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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

This blog: Open season on sasquatches; American Chopper's Paul Jr, pondering a showroom in Ship Bottom; some just found photos of olden Manahawkin; getting paranoid over COVID; a load of wind farm ne…

This blog: Open season on sasquatches; American Chopper's Paul Jr, pondering a showroom in Ship Bottom; some just found photos of olden Manahawkin; getting paranoid over COVID; a load of wind farm news. 

Rushing this out so ignore -- and laugh if necessary -- over typos. 

(Above photos: A weird-ass duck boat, Barnegat Bay, likely Stafford Township.)

If you’re not yet familiar with Oklahoma Rep. Justin "Tinyfoot" Humphrey, you had better put a rush on familiarizing yourself, lest you soon see a beloved Bigfoot all shot to hell and hanging next to some smiling redneck hunter.

Good old Tinyfoot, in the ultimate display of foot envy, has introduced legislation encouraging shootists nationwide to come to Oklahoma to go balls out after Sasquatches and such.

According to CNN’s Cryptozoology Bureau, “The hunting season would be regulated by the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission, which would set annual dates along with specific hunting licenses and fees.”

Trying to disguise his foot fetishes behind political rhetoric, Humphrey said that syphoning heavily armed crazies to the “OK” state would be a form of drawing in tourists.

"Tourism is one of the biggest attractions we have in my House district," Humphrey said. "Establishing an actual hunting season and issuing licenses for people who want to hunt Bigfoot will just draw more people to our already beautiful part of the state. It will be a great way for people to enjoy our area and to have some fun."

Pin on Current Rating For Practical Cable Sizing

Oh, it’s all fun and tourism until some jackass with a sniper rifle takes a high-power, two-mile-downrange pot shot at an assumed Bigfoot only to destroy a group of innocent groundhogs just trying to have some innocent fun making a pyramid by standing on each other’s shoulders. Let’s see the state’s press office downplay that one.

Sweet-Seventeen for Woodchuck Control | Share the Outdoors

Then there’s the ultimate call to Humphrey’s office, which his secretary overhears, “Whadda ya mean they actually shot a bigfoot! There’s goes my frickin’ career.”

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LBI STUFF: Paul Teutul Jr.  of Paul Jr. Designs, Custom Bike Building, seems to have an eye on LBI, likely dating back to his marriage to girlfriend Rachael Biester in 2010.

That wedding took place at Bonnet Island Estate (Stafford). Around that time, the couple were seen cruising the Island, apparently eying it for more than just keepsake wedding photo locales.

Paul Jr. took particular notice of the unoccupied former Bageleddi’s site on the NE corner of 18th and the Blvd. in Ship Bottom.

BAGELEDDI'S, Ship Bottom - Menu, Prices & Restaurant Reviews - Tripadvisor

The venue somehow seemed ripe for a chopper shop, most notably a showroom for Junior's one-of-a-kind highly custom-built motorcycles. How he surmised LBI it's the property stuff of choppers, well, let's just say that remains to seen -- though I picture some deep-pocketed 50-somethings Islander, going through midlife crisis, all, "I think I'll go down the street and buy a $100,000 bike to drive to Acme all summer."

Yes, Teutul creations sell for that much ... and more.

Anticipating Island whiners, might the shop draw in biker gangs -- to my home block much less? Truth be told, we used to have plenty of biker groups pass up and down the Island, quite politely, often more so than many van-driving visitors. Does anyone recall summer Sunday afternoons when the parking closest to Joe Pop's -- and sometimes The Porthole -- was a chain of parked hogs? Not so much as an ounce of trouble. Just sayin'. 

Back to the former Bageleddi's plot, Junior's wife Rachael is owner of a shop and the brand name Oliver Anne Boutique, out of Hudson Valley, NY.

Per biographypedia.org, “The store sells faux fur coats, other women clothes, accessories and various cosmetic tools, such as face rollers, masks, etc.” She is also the vice president of Paul Jr. Designs.

I bring up Rachael’s enterprise since it seems better suited to LBI than a chopper headquarters. But, who’s to say it won’t be a little of both? Nice.  

For those unfamiliar with Discovery Channel hit motorcycle reality shows, like “American Chopper” and “Orange County Choppers,” Junior is a premium bike builder, cut from the leather of his bad-ass pa, Paul Sr., a metal worker who founded Orange County Choppers, building mind boggling bikes in the process. Now to get his dad to build a competing shop on the Island. Bring on the cameras. 

