Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Fishy news far and wide -- maggots make great feed in aquaculture

Chris did not have time to bait the second hook last night when this 15 pound bass hit bunker.
Chris did not have time to bait the second hook last night when this 15 pound bass hit bunker.

got it fishing the jetty down at margate. Threw it back along with a couple short fluke this morning
got it fishing the jetty down at margate. Threw it back along with a couple short fluke this morning
holy moly----fishing is outstanding today and we're not even done yet!
John Parzych likes a photo.

    Thinking it was a ray dad passed the rod to Daniel. His bass weighed 24-6 and was caught on bunker this am in Spray Beach.
    Thinking it was a ray dad passed the rod to Daniel. His bass weighed 24-6 and was caught on bunker this am in Spray Beach.

    [Associated Press] - June 14, 2013 - 

    CAMDEN, N.J., A southern New Jersey fishing boat owner has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison for his role in a botched scheme to sink the boat for insurance money.

    Scott Tran of Cherry Hill was also ordered Wednesday to pay $280,000 in restitution.

    The 40-year-old Tran was among four people who pleaded guilty to charges in the unsuccessful sinking of the Alexander II about 80 miles southeast of Cape May in 2009. Tran pleaded guilty to conspiracy to destroy a vessel on the high seas.

    Federal prosecutors say Tran and another man paid a captain and crew to sink the boat so Tran could collect $400,000 in insurance. The Coast Guard rescued the boat and crew.

    Tran's claim was denied, and he sued in court seeking damages.

    [UPI] - June 13, 2013 - 

    NARRAGANSETT, R.I., June 12 (UPI) -- Yellowfin tuna swim in a tank University of Rhode Island's Bay Campus in the first U.S. effort to breed tuna in a land-based aqua farm, the university said.

    "Worldwide demand for tuna increases yearly, even as tuna stocks are dwindling precipitously," Terry Bradley, a URI professor of fisheries and aquaculture, said in a release Wednesday. "What we're trying to do is produce fish in captivity and take the pressure off the wild stocks."

    Bradley and Peter Mottur, director of Rhode Island-based Greenfins, are working to develop techniques to raise tuna from egg to harvest-size while creating a new sustainable industry in Rhode Island.

    Bradley and Mottur's efforts to get a few wild-caught tuna to spawn in the URI tank have been challenging, the university said. Because tuna are long-distance migrants that swim at great speeds, acclimating them to a 20,000-gallon, 20-foot-diameter tank has been difficult. Once fish spawn and eggs hatch, the microscopic larvae must be fed live food raised on site then weaned from live food to a dry, formulated feed.

    "It's a sustainable project that we hope will create green technology jobs here in Rhode Island to leverage the great intellectual capital we have in the state," Mottur said. "We've already developed a partnership between URI and my company, and we hope to take it from the research phase to the commercialization phase once we demonstrate tuna breeding and larval rearing success."

    [The Coaster]  by CLAYTON HUNT  June 11, 2013

    Of the millions of cod caught in Newfoundland and Labrador waters in the past 500 years, few have stood out in any special way from all the rest.
    However, that may have changed on August 31, 2012 when Gerry King from Badger’s Quay caught a cod – cod 017 – on Ireland Shoal, which is about 20 nautical miles from his community.
    While there was nothing special about cod 017 as cod go, other than its large size, there was a “pop-up satellite tag” on its back that will make it one of the most famous cod ever caught in Newfoundland waters.
    The tag was placed on cod 017 on May 30, 2012 by researchers aboard the ‘Celtic Explorer’ as part of a new research project that is enabling scientists Dr. George Rose and Dr. Sherrylynn Rowe to obtain a clearer picture of cod migration patterns, where they are spawning, where they’re feeding and their vertical migration patterns in a water column.

