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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Photo taken along Route 72 earlier ...  Thursday, February 13, 2014: Yes, Hilda, we dodged a snow bullet to be sure. However, I won’t over-cheer the no-snow event since I’m always surprised at h…

Photo taken along Route 72 earlier ... 

Thursday, February 13, 2014: Yes, Hilda, we dodged a snow bullet to be sure. However, I won’t over-cheer the no-snow event since I’m always surprised at how nasty snow-lovers can become when forsaken by a storm like this one. I kid you not. I’ve learned not to blurt out “Oh, good, no snow” in, say, Wawa. Folks from aisles, cracks and crevices hiss, “I love snow.” Hell, I’m usually outnumbered so I sulk away, mumbling, “Snow still sucks.”

“What you say, buddy!?”

“I said ‘If it snows, we’re in luck.’”

But we sidestepped a bigger bullet than folks might know. They got a solid foot in nearby Burlington County. That amount would have been lower end for us, had it been cold enough here. Our closeness to the storm center would have readily exceeded other areas of the state.  

I got nearly two inches of rain in my gauge. That’s a sure 20 inches of white stuff. Then, there’s the soon to arrive wraparound effect, which could still whiten us, depending on the exact time of turnover from rain to sleet to snow, in the middle of the night

The sleet won’t last long since there is going to be a very well-marked rain-to-snow transition line, as very cold air collides with milder ocean air. In fact, the conflict will be so pronounced we might here some thunder during the changeover.

Now, for the good weather news. (Snow lovers hold your ears). Wait until you see what happens by next weekend. Hint: Grab your suntan lotion. You heard it here first.

As nearly all the new weatherites want to mull over meteoro-maps, seeking doomsday storms and rumors of doomsday storms, I secretly seek not only a melt of this over-frozen winter but a warm-up. And that’s the good weather news. That warm-up is coming.

By late next week, I see the chance of flirting with 60 – and even a small chance of record highs. Yep, highs – and not the Denver variety.

Now, I’m not saying LBI will suddenly see palm trees blooming and bikinis bursting forth. We got icy issues – and will have them well into spring. The ocean water is so cold that our beaches will instantly become unbearably frigid with warm-pattern southwinds. Even when the mainland is pushing 70, we could have wind-chills below freezing. Mark my words.

That said, I can live and breathe the mainland (the glorious outback) when I’m forcibly ousted from LBI by lingering sub-freezing wind-chills -- throughout all spring!

By the by, I’m filing all m bitter winter videos together and will absolutely delight in posting them during ferocious summer heat waves. This summer? Old-time forecasting assures the most horrendously hot summers follow horrid winters.

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DOA washup today of either small dolphin or porpoise, near Nardi's. The killer virus in the sea goes on. 

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Funner stuff.

I’ve always been a fox person. I’ve written in here about a buddy who has one as a pet. While he won’t let me video his Silvia (laws against keeping foxes a pets), I want to offer these videos now hot on Facebook showing how absolutely tame a fox raised from a pup can become.  You might want to turn the sound down (please.).  I'm highly not recommending trying this. The chance to adopt a fox pup only comes to a few folks. 

http://www.wimp.com/happyfox/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AtP7au_Q9w

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  Thursday, February 13, 2014
TEPCO detects record levels of cesium near Fukushima plant, new leak feared

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Xinhua] - February 13, 2014 -      

TOKYO - Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the operator of the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, said Thursday that samples of water tested contained radioactive cesium at levels never seen before by the embattled utility.

TEPCO, while admitting there may be a new leak at the site of a well located just 50 meters from the adjacent Pacific Ocean, confirmed that the levels of cesium found in its groundwater samples were as high as 54,000 becquerels per liter of cesium 137 and 22,000 becquerels per liter of cesium 134.

The levels of cesium detected in the latest readings, according to TEPCO, are 600 times higher than the government regulation for contaminated wastewater allowed to be released into the ocean, with the samples testing 30,000 times higher for cesium 137, compared to samples taken just a week earlier.

