Tag Archives: Alabama

Local shrimpers set to rally this weekend to raise awareness against imports

Kerry Mitchell and her husband know the challenges that come with shrimping for a living. Her husband Michael is out dragging his net off Dauphin Island. The couple owns “Salty Pirates Seafood” — and will tell you — the money is not like it used to be — mainly due to the U.S. market being flooded with shrimp from overseas. “We don’t have a level playing field. Even the government is financially supporting it,” said Kerry. The Save Our Shrimpers Act, a federal bill introduced in April of this year aims to stop that. The rally is this Saturday at the “Shrimp Lady” restaurant in Satsuma (5523 Highway 43) from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. They’ll be local shrimpers, live music — as well as boiled Gulf Coast shrimp for those in attendance. Video, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 14:29

Shrimpers on the Coast struggling as season continues

Shrimpers on the Coast say this season hasn’t been too good to them. Quality Seafood in Biloxi says it’s hard to get fresh shrimp right now because there aren’t many fishermen at the docks selling. Manager Troy Rosetti said they’ve had to go to Louisiana and Alabama to get most of the shrimp that they have. “Kind of a falling out, we don’t have as many boats and shrimpers as we used to,” Rosetti said. “We have plenty of shrimp. It’s not a shortage here at our place. It just makes it a lot harder for us to get them.” Chris Lyons is a dock manager in Biloxi who said this shrimp season has been worse than in 2023. Video, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 10:19

Imported seafood is killing a MS Coast industry. Could truth in restaurant menus help? 

The last of the fishermen whose boats once dotted the Mississippi Coast’s warm waters are worried. Their customers are leaving. Their sales are down. “I don’t see a future,” said Bethany Fayard, a fourth-generation processor and distributor who is fighting to withstand the pressure and sell to customers, same as always. “The industry is on life support.” The problem, fishermen and processors say, is this: foreign imports have won. There is one thing, fishermen say, that might help them hold their own in the David and Goliath battle against importing giants like India and Indonesia: Mississippi’s government could force restaurants to tell customers the truth. more. Video, photos, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 08:49

Fisherman remembered as ‘hero’ for saving deckhand after shrimp boat capsizes in Mobile Bay

Boat captain and shrimper, Mike Bishop, was killed when a waterspout Saturday flipped over his boat, trapping him inside. His deckhand Mark Henderson survived the horror after floating in the water for seven hours. Bishop tried to save Henderson before several others pulled together. Now, he’s being called a hero…and he’s not the only one. Mike’s son Brandon Bishop says this was a team effort from many heroes. “The shrimping community is tight and everybody comes together,” Brandon said. “Especially in these hard times like this. And shrimping is not a job. It’s a way of life and my dad loved it.” “When I went and spoke to Mark his deckhand this morning in the hospital he was still pretty shaken up,” Brandon said. “But he said that my dad gave him a lifejacket and told him to go out back. They were hit by the waterspout, and my dad’s a hero, he saved someone’s life….”  Video, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 12:27

In wake of Mississippi seafood scandal, Alabama is set to enact mandatory disclosure of origin

On the tail end of a high-profile seafood fraud case in Mississippi where a restaurant admitted to selling mislabeled imported fish as local Gulf seafood, a new Alabama law will go into effect on October 1, 2024 to prevent similar deception. Alabama State Rep. Chip Brown (R-Hollinger’s Island) introduced a bill requiring Alabama restaurants disclose whether the seafood they serve is either domestic or imported. Governor Kay Ivey signed that bill into law, and later this year, it will go into effect. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 10:17

“He passed away doing what he loved;” Local fisherman dies at sea

Mike Bishop and his deckhand, Mark Henderson, set out onto the waters early Saturday morning for the first day of shrimping season. Leaving around 3:00 a.m. to make a three-hour journey to South Mobile Bay. “You know, he’s a hero, he’s a hero. He let someone live and he went down with his ship,” Bishop’s son, Brandon said. Just after 3:00 a.m. the Coast Guard believes a waterspout hit Bishop’s boat, “The Old Navy”, causing them to capsize only 10 minutes from their dock. “The surviving deckhand says the last thing he remembers is my dad handing him a life vest,” Brandon explained. “Telling him to go outside and that was the last time he saw him was up in the wheelhouse.” Video, more, >>Click to Read<< 06:09

Search and rescue operation ended after fisherman found deceased in capsized vessel

Search and rescue efforts are underway for a missing fisherman in Mobile Bay after a storm early Saturday morning. Authorities say he and another man set out on the water around 3 a.m. for the first day of shrimping season. A storm is believed to have hit the area around 3:30 a.m., causing the boat to capsize. One of the fishermen was recovered by nearby shrimpers and taken to a hospital. Story will be updated, >>CLICK TO READ<< 11:03

