Category Archives: Gulf of Mexico

Biloxi: See photos as the 94th Blessing of the Fleet rings in the start of shrimping season

The sun was shining and the humidity was at a minimum as the shrimping season officially kicked off Sunday with the 94th annual Blessing of the Fleet in Biloxi. Two boats, the Captain Justin and Gunsmoke, were honored for their decorations with Captain Justin receiving first place in the boat decorating contest and Gunsmoke receiving the second place award. “Shrimp season is open. The blue economy is extremely important to the gulf coast,” said Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, who was briefly in attendance. “Literally we help feed not only Mississippi, but the world.” Lots of photos of boats and happy people! >click to view< 09:01

Deepwater Horizon settlement projects surpass $1B

A milestone was surpassed this year when projects funded through the Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement exceeded $1 billion, Blankenship said. ADCNR Deepwater Horizon Restoration Coordinator Amy Hunter and her staff oversee the projects funded by the settlement. “The big takeaway is we have $1 billion, $29 million in projects underway in Mobile and Baldwin counties that we are managing through our Deepwater Horizon Section,” Blankenship said. “That is 176 individual projects. That’s a lot of money and a lot of work going on. We have six people in that section, and they’re doing a very good job of managing projects that will make generational changes on the Gulf Coast. >click to read< 09:56

Shrimpers and Crabbers Get Paid to Collect Abandoned Traps, Saving Wildlife from Derelict Fishing Hazards

Fishermen in Mississippi are getting paid to collect derelict crab traps, saving wildlife from getting caught in them. A bounty of $5 is offered for every abandoned trap collected, and in just three years the program, launched by Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United, a nonprofit fishermen’s organization, has collected over 3,000 such traps. This is perfect for fishermen looking to supply the Gulf Coast with delicious seafood, but what happens when the traps are abandoned or become lost? Their lethal trapping power remains and carries on indiscriminately, a phenomenon known as ghost fishing. >click to read< 12:29

Fishermen join disaster response effort

It took 10 years for Casey Streeter to build his fishing business, but it took just 10 hours for it all to be washed away. When Hurricane Ian hit Florida last September, local Pine Island fisherman Streeter lost nearly everything. But everything changed when Streeter got a personal call from AshBritt’s founder Randy Perkins to join him in recovery efforts. That’s why it was special for Streeter to join Congressman Byron Donalds to experience AshBritt’s coordinated debris removal work in action.  >click to read< 11:33

Shrimpers in Louisiana struggling to survive off low prices

Last week, shrimpers from across Louisiana held a rally at the State Capitol, blaming foreign imports for overcrowding the market. “You’re not breaking even right now, you’re in the red. Matter of fact, you’re below the red. I just don’t know what else to do,” Hackberry shrimper Kenny Kellum said. The abundance of foreign imported shrimp has caused prices to plummet in Louisiana, making it nearly impossible for shrimpers to survive. “We don’t want to give it up but we’re being forced out of something we’ve been doing all our lives and there’s no reason why somebody else should come in here and put us out of our living,” Kellum said. Video, >click to read< 16:34

Pass Christian grants temporary relief for struggling seafood industry

This week, the Board of Aldermen voted not to raise the long-term lease payments for the harbor’s commercial fisherman this year, which are contracted to increase by 4% every June. “This few hundred extra dollars will just help offset something,” Harbor Master Russell Holliman said. While shrimp may be fleeting, dealers also said they have not had an oyster season in more than five years. For Darlene Kimball, her tool to unload them has been immobile and rusting as she fights to keep Kimball Seafood afloat after nearly a century in business. Fisherman Gerald Pavolini said the industry he has known for about 40 years is now headed in one direction, and it’s not up. “The fuel prices went up. The shrimp went down, the prices,” he said. “We’ll make it, someway, somehow, I guess.” With a new shrimp season starting on Monday, fishermen will soon set sail with great hope. Video, >click to read< 15:04

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 80’X22′ Steel Scalloper/Dragger, Cat 3412

To review specifications, information, and 31 photos’, >click here<, To see all the boats in this series >click here< 11:30

Lowcountry is the last ‘wild west’ for blue crabs. Crabbers call for change.