A spokesperson for TEPCO said that radioactive water is probably leaking from underground trenches that link the stricken reactor buildings to the sea.

The utility has failed to locate the source of the leak, in another major failing of TEPCO to contain the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986.

The Japanese government, on Jan. 15, green-lit a revival and restructuring plan for TEPCO, injecting 4 trillion yen (38.3 billion U.S. dollars) in additional state backing to help the ailing utility deal with a string of mishaps at its facilities as it works towards decommissioning its stricken, yet volatile reactors.

Despite the injection of fresh capital, TEPCO is still eyeing dumping toxic water into the Pacific Ocean as it fails to contain in makeshift storage tanks -- the source of a number of previous leaks -- a massive daily influx of water needed to cool the battered reactors, while nuclear experts believe that other methods need to be traversed before contaminating the ocean.

Dumping radioactive water into the ocean is of grave concern to local fisheries cooperatives as the potential for radioactive materials to spread to marine life remains a distinct possibility, despite TEPCO's assurances the levels of radioactivity will be kept well below the government's and regulator's limits.

TEPCO, in spite of extra financing to bring the crisis in Fukushima under control, has also been slammed by Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) Chairman Shunichi Tanaka for incorrectly measuring levels of radioactive materials in groundwater at its Daiichi facility.

Tanaka said that even though three years has passed since the reactor meltdowns at the plant, TEPCO is still utterly inept when it comes to taking accurate readings of radioactivity at and around its facilities and "lacks a basic understanding of measuring and handling radiation."

The overall decommissioning of the plant is expected to take around 40 years, with the removal of all nuclear fuel from the Number 4 reactor building being completed by the end of this year, however TEPCO said it had only successfully removed around 9 percent of more than 1,500 unused and spent fuel assemblies in the reactor building's storage pool.

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Rhode Island regains its spot as East Coast squid leader

SEAFOODNEWS.COM  [East Greenwich Patch] By Mark Schieldrop - February 13, 2014 - 

Rhode Island fisherman have adapted to the changing local fishery, catching more and more squid in recent years. Landings from Rhode Island now make up half of the entire haul from the eastern seaboard.

Rhode Island is the East Coat capital of squid, according to Sen. Susan V. Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham) and Rep. Joseph McNamara (D-Dist. 29, Warwick, Cranston).

And that's why they're reintroducing a bill that would make Rhode Island-style calamari - battered, fried and served with hot peppers — the state's official appetizer.

“It is the juxtaposition of those two things – that squid is the state’s most valuable commercial fishery and that a cuisine distinctive to Rhode Island is served and enjoyed around the country – that make this special to our state, something to call our own,” Sosnowski said.

Landings in Rhode Island are worth about $18.5 million. About 23.5 million pounds per year come in through the states fisheries.

McNamara, who introduced similar legislation last session that did not pass, said, “I believe Senator Sosnowski’s sponsorship of the bill in her chamber will build the support to see it enacted this year. Her commitment to the environment and economic health of the state are greatly respected.”

“One thing that hasn’t changed since last year,”  McNamara said, “is my belief that it is important for Rhode Island to boast about its strengths, to market its many positives and to use what’s special about us to help grow our economy.”

According to a release, if confirmed as the “official state appetizer,” calamari would join the likes of coffee milk (official state drink), the Rhode Island greening apple (official state fruit), quahog (official state shellfish), striped bass (official state fish), the Rhode Island red (official bird) and, though not edible, Bowenite (official mineral), Cumberlandite (official rock) and Red maple (official tree).

The bills proposing the official designation present a number of findings:

More pounds of squid are brought to store in Rhode Island than any other seafood;
Rhode Island has the largest squid-fishing fleet along the eastern seaboard;
The fishing, hospitality and tourism industry is crucial to the economy of the state;
Rhode Island has some of the finest restaurants in the country;
The appetizer known as “Rhode Island-style calamari” is prepared and served nationwide, and,
Squid is to Rhode Island what lobster is to Maine and cod is to Massachusetts.

