Tag Archives: Gulf of Mexico

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

Biden administration plans to tee up offshore wind across the nation’s coastlines

The Biden administration is planning to boost offshore wind energy production, announcing up to a dozen opportunities for industry to bid on chances to build wind turbines in U.S. oceans over the next five years. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland is slated to announce the lease sales at a conference in New Orleans. The 12 potential opportunities Haaland is announcing include sales in the central Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Maine, Gulf of Mexico, the New York Bight and off the coast of Oregon, California, Hawaii and a yet-to-be-determined U.S. territory. These sales were described as potential sales that could occur rather than ones definitely slated to happen, and if former President Trump wins election, he may want to cancel them. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 14:56

BP Oil Spill: Where does the coast stand 14 years later?

Saturday marks 14 years since the Mississippi Gulf Coast was changed forever. On April 20, 2010, the Gulf of Mexico saw the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. The catastrophe killed 11 workers, sent over 4 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and washed onto the shores of the Gulf Coast. The spill continued for the next four weeks and two days, causing lasting environmental and economic impacts. “A lot of the grasslands and the marsh and all had a lot of devastation there because the oil get in and it would kill the grasses and also kill what was in the grasses,” explained Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Executive Director Joe Spraggins. Video, more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 12:17

Gulf’s next wind auction puts focus on Louisiana after Texas shuns renewables

After the Gulf of Mexico’s first-ever offshore wind lease auction drew zero bids for sites in the waters off Texas last year, federal regulators plan to tilt the second auction toward Louisiana. Two weeks ago, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management proposed two new lease areas, totaling about 200,000 acres, in federal waters south of the Texas-Louisiana line, an area that may strike a balance between the stronger winds near Texas and the more welcoming politics of Louisiana. “Texas leaders said some inflammatory things about offshore wind right before the last lease sale,” said Jenny Netherton, a program manager for the Southeastern Wind Coalition. “That strongly suggested to some investors that Texas wasn’t the best bet.” more, >>click to read<< 08:18

Louisiana shrimpers forced to gamble their livelihood to stay in the industry

Craig Theriot looks out at the Gulf of Mexico as his boat is fueled up. It’s the waters he’s worked his entire life. If anything breaks in the next 10 days, he’ll never be able to work her waters again.”I’m leaving tomorrow. I don’t make much money, but it’s a check,” Theriot said Feb. 27. “Hopefully we don’t have a breakdown, ‘cuz if we get a breakdown, I’m done. You can put me on the shelf.” The life and work that he loves is in jeopardy, more now than any other year. Boats are being sold, and processors are closing their doors, all because of the record low prices. Imports are driving the American shrimper out of the market, and Theriot doesn’t want to give it up waiting and watching his savings dwindle. He’d rather go out working. more, >>click to read<< 08:20

From Bubba Gump to bust? American shrimpers face extinction.

On a chilly December morning, the captain of the Miss Patti is ready to throw his lines and go shrimping – well, almost. Brian Jordan’s deckhand is in a foul mood, and it’s no wonder why. Is any of this worth it?  Here on the tiny working waterfront of Tybee Island, Georgia, the hesitancy is logical. Shrimp prices cratered this year, and hundreds of boats from Brownsville, Texas, to Harkers Island, North Carolina, remained dockside. The problem hasn’t been a lack of shrimp or the price of diesel. Instead, freezers across the United States are filled to the gills. A glut of imported shrimp has dropped the price to about half of what shrimp boats received in the 1980s. At stake is the livelihood of Mr. Jordan and shrimpers like him nationwide. They can’t compete with overseas rivals who raise and harvest shrimp in lower-cost “aquaculture’’ farms. more, >>click to read<< 13:06

Louisiana pogy industry faces backlash as reports show more massive fish spills

 

When a menhaden ‘mothership’ and its net boats spilled a million fish and left the floating mass to rot off the Louisiana coast, the menhaden industry attempted to ease public outrage and calls for tougher fishing rules with assurances that such incidents hardly ever happen. Nine million wasted fish might seem like a lot, but not when compared with the overall menhaden population, which is immense and shows no signs of decline, said Ben Landry, a spokesperson for Omega. “Sounds like Chicken Little to me,” he said. “This is a fish that numbers more than 100 billion in the Gulf. And there’s concern for 9 million fish? That’s a bit hyperbolic.” photos, more, >>click to read<< 11:48

Pushing pogy boats farther from Louisiana coast could dampen profits, kill jobs, report warns

