Tag Archives: Gulf of Mexico

Port Fourchon moves to Storm Phase 3, Recommended Evacuation as Zeta heads into the Gulf

The Port Fourchon area is anticipating more or less a direct hit from Zeta’s center of circulation sometime Wednesday evening. Fortunately, Tropical Storm Zeta is forecast to move quickly, lessening the length of time we receive severe impacts from wind and rain, but be prepared for significant storm surge outside of the levee system. >click to read< 10:58  Tropical Storm Zeta was entering the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday morning on its path toward landfall in Louisiana, forecasters said. It weakened after making landfall overnight in the Yucatan, but Zeta is expected to strengthen and regain its hurricane status Tuesday. It’s forecast to make landfall Wednesday in southeast Louisiana as a tropical storm or a Category 1 hurricane. >click to read< 11:04

Stone crab season opens Oct. 15 with new regulations in place

For roughly a week now, armadas of Floridian crabbing fleets and their deckhands have boated miles offshore into the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean to lay their traps on the depths. Come Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, these crabbers will venture out again to launch Florida’s stone crab season, hauling in anticipated bounties of Menippe mercenaria and their treasured claws. “We’re putting them out right now,” Richard Stiglitz, owner of the Homosassa-based Salty Bones Fisheries, said about 650 of his 10,000 traps. It’ll take some time before crabbing crews know what kind of season they’ll have. >click to read< 10:05

Hurricane Delta Public Advisory Notice

At 0700, Hurricane Delta is moving toward the north near 12 mph (19 km/h), and this motion is expected to continue today followed by a north-northeastward motion by tonight. On the forecast track, the center of Delta will move inland within the hurricane warning area this evening. Delta is a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Slow weakening is expected to begin as Delta approaches the northern Gulf coast later today, with rapid weakening expected after the center moves inland. >click to read< 08:15

Hurricane Delta Public Advisory Notice

At 700 AM CDT, the center of Hurricane Delta was located by NOAA and Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft near latitude 23.7 North, longitude 92.3 West. Delta is moving toward the northwest near 15 mph (24 km/h), and this motion with a reduction in forward speed is expected today. A turn to the north is forecast to occur by late tonight, followed by a north- northeastward motion by Friday night. On the forecast track, the center of Delta will move over the central Gulf of Mexico today, and move inland within the hurricane warning area Friday afternoon or Friday night. >click to read< 08:10

Opening a can of worms: Offshore fish farming in the Gulf of Mexico: Who benefits?

Velella Epsilon – the first fish farm in federal waters off the contiguous United States – would operate in the Gulf of Mexico, about 40 miles from Florida’s coast. Globe-shaped pens would hold fingerling almaco jack, a member of the amberjack genus, that would grow into 4-pound market fish within a year. The White House appears eager to open federal waters to aquaculture. With Executive Order 13921, President Donald Trump on May 7 ordered NOAA to winnow down regulations for both aquaculture and wild-caught fish.,, Ocean aquaculture is not without its environmental costs, such as escaped fish, parasites, and “fish sewage.” To James Bois, a commercial fisherman based here in Cortez, it’s unclear how a massive fish farm operation off the coast of Cortez will change his life. >click to read< 14:52

“It looks like 1,000 tornadoes went through”,,, Hurricane Laura blasts Louisiana coast with wind and wall of seawater

One of the strongest hurricanes ever to strike the U.S. pounded the Gulf Coast with wind and rain Thursday as Laura roared ashore in Louisiana near the Texas border, unleashing a fearsome wall of seawater and killing at least two people. Louisiana took the brunt of the damage when the Category 4 system barreled over Lake Charles, an industrial and casino city of 80,000 people. Laura’s powerful gusts blew out windows in tall buildings and tossed around glass and debris. Police spotted a floating casino that came unmoored and hit a bridge. >photos, click to read< 15:59

Feds select Gulf of Mexico Southern, California as potential zones for fish farming in the EEZ

The gulf joins Southern California in becoming a region for “Aquaculture Opportunity Areas,” the first two in the United States. President Donald Trump issued an executive order earlier this year outlining the concept as a way of boosting the country’s seafood industry and reducing its reliance on imported fish. The selection covers federal waters but does not identify more specific locations. “The creation of Aquaculture Opportunity Areas will foster the U.S. aquaculture industry as a needed complement to our wild capture fisheries,” said Chris Oliver, the assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries, in a statement.  >click to read< 14:14

