Gulf Coast Fisherman
BUSINESS PLANNING FOR FISHERMEN
A new online business planning tool is designed specifically for fishermen interested in better understanding the financial aspects of their fishing businesses. FishBizPlan is a business planning tool developed by a national group of extension experts and fishermen to help commercial fishermen around the nation analyze their businesses through writing a business plan. Embedded within FishBizPlan are several financial spreadsheets (include balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements), with categories and calculators created specifically for fishing operations. These can help provide an even deeper understanding of the financial workings of a fishing business. In addition, Alaska Sea Grant has created a website called FishBiz, which houses the items described above, as well as numerous other resources for commercial seafood harvesters. Business publications, podcasts, external links, and other tools on this website support new entrants, mid-career fishermen, and those planning to exit the commercial fishery. To get a better understanding of all the tool has to offer, visit fishbizplan.org and register to create your own free account.
BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR TAGGED BLUE CRABS
Researchers at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana are working to better understand blue crab migrations to help ensure the continued sustainability of the blue crab fishery. They are tagging mature female blue crabs throughout the Gulf of Mexico to track migration patterns. If you catch a tagged crab, please report it. There is a $5–50 reward for every reported tag. If caught, please report to:1-800-624-2857 or www.crabtags.org with the following information:
- Tag number
- Capture date
- Capture location (GPS if possible)
- Egg mass/sponge color (if present)
MODIFICATIONS TO GAG AND BLACK GROUPER RECREATIONAL REGULATIONS
NOAA Fisheries has published a final rule changing gag and black grouper recreational management measures in the Gulf of Mexico. These changes include:
An increase in the gag recreational minimum size limit from 22 inches total length to 24 inches total length.
An increase in the black grouper recreational minimum size limit from 22 inches total length to 24 inches total length.
A lengthening of the gag recreational fishing season from July 1 - December 2, to June 1 - December 31.
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has chosen to increase the recreational minimum size limits for gag and black grouper from 22 inches total length to 24 inches total length. This increase is expected to provide more opportunity for gag and black grouper to mature before entering the fishery, and creates consistent recreational size regulations with those developed by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and State of Florida for gag and black grouper.
The Council also decided to lengthen the recreational fishing season from July 1 - December 2, to June 1 - December 31, which applies to the 2016 fishing season. Should the gag recreational annual catch limit be projected to be met before December 31, the gag season would close when the recreational annual catch limit is projected to be reached.
STATUS OF STOCKS IN 2015: U.S. FISHERIES CONTINUE TO REBUILD
The Status of U.S. Fisheries is an annual report to Congress identifying stocks on the overfishing and overfished lists. In 2015, these lists remained near all-time lows and stocks continued to rebuild, with a national total of 39 stocks rebuilt since 2000. The science-based management framework established under the Magnuson-Stevens Act continues to be successful at ending chronic overfishing, rebuilding stocks, and providing significant benefits to the U.S. economy.
Managing fisheries sustainably is an adaptive process that relies on sound science, innovative management approaches, effective enforcement, and meaningful partnerships. Fisheries management occurs in a dynamic environment. U.S. fisheries play an important role in the nation’s economy providing opportunities for commercial, recreational, and subsistence fishing, and sustainable seafood for the nation. Sustainably managed fisheries also contribute to a healthy and resilient ecosystem. To view or download the report visit: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/fisheries_eco/status_of_fisheries/archive/2015/2015-status-of-stocks-web.pdf
RESULTS OF 2016 MISSISSIPPI CRAB TRAP REMOVAL PROGRAM
A total of 2,530 derelict crab traps were removed during the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources’ Blue Crab Restoration Program. The program was held April 12-14, 2016, and the crab traps were recycled at Owens scrap-metal facility in Ocean Springs. Fifty-three registered commercial crab fishermen participated in the program. Traps were dropped off at three designated sites along the Coast: Bayou Caddy Marina (1,518 traps); River Park in Pascagoula (606 traps), and Ocean Springs Harbor (406 traps). The 2016 segment of the Derelict Crab Trap Removal Program was funded using disaster money received from NOAA after the 2011 opening of the Bonnet Carre Spillway. Since the program’s inception in 2000, fishermen have removed and recycled more than 21,500 derelict crab traps from Mississippi waters.
PUBLIC COMMENT SOUGHT ON PROPOSED EXTENSION OF THE GULF OF MEXICO COMMERCIAL SHRIMP PERMIT MORATORIUM
NOAA Fisheries is seeking public comment on Amendment 17A to the Fishery Management Plan for the Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico. NOAA Fisheries is also seeking public comment on the proposed rule to implement management measures contained in the amendment. Amendment 17A proposes to extend the existing commercial shrimp permit moratorium for an additional 10 years, until October 26, 2026.
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council has submitted Amendment 17A to NOAA Fisheries for review, approval, and implementation. The Notice of Availability for public comment on this amendment published in the Federal Register on April 5, 2016, and the proposed rule published on April 14, 2016. Comments will be accepted through June 6, 2016. NOAA will address all comments specifically directed to either the amendment or the proposed rule in the final rule. For more information on Amendment 17A, visit the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Region Web site at:
NOAA Fisheries must receive comments no later than June 6, 2016. You may submit comments on the amendment or the proposed rule, identified by "NOAA-NMFS-2016-0018", by one of the following methods: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0018, click the "Comment Now!" icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. Mail written comments to Susan Gerhart, Southeast Regional Office, NOAA Fisheries, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
DERELICT VESSEL REMOVAL AND HABITAT RESTORATION IN BAYOU LA BATRE
The City of Bayou La Batre , with the support of a NOAA Marine Debris Program Community-based Marine Debris Removal Grant, is removing 21 abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs) and other debris from Bayou La Batre, and restoring approximately 19,300 square feet of habitat. Parker-Martin Consulting Group is coordinating this effort, bringing together the City of Bayou La Batre, the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the Bayou La Batre Port Authority on the removal of the vessels. Restoration is being led by the Marine Environmental Science Consortium at Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), with help from volunteers from The Nature Conservancy. Education and outreach about the impacts of marine debris to the community is being led by Parker- Martin Consulting.
Abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs) are a problem in Bayou La Batre, mostly due to owners that have abandoned their vessels for various reasons. They create both serious navigational hazards and ecological threats. This large form of marine debris can scar and damage the surrounding habitat as well as create fields of debris as the hulls, riggings, insulation, and other materials decay. ADVs can also contain hazardous materials, such as oil, paints, and lubricants, which can leak into and pollute the surrounding environment.
This project aims to remove 21 ADVs from the bayou, ranging from a fiberglass skiff to an 80-foot barge. This removal will enable the passive restoration of the affected habitats, which are being monitored by DISL. The City of Bayou La Batre, DISL, and volunteers through The Nature Conservancy are also actively restoring local damaged salt marsh through plantings and by removing small debris items from the affected area. In all, approximately 19,300 square feet of impacted habitat is being restored through both passive and active restoration efforts.
To prevent future abandonment of vessels and marine litter in the community, the project partners are also implementing a public awareness and outreach campaign to educate the local community about proper mooring practices and vessel disposal options. Outreach materials also target local high school and middle schools to educate them on the impacts of marine debris. To reach people in this highly multilingual community, community meetings with translators are also being held.
This information was compiled by Dave Burrage, Peter Nguyen and Benedict Posadas. For more information, visit our office at 1815 Popps Ferry Road, Biloxi, MS 39532 or telephone (228) 388-4710.
MSU Coastal Research and