Pushing commercial menhaden fishing farther off the Louisiana coast may appease anglers and conservationists, but it would come at a heavy cost to the industry, according to a new report from state economists. The two companies operating what amounts to Louisiana’s largest fishery could lose about $31 million per year and shed up to 90 jobs if the state approves a plan to restrict menhaden fishing within a mile of the coast, an economic impact report by the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says. But the report’s lead author stressed that the industry could recoup some losses by fishing in deeper water. “They’d likely adjust practices,” Fish and Wildlife economist Jack Issacs said. “They’d make adjustments to counteract (the restrictions). The menhaden industry would likely take more trips offshore or concentrate more harvesting outside the mile-wide buffer.” Photos, more, >>click to read<< 12:38

Seeking Shrimpers to Help Modernize Data Collection

NOAA Fisheries and the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission are encouraging the early adoption of a new system to update the data collection process for Gulf of Mexico shrimping effort. The new system will greatly increase the quality and efficiency of data collected to describe the Gulf shrimp commercial fleet and reduce burden on the shrimping industry. The new devices are now available at no cost for a limited number of participants. The program will cover the cost for a limited number of cellular vessel monitoring system units, installation and maintenance, and 2 years of cellular service for the new device. We are seeking volunteers for this early adopter program through September 2024.Support through the early adopter program is available on a first come, first serve basis. more, >>click to read<< 07:53

UPDATE: Coast Guard suspends search for F/V Miss Winnie fisherman

The Coast Guard suspended its search at roughly 5:30 p.m. Monday for a missing commercial fisherman roughly 138 miles southwest of Port Fourchon, Louisiana. Crews searched more than 46 hours and over 2000 square miles. Assets involved in the search were: U.S. Coast Guard Aviation Training Center HC-144 Ocean Sentry,  U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Corpus Christi HC-144 Ocean Sentry, U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Jacob Poroom  Good samaritan commercial fishing vessel F/V Kenneth ColeThe Coast Guard suspended active search efforts after the probable search area was saturated with multiple assets and resources. The incident is currently under investigation. -USCG- >>click to read<< 08:45

Coast Guard searching Gulf for fisherman reported overboard from commercial vessel

The US Coast Guard said it is searching a portion of the Gulf for a 35-year-old fisherman who reportedly fell overboard from a commercial fishing vessel early Saturday (Dec. 2), about 138 miles southwest of Port Fourchon. The man overboard report was radioed in around 2 a.m. from a vessel relaying the message from the commercial fishing vessel Miss Winnie, the USCG said in a statement. more, >>click to read<< We will update, as we get information. 14:00

DISASTER DECLARED FOR TEXAS SHRIMP

Minh Dang repairs nets on the Johnny II shrimp boat in Galveston, Texas

In normal times, these boats would be out in a bay for the day or at sea for weeks, following shrimp from Texas to Florida and back again. But these are not normal times. The American shrimping industry, from the Gulf of Mexico around Florida to the South Atlantic, is nearly at a standstill, undersold and sidelined by a deluge of cheap imported farm-raised shrimp from Asia and South America that have been “dumped”—sold to the United States at below-market value. Many owners are keeping their boats docked rather than spending money on diesel, boat repairs, and crew wages to net shrimp that will sell at a loss. The Eties have been running up credit card debt and selling shrimp meant for human consumption for bait because prices are so low. “[Shrimpers] need supplies like ice and diesel. It takes money to get the boat out there,” said Briana Etie. “And if you don’t have a place to sell your shrimp when you get back in, what’s the point?” Photos, >>click to read<< 11:20

‘Catastrophic crisis’: Imported shrimp flood US market

Foreign shrimp imports are overwhelming the country’s inventories of shrimp and driving market prices for locally sourced shrimp to record lows, prompting widespread calls from elected officials and organizations throughout southern Atlantic and Gulf Coast states for the federal government to declare a fishery resource disaster. Governors of coastal states from North Carolina to Florida to Texas are being pressed to ask U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to determine a fishery resource disaster for the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery. In what one North Carolina coastal county’s board of commissioners refer to as an “unprecedented catastrophic crisis,” shrimpers are struggling to maintain operations because they’re making substantially less for their catch while paying historically high fuel prices and other inflation-driven costs. Shrimpers are also being forced to dock their freezer boats, or vessels with onboard freezers, because they can’t move their product in a market flooded with frozen shrimp from overseas. >>click to read<< 09:40

Gulf Coast wins against ‘far-left activists’ in NOAA decision, Alabama officials say

U.S. Sens. Katie Britt and Tommy Tuberville applauded the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration rejecting a petition to establish a mandatory 10-knot speed limit and other vessel-related mitigation measures in the Gulf of Mexico.“I was glad to see the NOAA come to their senses and reject this part of the Biden Administration’s overreaching regulatory agenda in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Tuberville (R-Auburn), who has written two letters to administration officials on the issue. “Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go. Designating a Critical Habitat for the Rice’s whale throughout this expansive area would impose undue burdens and restrictions on all vessel traffic, especially in and out of the Port of Mobile.” >>click to read<< 10:09

