Category Archives: Gulf of Mexico

Louisiana’s commercial fishing industry could be at risk due to proposed diversion project

Louisiana’s commercial fishing industry could be in jeopardy due to the state’s Mid-Barataria Sediment Diversion Project, a fifty billion dollar initiative supported by Governor John Bel Edwards. “I used to fish out here with my dad in High School and we used to catch loads and loads of oysters and that was the biggest sea plant in Louisiana,” says commercial fisherman Shane Shelley. Shelley is talking about an area known as “Mardi Gras Pass”,,, “It’s going to change the mixture of water which oysters don’t survive in, crabs or shrimp. This could change everything,” >click to read< 10:48

Missing fishermen found clinging to capsized vessel in the Gulf

The Coast Guard has concluded its search for an overdue vessel with two people aboard, Tuesday. The boaters were located clinging to the hull of their capsized vessel by a good Samaritan vessel, Lady Tierny, approximately 18 miles south-southeast of Port Fourchon, Louisiana. The Lady Tierny transported the survivors to emergency medical services in Port Fourchon. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a report that a 23-foot white Mako commercial fishing vessel with two people aboard, last known to be approximately 10 miles west of the Southwest Pass jetties in the Gulf of Mexico, did not return when expected. >link< 10:02

Florida commercial fishermen could get $200 million in aid

Florida’s commercial fisheries, hit hard by Hurricane Irma, should pull in a $200 million boost from the two-year federal budget passed last week. The $200 million will be included as funding for the “catastrophic regional fishery disaster for Florida” in the proposed $300 billion increase in the federal budget, Florida U.S. senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio announced. Part of that federal money could go toward ongoing trap-recovery efforts, Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association executive director Bill Kelly said Monday. >click to read< 19:29 

Fearing fraud, US pushes for imported shrimp to be tracked

A bipartisan group of US senators have called for shrimp to be included in new legislation aimed at improving the traceability and transparency of seafood imports and preventing fraud. In a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee, 11 senators from across the political divide supported language in the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies appropriations bill that sought to include shrimp in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Seafood Import Monitoring Programme (SIMP). >click to read< 15:58

HR 200 – 24 Fishing Groups from Around the Nation Call for Magnuson-Stevens Act Reforms

Twenty-four members of Saving Seafood’s National Coalition for Fishing Communities (NCFC) are calling on Congress to enact broad reforms to the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), including allowing for greater flexibility in how stocks are rebuilt and changes to how new management programs are implemented. The proposals, delivered in a letter to Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan, would, according to the signers, lead to a reauthorization that “allows for both sustainable fisheries management, and the long-term preservation of our nation’s fishing communities.” >click to read< 13:22 

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Declares Fisheries Disasters Following Hurricanes Irma and Maria

Today, in conjunction with the requests put forward by the Governors of Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross determined catastrophic fishery disasters occurred in the areas because of impacts from Hurricanes Irma and Maria that made landfall in August and September of 2017. Under the Interjurisdictional Fisheries Act and the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Governors asked the Secretary of Commerce to determine whether a commercial fishery failure occurred due to a fishery resource disaster, in these cases caused by destructive hurricanes. >click to read< 12:25

Linda Brandt: Mullet is so much more than bait

I grew up thinking mullet was only for bait and smoking for dip. That was probably because when I went fishing with my dad, he used mullet for bait. And because he fished with a rod and reel and mullet are mostly caught with cast nets, they didn’t show up freshly caught on our table. Apparently I have been missing out on not only one of Florida’s oldest delicacies, but a piece of state history as well. >click to read< 15:30

Six years after the oyster industry in Apalachicola Bay collapsed, scientists still don’t agree on what happened.

