Category Archives: Gulf of Mexico

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

Huffman Gets Bleak Input on Fisheries

On Oct. 5, North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman held a public meeting in Arcata to discuss updating the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), the federal legislation that governs ocean fishing. Huffman brought together a roundtable of regional and local officials, a Humboldt State University professor and a few representatives of the local fishing industry to offer feedback on the failings — and successes — of the MSA.  >click to read< 10:22

Acy Cooper: Don’t let the EPA hurt Gulf fishermen with offshore fish farming facilitys

I’ve been fishing and shrimping in the Gulf of Mexico since I was 15 years old–for over forty years now. As my father and grandfather would say, it’s in our family’s blood. For many of us here in Venice, Louisiana, fishing is not just a family tradition, it’s in the fabric of our community.,, Now the federal government could make it even harder for us. The Environmental Protection Agency is moving toward approving an offshore fish farming facility by Kampachi Farms in waters off Sarasota, Florida. This operation could hurt the ecosystem and economy in Florida and set a dangerous precedent for development across the Gulf. As the only project of its kind in federal waters, it would pave the way for more industrial-scale aquaculture. >click to read< 22:07

The Gulf’s new research ship needs a name. What’s your idea?

The Gulf of Mexico’s largest research ship won’t be built until 2023, but the naming process has already begun.,, Last month, the National Science Foundation announced it would pay $106 million to build the ship.,, Gulf Island Fabrication in Houma will build the ship, along with two others also funded by the foundation. The nearly identical ships will go to Oregon State University and the University of Rhode Island. >click to read< 13:02

A man accused of driving a boat while intoxicated, found guilty of negligence in boating death

Eugene Butler Jr., 47, was found guilty Friday of culpable negligence in the death of 19-year-old Vanessa Mauffray. In June 2016, Mauffray and her boyfriend, Ryan Necaise, were in a skiff setting crab traps on Bayou Caddy. Butler, who was driving a 20-foot fishing boat, crashed into the couple’s skiff. Officials said Mauffray died hours later as a result of traumatic injuries sustained during that crash. >click to read< 09:32

Homosassa Community Helps “Bait Lady” Repair Boat

The Homosassa community is coming together to help their beloved “Bait Lady” get back on the water after her boat sank in August.,,, Bonnie Van Van Allen, known as “The Bait Lady,” has been selling bait from her boat in Homosassa for over 20 years. But when she was out in the gulf on August 30, she wasn’t able to get back to shore before a storm hit. But it didn’t take long for the Homosassa fishing community to come together to help. >click to read< 08:20

Fishing Vessel Crew Member Held For Assault On The High Seas After Allegedly Stabbing Ship’s Captain Off Pensacola Coast

United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida Lawrence Keefe today announced a criminal complaint against Robert Odom, a crew member on a commercial fishing vessel who allegedly attacked and wounded the vessel’s captain with a pellet gun and long-blade knife as the vessel was underway in the Gulf of Mexico off Pensacola. The criminal complaint against Odom, 46, was lodged by the United States Coast Guard Investigative Service.  >click to read< 19:56

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

Federal fisheries declaration approved for Mississippi

Congressional leaders announced a federal fisheries disaster declaration Wednesday morning to help South Mississippi fishermen affected by the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway. Mississippi leaders said in a statement that they are now working to expedite the funds set aside by the disaster declaration to provide fishermen with disaster relief more quickly. >click to read< 12:03

Wicker, Hyde-Smith, & Palazzo Commend Federal Fishery Disaster Declaration for Mississippi>click to read<

Gulf Coast seafood industry slammed by freshwater from floods, states requesting federal fishery disaster funding

The governors of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama asked months ago for U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to declare a fisheries disaster, a designation needed to secure federal grants for those whose livelihoods were affected in the Gulf region’s vital seafood industry. Alabama canceled its oyster season. It will be months before all the figures are in and the analysis completed to tell which Louisiana fisheries qualify, said Patrick Banks, assistant secretary for fisheries in the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. >click to read<  12:47

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

Shrimp boat captain jailed for damaging another boat fishing ‘in his spot

The Sheriff’s Office sent marine units to an area of the Rigolets Pass near Geoghegan Canal to respond to a call about an altercation between the occupants of two shrimp boats, according to a news release. Casey Russell, 35, became angry when he spotted someone else shrimping “in his spot,” the Sheriff’s Office release said. >click to read<  18:40

