Category Archives: Gulf of Mexico

Gov. Edwards Requests Federal Declaration of a Fisheries Disaster in Louisiana

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced today that he has requested a federal fisheries disaster declaration for Louisiana from the U.S. Department of Commerce following impacts of the spring flood flight on the fishing industry in Louisiana. Troubling mortality rates among oysters, declining fish catches and the financial damage to the livelihoods of those in the fishing industry caused by floodwaters rushing from the Bonnet Carré Spillway were among the reasons for the request, which Gov. Edwards outlined in a letter to Wilbur Ross, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce. >click to read<16:18

Updated – Letter: Gulf Seafood industry hampered by spillway opening

Gulf seafood harvesters need federal disaster recovery funding to ease the suffering caused by the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway.,, In a letter to the U.S. secretary of commerce, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant stated that 70% of the Mississippi Sound’s already imperiled oyster population is estimated to be dead, with the crab catch down by 35%. Shrimp season in Mississippi, which usually begins in June, will also be affected. >click to read<14:36

Gov. Edwards Requests Federal Disaster Declaration for Flooded Fisheries – >click to read<

A Fishery Management Proposal

Its frustrating to watch fish regulators on the various fishery management councils continuously cut back on fishermen allocations with no regard for how they will make up for the “scientific” decision that takes revenue from them. I have reached out to various politicians to create a Farm Bill for fishermen, which would be a huge undertaking for the Congress, and in the current political climate, it seems like an impossible task, even though it is needed. In the meantime, the mismanagement continues, and people are pushed closer to exit the industry, which is unacceptable. What I am proposing is to correct this and mitigate the damage caused by the cutback is legislation. This is what I would like to see. Sam Parisi >click to read<12:16

Eric Schwaab Comes Aboard as New Head of EDF’s Oceans Program

“Eric was critical to the success we achieved during my time as NOAA Administrator,” said Dr. Jane Lubchenco, University Distinguished Professor, Oregon State University and former EDF Board Trustee. “His unflappable get-it-done approach makes him notably effective working with a range of stakeholders from fishermen to global leaders.” As head of NMFS, Schwaab led the transformation of U.S. fisheries management including widespread adoption of science-based catch limits and catch shares. EDF was a leading advocate for these reforms, which have driven a dramatic recovery of fish populations and increased catch and profits for fishermen. >click tp read<10:02

The power to open Bonnet Carré spillway rests 200 miles from ‘struggling’ Gulf Coast

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opens the Bonnet Carré to prevent Mississippi River flooding in New Orleans, but Coast residents on less populated shores of South Mississippi and Louisiana feel the fallout. The fresh, polluted water floods Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi Sound. For the first time in history, the spillway has opened two years in a row — 2018 and 2019 — and two times in one year — 2019.  Dolphins and oysters are dying. Shrimp are disappearing. Fish are covered in lesions. And the oxygen-starved Dead Zone, documented annually in the Gulf of Mexico, is expected this summer to be the size of Massachusetts, which is close to the 2017 record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says. Video, photo’s >click to read<10:23

The Jubilee: Mobile Bay’s Summer Seafood Phenomenon

He can try to tell it to you, tell how Mobile Bay goes calm and slick just before dawn, how the tide pushes in beneath a gentle easterly breeze that just smells different—like salt. He can tell how the mixing salt water from the Gulf of Mexico and fresh water from the Mobile-Tensaw Delta to the north just fracture somehow in that great, warm, stagnant pool and a heavier, saltier layer, low in oxygen, sinks to the bottom of the bay.,,, “I grew up with an old man—we called him ‘The Duke’—and he taught me a lot of what I know about the brackish water and the nature of fish,,, >click to read<10:10

‘A major punch in the gut’: Midwest rains projected to create Gulf dead zone

As rain deluged the Midwest this spring, commercial fisherman Ryan Bradley knew it was only a matter of time before the disaster reached him. All that water falling on all that fertilizer-enriched farmland would soon wend its way through streams and rivers into Bradley’s fishing grounds in the Gulf of Mexico, off the Mississippi coast. The nutrient excess would cause tiny algae to burst into bloom, then die, sink, and decompose on the ocean floor. That process would suck all the oxygen from the water, turning it toxic. Fish would suffocate, or flee, leaving Bradley and his fellow fishermen with nothing to harvest. >click to read<21:12

