell doom” for the Apalachicola River, Florida wants the U.S. Supreme Court to require Georgia to share more water in a river system that links the two states. “The harm to the Bay’s oyster fisheries is undeniable. Apalachicola is renowned across America for its oysters, which account for 90% of Florida’s oyster harvest and 10% of the nation’s,” “What’s more, oysters, and oystering, have created a distinct way of life in Apalachicola passed down from generation-to-generation; whole communities depend on the fisheries for their economic livelihood. The oyster is to Apalachicola what the lobster is to many New England towns.” >click to read< 10:23

Water War: Florida and Georgia battle over water, as panhandle oystermen struggle to survive

Michael Dasher lowered a long pair of tongs into the water,,, His 53-year-old calloused hands grasped not just the 12-foot-long (3.7-m-long) tool but a way of life that Florida panhandle oystermen say is dying: Last year, they hauled in 16,000 pounds (7,257 kg) of oysters worth $130,000, according to state figures, a fraction of the 2012 catch of 3 million pounds (1.4 million kg) worth $8.8 million. “It’s like dumping sacks of rocks every day, but I don’t know how to do anything else,” said Dasher, who fretted that his 32-year-old son nicknamed “Little Mike,” a fifth-generation oysterman in the family, may also be its last. Their future may be determined by the U.S. Supreme Court, >click to read< 13:08

A Fundraiser by Joseph Daughtry for a Florida Statewide Commercial Fishermen’s Reunion

We are raising funds to pay for the pavillion rental, tent, table and chairs, Permits and insurance, Food and beverage, and everything else that will arise to make our reunion on January 11th, 2020 at Sandsprit Park in Port Salerno the best experience we can make of it. We are not doing this to make money, so if any funds are left over, they will be turned into a Fishermen Emergency fund of a sort to be determined by everyone. Please donate if you can.. It has been too long since the fishermen of Florida past and present got together. Please contact me, Joseph Daughtry, [email protected] if you are interested in attending. Thanks. We hope to make this a lifelong memory for everyone…Joe Daughtry  >click to read< Party On!

Shrimp – Record Lows in Louisiana and Florida-and a Near Record High in Texas-Close Out 2018

The Fishery Monitoring Branch of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries’ Southeast Fisheries Science Center released shrimp landings data from the Gulf of Mexico for December 2018 and January 2019. For December, NOAA reported that 6.5 million pounds of shrimp were landed in the Gulf of Mexico, down from 6.9 million pounds last year, and 24.4 percent below the prior eighteen-year historical average of 8.6 million pounds. The decline in landings for the month was due to low shrimp landings in Louisiana and on the west coast of Florida. >click to read<21:04

Lawmakers urge more FDA inspections of imported seafood, win approval

An effort to increase the amount of imported seafood the U.S. inspects for health issues has crossed a hurdle in the Senate. Louisiana’s two Republican senators, John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy, won approval of a measure that would add $3.1 million the FDA’s budget for such testing. Shrimpers in Terrebonne and Lafourche, joined by their peers in other states, have pushed for the measure,, The group represents shrimp fishermen and processors in Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. Video >click to read<17:48

The Business of Lobster

With one of the fastest growing economies, and an exploding middle class that extends onto the mainland, the Chinese have developed a taste for the better things in life – and Florida lobster is surely one of them. For the lobster, this was the culmination of a 9,000 mile journey – a journey that in recent years has transformed the commercial fishing industry in Florida. Before the Chinese started buying their lobsters, the fishermen of the Florida Keys were getting just $3 a pound for their catch. Boat captains from Key West to Miami were struggling to survive. >click to read< 12:24

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

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 

‘Tis the Season, Mullet Season that is!

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and with its passing marks the beginning of the most anticipated season of the year, Mullet Season. The fall run of the spawning roe-filled lowly little mullet is what put the small village of Cortez on the map as the largest mullet fishery in Florida.,,, That annual bonanza at the end of the year has become increasingly difficult in the past 20 some years since Article X Section 16, or the “Net Ban” was passed in a Constitutional Amendment that banned the use of entanglement nets in the inshore and near shore waters of Florida. click here to read the story 08:36

MPA’s – Conch herds face death by old age as young molluscs disappear

The queen of the sea, a monster mollusk that inspired its own republic in the American state of Florida, is in trouble. A marine preserve in the Bahamas, famed for its abundance of queen conches, is missing something too: young conches. Researchers studying the no-take park (where no collection of marine animals is allowed) off Exuma in the Bahamas, one of hundreds throughout the Caribbean, found that over the last two decades, the number of young has sharply declined as adult conches steadily matured and died off. The discovery also raises questions about the effectiveness of marine preserves, long viewed as a solution to reviving overfished stocks. If one of the Caribbean’s oldest and best marine preserves isn’t working to replenish one of its biggest exports – now regulated as tightly as lobster – what does that mean for other preserves and how they’re managed? click here to read the story 11:33

