Tag Archives: Mississippi

Shrimp season in Mississippi to open on May 29

Beginning at a tentative date of Wednesday at 6 a.m., shrimpers possessing the proper licensure or permits will be able to navigate state territorial waters in hopes of hauling in massive loads of the crustaceans. Opening date could potentially be postponed if sampling conducted by MDMR staff indicates the movement of large swaths of juvenile brown shrimp into Mississippi waterways. Recreational and commercial shrimp season north of the Intracoastal Waterway will close at 12:01 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2025. more, >>CLICK TO READ<< 11:15

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

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

Mississippi Launches Commercial Vessel Safety Program to Protect Fishermen

Tomorrow marks the dawn of a safer and more secure future for Mississippi’s commercial fishermen. The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) is set to launch its Commercial Vessel Safety Program, a first-of-its-kind initiative designed to promote safety and compliance with regulations in the industry. The program, which falls under the purview of the 2019 Mississippi Bonnet Carré Fisheries Disaster Recovery Program, is specifically tailored to the needs of commercial fishermen who were licensed in the state in 2019. The MDMR’s Commercial Vessel Safety Program stands as a beacon of hope for Mississippi’s commercial fishermen, offering vital resources to help them operate their vessels safely and legally. The program covers the installation of additional safety equipment on their vessels, ensuring the protection of both fishermen and their crew. more, >>click to read<< 18:03

Will $2.9 million in grants actually help Mississippi fishermen?

In 2023, it was declared that it was a federal fisheries disaster, making Mississippi fisheries eligible for assistance. “At this point, it’s more like a feel-good program,” said one fisherman. “Here, let me give you a little money, make you feel better.” It’s been five years since disaster struck the fishing industry in the gulf, and while fishermen have received some help since then, they say the response has been slow – too slow to actually be beneficial. Mark Kopszywa has found himself in a perpetual cycle of playing catch-up after taking such a big loss in 2019 and not being able to make up for it quickly. Video, more, >>click to read<< 06:29

Senator Wicker Statement on the $2.9 Million Awarded to Mississippi Fisheries for 2019 Bonnet Carré Spillway Openings

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) awarded $2,993,283 in federal disaster relief funds to Mississippi’s shrimp and oyster fisheries. The funding is available because DOC declared a “commercial fishery failure” in 2020 after the repeated openings of the Bonnet Carré Spillway in 2019. The state will distribute the funds to fishermen, aquaculture businesses, and seafood processors to help cover some of their losses. “This funding is helpful, but it does not make the impacted businesses whole. It should not take years for disaster funds to trickle in. more, >>click to read<< 13:39

$20M+ in federal funds to California fisheries for disaster relief, $7M+ Oregon

More than $7,000,000 is going to Oregon fisheries as part of $42,000,000 in federal fishery disaster funding. Today, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced allocation of those funds for recovery from fishery disasters in Oregon, Alaska, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, and the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and Yurok Tribe fisheries from 2017 to 2022.  The federal funding will help ocean commercial fishermen in Oregon recover from significant economic losses in 2018, 2019, and 2020 from declining salmon populations. For California, U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo announced allocation of $20.6-million to address a fishery resource disaster that occurred in the 2023 Sacramento River Fall Chinook and Klamath River Fall Chinook Ocean and inland salmon fisheries. more, >>click to read<< 10:00

U.S. Department of Commerce allocates more than $42M in fishery disaster funding

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced today the allocation of more than $42 million to address fishery disasters that occurred in Alaska, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oregon and the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe and Yurok Tribe fisheries from 2017 to 2022. “Sustainable fisheries are essential to the health of our communities and support the nation’s economic well-being,” said Secretary Raimondo. “With these allocations, it is our hope that these funds help the affected communities and tribes recover from these disasters.” Today’s announcement applies to the following fishery disasters: Links, more, >>click to read<< 14:34

