National Fisherman

In 46 years as a commercial fisherman, Gary Graves says he has never seen a stone crab harvest season as poor as this one. Graves, who runs Keys Fisheries in Marathon — the main supplier for Joe's Stone Crab in Miami Beach — says his catches are down 40 percent since the season opened Oct 15.

"For some reason, they're not here," Graves said of Florida's signature seafood delicacy.

He said five of his boats recently averaged less than 200 pounds per trip among them. In a normal year, each boat should bring in 250 to 300 pounds. Some fishermen, he said, are giving up and bringing in their traps well before the harvest ends on May 15.

Stephen Sawitz, whose family owns the iconic, century-old Joe's, says he's holding daily "crab meetings" with his staff to figure out how to manage inventory.

"The demand did outreach the supply this year," Sawitz said. "I have to cut off large and jumbo when a certain amount have run through the restaurant. We've had to promote other products — Alaskan king crab claws and legs."

The impact is being felt up and down Florida's west coast.

Worst season we've ever seen," said Candice Jolly, manager of City Seafood in Everglades City. "Normally, they'd bring in 800 pounds; now they're bringing in 28 pounds. It's awful."

Read the full story at the Miami Herald>>

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 11/06/14

In this episode:

NOAA report touts 2013 landings, value increases
Panama fines GM salmon company Aquabounty
Gulf council passes Reef Fish Amendment 40
Maine elver quota cut by 2,000 pounds
Offshore mussel farm would be East Coast’s first

 

Inside the Industry

EAST SAND ISLAND, Oregon—Alexa Piggott is crawling through a dark, dusty, narrow tunnel on this 62-acre island at the mouth of the Columbia River. On the ground above her head sit thousands of seabirds. Piggott, a crew leader with Bird Research Northwest, is headed for an observation blind from which she'll be able to count them.
 
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NOAA and its fellow Natural Resource Damage Assessment trustees in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have announced the signing of a formal Record of Decision to implement a gulf restoration plan. The 44 projects, totaling an estimated $627 million, will restore barrier islands, shorelines, dunes, underwater grasses and oyster beds.

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