Category Archives: South Atlantic

Fake lobster-tag case leads to arrests in Florida Keys

Florida fisheries investigators have made at least two arrests following a long inquiry into the sale of counterfeit lobster trap tags required by law for commercial anglers to do business in the state. The suspected ringleader is a Palmetto Bay woman who is the registered agent of more than 50 active and inactive commercial fishing operations in Florida. She was arrested Monday in the Florida Keys on racketeering and fraud charges. Elena P. Reyes, 67, is being held in Monroe County jail on a total bond of $892,500. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigators also arrested Michael Enrique Sanchez,

Fisherman: New Jersey shark fin ban bill punishes wrong people

A New Jersey assembly committee will vote on a bill Monday that would prohibit the selling, trading, distribution or possession of any shark fin that has been separated from a shark prior to its lawful landing. The bill is part of a larger national and international movement to crack down on illegal shark finning, but fishing industry members here say this particular bill will also hurt local fishermen not involved in the illegal trade.,,, Greg DiDomenico, president of the Garden State Seafood Association, said the act will harm the legitimate U.S. fishermen.  “The U.S. is a leader in shark conservation and this legislation causes waste in U.S. fisheries,” DiDomenico said. >click to read<11:48

ASMFC expected to set stricter regs for harvesting striped bass

A new status review has found the striped bass population to be in worse shape than previously thought, a result that will almost certainly trigger new catch restrictions for the prized species next year in the Chesapeake Bay and along the East Coast. A preview of a soon-to-be-released stock assessment presented in February to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission indicates that the striped bass population is overfished and has been for several years.,,, While most everyone agrees on the need to act, many caution that the stock is nowhere near the crisis level that spurred the previous moratorium. Today’s spawning stock biomass, while declining, is still four times higher than it was in the early 1980s.>click to read<10:53

Blended Waters: Seeing is believing – Life teaches us…if we let it

Almost everyone who knows the commercial fishing industry and what’s really involved in it would likely confer with what I share with you in Blended Waters. Wives, or girlfriends who try to keep the bills paid when the ocean’s as rough as a cobb or when the nor’easter blows relentlessly for days on end know that the daily forecast can make or break you so, when you’re the primary income producer in a family and you fish, you fish hard. You fish like you mean it otherwise, cut the engine and leave your keys on the washboard. >click to read< by Marsha Brown14:38

North Carolina Fisheries Commission Forces Gill Net Ban

The state Marine Fisheries Commission voted Wednesday to overrule the director of the Division of Marine Fisheries and ban gill nets upstream of the ferry crossing points in the Neuse and Pamlico rivers. The commission, during what it called an emergency meeting in Kinston that was announced Monday, approved a motion directing Division of Marine Fisheries Director Steve Murphey to implement a year-round closure upstream of the Bayview-Aurora Ferry in the Pamlico River and upstream of the Minnesott Beach-Cherry Branch Ferry in the Neuse River. The proclamation to take effect Monday and the closure were expected to continue for about two years or until an amendment to the state’s Estuarine Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan is adopted. The provision, called Amendment 2, could continue the closure or recommend other management actions. >click to read<10:44

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for March 15, 2019

>Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here<10:26

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries issues proclamations that close striped bass season

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries has issued proclamations that close striped bass season for commercial and recreational fishermen in all internal waters from just south of Oregon Inlet to the South Carolina line. Both commercial and recreational fishermen across the state could find themselves heavily impacted as the result of a new fishing ban passed at the special meeting Wednesday in Kinston. The commission passed a motion by a vote of 5-4 to ban the use of gill nets above what are known as the ferry lines, in areas of the Pamlico and Neuse Rivers. >click to read<10:06

Maritime Center ice machine breaks leaving shrimp fleet troubled

The ice machine at Charleston Maritime Center broke in November 2018. As a result, shrimp boats throughout Charleston and Shem Creek are starting to fret about how they’ll keep their shrimp cold this season. Jack O’Toole, director of communications for the City of Charleston explained that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently changed ice machine regulations.,,,  Tommy Edwards, captain of the shrimp boat Playboy, docks his boat at Wreck of the Richard & Charlene. Edwards said he’s been going to the Maritime Center since they opened for ice because it’s the only resource he has. Edwards said that he called the Maritime Center on March 4 and found out they didn’t have plans to replace the ice machine.“The only way I found out is I called them. They didn’t notify us. They’re letting us hang on thinking it’s back to the regular routine,” Edwards said. >click to read<17:52

