Category Archives: Gulf of Mexico

Trap fishermen, industry suffers record loses from Irma

Conch Key commercial fisherman Gary Nichols scoured the Atlantic Ocean for seven hours on Monday and only found 15 of his 5,000 spiny lobster traps. Fellow Conch Key fishermen Jeff Kramer was only able to locate a handful of his 2,000 traps he had placed in the Atlantic. Both are hoping that ones in the Gulf of Mexico fared better. Nichols’ daughter Kelly Cordova Nichols was able to locate 160 of the family’s 1,500 traps in the bay. Nichols and his daughter are also working with two boats that were damaged by Hurricane Irma and are “not properly operating.” “I feel a little bit defeated,” Nichols said. “It’s hard to keep focused and have a firm belief in God and happiness right now. click here to read the story 16:05

Nautic Alert Gives Boat Owner Confidence During Hurricane Harvey

When hurricanes and severe storms strike, boaters often find themselves on-edge hoping they don’t receive the dreaded high-water alert, and hoping their float switches and pumps are up for the job and in working order. As Hurricane Harvey unleashed its fury onto Galveston, Texas, one owner of an Island Packet 485 with a Nautic Alert system on-board received notifications during the heaviest of storms that not only confirmed all was well, but enabled him to get insight into exactly what was occurring in his bilge. click here to read the story 15:21

Cortez helps Florida fishing communities hit by Irma

Residents of the Cortez historic fishing village are reaching out to provide aid to fellow commercial fishermen in Chokoloskee and Everglades City in the wake of Hurricane Irma. The donation drive kicks off at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, at Bradenton Elks Lodge 1511, 2511 75th St. in Bradenton. Collection will continue through 4 p.m. with items being delivered to a distribution point at the Chokoloskee Church of God on Wednesday morning. click here to read the story 08:44

Trade groups want 10-year requirement removed from Magnuson-Stevens Act

As Congress gets ready to address reauthorizing the Magnuson-Stevens Act, representatives from commercial fishing interests are urging lawmakers to revisit some of the current law’s regulations they feel have hindered the industry. In particular, they’re urging officials to do away with language that caps rebuilding plans for overfished species to 10 years. It’s an arbitrary figure that has too rigidly applied across all federally managed species, said Lori Steele, the executive director of the West Coast Seafood Processors Association, at a hearing Tuesday of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard. click here to read the story 10:50

The Magnuson Stevens Act and its Ten Year Rebuilding Timeline: Science or Fiction? By Meghan Lapp – click here to read the article

Rockport fishing boat captain delivering food to the elderly

One positive thing Hurricane Harvey did in the Coastal Bend is highlight the generosity of so many people. People like fishing boat Captain Billie Kocian, who despite losing her own home, decided to step up and help fill an important need in the Rockport area. Left devastated by Harvey, the community of Rockport is still trying to rebuild, some just needing a simple hug and the reassurance that everything will be okay. video, click here to read the story 13:21

Shrimp boat captain stranded during Irma rescued by Carnival cruise ship

A shrimp boat captain who was stranded in the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane Irma is back at home after he was rescued by a cruise ship. Edward Potter arrived Wednesday at Tampa International Airport, embracing family members who feared they would never see him again. Potter and first mate Carl Sheperd were caught in the storm in a 75-foot fishing boat based out of Tarpon Springs. “They were getting water in the engine room and Edward was working on the engine room, and we talked to Carl on the phone and then we couldn’t get in touch with him anymore,” friend Rick Shalansky said. Video, click here to read the story 11:51

Tarpon Springs boat captain returns after fateful encounter with Irma

The captain had few words to say after he got off the airplane, but most of them were about his former deckhand. “Carl Sheperd was the best man, best friend,” Capt. Edward Potter said. “I can’t say anything more … but I love that man.” It was just weeks before that the men had set off on Potter’s shrimp boat, the Capt. Eddie, from Pelican Point Seafood in Tarpon Springs for a shrimping trip to the Florida Keys. About a week into their journey, Hurricane Irma developed and came barreling west toward the Florida Straits. Potter, 61, on just the start of what is typically a 30- to 40-day excursion, thought they could outrun it. But the storm caught up with them, pummeling the boat, the two men on board and their feline passenger, Motorboat. Only Potter made it back alive. click here to read the story 23:16

Mayport shrimpers rode out storm on board their vessels in Jacksonville

Sixty-year-old Charles Long road out the storm with other shrimp fisherman and a lone grouper fisherman who moored about 20 boats in the St. John’s River near the Maxwell House building in downtown Jacksonville. Long, who told his girlfriend of 25 years that fishing comes before ladies — and everything — said weathering the storm on the 75-foot boat named “Judge” was a breeze. “Just another storm,” said the man who has been hauling in shrimp for 42 years. “We fared good. It all worked out. “ If history repeats itself as it has for the past four decades, it should work out very well for Long. He said after a good storm, shrimping is great. click here to read the story 18:23