Paul Teutul, Jr. and Paul Teutul, Sr. - The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Video Clip) | Comedy Central

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Offshore Wind Developer to Hold Follow Up Meeting to Gather Additional Input from Recreational Fishermen
Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind LLC will be holding a followup meeting on January 28, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm to gather additional information on fishing areas in and around the 0499 wind lease area and to learn how recreational anglers use and move through the area. This meeting will be an opportunity for anglers to provide input directly to Atlantic Shores as they consider the design, layout and other factors in the planning of their offshore wind array that will be off of the New Jersey coast. To register for this meeting please go to the Atlantic Shores website
Atlantic Shores successfully bid and secured the rights to develop the commercial wind lease area 0499 which includes 183,353 acres off the New Jersey coast from Island Beach State Park down to Great Egg Inlet. Depending upon the available output per turbine, anglers can expect to see approximately 175-200 turbines in 0499 upon full build out. The purpose of the virtual meeting will be to follow up questions asked during the January 13th meeting and to gather more detailed input from the recreational fishing industry. That input can be critical to help minimize negative impacts to fish, fishing grounds and fishermen as offshore wind facilities are designed, constructed and put into operation.
The meeting will also be a chance to speak with Capt. Adam Nowalsky who is currently working with Atlantic Shores and serving as a conduit between recreational fishermen and the development team. Adam is the first recreational-specific fisheries representative hired by an offshore wind developer. RFA views this role as a valuable resource and an extremely effective way of gathering meaningful input from our sector which stands to be the most effected stakeholder group with regard to offshore wind development. RFA is encouraging all anglers who have concerns with offshore wind facilities being built off of the coast of New Jersey to participate in Thursday's meeting.
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Here's a photo share session gerund to folks over Manahawkin and mainland ways. As is always the case, it's hard to imagine such times and looks ever existed. 

Manahawkin scenes: Looking for any extra info. 

Below: Route 9

Below: Old Baptist Free Church Beach Avenue, Manahawkin. 

 Below: View from Baptist Church steeple (?)

Below: More distant view from along Route 9. 

Below: Downtown Manahawkin (?)

Below: Either the spillway now under old Causeway (E/W Rte 72) or under Route 9 (S/N) near new Route 72. 

Below: Dapper Manahawkin anglers. Looks like weakfish. 

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I'm not one of those around-the-clock watchers of COVID numbers but today I took a moment to register the real world impacts of this beyond novel virus, which I feel -- among many -- as having highly suspect origins.

China the source? Likely.

Bats the culprit? A strong maybe.

Laboratory escapee virus? Very likely.

Bioterrorism roots? Highly likely, if only to the degree that China was actively looking into  genetically modifying the coronavirus for possible militarization; something they do with virtually everything in sight. Weaponizing is their claim to fame, dating back forever, 

Was COVID launched as a weapon of mass human destruction?  Not all that likely. A busted beaker or careless researcher exiting research facilities loosed it.

Before escape, might it have already been genetically tweaked to go after fat cat Americans? That's the million-lives-lost question.   

Worth an afterthought: How could COVID be Americanized by China? It's complicated ... and surely ingenious in a demographic manner. We are the fattest nation in the world, so tweak a virus that preys on obesity or, less specifically, unhealthy lifestyles related to obesity.  Hey, I said it might be ingenious.

Even more Sino-sinister, genetically tweak a virus that targets diabetics. Guess what nation has the highest rate of diabetes? Yes, us/US. All (!) the folks I personally knew who died from COVID had diabetes. 

All this is obviously highly imaginative near-paranoia on my part, but a pattern of global infection that has been centered firmly on America from the start -- and arriving from our new worst enemy -- deserves at least some healthy speculation, even if only to prove such speculation wrong. Also, micro examining this entire COVID syndrome from source to vaccines is the only way to avoid being duped/attacked again, should the likes of Middle East terrorist groups and radicalized Muslims try to cash in on biological/microbial warfare. Do not think for a minute they haven't got the brains or resources to carry out such attacks. It comes down to whether or not they figuratively blow themselves up in the process -- infecting their own people -- is the key. China might have learned that the hard way 

Here are the highly ponderable COVID statistics: 

CONFIRMED

99,722,221

RECOVERED

55,057,204

DEATHS

2,140,083

ACTIVE

42,524,934

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New Artificial Reef Deployments on 

Little Egg and Manasquan Inlet Reefs

American Littoral Society Releases Special Publication on

Protecting Fish and Fish Habitat in the Mid-Atlantic

New Jersey - For almost sixty years, the American Littoral Society has worked to forge a path forward for coastal conservation and has done so, in large part, through the human connection to the ocean. 