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

Louisiana shrimpers, lawmakers unite to protect domestic fisheries as season begins

The Louisiana Shrimp Association joined in a letter that said the influx of imported shrimp has proven especially problematic for domestic harvesters. Nineteen other allied organizations and companies, representing more than 4,000 seafood businesses of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic region also signed onto the letter. “Despite rising costs for fuel and labor, the price of Gulf shrimp, for example, has not increased since 1980. For the past 40 years, the average dockside price of Gulf shrimp has ranged from $1.50-$2.00 per 2 pounds,” the letter said. The Louisiana Legislature on June 6 presented House Concurrent Resolution 113 to the Secretary of State. The resolution urges Congress to ban the import of shrimp and crawfish from outside the United States. >click to read< 11:24

Hidden crisis: Louisiana’s shrimping industry is quickly disappearing

In and around Southeast Louisiana, many of us like to think we know what shrimp that is wild caught and comes from the Gulf of Mexico tastes like. In this region where there’s always an emphasis on local products and businesses, there’s a certain pride in buying and eating shrimp that has been harvested by local fishermen and shrimpers. When we order shrimp at a local restaurant, we often assume it originated in the Gulf of Mexico and was caught by Louisiana shrimpers. Acy Cooper says that would be the wrong assumption. “They’re selling people a lie in New Orleans, and around the state. They’re selling them a lie because it’s all about money,” Cooper said. Podcast, >click to read< 09:05

First offshore wind leases off the Texas coast offered for bidding

The federal government on Thursday announced the first-ever chance for companies to lease areas in the Gulf of Mexico to build wind farms, including two parcels roughly 30 miles off the Texas coast near Galveston. Renewable energy developers will likely compete for the leases with firms that are better known for another kind of offshore construction: Oil and gas giants such as Shell and TotalEnergies qualified to join the bidding. Leaders of the traditionally fossil fuel-focused companies say their climate goals make investing in offshore wind critical. Both businesses are already involved in developing wind power in the Atlantic, including near New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts. >click to read< 10:02

Mary Meaux – Our shrimping industry keeps taking hits with foreign imports

Days before the opening of the Gulf of Mexico commercial shrimp season, a group of shrimpers held a rally in Texas City to bring awareness to the plight of Texas shrimpers and the shrimping industry in general. Tricia Kimball, whose husband Kyle is president of the Port Arthur Area Shrimpers Association, explained the effort. The season for the Gulf of Mexico state and federal waters reopens 30 minutes after sunset Saturday, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Kyle Kimball is a third-generation commercial shrimper. He remembers standing on a 5-gallon bucket as a child helping his father pick through shrimp. It’s been his lifelong career but last year when diesel prices hit $5 per gallon, he only went out once because it was too expensive. >click to read< 20:06

Commercial Gulf Shrimp season reopens Saturday

The Gulf of Mexico commercial shrimp season for state and federal waters will reopen 30 minutes after sunset on Saturday, July 15, 2023. “The annual mid-May closure protects brown shrimp until they can reach larger, more valuable sizes during their major period of emigration from the bays to the Gulf of Mexico,” said Robin Riechers, TPWD Coastal Fisheries Division director. Federal waters (from nine to 200 nautical miles offshore) will open at the same time as state waters. The National Marine Fisheries Service chose to adopt rules compatible with those adopted by Texas. >click to read< 16:41

Cheap Imports Leave US Shrimpers Struggling to Compete

 “We are paying to work. We are paying to feed our nation,” said Kindra Arnesen, at a rally on the steps of Louisiana’s towering capitol in Mid-May. “I ask for immediate emergency action at all levels. Nothing else will be accepted by this group.” The 45 year-old shrimp harvester, who has been hailed as a voice for the Gulf and has fought for decades to sustain the domestic shrimp industry, was surrounded by nearly a hundred other harvesters who had traveled inland from their homes along coastal Louisiana to Baton Rouge to rally for livable shrimp prices. “Nobody can make money,” said Ronald Johnston, a 64-year-old shrimper who came to the U.S. in 1981 as a Vietnamese refugee. At the rally he held a lime-green poster that read: “Shrimp: $.40 cents. Diesel: $3.95” while sitting on a scooter that helps with his mobility. Photos, >click to read and comment< 08:01

A lifetime of research links Gulf of Mexico ‘dead zone’ to Midwest fertilizer runoff

In the summer of 1985, Nancy Rabalais set sail on a research vessel into the Gulf of Mexico — and into the scientific unknown. Over nearly four decades, Rabalais has become a giant in her field. She has completed hundreds of interviews with journalists, presented a TED Talk, testified to Congress multiple times, mentored countless students at LSU and published nearly 160 studies. Now 73, Rabalais said she doesn’t plan to go on the research cruises anymore due to her age and health issues. She remains engaged in her work, even as she trains a new generation of scientists to take over. >click to read< 10:04

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

Untangling catch shares with Lee van der Voo – Catch shares have changed fisheries and fishing communities across the U.S.