Top brass exit Nature Conservancy amid sexual harassment investigation

#MeToo strikes again. This time it is within the world’s leading conservation organization, the Nature Conservancy. The first to exit the organization due to an investigation into sexual harassment and workplace misconduct were Mark Burget, head of the group’s North American operations, and Kacky Andrews, who led global programs.,,, Well, hold on. There’s more. Friday CEO Tercek resigned, just a week after McPeek’s exit.,,, Tercek joined The Nature Conservancy in 2008 from Goldman Sachs. (surely an environmentalist!),,, I’ll end with a little nugget I found. Friday Mary Kay, Inc., an original glass ceiling breaker among corporations offering opportunities to women, announced it has partnered with the Nature Conservancy in a program called the Texas Fisheries & Coastal Resilience Program. >click to read<18:27

Mary Kay Inc. Partners with The Nature Conservancy to Advance Sustainable Fishing in Gulf of Mexico – Mary Kay Inc., an international leader in corporate and social responsibility, today announced its partnership with The Nature Con – >click to read<

Mississippi Gulf Coast fishermen struggling as flooding disaster wipes out marine life

The Mississippi Gulf Coast is now bearing the effects of the record rain and snowmelt that has caused major flooding throughout the Midwest this year. The influx of water that has drained into the Mississippi River and is now being diverted into the gulf coast has wreaked havoc on marine life and Mississippi’s commercial fishing industry. >Video, click to read<17:37

Coast Guard rescues 3 from damaged fishing vessel near Sabine Pass, Texas

Sector Houston-Galveston watchstanders received a report from the owner of a 74-foot commercial shrimping vessel that three fishermen were in need of assistance after their vessel was struck by a possible tornado. The fishermen activated their emergency position indicating radio beacon and abandoned ship to a liferaft. >click to read<08:12

Louisiana Shrimp Task Force calls special meeting to discuss Bonnet Carre Spillway openings, Friday, 10 am

The Louisiana Shrimp Task Force has called a special meeting to discuss the issues facing the industry due to the spillway openings. The Bonnet Carre Spillway has opened twice so far this year to relieve pressure from the Mississippi River, affecting salinity levels. The task force will meet in the Terrebonne Council meeting room, 8026 Main Street in Houma, at 10 a.m. on Friday. The meeting is open to the public. Individuals can also register to stream the meeting at this link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8594745354536655629. (link)12:50

La. crabbers, fishers ask for federal aid amid spillway openings

The Louisiana Crab Task Force met Tuesday (June 4) in Chalmette to discuss the issues facing the commercial crabbing industry as a result of the spillway openings. The group motioned to work with other seafood industry task forces to write a joint letter requesting federal help. Dozens of fishermen attended the meeting, voicing their concerns about how the opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway is affecting their livelihoods. A spokesperson with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said they have been monitoring the water quality and reports of fish kills. >click to read<21:43

Charter boat captain arrested, accused of getting drunk, firing handgun, refusing to return passengers to shore

A charter boat captain was arrested on Sunday, accused of getting intoxicated on his boat, firing a handgun and refusing to return his passengers to shore. Shortly after midnight on June 2, Sarasota Police and the U.S. Coast Guard responded to 2 Marina Plaza in Sarasota after receiving calls from passengers aboard a charter ship saying the captain, 36-year-old Mark Bailey, was intoxicated, had fired off rounds from a handgun and was refusing to bring them to shore. >click to read<20:26

Police: Sarasota boat passengers held captive by drunken, armed captain – >click to read, photos!<

Louisiana Native Sues Fishing Captain Following Maritime Injury

A Louisiana man is suing a Texas fishing captain following injuries suffered while working on the captain’s vessel. David Robling, the plaintiff, was working aboard the fishing boat, Red Bull, on February 20, 2019, when he suffered injuries resulting from the negligence and unseaworthiness of the ship-captain, Delbert E. Bull, Jr. The suit, filed in the Galveston County District Court, is in accord with the Jones Act, specifically 46 U.S.C. §30104, which protects seamen injured in the course of their employment and which affords them the right to legal action and a trial by jury against the ship’s owner. >click to read<19:45

After over forty years of NOAA/NMFS management how are we really doing? Nils Stolpe

The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act – I have seen the focus of government fisheries manage-ment increasingly shift away from the fishermen to the fish. The provisions of the Act as it was originally written were put in place to allow the U.S. fishing industry to regain control of the fisheries in the United States’ highly productive coastal waters,,, The legislation was singularly effective, so effective that within ten years or so of its passage the greatest portion of our domestic fish and shellfish production was being harvested by U.S. fishermen on U.S. vessels. This success was sold to the U.S. public – and the U.S. politicians – as an assault on the “sanctity” of our coastal waters by a burgeoning environmental industry that was (and still is) engaged in non-governmental empire building. This has resulted in a handful of multi-national ENGOs (Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations) that have become at least as influential as the fishing industry in national and international fisheries management. >click to read, and review the links and graphs<16:10

