Category Archives: Gulf of Mexico

Conceived in a boat, born on the river: Mullet fishing is in Lonnie Head’s blood

At 79 and a fourth-generation Old Homosassa fisherman, Lonnie Head knows the waters of the canals and rivers and the gulf by heart. Still strong as an ox, he still goes out mullet fishing a few times a week in a boat he built himself, pulling in his nets full of fish like they’re weightless. Before the net ban in 1994 took away much of his and other commercial fishermen’s livelihood, Head fished nearly every day. “Fishing was all there was to do,” he said. “All Homosassa was was a fishing village … I started fishing with my daddy when I was 7 years old or younger. >click to read<09:01

Coast Guard searches for fisherman overboard 100 miles south of Cameron, Louisiana

The Coast Guard is searching for a 55 year-old man who reportedly fell overboard approximately 100 miles south of Cameron, Louisiana, Monday morning. Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston watchstanders received a communications relay from the captain of the fishing vessel Captain Edwin at approximately 3 a.m. reporting that a crewmember had fallen overboard off a nearby fishing vessel, the Captain Kent, while it was at anchor. It was also reported that the man was not wearing a life jacket. -USCG- 12:56

Looking for contacts in America of fishermen or fisherwomen who were affected by the Gulf of Mexico spill and it’s aftermath

G’day to my American Brothers from the land Down Under. I’m currently looking for contacts in America of fishermen or fisherwomen who were affected by the Gulf of Mexico spill and it’s aftermath. What I’m looking for is people willing to provide first hand accounts about the impact the spill had on your businesses, your fishery, The environment, Local communities and Local Economies. The reason I ask is because I am planning to lodge a stakeholder submission to our local Council here in Port Lincoln, South Australia. Norwegian based Statoil/Equinor are pressing ahead to deep water drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight,,, Fisherman Scott Jansons >click to read<11:14

Rolls-Royce Inks it’s Largest Ever Fishing Vessel Contract

Rolls-Royce Marine said it has signed a contract with Thoma-Sea Marine Constructors, L.L.C. in Louisiana for the development of a 100-meter-long trawler to be built for the Seattle based company Arctic Storm Management Group, LLC. In addition to being the largest fishing vessel contract to date for Rolls-Royce with a value of about £15 million, it also marks the first Rolls-Royce fishing vessel concept to be built at a U.S. shipyard. Rolls-Royce has been working closely with the owner, Arctic Storm, in developing this latest design, and the vessel will be equipped with a processing plant for fillet, surimi, fishmeal and fish oil. It will also be able to accommodate a crew of more than 150 people. >click to read<22:19

Hundreds of upset shrimpers pack Houma meeting

“We are on the bottom. It’s time to stand up and say we are not going to be on the bottom anymore,” says a shrimper. Passionate shrimpers packed a Louisiana Shrimp Association meeting. All of them were asking for help. “The prices of these shrimp are unbelievably low. It’s the worse I’ve ever seen or heard of,” says Troy Parria. The shrimpers say the industry is struggling to stay afloat with prices as low as 40 cents a pound. “We just need a price our shrimp to make a fair honest living that’s all we ask for,” says Parria. They say import prices are forcing the prices of locally caught shrimp to be extremely low. Video, >click to read<15:06

Mississippi Shrimp season gets underway with more than 250 boats lowering nets

Over 250 shrimp boats scoured the Mississippi Sound early Wednesday morning as the 2018 shrimp season officially got underway. Mississippi Department of Marine Resources officials conducted an aerial survey and found 254 boats lowering their nets in search of their first catch of the season. “We talked to the fishermen and early reports show moderate-to-low numbers of 40-50 count brown shrimp,”  >click to read<14:30

Take shrimper’s concerns seriously

Fourteen years ago Louisiana shrimpers joined those from other Gulf states and pooled their money — along with processors and dock owners — to pay millions of dollars in legal fees to bring a case for tariffs to the U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission. The punitive tariffs that were approved, after this costly battle, were the result of findings that China and other nations were dumping shrimp into the U.S. at a below-market price or subsidizing the industry in some nations. The tariffs did some good but not enough. There is ample proof that shrimp were routed through other countries not contending with tariffs to defeat the process. The result has been more shrimp often raised in unsanitary farms and containing chemicals banned in the European Union but allowed in certain thresholds at U.S. docks.  >click to read<17:01

