commercial fishing

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

The coronavirus is affecting the local economy through important local industries, like tourism. It's also having a severe impact on another industry — commercial fishing.

FWC

A commercial fisherman in the Florida Keys has been sentenced in a case involving undersized lobsters. The sentence also keeps him out of the water for quite some time.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

The red tide on Florida's Gulf Coast last year killed dolphins, manatees and fish. A new study finds the toxic algae also affects stone crab, one of Florida's most valuable seafood products.

Richard Elzey/Flickr

State wildlife investigators announced Tuesday that they've wrapped up a two-year investigation targeting what they say is a criminal conspiracy in the spiny lobster fishing industry.

Lobster is Florida's most valuable commercial fishery, with landings usually worth more than $40 million a year.

Investigators went undercover and conducted surveillance in what they called "Operation Thimblerig." Thimblerig is another term for shell game.

Three people face felony charges including racketeering, fraud and identity theft.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

The state’s stone crab fishery should expect to take a hit this season from the red tide algae bloom that’s been plaguing Florida’s west coast for months, but the Keys, which accounts for 65 percent of the harvest of the sought-after claws, does not appear to be affected.

The jury is in on marine reserves: They work. Research has repeatedly shown that fish numbers quickly climb following well-enforced fishing bans, creating tangible benefits for fishers who work the surrounding waters. In fact, many experts believe fishing will only be sustainable if marine reserves are expanded significantly.

That's why some activists and scientists are now discussing the idea of creating a marine reserve so big it would cover most of the ocean. Specifically, they want fishing banned in international waters.

Florida wildlife officials have changed fishing rules for snook and redfish in areas hit hard by a devastating red tide just ahead of the opening of the popular snook season.

Suzana Blake / NOAA Fisheries

Hurricane Irma cost Florida's fishing industries almost $200 million, according to a damage assessment released by the state and federal governments.

Lily Oppenheimer / WLRN

At 6 a.m. on a recent Thursday morning, Ernie Piton and his son dragged wooden lobster traps across their dock in Key Largo. They stabbed sharp wires through ripe, glossy fish heads, preparing for the grind of baiting and checking Florida spiny lobster traps. As the fishermen turned the key, rumbling their boat to life, they hoped for a good haul.

Peter Maczek

First Irma, now a trade war.

Less than a year after Hurricane Irma tore through the Florida Keys, lobster fishermen are facing another hit from the trade war with China.

Tariffs set to take effect Friday threaten to bump up prices by 25 percent — an increase that could cool demand in the lucrative Chinese market, say experts.

Kate Stein / WLRN

Seafood is a big part of South Florida’s culinary scene and its culture. Conch, snapper, mahi mahi, grouper, marlin and stone crab -- they have places in our hearts, as well as on our plates.

Rob O'Neal / Florida Keys News Service

The annual spiny lobster season opens Thursday, when commercial trappers can start pulling traps from the water and divers and recreational fishers can start grabbing the crustaceans.

"We never know what's going to happen until they make those first pulls and we see what the market's going to bear," said Bill Kelly, executive director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen's Association.

Proposed Congress Bill May Block Fishing Ban

Aug 3, 2015
Eleonora Edreva / WLRN

On Monday, the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Small Business held a congressional hearing in Homestead.

The subject of the hearing was a proposed bill that would allow state fishery managers to block fishing bans in state waters within national parks. 

The bill’s relevance to South Florida is that it would shut down an attempt to create a marine reserve zone blocking commercial and recreational fishing in a portion of Biscayne National Park. 

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The spiny lobster season ended March 31. State biologists say it looks like the total catch will be slightly lower than last year — but the seafood that came to the market fetched record-high prices.