Category Archives: Gulf of Mexico

Low shrimp prices are hurting local fisherman who blame imports

Local shrimpers are seeing some of the lowest shrimp prices in history, and most blame imported shrimp. Jimmie Dupré has been shrimping for 61 years. He says he plans to retire soon because the industry is taking a turn for the worst. He says, “We can’t get good prices and they drop every time they have an open season, they drop the prices. They claim it’s on the imports. Now, who imports the shrimp? The processors import the shrimp. And they keep saying well it imports if it’s the import shrimp stop importing the damn thing.” There’s been talk of shrimpers going on strike if prices don’t increase but Dupré says that won’t fix the problem. >click to read<09:35

Gulf shrimp industry reeling from labor shortage

Nello Cassarino needs about 150 workers to dehead, peel, sort, package and freeze nearly 60,000 pounds of shrimp each day at his processing plant on Harborside Drive. And finding laborers is particularly difficult right now.,,, The industry has challenges from imported shrimp, but the labor shortage is the biggest issue commercial fishing faces, she said. Processing work typically pays about twice the minimum wage, which would be about $14 an hour, although it depends on the amount of shrimp being processed, Hance said. Pay for boat crews is more difficult to break down into an hourly amount because workers live aboard the boat for 30 to 45 days at a time. But workers may receive about $5,000 for a month at sea, depending on the catch, Hance said. >click to read<15:45

Local fishermen like to clean up on the water. This certainly wasn’t what they had in mind.

Red tide is still hanging around Manatee County’s coastline, making waters murky and beach conditions unpleasant. There are a lot fewer dead fish floating in the water, though. That is thanks in part to local fisherman Nathan Meschelle, who operates a commercial fishing operation called Inseine Fish Harvest out of Palma Sola. Knowing that he would be temporarily out of work when red tide arrived, Meschelle called Manatee commissioner Carol Whitmore and offered to help clean up in the aftermath. Dean Jones, public works manager for the city of Anna Maria, reached out right away.>click to read<16:43

Louisiana shrimpers consider strike as prices plummet

Louisiana shrimpers vowed this week to go on strike if shrimp prices take yet another tumble. About 200 shrimpers gathered in Houma on Wednesday (Aug. 8) to vent their frustrations about foreign imports that have driven shrimp prices to levels not seen since the 1980s. They also fumed over a lack of political support for tariffs and other measures that could shore up an industry they say is heading toward extinction.  “We can’t make it on cents. We need dollars,” said Dean Blanchard, a Grand Isle shrimp distributor. “There’s no way this can continue.” >click to read<21:59

Louisiana Shrimpers seek more federal protection

Speaking during the Louisiana Shrimp Association meeting at the American Legion Hall in Houma, shrimpers said import tariffs aren’t enough to protect their business. And foreign companies should not be able to sell shrimp in the U.S. if they are using banned antibiotics. “We’re being treated differently than other businesses that are in the same situation we’re in,” said Dean Blanchard, owner of Dean Blanchard Seafood Inc. in Grand Isle. “We’re comparable to rice farmers and sugar-cane farmers.” When these farmers, many of them in Louisiana, couldn’t compete with imports, they received help, Blanchard said. The federal government provides them subsidies. He added that they would be out of business if they had to work as hard as shrimpers. >click to read<12:30

Texas Shrimp Industry Lacks Willing U.S. Workers

It’s two weeks in the Shrimp Season and Texas shrimpers are dealing with another worker shortage. Last year about 20% of the Texas Shrimp fleet stayed in Port from a lack of workers. Andrea Hance is Executive Director of the Texas Shrimp Association based in Brownsville. She told The Texas Standard that about 8 to 10 percent of the state’s shrimp boats are still tied up at docks.  “And those boat owners or captains what happened to them is they don’t have enough people to even man the boat, um, so they may only have one other person, well, the boat needs at least three to go out and efficiently operate.” >click to read<11:48

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

High-dollar sports fishing boat crashes into shrimp boat, sinks

A sports fishing boat worth more than $1 million crashed this weekend into a shrimping boat before sinking during a fishing tournament about 45 miles offshore from Port O’Connor. The crash of the 61-foot sports fishing boat, named Got ‘M On, was reported to the Coast Guard at 4:10 p.m. Saturday, assistant public affairs officer Kenneth Hawkins said Sunday. The Got ‘M On collided with a 79-foot shrimping boat named Lady Toni, the Coast Guard reported.,,, No one on the shrimping boat was in the water. No one was arrested or cited after the crash. Only minor injuries, such as scrapes and bruises, were reported, and no one was transported to a hospital. >click to read<10:08

