Category Archives: Gulf of Mexico

Coronavirus: Letter from 200+ US seafood industry stakeholders to Trump Administration

March 24, 2020, Dear President Trump.  We write as participants in America’s seafood supply chain, a critical component of the country’s domestic food infrastructure and one of the major economic drivers in our country’s coastal communities and states. Empty restaurants, cafes, and dining halls are a visible reminder of the ongoing, unprecedented public health efforts to blunt the spread of COVID-19. The livelihoods of the chefs, cooks, servers, and other staff are obvious and direct casualties of those government efforts. The economic disruption caused by forced restaurant closures and active encouragement for Americans to “shelter in place,” however, extend far beyond the food service sector. >click to read< 19:37

Coronavirus: Fishing coalition seeks $4B in federal aid to cover lost restaurant sales

Commercial fishing industry members say they’re trying to stay afloat while the demand for fish dwindles as restaurants are reduced to take-out only amidst the coronavirus health crisis. Saving Seafood, a national coalition of seafood harvesters that includes New Jersey members, is now turning to the federal government for $4 billion in financial help.  “We have to manage our expectations right now. This is a national issue and it’s not going to be solved in a day or two,” said Greg DiDomenico, executive director of the Garden State Seafood Association, a commercial trades group that’s also a part of the Saving Seafood national coalition.  >click to read< 18:28

Believe it or not, now is your time

Greetings Shrimpers of the South, and commercial fishermen across the nation. My name is Ed Blaine, and in light of the Coronavirus mayhem we’re all experiencing, believe it or not, now is your time. I’ve been talking to Shrimpers, and the imports of shrimp from foreign sources have stopped. This is an opportunity to take advantage of, and not ignore the fact that 92% of the seafood consumed in this country is imported from overseas, and we have a chance to fix that. Prices are up for your domestic product, as the availability of that cheap, inferior, imported stuff has dried up. >click to read< 15:12

Senate Democrats, Greens Seek Climate Mandates In Federal Stimulus Bills

Senate Democrats and environmentalists want to tack climate change mandates onto proposed federal aid to major airlines and cruise lines reeling from the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter to the House and Senate leadership, eight Senate Democrats said last week that any financial assistance to the travel industry “should be paired with requirements that companies act in a more responsible fashion” by reducing their carbon footprint. “Climate change damages will wreak havoc on a scale even greater than the coronavirus,” said the Friday letter headed by the Center for Biological Diversity. Democrats who signed the letter were Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Jeffrey Merkley of Oregon, Cory A. Booker of New Jersey, Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Tina Smith of Minnesota and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. >click to read< 10:12

Coronavirus: Fishing markets impacted by new restaurant guidelines and shifting markets

One of the owners of ‘Erickson and Jensen’ says these changes have not impacted the prices of their shrimp, but it has impacted their actual sales. ‘Erickson and Jensen’ has been a family-run shrimp business since the 1950s. “Well we’ve been doing this for a long time, my family is multi-generational, we’ve always been fisherman,” said Grant Erickson.,, While they’ve seen their sales to restaurants go down, they have seen their sales to markets like Publix go up. “We can see the change happening in that there is a heavier demand in retail than in the restaurant area,” said Erickson. >click to read< 10:03

Coronavirus: The country is shutting down. Shutdown NOAA’s Fisheries Observer Program, nationally. Right Now.

I am writing this editorial today as a responsible, conscientious American fishermen and citizen, in complete disbelief of the irresponsibility of a U.S. government agency during the current international coronavirus crisis. While the nation is in national emergency mode, states are closing public spaces, schools, universities, daycares, restaurants, encouraging social distancing, putting people in quarantine, outlawing large gatherings, and taking unprecedented emergency measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, NOAA Fisheries is pursuing the complete opposite when it comes to the fishing industry and ignoring all public safety precautions. more by Hank Lackner, F/V Jason and Danielle >click to read<06:03

Tell Your Congressmen and Senators: Our US Fishing Industry Faces The Coronavirus Disaster

With the Coronavirus being spread around the world and nations reacting to this threat in many different ways, from doing nothing, to closing the borders and full quarantines, the unintended effects of such government actions have yet to be fully felt. Granted the stock market has lost 30% in value in just 3 weeks time, the average American really doesn’t feel that unless he is living on his investment returns. With the closing of schools, and restaurants and any places of public gatherings an enormous crisis is being created because many people are being put out of work and some of them may not have a business to come back to when the crisis is over. The Coronavirus may topple an empire if we let it. >click to read< 06:17

