Category Archives: Gulf of Mexico

Louisiana: State begins coast-wide effort to sustain fisheries hit by wetland erosion, restoration projects

State officials have embarked on a coast-wide effort to partner with the commercial and recreational fishing industry to find ways to make fishing more sustainable in the future, even as some state projects aimed at restoring coastal wetlands and land threaten fisheries and fishers. Representatives of Louisiana Sea Grant, the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority told members of the authority’s board on Wednesday (Dec. 12) that a joint fishing industry adaptation program begun earlier this year is aimed at listening to fishers and incorporating their ideas in any future adaptation plans. >click to read<12:22

Commission denies commercial fishing expansion in Hernando Beach

A proposal to expand commercial fish processing into the center of Hernando Beach was unanimously denied Tuesday by the Hernando County Commission. The proposal by Hernando Beach Seafood, which operates commercial fish and stone crab processing on Calienta Street near the main Tarpon Canal, would have moved its stone crab operation to a site on Shoal Line Boulevard where the company’s crab boats moor just off the Marlin Canal. The company needed the new processing site to reduce crowding at the Calienta location, where shrimp and crab boats cross each other when stone crabs are in season, according to spokesman Allen Sherrod. >click to read<22:46

Car was engulfed in flames after violent crash. Watch fishermen pull out the driver.

Jim Biggart says his brother Andy might not be alive today if it weren’t for the fishermen who rushed to pull him from his burning car. “My entire family will never be able to repay the debt to those people for saving Andy’s life,” The collision — which was so strong that the car immediately burst into flames — happened outside of the Nature Coast Marina in Hernando Beach. Kathryn Birren, who owns the marina, told the media company Storyful that the fishermen there heard a crash and went outside to look. >click to read<13:36

When All Hell Breaks Loose: Years after Deepwater Horizon, Offshore Drilling Hazards Persist

This is part one of a three-part investigation into offshore drilling safety. >Read part two here. Read part three here.< They are known as the “last line of defense” against an offshore drilling blowout and uncontrolled spill. They are supposed to save the lives of oil workers and protect the environment. But, as the Trump Administration proposes weakening safety requirements for these critical defenses, a Project On Government Oversight investigation found that they are dangerously vulnerable to failure. In an emergency, the defenses known as “blowout preventers” are meant to choke off the flow of highly pressurized gas and oil rising through well pipes from deep beneath the ocean floor. However, far from being fail-safe, blowout preventers have failed in myriad and often unpredictable ways. So have the people responsible for maintaining and operating them. >click to read<17:42

California man convicted in violent offshore stabbing incident

When the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Kingfisher pulled up to the commercial fishing vessel Billy B 46 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico on the night of Aug. 20, 2017, the crew found Captain Noah Gibson and deckhand A.J. Love floating in the dark water, clinging to a life raft and each bleeding from multiple stab wounds. What had started as a routine fishing trip out of Bon Secour ended in a nightmare for the men after Christopher Shane Dreiling stabbed them in a delusional attack and forced them bleeding into the Gulf waters. Last week, Dreiling was convicted in federal court on two counts of assault with intent to commit murder within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States. >click to read<18:38

Where did all the lobsters and stone crabs go? How the fishing industry is bouncing back

The red tide algae bloom plaguing Southwest Florida hasn’t hit the Florida Keys. And Hurricane Irma happened more than a year ago. But they’re both affecting the island chain’s commercial fishing industry. That’s a crucial impact because the industry is the second-largest stand-alone economic generator in the Keys next to tourism. Fishing is estimated by the Florida Keys Commercial Fishing Association to bring in about $900 million a year to the Monroe County economy. That includes transactions such as fuel sales, dockage fees, and boat and engine repairs. >click to read<18:13

‘Dead zone’ worsens troubles for Louisiana shrimpers

Tommy Olander Jr. took his first baby steps on the deck of a 42-by-16-foot Lafitte skiff shrimp trawler. His dad, Thomas Olander, named the boat Tommy Boy after his son, now 25.
“I’d rather be broke and shrimping than get out of it,”,, But Olander did leave the business,,, The Louisiana shrimp industry is facing major economic and environmental challenges including low prices for shrimp, natural disasters, laws to protect endangered turtles and a Delaware-size dead zone with too little oxygen for aquatic life. “The main focus has been about prices,” said Acy Cooper, 58, president of the Louisiana Shrimp Association. “But there’s also (turtle excluder devices), the dead zone and freshwater diversion.” >click to read<10:09

