Who needs a dog when the kid has a nice cat to play with? ... Damn, cross off a right eye.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015: Checkerboard day of sun followed by a drenching storm then a crystal clear sun session. The second run of sun was immaculate, shining through rain- and lighting-cleaned air. You don’t realize that concept of hot and hazy until the haze temporarily departs, though never for long in July.
You’ll see the bad news about fluke down below. In this week’s weekly I write,
You might as well here the bad fluking news here -- to weep among friends. Fishery management gurus have surmised that the summer flounder stocks in our zone just aren’t reproducing the way they should. To compensate for the low breeding success among our fluke, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council is poised to brutally slash our “Fluke Catch Quota.”
As I read it, there could/will be an angler-damaging cut of 43 percent for 2016. That could be officially announced this month.
That would cut out current 2015 quota of roughly 22 million pounds down to 12 million pounds for next year. That’s beyond “Ouch!”
You don’t have to be a math-meister to see that gashing will leave us maybe keeping a couple huge fluke per day. And forget fluke season going into the fall. That surf fishing concept will be the first to fall when the NJ Marine Fisheries Council ponders ways to implement the required cut. Flat fishing in NJ is going to flat line.
I’ll offer a bit of obviousness here by openly fretting that we could be fishing stingrays, skates and dogfish when the fluke regs demolish the summertime flattie draw. Sure, you can head out to the reefs to bottom fish but that can get tired – and fruitless – real fast, as an overabundance of boats cleans the reefs clean, daily.
I’ll get really downbeat – which isn’t my usual thing – but I just might need to by wondering what fishing would be like next year if we don’t have a cyclical flood of bluefish (like we saw this year); the bassing not only remains bad but gets challenged by stricter regs; the weakfishing remains AWOL; and panfishing for kingfish and blowfish remains a slow-show? Oh, and fluking is forced into the crapper. The problem with that scenario is the awful likelihood it just might play out.
WHY, OH, WHY, BADGES?: Here’s an increasingly common e-question being shot my way. “Why are there still beach badges when our federal tax dollars are paying for the new beaches?”
I first address that dogged beach badge issue by advising that the beach-fixing federal government is not paying to clean and protect our bigger and better beaches. Everyday townspeople, like me truly, are left to foot that immense tourist-related cleanup bill.
Going a bit “Outer Limits,” imagine, if you will, your hometown suddenly becoming a tourist mecca, with diverse folks arriving by the drove-load -- leaving drove-loads of trash and friendly-fire damage behind for you, an already teetering taxpayer, to cover – to the tune of over a million dollars per year? What an outer limitless horror story.
I’m not exaggerating that “over a million dollars per year” in costs. It's all there in black and white. That’s the minimal annual price of keeping LBI’s beaches guarded, maintained (beach raked daily), policed and free of litter and bursting baby diapers.
Let it be known, I’m an avowed fan of visitors; always have been. I want everyone in the world to have the same fun I’ve had here. But such fun can be a damn dirty business. My beloved tourists can make a royal mess -- and raise police-worthy ruckuses.
Admittedly, business folks, might make a mint off of tourism but the overwhelming majority of LBI’s taxpaying residents don’t see a cold cent of that profit.
I’m not lookin’ for sad violin music to chime in here but I’m among many Islanders barely squeaking by on the tax-paying front. Losing the out-of-pocket relief offered from beach badge revenue would surely drive me out of Dodge, aka Ship Bottom.
Check out https://www.facebook.com/OCPoliceBlotter for beyond amazing vidoe of that Rte. 72 plane landing ... and somehow missing traffic in the process. Note the breakneck speed the plane is traveling, factoring in the vehicles were surely doing 55 to 60.
Summer Flounder Drop-off Could Result in Sharp Cut in Catch Quota
A dramatic collapse in the reproduction of summer flounder off the East Coast may mean a sharp cut in the catch quota for both commercial and recreational fishermen next summer, according to a science committee on the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council.
Summer flounder, also known as fluke, have been staging a comeback over the past two decades or so with the help of both scientists and fishermen who covet the tasty fish.
That would reduce this year's quota of roughly 22 million pounds to just 12 million pounds next year.
The MAFMC is one of the eight regional fishery management councils across the U.S. created under federal law in 1976, and creates a system of regional fisheries management to allow local groups and agencies to make decisions on local fishery management.
"The industry can't take shocks like this," said Tom Fote of the New Jersey Coast Anglers Association.
Bigeyes continue to bite from the Wilmington to the Lindenkohl canyons. This water is also holding some white marlin as well with a couple on some recent trips.