“Looking Back”: The Keep Fishermen Fishing Rally

Measured by any meaningful criteria the Keep Fishermen Fishing rally held on the steps of the Capitol on March 21 was a stunning success. It was attended by thousands of fishermen from as far away as Alaska, twenty one Senators and Members of the House of Representatives, and at least a half a dozen other VIPs made room in their busy schedules to come out and address the people who attended. From the most conservative of the conservatives to the most liberal of the liberals, these politically divergent speakers had one message; fix the Magnuson Act and bring back the balance between conservation and harvest. For the second time at the national level recreational and commercial fishermen – no matter what fisheries they participated in, no matter what their disagreements on allocation or lesser issues were, and no matter where they were from – were standing together and demanding a return to the original intent of the Magnuson Act;,,, >click to read< 08:09

Marathon kids grow up to be industry professionals

When visitors and locals pour in to the Original Marathon Seafood Festival this weekend, they’ll be thinking about the tasty seafood. Maybe they’ll wonder about the commercial fishermen who do battle to provide the delicacies. Few will consider how young some of these fishermen are. Well, we GROW fishermen in the Keys. They come out of the womb and, seemingly, in no time they’re holding a pole. Or driving the boat. Or working the stern. That’s the case for two young men from Marathon — Cole McDaniel, 16, and Tony Palma, 15. They do it for fun and they do it for work. more, >click to read< 17:24

House passes shark fin ban with carveout for domestic fishermen by Rep. Toby Overdorf amendment

The House passed the Senate version of a bill (SB 680), which outlaws the import and export of fins to or from Florida. Rep. Toby Overdorf offered an amendment essentially gutting the bill,, The amendment permits the “sale of shark fins by any commercial fisherman who harvested sharks from a vessel holding a valid federal shark fishing permit on January 1, 2020. The export and sale of shark fins by any wholesale dealer holding a valid federal Atlantic shark dealer permit on January 1, 2020.” more,  >click to read< 16:24

Shark fin ban ready for Senate floor

The Senate Rules Committee passed the bill (SB 680), which outlaws the import and export of fins to or from Florida. Jerry Sansom of the Organized Fishermen of Florida said Florida has more fisherman than any other state licensed by the federal government to participate in the heavily regulated and fully sustainable practice of capturing sharks. He noted a sunset on the finning ban in 2025 he says signals legitimate concern about the commercial future of those fishermen. “I don’t remember when the Florida Senate has put an expiration date on an industry before they made us come back and get a pardon,” >click to read< 14:46

“With a bit of prodding by some valued colleagues”, we will be launching a series “Looking Back”

A few of us were conversing, and the topic of resurrecting’s some of the posts, pages, and information of the past to gauge the changes and improvement’s achieved though the past few decades of fishery management and sacrifice, or if there have been any improvements at all! Nils Stolpe, Jim Lovgren, and I thought perhaps these various posts and articles would give an indication of how the domestic fishing is doing! Both of these gentlemen are exceptional writers, with exceptional knowledge of the domestic fishing industry and they have been featured here many times. We hope people revisit these articles, and for many of the newer fishermen in the industry today, this may be the first exposure to this interesting, and valuable info, and other stories. We’ll kick it off with “With a bit of prodding by some valued colleagues,”  >click to read< 13:07

Managing A Lucrative Resource In The Face Of Climate Change

Conservationists and commercial fishing industry leaders came together on the need to restructure the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to adequately consider climate impacts during a panel discussion in Honolulu. But that was about it for the common ground they found during the last stop on U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman’s nationwide “listening tour” on reforming the MSA. The panelists, which also included state and federal officials, had diverging views on the effectiveness of marine national monuments like Papahanaumokuakea and whether the eight regional councils that the law set up to manage fishery resources nationally should have designated seats to ensure representation from environmental, indigenous and scientific interests as well as the commercial fishing industry. >click to read< 10:38

What ever happened to HR-200? I have no interest in these people reauthorizing anything.