Today, the organization is releasing a new report entitled “Protecting Offshore Fish and Fish Habitat in the Mid-Atlantic Ocean.” The report focuses on the management and protection of important habitat and fishing areas in the face of a changing climate and increasing demands for use of ocean spaces. The report can be found at the accompanying website ProtectFish.org. 

The report considers how the ocean is changing and how that impacts fishing. It takes a deep dive into New Jersey Prime Fishing Areas, special areas identified by the State of New Jersey that span along our Mid-Atlantic coastlines and open ocean, and how regulatory protections applied to those resources are implemented during the development and permitting of activities like offshore sand mining or wind development. The report also provides an overview of how Mid-Atlantic states from New York to Virginia protect fish and fish habitat through their federally approved Coastal Management Plans. 

“We hope this report will provide the public, anglers, and coastal managers with a set of insights and recommendations to strengthen regional and state planning approaches, rules and policies to protect fish and fish habitat in the face of increasing demands for the use of ocean space and resources, and a changing climate,” says Tim Dillingham, Executive Director. 

Climate change is impacting the Mid-Atlantic Bight and the larger Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem, placing crucial benefits and services like recreation, fishing, and coastal community safety and economies, to name a few, on the line. Recreational anglers and coastal managers see in real time fish shifting northward as ocean waters warm and acidify and conflicting uses mar or destroy important fish habitat. 

“The ocean is under stress, which is worsened by climate change. Every single day we make demands on the ocean. Some demands have led to ecosystem degradation, overfishing, and polluted waters. On top of this, we see our ocean waters warming, acidifying, and losing oxygen, making life in the ocean harder for marine wildlife,” says Sarah Winter Whelan, Ocean Policy Program Director. “Now stack on top of that a rise in offshore shipping and ocean mining, while plans for large offshore wind energy projects become reality to help lead us into the clean energy future we need.” 

“All of this activity will create ripple effects to the health of our ocean and coasts for decades to come,” she says. “We explore some of those effects against existing regulatory protections for fish and fish habitat in this report as a way to help regulators find a path forward that protects fish and fish habitat in the face of these changes.” 

The demand for sand along Mid-Atlantic coastlines in the wake of disappearing beaches from intense storms and sea level rise has led to a hunt for offshore sand resources along the eastern seaboard. New Jersey anglers and the Littoral Society have long been concerned with the real identified impacts to offshore fish habitat from sand mining. 

In addition, the development of offshore wind in the Mid-Atlantic Bight is at the forefront of transitions to renewable energy from dirty fossil fueled energy sources in order to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions. The Society has long advocated that offshore wind must be sited and developed responsibly to prevent and mitigate impacts to the offshore environment. 

“Every Mid-Atlantic state has enforceable policies in their coastal management programs to protect fish and fish habitat, but how they are implemented varies. Some focus on types of ecosystems, some on coastal uses, and some on both,” states Helen Henderson, the Littoral Society’s Ocean Planning Manager. “What each has in common is the purpose of protecting important state coastal resources. We explored that further with a particular ocean stakeholder group, recreational anglers, and a specific state policy. We feel the angler insights shared about Prime Fishing Areas in this report, such as loss of habitat or habitat changes and use or development conflicts, are invaluable to decision-making in New Jersey and should also be at the forefront of regional ocean planning efforts.” 

Anglers consistently fish in and around these important places off the coast of New Jersey and have a wealth of information regarding the status, species, and use of these areas. Yet anglers have been historically under-consulted or consulted in an ad hoc and one-time manner for projects that will impact recreationally important species or their habitat. 

Outreach to engage recreational anglers was an important component of the American Littoral Society’s fish and fish habitat report. The organization worked with Stockton University’s Coastal Research Center to create maps from the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal showing New Jersey’s named Prime Fishing Areas identified along with additional ocean use details, such as offshore sand mining resources and wind lease areas. 

The maps were then used to conduct surveys, one-on-one interviews, and online workshops to learn more about the relationship between Prime Fishing Areas and anglers. 

The input gathered provided information about specific use conflict concerns; species information; and in-water knowledge about the impacts of past projects. The report also reviews various permit actions which identified inconsistencies in the application of the Prime Fishing Areas rule on various project decisions in New Jersey. 

“State and federal coastal managers analyzing coastal areas, potential projects and impacts would do well to increase the outreach and engagement to anglers. Decision-makers should engage anglers to better understand the ocean data portals, provide transparency and opportunities to be a part of how, whether, and when Prime Fishing Areas or similar areas should be studied and protected,” says Dillingham. 

The report not only provides angler insights but also identifies recommendations to assist decision-makers in New Jersey and beyond in closing knowledge and process gaps around state protections, like Prime Fishing Areas, that can lead to better understanding and protection of fish and fish habitat. 

