Tag Archives: Gulf of Mexico

Jim Hightower: Can ‘Powerless Nobodies’ Fight the Corporate Powers?

The many sparkling bays along the Texas coastline of the Gulf of Mexico have long provided both a working-class living and a valued lifestyle for generations of shrimpers, oysterers and other fishing families. People and seafood, however, are not the only creatures here,,, But in the 1980s, a strange and invasive new critter entered Lavaca Bay,,, This marauder was not some monster from the deep but a massive, 45,000-acre factory looming over Lavaca Bay. It is the Formosa Plastics Corporation, founded by the richest man in Taiwan. >click to read< 17:29

Plan would protect 21 coral hot spots in Gulf of Mexico

The plan would create 21 protected areas off the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. Thirteen of the areas would carry new commercial fishing restrictions, and that has attracted the attention of fishing groups, who want the government to take a cautious approach. Pew Charitable Trusts has characterized the plan as a way to protect nearly 500 square miles of slow-growing coral “hot spots,” and is championing the protection plan as a way to spare vulnerable corals from fishing gear. >click to read<  10:30

Midwestern Farm Runoff Creates Headache For Louisiana Shrimpers

“We’re not catching no large shrimp,” said Olander, who largely blames worsening environmental conditions. “There’s no explaining this here other than it’s something’s wrong with our water.”  Olander grabs his phone to elaborate. He pulls up a picture of the Gulf water his cousin Douglas, also a fisherman, took from the deck of his boat earlier this summer.  “That’s that green slime,” he said, pointing. “ Audio, >click to read< 11:43

Mississippi to sue Army Corps of Engineers over extended opening of spillway

Mississippi’s attorney general said Thursday that he will sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for environmental and economic damage the state experienced after the Corps opened a spillway for two extended periods this year to protect New Orleans from flooding.,, Hood said he does not want New Orleans to flood but the Corps should better assess potential damage to Mississippi when deciding whether to open the Bonnet Carre spillway. He said if the federal government decides to open the spillway often, “they’ll have to pay for it because it’s just about put our seafood industry out of business.” >click to read< 17:11

Crabbers remember horrors of red tide. They’re hoping for a better season this year

Born and raised in Cortez, Lightning Campbell has fished and crabbed the waters of the Gulf of Mexico for most of his 72 years. With memories still fresh of how last year’s red tide outbreak drastically affected the stone crab harvest, Campbell says he will put out 4,000 stone crab traps this season. Asked what he thinks about prospects for this year’s stone crab harvest, which begins Tuesday, Campbell says it’s too early to tell. >click to read< 09:05

EPA considering first fish farm in Gulf of Mexico

The farm, a pilot project, would not only be a first for the gulf, but would also be the first in the federal waters of the continental United States. If it works, then look for others to follow, both here and elsewhere, said Kampachi co-founder Neil Anthony Sims. “We think the gulf coast of Florida around Tampa offers the most advantageous location, given the criteria we’re looking at,” Sims said. Other companies are eyeing potential fish farm locations off of California and Long Island, he said. >click to read< 14:24

Fisheries disaster declared in multiple fisheries, multiple states

Wednesday,, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced his determination that commercial fishery failures occurred for multiple fisheries between 2017 and 2019 in Alaska, California, Georgia, and South Carolina, while further finding that a catastrophic regional fishery disaster occurred for Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama due to extreme flooding events in the Gulf of Mexico. >click to read< 17:41

Shrinking the Gulf Coast dead zone part 1: Downriver, part 2: Upriver

The Ace of Trade shrimp trawler motored toward Dean Blanchard’s dock early this summer and winched its nets into storage. Blanchard’s workers, strengthened by a lifetime at sea worked shirtless in the humid summer air. It was the beginning of hurricane season, and so far 2019 had been the wettest year in U.S. history. Blanchard has been in business for 37 years, and is one of the largest shrimp suppliers in America, distributing off the barrier island of Grand Isle in the Mississippi River Delta. >Click to read part one<   >click to read part two<  11:00