Florida, Georgia, South Carolina Reeling After Irma’s Historic Assault; Navy Dispatches Ships, Aircraft Carrier to the Keys

An aircraft carrier has been dispatched to the Florida Keys to help with relief efforts as Irma after its historic assault on Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, killing at least nine people. Five deaths have been attributed to the storm in Florida, including two deaths in Hardee County, one death Orange County, one in St. Johns County and one in Winter Park. Deaths were also reported in Georgia’s Worth and Forsyth counties and the Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs. click here to read the story 09:59

Canadian power crews head to Irma-hit Florida to help restore service – Dozens of Canadian power crews are heading to Florida to help restore power to millions of people affected by Hurricane Irma. click here to read the story

Hearing! 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday – MSA Reauth – Oversight of Fisheries Management Successes and Challenges

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, will convene the hearing titled “Reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act: Oversight of Fisheries Management Successes and Challenges” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 12, 2017. The hearing is the third of the series and will focus on the perspectives of commercial, charter, and recreational fishermen on the state of our nation’s fishery laws. click here to read the press release This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov. 23:24

On Hurricane Bay, a Florida fisherman tries to ride out the storm

As the winds started to roar in Hurricane Bay, P.J. Pike jumped from a high dock down to his fishing boat and began lashing ropes to the mast. The lines extended to anything solid nearby – dock posts, a palm tree, the Captain Tony’s Fishing Adventures sign – to anchor what would soon be his shelter for Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the Florida coastline. “I’ve been here since ’93, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” he shouted with a hoarse voice into a driving rain.   click here to read the story 11:29

Tropical Storm Irma Public Advisory – 1100 AM EDT

At 1100 AM EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Irma was located near latitude 30.3 North, longitude 83.1 West. Irma is moving toward the north-northwest near 17 mph (28 km/h), and this motion is expected to continue through Tuesday. On the forecast track, the center of Irma will move into southwestern Georgia later today, and move into eastern Alabama Tuesday morning. Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 65 mph (100 km/h) with higher gusts. Continued slow weakening is forecast, and Irma is likely to become a tropical depression on Tuesday. click here to read the update 11:10

Hurricane Irma blasts Florida: ‘Monster’ storm charges up coast after hitting Miami and Tampa

5.8 million without power as Hurricane Irma tracks coast – Storm kills at least four in Florida after 38 dead in Caribbean – 10,000 could have stayed in Keys to ride out hurricane – After Tampa, Irma heads to southern Georgia and South Carolina – Hurricane weakens to tropical storm, but surge threat remains – Stranded Britons told French planes can’t take ‘UK refugees’ – Richard Branson shares video of devastation on Necker island – Island by island: How Irma brought havoc to paradise click here to read the story, live updates.

Hurricane Irma – Public Advisory – 1100 PM EDT Sun Sep 10 2017

At 1100 PM EDT (0300 UTC), the center of Hurricane Irma was located by NOAA Doppler radar near latitude 27.5 North, longitude 81.9 West. Irma is moving toward the north near 14 mph (22 km/h). A turn toward the north-northwest and then northwest at a faster forward speed is expected during the next day or so. On the forecast track, the center of Irma will continue to move over the western Florida peninsula through Monday morning and then into the southeastern United States late Monday and Tuesday. click here to read the update 23:34

Coast Guard urges mariners to contact watchstanders by phone during VHF outages

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Coast Guard requests mariners in life-threatening situations along Florida’s Gulf Coast contact Coast Guard watchstanders by phone during the absence or degradation of VHF radio communications caused by Hurricane Irma. Mariners unable to reach the Coast Guard by VHF radio should use contact Sector St. Petersburg Command Center at 727-896-6187 or 727-896-6188 until radio signals improve or are restored. -USCG- 23:17

Hurricane Irma – Massive airborne relief mission en route to Keys to help with ‘humanitarian crisis’

A huge airborne relief mission is en route to the Keys to help people impacted by the devastation caused when the eye of Hurricane Irma blasted through the Lower Florida Keys at daybreak Sunday morning. Monroe County Emergency Management Director Martin Senterfitt called the destruction caused by Irma, a massive Category 4 storm when it impacted the Keys, a “humanitarian crisis.” Among the services coming to the Keys are “disaster mortuary teams,” he said during a conference call.  Supplies and personnel could be coming in by air to Monroe County by early Monday morning, Senterfitt said. click here to read the story 17:52