Help sought from a higher authority to help shrimping crisis

Local shrimp fishermen and dealers say the industry’s prices are locally hitting some of the lowest points in nearly a decade, and warning of a market collapse if some kind of help is not forthcoming. What kind of help will do the most good has not been settled, but the industry’ voices will speak 4 p.m. Friday at the Lennox Hotard American Post at 602 Legion Drive in Houma. Among confirmed attendees is U.S. Sen. John Kennedy R-La. “I hope he can sit with us before the meeting so that we can explain what is going on with us,” said Louisiana Shrimp Association President Acey Cooper. Angela Portier of Chauvin,,, “We want to know if there Is anything he can do to help, is there anything he can do to help raise our shrimp prices,” she said. “We need a direct line to President Trump >click to read<09:39

Shrimpers pressured by import prices, seek legislative change

Charles Robin the third comes from a long line of commercial shrimpers. Robin said the shrimping community is struggling to stay afloat. “The way it is right now you gotta catch a boatload of shrimp every trip. If you don’t, you don’t even pay the bills. That’s all we’re doing is staying above water,” Robin said. Local fisherman say import prices are forcing them to lower prices.,, On top of competing with import prices, shrimpers are also forking out money to upkeep their boats. >click to read<09:56

Mississippi says commercial speckled trout catch underreported, ends season

Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Executive Director Joe Spraggins announced Tuesday that the second half of the state’s commercial fishing season for speckled trout, a much-sought species along the Gulf Coast, won’t happen. That’s because officials believe commercial fishermen didn’t fully report their catches from the first half of the season. Spokeswoman Melissa Scallan said the closure doesn’t affect recreational and charter fishermen, who must adhere to certain size limits for speckled trout. Normally, Mississippi has two seasons in state waters for the saltwater fish — one from Feb. 1 through May 31 and another running from June 1 to Oct. 31. >click to read<10:22

Subtropical Storm Alberto Public Advisory

At 730 PM CDT (0030 UTC), the center of Subtropical Storm Alberto was located near latitude 28.4 North, longitude 85.7 West. The storm is moving toward the northwest near 10 mph (17 km/h). A northwest to north-northwest motion with some decrease in forward speed is expected overnight. A north-northwestward to northward motion is expected Monday through Wednesday. On the forecast track, the center of Alberto will move over the northern Gulf of Mexico tonight and cross the northern Gulf Coast in the warning area on Monday. Alberto is expected to move inland into the Tennessee Valley on Tuesday and into the Ohio Valley on Wednesday. Maximum sustained winds are near 65 mph (100 km/h) with higher gusts. Little additional strengthening is expected before Alberto reaches the northern Gulf Coast. >click to read<21:13

Subtropical Storm Alberto Public Advisory

At 800 AM EDT (1200 UTC), the center of Subtropical Storm Alberto was located near latitude 26.3 North, longitude 84.4 West. The storm is moving toward the north near 15 mph (24 km/h). A turn toward the north-northwest at a slower forward speed is forecast tonight. A north-northwestward to northward motion is expected Tuesday through early Wednesday. On the forecast track, the center of Alberto will cross the eastern and northern Gulf of Mexico today and approach the northern Gulf Coast in the warning area tonight or Monday. Heavy rainfall and tropical storm conditions will likely reach the northern Gulf Coast well before the arrival of the center of Alberto. Alberto is expected to move northward into the Tennessee Valley on Tuesday and Wednesday. >click to read<08:24

2017 Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries

NOAA Fisheries NMFS is pleased to present the 2017 Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries managed under the science-based framework established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA). The 2017 report highlights the work toward the goal of maximizing fishing opportunities while ensuring the sustainability of fisheries and fishing communities. Due to the combined efforts of NOAA Fisheries, the eight regional fishery management councils, and other partners, three previously overfished stocks were rebuilt and the number of stocks listed as overfished is at a new all-time low. >click to read<16:04

Senate Should Confirm Barry Myers to Lead NOAA

NOAA – the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – needs its leader! President Trump nominated Barry Lee Myers, the CEO of AccuWeather, to the post in mid-October. The Senate Commerce Committee has twice advanced Myers’ nomination to the full Senate. All that’s needed to fill this important job is a majority vote on the Senate floor, which both Democrats and Republicans expect to happen. Unfortunately, partisan politics keeps getting in the way, delaying the vote. >click to read<10:06