Plan for fish farm off Florida’s Gulf Coast raises environmental concerns

A Hawaiian fish farming company wants to expand into the Gulf of Mexico near Sarasota, Fla., prompting opposition from some fishing associations and environmental groups.,,, Although it’s only proposed as a demonstration project, such a plan pits the company’s desire to increase the local seafood supply against commercial fishing interests and some environmental groups, which believe industrial fish farms do more harm than good in the long run.,, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has green-lighted the Florida project,,, Other groups that oppose Kampachi’s project include the Louisiana Shrimp Association, Friends of the Earth and the Recirculating Farms Coalition >click to read< 10:44

NOAA Seeks Nominations for Scientific Review Groups under the Marine Mammal Protection Act

NOAA Fisheries will publish a Federal Register Notice on Monday, August 19, 2019, soliciting nominations to three independent marine mammal scientific review groups (SRG). We would like your assistance to identify qualified candidates. The three independent regional SRGs, covering Alaska, the Atlantic (including the Gulf of Mexico), and the Pacific (including Hawaii), were established under section 117(d) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act to provide advice on a range of marine mammal science and management issues. >click to read< 16:27

Request for Comments: Changes to Allowable Fishing Effort in the Gulf of Mexico Commercial Shrimp Fishery

NOAA Fisheries requests your comments on changes to regulations for the Gulf of Mexico commercial shrimp fishery. The changes would: increase the allowable amount of commercial shrimp trawl fishing effort in certain federal waters of the northern Gulf of Mexico., revise the Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery management plan framework procedure to allow changes to allowable fishing effort through an expedited process. Comments are due by September 30, 2019. How to comment, frequently asked questions.  >click to read, comment<  16:17

Deciding where to fish. To explore or exploit? Fishing vessel records show trade-offs

When making choices, people tend either to go with what they know or try something new. We experience this trade-off every day, whether choosing a route to work or buying breakfast cereal. But does one strategy have an advantage over another? Researchers decided to examine this question by looking at fishing boat captains, who face this choice again and again when deciding where to fish. >click to read< 14:13

Commercially Caught Wild American Shrimp From Gulf of Mexico Remain Safe to Eat

For the commercial wild-caught shrimp industry in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s business as usual. In spite of reports coming out of the Gulf of Mexico about a freshwater influx due to flooding in the Midwest, along with some resulting, close-to-shore algae blooms, commercial shrimp processors are reporting that this year, though volumes are lower, shrimp quality and size are good as ever. “The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) is continuing to test water and fish samples to ensure seafood safety in Mississippi waters,” >click to read<  09:54

Barry strengthens into category 1 hurricane; Gulf Coast braces for impact

As power outages continued to mount across Louisiana Saturday morning, Barry continued to intensifying and strengthened into a category 1 hurricane as it churned toward the Gulf Coast, threatening millions with flooding and damaging winds. Barry is the first hurricane of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season, and only the fourth hurricane to ever to make landfall on the Louisiana coast in the month of July.  >click to read<14:07

It’s business as usual! Commercially Caught Wild American Shrimp From Gulf of Mexico Remain Safe to Eat

For the commercial wild-caught shrimp industry in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s business as usual. In spite of reports coming out of the Gulf of Mexico about a freshwater influx due to flooding in the Midwest, along with some resulting, close-to-shore algae blooms, commercial shrimp processors are reporting that this year, though volumes are lower, shrimp quality and size are good as ever. “The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) is continuing to test water and fish samples to ensure seafood safety in Mississippi waters,” said MDMR Executive Director Joe Spraggins. >click to read< 08:41

Storm strengthens in Gulf of Mexico as it races to Louisiana

A mass of thunder and rain in the Gulf of Mexico could become Tropical Storm Barry on Thursday and hit Louisiana as a hurricane this weekend, worsening flooding in New Orleans and causing almost $1 billion in damage. The system, which was about 115 miles (185 kilometers) southeast of the Mississippi River’s mouth as of 8 a.m. New York time, has already curbed energy production in the Gulf and helped lift oil prices to a seven-week high. It’s also prompted Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards to declare a state of emergency, while hurricane and tropical storm watches are in place along the state’s coastline. The storm — with current top speeds of 35 miles an hour — may drop as much as 20 inches of rain in some places. >click to read< 15:08

A ‘volcano’ of oil is flowing in the gulf. This ex-fisherman is trying to contain it.