    Photo:  For the past two years, Scientists from the Marine Institute's Center for Fisehreis Ecosystems Researh )CFER) have chartered the Celtic Explorer for cod studies.  Here  Dr. Sherrylynn Rowe is helping her colleagues, onboard the “Celtic Explorer” release this tagged cod back into the water. Photo  courtesy of  Dr.  Sherrylynn  Rowe
    Dr. Rose and Dr. Rowe are part of the Centre for Fisheries Ecosystems Research (CFER) of the Marine Institute (MI) of Memorial University. Dr. Rose is the Director of the MI research centre.
    Cod 017 was one of several cod tagged in 2012 in the offshore Bonavista Corridor as part of the MI’s study to discover more information about cod movements in Newfoundland waters.
    Dr. Rose said that researchers have never had access to the type of information about the species that cod 017, and others who were tagged in 2012, are now providing to the MI program.
    While tags were only used on larger marine species such as whales and sharks before, advances in technology have developed tags that are small and powerful enough to use on cod.
    The CFER research is the first of its kind with cod worldwide.

    The satellite tags placed on the cod were programmed to stay on the fish for up to one year, then release themselves, pop to the surface, and automatically transfer their stored data to ARGOS satelites and then back to the CFER lab.
    While a few of the tagged cod have been caught by fishermen, many of the tags used in 2012 are now starting to come to the surface where the stored information can be gathered and analyzed by researchers at the CFER. One of the tags used in 2012 popped to the surface on May 30 and is now transmitting a full year of data via satellite.
    Dr. Rose said, “The information we are obtaining from cod 017 is telling us about a cod’s migration and where and when they are spawning and feeding. For example, we know that cod-017 travelled long distances from the offshore to inshore and was up to 150 meters off the bottom at times.
    “Cod 017 migrated almost 200 miles inshore and from the information we’ve gathered we’re getting the extent and timing of the migration which is really critical to fisheries surveys and management because  surveys are run under the assumption that all the fish are in the survey area at a certain time of the year.”
    “We now suspect that this may not always be the case at all as things are changing with the changes in ocean climate.

    The tags were also placed on cod on the Flemish Cap in 2012 and, according to Dr. Rose, the researchers now have information on where the ‘mother’ fish in this area go around the year, where they spawn, what temperatures  they’re  keeping  and  how that’s affecting their growth and where they are feeding.”
    The remaining fish tagged in 2012 are expected to report in by satellite in the spring of this year.
    Given the success of cod 017, the data they will provide are almost certain to further unlock some of the secrets of cod movements that have come to light with the amazing journey of cod 017.
    All of this tagged information will keep scientists at the CFER busy over the coming years as they start to gather information from the 2012-tagging program. The program also continued this year that saw more cod tagged than in 2012.
    Dr. Rose said, “We tagged almost twice as many fish in 2013 as we did in 2012 so this project is going to provide us with some invaluable information on cod in the coming years.”

    Both Dr. Rose and Dr. Rowe are particularly interested in getting tags and fish back that are caught by fishermen this year. Having the tags in hand enables them to access the full two-minute time series of the conditions the fish experienced.
    There is a $500 reward for tags returned in good order with the fish ( frozen would be best). The fish and tag will be picked up anywhere on the island by the CFER staff.

    [New Haven Register] by Mark Zaretsky - June 11, 2013

    It was a romantic idea and a grand experiment -- a vision of thousands of powerful, instinct-driven silver-blue Atlantic salmon once again fighting their way up the Connecticut River and other New England waters to spawn.

    Since 1967, Connecticut, working with the federal government, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire, fought to restore the once-native Atlantic salmon population. The goal was for them to return and spawn as they did for thousands of years before pollution and dams caused the salmon to disappear from the river.

    But after more than 40 years of stocking millions upon millions of baby salmon hatchlings, or "fry," in rivers throughout Connecticut and the other states -- and after floods during Hurricane Irene wrecked the federal hatchery in Vermont -- the U.S. government and Connecticut's three salmon restoration partners have called it quits.

    The grand experiment appears to have failed -- at least for now, officials say.

    Connecticut alone will continue, but with a significantly scaled-back "legacy" program, said Steve Gep­hard, supervisor of the Diadromous Fish and Habitat and Conservation Enhancement program for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's Inland Fisheries Division.

    The legacy program will keep some salmon in a less ambitious set of state rivers, but not in great enough numbers to restore stocks, he said.