Zinke Tells Panel Definitive Word on Offshore Drilling Plan Months Away

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Thursday reiterated that no new oil and gas exploration will be allowed off the Florida coast, but said the Trump administration’s plans for other offshore areas won’t be announced until the fall. Zinke appeared before the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Thursday to discuss a wide range of budgetary issues. But his talk with lawmakers hit a rough patch when Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., grilled him over the Interior Department’s plans to open up waters around the U.S. for oil exploration. >click to read<20:13

Texas Man Claims Cocaine Came with His Fishing License

Being a game warden is an interesting job. A warden just never knows who or what they’ll encounter while out on the job, even on something as simple as a license check. In the Texas Game Warden’s latest roundup of interesting items from warden reports is a particularly peculiar report. An unnamed Willacy County warden came upon an unnamed angler at Port Mansfield’s Stone Pier. As per standard procedure, the warden asked to see the man’s fishing license. This is where things got interesting. >click to read< 11:06

Fishermen roll out for early Louisiana inshore shrimp season

It began as a trickle of boats late Saturday and early Sunday, heading out to favorite shrimp-hunting spots in the lakes and bays of Terrebonne and Lafourche, where they waited for the time to lower nets like horses at their starting gates. Then at 6 a.m. Monday the booms splayed out and the trawl doors splashed, marking the start of the 2018 Louisiana inshore shrimp season. Until now they called it the “May season.” when brown shrimp were moving from estuaries toward the Gulf of Mexico, and it would be one span of a few weeks in which to catch them. >click to read<09:00

Dan Webster’s Sustainable Shark and Fisheries Trade Act Championed in Senate by Marco Rubio, Lisa Murkowski

At the end of last week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, announced they would champion in the Senate U.S. Rep. Dan Webster’s, R-Fla., proposal for the U.S. Commerce Department to increase regulation on the international shark trade. Last month, Webster, who is the vice chairman on the U.S. House Water Power and Oceans Subcommittee, unveiled the “Sustainable Shark and Fisheries Trade Act” which modifies the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act. The proposal has support from both sides of the aisle,,, >click to read<09:50

The Texas Oyster Industry Is Now a Shell of Itself

It’s the first day of Texas oyster season, and Galveston Bay is packed with so many boats that 33-year-old Captain Joaquin Padilla decides to post a video of them on Facebook, adding a side-eye emoji as comment. Padilla has been on the water with his little crew since sunup, steering his boat, the Miss Kosovare, in languid circles, dragging his dredge—a chain and metal basket about the size of a basking shark’s mouth—over the oyster reefs below. His is one of about 150 trawlers out this November day, harvesting bivalves from the limited wild reefs on the bottom of Galveston Bay, right in Houston’s backyard. Out on the water, Padilla sticks with a smaller group of about ten boats that all belong to his buddies and family—his father, uncle, brother-in-law, and cousins all make a living oystering, too. >click to read<20:31

Coast Guard medevacs 66-year-old man from fishing boat 40 miles southwest of Fort Myers Beach

The Coast Guard medevaced a 66-year-old man from a 90-foot fishing boat 40 miles southwest of Fort Myers Beach, Thursday. Rescued was Alfredo Simon, 66, from Fort Myers.  At 2:44 a.m. Sector St. Petersburg watchstanders received a call via VHF-FM marine band radio channel 16 reporting Simon was suffering from symptoms of a heart attack aboard the 90-foot fishing boat, Double E. A flight surgeon recommended Simon be medevaced. A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boatcrew from Station Fort Myers Beach was launched, arrived on scene and transported Simon to the station. -USCG-10:43

Commercial Fishing in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone – What was being caught and where back to 1950

What is the status of commercial fishing in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, the waters from 3 to 200 miles off our coastline? Generally speaking – something that the “bureaucrats in charge” have developed a great deal of facility in doing – it’s pretty good. Since the National Marine Fisheries Service started getting serious about tracking commercial landings (or at making those landings readily accessible) in 1950, the total weight of our domestic landings has increased from 4.9 billion to 9.8 billion pounds. The value of those landings, when corrected for inflation, has increased from $3.3 billion to $5.2 billion, almost as good. Nils E. Stolpe/FishNet USA >click to read<17:03

Thousands of cleanup workers that claim BP oil spill made them sick haven’t had day in court

In the sea of fines, fees and compensation BP has paid to individuals, businesses, governments and lawyers for its 2010 oil spill, one group of claimants stands out for missing out on the billions.,,, Another claimant is shrimper George Barisich. He received compensation for his seafood business losses under a separate settlement, and he filed a claim for a chronic illness from exposure to the oil and chemical dispersants used to break up oil particles in the Gulf. “There’s no justice here for people who actually worked, went out there to clean up their mess,, >click to read<12:49