Nearly 300 Sea Turtles Dead as Red Tide Plagues Southwest Florida

Hundreds of sea turtles have washed up dead along the southwest Florida coast as an ongoing red tide event persists in the waters. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has logged 287 sea turtle deaths since the virulent algal bloom started in October, the Associated Press reported. That figure is twice the average number of turtle deaths in those waters each year, Allen Foley of the commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute told the AP on Thursday.  Foley explained that the turtles get sick and die when their food gets contaminated by toxic bloom. >click to read<19:09

Shrimp boat worker found, accused of assaulting shipmates with sledge hammer

Lee County deputies arrested a shrimp boat worker who allegedly assaulted the boat’s captain and another worker with a sledge hammer before disappearing into the water off Fort Myers Beach on Monday, according to an incident report. Deputies led a search for Brandon Scerri, 23, after the boat docked outside of Trico Seafood on Fort Myers Beach and his shipmates reported that he had vanished. He was found “alive and well” Wednesday and was arrested on suspicion of aggravated battery shortly after.  Scerri was taken to Lee County Jail, where he remains in custody. >click to read<13:13

Louisiana Fisherman Talks Water Quality and Nutrient Reduction with Iowa Farmers

Nutrient runoff from Iowa agriculture is one of the leading causes of the growing “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico, an oxygen-deprived section of the Gulf, which last year was recorded to be the size of the state of New Jersey. “About 29 percent of the load coming into the Gulf originates in Iowa,” says Larry Weber, an executive associate dean professor in the University of Iowa’s College of Engineering. “If we take the Iowa portion out of the Gulf, then the nitrate load to the Gulf of Mexico would be going down. The real challenge in fixing the Gulf hypoxia starts in Iowa.” In this special edition of River to River, host Clay Masters talks with panelists about what Iowa farmers are doing, or not doing, when it comes to reducing nutrient runoff into the Mississippi River. He also speaks with Thomas Olander, Chairman of the Louisiana Shrimp Association and a fourth generation shrimper. Audio report >click to listen<10:23

After a hammer attack on a shrimp boat, Coast Guard searching for shrimper who fell or jumped into water off Fort Myers Beach

Members of the Coast Guard are looking for a man who fell (or jumped) off a shrimp boat. Brandon Scerri, 23, fell near Bowditch Point on Fort Myers Beach. He was on the shrimp boat “Jacob” on his way back from near the Florida Keys and Dry Tortuga area. Crime Stoppers said Scerri is a transient on Fort Myers Beach and doesn’t have any family in the area. Investigators said Scerri has gone missing before and may have mental health issues. >Video, >click to watch<08:30

How to turn around our local shrimping industry

Given the harsh local winter and hampered shrimp season this year, a more generous and innovative local community of seafood customers is required for shrimpers to survive. In fact, it’s the cheap, penny-pinching, wholesale-seeking shrimp customers who are mostly to blame for Lowcountry shrimp fleets going away. So many sing, shag, and smile from ear-to-ear each year at the Blessing of The Fleet and at every shrimping fundraiser –– yet these same people berate area shrimpers mercilessly for lower and lower prices all season long. That dog will never hunt… Here is a roster of solutions that will add years to the economic sustainability of the local shrimping industry as a Lowcountry seafood offering: >click to read<13:25

Sam Parisi: HR-200 was passed in the House and will now move on to the Senate. Push Your Senators!

There has been a lot of those for and against the bill, and after reading the forty-nine pages of the bill and trying to consume it, I have come to the conclusion that over all it is a move in the right direction. The enactment of the 200 mile limit was needed because of foreign fisherman from other countries were destroying our Fisheries and our government at that time had no jurisdiction, Japanese and Russian Factory Ships were invading our waters using small mesh netting scooping up small fish like haddock, cod, flounder, and other bottom dwelling species. I say this because while fishing for whiting off the Canyons near Cape Cod I saw in front of me and fishing along side of me, those factory ships. >click to read<17:48

Biloxi Shrimpers say season is ‘mediocre’ so far

The brown shrimp season began about a month and a half ago, and so far, local shrimpers are reporting mixed results. “Our preliminary numbers so far show that we are below average, but we hope that would pick up as we get further into the brown shrimp season,” said Rick Burris, Shrimp and Crab Director for the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. “What we’ve been seeing is low numbers, but the shrimp they are catching are good marketable size.”Down on the docks, some shrimpers say this season can best be described as mediocre. Video, >click to read<14:04