“Our work finds that New Jersey and the region should focus on identifying and consistently protecting areas that exhibit the character­istics and recreational activity identified in the Prime Fishing Areas rule,” Dillingham says. “Other process improvements should be brought to the state and region including ease of project records access, improved coordinated regional planning with other Mid-Atlantic states and federal agencies, and increased stakeholder engagement.” 

“We believe that stakeholder engagement, initiated and carried out by states and federal agencies, is crucial to resource protection when planning and permitting projects,” Henderson adds. “In addition, further standards, location considerations, and review procedures in New Jersey should be strengthened and expanded upon and considered uniformly across states and in federal waters. Regionally, there would be great benefit to having maximum transparency in decision processes, open access to relevant records, and collaboration on data gaps and scientific research.”

MAFMC and ASMFC to Hold Public Hearings for Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Commercial/Recreational Allocation Amendment

The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission) are seeking public comment on the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass Commercial/Recreational Allocation Amendment. Comments may be submitted at any of five virtual public hearings to be held between February 17 and March 2, 2021 or via written comment until March 16, 2021.

Quick Links:

Amendment Overview

The Council and Commission are developing this joint amendment to consider adjusting the allocations of catch or landings between the commercial and recreational fisheries for summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass. The commercial and recreational allocations for all three species are currently based on historical proportions of landings (for summer flounder and black sea bass) or catch (for scup) from each sector. Recent changes in how recreational catch is estimated have resulted in a discrepancy between the current levels of estimated recreational harvest and the allocations of summer flounder, scup, and black sea bass to the recreational sector. Some changes have also been made to commercial catch data since the allocations were established. This amendment considers whether modifications to the allocations are needed in light of these and other changes in the fisheries. The amendment also considers options that would allow a portion of the allowable landings to be transferred between the commercial and recreational sectors each year, in either direction, based on the needs of each sector. 

We encourage you to visit the Council’s Summer Flounder, Scup, Black Sea Bass Commercial/Recreational Alloc... web page or the Commission’s Public Input web page, where you can read the Council's Public Hearing Document and the Commission's Draft Amendment and watch the public hearing presentation (to be posted by Friday, February 12, 2021). The Council’s Public Hearing Document is an abbreviated version of the amendment which summarizes proposed management options and impacts. The Commission’s Draft Amendment is a more comprehensive management document that will resemble the Commission’s final amendment once approved. Both documents contain identical options for public input, but each have been developed according to each management body’s differing requirements.

Written Comments

Written comments may be submitted through March 16, 2021 by any of the following methods:

1. ONLINE at http://www.mafmc.org/comments/sfsbsb-allocation-amendment

2. EMAIL to kdancy@mafmc.org

3. MAIL or FAX to Dr. Christopher Moore, Executive Director

Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council

800 North State Street, Suite 201

Dover, DE 19901>

FAX: 302.674.5399

Please include “Fluke/Scup/Sea Bass Allocation Amendment” in the subject line if using email or fax, or on the outside of the envelope if submitting written comments. All comments, regardless of submission method, will be compiled into a single document for review and consideration by both the Council and Commission. Please do not send separate comments to the Council and Commission.

Virtual Hearing Schedule

You are encouraged to attend any of the following five virtual public hearings and to provide oral or written comments at these hearings. While we encourage you to attend the hearing that is targeted toward your regional groupings of states or an individual state, anyone is welcome to participate in any hearing.

  1. Wednesday, February 17, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.: Massachusetts and Rhode Island
  2. Thursday, February 18, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.: New Jersey
  3. Wednesday, February 24, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.: Delaware and Maryland
  4. Monday, March 1, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.: Virginia and North Carolina
  5. Tuesday, March 2, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.: Connecticut and New York

To register for a public hearing please click here: Public Hearing Registration and select the hearing(s) you plan to attend from the dropdown menu. Hearings will be held via GoToWebinar, which can be accessed using a computer, tablet, or smartphone. When connecting to audio, we strongly encourage participants to use computer voice over internet (VoIP) so you can ask questions and provide input. To attend the webinar in listen only mode, dial 1-877-309-2074 and enter access code 128-060-916. Those joining by phone only will be limited to listening to the presentation and will not be able to provide input. For technical assistance setting up and logging into GoToWebinar, contact Savannah Lewis at 703-842-0715.

If you are connected only by phone in listen only mode, you will not show up as a webinar attendee. In the event that there are no webinar attendees, the public hearing will be cancelled unless state staff request that the hearing content is presented. 

