Category Archives: Gulf of Mexico

What’s good for America?!!: Impact of Foreign Workers on American Jobs a Contentious Issue in US

The colossal impact of immigrant labor in the United States extends to Louisiana’s struggling fisheries. “I’ve been hiring workers from Mexico, Honduras and everywhere else for 20 years,” Dean Blanchard, president of Blanchard Seafood, Inc. George Barisich, a fisherman in the suburbs of New Orleans, Louisiana, draws a distinction between lawful and undocumented immigration. He voted twice for former President Donald Trump, who  championed restrictive immigration policies. Even so, Barisich agrees with Blanchard that immigrants play a vital role in his industry. “During shrimping season, we need legal immigrants to work in those factories,” he said. “It’s hard work, it’s decent pay, and it’s stuff young Americans just don’t want to do anymore.” >click to read< 11:05

Maryland Governor Calls for more HB-2 Visas – Governor Larry Hogan urged federal officials to make more H-2B Nonimmigrant Temporary Worker Program visas available to help protect Maryland’s $355 million seafood industry and supply chain. >click to read<

The host parish for Mid-Barataria diversion just voted 8-0 thumbs down against it – would destroy economy, culture

The Plaquemines Parish Council has decided to oppose Louisiana’s $2 billion plan to channel land-building sediment and nutrient-laden water from the Mississippi River,,, Members said the Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion project would destroy their parish’s seafood-based economy and culture. The 8-0 thumbs down from the governing authority in the project’s home parish marks an expected rebuke for Gov. John Bel Edwards, his coastal planners and their nonprofit advocates, who see Mid-Barataria as the flagship project in the state’s 50-year, $50 billion effort to stave off the disappearance of much of the bottom third of Louisiana into the Gulf of Mexico. >click to read< 11:13

Polluted water flowing into Tampa Bay could cause massive algae bloom, risking manatee and fish habitats

Millions of gallons of water laced with fertilizer ingredients are being pumped into Florida’s Tampa Bay from a leaking reservoir at an abandoned phosphate plant at Piney Point. As the water spreads into the bay, it carries phosphorus and nitrogen – nutrients that under the right conditions can fuel dangerous algae blooms that can suffocate sea grass beds and kill fish, dolphins and manatees. It’s the kind of risk no one wants to see, but officials believed the other options were worse. >click to read< 18:38

Supreme Court – Oystermen bemoan ‘disgraceful’ water wars decision

Shannon Hartsfield, a fourth-generation oysterman, fears debilitating drought in years to come after the Supreme Court yesterday found that Florida failed to show Georgia is cutting off south-flowing water. Hartsfield’s livelihood is in Apalachicola Bay, an estuary and lagoon along the Florida Panhandle that once hosted up to 400 bustling fishing boats. It is now closed to allow wild oyster reefs to regenerate after suffering through historically dry conditions in recent years that have slowed the inflows feeding the bay. Hartsfield, head of the Franklin County Seafood Workers Association, claims Georgia is also to blame for not allowing fresh water to flow down two rivers, past Atlanta’s suburbs and to the Gulf of Mexico. The Supreme Court disagreed. >click to read< 09:35

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against Florida In Water Fight

After years of legal battling, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously rejected a lawsuit in which Florida argued Georgia has used too much water in a river system shared by the states. The 12-page ruling dismissed the lawsuit that Florida filed in 2013 after the oyster fishery collapsed in Franklin County’s Apalachicola Bay. Florida contended that Georgia drew too much water in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint river system, which starts in northern Georgia and ends in Apalachicola Bay, and that more water should be directed to Florida. >click to read< >Supreme Court Ruling< 17:15

Garret Graves calls CARES Act funding for Louisiana fisheries a ‘slap in the face’

U.S. Congressman Garret Graves released the following statement regarding the $12,477,165 allocated to Louisiana fisheries to mitigate the economic hardships accrued by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Louisiana Sixth District Congressman is “baffled” only 4.9 percent of the available funds was provided to Louisiana despite being one of the top fisheries states in the nation. Last year, under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Louisiana received $14.7 million of the $300 million allocated. Rep. Graves’ statement >click to read< 21:00

LDWF Agent Completes Successful Search and Rescue Mission in the Gulf of Mexico

LDWF Senior Agent Matthew Perkins received a call around 3 p.m. about a shrimp boat that was taking on water off the coast of the Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge.  Perkins responded immediately in a 32-foot vessel with a CPSO deputy. Around 4 p.m., Perkins and the CPSO deputy found the shrimp boat and were able to rescue the three people on board.  They transported them back safely to shore with no injuries around 5 p.m. >click to read< 10:53

