Category Archives: Gulf of Mexico

Seadrift fishermen struggle with shrimp-sized market

Shrimping season arrived in May, but it didn’t bring renewed demand for Gulf shellfish. After restaurants began to close in March, demand for oysters tanked. Some oyster harvesters were able to scrape through the season, but Nevarez said shrimp season has been even bleaker. “After all these outbreaks we’ve been having, they’re probably going to start closing again,” she said of the restaurants that normally buy her husband’s shrimp. She said she’s encouraging her husband, a shrimper of 35 years, to begin considering alternate work. >click to read< 18:34

#FishermensLivesMatter: Until this pandemic is over, say no to fishery observers being placed on fishing vessels

On July 1st the Trump Administration’s agency, NOAA will require that fishing vessels resume taking fishery observers on their fishing trips. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic these activities have been suspended for almost three months due to the danger of spreading the deadly disease among the
fishing industry and their families. Fishery observers are required by National Marine Fishery Service regulations to observe commercial fishing operations in almost all of our countries fisheries based on various criteria that include likelihood of interaction with marine mammals or other protected species, amount of bycatch in each fishery, adherence to regulations, and anything else they can justify to support this huge taxpayer money gobbling con game they have created. >click to read< by Jim Lovgren #FishermensLivesMatter 22:27

An East Coast Perspective on Coronavirus Impacts

This was initially to be about how the New Jersey commercial fishing industry was coping with the coronavirus crisis. However, there is a seemingly infinite number of websites running commentaries on the national and/or international aspects of the ongoing pandemic in general and, surprisingly, as it specifically applies to and as it affects commercial fishing and the seafood industry. Considering this, sharing more than an overview of what the New Jersey industry, or at least that part of it that I have been in touch with, would probably not have much of an impact. But happily, at this point it seems that U.S. consumers aren’t really as averse to preparing quality seafood at home (when it isn’t available or is only limitedly available elsewhere) as most of us have believed. >click to read< By Nils Stolpe 12:05

Software Engineer Gets Federal Prison For Stealing Fishing Spot Info From Escambia County Company

Timothy J. Smith, 43, of Mobile, was sentenced to 18 months in prison in United States District Court in Pensacola on charges of theft of trade secrets and interstate extortionate communications. Strikeline, the victim in the case, is a Pensacola based company that uses commercial side scan sonar equipment to locate fishing reefs in the Gulf of Mexico and sells the coordinates using an interactive map on their website. StrikeLines also provides public coordinates for free to those interested in finding valuable spots to fish in the Gulf. >click to read< 08:31

Captain Robert Lee Pash, Sr.

Captain Robert Lee “Bobby” Pash, 64, of Rockport, TX passed away on June 17th, 2020 surrounded by family after battling with the lung disease Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.  Bobby was born on January 20th, 1956 to Harry and Mildred (Armstrong) Pash in Freeport, IL. He moved with his family to Rockport-Fulton, TX at a young age, where he spent the remainder of his life. Bobby was a lifetime commercial fisherman and spent most of his days on the water shrimping and bait fishing. He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Susan “Sue”, his four sons, and grandsons, >click to read< 18:41

My buddy, the fishin’ mortician

During the past several years, I’ve had the opportunity to fish with my friend Trey Schmidt many times. Trey has a coveted ‘fin fish’ licenses on the Texas coast. He spends 3 nights each week ‘gigging’ for flounder; the majority he sells to Nates West End Bar and Grill, a popular ‘off the beaten path’ restaurant just west of Jamaica Beach on the road heading from Galveston to Freeport. Trey can also harvest sheepshead (a great eating but often overlooked saltwater fish) stingray, crabs and a few other species. Trey’s ‘day job’ the remainder of the week is the funeral business. His family has been in the funeral business in Katy for over 70 years. My friend takes great pride in his work, regardless if that is comforting a grieving family or ‘gigging’ his daily limit of flounder. >click to read< 11:27

Body of missing shrimper recovered from Lake Barre

Authorities identified the body as 36-year-old Thinh Quoc, of Houma. Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol deputies worked with other agencies Thursday to find Quoc, who was a crewman of the shrimp boat “Miss Sue,” authorities said. Quoc was reported missing Wednesday night in the waters of Lake Barre. His body was spotted in Lake Barre at about 5:09 p.m. and recovered, then brought to shore by a Water Patrol boat, the Sheriff’s Office said. >click to read< 11:49

UPDATED: Coast Guard searches for man who jumped from commercial fishing vessel in Lake Barre, Louisiana