Shrimpers keep their fingers crossed for the upcoming season

It was a busy morning at the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor. Fishermen and shrimpers were getting ready for the 2019 Blessing of the Fleet while selling whatever fresh seafood they managed to catch overnight. “Jumbo shrimp are $4 a pound. How many do want?” asked one of the women selling shrimp on the back of her boat. As their boats pass along the water for a blessing from the priest, the people who make their living out on the water hope for some divine intervention. “Right now there is too much fresh water. No shrimp,” said Lien Nguyen. >video, click to read<

Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meeting June 3 – 6, 2019, in Miramar Beach, FL.

Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council meeting June 3 – 6, 2019, in Miramar Beach, FL. Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, Bayside Ballroom
9300 Emerald Coast Parkway W. Miramar Beach, FL 32550, 850-267-8000. >click to review Agenda, and supporting documents.< Listen online, >click to listen< This webinar meets 4 times.15:14

Coast Guard rescues 2 people from vessel taking on water

Coast Guard Sector New Orleans watchstanders received a report at 4:53 p.m. of the vessel Miss Linda taking on water in Breton Sound, Louisiana, with two people aboard. Watchstanders diverted a Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew at 5:32 p.m. The aircrew located the Miss Linda and dropped two rafts and supplies to the two individuals. >3 photo’s,click to read<13:46

Louisiana – Flooding, pollution devastating state’s fishing industry

Even with the delayed opening of the Morganza Spillway, fishermen in Acadiana say they’ve been feeling the affects of flooding for months. Thursday, Governor John Bel Edwards said fishermen around the state are experiencing 90 percent loss. In Cypremont Point, commercial fisherman Thomas Olander says on a normal Friday during shrimp season the bay is filled with shrimp boats and shrimp for local shoppers.,, “With all of the runoff with fertilizer and all the towns that are being flooded now with fresh water running through the towns It’s just polluted and it’s causing one of the largest dead zones probably ever recorded,” he explained.  >Video, click to read<09:15

Morganza opening may drown the livelihoods of thousands of Gulf fishermen

Louisiana Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is supporting a Gulf-wide coalition that wants FEMA to declare a state of emergency specific to Gulf seafood and its related industries. This comes as U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prepares to open the Morganza Spillway, sending fresh water into a fragile ecosystem that is home to a wide variety of Gulf seafood.,,, “The opening of the Morganza Spillway will cause severe damage to the Atchafalaya Basin, our nation’s largest estuary,” said Nungesser. “The opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway earlier this year already has negatively impacted seafood in lakes Pontchartrain and Borgne, as well as fisheries in Mississippi. >click to read<18:31

OUT TO CATCH THE LAST FISH? Fisheries “expert’s” anti-fisherman rhetoric gets taken to task!

“…most fishermen always want to catch more fish, regardless of how many there are.” This quote from the fisheries “expert” in the article, Warming waters spark marine migration, fish wars >click to read<on the warming ocean, and Joel’s subsequent comment, “And here in lies the problem. Look at what this cubical entrenched pencil pushing empty suit thinks of fishermen. Folks like this need to be taken to task”, inspired a re-post of this anti-fishing propaganda article, OUT TO CATCH THE LAST FISH? It’s a few years old, but sadly, as current as ever!  To be a fisherman, these days, is to have first-hand knowledge of bias and mindless prejudice. Manipulating commercial fishing to save the stocks from “endangerment” and worse, has often been job justification for the political and personal agenda-driven, obsequious, career-climbing government fisheries “scientists” and managers. “Destructive” commercial fishing is also a handy foil for corporate style environmental groups’ fund raising efforts; and diminishing the importance of domestic commercial fishing is also a necessary step in the energy industry’s march into the sea. >click to read< Thank you, Dick.17:02

Freshwater in the Mississippi Sound Causing Concern for Shrimp Season

The Department of Marine Resources typically opens our state’s shrimp season during the first week of June every year. What’s different this season? There’s freshwater flushing out into the Mississippi Sound because of the twice-opened Bonnet Carre Spillway to alleviate flooding. Now, local fishermen are concerned over how the reduced salinity will impact Mississippi’s shrimp harvest. >click to read<10:39

Shrimp season comes with fears of uncertainty – Most of the people we spoke with were worried that the freshwater incursion from the Bonnet Carré Spillway would hurt the Mississippi shrimp season. >Video, click to read<