Back on the Bayou: Local shrimp boat blessings return after a year lost to COVID

In a decades-old tradition, Catholic churches in fishing communities throughout south Louisiana lead the blessings in hopes of a safe and prosperous shrimp season. This year, the Rev. Antonio Speedy of Holy Family Catholic Church said the Blessing of the Fleet in Bayou Grand Caillou will look more like normal but will still have to keep the pandemic in mind. “It will be mostly family units on the boats, and it’s an outdoor event, so there will be plenty of wind blowing around, but we still have to stay prudent.” >click to read< 10:02

Fishing industry unimpressed with Biden Harris’s NOAA/NMFS climate crisis notions. (Offshore Wind Farms, either!)

President Biden ordered NOAA to collect information from a wide range of groups on increasing the resilience of fisheries as part of his plan to address climate change and to protect 30% of U.S. ocean areas by the year 2030. The NOAA directive is included in the sweeping executive order Biden signed his first week in office that made “the climate crisis” a centerpiece of his presidency. “Fisheries, protected resources, habitats and ecosystem are being affected by climate change,” acting NOAA Fisheries chief Paul Doremus said at the beginning of yesterday’s conference call. >click to read< 07:55

Study shows three times as many Red Snapper as previously estimated in the Gulf of Mexico

The $12 million Great Red Snapper Count estimated that the Gulf holds about 110 million adult red snapper, those at least 2 years old. A 2018 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration marine fisheries’ estimate was about 36 million. Clay Porch, director of NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center Director in Miami, said peer reviewers will be going over the science for the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council, which is likely to consider revising quotas in April, Porch said Tuesday. >click to read< 14:24

Barataria Bay project seen to create 27 square miles of land, displace brown shrimp and oysters

“The fishing industry doesn’t see the payoff here. It’s going to kill us more than it’s going to help anything,” said Cooper, president of the Louisiana Shrimp Association. He said he feels as though the sparsely populated fishing communities of lower Plaquemines Parish, where the diversion is to be built, have been written off.,,  Louisiana’s proposal for Mid-Barataria calls for spending part of a $303 million chunk of mitigation money to help fishers adapt to the disruption in their lives and their bank accounts. But industry representatives doubt that the government’s analyses sufficiently assess the economic cost of such a drastic change to an industry that not only supplies seafood,,, >click to read< 10:12

Mississippi Commission on Marine Resources talk Bonnet Carré Spillway, CARES Act funding

Many fishermen got some help from that $1.5 million of CARES Act money that was granted to the state of Mississippi, with most of that going to the seafood industry. $734,222 of that money went to local commercial fishermen, $451,284 went to seafood dealers and processors, and $239,179 of it went to the charter boat fleet.,, At Tuesday’s Commission on Marine Resources meeting, Joe Spraggins, Department of Marine Resources executive director, explained the process of how $21 million in Bonnet Carré Spillway relief funding will get to those in the industry. >click to read< 18:25

A Chesapeake blue crab turned up on Dollymount Strand in Ireland

While the crab is not much to look at in terms of alien invaders, the National Biodiversity Data Centre has warned it is larger and more competitive than native crabs, and the female can lay up to six million eggs a year. Once in competition with the smaller Irish native crabs the American version – also known as the American blue crab, would be likely to take over, scientists fear. The appearance of the crab on Dollymount strand, where it was photographed last month by Ruth McManus, is the first recorded appearance of the crab on these shores. How it got here is a bit of a mystery, the centre says it hopes the “Dollymount One” is something of a one-off. >click to read< 15:40

From Oregon to Massachusetts, fishermen’s wives associations are the backbones of their communities

In spring 2020, the fishing community of Newport, Oregon, shuttered along with the rest of the country. A coronavirus outbreak at a local Pacific Seafood processing plant left fishermen sitting on docks with no buyers for their Dungeness crabs, while restaurants closed and families found themselves housebound. That’s when Taunette Dixon and her organization, the Newport Fishermen’s Wives, stepped in.,,, In Massachusetts, the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association was founded in 1969. “We were shore captains,” said Angela Sanfilippo. “We would make sure when the boats came in, they’d get everything they needed so they could go back out the next morning at 2.30. The wife would be responsible to make sure these things happened. As their wives, we knew more than them.” >click to read< 11:32

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 1995 60′ Steel Shrimper, Cat 3408, Fed Permit

To review specifications, information, and 10 photos>click here<, To see all the boats in this series >click here<12:02