Alabama on verge of requiring sellers to say where their seafood comes from

The seafood industry that put this small city on the map says it is in crisis, buffeted by foreign imports that have driven down the price of shrimp to as little as a dollar per pound. Those prices are comparable to what shrimp fetched in the early 1980s – too low, Steve Sprinkle said, for many operators even to take their boats out. But the Alabama Legislature is trying to at least make it easier for consumers who want to buy local. A bill that got final approval this week would require restaurants to include “country of origin” information on or with the menu. There’s a similar requirement for good trucks and stores. Video, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 09:48

Celebrating National Shrimp Day on the Northern Gulf Coast

May 10th marks National Shrimp Day. For the Northern Gulf Coast, which includes the shores of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, shrimp holds a special significance as a source of food, economic growth, and cultural heritage. The warm, nutrient-rich waters of the Gulf of Mexico provide an ideal environment for shrimp to thrive, making the Northern Gulf Coast one of the most productive shrimping regions in the world. The area is home to four main commercial shrimp species: white shrimp, brown shrimp, pink shrimp, and Royal Red Shrimp. These shrimps are known for their unique flavors and textures, with Royal Red Shrimp being a highly prized delicacy. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 09:18

75th annual Blessing of the Fleet: The last for some shrimpers

Archbishop Thomas Rodi led the town in prayer for safety and fruition over the waters in Bayou La Batre. After the prayer, the Archbishop, the Blessing of the Fleet Queens, and Father Micheal Long Vu boarded a boat. Father Vu dropped a blessed wreath into the water to honor the souls who were lost at sea. However, despite the yearly tradition, shrimpers say the blessings are not going very far. “We’re all probably going to have a little cry it’s our last year doing it and we will probably not be going to be able to do it again,” Haleigh Keith lamented. For the past 20 years, Haleigh and Peyton have gone shrimping with their grandfather on the family’s shrimping boat called “God’s Blessing’s”. However, that boat is going on sale at the end of the season. Video, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 11:41

Alabama eyes source-disclosure requirements for seafood, whether it was wild-caught or farmed

Restaurants in Alabama would be required to reveal the origin of most seafoods on their menu under a bill heading for consideration by the state House of Representatives. The measure would also require all foodservice establishments to indicate whether the fin or shellfish was farm-raised or wild-caught. The country where the fish originated would have to be disclosed via either menus or placards on the wall. The same channels would be used for differentiating between farm-raised and wild-caught proteins. The bill is intended to protect the state’s vibrant seafood industry from foreign competition. Consumers would know when they were supporting local fishermen and when their money was going toward suppliers from outside the United States. more, >>click to read<< 17:06

David Rainer: Plash has ‘Gotta Go’ shrimping despite low prices

Doug Plash really can’t help himself, but you can blame it all on his roots. When he’s sitting at home on Plash Island on the banks of the Bon Secour River, the urge to head out in his boat and harvest the tasty crustaceans that are plentiful along Alabama’s Gulf Coast is overwhelming. “There’s a boat across the river named ‘I Gotta Go,’” Plash said in the wheelhouse of his shrimp boat named after his daughters, Melissa, Jennifer and Kristi. “I probably should have named my boat that.” Plash Island came into existence when the Intracoastal Canal was dug in the 1940s, separating the land that is surrounded by the Bon Secour River on the other sides. He is the fifth generation of Plashes to live on the island with his grandfathers buried on the island. One grandfather owned a freight company that used five schooners to haul beer from the Jax Brewery in New Orleans and hauled freight to Mobile. The semi-truck eventually left the schooners at the dock. photos, more, >>click to read<< 13:15

Hard-hit Bayou La Batre shrimpers say they need all the help they can get

Shrimpers say this is the best time of the year to harvest the crustaceans, but most of the shrimp boats in this seafood capital are tied up on the docks these days. James Mason, who has fished his entire life, said it simply isn’t profitable to go hunting for shrimp. “Haven’t been out in a year,” he said. The Wilmer resident said that to make ends meet, he has been working at a shipyard not far from where the Capt. Mason sits idle. He said he even tried working for a month on an oyster boat in New Jersey. Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Auburn) last month offered legislation that would create a task force to monitor foreign subsidies of shrimp and other agricultural products. He said he hopes that would greatly speed up enforcement. “We need some help, and I’m talking about urgent help,” he said. “If we don’t get some help, I don’t’ know if we’ll survive.” Added Mason: “Everybody in this bayou is hurting. Everybody. It doesn’t matter who it is.” Video, >>click to read<< 11:46

Beaufort’s shrimping industry on the brink. Local boats sit while imported catch floods market