Timmy Couvillion first saw the oil plume at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico more than two months ago, but the memory still makes his skin crawl. His small marine construction company had been hired by the U.S. Coast Guard for its biggest job in years: containing the longest offshore spill in American history. To prepare for the work, his crew dropped a submersible robot 450 feet below the ocean surface to view the source of the pollution through its cyclops eye. The pictures it sent back were chilling. A hole as wide as a basketball court had opened on the sea floor and thousands of gallons of Louisiana sweet crude gushed through,,, >click to read< 19:50

Expanding Dead Zone in Gulf of Mexico is Causing High Anxiety Among Shrimpers

For Tran, it is an adventure. For his family, it is a trade they had known in Vietnam before they made their way to Port Arthur, Texas after the fall of Saigon in 1975. Tran and his family of shrimpers have faced many challenges created by mother nature. The latest weather-related problem in the Gulf is a giant dead zone predicted to grow to a near record in coming weeks. “It’s not good,” said Tran.,,, The dead zone is an area of ocean containing little to no oxygen. It is a phenomenon that typically peaks in the summer and dissipates in the winter. However, this summer’s dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is predicted to be unusually large,,, Video, >click to read< 14:10

Floods in Midwest take toll on seafood in Gulf Coast area

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards have asked the federal government for a fisheries disaster declaration,,, Louisiana’s oyster harvest is 80% below average,,, “We’ve been dealing with the river since October,” said Acy J. Cooper Jr., president of the Louisiana Shrimp Association “That’s a long time it’s been high.” The die-offs are as bad in Mississippi.,, Shrimp are now in places only larger boats can reach, said Cooper. “Some of the big ones are catching a few,” he said. “The smaller boats are just catching hell.” >Video, click to read< 18:05

The power to open Bonnet Carré spillway rests 200 miles from ‘struggling’ Gulf Coast

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opens the Bonnet Carré to prevent Mississippi River flooding in New Orleans, but Coast residents on less populated shores of South Mississippi and Louisiana feel the fallout. The fresh, polluted water floods Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi Sound. For the first time in history, the spillway has opened two years in a row — 2018 and 2019 — and two times in one year — 2019.  Dolphins and oysters are dying. Shrimp are disappearing. Fish are covered in lesions. And the oxygen-starved Dead Zone, documented annually in the Gulf of Mexico, is expected this summer to be the size of Massachusetts, which is close to the 2017 record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says. Video, photo’s >click to read<10:23

Brownsville captain lands foot-long giant in Gulf

The phrase “jumbo shrimp” doesn’t really do it justice. The captain and owner of a Brownsville shrimp boat is showing off the biggest Asian tiger shrimp he’s ever seen, measuring 12.5 inches, which is probably within an inch or two of the maximum size of the species. Capt. Seth Sanders was trawling for white shrimp just west of the Atchafalaya Channel off the coast of Louisiana recently when his net brought up the monster female Asian tiger. >click to read<12:49

NOAA says a group of whales in the Gulf of Mexico are endangered

Federal scientists say a tiny group of Bryde’s whales in the Gulf of Mexico is endangered, facing threats including oil and gas exploration and development. “They’re the only year-round baleen whales that make their home in Gulf of Mexico, and (they) have a unique and very important role in the ecosystem,” said Laura Engleby, a marine mammal biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration fisheries’ service.,,,Engleby said, “We don’t really know much about this species.”>click to read<15:31

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

Gulf of Mexico: 14-year Taylor Energy oil leak could be two times larger than BP spill