Tips for Providing Public Comment

We value your input. To be most effective, we request that your comment include specific details as to why you support or oppose a particular alternative. Specifically, please address the following:

  • Which proposed alternative(s) do you support, and which do you oppose?
  • Why do you support or oppose the alternative(s)?
  • Is there any additional information you think should be considered?

Contacts

For additional information and updates, please visit: https://www.mafmc.org/actions/sfsbsb-allocation-amendment. If you have any questions, please contact:

  • Kiley Dancy, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, kdancy@mafmc.org, 302-526-5257
  • Dustin Colson Leaning, Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, dleaning@asmfc.org, 703-842-0714

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Ice Fishing

Learn A Winter Sport In the Comfort Of Your Home!

New Jersey Video Fishing Forecast – January 21, 2021

New Reef Numbers, Record Breaking Tautog & Holdovers

Get another look at last week’s deployment at Little Egg Reef site off Beach Haven with a video exclusive from Jim Hutchinson, Jr. who pulls out the Navionics App to screen-grab new numbers for you to plug in for the future. Boats continue to sail along the Jersey Shore down the Delmarva Peninsula for tautog, and a new line class record was reported out of Central Jersey. White perch action out back is pretty solid right now, and with the relatively mild winter thus far it’s not much of a reach to think that there are plenty of stripers holding over in the brackish rivers throughout the region (striper bycatch becoming a more regular occurrence). As of January 21, we have just 39 days until striped bass season officially reopens along New Jersey’s back bays, rivers and creeks; are you up to speed and geared up for the new circle hook regulations in place for 2021? Get details on a live seminar from The Fisherman coming up to address the issue and help you prep for the spring run.

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Harvard Health Publishing

You DON’T have to be slim or flexible to tap into the amazing far-reaching health benefits of yoga...

Say “YES” to Yoga!

An Introduction to Yoga

Inside An Introduction to Yoga, you’ll discover:

4 easy yoga practices — including one for beginners
29 yoga moves with modifications so you can work at your level
Photos and written instructions to ensure you do each move correctly
Breathing techniques and meditation exercises that reduce stress
Special Bonus Section — shows you how to find a great yoga class and instructor
And so much more!
Read More

Dear Reader,

Yoga is for the the fit and flexible, right? Wrong! You don’t have to stand on your head or twist yourself into knots to reap the rewards of this ancient practice. In fact, even physical limitations shouldn’t stop you from trying yoga and taking advantage of its far-reaching health benefits.

From improved strength, balance, and mobility, to lower stress, better sleep, and sharper memory, it’s no surprise that 25% of office-based physicians are prescribing yoga to their patients. That’s welcome news, because recent studies show this mind-body practice can ease arthritis pain, lower high blood pressure, boost immunity, and reduce the risk of heart disease.

No pill has the power to improve so many areas of your life at once like yoga.

So why not join in the fun?

Yoga classes are springing up everywhere! In gyms, hospitals, churches, parks, retirement homes, and your local library. And there are so many classes you can take online in the safety of your home. Chances are, you’ve likely had someone in your life invite you to join them for a yoga session.

So to help you prepare and start the right way, Harvard Medical School doctors put together this special report. An Introduction to Yoga. gives you everything you need to get started — safely!

  • Discover the 4 critical components you need to unlock yoga’s full-body healing powers. Each of these components target a different area. When you combine these components, you unleash the full potential of yoga.

  • Simple, pain-free yoga postures to increase strength, flexibility, and coordination. From chair yoga to standing postures that improve balance and muscular strength. You get detailed descriptions, pictures, and modifications of each posture. Plus ‘yoga flows’ to complete a full routine.

  • Breathing, relaxation, and meditation techniques. You don’t have to get physical to enjoy yoga. Discover mind-fortifying breathing techniques, deep relaxation methods, and meditations that have a profound effect on your mind and body.

  • How to choose which type of yoga is right for you. This guide provides you a complete, basic program to get started. But you also get everything you need to pick a more advanced style if you wish to continue your practice.

  • Safety first! If you have arthritis, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, or glaucoma, our team of medical experts provide guidance and practical tips to stay safe while you practice.

  • Plus! A SPECIAL BONUS SECTION includes advice on how to find a great yoga class and instructor. So say “YES” next time someone invites you to a yoga session. It’s a fun way to meet people!

Why not give yoga a try and see how it can help your health? There's no risk. If you don't love this book you can return it for a full refund — no questions asked!

To your good health,

Howard E LeWine, M.D.
Chief Medical Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

P.S. Click here now for a FREE yoga move and a FREE breathing technique! There's no obligation.