Shrimpers struggling as season draws to an end

“When the season is good, we bring in around 20 to 30 [thousand] pounds a week,” said Victor Le, a deckhand on the Captain Can. “We have to sell all of it to get a little profit margin, but not as much as it used to be.”Le has worked in the Gulf for seven years. But it does not take a seasoned veteran to see a startling trend. “Everybody is struggling right now because of the price. The price is so down, the import is affecting us mainly. Undercuts our prices and everybody loses when comparing to import prices,” he said. more, video, <<click to read<< 11:35

Executive director of shrimp processing group accused of stealing millions, police say

Biloxi Police have arrested a man who they say stole more than $3 million from the American Shrimp Processing Association, all while serving as a top executive. Thursday, Biloxi PD arrested 79-year-old Charles David Veal of Gulfport and charged him with felony embezzlement. Police say the arrest stemmed from an investigation that started after the American Shrimp Processing Association reported that Veal, once the group’s executive director, had transferred funds from their nonprofit bank account and into his own personal account. more, >>click to read<< 11:01

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

The new Vietnamese generation leaves the seafood business behind in Mississippi. Why?

The son does not know how to sew the nets. The father took the old boat out last month but caught no shrimp. And the docks at Bayou Caddy, where Sau Truong once taught young Elvis Ta the ways of the Gulf of Mexico, are quiet this summer. The fishermen have all gone home. “Real soon,” Ta predicts, “the Gulf Coast shrimp industry will be gone.” One by one, the children of Vietnamese fishermen on the Mississippi Coast are forsaking the livelihood that once meant everything to their families. The water was Truong’s world, four decades ago, he had fled home, crossed an ocean and eventually bought his own boat. For some, the shift is not a shock. Nguyen said many parents are excited to see kids follow careers that they choose, instead of careers they have no choice but to do. Photos, >click to read< 08:52

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

Fishermen File Lawsuit Against Biden Administration, Claiming Regulations are Threatening Their Business

Two fishermen have filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration, claiming that Congress and unelected councils are unconstitutionally regulating and overseeing fisheries. Commercial fishermen George Arnesen of Louisiana and Ryan Bradley of Mississippi argue that the regulatory authority has been placed in the hands of an “unconstitutional regime” that is detrimental to local fishermen. They claim that these regulations make them “vulnerable to capture by narrow private interests.”The lawsuit specifically cites the 1976 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act as the primary law governing marine fisheries management in U.S. federal waters. The plaintiffs argue that Congress has converted federal waters into “Constitution-free zones,” in violation of the Constitution. >click to read< 09:52

Coast Guard rescues 3 from fishing vessel taking on water near Pascagoula, Miss.

The Coast Guard rescued three fishermen from a vessel taking on water 8 miles south of Pascagoula, Mississippi, Wednesday. Coast Guard Sector Mobile watchstanders received notification via VHF-FM channel 16 at approximately 1:30 a.m. from the crew of the 55-foot fishing vessel F/V Capt Quintinn  stating they were taking on water. Photos, >click to read< 16:49

Biloxi: See photos as the 94th Blessing of the Fleet rings in the start of shrimping season

The sun was shining and the humidity was at a minimum as the shrimping season officially kicked off Sunday with the 94th annual Blessing of the Fleet in Biloxi. Two boats, the Captain Justin and Gunsmoke, were honored for their decorations with Captain Justin receiving first place in the boat decorating contest and Gunsmoke receiving the second place award. “Shrimp season is open. The blue economy is extremely important to the gulf coast,” said Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, who was briefly in attendance. “Literally we help feed not only Mississippi, but the world.” Lots of photos of boats and happy people! >click to view< 09:01

Shrimpers and Crabbers Get Paid to Collect Abandoned Traps, Saving Wildlife from Derelict Fishing Hazards