Opinion: Fisheries act is a chance to build trust

There’s a little something for everyone to hate in the House’s proposed renewal of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Commercial fishermen feel it gives too much to recreational fishermen and environmentalists. Recreational fishermen say it goes too easy on their commercial counterparts, and the environmental lobby says the measure, which passed the House last week along largely partisan lines, will undo years of progress in restoring fish stocks. We are left with what we have had for decades — a pitched battle among competing interests, with no end in sight. Congress must do better to help guarantee that the science behind management decisions is sound and easily understandable. >click to read<19:25

Seafood Industry should Organize, File National Class Action Lawsuit Against Anti-Commercial Fishing 501(C)’s, private companies

Every Seafood Industry related trade association in America should join hands and file a National Class Action Lawsuit  against certain 501(C) organizations and private companies that have de-humanized the Commercial Fishermen in the United States by reducing the non-boaters share of the Federal Fishery Resources. The lawsuit should be filed in the District of Columbia Federal Court on behalf of the hundreds of millions of non-boaters who depend on access to the nations fish at restaurants and retail markets through the labors of Commercial Fishermen. By Bob Jones >click to read<08:32

The Mississippi Coast is tired of waiting for BP money. It is time for action.

The Coast has waited far too long to learn the fate of the $700 million that has yet to be spent out of a $750 million settlement for economic damages from BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.  We know the majority of the economic damage was inflicted on the people of Mississippi’s Coast. And we know that no rational argument has been made for spending the majority of the BP economic damages money anywhere but on the Coast. The Mississippi Gulf Coast’s lifeblood, tourism, was on life support. Its seafood industry was first shutdown and then mistrusted. Millions were invested to restore the country’s faith in Gulf shrimp and other delicacies. >click to read<12:22

Shorthanded – Shrimp industry fears worker shortage

The Texas shrimp industry is celebrating a handful of recent legislative wins while also dreading next year’s shrimp season if changes aren’t made to the seasonal foreign worker visa program.
The Brownsville-Port Isabel shrimp fleet starts this season, which opens today, without enough workers. Andrea Hance, executive director of the Texas Shrimp Association, estimates that 70 percent of the fleet’s 140 trawlers will head out to the Gulf shorthanded. >click to read<10:51

The MSA and Don Young’s partisan dilemma

“We must remain committed to the bipartisan, bicameral tradition of fisheries management,” Rep. Don Young wrote last Sunday, “and my legislation accomplishes just that.” He was referring to the reauthorization of Magnuson-Stevens Act. But when the House passed it on Wednesday, only nine Democrats voted in favor of it. Which explains why, in the same opinion piece, Young complained about “the hyper-partisan mentality” his “Democratic colleagues subscribe to.” Like the breakup of a marriage, there are two sides to this story. The reason why Young is arguing from both might be that he was caught in the middle. >click to read<09:00

House of Representatives – Debate and Passage of HR-200

July 11, 2018 House Session The House meets with debate scheduled on a fisheries management bill sponsored by Rep. Don Young of Alaska. >click to watch<20:52

House votes to overhaul fishery management law – “I’m proud to say that my bill protects our commercial and recreational fisheries’ interests and allow councils to do their jobs in a more streamlined and effective manner,” Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), the bill’s sponsor, said on the House floor. >click to read<21:41

Gulf shrimp season opens Sunday in state and federal waters while shrimp boats will set out lacking workers

Tuesday’s blessing-of-the-fleet event at the Brownsville Shrimp Basin felt similar to the one a year ago, with a sermon from Father Mark Watters and an issue over the shortage of workers. After facing a slight scare of almost not making it to Brownsville, Watters said his 13th year blessing the Brownsville-Port Isabel shrimp fleet was not only a number, but a message of multiplication of double profusion.“Now, 13, in the kingdom of heaven, that number, when you see it in scripture, what the enemy has stolen and made people superstitious about is actually a kingdom number that equates to double profusion,” he said. Still, the shortage of foreign workers will remain a challenge the shrimp industry has to overcome. >click to read<10:56

Roughly 150 Boats Take Part in ‘Blessing of the Fleet’ – The executive director of the Texas Shrimp Association says, however, a shortage U.S. citizen and foreign workers will cost the industry an estimated $700,000 per day this year. Video,>click here<

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office arrests Cortez net thief

A theft in Cortez has been tied to a man found on a deserted island. Manatee County Sheriff’s Office arrested Timothy Lee Thompson, 53, of Cortez, June 27 for stealing a Cortez commercial fisherman’s seine nets. The nets went missing two days earlier from a boat docked in the 12400 block of 42nd Avenue Drive West. MCSO Deputy Daniel Hearn and Sgt. Russell Schnering found the suspect on an uninhabited island known as Gilligan’s Island, located north of Manatee Avenue on Anna Maria Sound in Perico Bayou. They also located the nets valued at $2,400. >click to read<10:25