Hurricane Irma Makes Landfall on Marco Island

3:45 p.m. Hurricane Irma has made landfall on Marco Island, Florida, as a Category 3 hurricane. The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Irma’s powerful eye roared ashore at Marco Island just south of Naples with 115-mph (185-kph) winds, for a second U.S. landfall at 3:35 p.m. Sunday. Category 3 storms have winds from 111 to 129 mph, but 130-mph (21-kph) wind gust was recently reported by the Marco Island Police Department. Irma’s second U.S. landfall was tied for the 21st strongest landfall in the U.S. based on central pressure. Irma’s first U.S. landfall in the Florida Keys was tied for 7th. click here to read the story 16:23

Hurricane Irma activates Jacksonville’s riverfront

Seeking shelter from Hurricane Irma, the First Coast shrimping and fishing fleet brings a little nostalgia back to the days when downtown Jacksonville was known as being an active working waterfront. In a strange twist of fate, the impending arrival of Hurricane Irma and the long abandoned piers of the defunct Jacksonville Shipyards have resulted in a bit of authentic Jacksonville returning to its historic downtown waterfront. Massive concrete piers built to complement the largest drydocks between Newport News and New Orleans, have become a key player in protecting the First Coast’s shrimping and fishing fleet from Hurricane Irma. click here to read the story 14:16

Hurricane Irma – Public Advisory – 1100 AM EDT Sun Sep 10 2017

At 1100 AM EDT (1500 UTC), the center of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 25.0 North, longitude 81.5 West. Irma is moving toward the north near 9 mph (15 km/h, and a north northwestward motion with an increase in forward speed is expected later today, with that motion continuing through Monday. On the forecast track, the eye of Irma should move over the Lower Florida Keys shortly, and then move near or over the west coast of the Florida Peninsula later today through tonight. Irma should then move inland over northern Florida and southwestern Georgia Monday afternoon. click here to read the update. 11:10

Hurricane Irma – Public Advisory – 1100 PM EDT Sat Sep 09 2017

At 1100 PM EDT (0300 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Irma was located near latitude 23.5 North, longitude 81.0 West. Irma is moving slowly northwestward away from the north coast of Cuba near 6 mph (9 km/h). A turn toward the north-northwest with an increase in forward speed is expected through late Monday. On the forecast track, the center of Irma is expected to cross the Lower Florida Keys Sunday morning and then move near or along the west coast of Florida Sunday afternoon through Monday morning. Irma should then move inland over the Florida panhandle and southwestern Georgia Monday afternoon. click here to read the update 23:05

US Waives Jones Act to Secure Fuel for Hurricane Responders

The U.S. government on Friday said it was temporarily waiving a law that limits the availability of cargoes on the U.S. coasts, a step that will ensure enough fuel reaches emergency responders during Hurricane Irma and in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The Jones Act mandates the use of U.S.-flagged vessels to transport merchandise between U.S. coasts. The Department of Homeland Security waived the requirement for one week. This will allow oil and gas operators to use often cheaper, tax-free, or more readily available foreign-flagged vessels. click here to read the story 10:03

Hurricane Irma Public Advisory – 0:800 UPDATE from the National Hurricane Center

At 800 AM EDT (1200 UTC), the eye of Hurricane Irma was located by a reconnaissance plane and Cuban radars near latitude 22.6 North, longitude 79.5 West. Irma is moving toward the west near 12 mph (19 km/h), along the north coast of Cuba. A northwest motion is expected to begin later today with a turn toward the north-northwest tonight or on Sunday. On the forecast track, the core of Irma will continue to move near or over the north coast of Cuba this morning, and will reach the Florida Keys Sunday morning. The hurricane is expected to be near the southwest coast of Florida Sunday afternoon. click here to read the update AMX Radar NWS Forecast Office Miami – South Florida click here 08:23

UPDATED: 23:00 Hurricane Irma a Potentially Devastating Category 4 Strike on South Florida Sunday After Raking Through the Bahamas

Hurricane Irma, a potentially catastrophic Category 4 hurricane, is now hammering parts of the Bahamas and Cuba, and will turn its fury on Florida in what is likely to be the state’s strongest hurricane strike since Charley 13 years ago. Below is everything we know about Irma right now, including its latest status, along with potential forecast impacts in the U.S. and the Caribbean Islands. click here to read the story

National Hurricane Center – Hurricane Irma Public Advisory 23:00 update click here 07:38