Florida Shrimp Boat Deck-Hand Arrested For Undersized Lobster Tails

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, officers boarded the commercial shrimp boat Three Princess off Key West on November 28. While onboard, the officers found three large sacks of spiny lobster hidden beneath sacks of shrimp in the below-deck freezer. In total, there were 101 spiny lobster, and 33 of them were undersized. A deck-hand admitted to harvesting all of the lobster, without the other deck-hands knowledge. The crewmember was arrested and booked into the Monroe County Detention facility on numerous misdemeanor charges. >click to read<09:29

Commercial fisherman changes tactics to keep boat full amid evolving landscape

At 4:30 a.m., Tony Keehbauch is up for work to get his day started. By 5:30 a.m., he’s out the door, heading to the fish house to unload the previous day’s catch, a day that ended less than 12 hours earlier at sunset. Keehbauch gets his Carolina Skiff reloaded with fuel and a fresh load of ice before heading off to a variety of destinations along the west coast of Florida to start another day of commercial fishing. “I started chasing mullet in 1994 and learned how to make my own cast nets,” said Keehbauch, who moved to Florida from Michigan in 1986. “I’ve always been able to catch fish good, it’s in my blood or something. “I went full time commercial fishing about five years ago when I discovered I could make a living hook and line fishing.” >click to read<19:19

Falling overboard is the second biggest killer of U.S. fishermen, second only to vessel sinkings.

From 2000 through 2016, 204 fishermen died after falling overboard. Nearly 60 percent were not witnessed and nearly 90 percent were never found. In every case, not one fisherman was wearing a life jacket. “I think there is a social stigma against it. It doesn’t look cool, it’s a sort of macho thing. I also think there is a lack of awareness of the fact that there are really comfortable, wearable PFDs.” Jerry Dzugan is director of the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association. >audio report, click to read<16:32

Gulf of Mexico Shrimp harvest reaches the lowest level recorded since October 2002

Commercial shrimp harvest reached 10.4 million pounds in the Gulf of Mexico for October 2018, the lowest reported for any October in the records maintained by the Southern Shrimp Alliance (SSA) going back to 2002. According to data from the Fishery Monitoring Branch of NOAA Fisheries’ Southeast Fisheries Science Center, in total, landings for the month were roughly 30 per cent below the prior sixteen-year historical average for the month. >click to read<12:13

Coast Guard orders Taylor Energy to stop 14-year Gulf of Mexico oil leak

The Coast Guard is coming down hard on the owners of a broken oil platform that has been allowed to leak off southeast Louisiana for more than 14 years. New federal estimates put the leak rate at the Taylor Energy Co. well at 10,500 gallons to 29,000 gallons of oil per day. That’s five to 13 times larger than government’s estimate from just a year ago, and would rank the Taylor Energy leak as one of the largest and longest-running oil spills in North America. >click to read<18:36

Start of stone crab season in Cortez is worst in recent memory

Theories abound but one thing is for sure: The current stone crab season is off to one of its worst starts in recent memory for the oldest active fishing village in Florida. It’s that bad. “There’s nothing. There’s no crabs around because it’s all dead,” said John Banyas, a fourth-generation fisherman from Cortez.“The latest from our 400 trap haul was only 4 pounds, a record low in these local waters,” said Banyas, 52, who is also the owner of Cortez Bait & Seafood Inc., Swordfish Grill & Tiki Bar and Cortez Kitchen. >click to read<07:42

To our valued readers here at Fishery Nation.

To our valued readers here at Fishery Nation. You have probably noticed recently there have been no postings on our website. I’m sorry to say that I have recently taken ill and have been hospitalized for the past week in the intensive care unit of my local hospital.
As you know, I’ve made it a priority in my life to keep you all informed on the goings on in our commercial fisheries here in the US and also abroad with stories and information that we feel is important to you, and also stories of interest. For the past seven years we have fulfilled this goal 365 days a year, every single day!
Please bear with me as we get through this situation and I am able to get back on my feet and continue what has become my passion, and mission in life, to keep the commercial fishermen informed and up to date as to the goings on in your industry.
If all goes well this will be a short period of time and I’ll soon be on my feet and able to get back at it.
Thank you one and all for your support and understanding. God bless you all, stay safe out there and please stay in touch with us.