When Robert Livingston studied Florida’s Apalachicola Bay and River in the 1970s, he marveled at the ecosystem’s health. The bay produced a rich bounty of oysters, shrimp, fish, and crabs. Those animals, in turn, supported a thriving fishing community and seafood industry. But since then, the bay has declined. During a 2012 drought, the oyster fishery collapsed—and has not recovered. In the past, the ecosystem “was like a symphony orchestra,” says Livingston, an aquatic ecologist at Florida State University in Tallahassee. “Now it is not. It is dysfunctional.” >click to read< 09:35

Carl Roby, tuna fisherman

A white scar carved across Carl Roby’s hand tells the story of the time a tuna, a creature he has spent decades harvesting, almost won. It was late. He and his crew were pulling in the miles’ worth of line they strung out earlier that day with hundreds of hooks. It’s methodical work, pulling the line in hand-over-hand and raveling it back onto the spools. The bright spot is when a yellowfin tuna, sleek, strong and worth hundreds, glimmers just under the water. Roby had been fishing for decades at this point. He started as a teenager in the 1970s when regulations weren’t as confining, spending summers working on charter boats out of Captain Anderson’s Marina. He liked it, and eventually he moved on to bigger fish — yellowfin tuna. >click to read< 12:20

A new push to deregulate America’s oceans and backcountry

Recent decisions at the Interior and Commerce departments are opening the doors for more commercial exploitation of US fisheries and land resources. Advocates say the changes finally allow local voices to be heard. Critics say science is being ignored in favor of industry.,, But while these lands and waters may belong to every American, some feel particularly invested, including the roughnecks, loggers, fishermen, hunters, snowmobilers, and miners who eke out tough livings from rough but beautiful surroundings. Many of them, like New Hampshire boat owner, biologist, and former fishery council member Ellen Goethel, have watched resources grow increasingly off-limits under what she calls a “one-size-fits-all” conservation approach implemented by the Obama administration. >click to read< 11:48

Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meeting in New Orleans January 29 – February 1, 2018

The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council will meet January 29 – February 1, 2018, at the Hyatt Center, 800 Iberville Street, New Orleans, LA 70112 . View Council Agenda View Briefing Materials, >click here< Register for April Council Webinar, >click here< 15:05

2017 Gulf Shrimp Landings: Louisiana At Historic Lows, Alabama At Historic Highs

NOAA’s Gulf of Mexico Data Management division released information regarding December shrimp landings in the Gulf of Mexico. In December, the commercial fishing industry landed 6.6 million pounds of shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico, up from 5.8 million pounds in December of 2016. Despite the significant increase from 2016, landings last month were 23.4 percent below the prior seventeen-year historic average for December of 8.7 million pounds. >click here to read< 10:32

Keys lobstermen catch a break, traps get a $1 per-trap tag waiver

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, every dollar saved helps, say Florida Keys commercial fishermen. Untold thousands of spiny-lobster traps, the primary gear in the most economically significant Keys seafood harvest, disappeared or were destroyed by the Category 4 storm in September. The statewide lobster industry based in the Keys will get a bit of a break in the 2018 season that opens in August. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at its December meeting agreed to waive for one season the annual $1 per-trap tag fee for the allowed 473,500 traps in the lobster fishery. >click here to read< 13:44

H.R. 200 – More than one way to manage the nation’s fisheries

For the first time ever, reauthorization of the nation’s overarching marine fishery management law will take into account concerns of America’s recreational anglers. In mid-December, the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources approved H.R. 200, a bill sponsored by Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, amending the 1976 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. While the vast majority of the public hails progress on the bill as long overdue, an unusual coalition of environmentalists and commercial fishing entities has roundly condemned it, feverishly depicting the bill as an attack on the oceans and a threat to the future of the nation’s marine resources. >click here to read< 20:57

Lobster harvest takes a hit – Numbers starting to normalize after down season

The 2017-18 lobster season could produce half the expected harvest because of Hurricane Irma, and stone crab numbers are likely to suffer as well. “Harvest levels are returning to normal,” says Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association Executive Director Billy Kelly, but estimates that commercial lobster fisherman lost “six to eight weeks of their best production” to the storm. In total, the 2017-2018 season could yield 2-1/2 million pounds or less of lobster, an estimate Kelly says is half the expected amount. For stone crab numbers,,, >click here to read< 12:38