The Winding Glass: Seafood, Consumers, Climate Change, the MSC and the Government in 2021

By John Sackton
Founder, SeafoodNews
January 14, 2021

[The Winding Glass is the opinion and commentary column by John Sackton, Founder of SeafoodNews]

Last month CFOOD, the website established by University of Washington scientists to explain the science of sustainable seafood, published an excellent summary of the problems facing the Maine lobster fishery due to right whale interactions.

There are six lobster fisheries interacting with right whales certified by the MSC in the U.S. and Canada but only the Maine fishery was suspended by the MSC. The Maine fishery lost its MSC certification due to a lawsuit against NMFS charging failure to implement stronger measures to reduce right whale mortality.

As Jack Cheney wrote the Maine fishery has the longest track record of sustainability of any of the North Atlantic Lobster Fisheries and is also one of the most decentralized, with the largest number of small license holders and a ban on selling licenses. Yet Maine frozen lobster will now be at a disadvantage at retail compared to Canadian lobster due to the suspension by MSC.

This illustrates a bigger problem. One of the silver linings of last year has been a huge increase in retail seafood.  Recent data and anecdotes from suppliers suggest that a very large part of this increase has been driven by new households buying seafood. This was the message at the NFI Global Seafood Market Webinar on shrimp yesterday (a highly recommended series of webinars that will continue all year), as panelists indicated new retail seafood consumers were responsible for a major part of overall retail seafood growth.

One of the changes from the pandemic likely to last into the future is that retail seafood has increased its share of overall seafood purchases.

At the same time, retailers are strongly committed to seafood sustainability. All retailers have sustainability standards, which although flexible, primarily revolve around MSC certification.

The new seafood consumers may not be even aware of seafood sustainability issues yet.  Nevertheless retailers will remain committed to their standards even if it causes them difficulties in the supply chain.

The current structure of the MSC standard could hurt the industry under a democratic administration in the US.  We need to pay attention.

Cheney outlines some of the issues in his article. The MSC standard on endangered and threatened species is highly dependent on the laws of the particular country, so in the U.S., a lawsuit by the Center for Biological diversity can trigger a suspension, while in Canada, the lack of such a visible lawsuit leaves the fisheries with the same interactions with right whales not suspended.

With a democratic administration in Washington, expectations are for a more robust regulatory regime.  Under the prior administration’s hostility to virtually all environmental regulation, fishing industry appeals to overturn rules often met with success.  For example, the prohibition on fishing in the marine canyon protected areas off new England was overturned, even though this is largely a symbolic rather than an economic issue.  Last month, a drift net ban on the Southern California sword fishing fleet was vetoed by President Trump.

This kind of industry pushback will likely fall on deaf ears for the next few years.

At the same time, the new administration will be swiftly ramping up climate protections and responses to global warming.  Depending on how they are crafted, they could help or hurt the seafood industry.

One of the key issues is siting of wind farms.  Other fights over spatial use in the oceans are likely to escalate as well.  For example, if lobster trap fisheries are forced to go to ropeless trap technology, will lobster fishing areas have to be closed to bottom trawling?  How will draggers avoid going through lobster trawls on the bottom if they are not marked with buoys?

In Alaska we are seeing spatial and seasonal usage issues play out differently as salmon and halibut by-catch caps force changes in harvesting practices including timing and fishing areas.

I predict that the Obama era plans to create regional seafood spatial use committees will likely be revived in some form.  The original idea was widely panned because it did not include the regional fishery management councils.   A new plan over spatial ocean usage will have to have the industry at its center.

With this change in adminstrations, there is also an opportunity for mitigation.  Most democratic climate and regulatory proposals over coal and oil include assistance to the miners and oil workers.  Not all of it is welcome, as some involves transitioning to a different job. But the principle of compensation is there.

The seafood industry can make a good case that changes in spatial use of oceans and changes in fishing regulations due to global warming, as will happen with right whale protection, deserve to be compensated under the climate and infrastructure plans the democrats will put forward.

A change in strategy may be warranted to search out more opportunities where a restructured industry could thrive if it gets the financial bridge that it needs. Only the seafood industry can determine what combination of incentives and financial help will work. If we don’t pay attention to that, it won’t happen.

The one area we need to be very careful of is the push to make 30% of U.S. coastal waters marine protected areas. This goal has been signed on to by former Senator John Kerry, who now will take over a climate role in the administration.

This is a solution in search of a problem. The push for MPAs started at a time when there was not robust data about the success of fishery management, so the goal was to take large areas of the ocean out of the management system.  Since then the US fishery management system has proved it is very capable of habitat protection, and that stocks are rebuilding faster than expected. A large number of fisheries scientists have recently written to Congress over such a provision in the Ocean Based Climate Solution Act over exactly this ssue. 