The Coast Guard is searching for a person in the water in Lake Barre, Louisiana, Thursday. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a report at approximately 9 p.m. Wednesday evening of a 36-year-old male who had jumped off the commercial fishing vessel Miss Sue.  -USCG- 11:45

Updated reportCoast Guard, Terrebonne Parish Sheriff searching for missing shrimper in Lake Barre – According to the sheriff, the shrimper went missing around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. When deputies arrived water patrol deputies made contact with the captain of the vessel, “Miss Sue,” who confirmed that the individual was gone from the boat, and a search had begun which lasted through the night and continued in to Thursday morning. >click to read< 13:20

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

Fighting for fishermen on a bi-partisan, bi-coastal basis during Coronavirus crisis – Senator Ed Markey

Restaurants have shuttered and large export markets have been disrupted. Fishermen have lost access to critical points of sale and sources of income. With a decreased demand for fresh seafood, many boats sit idle in port. Meanwhile, boat payments are due and families need to be fed. In the U.S. Senate, I have been fighting on a bipartisan basis alongside Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Alaska senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan to secure dedicated economic assistance for the fishing and seafood industries in COVID-19 economic relief packages. Thankfully, this bi-coastal effort got results. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted into law on March 27, included $300 million in assistance for fishery participants and $9.5 billion for affected agricultural producers. >click to read< 12:22

Coast Guard medevacs Fisherman 131 miles west of Venice

The Coast Guard medevaced a man with a reported moray eel bite from a fishing vessel 131 miles west of Venice, Florida Sunday. A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew responded to the call and safely transported the 23-year-old man to Tampa General Hospital in stable condition. Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg watchstanders received a mayday call at approximately 9 p.m. Sunday from the captain of the fishing vessel Miss Gail. A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater C-130 Hercules aircrew also responded. >click to watch< 10:04

“This community is very resilient” – Coronavirus doesn’t stop 91st annual Blessing of the Fleet in Biloxi

It’s going to take more than a tropical storm and a worldwide pandemic to stop the Blessing of the Fleet in Biloxi. On Sunday, the 91st annual event took place with a few changes, including one that brought back a tradition to the tradition. Normally, the holy water comes from a much bigger boat, but this year because of COVID-19 concerns, it was launched from the stern of the Terri Lynn – the shrimp boat of this year’s Shrimp King Eddie Rhodes. “It’s a big honor to have everybody on it,” he said. “This doesn’t usually happen.” >click to read< 08:29

Biloxi, Mississippi: The 91st annual Blessing of the Fleet is happening Sunday!

After being pushed back a week due to bad weather, the 91st Blessing of the Shrimp Fleet takes place Sunday. The 91st Blessing of the Fleet is set to start at 2 p.m. in the Biloxi Channel when they drop the Memorial Wreath to honor deceased fishermen. Boats will form in the west end of the Biloxi Channel near the Beau Rivage and the parade will float east. The Committee encourages the boat owners from St. Michael, Vietnamese Martyrs and Blessed Seelos churches and the community to come out and celebrate this long-standing tradition in Biloxi. >video, click to read< 17:30

Fishermen’s Superstition’s: No bananas! No Whistling! But above all, it’s bad luck to be superstitious!

Luke Whittaker set out to learn whether there are superstitions that live on among local fishermen. Here’s what he heard. Jerry Matzen III, commercial fishermen “Hang your coffee cup mouth towards the stern so you don’t sink. And no whistling in the wheelhouse or cabin — otherwise you’ll whistle up a storm, like we are having today. I learned the coffee cup one from Kerry Suomela Sr. when I worked on the F/V Southern Cross and it always stuck with me.” Tim Teall, commercial fishermen “Well, to begin with, you never want to paint your boat green because it’ll beach itself in a storm. Never set a coffee cup or a bucket on the boat upside down — the boat will roll over! Don’t whistle in the wheelhouse, because it’ll make it get windy out. But above all, it’s bad luck to be superstitious!” >9 photos, click to read<10:41

Golden and Graves introduce bi-partisan legislation to make disaster relief funds available to fishermen

In a bipartisan effort, Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) and Rep. Garret Graves (R-Louisiana) on Thursday introduced legislation to make additional disaster relief available to thousands of fishermen whose businesses are harmed by a pandemic. The legislation would amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation Act to allow fisheries disasters to be declared due to pandemic, such as Coronavirus. My bipartisan bill with Congressman Graves would make pandemics an allowable reason to declare a fisheries disaster, opening up a process to direct federal relief funds to affected fishing communities. >click to read< 11:55