Russian fish escaping into Louisiana waters? Sturgeon farming plan raises alarm

Nutria, feral hogs and Asian carp are just a few of the foreign invaders harming Louisiana’s marshes and rivers. Now the state is entertaining the idea of allowing the import and farming of sterlet sturgeon, a Russian fish currently banned in Louisiana. Why? The basic answer: its eggs are the food equivalent of gold, fetching prices of nearly $100 per ounce as top-shelf caviar. A plan under consideration by the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries would permit the raising of the sterlet sturgeon, a major producer of caviar in the Caspian and Black Sea regions, in indoor pools. >click here to read< 12:14

Invasive Shrimp Grows to More Than a Pound in TX Waters

Did you know there are shrimp in Texas that can grow to weigh more than a pound? The black tiger prawn (Penaeus monodon) or tiger shrimp is an aggressive mollusk that can grow to a foot in length and weigh a pound according to Texas Invasive Species Institute. “In addition to it’s unusually large size, it can be identified by black stripes across the dorsal side of the tail. It can also be black in body color with orange stripes on it’s back, resembling a tiger.” >click here to read< 13:06

Coast Guard, NOAA seize illegal shrimp catch

The Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration seized approximately 6,000 pounds of shrimp with an estimated price of $60,000 from the 68-foot fishing vessel Ronald E. near the Dry Tortugas Shrimp Sanctuary Preservation Area, Friday. The vessel Ronald E. was observed fishing inside the marine sanctuary and was boarded by a Coast Guard Cutter Raymond Evans and NOAA joint boarding team. The boarding team cited the vessel for illegally fishing inside a national marine sanctuary and safety violations. >click here to read< 17:10 

Local leaders encouraged by water wars arguments in U.S. Supreme Court hearing

Florida lawyers fared well in last week’s U.S. Supreme Court hearing on the “water wars” between the state and Georgia, officials who sat through the hearing said. Rep. Neal Dunn, who was among them, said he felt Florida has a real shot of winning the case.,, “Georgia came off some pretty harsh questioning – a lot of harsh interrogatories, and a lot of apparent disbelief on the part of the justices in what they were hearing from Georgia.”,,, Florida says a steady supply of water is the last chance for Apalachicola Bay’s struggling oyster industry and endangered species. >click here to read< 17:45

Commercial fishing captain accused of dumping dozens of traps

A Florida Keys commercial fishing captain was arrested on felony commercial littering charges this week after investigators say he illegally dumped more than 30 lobster traps along the reef that police considered evidence in an ongoing investigation. Ricardo Hernandez, 53, was booked on 31 counts of commercial dumping and 31 counts of evidence tampering Thursday following a two-years-long investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. >click here to read< 11:35

2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program Public Meetings Scheduled Nationwide

Public meetings will take place across the country using an open-house format, so participants can arrive any time during the scheduled meeting time. At the meetings, participants can ask questions, share information, talk with our team members one-on-one, and learn more about the National OCS Program. We also encourage participants to submit written comments to inform BOEM of specific issues, impacting factors, environmental resources, alternatives to the proposed action, and mitigation measures to consider in its analyses. For those unable to attend one of the scheduled meetings, BOEM is offering a Virtual Meeting Room where participants can visit the same stations available at the open house meetings. There they are able to review and download the same handouts and posters offered at the meetings and provide comments. >click for times, dates, and locations<15:36

Nearly every governor with ocean coastline opposes Trump administration drilling proposal

The Trump administration’s proposal to open vast portions of US coastline to oil drilling was met with ferocious opposition from a number of the coastal governors it would affect. At least one governor, Florida’s Rick Scott, a Republican, asked for and received a waiver from the administration. That move by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke drew accusations of favoritism, which have been denied. But the fact remains that nearly every governor with ocean coastline opposes drilling off their coast or, in one case, has concerns. >click here to read<11:12 

Speaking of America: ‘Here, you have the freedom’