Maine Fishing Crew Hauls In a Whale of a Lobster
SEAFOODNEWs.COM [Portland Press Herald] - July 14, 2015
Ricky Louis Felice Jr. had never seen such a monster of the deep before, so he posted a photograph of himself holding the 3-foot-long, 20-pound lobster on his Facebook page Monday.
Since then, Felice, a 24-year-old criminal justice major from Cushing, said he has been bombarded with requests for interviews from news media outlets across Maine and New England.
Felice was working as a deckhand on the Big Dipper, a lobster boat based in Friendship, in late May when the crew hauled up a trap with the behemoth cowering inside.
Though the hardshell lobster was caught more than a month ago, Felice said he decided to post its photograph Monday on Facebook after his friends urged him to.
“He was huddled over in the corner (of the trap), all balled up. Lobsters are very territorial and I don’t think he liked the fact that there were five lobsters inside the trap with him,” Felice said Monday evening. “His whole body was inside the trap. He was the biggest lobster I’ve ever seen in my life.”
The three-man crew of the Big Dipper, which is captained by Isaac Lash of Friendship, each posed for a photograph with the big crustacean before tossing it back into the Gulf of Maine.
“He was a monster. Gladly threw him back with hope of catching him again,” Felice wrote on his Facebook page.
According to Lash, the 43-foot Big Dipper had been fishing in late May in waters south of Monhegan Island when the crew pulled up the trap with the lobster inside. Despite its large size, scientists say lobsters have the ability to cram their bodies into tight spaces.
Lash, who has been fishing for more than a decade, thought nothing of the catch because it is not uncommon for him to trap lobsters that exceed the legal limit on a regular basis. Those lobsters never make it to the dining room table in Maine because state law requires that lobsters be no shorter than 3¼ inches or longer than 5 inches.
The measurement is taken from the extreme rear section of the animal’s eye sockets to the end of its carapace or back. The penalty for keeping an undersized or oversized lobster is a fine of up to $500 for each violation.
“I’ve seen lobsters as big or bigger than that one,” Lash said. “It’s neat to see such a big one, but it’s not that rare.”
Lash described the lobster as “pretty fat and healthy and it had really big claws.”
Though Lash said he is no expert, he guesses that the lobster his vessel caught – if it were to be steamed and cooked – could have easily fed three or four people.
According to the Maine Department of Marine Resources, the record for the largest documented lobster goes to one caught off the coast of Nova Scotia in 1977. It weighed 44 pounds, 6 ounces and was estimated to be 100 years old.
Lash, Felice and Lash’s sternman, Levi Poland, estimated that the lobster they caught was 75 years old, but scientists disagree with that assessment.
“I would question it being 75 years old,” Robert Steneck, a University of Maine professor of marine science, said Monday after studying the photograph online. “It’s probably more in the range of 25 to 50 years.”
Steneck’s Web page says he uses manned submersibles and remotely operated underwater vehicles to study lobsters, sea urchins and kelp. Steneck, who works out of the Darling Marine Center in Walpole, is a veteran marine researcher with more than 20 years’ experience.
He believes an important way to understand organisms is to study them in their habitat, which is why he spent several years in submarines exploring the ocean floors off Maine’s coast. He remembers the time that his submersible encountered a giant lobster off Mount Desert Island – it looked to be about 25 pounds – that attacked and nearly became entangled in some of the hull’s equipment.
Steneck said the lobster caught by the crew of the Big Dipper is definitely a male. Females have a much wider tail. Its larger claw – known as the crusher claw – is also a male characteristic.
“It’s a good size, but it is not outrageous,” Steneck said.
Diane Cowan, a senior scientist at The Lobster Conservancy in Friendship, said large lobsters need to be protected because they produce more offspring.
“They are proven survivors, which makes them more important to the gene pool,” she said.
Cowan was less certain about the lobster’s age, adding, “No doubt in my mind this lobster has been around at least a few decades.”
As for its size, Cowan said the lobster caught by the Big Dipper is large, but not giant.
“Giant would be 40 pounds or more,” Cowan said in an email. “No one has seen them (giants) since the 1950s. Too bad.”
TO THE RESCUE: Bystanders pitch in to help save a young great white shark that became beached on Cape Cod. Rescuers are happy to report that the shark is alive and well.
Closer to home:
4 of our 6 keepers from yesterday ! Notice the fresh bitten tail on my 4 lb. bigger fish ! Something bigger then it was hungry ! Als was 7 lbs yesterday and the one he got Sunday was 6 lbs