Sincerely,

Borehead

Disappointing early catches for area stone crabbers

The fishermen started putting their traps into the water on Oct. 5, and on Oct. 15, they began to legally harvest the first of the season’s claws and offer them for sale. With disappointing early catches from the first few days of pulling the traps, the crabbers will leave the traps in the Gulf longer to give the crabs time to fill them, said Pat Kirk of Kirk Fish Company in Goodland. Her husband, Damas Kirk, is a fifth-generation local fisherman, whose great aunt was Tommie Barfield, an icon in Marco Island history. Damas Kirk said the local crabbers are in serious need of finding and harvesting a bountiful catch. “These guys are needing a paycheck pretty bad right now,” he said >click to read<18:11

A 14-year-long oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico verges on becoming one of the worst in U.S. history

Between 300 and 700 barrels of oil per day have been spewing from a site 12 miles off the Louisiana coast since 2004, when an oil-production platform owned by Taylor Energy sank in a mudslide triggered by Hurricane Ivan. Many of the wells have not been capped, and federal officials estimate that the spill could continue through this century. With no fix in sight, the Taylor offshore spill is threatening to overtake BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster as the largest ever. >click to read<13:06

An Intimate Portrait of Louisiana’s Commercial Fishing Communities

Fish Town: Down the Road to Louisiana’s Vanishing Fishing Communities, a new book by J. T. Blatty about life in southeastern Louisiana’s fishing communities, is a compelling and unpretentious document of a region and its people, surviving in the face of economic decline and rising, warming seas. Blatty’s view of the region she photographed over the course of six years is unvarnished and unsentimental: washed and wrung of its color. >click to read<11:27

Job Opening in Brownsville, Texas – Commercial Fishing Vessel Examiner

The United States government is a massive employer, and is always looking for qualified candidates to fill a wide variety of open employment positions in locations across the country. Below you’ll find a Qualification Summary for an active, open job listing from the Department of Homeland Security. The opening is for a Commercial Fishing Vessel Examiner, GS-1801-12 in Brownsville, Texas Feel free to browse this and any other job listings and reach out to us with any questions! >click to read<18:40

Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meeting in Mobile, AL October 22 – 25, 2018

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will meet October 22 – 25, 2018 in Mobile, AL at the Renaissance Battle House, 26 N. Royal Street, Mobile, AL 36602.  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<. 12:48

Despite Hurricane Michael, Eastern Shipbuilding Keeps Working

In a display of resilience, Eastern Shipbuilding of Panama City, Florida is already getting back to work after Hurricane Michael, despite the storm’s devastating impact on the Florida Panhandle. However, yard manager Justin Smith says that only 100 out of 800 workers have returned to their duties so far, and many of them have lost their homes. “We are a family at Eastern Shipbuilding,” Smith said in a statement. Eastern says that it is helping to feed and take care of its employees’ families in order to help workers return to the yard.,,, Unfortunately, one of Eastern’s commercial shipbuilding orders suffered damage due to the storm. The newly-launched trawler North Star partially capsized in St. Andrews Bay during the hurricane,>click to read<09:41

Stone crab season off to promising start in Florida Keys

The state’s stone crab fishery should expect to take a hit this season from the red tide algae bloom that’s been plaguing Florida’s west coast for months, but the Keys, which accounts for 65 percent of the harvest of the sought-after claws, does not appear to be affected. The eight-month commercial season began Monday, with fishermen pulling traps that have been soaking for the past 10 days. Monday afternoon, boats were still coming back from the water, but Bill Kelly, executive director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fishing Association, said captains were reporting a promising first day. >click to read<20:58

Coast Guard Assists Hurricane Michael Response Effort

First responders have swung into action in the wake of Hurricane Michael, providing assistance to survivors and beginning the difficult task of searching for the missing. 17 deaths have been confirmed so far, and teams are still combing the debris left by the storm. As of Thursday night, the U.S. Coast Guard reported that it had assisted 232 people and rescued 40 across the breadth of the disaster zone. In Panama City, a Coast Guard shallow-water response team assisted more than 140 residents at a rehabilitation center, providing food, water, and oxygen for the patients and helping them board buses for relocation. >click to read<11:19

Hurricane Michael: Alaska bound factory trawler ripped from mooring, left lying on her side

Hurricane Michael ripped an almost-finished Alaska factory trawler built for a Seattle company from a shipyard mooring in Panama City, Florida, and left it lying on its starboard side in the shallow water of Saint Andrews Bay. “The boat was nearing completion, and because of all the destruction down there we have not been able to survey the vessel,” said Jim Johnson, president of Seattle-based Glacier Fish Co., which is responsible for managing the ship. photo, courier journal>click to read<23:12