Coast Guard medevacs Fisherman 10 miles west of Hernando Beach

The Coast Guard medevaced a man with severe abdominal pain from a fishing vessel 10 miles west of Hernando Beach, Florida Thursday. A Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew responded to the call and safely transported the 49-year-old man to Tampa General Hospital in stable condition. Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg watchstanders received a VHF marine radio call on channel 16 at approximately 10:44 p.m. Wednesday from the fishing vessel Morning Star. Video, >click to watch/read< 19:00

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

Oregon Fishing Industry Tells Lawmakers Of Economic Hardships – Murkowski pushes for an another Billion in federal fisheries relief funds

The coronavirus has hit Oregon’s commercial fishing industry hard. That was the message to state lawmakers during a recent meeting of the House Interim Committee on Natural Resources. Anthony Dal Ponte is with Pacific Seafood, which is based in Clackamas and has several facilities on the Oregon coast. He said the company had to lay off more than 500 employees after their restaurant and hospitality industry markets dried up virtually overnight. >click to read<  Meanwhile, Murkowski pushes for an additional $1 billion in federal fisheries relief funds – Additional money could    be on the way for the fishing industry. Senator Lisa Murkowski said that she is working to add more fisheries funding in the next round of pandemic relief legislation. “As we think about the impact to our fisheries, $50 million is not going to be sufficient to address the need,” she said. “I have been working with colleagues to urge us in this next round of relief to include $1 billion in fishery assistance funds.” >click to read< 15:07

Convicted killer granted new hearing

A Dulac man convicted by a split jury five years ago in the shooting death of a shrimp boat captain has been granted a new hearing. On a 10-2 verdict, Richard Verdin Jr., 36, was convicted on Oct. 15, 2015 of second-degree murder of 49-year-old shrimp boat captain Hun Vo. According to authorities, Verdin was arguing with other men over a drug transaction, but the victim was not involved in the dispute. The Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call on June 24, 2012, regarding a man who was shot to death on a docked shrimp boat at Jensen’s Seafood in Dulac. The victim, identified as Vo, died from a single gunshot wound to the chest, the Sheriff’s Office said. >click to read< 12:15

Family will carry on Captain Ben’s legacy

Ben Nguyen, known as Captain Ben, died unexpectedly three weeks ago at the age of 49. His family was faced with the shock of his loss as the opening of shrimp season was bearing down, but they were determined to honor his legacy. “We knew we had to make him proud,” said his daughter Amanda, “So that’s why we had to pick back up and just get going.” After years of working as a deckhand, and doing other enterprises, Captain Ben had built a fleet of eight shrimp and crab boats. Two years ago, he bought a small dock in St. Martin, Miss. where he sold seafood year-round. He left behind his wife, Trina, and three children, daughters Amanda, and Taylor, and son, Ben, who were determined to continue his legacy. Video, >click to read< 14:42

Alabama: Shrimpers having tough spring season

The COVID-19 global pandemic has caused the price of shrimp paid to fishermen to plummet, causing many to stay home. Those who are on the water say they are not having much luck finding shrimp. The season began on Monday, May 18, and only a sparse number of boats can be seen dotting the waters. Dock operators and shrimpers say COVID-19 caused restaurants to sell few shrimp, and this has meant processors haven’t moved much product. The low demand for new shrimp has dropped the normal $1.85 per pound for larger shrimp down to $1.05. Smaller shrimp, normally fetching near a dollar per pound, has dropped below $.50. Morris Liner, a shrimper of 42 years, said that the windfall that the lower oil prices could have brought has not materialized. >click to read< 11:14

NOAA – Their mission

Back in the sixties when I was fishing with my dad we would fish about a one hundred miles east of New Bedford for whiting in the spring. We had a ninety foot dragger. And there were Russian vessels there that were three hundred foot  and they were using a small mesh net that caught everything in the water. At the time there was no 200 mile limit. The Russians and other foreign vessels could come into our waters and were restricted to within fifteen miles of our coast. Today  no one knows how much damage they did but our fisherman would eventually pay the price. Finally in 1978, we enacted the 200 mile limit. That was great so we thought, but we created a monster. That being NOAA. >click to read< Thank You, Sam Parisi 08:52

“I’m in fear of my livelihood,” “They really don’t listen to us.” Florida shortens stone crab season over industry objections