Fishermen in Mississippi are getting paid to collect derelict crab traps, saving wildlife from getting caught in them. A bounty of $5 is offered for every abandoned trap collected, and in just three years the program, launched by Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United, a nonprofit fishermen’s organization, has collected over 3,000 such traps. This is perfect for fishermen looking to supply the Gulf Coast with delicious seafood, but what happens when the traps are abandoned or become lost? Their lethal trapping power remains and carries on indiscriminately, a phenomenon known as ghost fishing. >click to read< 12:29

Pass Christian grants temporary relief for struggling seafood industry

This week, the Board of Aldermen voted not to raise the long-term lease payments for the harbor’s commercial fisherman this year, which are contracted to increase by 4% every June. “This few hundred extra dollars will just help offset something,” Harbor Master Russell Holliman said. While shrimp may be fleeting, dealers also said they have not had an oyster season in more than five years. For Darlene Kimball, her tool to unload them has been immobile and rusting as she fights to keep Kimball Seafood afloat after nearly a century in business. Fisherman Gerald Pavolini said the industry he has known for about 40 years is now headed in one direction, and it’s not up. “The fuel prices went up. The shrimp went down, the prices,” he said. “We’ll make it, someway, somehow, I guess.” With a new shrimp season starting on Monday, fishermen will soon set sail with great hope. Video, >click to read< 15:04

Shrimp season in Mississippi to open on May 22

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR) has set the opening date for the 2023-2024 shrimp season in state territorial waters for Monday, May 22 at 6 a.m. All regulations of the MDMR will be in full force and effect, and all boats engaged in catching and transporting shrimp from Mississippi waters must be licensed or permitted by the agency before beginning operations. Staff will continue to sample prior to the opening date. The shrimp season opening date may be postponed if sampling indicates movement of large numbers of juvenile brown shrimp into this area. >click to read< 13:04

Shrimp is the fruit of the sea, and Mississippi has many ways to celebrate National Shrimp Day all month long

As Bubba from “Forrest Gump” said, there are many, many ways to cook shrimp, and restaurants on the Mississippi Gulf Coast are ready to offer dozens of them in celebration of National Shrimp Day. In anticipation of the day created to recognize America’s favorite seafood, National Shrimp Day on May 10, Coastal Mississippi has curated a variety of ways travelers can celebrate all month long. The region, which produces nearly three-fourths the nation’s domestic shrimp, has many unique experiences for seafood enthusiasts, from learning how to find your own fresh catch to exploring the history of the seafood industry. >click to read< 17:46

In Depth: Mississippi Has Invested Millions of Dollars to Save Its Oysters. They’re Disappearing Anyway.

By 2015, it was clear that Mississippi oysters were in crisis. Then-Gov. Phil Bryant convened an oyster council to come up with solutions. “This is the soybean of the sea,” Bryant said at a community gathering in 2015 at which he unveiled the council’s report. “We’re going to make sure everyone enjoys it.” The council set a goal of producing 1 million sacks of oysters a year by 2025. But almost a decade later, that goal is nowhere in sight: In a region that helped pioneer the oyster industry, only 457 sacks were harvested in 2022, none of them from the public reefs that the state had worked to restore. “They’re just wasting money,” said Keath Ladner, a former oyster fisherman whose family was in the seafood business for three generations. “And the fishermen know this.” Video, Photos, >click to read< 09:37

Coast Guard rescues 3 boaters near Pascagoula, Mississippi

The Coast Guard rescued three boaters Monday after their vessel began taking on water near Pascagoula, Mississippi. Eighth Coast Guard District watchstanders received a distress alert at 8:11 a.m. Monday from an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) approximately 11 miles southeast of Pascagoula. The EPIRB was registered to a 50-foot commercial fishing vessel, F/V Dat Parker. The boatcrew located the sinking vessel with one boater in a life raft and the other two boaters standing on the bow. Photos, >click to read< 21:45

Mississippi Scientists Develop Unique Method Using Sound To Track Sea Turtle Data