Hurricane Michael Death Toll Rises to 11 Overnight

Hurricane Michael continued its rampage through the mid-Atlantic early Friday morning after ravaging parts of the Florida Panhandle, Georgia and the Carolinas, spawning deadly floods that rose so fast that there was little time to evacuate. At least 11 deaths have been blamed on the powerful storm. Michael made landfall as a high-end Category 4 storm on the Florida Panhandle Wednesday, smashing towns to rubble. >click to read<08:48

National Hurricane Center – Hurricane Michael Public Advisory – 400 PM Update

At 400 PM CDT (2100 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Michael was located near latitude 26.0 North, longitude 86.4 West. Michael is moving toward the north near 12 mph (19 km/h). A northward motion is expected through tonight, followed by a northeastward motion on Wednesday and Thursday. On the forecast track, the center of Michael will move across the eastern Gulf of Mexico through tonight. The center of Michael is then expected to move inland over the Florida Panhandle or Florida Big Bend area on Wednesday, and then move northeastward across the southeastern United States Wednesday night and Thursday, and move off the Mid-Atlantic coast away from the United States on Friday. >click to read<18:21

Tropical Storm Michael prompts hurricane watches in Florida as it picks up strength

Hurricane watches are now in effect in numerous counties along the Florida Panhandle as Tropical Storm Michael continues to strengthen ahead of an anticipated landfall as a Category 2 hurricane later this week. The storm, which has maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, was about 90 miles east of Cozumel, Mexico early Monday morning and is dumping rain on Cuba, the National Hurricane Center said. “Michael is forecast to be a hurricane, and possibly a major hurricane, when it reaches the northeastern Gulf Coast by mid-week, and storm surge and hurricane watches are now in effect for portions of the area,” the Center said in an advisory. >click to read<09:22

Program helps area shrimpers sell ‘ultimate premium product’

The Louisiana Limited Wild Plate Frozen shrimp program is informing buyers about the food preservation technology. “This is the ultimate premium product,” said Thomas Hymel, LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant fisheries agent. “It’s like it fell out of a cast net and it’s frozen.” Shrimp are packaged in 5-pound containers, then held on a plate freezer that is kept at minus 35 degrees. The products treated with this process look fresh from the ocean when they are thawed, Hymel said, with heads and even antenna intact. “This is as close to the ocean as you can get,” he said. The process also can be used for fish, Hymel said. >click to read<13:40

Coast Guard, partner agencies respond to diesel spill from grounded vessel northwest of Key West

The Coast Guard and partner agencies are responding to a diesel fuel spill that occurred approximately 7 miles northwest of Key West, Tuesday. At approximately 8:46 a.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Key West received a report of the fishing vessel, San Diego running aground on the Northwest Channel Jetty. Watchstanders launched a Coast Guard Station Key West 45-foot Response Boat—Medium crew who arrived on scene, embarked the four people that were aboard the vessel and determined the hull was breached causing pollution in the area. >click to read<14:19

Panama City man catches 330-pound Warsaw grouper – “Definitely a fish of a lifetime”

For as long as he can remember, commercial fisherman Brandon Lee Van Horn has wanted to catch a really big fish. Not your run-of-the-mill big fish, but a really big fish — the kind you tell your grandkids about one day or that strangers take pictures of, or that ends up in the newspaper. On Monday, Van Horn’s years on the Gulf paid off when he showed up at the dock of Greg Abrams Seafood with a 330-pound Warsaw grouper, 313 pounds after it had been gutted. “You have no idea how much that fish means to me,” he said. “I will probably never catch another one that big ever again.”>click to read<22:33

Plans for Texas City ammonia plant spark environmental, health concerns

Roy Lee Cannon stands on the deck of his shrimp boat docked at Eagle Point Fishing Camp during the golden hour of a summer evening,,, It’s the end of a long work day for Cannon, a shift that began before sunrise. The early-morning hours are harder for the 76-year-old Cannon, who has a titanium plate in his arm from an accident and a pig valve in his chest, but this time of day is undoubtedly the most productive. On a good day, Cannon will haul in 600 pounds of shrimp, though his yield steadily has decreased as the bay and ship channel have become a highway of commerce for the oil and chemical industries. So, when Cannon heard an $800 million anhydrous ammonia plant was in the works for the shores of Texas City, he decided that another potential bay polluter should not proceed without protest. >click to read<18:06