Menhaden fishermen working in the Gulf of Mexico rescued six boaters, including two children, after their small craft capsized in the Mississippi Sound May 31.

Purse seine crews from the F/V Mississippi Sound and the F/V Frosty Mor, recovered two people from the water and four atop the overturned boat around 2 p.m.

Mississippi Sound captain Joel Deihl said the vessels responded to a Coast Guard broadcast about the boaters in distress and located them. After picking up the boaters the purse seine crews transferred them to the Coast Guard.

“That's a terrible situation to be in, and you can only imagine yourself being in that situation,” said Deihl told television station WLOX in Biloxi, Miss. “I'm proud of my crew for how they responded with the other vessels that were with us. Knowing that they can go home and see their families is a big lift off our shoulders.”

Both vessels are operated by Ocean Harvesters, an independent company that operates 30 menhaden vessels formerly owned by Omega Protein, and now supplies fish for Omega’s processing plants under long-term contracts.

“The safety of our crews and fellow boaters is always the top priority for Omega Protein and Ocean Harvesters,” according to a statement from Omega, noting how in 2020 the crew of the F/V Smuggler's Point helped rescue six boaters from a burning vessel off the coast of Ocean City, Md.

Associate Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for more than 30 years and a 25-year field editor for National Fisherman before joining our Commercial Marine editorial staff in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.

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