Thursday at Village Creek on St. Helena Island was another picture postcard-worthy morning with an American flag lilting in a slight southeast breeze near the shrimper Gracie Bell — idly tied to the dock. At Sea Eagle Market, a catch of shrimp swept up in the nets of trawlers in recent days are being processed by small group of dockside workers. They clean the valuable seafood crop harvested from waters as far away as North Carolina to the northeast coast of Florida before being sold locally and up and down the Palmetto State’s coast. After this recent harvest was completed, the boats returned, as they always do — to Village Creek, home base for shrimping on Fripp and Hunting Islands in Beaufort County and beyond. Against this serene backdrop, a storm is brewing that threatens destruction. It is not the threat of foul weather, these shrimpers have seen generations of bad weather days. The storm brewing is economic for the community of shrimpers and related businesses. >click to read< 10:10

Shrimp Alliance request fisheries disaster declaration

There’s no other way to put it if you ask Aaron Wallace. Despite a decent catch by the eight shrimp boats that supply Anchored Shrimp Co. in Brunswick, the prices fishermen are getting for their hauls aren’t what they should be. “It’s been one of our toughest years,” Wallace said. He and his father, John Wallace, own Anchored Shrimp and operate the Gale Force, one of the boats that serve the company’s retail and wholesale business. The Southern Shrimp Alliance, for which John Wallace serves as a member of the board of directors, is calling the flood of imported shrimp a crisis. The alliance asked the governors of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas in a letter on Aug. 25 to collectively request a fisheries disaster determination by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce for the U.S. shrimp fishery. >>click to read<< 11:06

Bayou La Batre seeks help amid foreign seafood invasion

Bayou La Batre, “Alabama’s seafood capital”, is experiencing some major economic adversity causing Mayor Henry Barnes to issue a declaration of disaster. The issue is a flood of foreign seafood being dumped into the area which is effecting the local fishing community. State Rep. Chip Brown has requested Gov. Kay Ivey issue a disaster declaration, which would lead to an increase of resources to tackle the problem. “I am writing to request a disaster declaration for Bayou La Batre and South Mobile County, Alabama’s Seafood Capital,” Brown (R-Hollinger’s Island) wrote. “With the price of gas hitting record highs, and the value of shrimp now worth only $1 per pound, more and more shrimp boat owners are unable to do anything other than dock their vessels. >click to read< 17:43

Federal Fisheries disaster declared for Louisiana over 2020 hurricanes – Mississippi also sees disaster declaration

The federal government has announced its approval of a disaster declaration over damage to Louisiana fisheries due to three 2020 hurricanes, opening the door to federal aid for commercial fishers. Separately, Mississippi fisheries were issued another disaster declaration over the unprecedented 2019 Bonnet Carre Spillway openings in Louisiana. The governor noted the affected parishes were home to nearly 2,500 commercial fishers and vessels combined along with more than 100 wholesale dealers and a similar number of charter captains. The storm led to damaged docks and boating facilities, lost gear and vessels, lost housing and loss of stored seafood, Edwards said. >click to read< 13:14

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

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

Coast Guard, agencies rescue 4 fishermen near Dauphin Island, Alabama

NEW ORLEANS — The Coast Guard, along with partner agencies, rescued four boaters after their vessel began to take on water near Dauphin Island, Alabama, Sunday. Coast Guard Sector Mobile watchstanders received a call over VHF channel 16 at 5:17 a.m. Sunday from the 90-foot commercial fishing vessel Lady Lily reporting their vessel was taking on water with four people aboard. Watchstanders coordinated the launch of a Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew and a Coast Guard Station Dauphin Island 45-foot Response Boat- medium boatcrew to assist. Video,  >click to read< 22:05

Alabama’s Oyster Harvest Off to Great Start

The state’s oyster season opened on October 3, and the oyster catchers are busy plucking those delicious bivalves from the reefs in coastal waters. Scott Bannon, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Director of the Marine Resources Division, said both the number of catchers and sacks of oysters harvested per day are up from last season. “To my knowledge, we had a record number of catchers for an opening day at 243,” Bannon said. “The max we had last year on any given day was 211. Last year, we averaged 180 catchers a day. This year, we’re averaging 220. “The harvest is going well. We averaged about 800 sacks a day last year, and we’re averaging about 1,200 sacks a day this year.” >click to read< 07:42

Ecuador signs agreement with FDA to facilitate more shrimp imports into the US

An agreement between the United States and Ecuador could impact Alabama’s seafood capital, Bayou La Batre. Officials said the agreement is to help facilitate growth of shrimp exports to the U.S. “It’s really going to affect us a lot more. Shrimp prices are already low, fuel prices are high. It’s going to hurt the fishing industry more than anything,” Local shrimper Trey Bonin said. “It’s crazy. I guess President Joe Biden can sign some paperwork to forgive all the boat loans and the loans that the shrimp shops have to take out. Like he’s doing for the college folks,” Bayou La Batre Mayor Henry Barnes said. Video, >click to read< 10:24