Wayne Carpenter, senior research and development engineer, and Bradley Goodwiller, research scientist, are using sound to monitor turtles that exit shrimp trawls through turtle exclusion devices. “Acoustic impacts with TEDs have implications in understanding the population, migration and allocation of the species,” Carpenter said. “All of this contributes to important conservation work.” The project, Acoustic Enumeration of Sea Turtle Impacts with TEDs (Turtle Excluder Devices), was funded through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program. The federal government has mandated TEDs in the shrimping industry since 1987. They have been shown to be highly effective; however, obtaining information about sea turtle interactions with TED-equipped shrimp trawls has been challenging. >click to read< 14:25

New incentive program for Mississippi shrimpers

There’s a new incentive program for Mississippi shrimpers! “The goal of it is to have shrimpers remove marine debris, any single-used plastics, old fishing gear that they come across as they do their regular shrimping throughout the year. So, we’re incentivizing them to remove that and bring it and dispose of it properly at any of the harbors down here.” Shrimpers can sign up through Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United or Mississippi State University Extension Center. Video, >click to read< 09:17

Coast Guard assists fishing vessel taking on water offshore Pascagoula, Mississippi

The Coast Guard assisted a vessel taking on water 51 miles south of Pascagoula, Mississippi, Sunday. Watchstanders at Coast Guard District Eight received an emergency position-indicating radio beacon at approximately 12 a.m. with a location 51 miles south of Pascagoula. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Mobile received a report of the 75-foot shrimping vessel, F/V Mr. Wood taking on water at the same position. Video, >click to read< 20:24

Fishermen sentenced for poaching paddlefish in MS lake

Two commercial fishermen from Kentucky illegally harvested paddlefish and paddlefish roe from a Mississippi lake, and it cost them their livelihood for five years, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Mississippi announced. James Lawrence “Lance” Freeman, 27, of Eddyville, Kentucky, and Marcus Harrell, 34, of Murray, Kentucky, pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Lacey Act,,, According to prosecutors, Freeman or Harrell would take roe they harvested from paddlefish in Moon Lake back to Kentucky to sell to commercial processors, falsely claiming that the paddlefish had been caught in the Ohio River,,, >click to read< 17:34

Don’t Cage Our Oceans: Fish farming may threaten rare Gulf whale

The site approved for the Velella Epsilon fish farm in federal waters west of Venice is one of just three potential aquaculture opportunity areas under consideration off Florida’s Gulf coast. There are six others — three in the central Gulf south of Louisiana and Mississippi and three east of Texas — as well as 10 in the Pacific Ocean off the California coast. It’s part of a collusive effort between fish farming companies and the federal government to divide up national waters for profit, James Mitchell, legislative director of Don’t Cage Our Oceans, said. >click to read< 13:49

Mississippi: 93rd Annual Blessing of the Fleet welcomes the new shrimp season

Boats lined up alongside Deer Island celebrating the 93rd Annual Blessing of the Fleet. The annual blessing which promotes a successful and safe fishing season is a tradition in Biloxi. Michael Kovacevich remembers attending the ceremony as a young boy. “My family came from Croatia to Biloxi and like hundreds of others to work the seafood, so you know just about everybody in Biloxi can tie their past to seafood,” Kovacevich said. This year, the Shrimp King and Queen were on the blessing boat. King Joseph Powell said riding on the blessing boat brought him old memories of when he was a fisher. “It brings back old memories of the Mid 50′s when I was a shrimper and being on the boat. >click to read< 09:40

Blessing of the Fleet returns to the Pass Christian Harbor Saturday

A celebration steeped in tradition and history returns to the Pass Christian Harbor this Saturday. The annual Blessing of the Fleet returns and organizers hope it brings awareness to the struggles faced by our Coast seafood industry. Chairman Kirk Kimball said, “It’s an honor to bring back something that we can put back on the pedestal that was once dusty and we want to refine it and put it back again.” Shrimpers will once again be blessed for a safe and bountiful season at the Pass Christian Harbor when the 44th annual event happens this weekend. > click to read < 10:25