Floodwaters Diverted from New Orleans Killed Off Marine Life

The federal government’s effort to avoid a flood disaster in New Orleans had catastrophic consequences of its own, causing massive fish kills and habitat destruction along the Gulf Coast, according to the governors of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The governors say the Army Corps of Engineers’ diversion of trillions of gallons of water from the swollen Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico killed fish, shrimp, oysters and crab and forced the extended closure of beaches. Dolphins have suffered high death and infection rates, researchers say. >click to read< 15:44

President Trump! About our great Fishermen, our great Farmers and tariffs

President Trump, as we sit here listening to your arena chat with another strong crowd of support tonight (9-16-2019) in New Mexico, you once again brought up the nations farmers, I’d like to mention another group of outstanding, and hard working Americans, U.S. Commercial Fishermen, of whom many are your supporters that have been standing with you on the trade war. We have heard the praise of the Miners, and the Farmers, and its time for you to praise the Fishermen. >click to read< 11:31

Copeland man accused in his father’s death aboard a fishing boat in March sentenced

A Copeland man accused in his father’s death aboard a fishing boat in March was sentenced to just fewer than 10 years in prison at the federal courthouse in Fort Myers on Monday. Casey Hickok, 32, originally faced a second-degree murder charge and was accused of bludgeoning the sleeping Robert Hickok, 54 of Copeland, to death with an alternator aboard the fishing boat No Bitchin’ on March 18.  >click to read< 14:07

Louisiana Dept. of Wildlife and Fisheries: report of loss linked to Bonnet Carre Spillway opening

“This is the worst I’ve ever seen it in my life,” Shrimper Charles Robin said. Robin is a shrimper in Yscloskey. He said his catch dropped by more than half this year compared to last. “Last year on average I’d catch a thousand or 1,200 pounds a day on a slow day. Now, you can’t even catch 500 pounds,” Robin said. According to Wildlife and Fisheries, brown shrimp landings are down 34 to 44 percent compared to the five year average. St. Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis said he’s actively pushing for an Emergency Fisheries Declaration in Washington, D.C.  Video, >click to read<16:33

“We’re gonna bomb your bleeping ships”, You understand me? – Coast Guard seeks tips for threatening radio broadcast

The Coast Guard is seeking information regarding a person making threats and hoax calls on marine band radio off the gulf coast of Florida. Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg command center received the latest threat on Aug. 13, 2019 via VHF channel 22A. In this call, the male caller makes threats against the Coast Guard personnel, aircrafts and vessels. The broadcast sounds like the same person who has made other radio broadcasts that start with MAYDAY three times and then talks about, “scrambling all jets we are under nuclear attack.” >click to read, listen< 13:43

Near Deepwater Horizon Spill Site, Sea Creatures Looking For Mates Find Death Instead

It’s been almost a decade since an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig caused nearly five million barrels of oil to leak into the Gulf of Mexico. It was a catastrophe for Gulf ecosystems and, even now, wildlife still tend to avoid the site. But there are a couple of notable exceptions,,, some deep-sea shrimp and red crab looking for potential mates are turning up at the site, only to find sickness and death, due to oil spill contamination. >click to read< 20:08

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

Hurricane Dorian Update: Hurricane Warning is in effect for Northwestern Bahamas excluding Andros Island

At 1100 AM EDT (1500 UTC), the distinct eye of Hurricane Dorian was located near latitude 26.0 North, longitude 73.4 West. Dorian is moving toward the west near 8 mph (13 km/h) and a slower westward motion should continue into early next week. On this track, the core of Dorian should move over the Atlantic well north of the southeastern and central Bahamas today, be near or over the northwestern Bahamas on Sunday, and move near the Florida east coast late Monday through Tuesday. >click to read<  11:11

Hurricane Dorian Public Advisory, 1100 AM AST Fri Aug 30 2019

At 1100 AM AST (1500 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Dorian was located near latitude 24.5 North, longitude 69.8 West. Dorian is moving toward the northwest near 10 mph (17 km/h). A slower west-northwestward to westward motion should begin tonight and continue into early next week. On this track, the core of Dorian should move over the Atlantic well north of the southeastern and central Bahamas today and tomorrow, be near or over the northwestern Bahamas on Sunday, and be near the Florida peninsula late Monday. >click to read< 11:57