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said the shortened season and other new limits are necessary to sustain Florida stone crabs,,,    The agency’s scientists said many crabs don’t survive their claws being removed, and crabs have been overharvested since the late 1990s. Its data, challenged as inaccurate by the industry, showed the fewest pounds of stone crab claws harvested since 1986 during the season that ended last year.  Wholesale claw prices in some areas have tanked from low demand, as diners avoid restaurants and consumers reduce spending amid concerns about the economy. The commission said Gov. Ron DeSantis may reduce the amount of money crabbers must pay for next season’s trap certificates as part of a crab-industry bailout related to the virus. >click to read or listen< 15:14

Eight Projects Selected for S-K Funding – Here we go again! Fisherman get the shaft, thanks to NOAA

To those fisherman who put in an application for Saltonstall-Kennedy Program Funding money, I feel badly for you who were not selected. Again, NOAA gave the money to universities, foundations, and other special interests and not you, who it should be for. Unfortunately for those who applied, this has been going on for years under NOAA’s selection of those that apply. I believe when authored by Senators Leverett Saltonstall (R-Mass.) and John F. Kennedy (D-Mass.) in 1954 to promote and market domestic seafood, that they didn’t think our fisherman would be left out. Two years ago, I was chosen by NOAA to serve on a panel to review those who applied.,, by Sam Parisi, >click to read< including the press release. 19:12

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

DOC Secretary Ross Allocates $88 Million in Fishery Disaster Funding for Fishing Communities Affected by 2019 Bonnet Carre Spillway Opening

Today, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the allocation of $88 million in fishery disaster funding to Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, where a catastrophic regional fishery disaster occurred due to extreme freshwater flooding in 2019 associated with the unprecedented opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway. “The Department of Commerce stands with our U.S. fishing communities, especially in times of hardship,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “These funds will help industries and individuals recover from this disaster, and build resilience for the future.” >click to read< 16:22

Over $21.3 million in federal fishery disaster funds allocated to Mississippi>click to read<

In the Coronavirus Economy, Texas’ Commercial Fishermen Are Barely Treading Water

Most of Texas’ commercial fishermen have seen similar struggles. As has been the case across food industries, the pandemic’s economic fallout on Gulf Coast commercial anglers and local wholesalers brought their boats and operations ashore like a summer storm. Their financial livelihoods and the industry’s future, as well as generations of rich commercial fishing tradition, are at stake. Without restaurants, in other words, seafood demand plummets. Commercial angler Buddy Guindon, who co-owns Katie’s Seafood Market with his wife, Katie, says their operation in Galveston felt the pandemic’s impact almost immediately. When local restaurants mostly closed up shop, they were forced to cut their employees’ fishing trips short. >click to read< 10:00

Trump Executive Order Opens the Door for Massive Industrial Fish Farms in Oceans

Last week, the Trump administration announced an executive order opening the door for large-scale fish farming. That order, as reported by the Food and Environment Reporting Network (FERN), is designed at its core to expand the scope and facilities for aquaculture. What that likely means is a reduction in regulations, and the creation of large offshore fish farms.,, While offshore fish farms would be a boon to major seafood corporations, smaller fishermen would be harmed by it in several ways. Those environmental effects could deplete the health of wild waters, which fishermen depend on. They could also flood the market with cheaper farmed fish, harming the demand for more sustainably caught seafood.  >click to read< 08:04

CARES Act Stimulus: Funding process for Florida Keys fishermen slowly unfolds

Both commercial and for-hire fishermen in the Florida Keys hit hard by the economic shutdown spurred by the novel coronavirus may apply to receive a portion of $23.6 million allocated to the state through the CARES Act Stimulus. Of the $300 million slugged for federal fisheries’ assistance, Florida is to receive about 12.7%, or the fourth largest share behind Alaska, Washington and Massachusetts. While Capt. Bill Kelly, executive director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association, says the Keys fisheries have been slighted, he remains optimistic about the upcoming lobster season. NOAA will administer the funds through the interstate marine fisheries arms. For here, that’s the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which will, in turn, contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to identify and establish a plan for fishermen to apply for funds. >click to read< 11:44

Coast Guard searching for a fisherman in the water offshore Marsh Island, Louisiana

The Coast Guard is searching for a person in the water offshore Marsh Island, Louisiana, Monday. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a report at about 3 a.m. that a 52-year-old male was missing from the crew of commercial fishing vessel Guiding Light 3, approximately 18 nautical miles south of Marsh Island, Louisiana. He is presumed to have fallen overboard. Involved in the search: Coast Guard Cutter Skipjack, Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-65 Dolphin Helicopter aircrew, Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew -USCG- U.S. Coast Guard 8th District Heartland Contact: 8th District Public Affairs, Office: (504) 671-2020 ,After Hours: (618) 225-9008