In February, David Richardson drove to Columbia from his home in Charleston to speak to a room of state senators about his life as a South Carolina crabber, which, at the moment, “is kind of miserable.” But it wasn’t always miserable. Which is why he drove two hours to the Statehouse, a place he had never been nor expected to visit. The crabber thought about wearing a Hawaiian shirt, then thought twice: “I wore a suit, thank God.” As crab numbers fell over the past decade across the Eastern Seaboard, South Carolina did nothing, but North Carolina increased its management actions. It designated some areas as “no-fishing” spawning sanctuaries. And Georgia decided to limit the number of commercial crabbing licenses to under 100. Photos, >click to read< 08:39

Shrimp season in Mississippi to open on May 22

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) has set the opening date for the 2023-2024 shrimp season in state territorial waters for Monday, May 22 at 6 a.m. All regulations of the MDMR will be in full force and effect, and all boats engaged in catching and transporting shrimp from Mississippi waters must be licensed or permitted by the agency before beginning operations. Staff will continue to sample prior to the opening date. The shrimp season opening date may be postponed if sampling indicates movement of large numbers of juvenile brown shrimp into this area. >click to read< 13:04

Alaskan fisherman turned ‘mad scientist’ now distills his popular rum on a MS Coast farm

Eli Underhill and his wife, Amy, left the wilderness and frigid temperatures for warm and sunny South Mississippi a few years ago, where he traded catching salmon and cod for experimenting to create a unique rum spirit. He is the brains and brawn behind Circle Hook Distilling, and she handles the marketing and branding while also tending to their animals just down the road. Eli spent years researching fermentation and spirit trends before deciding to open a distillery jin Harrison County. He said there wasn’t much education on research out there about rum distilling, and he learned much of what he knows from studying the wine fermentation process. His wife jokingly calls him a “mad scientist” for figuring out how the process on his own. Photos, >click to read< 09:55

Alleged shrimp boat bandit arrested in Houston, ran boat aground, damaged 2 others

After weeks, an arrest was finally made in the case of the Shrimp Boat Bandit. Able Antonio Martinez, 22, was arrested and charged with two felony warrants for Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle and Criminal Mischief. On April 16, Port of Galveston Police officers responded to reports of a shrimp boat, which belonged to Alex Gutierrez, that was stolen while it was moored at Pier 19. Investigators discovered a man, now alleged to be Martinez, boarded the F/V Santana in slip 24W, backed out of the slip, and damaged two other vessels that were moored in the area.  Video, >click to read< 12:02

Shrimpers gather at La. capitol to protest rising prices, falling profits

Dozens of local fishermen and women gathered on the steps of the State Capitol Thursday morning to voices worries over the low prices of freshly-caught shrimp and their competition with imported seafood. “Inflation went up, shrimp’s down, can’t even afford fuel to go out,” one protestor said. “We shouldn’t be [at the Capitol] right now,” said fisherman Gareth Leblanc. “We should be working.” His brother, Lanvin Leblanc, is a 65-year-old fisherman who has been working in Louisiana waters for 25 years. Lanvin said that if prices stay up for another year, it could be too late.  >click to read< 10:35

Shrimp is the fruit of the sea, and Mississippi has many ways to celebrate National Shrimp Day all month long

As Bubba from “Forrest Gump” said, there are many, many ways to cook shrimp, and restaurants on the Mississippi Gulf Coast are ready to offer dozens of them in celebration of National Shrimp Day. In anticipation of the day created to recognize America’s favorite seafood, National Shrimp Day on May 10, Coastal Mississippi has curated a variety of ways travelers can celebrate all month long. The region, which produces nearly three-fourths the nation’s domestic shrimp, has many unique experiences for seafood enthusiasts, from learning how to find your own fresh catch to exploring the history of the seafood industry. >click to read< 17:46

Cause of Action Institute: Supreme Court to Hear Fishermen’s Chevron Challenge

The justices will review Loper Bright v. Raimondo. The fishermen, represented by former Solicitor General Paul Clement and lawyers from Cause of Action Institute, petitioned the Court in November to overrule a funding scheme that would force them to hand over 20 percent of their pay to third-party at-sea monitors they must bring on their boats—a mandate that Congress never approved by statute. Amicus briefs in support of the fishermen’s case were filed by 38 organizations and individuals, including one signed by 18 state attorneys general. “The Supreme Court has an opportunity to correct one of the most consequential judicial errors in a generation. Video, lots of noteworthy links with lots of info. >click to read< 19:00

Commercial fishing business/vessel owner Jewell Thomas “Tom” English III of Oak Island, Texas, has passed away