What an MPA does is set part of the ocean as off limits to fishing activities. But this is not flexible. And as climate changes, fisheries move and change as well. So the net impact of an MPA can be to worsen or increase fishing pressure in non-MPA areas, or to destabilize otherwise healthy fisheries that could move with changing conditions.

Where does the MSC come into this.  The current rise in suspensions of many fisheries happens when these fisheries run into inflexible regulations, or changes in spatial area, or in new interactions with endangered or threatened species. The lawsuits in the U.S., which are the preferred method of adjudicating these disputes, leave the MSC open to pressure to suspend fisheries whenever they are challenged in a way that show a possible change in score in the MSC principles.

This leads to instability, as there is no comprehensive overview of the long term ecosystem, simply a series of smaller certification units that can easily find themselves singled out, as happened with Maine lobster.

With retailers doubling down on their reliance on certification, MSC instability due to regulatory changes in the U.S. is likely to be a permanent condition. Most retailers will have some of their species moving in and out of MSC suspensions.  They can deal with this if they can point to a mitigation plan that is being put into effect. Most will continue to carry products under these circumstances.

So we are definitely in for a change, in my view for the better. But we will have to adjust our strategies in terms of how we address a more intensive regulatory regime and new rules coming out of climate change mitigation. One strategy is to take advantage of infrastructure and climate money so that we get the support we need to mitigate these changes that are economically painful for harvesters. Such mitigation plans will also help preserve retail sales channels even when MSC suspensions occur.

The quicker we can adjust the more successful we are likely to be.

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Governor Mills Announces Action to Advance Offshore Wind in Gulf of Maine

 

January 26, 2021

On Monday Maine’s Governor Janet Mills proposed a series of actions to advance the nation’s first floating offshore wind research array in federal waters. 

Offshore Wind has been a topic of concern for Maine’s fishing industry, something that Gov. Mills acknowledged in a letter addressed to Maine’s fishermen and fishing organizations. But with that said, Gov. Mills said that she feels strongly that Maine must be committed to the development of clean energy and to fight against climate change. “I wanted you to hear from me directly,” she wrote regarding the proposal. 

Gov. Mills states in the letter that her focus is on the research array proposed for federal waters, not commercial-scale offshore wind projects in state waters. “To ensure state waters are appropriately considered in any future energy development, I will submit legislation to create a 10-year moratorium on any new state waters wind energy development,” she added. “I will also direct state agencies to review their authority to use of state waters for leasing and permitting of energy projects.”

These actions put forward are designed to protect fishing and recreational opportunities that are within the three miles of coastal waters managed by the state. It also allows for the fishing industry to give substantive input as the state continues to pursue the nation’s first floating offshore wind research array. And while fishermen are worried about a loss of catches and jobs, Maine Lobstermen’s Association executive director Patrice McCarron can at least agree with the need for the Governor’s Energy Office to work closely with the state’s commercial fishing industry.

“Prior to any plan for siting offshore wind development or lease solicitation in the Gulf of Maine, it is imperative that the state take action to ensure clear and transparent communications, a robust stakeholder process and a commitment to address the lack of data on what these projects will mean for marine ecosystems and the many fishing communities along our coast,” McCarron wrote in response to Gov. Mills’ announcement.

While no decision has been made on a site, the research array is proposed for an area 20-40 miles in the Gulf of Maine. The ideal location would allow the array to connect to the energy grid in southern Maine. Locations being considered include Wyman Station in Yarmouth or Maine Yankee in Wiscasset.

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Major U.S. Offshore Wind Project Asks Biden Administration to Restart Permitting

Copyright © 2021 Thomson Reuters
January 26, 2021

Vineyard Wind, the developer of the first major U.S. offshore wind farm, said on Monday it has asked the Biden administration to restart its permitting process after former President Donald Trump's government abruptly canceled it last month.

The company said in a statement it had notified the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management that the project would not need to change its construction plan as a result of switching to a new turbine supplier, General Electric Co.

Last month, Vineyard Wind had requested a pause in the federal permitting process while it determined whether changes to its design were necessary, prompting the BOEM to terminate its entire review.

U.S. President Joe Biden has pledged to boost development of renewable energy as part of a sweeping plan to fight climate change and create jobs. Trump had also promised to support the nascent U.S. industry as part of his energy dominance agenda, but the permitting of Vineyard Wind was delayed repeatedly in part due to concerns its turbines would interfere with commercial fishing.

A BOEM official would not comment on Vineyard Wind's request.

Vineyard Wind is a joint venture between power company Avangrid Inc, a unit of Spain's Iberdrola, and Denmark's Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners. The project is located 15 miles (24.1 km) off the coast of Martha's Vineyard. Once constructed, it is expected to provide power to more than 400,000 Massachusetts homes.