Leaving death and destruction, Hurricane Irma’s storm path: What you should know

Hurricane Irma made landfall in the Caribbean on Wednesday with record winds and powerful waves. The Category 5 storm – the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded north of the Caribbean and east of the Gulf of Mexico – passed over the island of Barbuda overnight. The National Hurricane Center has warned of a growing possibility the hurricane could slam Florida later this week – as Texas and Louisiana are still dealing with the devastating aftermath caused by Hurricane Harvey.  Here’s what you should know about Hurricane Irma and its trajectory.  click here to read the story Hurricane Irma has killed at least 10 people and injured 23 in French Caribbean island territories as the dangerous Category 5 storm roared over the Caribbean, France’s interior minister said Thursday. click here to read the story 07:23

National Hurricane Center – Hurricane Irma Public Advisory 0:500 click here 

Capsized in the storm: Huddled in a shrimp-box, a fisherman survives

As a squall’s winds howled and hungry waves lapped all around, John Trosclair Jr. paddled and prayed in the darkness, hunched in the box he had used to ice down his shrimp. The sharp eyes of a shrimper on a passing boat and help from the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Water Patrol ensured a safe return for the 55-year-old Dulac fisherman, who said that despite hours in the grip of Hurricane Harvey’s remnants, he never lost faith. His survival, and the generous help he received, is already inspiring others on local bayous, who say it affirms the best of what they know about local spirit. “I paddled and I prayed,” John said, while recalling his ordeal. click here to read the story 13:03

Hurricane Irma Passed Over Barbuda as a Potentially Catastrophic Category 5 Hurricane; Dangerous Threat for Florida, Southeast

Hurricane Irma, a dangerous Category 5 hurricane, blasted the island of Barbuda, an island of 1600 residents, with gusts of at least 155 mph. Irma is now heading toward St. Martin, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispañola, the Bahamas and Cuba before posing a serious threat to Florida and parts of the Southeast beginning this weekend. Irma became the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic basin, outside of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, on record on Tuesday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center. click here to read the story 07:37

National Hurricane Center – Hurricane Irma Public Advisory – Discussion and 48-hour outlook  click here

Gulf fishermen applaud seafood labeling law

A new regulatory program that will go into effect next year would require seafood to be labeled with its country of origin. Although some are worried about how the labeling might negatively affect the seafood industry as a whole, local fishermen and processors are seeing it as a boon. Opponents of the Seafood Import Monitoring Program, chief among them being the National Fisheries Institute that recently lost its lawsuit to stop the Jan. 1 implementation, say that the labeling for wild caught and farm-grown seafood could cost the industry millions of dollars. David Chauvin, owner of David Chauvin’s Seafood Co. in Dulac, said he believes the new regulations will help level the playing field for local fishermen and help the flagging seafood industry in the Gulf of Mexico. click here to read the story 13:15

UPDATED 23:00 – Hurricane Irma now a powerful and dangerous Category 5 storm

Hurricane Irma is now a very powerful and dangerous Category 5 storm. According to the National Hurricane Center, Irma has winds of 175 mph and is expected to affect the northwestern Leeward Islands as an extremely dangerous hurricane accompanied by life-threatening wind, storm surge, and rainfall. The latest data shows the storm moving west but that would keep Jacksonville and the First Coast in the front right quadrant or the worst side of the storm. All of Florida is in the cone of concern. click here to read the story 09:06

UPDATED 23:00 National Hurricane Center – 1100 PM AST Tue Sep 05 2017 Hurricane Irma Public Advisory click here

Small business works to return after Harvey

Hurricane Harvey brought destruction to Crossroads businesses, stealing all the inventory of many and leaving others with collapsed structures. About 40 percent of small businesses never open their doors to customers again after a disaster, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Mary and Kevin Nevarez, owners of Evelyn’s Seafood Market, are determined that won’t happen to the iconic Port Lavaca business that has been open on the bayfront since 1942. “As far as everything inside … it’s completely shattered,”  The couple applied for a Small Business Administration low-interest disaster loan because FEMA doesn’t offer funds to businesses click here to read the story 14:59

Hurricane Irma a Growing Concern for the U S: Hurricane Warnings Issued For Leeward Islands, Hurricane Watch Hoisted in Puerto Rico

Hurricane Irma is a growing threat to the continental United States, with impacts possibly beginning in Florida later this week. Before that, Irma will bring dangerous conditions to the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, the Bahamas and Cuba. The center of Irma is located 560 miles east of the Leeward Islands and is moving west-southwestward at about 14 mph. Irma is a Category 3 hurricane and satellite imagery shows that it has become better organized in the past day with an eye now clearly evident. click here to read the story 13:44

As Irma intensifies, a disturbance churns in the Gulf of Mexicoclick here to read the story  Hurricane Irma Public Advisory– National Hurricane Center click here