Gulf Coast Fisherman
2015 WAGE SURVEYS OF MISSISSIPPI AND ALABAMA OYSTER AND SHRIMP PROCESSING PLANTS
These wage surveys are being conducted by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Extension Program to provide information needed by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to establish base wage rates for foreign guest workers working in Alabama and Mississippi oyster and shrimp processing plants under the H2B visa program. The purpose of the survey is to determine the prevailing wage rates paid to workers doing similar tasks in an oyster or shrimp processing plant. The results of this survey will facilitate the H2B application process and assist the workforce development of our important oyster and shrimp industries.
Due to the differences in the job descriptions in the two states, two surveys of all oyster shuckers/packers licensed to operate in Mississippi and Alabama will be conducted this fall. There are 21 oyster shuckers/packers registered in the state of Alabama, as reported in the most recent Interstate Certified Shellfish Shippers List posted at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website. There are five oyster shuckers/packers licensed in Mississippi as listed in the most recent Active Processing Permits in the State of Mississippi List prepared by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, Seafood Technology Bureau.
The survey of shrimp processors will be conducted only among Mississippi processing plants. There are 12 shrimp processors licensed in Mississippi as listed in the most recent active processing permits in the State of Mississippi List prepared by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, Seafood Technology Bureau.
CHANGES TO AMBERJACK REGULATIONS PROPOSED
The 2014 population assessment indicates additional management measures are necessary to rebuild the greater amberjack population in the Gulf of Mexico. NOAA Fisheries is seeking comments on changes to the greater amberjack allowable harvest measures in the Gulf of Mexico. The proposed changes would:
- Decrease the total annual catch limit from 1,780,000 pounds whole weight to 1,720,000 pounds whole weight.
- Set the commercial annual catch limit at 464,400 pounds whole weight and the commercial quota at 394,740 pounds whole weight.
- Set the recreational annual catch limit at 1,255,600 pounds whole weight and the recreational quota at 1,092,372 pounds whole weight.
- Increase the minimum recreational size limit from 30 inches fork length to 34 inches fork length.
- Reduce the commercial trip limit from 2,000 pounds whole weight to 1,500 pounds gutted weight.
NOAA Fisheries must receive comments on this proposed rulemaking no later than October 19,2015. You may submit comments on the amendment or the proposed rule, identified by "NOAA-NMFS-2015-0094", by one of the following methods:
Go to the federal e-Rulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0094-0001, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. NOAA Fisheries will accept anonymous comments.
Southeast Regional Office
Sustainable Fisheries Division
c/o Rich Malinowski
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505
BLUE CRABS SHOW TOLERANCE OF LOW OXYGEN CONDITIONS
New research suggests adult blue crabs are surprisingly tolerant of low oxygen (hypoxic) conditions, contradicting earlier studies on the crustacean's ability to function in oxygen-poor waters. A team of scientists used high-tech computer-controlled respirometers to help explain what they describe as an "ecological mystery," the William & Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) reported. "The notion that blue crabs are relatively intolerant of oxygen-poor waters was counterintuitive, because this species often occupies estuarine environments that can become hypoxic even in the absence of human activities," said lead author Rich Brill, a fishery biologist with NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service and adjunct faculty at VIMS.
Concerns have been raised about decreasing levels of oxygen in coastal waters across the globe, and how this phenomenon might affect vulnerable marine wildlife including blue crabs. These dead zones are linked to excess inputs of nitrogen from fertilizers and other human activities. The added nitrogen causes algal blooms that gives bacteria a plentiful food source, which in turn deplete the water's oxygen levels through decomposition. "Because coastal hypoxia can significantly impact the movements, distribution, growth, and reproduction of inshore fish and invertebrate species, understanding their ability to tolerate hypoxia is becoming crucial, especially in species of ecological and commercial importance," Brill said.
The new studies improved on past methods of monitoring the crabs' ability to thrive in hypoxic waters by allowing the scientists to automate the entire data recording system so they could observe the crabs around the clock with minimal human intervention. The findings showed that contrary to previous studies, the crabs were able to maintain a constant rate of aerobic metabolism until a critical oxygen level was reached. Past findings had suggested blue crabs are "oxygen conformers," and their metabolic rate fell when environmental oxygen levels were reduced. The new findings reveal blue crabs can survive in oxygen levels as low as 1.3 milligrams per liter at moderate temperatures, which is only about 15 percent of the oxygen levels seen in regular saturated water. The problem is the crabs may not be as viable in low oxygen waters if temperatures continue to rise. "Our data show that the metabolic rates of blue crabs increase with increasing temperature, and this in turn increases the lowest oxygen levels they can survive. So warming of the water will exacerbate the effects of hypoxia on blue crabs, as it will with almost all other organisms," Brill warned. (Source: SEAFOODNEWS.COM [HNGN] by Rebekah Marcarelli September22, 2015)
NEW PUBLICATIONS AND SCIENCE SEMINAR FOCUS ON THE DEEPWATER HORIZON OIL SPILL’S IMPACT ON FISHERIES
The Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Team has released its first oil spill science outreach publications. These publications share the latest science about:
Fisheries Landings and Disasters in the Gulf of Mexico – Learn about historical fisheries landings data within the context of manmade and natural disasters. Explore why this data is important for fisheries management.
The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill’s Impact on Gulf Seafood – Learn about the results of federal, state, and independent seafood testing after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Please follow the link https://gulfseagrant.wordpress.com/oilspilloutreach/publications to view and download these outreach publications.
The Oil Spill Outreach Team will also be offering a seminar on fisheries:
Oil Spill Science Seminar: Healthy Gulf Seafood - Nov 18, 2015 in Long Beach, MS Learn how agencies tested seafood during and after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, how fish and other animals break down oil and other contaminants, and how scientists are monitoring seafood to keep consumers safe. This seminar is free and open to all. To register, visit http://gulfseagrant.org/oilspilloutreach/presentations/.
The next series of outreach publications will focus on dispersants. To be updated about the oil spill science outreach team activities, seminars, and publications, sign up for their email list by calling Larissa Graham at 251-438-5690. The Sea Grant programs in the Gulf of Mexico have partnered with the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) to create an oil spill science outreach program. GoMRI is a $500 million research program that aims to mitigate the impacts of hydrocarbon pollution and stressors on the marine environment and public health from the spill, as well as improve society’s understanding of oil spill issues. GoMRI provides support to the Sea Grant programs of the Gulf of Mexico (Florida, Mississippi-Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas). The oil spill science outreach team creates outreach publications and organizes science seminars. They share peer reviewed oil spill science with people whose livelihoods depend on a healthy Gulf.
UNCLE DAVE’S CORNER
When you have to close a seacock in an emergency, you need to be able to close it quickly and easily. Seacocks that are not exercised regularly can become corroded and stuck in their normally open position, which could be disastrous. A regular schedule of opening and closing all the seacocks and Y-valves (such as the ones that switch heads from overboard discharge to holding tank) on your boat will help maintain them in good working order. Some seacocks have lubrication access, which makes it easy to oil them before exercising them. Others, such as the ball-type seacocks found on my boat, are sealed. In order to lubricate this type of seacock properly, you must remove the hose. The folks that designed the access to the seacocks on my boat have obviously never had to service one. The hose will invariably be stuck and difficult to remove. A “brake spoon” available from auto parts dealers that is used to adjust drum brakes works fine as a tool to drive up along the edge of the hose and help get it loose without damage. If the seacock is used to supply a bait well, you need to be careful regarding the type of lubricant you use. Vegetable oil works just fine. For added safety, I keep a tapered wooden plug of the correct size stored near each through-hull fitting in case it fails.
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