The Sting – Houston restaurants, fish markets cited for illegally purchasing game fish

Nineteen Houston-area restaurants and fish markets have racked up more than 150 citations after they were caught illegally purchasing game fish from undercover officers during a recently completed sting, officials announced Tuesday. A two-year operation conducted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s law enforcement division found that the restaurants and fish markets were willing to bypass legitimate commercial fish dealers and purchase saltwater fish in the black market. Those fish included sea trout, red drum (redfish), red snapper, Southern flounder, black drum, catfish and croaker. >click to read<18:21

Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meeting in Gulfport, MS April 16 – 20, 2018

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will meet April 16 – 20, 2018 at the Marriott Courtyard hotel, located at 1600 E. Beach Boulevard, Gulfport, MS 39501. The Committee and Council Agendas and meeting materials are posted on the Council website at www.gulfcouncil.org. Meeting materials will be posted as they become available. Council meetings are open to the public and are broadcast live over the internet. Register for the webinar. >click to read<14:49

The Business of Lobster

With one of the fastest growing economies, and an exploding middle class that extends onto the mainland, the Chinese have developed a taste for the better things in life – and Florida lobster is surely one of them. For the lobster, this was the culmination of a 9,000 mile journey – a journey that in recent years has transformed the commercial fishing industry in Florida. Before the Chinese started buying their lobsters, the fishermen of the Florida Keys were getting just $3 a pound for their catch. Boat captains from Key West to Miami were struggling to survive. >click to read< 12:24

Coast Guard medevacs injured fisherman near Texas City, Texas

The Coast Guard medevaced an injured fisherman off the 44-foot fishing vessel Donnie J near the Texas City Dike, Thursday morning. Coast Guard Sector Houston-Galveston watchstanders received a request from a crewmember aboard the Donnie J for a medevac after the vessel’s captain was injured due to being struck in the head by gear onboard the vessel. The Donnie J had a two person crew and needed an experienced boat driver to navigate the vessel back to port. A Station Galveston crewmember was placed onboard to safely transit the Donnie J to Pier 21 in Galveston. -USCG- 16:12

SHELL GAME

Saving Florida’s oysters is a shell game. The right answer is under three domes. Try to follow while the cups whizz by, shifting, swirling. Shell 1: An empty oyster bay. Unemployment. Poverty. But also history. Culture. Shell 2: A slick farming industry that could render the Florida oysterman finally, permanently extinct. Shell 3: The government, doling out money and regulations that might do more harm than good. In a place where everybody’s livelihood is yoked to the water, you have to follow the shells. T.J. Ward was born the year after his grandfather had the throat cancer surgery. T.J. never heard his natural voice. The seaman’s single clap would cut through the salt air on the docks of Apalachicola louder than words could. >click to read<15:00

Bayou Region Shrimpers hope blessings are on the way

A blessing of boats in Chauvin Sunday marked the continuation of a sacred tradition in the Bayou Region, as anticipation grows for word that the fleets of various communities can move out onto the water and lower their nets. If preliminary estimates continue on their course, that could happen sooner than later. Biologists for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries reported at a meeting last week that early tests show the potential for a sizeable crop this year. >click to read<10:18

Omega Protein launches largest vessel in Louisiana, F/V Vermilion

Omega Protein is pleased to announce the launch of its newest and largest fishing vessel operating in Louisiana, the F/V Vermilion, to start the 2018 Gulf of Mexico fishing season. The Vermilion marks a significant upgrade to the company’s fleet with state-of-the-art technology and safety features that will improve worker safety and increase efficiency. It is the latest investment made by the company in its gulf fishing communities. >click to read<09:22

Palacios job fair hopes to fill needed shrimping positions

The shrimping season is around the corner and thousands of shrimpers will be clamoring for jobs on shrimp boats throughout the Texas Gulf Coast. However, finding enough workers to take those jobs may prove harder this year than last. With that in mind, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold have scheduled a job fair for April 10 from 9 a.m. to noon in Palacios to fill dozens of jobs. In the past, the shrimping industry relied on H2B visas to hire foreign workers for seasonal shrimping jobs. Farenthold has teamed with the TWC to fill these jobs with as many Americans as possible due to a high demand for H2B visas. >click to read<17:17