U.S. Attorney’s Office sells convicted Tybee shrimper’s boat for $15K

A shrimp boat seized in a federal fraud investigation has a new home with a North Carolina seafood company. Assistant U.S. Attorneys with the Southern District of Georgia’s Asset Recovery Unit recently completed the sale of the 80-foot trawler to Lee Bland Williams of Scranton, N.C. Williams and his wife, Madge, own Hobo Seafood, a commercial fishing operation in Swanquarter, N.C. He purchased the boat for $15,000, and said despite significant repairs, the craft needs to make it seaworthy, he plans to have it ready for this summer’s shrimping season. >click to read<19:51

New experiment raises possibility of fresh N.C. soft-shell crabs year-round

An experiment to farm soft-shell crabs in North Carolina ponds could augment declining wild stocks and lead to having plenty of the delicacy fresh almost year round. Scientists from North Carolina and Mississippi will work together in a three-year venture to raise blue crabs and harvest them for the lucrative soft-shell market. Fresh soft crabs flood the market typically in May and June, at the height of molting season. A $339,239 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will fund the project, managed by Sea Grant programs in both states. >click to read<20:24

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for March 8, 2019

>Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here< 18:59

A Trump official said seismic air gun tests don’t hurt whales. So a congressman blasted him with an air horn.

A hearing on the threat seismic testing poses to North Atlantic right whales was plodding along Thursday when, seemingly out of nowhere, Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) pulled out an air horn and politely asked if he could blast it. Before that moment at a Natural Resources subcommittee hearing, Cunningham had listened to a Trump administration official testify, over and over, that firing commercial air guns under water every 10 seconds in search of oil and gas deposits over a period of months would have next to no effect on the endangered animals, which use echolocation to communicate, feed, mate and keep track of their babies. It’s why the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration gave five companies permission to conduct tests that could harm the whales last year, said the official, Chris Oliver, an assistant administrator for fisheries. >click to read<11:29

Florida Keys Maritime business back after Hurricane Irma

Editor’s note: It’s been 542 days since Hurricane Irma swept the Keys. By in large, the Keys have recovered. But there are still some pockets that are working on rebuilding, including commercial fishermen. Many lost thousands of traps and are still struggling against the vagaries of Mother Nature. It’s something to note this weekend of the Marathon Seafood Festival. Many homes and businesses were destroyed when Hurricane Irma swept through the Florida Keys. Some will never be rebuilt; many small businesses were forced to close forever. >click to read<10:48

“I have never seen sharks like we have now!” – Fishermen say sharks continue to dog efforts

Fishery regulations do not change quickly, but over recent years, commercial fishermen have expressed frustration with the perceived impunity of the actions of sharks in federal waters from North Carolina south to Florida, and the desire to do something about it to protect their ability to do their jobs to the best extent possible. That continued Wednesday during the public comment hour at the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting on Jekyll Island. >click to read<10:36

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for March 1, 2019

>Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here< 18:41

Shrimp – Record Lows in Louisiana and Florida-and a Near Record High in Texas-Close Out 2018

The Fishery Monitoring Branch of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries’ Southeast Fisheries Science Center released shrimp landings data from the Gulf of Mexico for December 2018 and January 2019. For December, NOAA reported that 6.5 million pounds of shrimp were landed in the Gulf of Mexico, down from 6.9 million pounds last year, and 24.4 percent below the prior eighteen-year historical average of 8.6 million pounds. The decline in landings for the month was due to low shrimp landings in Louisiana and on the west coast of Florida. >click to read<21:04

Season looking better for SC shrimp after die-off, industry woes

The first sample trawls of the new year netted a welcome sight: shrimp, and in good numbers. The S.C. Department of Natural Resources ran its monthly trawl last week in the lower Ashley River and Charleston Harbor, reinforcing January’s trend and heightening expectations after a relatively warm winter. That bodes well for the summer shrimp season opening on time — a year after the start was delayed for more than a month because a bitter winter cold had devastated the crop. >click to read<21:44