Commissioner Fried Welcomes NOAA Announcement – The announcement comes after Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried sent a letter to the U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, asking that the department consider designating waters off Florida’s coast as an Aquaculture Opportunity Area. Echoing Commissioner Fried’s call were U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, the National Aquaculture Association, the Florida Aquaculture Ass,,, >click to read<

Florida fisheries wait for federal aid as prices take a deep dive – fisheries across the nation have experienced steep sales decline

Federal officials Wednesday defended the delay in releasing $300 million on fisheries assistance funding, including $23.4 million for Florida, saying the pandemic has set them behind in analyzing data to determine how much each fishery is due. Senators on the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee urged faster action to offset the impacts of COVID-19 on the seafood industry. Committee Chairman Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., noted that fisheries across the nation have experienced up to a 90 percent decline in sales.,, In May, the CARES Act allocated $300 million for fisheries assistance funding. Florida received $23,447,815, according to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. However, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has not approved the state’s plan. >click to read< 13:03

Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, bait shrimping business is good

Over the past few years, the shrimping business has been struggling. Even the number of boats licensed to catch bait shrimp in Texas bays has dropped. There are currently only about 300 boats licensed to catch bait shrimp in Texas bay waters compared to 2,378 in 1988. Just days after Hurricane Hanna slammed into the Coastal Bend, those few bait shrimping boats were back at work to meet the public demand. “They have been selling as fast as we can get them. It is gone. We are steady every day; every day we need 200 pounds every day,”, video, >click to read< 09:22

Anna Maria Island: Brad Lisk’s life celebrated in true Island style

The life and legacy of longtime Island resident and Dcoy Ducks’ bartender Brad Lisk was celebrated Saturday with a boat brigade, an ash spreading ceremony in the Gulf of Mexico and an after-party. Brad passed away at the age of 51 on March 25 after suffering a massive heart attack on March 20 , a heart attack preceded by previous heart issues. He left behind his two sons, Shane Pelkey Lisk and Tanner Pelkey Lisk, both of whom share their dad’s strong ties to Anna Maria Island. At 6:10 p.m., on Saturday, June 13, a procession of about 20 boats that departed from Longboat Pass arrived offshore at 68th and 69th streets in Holmes Beach. The commercial fishing boat Savage Lady flew a large banner on the starboard side that said, “Hang Loose Brad Lisk.” The boat brigade was greeted by dozens of people gathered on the beach,,, >click to read< 10:15

Offshore Fish Farms Opposed

Last month, President Trump signed an executive order the White House said will ‘remove unnecessary regulatory burdens’ and improve America’s seafood industry. But Dr. Ryan Orgera, CEO of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, said the order will fast-track approval for fish farms, which he said don’t belong in our waters. “This would be a way to do things quickly without proper environmental checks,” Orgera said. “I think in 10 years when we’re having fisheries emergencies and the collapse of several stocks, I think we would turn back and say, ‘Why would we do that for a short-term gain?’”One Hawaii fish farm company, Ocean Era (formerly Kampachi Farms), has already applied to put a small, test fish pen in the gulf 40 miles offshore Sarasota. >click to read< 10:09

Brownsville: How Coronavirus pandemic is affecting shrimp producers

About two months ago, one of Andrea Hance’s boats came in with about 10,000 pounds of shrimp. Hance said on average the price of shrimp that they get from the boat is about $5, but buyers were not willing to pay that much. “They were coming back after they told us that they were not going to bid at all, you pressure them a little bit and then they said well we’ll give you a bid, but you’re not going to like it,” said Hance. “Well we ended up selling our shrimp for $3 a pound so we lost quite a bit of money on the last trip.” These are prices that John Keil Burnell, who is one of the owners of Shrimp Outlet in Brownsville, is seeing. Video, >click to read< 16:16

Potential regulations loom for Texas’ southern flounder fishery

The recommendations were made in response to TPWD data that shows southern flounder populations have experienced a dismal decline over the last several decades. The proposals aim to protect spawning females during their annual migration to the Gulf of Mexico, much to the dismay of anglers whose passion and livelihood coincide with the fall flounder run. >click to read< 17:49

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