Tag Archives: Florida Keys

Stock Island Fishermen bank on stone crab to salvage season

Commercial trap fishermen are banking on a healthy stone crab season to help cover losses from a shaky start to spiny lobster season that was more than disrupted by Hurricane Irma. Fishermen will start pulling their traps for stone crab season and harvesting crab claws on Sunday. The season runs through May 15.  Thousands of spiny lobster traps were either destroyed, damaged or moved several miles when Hurricane Irma ravaged the Florida Keys on Sept. 10, a little more than a month after the lobster season started.  On Tuesday, commercial fishermen Justin Martin and Patrick Brennan loaded stone crab traps onto a boat at the docks off Front Street on Stock Island. click here to read the story 08:01

After Irma: Storms leave lobsters, stone crab seasons underwater

The Florida Keys have re-opened, but Capt. Billy Niles and his fellow lobster fishermen have to find their traps before they are really back in business. “We’re locating them, but it takes a while,” said Niles, a veteran of the Keys lobster trade for the past seven decades. “Some storms lose more than others.” Irma lost plenty of them. Or better said, the Keys lost plenty in Irma. In the lobster sector, said to be the Keys second most-important industry, the damage is underwater. click here to read the story 09:12

Florida Keys seafood industry begins gear recovery after Hurricane Irma

To find the lobster, Florida Keys commercial fishers must first track down gear scattered or destroyed by Hurricane Irma. “Just like on shore, the underwater has patterns of destruction,” Bill Kelly, executive director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association, said Thursday. “Some areas have suffered major devastation, really hard hit,” he said. “Other areas are not so bad.” One large Middle Keys family operation estimates having lost 6,000 traps, Kelly said. click here to read the story 11:00

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

How a Floating Bale of Cocaine Led to the Florida Keys’ Worst Murder in Decades

The Florida Keys are many things: a sun-bleached playground for the ultrarich, a blue-collar home to thousands of fishermen and hospitality workers, a rural chain of coral rock emerging just above the rising seas. There are ugly bar fights and plenty of drugs. But there’s hardly any gun violence. A young couple brutally executed a few feet from their young children? Never. Rosado and Ortiz’s mysterious killing on October 15, 2015, sent locals from Key Largo to Islamorada into a panic and left sheriff’s deputies scrambling. Detectives would follow a trail of violence and blackmail for months before divining its source: Jeremy Macauley, a fisherman with a troubled past who’d found a bale of pure cocaine floating in the turquoise sea. Months later, a prosecutor’s suicide and a surprise jailhouse interview would further muddy the tale. continue reading the story here 11:57

East Naples boat captain accused of smuggling immigrants in Florida Keys

An East Naples charter boat captain arrested Sunday off the Florida Keys faces human smuggling charges. Federal agents said they found 11 people from three Caribbean countries below deck on his boat. None of the 11 were U.S. citizens, agents said. U.S. Customs and Border Protection air and marine officers said they were on patrol in Tavernier Creek about 3 p.m. Sunday when they came across Richard Karl Mork’s disabled boat and two personal watercraft approaching the boat with two gas cans. Officers boarded the boat about 3:30 p.m. and found 11 passengers, including two unaccompanied minors, below deck, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Homeland Security Department in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The vessel, named “Scout,” was found about 2 nautical miles from Tavernier, south of Key Largo. Read the story here 21:15

Spiny Lobster season in the Florida Keys: Not as strong, not a disaster

One month remains in the regular lobster season but many of the traps put out by the Florida Keys commercial fleet are back on the hill — meaning pulled ashore until next summer. “We’re bringing in about 235 traps now from 200 feet of water,” Conch Key commercial fisherman Gary Nichols said Tuesday. “This season has been kind of fairly good,” Nichols reported from aboard his 43-foot boat. “It’s not as good as the last couple of years and the market has been softer.” Tom Hill at Key Largo Fisheries agreed, “It hasn’t been a bad year, but it’s not as robust as it has been. I think we have had less production than in the past few seasons.”,, The Asian market for live Florida lobster, which buoyed the fleet after the economic recession, remains a critical component of the fishing economy but was not as profitable as in the past seven to eight years. continue reading the story here 10:17