‘Ship Strikes’ Killing Whales! A voluntary slow-down program for passing ships is frequently ignored

According to NOAA, these “ship strikes” are blamed for at least 88 whale deaths in California. Since 2006, 239 whales were killed in all U.S. waters over the same time period. Of those whales killed, nearly one in three was a member of an endangered species. Scientists, however, believe the true number of deaths is far higher than the official counts. “The majority of reported ship strikes probably represents a tenth or less of the true number occurring,” said Calambokidis. “The majority of whales that die, in fact, sink and disappear and are never documented.” Check the chart that says how many estimated by NOAA! >click to read< 14:16

Coast Guard medevacs fisherman near Port O’Connor, Texas

The Coast Guard medevaced a mariner from a fishing vessel approximately two miles offshore Matagorda Bay near Port O’Connor, Texas, Sunday morning. The Matagorda County Sheriff’s Office received a request from a fishing vessel, F/V Lady Nora, for a medevac of a 52-year-old male crewmember experiencing symptoms of a heart attack. Coast Guard Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi watchstanders were notified and consulted with the duty flight surgeon who recommended the medevac. Photos, >click to read< 19:38

American Marine launch’s Texas Parks and Wildlife aluminum catamaran patrol boat for State and Federal waters 

The 80’ x 27’ (OAL) Captain Murchison features twin CAT C18 ACERT D Engines, with Hamilton Jet HM 521 waterjets and is built to USCG Subchapter T standards. It is also the first vessel in North America to feature Hamilton Jet’s innovative Advanced Vessel Control (AVX) system. The new AVX features include both a station keeping and a JETanchor positioning system. Additional vessel features include a DJI Mavic Drone integrated to the helm displays, as well as a FLIR M400 XR High resolution Thermal Imaging video with tracking to assist with patrol duties in the Gulf of Mexico. The state-of-the-art hydrofoil assisted vessel, from Teknicraft Design, will combine innovative design features critical to modern maritime law enforcement. Video, >click to read< 14:48

New Bedford Remains Top Money Port in the United States

Scallops continue to be king in the Port of New Bedford. The U.S. Commerce Department on Friday released its 2018 report on commercial fishing. For the 19th consecutive year, the Port of New Bedford was the most lucrative port in the nation, with its total catch of seafood valued at $431 million. Dutch Harbor, Alaska landed the most fish for the 22nd consecutive year, more than 763 million pounds. >click to read< 10:10

Fisheries of the U.S. Report for 2018 Shows Strong Year for Fishermen – According to the Fisheries of the United States report, which is compiled by NOAA using data and analysis not immediately available at the same end of a fishing year, U.S. highest value species groups in 2018 included lobster ($684 million), crabs ($645 million), salmon ($598 million), scallops ($541 million), and shrimp ($496 million). >click to read<

Know your ENGO History! Pew’s Conquest Of The Ocean

This is the story of how a handful of scientists set out from Oregon with an unshakable belief that they knew what was best for the rest of us. They ended up conquering the world (or at least the watery portions of it) and got rich along the way, while the fishermen and their families only worked harder and got poorer. When their scientific dogma connected with nearly unlimited resources, the earth quaked and the resulting tidal wave swept aside all the usual checks and balances. It carried along the media, the politicians, the government agencies and the non-governmental organizations with such force that seemingly no one could stand against the tide. By David Lincoln,  >click to read< 15:25

A fowl wind blows offshore

With the increased science available, showing a variety of impacts, The BOEM (Bureau Of Ocean Energy Management) Lease schedule through 2024 within the Department of Interior should be reevaluated. Since there is no official BOEM Atlantic, director, or administrator that has ever been permanently appointed, the request for a Atlantic review has not been initiated. A reliance on the bidders financial review of the lease sites is how BOEM is determining the viability for development. ( A buyer beware mentality ). This policy is a mistake and is costing the taxpayers millions. Brick Wenzel  >click to read< 21:17

Fort Myers Beach Annual Blessing of the Fleet performed for the shrimpers and their boats

We witnessed the annual blessing of the shrimping fleet on Fort Myers Beach Sunday, a ritual to spread good omen upon people who work one of the most dangerous jobs. “This is not a job to play with,” fisherman Shaun Hunt said. Hunt explained dangerous equipment, life-threatening storms and an increasingly cut-throat business makes for a dangerous profession. Rev. Dr. John Adler bestowed the blessing upon the Fort Myers Beach shrimpers and their boats this weekend. Every prayer for the Fort Myers Beach shrimp boat fleet makes the crew members feel safer. Video,>click to read< 18:42

‘Invisible oil’ from Deepwater Horizon spill may have reached the Florida Keys, possibly as far as North Carolina

Nearly a decade after the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history killed 11 people and dumped 200 million gallons of crude into the ocean, researchers found discrepancies in the satellite footprint that was used to establish fisheries closures and data from sampling and field tests. They concluded that the real extent of the BP oil spill may have been 30 percent larger than originally estimated.,,,  “We realized that the satellite footprint and the fisheries closure areas didn’t capture the full extent of the spill, and that the impact on marine life may have been overlooked,“ >click to read< 07:40