Hurricane Dorian Moving Northwest Across the Atlantic; Major Hurricane Possible Over Florida or Georgia This Weekend

Hurricane Dorian is forecast to strengthen to a major hurricane while shifting north of the Bahamas through Saturday. The risk of dangerous storm surge and hurricane-force winds later this week and this weekend continues to increase in the central and northwestern Bahamas and along the Florida east coast. Heavy rain from Dorian may cause life-threatening flash floods, NWS, >click to read<  10:06

A Fisherman is dead and 2 Fishermen were rescued after fall overboard from a menhaden fishing vessel

The Coast Guard is leading an investigation after a fisherman died after tumbling overboard while performing maintenance operations. The unidentified victim reportedly fell overboard Wednesday morning.  Ocean Harvesters, the contracted company for Omega Protein, says the victim was aboard a menhaden fishing vessel when the incident occurred. A total of three fishermen reportedly went overboard while conducting fishing operations, with two of the men being rescued. >click to read< 20:10

Video: Coast Guard medevacs fishing vessel master 104 miles west of Ft. Myers

A Coast Guard crew medevaced a man experiencing abdominal pains Tuesday 104 miles offshore of Ft. Myers, Florida. Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg command center watchstanders were notified by the commercial fishing vessel, F/V Solo, that the master of the boat had been in pain for more than 12 hours. Coast Guard watchstanders launched an Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew who hoisted the man from vessel and transported to Tampa General Hospital, where the man was transferred to medical personnel. >click to read<  15:19

Fishermen aren’t entitled to Deepwater Horizon settlement after failure to comply with order

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has affirmed that several menhaden fishermen were not entitled to a settlement agreement involving Deepwater Horizon litigation. On appeal, the menhaden (used for bait and feed) fishermen argued they were improperly denied damage awards, but appeals court agreed they were not entitled to settlement funds because they did not timely comply with a pretrial order identified as PTO 60. >click to read< 12:59

Coast Guard rescues 3 from disabled shrimping vessel taking on water near Matagorda, Texas

The Coast Guard rescued three mariners aboard a disabled vessel taking on water near Matagorda, Texas, Monday morning. Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi watchstanders received a report of a disabled shrimping vessel that was taking on water approximately two miles from the Matagorda jetties. A Station Port O’Connor 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew was launched. The mariners contacted the command center via cellular phone and informed them that they would be abandoning the vessel. >click to read< 14:20

What Newfoundland and Labrador could learn from the worst offshore oil disaster in U.S. history

Marine scientist Donald Boesch says the controversy fuelled by recent oil spills off Canada’s East Coast has some “fairly interesting and striking comparisons” to his past work examining how the offshore (oil) industry is managed, as part of a U.S. inquiry into the Deepwater Horizon disaster.,,, Boesch says one of the most critical lessons the commission learned is that the U.S. agency overseeing offshore oil in the gulf had a conflict of interest built into its mandate.,,, Critics have accused the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB) of having a similar conflict. >click to read< 10:26

Fishermen warn Miss. Coast will pay steep price in new plan to save Louisiana wetlands

Fishermen in South Louisiana have a warning for the Mississippi Coast: If you think the Bonnet Carré Spillway has wreaked havoc in the Mississippi Sound, just wait until Louisiana gets permission for a new diversion of Mississippi River water.,,, Two scientific studies of three Mississippi River diversions already in place, the most recent out of Louisiana State University, document land loss. The state and big environmental groups are pressing ahead with the two proposed river diversions, expected to consume more than $2.2 billion in funds from the BP catastrophe in 2010. >click to read< 10:47

Florida Keys Eight no-fishing zones proposed in the Keys to protect threatened corals and marine life

Federal environmental regulators Tuesday unveiled major new proposals to protect marine life and corals that would limit fishing, restrict what cruise ships can dump at sea and regulate the boats on which many people live near shore.,,, And in a move that will likely cause controversy in the fishing industry, NOAA, the federal agency that oversees the waters surrounding the island chain, called for adding eight more zones in Keys waters where both commercial fishing) and recreational angling would be prohibited. >click to read< 10:12