National Fisherman

BILOXI, Mississippi — In the cool early-morning air, Frank Parker jumps into his skiff off the Kuhn Street Pier with an ice chest full of bait and 26 years of commercial shrimp and crab fishing experience under his belt. He says there are ups and downs in this business, but lately he's just trying to catch enough to pay the bills.

"Shrimping has been kind of slow," Parker said. "Crabbing has been awful."

The abundance of blue crab is declining in both Mississippi and Alabama and has been for years, according to data collected by state fishery-monitoring agencies.

In 2012, the abundance of blue crab in each state dropped 62 percent from 10 years earlier, according to samples taken by the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Blue crab populations can fluctuate widely from year-to-year, so Parker said it's difficult to determine why blue crab landings, or catches, have dropped off. But he said crabbers from Louisiana to Florida are complaining of the worst landings in decades and no one really seems to know why.

Read the full story at the Mobile Press-Register>>

Inside the Industry

NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.


A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.

Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species,  allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.

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