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for February 22, 2019

>Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here< 18:52

Lucky number 7: Seventh right whale calf spotted off Atlantic coast

One by one, the critically endangered right whales here for this winter’s calving season are delivering new babies that raise optimism among whale researchers. A seventh North Atlantic right whale calf was confirmed this weekend off the Georgia coast, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries. “Every calf that gets us closer to 10 or a dozen is very encouraging,” said Jim Hain, senior scientist and project coordinator for the Marineland Right Whale Project. The newest mom is Pico, or No. 3270. She’s a 17-year-old whale whose last known calf was born in 2011. >click to read<20:48

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for February 15, 2019

>Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here<16:50

Two N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Committees are accepting proposals

The N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission Commercial Resource Fund Committee and the Funding Committee for the N.C. Commercial Fishing Resource Fund are accepting proposals for the 2018-19 funding cycle from the N.C. Commercial Fishing Resource Fund. Proposals submitted for this funding cycle must fall under one of two programmatic areas: Economic Impact Study – Public Relations Campaign – >click to read<12:34

North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones has died

Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) has died at the age of 76. He had been in hospice care for the past several weeks. Jones’ office released this statement Sunday evening: After faithfully representing the people of Eastern North Carolina in Congress and the state legislature for over 34 years, Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) passed away this afternoon in Greenville, North Carolina. He was 76. Congressman Jones will long be remembered for his honesty, faith and integrity. He was never afraid to take a principled stand. He was known for his independence, and widely admired across the political spectrum. Some may not have agreed with him, but all recognized that he did what he thought was right. >click to read<18:58

Fishermen say ‘hurt’ from hurricane hard to measure

Millis Seafood owner Tim Millis has been working in the commercial fishing industry for more the 60 years and remembers the devastation of Hurricane Hazel. Hazel left a path of destruction from wind and storm surge that residents weren’t prepared for in the days before the warning systems that are in place today. Hurricane Florence, he said, was different.“Others came in and were gone. This one stayed longer, pouring all that rain,” Millis said.
>click to read<11:21

County commercial fishermen get $460K in hurricane relief

The first round of state hurricane relief funds for commercial fishermen has been released, with Carteret County watermen receiving the most checks out of all the coastal counties. Gov. Roy Cooper’s office issued a press release Feb. 1 announcing that the first round of checks from the $11.6 million Hurricane Florence Commercial Fishing Assistance Program have been issued from the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Marine Fisheries. As of Feb. 1, the state has cut 664 checks, totaling $3.2 million to help compensate ,,, >click to read<22:56

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for February 8, 2019

>Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here<12:57

Shrimp Boat Named ‘Big John’ Washes Ashore in OBX, 3-Man Crew Rescued

Three men were found alive after their shrimp boat named “Big John” washed ashore in the Outer Banks, the National Park Service said Monday. Just after 5 a.m., National Park Service Rangers were called out to assist the U.S. Coast Guard and Hatteras Island Rescue Squad in a search for an overturned vessel near Cape Point. >click to read<19:49

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for February 1, 2019

>Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here<16:16

Reintroduced Shark Trade Bill Promotes Successful U.S. Conservation Policies at Policies at Global Level

The Sustainable Shark Fisheries and Trade Act of 2019 – A bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. House advances global shark conservation by ensuring that all shark and ray products imported into the United States meet the same high ethical and sustainability standards required of American fishermen. The bill has broad support from conservation groups, zoos, aquariums and the fishing industry. >click to read<13:14

Lingering N.C. Fisheries Association issues persist into 2019

Captain George’s was the venue for the recent 2019 North Carolina Fisheries Association’s Annual Meeting, which addressed issues that included conflicts with special interest groups, shrimp trawl bans and aquaculture in the sounds. The NCFA is the primary organization promoting, providing education and, in recent years, defending North Carolina’s commercial fishing industry. NCFA board presided over an extensive agenda, discussing,,, >click to read<16:17

North Carolina Fisheries Association Weekly Update for January 25, 2019

>Click here to read the Weekly Update<, to read all the updates >click here<, for older updates listed as NCFA >click here<15:50