Coronavirus: With China’s Borders Closed to Imported Live Seafood, Local Fishermen Feel the Pinch

As the number of the sick and the dead continue to rise alarmingly in China, the economic effects of the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak were felt in the Santa Barbara Harbor.,,, “Santa Barbara brings in $4 million to $5 million a season,” said Chris Voss, president of Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara. The prized crustacean had been stockpiled for China’s late January Lunar New Year festivities, he said, from New England to Australia. When China closed its borders to live-animal foodstuffs about 10 days ago, everyone was hit. >click to read< 10:21

Dewey Hemilright: U.S.Fishermen in desperate need to level playing field in U.S. marketplace

The U.S.A is a member of ICCAT, which is the International body with 53 contracting party countries {CPC}with additional 6 countries having cooperating status that manages Highly Migratory species in the Atlantic Ocean,, ICCAT has a {SCRS}, which stands for {standing committee on research statistics},,, I attended as a member of U.S.A. delegation in November 15-25 ,2019 the 26th annual meeting of ICCAT in Mallorca, Spain. >click to read< 17:35

Potential regulations loom for Texas’ southern flounder fishery

The recommendations were made in response to TPWD data that shows southern flounder populations have experienced a dismal decline over the last several decades. The proposals aim to protect spawning females during their annual migration to the Gulf of Mexico, much to the dismay of anglers whose passion and livelihood coincide with the fall flounder run. >click to read< 17:49

F/V Pappy’s Pride: Grand Bay man dies in Galveston shrimp boat crash

One of the three crew members who died after their shrimp boat F/V Pappy’s Pride capsized off the coast of Galveston has ties to lower Alabama. Family members of Raymond “Taco” Herrera say he grew up in Bayou La Batre and later moved to Grand Bay. He started shrimping out of Galveston eight years ago. Video, >click to read< 09:48

F/V Pappy’s Pride: Bodies Of 2 Missing Crewmen recovered, and identified

Authorities have recovered two crew member bodies from a capsized fishing boat missing since the boat collided with a tanker in dense fog. The Galveston County Sheriff’s Office said the bodies were recovered from the fishing boat Pappy’s Pride Thursday afternoon. The county medical examiner identified the two as 44-year-old Antonio Robles of Pharr and 56-year-old Raymond Herrera of Texas City. >click to read< 19:57

F/V Pappy’s Pride: Lone survivor of shrimp boat dragged under after tanker collision

The only survivor from a boat crash near Galveston is still fighting to recover. One man was killed and the search continues for two others. Out on the water, Steven Edison felt at home. He’s been in the fishing business for 11 years and he says the only way he survived this incident is a miracle. On the morning of Jan. 14, Edison took a picture. He was leaving on a three-day shrimping run to Key West aboard the Pappy’s Pride along with three other men. But just as they got going, conditions started to change. Video, >click to read< 07:10

Houston Ship Channel Reopens After 7-hour Closure to raise F/V Pappy’s Pride

The Houston Ship Channel reopened on Tuesday morning after a seven-hour closure to raise a fishing vessel that sank in mid-January near the waterway’s entrance in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Houston ship pilots association. Two people aboard the 81-foot (25-meter) fishing vessel Pappy’s Pride remain missing following a collision with the 600-foot tanker Bow Fortune on January 14, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. >click to read< 18:17

It’s time to kill the Gulf dead zone, as Gulf Shrimpers fight for their livelihoods

Anyone who has followed this issue over the three decades or so it has been studied knows progress has been slow. They also know Louisiana, though it bears the lion’s share of environmental and economic harm,,, >click to read< Gulf shrimpers fight for their livelihoods in a fertilizer-fueled dead zone – Dean Blanchard Seafood, headquartered on the barrier island of Grand Isle in the Mississippi River Delta, is one of the largest shrimp suppliers in the United States. >click to read< 11:32

Sea of problems: Port Arthur Shrimpers contend with loss of generational successors

Shrimping is the most important commercial fishing industry in Texas, making up 90 percent of the value of the state’s fish products,,, However, in the last three decades, the shrimping industry has had to face numerous economic problems,,, An important topic discussed at the Port Arthur Shrimper’s Association annual meeting Thursday included the new generation of shrimpers. Kyle Kimball, president of the Port Arthur Shrimper’s Association in response simply said, “There aren’t any.” >click to read< 06:32