Partisanship shouldn’t undermine our fisheries

Partisan rancor may be standard operating procedure for most of Washington, but let’s not allow it to unravel the progress we’ve made for our country’s vital fisheries.,,, The current reauthorization legislation on the table, H.R. 200, reauthorizes the MSA for the first time in over a decade. It has the needed type of collaborative, stakeholder-driven support that previous successful reauthorization efforts enjoyed. That’s because this reauthorization wasn’t created overnight — it has been carefully developed over the past five years with input from experts in fisheries’ science, commercial and recreational fishing groups, and a wide array of regional perspectives. >click to read< for various posts on the reauthorization >click here<06:25

Coast Guard, good Samaritan rescue 2 fishermen after boat capsizes in the Gulf

The Coast Guard and a good Samaritan rescued two boaters Thursday after their 25-foot boat capsized 50 miles west of Naples. Rescued were Frederick Cunningham, 42, and James Nipper, 48.
At 5:56 a.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg received a Mayday via VHF-FM radio channel 16 from a man stating, “Mayday, Mayday – this is the vessel…” but the transmission was lost. Two additional calls from the same man were received but no usable information could be heard. At 7:48 a.m., Coast Guard Seventh District command center watchstanders received an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon alert from the 25-foot commercial fishing boat. >click to read<19:16

U.S. Commerce Department Announces Appointments to Regional Fishery Management Councils for 2018

The U.S. Commerce Department announced the appointment of 30 members to the eight regional fishery management councils that partner with NOAA Fisheries to manage ocean fish stocks. Twenty-nine of the new and reappointed council members will serve three-year terms from August 11, 2018 through August 10, 2021. One appointed member is filling an at-large seat recently vacated on the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council and this member will serve through August 10, 2020. >click to read<17:02

Florida, they’re killing it, one flush at a time

Once again, Florida’s fisheries are suffering from the legacy of long-time mismanagement of Florida’s water resources. Southwest Florida is plagued by an unprecedented red tide that is causing unprecedented kills of gamefish. Reports from those on the water estimate that tens of thousands of snook are dead – all of them adults in the peak of spawning season. Reports are also of many dead breeding-size redfish. And tarpon, which usually seem to avoid red tide, are also now being reported dead. The ongoing red tide is a sign of the ‘new normal’ in Southwest Florida because too many nutrients are entering Florida’s estuaries and coasts due to water mismanagement. Here are the facts: >click to read<10:30

‘This is catastrophic’: Charter captain speaks out about red tide impact in SWFL – >click to read<

The AQUAA Act – Wicker Introduces Bill to Advance American Aquaculture

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today introduced the “Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture (AQUAA) Act.” The legislation would streamline the permitting process for aquaculture farms in federal waters, and fund research and development to advance the aquaculture industry.,,, The AQUAA Act would establish an Office of Marine Aquaculture within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which would be charged with coordinating the federal permitting process. Additionally, a permit would be established through NOAA that would give an individual the security of tenure necessary to secure financing for an aquaculture operation. >click to read<17:04

U.S. House set to vote on key fisheries bill, HR-200, Tuesday

It’s called the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act, or H.R. 200. It’s also referred to as the Modern Fish Act. Its author, Rep. Don Young, says the bill would update and improve the Magnuson Stevens Act, the primary law that guides federal fisheries regulators. “Reauthorizing the MSA will ensure a proper balance between the biological needs of fish stocks and the economic needs of fishermen and coastal communities,” Young said after the House Natural Resources Committee approved his bill in December. “MSA has not been reauthorized since 2006. It is long past time for this Congress to act and support our nation’s fisheries.” >click to read< Read the HR-200 Bill->click here< 08:39

Lets get every Rep. in the House to Co-Sponsor “American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act” S1322

Greetings from Gloucester! My name is Sam Parisi, and as some of you know, I have been concerned with the process of how S-K Funds, and distribution of the funds have been handled by NOAA.
I have asked our Senators to support Bill S1322 and I am happy to say thanks to Angela Sanfilppo, The Mayor of Gloucester, The Mass Lobster Association, the Gloucester Fisheries Commission and fisherman up and down the coast that have contacted Senator Markey who is on the committee, and is now with us in support of this important the bill, which will be going to the House.,, I ask all of you to contact your Congressmen and Senators in your area’s to tell them to vote in favor Senator Dan Sullivan’s bill, the “American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act”, S1322. >click to read<18:01