Hit-or-miss hauls end another unpredictable Florida stone crab season

“We knew guys who were fishing 500 traps and would catch less than six or seven pounds,” Gandy said. “Lots of (crabbers) just didn’t do it this year.” Meanwhile, those crabbing to the north, from around New Port Richey to the panhandle, saw some giant hauls, especially early in the season, which started in October. The director of one commercial fishing association described Florida’s season overall as “pretty disastrous,” unless you were between Hudson and Crystal River where “they were breaking records.” “What’s crazy is the rest of the world had a horrible crab season,” >click to read<12:57

How to wreck an industry – Catch shares lead to consolidation of Alaskan fisheries

A recent study documenting consolidation and specialization in Alaska’s fisheries over the past three decades illustrates a broader trend taking hold in coastal communities across the country. Catch share programs, a new fisheries management system, are turning fishing rights into tradable commodities, driving up the cost to fish and consolidating fishing rights into the hands of a few wealthy owners. For instance, in Alaska’s Bering Sea crab fishery, just four companies own 77 percent of the rights to fish a single crab species. >click to read<11:30

FWC: Man selling bait without license jumped in water during arrest near Fort DeSoto

A St. Petersburg man is facing several charges after officers say he jumped off a boat to resist being arrested by state wildlife officials. Officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission were out near Fort DeSoto and Bunce’s Pass Saturday when the incident happened. According to an arrest report, the officers were trying to conduct a commercial fisheries inspection involving 39-year-old Ryan Rauch. >click to read<10:49

Our coastal communities are drowning, largely thanks to tradable quotas and licences.

British Columbia’s coastal communities, long dependent on fishing for their livelihoods, are in serious trouble: population down, youth retention down, incomes down, investment down, infrastructure down, health and well-being down. It’s now almost impossible for young people to enter the fishery because of the high cost of purchasing or leasing the Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs) attached to most fishing licences. ITQs are permits to catch a certain quantity of fish, and can be freely traded or leased. Coastal communities that used to have dozens of fishermen now may have a handful at best. The boatbuilding, repair, and gear supply businesses are likewise disappearing.  How did this happen to our once prosperous coast?  East Coast, best coast?>click to read<12:32

Louisiana Bill Would Require Shrimp and Crawfish Country Of Origin Labeling on Restaurant Menus

Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements at 7 CFR Part 60 and 7 CFR Part 65require retailers to notify their customers of the country of origin of covered commodities,,, House Bill No. 335 would require Louisiana restaurants to label menus with the origins of shrimp and crawfish. The proposed law would require all restaurants that use a menu as a standard business practice and sell cooked or prepared crawfish or shrimp that originate outside of the U.S. to display on all menus the country of origin in letters no smaller than one-half inch in size, in English, immediately adjacent to the menu listing of the seafood item being sold. >click to read<10:13

Rep. Young fights fish farms

In his 46 years as Alaska’s lone representative in Congress, Don Young helped toss out foreign fishing fleets from Alaska waters with the onset of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act in 1976, and today he is intent on doing the same with offshore fish farms. The MSA established an ‘exclusive economic zone’ for US fleets fishing from three to 200 miles from shore. Young’s effort follows a push that began a year ago by over 120 aquaculture and food-related industries to have lawmakers introduce an Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture (AQUAA) Act, which failed to get any traction. The campaign is organized under a new trade group called Stronger America Through Seafood and includes Cargill, Red Lobster, Pacific Seafoods and Seattle Fish Company.  >click to read<15:50

Florida Digests Worst Stone Crab Season In Decade

Florida’s worst stone crab season in recent memory closed last week marked by a lower-than-normal catch of the flaky, sweet crustaceans in many parts of the state and higher prices for consumers. Co-owner Stephen Sawitz of the iconic Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach, which recently celebrated its 105th season, said his business felt the pinch all season long.,,, Joe’s is a good barometer of the industry,,, Rich Tradition, Red Tide, Frozen Vs. Fresh, New Crab On Menu, >Video, click to read<16:07

‘I’m out of work:’ Open Bonnet Carre Spillway hurts local fisherman

The Bonnet Carre Spillway is currently open to keep the Mississippi River from overflowing and damaging the levee system.  But crab fisherman say there’s another side to the water diversion: The longer it stays open, the more damage it will do to the fishing industry. Fisherman along Lake St. Catherine say this time of the year their traps are usually brimming with crabs, but Saturday when Eyewitness News came to look, most of the traps had been pulled out of the water. >Video, click to read<15:16