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Marine deputy gets down and dirty to find resource violators

guerra2Willy Guerra keeps a dry uniform ready at home because his clothes are often wet from jumping into Florida Keys waters to catch criminals. Guerra, the chief Monroe County Sheriff’s Office marine deputy who is based in Marathon, is no stranger to hiding out and waiting to catch those who would deplete the Keys’ natural resources — fish and lobster in particular. Since he became a marine deputy in 2005, Guerra’s hidden in a garbage can, on top of a sewer treatment plant and in mangroves, staking out criminal activity at all hours of the day and night. Tuesday, the Marathon City Council commended Guerra with a plaque for his efforts. One particular case from 2015 involving a man from Miami who was prosecuted for stealing lobster in Marathon was highlighted. Bill Kelly, executive director the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association, said George Vargas worked for at least three years in Marathon poaching lobster. In one night, Guerra caught Vargas with 267 wrung lobster tails of all sizes. They weighed out at 225 pounds with a commercial value of $4,205. “He made $723,000 in a year if he worked all year and we know he did that for at least three years, so we’re talking $2.16 million he absconded with from the men and women in the commercial fishing industry,” Kelly said. Read the story here 09:51

NFL Hall of Famer Warren Sapp- shark bit while lobster fishing and the photo is not for the squeamish

imrs.wdpI haven’t done much (translation: any) lobstering, but I’d imagine that there’s some possibility of getting pinched by one of those large claws, which sounds like it could be painful. I’d take that any day, though, over getting bitten by a shark. Warren Sapp probably would as well, but it happened to him anyway on Wednesday. The former Buccaneers star was in the act of pulling a crustacean from waters near the Florida Keys when a shark apparently decided that he looked pretty tasty in his own right. The result was a very nasty gash on Sapp’s left arm, near his elbow. The charter company he hired that day posted a photo of the gory aftermath to its Instagram page (warning: not for the squeamish). Photo’s, read the rest here 11:57

Federal and state fishery managers busy with half a dozen hearings, meetings in the Keys in February

A frenetic February features several fishery forums in the . The status of mutton snapper, barracuda, hogfish, mackerel and sea anemones will be reviewed for public comment at a slate of six Keys sessions hosted by state and federal fish-management agencies. A recommended reduction in mutton snapper harvests will be a prime topic at two sessions, held jointly by the federal South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Rule changes may affect both state and federal waters. Read the article here 13:06

Florida Keys Lobster season starts with record harvest, low prices

The harvest of spiny lobster off the Florida Keys has never been better, but the price fishermen are being paid is down significantly so far because the Asian market has yet to take off this season. The season started earlier this month with trap fishermen catching near record number of lobster, fishermen said. A trap will produce about 10 pounds of lobsters on average over the course of an eight-month season, with the bulk being harvested in the first couple of months. Read the rest here 16:38

Florida Key’s Illegal fish case continued

A Key West charter boat captain’s change of plea will be heard on April 21 in Plantation Key after a scheduling conflict continued the matter last week. Wickers and four other men were charged in the undercover Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigation into the illegal sale of finfish and lobster by charter and commercial fishermen. Read the rest here 11:18

Key West: Lobster traps limits not well received

The idea of reducing the number of spiny lobster traps as a way to ease fishing pressure on the Florida Keys’ most lucrative commercial fishery did not go over well at a meeting of state federal fishery managers Monday in Key West. The group discussed three possible actions: closing the season early; embarking on a more aggressive trap reduction program; and exempting the spiny lobster fishery from annual quotas. The proposal that received the most vocal opposition was more aggressively reducing the number of traps. Read the rest here 08:09

Keys fishery issues back on tap

The ban and a lack of consistent fishing regulations among the major government fishery agencies that have jurisdiction in Keys waters has led to the formation of a committee to look at South Florida fishing regulations. The committee — which is comprised of members from South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management councils and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) — will meet for three days in Key West starting Jan. 13 Read the rest here 10:18

Few waters contain a more baffling hodgepodge of fishing rules than the Florida Keys

Recreational and commercial fishing in South Florida waters falls under the jurisdiction of three government agencies: The federal South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council, and the state FWC. Then toss in rules for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, national wildlife areas and species-specific closed areas. @keysnet

Stone crab season to help commercial fishermen – MARATHON, Fla – WTSP.com

MARATHON, Fla. (AP) – Florida’s commercial fishermen are hoping winter visitors will flock to the Sunshine State for stone crab season. Gary Graves is vice president of Keys Fisheries, the largest processor of the crab’s tasty claws in the Florida Keys. He says a strong winter tourism season for the state normally translates into higher fiscal yields for the commercial fishing industry. Read More

http://www.wtsp.com/news/florida/article/278047/19/Stone-crab-season-to-help-commercial-fishermen