Jewell Thomas “Tom” English III, 75, of Oak Island, Texas, passed away peacefully, on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, at his home, with his loving family by his side. He was born on May 12, 1947, in Oceanside, California, to the late Margaret Emily Powers and Jewell Thomas English, Jr. He enlisted in the United States Navy and proudly served his country during the Vietnam Era. Tom was the owner and operator of a commercial fishing business and the fishing vessel F/V M&M (“you know where it melts”) for many years. He also received his captain’s license as a tugboat driver and for pushing barges. >click to read< 09:47

Celebrate Whale Week with NOAA Fisheries: A message from Janet Coit, Assistant Administrator

At NOAA Fisheries, our team of dedicated scientists and managers is responsible for the health and sustainability of more than 30 whale species in U.S and territorial waters. Every year, we spend a week taking a deeper dive to share our whale expertise. This year is particularly notable because it is the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act. Some of the most recognizable whales—North Atlantic right whales, Southern Resident killer whales, and Cook Inlet belugas—are at the top of our Species in the Spotlight initiative. >click to read< 18:33

Alabama Implements Shrimp Harvesting Ban to Promote Wise Stewardship

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced in the press release (below) that all inside waters will temporarily close for commercial and recreational shrimp harvesting starting from May 1, 2023. This closure is in accordance with the state laws and regulations and is aimed at promoting wise stewardship of Alabama’s natural resources. The inside waters, which are defined as all waters north of a specific line along the Gulf of Mexico, will reopen for shrimp harvesting on June 1, 2023. >click to read< 13:04

NOAA Fisheries Releases 2022 Status of Stocks

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is pleased to present the 2022 Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries. This report highlights the achievements of NMFS, the eight Regional Fishery Management Councils (Councils), and our other partners. In 2022, the number of stocks on the overfishing list decreased slightly, the number of overfished stocks also slightly decreased, and two stocks were rebuilt. We continue to implement management measures that will end overfishing, rebuild overfished stocks, and sustain our fisheries for future generations. Sound science, an increasing focus on climate-informed management, effective enforcement, meaningful partnerships, and public engagement drive our success in managing the most sustainable fisheries in the world. >click to read< 11:58

U.S. Shrimp Industry and Congressional Allies Urge ITC to Maintain Antidumping Orders on Imported Shrimp

The United States shrimp industry recently made its case to maintain antidumping orders on imported shrimp from IndiaThailand, and Vietnam before the International Trade Commission (ITC). On April 11, 2023, the ITC conducted a hearing in connection with its Third Sunset Review on the antidumping orders.  The American Shrimp Processors Association (ASPA) presented five witnesses from shrimp processors in TexasLouisianaMississippi, and Florida who relayed stories about the continuing injury caused by ever- increasing volumes of dumped imported shrimp. >click to read< 13:58

UPDATE: Coast Guard rescues 2 from a life raft near Cape San Blas, Florida

The Coast Guard rescued two overdue fishermen from a life raft near Cape San Blas, Florida, Tuesday. At 3:21 p.m., the aircrew of a Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater HC-130 Hercules located a life raft with the two missing fishermen aboard. The aircrew then vectored in the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Dolphin which embarked the fishermen and transported them to awaiting emergency medical personnel. The fishermen were last reported to be in stable condition. Coast Guard Sector Mobile watchstanders received the initial call Monday evening from the vessel owner stating his vessel, F/V Capt Ken-Wil, was without power and taking on water. >click to read< 07:25

Coast Guard searching for overdue shrimp trawler with 2 people onboard near Cape San Blas, Florida

The Coast Guard is searching Tuesday for an overdue vessel with two people aboard near Cape San Blas, Florida.  Missing is Michael Redman and Jimmy Mallory. There is currently no description available for the mariners. The Coast Guard began searching Monday evening after Coast Guard Sector Mobile watchstanders received a phone call from the owner of the 54-foot shrimp trawler F/V Capt. Ken-Wil who reported his vessel disabled and without power with two people aboard. 2 photos, >click to read< 17:48

In the Race for Clean Energy, Is Offshore Wind Harming the Nation’s Fisheries?