Cortez: Net Spreads and Stilt Houses

This week a judge ruled that a famous stilt of the coast of A.P. Bell Fish Company in Sarasota Bay, must be removed. For more than a century, the people of Cortez have made a living harvesting seafood from Sarasota Bay. In the 1880s, the area was settled by five fisherman from Carteret County North Carolina – Charlie Jones, Jim Guthrie and three brothers, Billy, Nate and Sanford Fulford. Back then, Cortez was known as Hunter’s Point,,, The men had a vision, one where they would live off the sea and sell their catch at market. When their plan worked, a slew of relatives, all from Carteret County, followed them down,,, >click to read< 11:11

Commercial Fishing Captain Gregorio Rodriguez – Lived the American Dream

Captain Gregorio Rodriguez, a commercial fisherman in Key West of nearly 50 years, went home to the Lord peacefully in his home on Monday, March 1, 2021, in Key West, Florida at the age of 75. Gregory (Goyo to those who knew and loved him) was born in Mariel, Cuba in 1945 and came to the U.S. in 1961. In 1971 he started a life of fishing and never looked back. He loved his career and his boat F/V Trinity with all of his heart. He is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Maria Rodriguez, whose strength and care in his last days was remarkable. The love he had for his wife and the bond they shared was unheard of and the envy of many. >click to read< 17:36

Gina M. Raimondo Sworn in as 40th U.S. Secretary of Commerce

Gina M. Raimondo was sworn in as the 40th U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Secretary Raimondo was sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris after a bipartisan vote of 84-15 in the United States Senate. In her role as Secretary of Commerce, Raimondo will lead a key agency focused on promoting economic growth, >click to read<11:20

Cortez supporters scramble – Net camp gets 60-day reprieve.

Raymond Leslie Guthrie Jr., who has been been fighting since 2017 to save his net camp on Sarasota Bay at Cortez, has received a 60-day stay on removing the structure. Circuit Judge Ed Nicholas granted the stay Monday,,, Guthrie and his supporters are looking at their options, including trying to get a long-term lease on the property, or possibly working a deal with county government. “My preference would be a long-term lease for the Guthrie family,” said Karen Bell, Net camps, picturesque structures built offshore on stilts to store nets, >click to read< 08:53

Pink Gold – The next generation of shrimping comes into its own on San Carlos Island

They tie off and wait their turn to unload at the shrimp house owned by Erickson & Jensen, which has been on San Carlos Island since 1965. The shrimp house is a cavernous structure with plywood floors and an open ceiling. On this particular morning, an industrial fan in the corner blows hot air and a radio plays Savage Love by Jason Derulo. The cries of gulls and the clink of boat rigging can be heard from the wharf. Inside, the air smells of fresh shrimp, the scent of the sea. A small crew of day-pay workers mill around, smoking and looking at their phones. They are mostly men, their skin tanned and their faces lined from years spent near the water. At the center of the room stands Anna Erickson.  >click to read< 09:19

Wanda Carol Jentry – A Fisherman’s Wife

Surrounded by family, Wanda Carol Jentry, went to her forever home to be with our Lord after a brief battle with cancer. Wanda was born on November 5, 1945 in Birmingham, Alabama,,, Wanda married her high school sweetheart, David Jentry. Wanda and David joined her dad, Miller, in the commercial fishing industry that eventually led them to Washington and then on to Kodiak, Alaska in the late 70’s. Her passion for helping people, as well as, her love for being a fisherman’s wife led her to join Kodiak’s Fishermen’s Wives & Associates when she moved to Kodiak. She is survived by her husband of 55 years David Jentry, her children, grandchildren, family, and friends. >click to read< 21:03

Florida to Supreme Court: Ga’s excessive water use killing bay’s oysters

In the early 1980s, Steve Rash would drive across the bridges that ring Florida’s Apalachicola Bay and see fishing vessels so crammed together on the water that a person could walk from boat to boat. There were hundreds of oystermen using traditional wooden hand tongs to harvest the estuary’s culinary jewel. Business was good. As recently as 2008, one in every 10 residents of Franklin County held an oyster license. Together, they harvested roughly 10% of the country’s wild oysters. But all of that came crashing down in 2013, when the oyster population collapsed and never recovered. >click to read< 12:23

‘Mask police’: Commercial fishermen, watermen required to wear masks on boats via Biden, Coast Guard COVID orders