Alabama: Gulf Coast Shrimp Season Opens June 1st

June 1 will begin like any other day for Alabama’s shrimp, until the boats start chugging and the nets start dropping. On that day, all bets are off if you’re a shrimp. The Marine Resources Division of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources announced (last) Monday that all inside waters not permanently closed by law or regulation will be open for shrimp fishing beginning June 1. Shrimp swimming in Mobile Bay, Bon Secour Bay, Mississippi Sound, Perdido Bay, Arnica Bay, Wolf Bay and Little Lagoon will be up for grabs on that day through the end of the year. >click to read< 15:44

High fuel prices have Texas shrimping industry at virtual standstill

The price of diesel is so high right now that many Texas shrimpers are struggling, not making money, fearing that they’ll lose their crews if they’re docked much longer. “The majority of the vessels in the gulf, I would imagine they’re either tied up at the dock right now or they’re headed back to the dock, because they’ve run out of the cheap fuel,” said Andrea Hance, executive director of the Texas Shrimp Association. “And it [fuel prices] jumps around every day. If you do the math on that, that comes out anywhere from $60,000 to $100,000 just to fill up one of these boats for maybe a 60-day trip. We will not be able to make money on that.” Video, >click to read< 09:13

Alabama OKs tax cut bill for Gulf Coast commercial fishing operations

The Alabama Senate awarded final passage to a bill by State Rep. Chip Brown, R – Hollinger’s Island, that provides historic and much-needed tax cuts and exemptions to commercial fishing businesses operating throughout Alabama’s Gulf Coast region. The measure now travels to Gov. Kay Ivey’s desk for signature. “Alabama law currently provides the agricultural industry with tax exemptions and other benefits that are not currently extended to commercial fishing operations, which also harvest food,” Brown said. “Passage of this new law corrects a lingering injustice by extending the same taxation benefits to farmers and fishermen alike.” >click to read< 10:33

Alabama: Seafood bill raising questions about tax breaks pitched to lawmakers

For Ernie Anderson, the legislation that passed out of the Alabama House last week will help a dwindling number of commercial fishermen save costs while purchasing equipment to do their jobs. Problem is, no one seems to know how much that is. The bill, HB10, allows the entire commercial fishing industry similar tax exemptions and reduced tax obligations like those offered to farmers, who pay 1.5% on sales taxes. Commercial fishermen, excluding commercial shrimpers, currently pay a 4% sales tax rate whenever they purchase equipment like netting and bait. >click to read< 14:01

Alabama: Fishermen land big haul of roe mullet on Fowl River

More than half a dozen boats lined up at the mouth of Fowl River Monday for a big catch of roe mullet. The roe mullet is a popular fish that can be sold for money, especially the females that hold eggs. Licensed fishermen use gill nets to capture the fish as they move from the rivers to the Gulf of Mexico. In Alabama, gill net fishing will soon be extinct. The state no longer issues gill net licenses for environmental concerns. Many gill net fishermen have been fishing for roe mullet for generations and sell the fish to support their families. Video, >click to read< 07:34

Texas to Suspend Flounder Season as stocks continue to decline throughout the Gulf and South Atlantic

One of the most sought after saltwater fish on the Texas Coast will be off limits to commercial and sport fishermen starting Nov. 1. Citing negative trends and large scale declines in flounder populations over the past several decades, The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will suspend the year round flounder season during a six-week period ending on Dec. 15.,, The fish’s native range stretches from North Carolina southward into Mexico, and nearly all of the states in this coastal region are witnessing similar population declines. >click to read< 12:30

Chip Brown pre-files bill to provide tax cuts to Alabama commercial fishermen

“Alabama law currently provides the agricultural industry with tax exemptions and other benefits that are not currently extended to commercial fishing ventures, which operate, in essence, as the farmers of the Gulf of Mexico,” Brown said. “Simple fairness demands that commercial fishing  businesses should enjoy the exact same tax benefits as the rest of the agriculture industry, and my  bill simply corrects an inequity that has existed for far too long.” Among the provisions of House Bill 10 include current Alabama law provides an ad valorem tax exemption only to vessels used in the commercial shrimping industry, but Brown’s bill would extend it to include all forms of commercial fishing, more, >click to read< About Brown, and his legislation, >click here< 14:22

Hurricane Ida: Moving north into the Gulf, expected to strengthen to Cat 4

Ida, currently a Category 1 hurricane, is expected to make landfall late Sunday or early Monday. Sunday is the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Watches and warnings are in effect for Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Saturday could be rainy in south Louisiana, making storm prep and evacuations more complicated, forecasters said. The rain is not from Hurricane Ida but from another disturbance moving over the state. Lots of details, >click to read<, to be updated. Life-threatening winds, storm surge, flooding and tornadoes from Hurricane Ida are expected Sunday. 11:04