Florida, Georgia, South Carolina Reeling After Irma’s Historic Assault; Navy Dispatches Ships, Aircraft Carrier to the Keys

An aircraft carrier has been dispatched to the Florida Keys to help with relief efforts as Irma after its historic assault on Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, killing at least nine people. Five deaths have been attributed to the storm in Florida, including two deaths in Hardee County, one death Orange County, one in St. Johns County and one in Winter Park. Deaths were also reported in Georgia’s Worth and Forsyth counties and the Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs. click here to read the story 09:59

Canadian power crews head to Irma-hit Florida to help restore service – Dozens of Canadian power crews are heading to Florida to help restore power to millions of people affected by Hurricane Irma. click here to read the story

No NOAA Confidence! 5 Gulf States Propose Gulf State Red Snapper Management Authority

ast week, marine fishery directors from all five states bordering the Gulf of Mexico — the first time all of the states have collaborated — sent out a proposal to Congress to develop an independent body, Gulf State Red Snapper Management Authority. The group would approve each state’s management plan, coordinate population assessments, provide consistent accountability measures and distribute federal funding for research, assessment and management. Read the rest here 18:50

Loophole allows illegal fishing harvests

A rowboat, kayak or inflatable raft should not classify as a licensed commercial fishing boat, say state fishery regulators. Current state laws on qualifying for certain commercial fishing licenses include a “loophole” that needs to be closed, according to a commercial fishing group and staff with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “Right now it’s far too easy to get a [restricted-species endorsement] falsely,” said Bill Kelly, executive director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association.  Read the rest here 17:19

UNCW professor studies declining flounder population in the New River Estuary of North Carolina

Since 2005, professor of marine biology Fred Scharf along with his team of UNCW undergraduates and graduate students, have been studying the migration patterns and genetics of flounder in the New River Estuary of North Carolina. Read the rest here 12:07

Rome Packing Co., Inc., of East Providence Recalls Crab Meat

 A company is recalling crab meat they sold to several states after finding it was contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. The Rhode Island Department of Health said on Friday that Rome Packing Co., Inc., of East Providence, issued the voluntary recall of several kinds of fresh and frozen crab meat sold under the Ocean’s Catch brand. The meat was distributed in Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and California to retail stores including but not limited to: Shaw’s Supermarkets, Legal Sea Foods, and Harbor Fish Market. Read the rest here 20:06

The End of the U.S. Shrimping Industry – Execution by Electrocution? Public comments end 3/31/14

In 2010, WildEarth Guardians petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to list the lesser electric ray (also commonly called the Caribbean electric ray) under the ESA, but that petition was denied in a 90-day finding in March 2011. If the lesser electric ray is listed under the ESA, it could mean the end of shrimp fishing as we know it throughout the ray’s range, which includes all the Gulf states, as well as states along the east coast from Florida to North Carolina. Read more here thegoodcatchblog  23:17

Georgia asks the U.S. Supreme Court to stay out of the latest legal battle in its 24-year fight over water rights with neighboring Florida.

Georgia filed its response last week to Florida’s request for the high court to intervene in deciding how they share water that flows across the state line where the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers merge to form the Apalachicola River. Florida officials said in an October complaint their state needs immediate relief as growing water consumption by metro Atlanta threatens Florida’s oyster fishery. “Florida has brought its case against the wrong party, in the wrong court, and at the wrong time,” the Georgia lawyers wrote in their legal response. Read [email protected]  16:45

APALACHICOLA, Fla: A Fight Over Water, and to Save a Way of Life

NYT – “This bay would be filled with boats,” said Mr. Shiver, 36, whose father and grandfather plunged nets, set traps and dipped tongs into the water along this stretch of the Florida Panhandle. “There used to be oysters everywhere in here, and now there is none.” In a budding ecological crisis, the oyster population has drastically declined in Apalachicola Bay, one of the country’s major estuaries and the cradle of Florida’s prized oyster industry. continued

Congressional delegation battles to save Apalachicola Bay

News Service of Florida – This week, the U.S. Senate was the scene of the latest skirmish in a tri-state water dispute between Florida, Georgia and Alabama dating back to 1990. The Senate voted 83-14 to pass the 2013 Water Resources Development Act, after deleting a provision backed by Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio that would have required Georgia to use less water from federal reservoirs for metro Atlanta’s drinking supply and release more to the other two states. Now the fight shifts to the U.S. House, as the seafood industry in Franklin County struggles to regroup after years of drought. continued