When the communists came to his Vietnam town, fled to a fishing boat, jammed already with 50 of his wife’s family. As they cast off, they saw a barge filled with refugees sink, “and I saw a couple hundred people die in the water.,, Forty-two years later, he is a man content to see his sons and daughters make their own way as citizens here, even if they do not follow their father back to the sea. He made it here, he says, through exhausting days and nights, pulling shrimp aboard his trawler at sea for a week until the hold was full, and returning to port only long enough to unload and set out again. >click here to read< 10:23 

Trump administration backs off Florida drilling proposal

In the face of vocal bipartisan opposition, the Trump administration said Tuesday it would not allow offshore oil and gas drilling in Florida waters, partially rolling back a proposal it unveiled last week. “We are not drilling off the coast of Florida,” said Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke at a hastily called news conference in the Tallahassee airport after meeting with Gov. Rick Scott. click here to read the story 19:08 

The Invisible Underwater Messaging System in Blue Crab Urine

In estuaries off the coast of Georgia, the water is so murky that if you were to dive in, you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. There, blue crabs feast on mud crabs, oysters, fish and more. You may eagerly approach these hand-sized arthropods when they’re cracked into pieces and doused in butter. But in muddy water, tiny mud crabs, no bigger than the tip of your thumb, steer clear of the hungry blue crab predators. In this crab-eat-crab world, they can’t see their enemies coming — but they can smell them. click here to read the story 20:01

FISHBILL-US: Fishermen, Lets unite like never before!

It becomes clearer by the day that our industry needs protection in the form of legislation for fishermen and supporting industries. While fishermen and those supporting industries are struggling to survive in various regions, many of them await federal assistance in already declared federal fishery failures, much of it beyond their control. Congress has mandated the NOAA is the agency that controls the “best available science”, while other data is not considered, by law. This must be addressed as we watch the industry retract based on the science many of us have no confidence in. They control our fate. click here to read the full post 20:22

Trump admin intends to roll back ban on offshore drilling

The Trump administration Thursday announced plans to roll back a ban on new offshore drilling off the coasts of Florida and California and is considering more than 40 sites for leasing of natural gas and oil production. The proposal is yet another blow to the Obama-era environmental agenda, and it has the potential to open up nearly all US federal waters that were previously protected. The proposal would increase drilling sites off the coasts of Alaska and in the Gulf of Mexico. It would reinstate leasing sites in Pacific and Atlantic waters. click here to read the story 16:53

It’s a keeper: Louisiana lifestyle show ‘Out Da’ Bayou’ to debut on Discovery Channel Saturday

John Jackson and Robin Vucinovich are storytellers. Starting Saturday, Jan. 6, they’ll be telling those stories to Discovery Channel viewers through their “Out Da’ Bayou” way-of-life series.,, “We can pretty much do any subject. We’ve gone out and worked cattle, done cutting horses, catching rattlesnakes, fishing, spending days on crab boats and oyster boats,” Jackson says. “We’re even going into some of the coastal restoration things that have to do with seafood.” click here to read the story 11:05 

How cold is it? Texas Parks and Wildlife halts fishing along Gulf Coast during freeze

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has temporarily closed certain areas of the Texas coast to fishing in order to protect fish stocks, according to a statement. The closure is in effect from 6 a.m. on Jan. 2 to 10 p.m. on Jan. 3. “The high mortality that a freeze can cause may deplete fish stocks for years,” said Robin Riechers, director of TPWD’s Coastal Fisheries Division. click here to read the story 10:03

Key West Couple Charged For Selling Shrimp Without License

A Key West couple is facing charges for selling shrimp without a license. Iliecer Noa, 41, and his wife Carolina Aviles, 37, allegedly posted photos of five-pound bags of shrimp for $40, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Seth Hopp saw the Facebook posts and checked with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to see if the couple had the proper licenses to sell saltwater products. It was determined that neither Aviles nor Noa had a commercial fishing license. click here to read the story 11:00