McNamara can personally attest to that. During a recent trip to Seattle, the squid he was served at a restaurant (though not crispy fried rings served with pickled hot peppers) came from Rhode Island waters. “A fisheries wholesaler I met there raved about serving Rhode Island squid, calling it fresh, local (i.e., from the U.S.), and sustainable.”

“And Rhode Island-style calamari is delicious,”  Sosnowski, said. “An opinion I share with countless restaurants, cookbook authors and TV food shows.”

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Mass. officials discuss green crab crisis that could destroy soft shell clam industry

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Gloucester Times] by Jonathan Phelps - February 13, 2014

They’ve been in the ocean here since the late 1800s, but there is a growing concern about the continued invasion of green crabs and their impact on the region’s clamming industry.

About 40 state officials, clammers and town officials from across the region — representing Gloucester, Essex, Rowley and Newburyport — gathered at Ipswich Town Hall earlier this week to devise solutions for combating the invasive species, with thoughts ranging from included seeking state grants, discussing ways to control the species’ population and finding a market for the crabs.

“Green crab will eat about anything, especially juvenile shellfish,” said Scott LaPreste, Ipswich’s shellfish constable. “It is our biggest shellfish issue right now,” he said.

LaPreste said Ipswich is responsible for about 30 percent of the state’s clamming industry and typically brings in between $5 million and $10 million per year. Concerns about diminishing clam numbers exist across the East Coast, especially in Maine, he said. There has been about a 30 percent decline statewide in the past 14 years, according to state officials.

LaPreste said there is only a small market for green crabs for bait, though there are talks about finding a better way to market the crabs for other uses. He said there have been no consistent efforts to control the green crabs since the 1960s or ’70s, and milder ocean temperatures are seen as reasons for a possible increase in the crabs.

Steve and Brenda Turner of Ipswich have owned a commercial shellfish operation since 2007. Steve Turner said they previously had caught their limit of 180 pounds in two hours, but now they are lucky to catch 120 pounds in three hours.

“We would go out two hours before low tide and find plenty of mussels,” said Steve Turner. “Now, they are dissipated.”

Bob Glenn of the state’s Division of Marine Fisheries, said there could be a growing market for the crabs in Asia and as bait for whelk fisherman.

“The demand is getting greater for these,” he said.

Many people at the meeting suggested the crabs could possibly be composted and turned into fertilizer.

“We need to market these where they are valuable,” Grundstrom said.

One thing was clear at the meeting: There are no simple answers.

LaPreste said there needs to be a short-term plan to “catch and destroy” the crabs, along with long-term options, such as food processing.

“I’d like to see money for some kind of incentive to go out and destroy them, while we look into the market for them,” he said. “That is easier said than done.”

State Sen. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, set plans to host a more focused meeting in Gloucester on March 3. He said research money could be looked into at the state or federal levels.

“I’ve been very alarmed at reading about what is happening in Maine,” Tarr said. “I had been involved in the issue about 10 years ago, and it was concerning back then, but it seems to ebb and flow.”

The crabs are believed to have arrived in the United States in the late 1800s from Europe in the ballast of ships. It is reported that the green crab will “eat anything it can get its claws on,” including clams, mussels, other crabs, small fish, marsh and eel grasses, and the eggs of horseshoe crabs and lobsters. Just one of these green crabs, which grow to about 3 to 4 inches, can eat 40 half-inch clams a day.

There are no known predators of the crab, and as adaptations have enabled it to survive in colder water, its population has flourished.

Maine is said to be maybe two years away from having no soft-shell crab business due to these predators, Grundstrom said.

LaPreste said these meetings are important to address the issue in the future.

“My hope is they increase awareness and start movement on an organized solution,” he said.

Correspondent Michelle Pelletier Marshall contributed to this report.

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