A toppled oil platform that has been leaking into the Gulf of Mexico for more than 14 years may have released much more oil than recent estimates have indicated, possibly pushing the total volume well beyond BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. New research indicates 2,100 to 71,400 gallons of oil are escaping each day from the Taylor Energy platform site, about 10 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi River. The high estimate of 71,400 gallons per day is more than two times larger than the highest potential rate cited by the Coast Guard when it ordered Taylor to fix the problem late last year. >click to read<10:24

California man convicted in violent offshore stabbing incident

When the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Kingfisher pulled up to the commercial fishing vessel Billy B 46 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico on the night of Aug. 20, 2017, the crew found Captain Noah Gibson and deckhand A.J. Love floating in the dark water, clinging to a life raft and each bleeding from multiple stab wounds. What had started as a routine fishing trip out of Bon Secour ended in a nightmare for the men after Christopher Shane Dreiling stabbed them in a delusional attack and forced them bleeding into the Gulf waters. Last week, Dreiling was convicted in federal court on two counts of assault with intent to commit murder within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States. >click to read<18:38

Gulf of Mexico Shrimp harvest reaches the lowest level recorded since October 2002

Commercial shrimp harvest reached 10.4 million pounds in the Gulf of Mexico for October 2018, the lowest reported for any October in the records maintained by the Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA) going back to 2002. According to data from the Fishery Monitoring Branch of NOAA Fisheries’ Southeast Fisheries Science Center, in total, landings for the month were roughly 30 per cent below the prior sixteen-year historical average for the month. >click to read<12:13

A 14-year-long oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico verges on becoming one of the worst in U.S. history

Between 300 and 700 barrels of oil per day have been spewing from a site 12 miles off the Louisiana coast since 2004, when an oil-production platform owned by Taylor Energy sank in a mudslide triggered by Hurricane Ivan. Many of the wells have not been capped, and federal officials estimate that the spill could continue through this century. With no fix in sight, the Taylor offshore spill is threatening to overtake BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster as the largest ever. >click to read<13:06

Tropical Storm Gordon Public Advisory: Storm Surge Warning, Hurricane Watch is in effect

At 200 PM EDT (1800 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Gordon was located near latitude 25.8 North, longitude 81.9 West. Gordon is moving toward the west-northwest near 16 mph (26 km/h and a west- northwestward to northwestward motion is expected over the next 72 hours. On the forecast track, the center of Gordon will move farther away from the southwestern coast of Florida this afternoon and move across the eastern Gulf of Mexico tonight and Tuesday. The center of Gordon will approach the coast within the warning area along the central Gulf Coast by late Tuesday or Tuesday night, and move inland over the lower Mississippi Valley on Wednesday. >click to read<14:48

Deepwater Horizon oil spill didn’t really hurt Florida pro-drilling leaders say

Former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp caused a furor recently when he claimed oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster “didn’t even reach the shores of Florida.” He now admits he was wrong. Sort of. “I guess I overstated it,” said Kottkamp, now leading a group seeking to open the eastern Gulf of Mexico to oil exploration, said in an interview this week with the Tampa Bay Times. His attempt to walk back the remark could offer a preview of the campaign to come as groups push to expand drilling in federal waters eight years later. He and another industry representative say the BP oil spill was more of a public relations disaster fueled by the television news media, rather than an environmental disaster. >click to read<15:47

Will La.’s shrimpers strike? ‘It’s a last resort’

Acy Cooper bought his first shrimping vessel, an old wooden flatboat, when he was 15. Cooper followed his father and grandfather before him into the rich gumbo Gulf of Mexico waters from the fishing community of Venice on the coast of southern Louisiana. Today Cooper and his two sons and son-in-law operate two Laffite skiffs — one 35-footer and one 30-footer — docked in the same community for another generation. But although many American business owners are bracing for potential negative impacts of a trade war triggered by President Donald Trump’s tariffs, Cooper and his fellow shrimpers are pleading for such protections as foreign producers dump shrimp in the U.S. and cratering prices in the process. >click to read<18:51