Tom Hafer remembers the first time the fish stopped biting. It was a little over 20 years ago when fiber optic cables were being installed in waters off the coast of central California, where he fishes commercially for spot prawns and rockfish. The fishing was disrupted for “miles and miles,” says Hafer, who has been fishing since the 1970s. Now, he and many other fishermen are bracing themselves for what could be a much larger threat looming in the water. Offshore wind farms, which are ramping up in the United States, could come at a tremendous cost to fishermen as they are being sited in prime fishing areas. And the process of erecting wind farms and their long-term presence in the water could alter aquatic ecosystems, potentially driving away fish and marine mammals. >click to read< 10:27

VIMS to lead national program for managing derelict fishing gear

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has recommended William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science as home base for a new national program focused on protecting U.S. coastal waters from derelict fishing gear. The $8 million provided by NOAA to implement the four-year program is the largest single grant award in VIMS’ 83-year history. Many of these dollars will be passed on to program partners through an annual grant competition. Formally known as the Nationwide Fishing TRAP Program — “TRAP” for Trap Removal, Assessment & Prevention — the effort includes funding for commercial and tribal fishers to remove derelict pots from Virginia’s waters. >click to read< 17:46

The search for the 88TH S&P Festival Queen has begun!

The Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival and Fair Association and the Past Queen’s Club have announced that the search for the new Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival queen has begun. The association is looking for a special young woman to carry on the tradition of representing the oldest state-chartered harvest festival in Louisiana. She will be a goodwill ambassador for the Tri-City area and will represent the 88th Louisiana Shrimp and Petroleum Festival. The deadline for submitting applications to the festival office will be 3:30 p.m. June 2. Some of the requirements to be queen are: >click to read< 14:53

Cassidy Urges International Trade Commission to Keep Antidumping Orders on Shrimp from China, India, Thailand, Vietnam

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy M.D. (R-LA) expressed his support for continuing antidumping orders on imports of frozen warmwater shrimp imported from China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam in a letter to U.S. International Trade Commission Chairman David Johanson. Cassidy highlighted the importance of these antidumping orders to ensure Louisiana’s shrimp industry can compete on a level playing field. “Dumped imports from China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam surged into the U.S. market, driving down prices, depressing earnings, and making it increasingly difficult to cover the costs of production. Faced with declining revenues and market share, many small fishermen, processors, and distributors were forced to close. The orders have imposed needed discipline on imports and allowed our vital Louisiana shrimp industry to survive,” wrote Dr. Cassidy. >click to read< 14:40

Spring Shrimp Season to Open in a Portion of Louisiana Inshore Waters May 1

Today, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission convened a special meeting to consider setting the opening of the spring shrimp season in a portion of state inshore waters.  The Commission set the opening based on information provided by Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists and public comments.  The Commission set the season as follows: >click to read< 10″22

Athearn Marine Agency Boat of the Week: 68′ Desco Dragger W/State and Federal Permits, Cat 3408

To review specifications, information, and 54 photos’, >click here<, To see all the boats in this series >click here< 11:36

La. Wildlife and Fisheries boss resigns amid reports on alleged kickback scheme

The head of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has resigned after he was implicated in an apparent kickback scheme involving a contract the agency signed with a private contractor, sources told WBRZ. LDWF Secretary Jack Montoucet who abruptly resigned Friday morning, is believed to have signed that contract in October 2021, according to The Advocate. The allegations emerged this week after Dusty Guidry, who was appointed by Governor Edwards to the LDWF Commission, pleaded guilty to bribery-related charges in Lafayette. >click to read< 13:35

U.S. Coast Guard medevacs man from fishing vessel near Grand Isle, Louisiana

The Coast Guard medevaced a 60-year-old man from a fishing vessel Sunday near Grand Isle, Louisiana. Coast Guard Sector New Orleans watchstanders received a call on Channel 16 at 3:06 a.m. from the fishing vessel Elvidlong requesting a medevac for a crewmember aboard who sustained injuries to one of his hands. Sector New Orleans watchstanders coordinated the launch of a Coast Guard Station Grand Isle Response Boat – Medium boat crew to assist. The man was taken to University Medical Center where he was last reported to be in stable condition. >link< 16:27

As seafood sales rise for Lent, Louisiana shrimpers say their industry is in trouble

With Lent elevating sales of crawfish, fish and shrimp across Louisiana, many local fishermen and shrimpers say they aren’t benefitting. “We’ve been here a long time, and yet we’re just going to get shoved out of the way. When importers come in and start buying cold storage and start buying infrastructure, we’re going to lose our way of life, and Louisiana is going to lose a lot. They’re more at stake than anybody because we’re known for our seafood. That’s why people come to Louisiana is for our seafood and for our culture,” said Acy Cooper, the president of the Louisiana Shrimpers Association. >click to read< 12:02