The U.S. Coast Guard is requiring masks be worn on commercial fishing boats and other vessels as part of President Joe Biden’s executive orders mandating face coverings on federally regulated transportation vehicles.,, Now, they are also going to be enforced on watermen and those working on fishing boats, according to the Coast Guard. U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md.-1st,  said mandating the mask on watermen and fishermen working outdoors is burdensome, goes against the science of how of and where COVID is spread and could require masks to be worn at all times on boats,  including while sleeping. >click to read< 19:10

Congressman Harris Asks for Clarification on Mask Mandate for Small Craft Fishing Vessels – The Coast Guard has issued guidance that all commercial fishing vessel occupants will be required to wear masks, and that they will enforce this mandate. >click to read<

Massive, unexplained bivalve die-off sends many Louisiana oystermen back to square one

Mitch Jurisich, a third-generation oysterman, dropped a long pair of oyster tongs into the Gulf of Mexico and lightly raked the water bottom. When he brought up his catch, all but one were dead. The more resilient hooked mussels, typically found clustered along the area’s oyster reefs, had suffered the same fate. The stench of rotting bivalves filled the air. “That’s the smell of death,” Jurisich said. Early this month, millions of pounds of oysters in leases that line Plaquemines Parish’s west bank were found dead, their mouths agape. It’s unclear why. >click to read< 10:15

Shrimp boat stranded by Hurricane Zeta a headache for all

The smell from the fuel spill on Friday, along with the noise from the clean-up, was annoying to residents who lived on the north side of the canal. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and the Coast Guard responded to the spill early Friday morning. The residents who live near the docks on a canal off of Old Fort Bayou said they have complained about the shrimp boats in the past to no avail. And that was before Hurricane Zeta left one of Benjamin Nguyen’s boats in one of the neighbor’s yards in October. For Nguyen, the storm killed his business of selling shrimp from the dock. >click to read< 08:44

Ostego Bay Foundation Working Waterfront Tour returns

The shrimping industry has been a staple of the economy on Fort Myers Beach and San Carlos Island for decades, bringing in hefty hauls of the popular seafood appetizer for restaurants local and far away. The Ostego Bay Foundation Working Waterfront Tour on Fort Myers Beach is back for the season and provides a closer glimpse of the shrimping business for those interested. The tour has been getting more visitors of late now that the winter season has picked up again. “The boats are very busy.” >click to read< 06:47

6 Ocean Priorities for the Biden Administration from the Environmentalist

Since President-elect Biden was voted into office last November, he and his team have been sharing what they want to accomplish in their first 100 days in office.,, In the midst of any political transition, it is easy for environmental issues to be pushed aside in the name of more “urgent” issues.  Fortunately, the new administration has given us promising signals that environmental action is high on their to-do list. Here are six things that must be prioritized in the coming weeks and months,,, >click to read< 09:48

As Commerce Secretary, Raimondo to play key role in offshore wind.

In the selection of Gina Raimondo as the next U.S. Secretary of Commerce, the offshore wind industry would get a champion in Washington. What influence she could bring to bear for the emerging energy sector remains to be seen, but if confirmed to her new position in the Biden cabinet, Raimondo would oversee federal fisheries regulators who have raised some of the concerns about potential negative impacts of erecting what could be many hundreds of wind turbines in the ocean waters off southern New England. >click to read<09:45

‘It scared me’: Olmito man shares story of dramatic rescue from shrimp boat off South Padre Island

An Olmito man is sharing his story after the Coast Guard rescued him and three others near the jetties at Boca Chica on Monday. Felipe Hernandez says he feels lucky to be alive. “The sea is incredible,” Hernandez said in Spanish. “It gives, but it takes.” A four-person crew had been taking advantage of the shrimping over the last few weeks. On Monday as they were heading back, they ran into dangerously high seas and a monster wave crashed into them. video, >click to read< , Coast Guard rescues 2 people from vessel taking on water near South Padre Island>click to read< 07:10

Longtime, devoted Galveston shrimper Joseph “Captain Joe,” Grillo dies

Joseph Anthony Grillo, a commercial shrimper for more than 50 years who fought for legislation to protect the island industry, died on Jan. 1 at his home. He was 89. Grillo, affectionately known as “Captain Joe,” was born Jan.10, 1931, in Apalachicola, Florida. He moved to Galveston with his family in 1940. Grillo was a loving family man, a hard-working commercial shrimper and devoted Roman Catholic, his family and friends say. Grillo purchased his shrimp boat, which he named Santa Maria, in 1952 and he and his wife operated it until they sold the boat at their retirement in 2003 to the Galveston Historical Foundation, which made it a part of its Texas Seaport Museum on Harborside Drive. >click to read< 09:55