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Researchers Collaborate to Study Impact of Ocean Acidification on Northeast Fisheries

 

Copyright © 2021 University of Connecticut
By Anna Zarra Aldrich

January 26, 2021

A multidisciplinary, multi-institution effort is bringing together computer modeling, biological, and social science research to inform management policies for Northeast scallop fisheries facing the threat of ocean acidification.

The $1,034,822 project sponsored by the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration’s Ocean Acidification Program includes researchers from the University of Connecticut, NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC), Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation (CFRF), and Rutgers University.

Scallops are an economically and culturally significant resource for coastal communities in New England. Worth more than $500 million per year, scallops are the second most valuable fishery in the Northeast. Unfortunately, scallops are particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification.

Ocean acidification is the process by which the ocean gradually increases in acidity as it absorbs excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a direct result of humans burning fossil fuels. Acidification reduces the amount of available calcium carbonate in the water. Many ocean-dwelling organisms, including scallops, need calcium carbonate to build their shells. The energy an organism has for growth and other physiological processes can also be affected by ocean acidification.

Scientists currently lack a clear understanding of exactly how and what levels of ocean acidification will impact scallops.

Shannon Meseck, a research scientist at the NEFSC based in Milford, will focus on understanding the physiological effects of various levels of ocean acidification on scallops.

As Meseck and her team at NOAA Fisheries collect biological data, it will be combined with climate models and the social sciences to create a more comprehensive picture.

“I’m excited about this collaboration, which will bring together our new biological datasets collected from experiments with larval and juvenile sea scallops and new regional ocean acidification projection models,” Meseck says. “Incorporating new data specific to the effects of ocean acidification on sea scallops will help the industry anticipate those effects and respond.

“The more we can understand the effects of ocean acidification on each life stage, the better,” Meseck says.

Samantha Siedlecki, assistant professor of marine sciences at UConn, will use computer models to investigate how changing ocean conditions could impact Northeast scallop fisheries in the near future. The model incorporates information about carbon emissions, freshwater sources, and temperature patterns.

Due to temperature patterns in the Northeast, this area has not been acidifying as rapidly as other parts of the ocean. However, given current emission trends, the problem of ocean acidification is still an imminent threat.

“Ocean acidification is a huge issue globally,” Siedlecki says. “But in this area, it hasn’t been as prominent an issue historically, and people have become mollified because of it.”

The models will help the researchers, and by extension, fishers, understand how ocean acidification may impact factors such as scallops’ growth rates. If scallops cannot develop normally, it may take them longer to reach a harvestable size.

Currently, certain areas along the Northeast coast are closed for the protection of scallops as they grow to maturity. These models can help fisheries managers determine where these areas may move to match where the young scallops have a healthier environment.

Siedlecki’s models will consider various levels of global carbon emissions, outlining the pathways ocean acidification could take under different measures implemented to curb global warming.

“Presenting future ocean conditions as a choice and an option we face as a society is important for engaging with coastal communities and the impact of our work,” Siedlecki says.

The researchers will work directly with local fishing communities through their collaboration with the CFRF to develop tools that can be used to directly manage these vital resources.

“This project will improve the fishing community’s understanding of the impacts and implications of ocean acidification, and allow us to chart a path forward together,” says David Bethoney, executive director of the Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation.

This project is an industry-science-community collaboration in almost all aspects of the research. The Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation has created several research fleets in partnership with commercial fishermen to collect oceanographic and biological data. Oceanographic data collected from the (CFRF)/WHOI Shelf Oceanographic Research Fleet and CFRF Lobster and Jonah Crab Research Fleets will be used to evaluate the model simulations.

Lisa Colburn, an anthropologist from the NEFSC, will lead the effort to incorporate the concerns of coastal communities into the work. Her research includes understanding the historical social dynamics of the industry and the way it has adapted to changes in the environment and management.

“We will be holding workshops with the fishing industry, and we plan to have detailed discussions,” Colburn says. “We’ll take our approach and results to them and listen to their feedback to incorporate the industry perspective. We want to know how we can make our recommendations as meaningful as possible.

“The questions we hope to answer are: What do scallop fishermen and fishing communities need to know in order to adapt to, and be resilient to, changing ocean conditions? And how can this inform fisheries management?”

The three-year project is already underway. The team will begin their workshops this spring in order to bring community members into the fold as soon as possible.

“It’s a two-way process,” Siedlecki says. “We’re not engaging coastal communities solely to teach them things. We’re also looking to learn from them.

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