I recently saw some great reporting by the New Bedford Light and ProPublica about how the billionaire Dutch family that owns Blue Harvest Fisheries has emerged as a force in groundfish fishing off the coast of Massachusetts. These are very wealthy, powerful equity groups and corporations that are acquiring access to the fisheries and passing the cost of owning them and fishing them onto fishermen. There’s been profound disenfranchisement of people who used to have a more personal stake in fishing and seafood. Everyone from indigenous communities in Southwest Alaska whose history with halibut goes back to the beginning of time to small-boat, family operations around the United States everywhere have been losing access. Whole communities have fallen apart over that. >click to read< 08:15

Washburn & Doughty boat with East Boothbay chief mate rescue 2 drifting fishermen

At the 11:30 watch change, Goodwin had just come to the pilothouse to relieve the captain, when the captain noticed something in the distance. “Is that a flare?” he asked. Goodwin checked using binoculars and answered, “It’s a life raft.” The small life raft with two fishermen from Destin, Florida was 1.25 nautical miles away. One of the men was standing up in the raft waving a flare. As the Linda Moran’s crew would later learn, that flare was the last of six the fishermen had. The rest were already used to try to signal ships during the two and a half days they drifted in the Gulf of Mexico. 11 photos, >click to read< 08:08

USDA to buy $25 million in shrimp

The United States Department of Agriculture is purchasing $25 million in shrimp caught in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic. The purchase will provide relief to Louisiana’s shrimp industry, according to Congressman Garret Graves’ office. The USDA will use the shrimp for food nutrition assistance programs, according to Congressman Clay Higgins’ office. The USDA made similar purchases of shrimp in 2020 and 2021. >click to read<  Southern Shrimp Alliance Applauds Announcement of $25 Million in Additional USDA Section 32 Purchases of Shrimp>click to read< 15:18

‘Y’all love the seafood and everything, but what about us?’ Shrimpers feel overlooked post-Hurricane Ian

More than a week and a half after Ian passed, nearly all of the island’s shrimp boats remained on top of nearby houses or tangled in the rigging of other ships. The Gulf of Mexico’s largest commercial shrimping port is all but paralyzed. Most fishermen on San Carlos Island weathered the storm on their boats, which often serve as their homes as well. A number were injured, and storm surge destroyed much of the island’s fishing infrastructure and equipment. When the water receded and they were able to make it down to land, help had yet to arrive. Photos, >click to read< 11:49

Catch Shares Enable Wealthy Landlords to Gobble Up Local Fisheries

A recent investigative report has reignited public discussion over catch shares, a controversial approach to fisheries management that privatizes the rights to fish. The investigation exposed how Blue Harvest Fisheries, owned by a billionaire Dutch family, became the largest holder of commercial fishing rights in New England, benefiting from lax antitrust regulations and pilfering profits from the local fishermen who work under them. As a commercial fisherman in Mississippi, I know these dynamics go well beyond New England. Here in the Gulf of Mexico, private equity firms and other large investors have come in and gobbled up the rights to fish, driving up the cost of fishing access and making it prohibitively expensive for fishermen like me to harvest fish in our own backyards. >click to read< 07:55

Gulf shrimpers brace for offshore wind

Trae Cooper risks punctures to the fiberglass hull of his grandfather’s boat every time he pulls out into the gray waters at the mouth of the Mississippi River. Trawling for shrimp that swim along Louisiana’s muddy coast means coexisting with the forgotten pipelines, corroded steel, gnawed plastic and bits of iron that the oil industry left behind as it marched gradually through these marshes and out to sea. And that’s why Cooper, 39, and many shrimpers in the region say they know enough to worry as a new industry crops up in the Gulf of Mexico: offshore wind. >click to read< 07:40

Coast Guard medevacs fisherman near Venice, Louisiana

The Coast Guard medevaced a 55-year-old man Sunday from a fishing vessel approximately 10 miles east of Venice, Louisiana. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector New Orleans received a call at approximately 4:00 p.m. that a crewmember aboard the fishing vessel F/V Thanh Nhut Li had reportedly sustained severe injuries to the leg. The watchstanders directed the launch of a Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter aircrew to assist. The helicopter aircrew arrived on scene, hoisted the patient and transported him to University Medical Center in New Orleans.  The crewmember was last reported in stable condition. -USCG-  >Video<