    "It's a sad realization because ... we've put a lot of hard work into it and I've developed a real love for the species and the vision of wild Atlantic salmon is a great one," Gephard said.

    "I think people would have loved it," said Gephard, who began working on salmon restoration as a seasonal employee of what was then the Department of Environmental Protection in 1978. He has been doing it full time since 1980.

    But changing times -- including insurmountable difficulties that many officials believe have been brought on by climate change -- and tight budgets, combined with consistently dropping numbers of returning salmon since 1986, got in the way.

    The numbers are pretty dramatic.

    In recent years, Connecticut released 1.4 million fry -- each about 11/2 inches long -- a year into state rivers, but often would get only a few hundred, or sometimes just a few dozen, back four years later.

    The salmon grow for two years in the river they were born in into 6-inch to 9-inch "smolts" that then swim out to the ocean, where they migrate to the Davis Straits off Greenland for a couple of years to feed. When they come back, they weigh about 10 pounds and are about 30 inches long, Gephard said.

    "Every river has its own unique chemical identity ... the fish can distinguish between the Farmington River, the Salmon River or the Penobscot River up in Maine," said Gephard.

    But that doesn't guarantee good results.

    "We're at 47 (returning salmon) right now for this year" for all of the Connecticut River watershed, said Ken Sprankle, Connecticut River coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Sunderland, Mass.

    "I would say that certainly within the Fish and Wildlife Service, for a few years now ... maybe 10 years back" officials were unsure "based on the measures that we've seen, that it was going to work," Sprankle said.

    Sprankle and Gephard, as well as Bill Hyatt, chief of the DEEP Bureau of Natural Resources, which includes Gep­hard's Inland Fisheries Division, said the salmon appear to have done well during the first two years growing in fresh water.

    "But something is happening in the North Atlantic," said Hyatt.

    "We felt that we were doing a really good job" hatching the fish, "and the fish would survive" long enough to head out to sea, said Sprankle.

    "But we can't control" what happens after they hit saltwater, he said.

    "The numbers just continue to be very poor -- and more so for the creatures that we are on the very southerly reach of their range," Sprankle said.

    "The streams seem to be doing very well. ... It's what happens in the ocean that's biting us," said Gephard. "Numbers have been going down since 1986" and "this has corresponded with the same trend elsewhere -- New England trends and the Canadian trends have been going down, but it's also true in Europe."

    He pointed out that salmon "never were found further south than Connecticut. They weren't in the Hudson, they weren't in the Susquehanna. Connecticut is really on the southern range of the salmon," Gephard said.

    For Atlantic salmon, Maine "is the only place in the United States where they've persisted," Sprankle said. Atlantic salmon have been listed as an endangered species there since 2000, he said.

    For the past 10 years or so of actively culturing fish, the program cost the Fish and Wildlife Service $1.5 million to $2 million a year, he said.

    "The question was whether or not the marine environment was going to improve," Sprankle said.

    The prevailing opinion is that it won't anytime soon.

    "We do feel that there are lots of indicators to suggest that we are talking about large-scale climate change" that has shifted what used to be the southern reaches of the Atlantic salmon's historic range to become unsuitable habitat, Sprankle said.

    "What we're talking about seeing now is a persistent, ongoing" change in what types of critters are found in New England, both in its waters and beyond, he said.

    Among the other evidence supporting climate change are "huge die-offs of Atlantic puffin" and a recent Long Island Sound trawl survey that indicates that croaker, a type of fish "that never used to occur in Long Island Sound," is now one of the most common fish out there, Sprankle said.

    Meanwhile, "what we're seeing is the loss or, really, the distinctive decline, of winter flounder, lobster, Atlantic cod" and other species, he said.

    "The marine survival is an insurmountable obstacle right now," Sprankle said, although "certainly, the catastrophic loss of the White River hatchery" during Irene "was a big factor" in the federal decision to end its participation in the salmon-restoration program.

    That destruction of the White River National Fish Hatchery in Bethel, Vt. -- which would cost an estimated $14 million to rebuild -- forced the issue.

    In July 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it would no longer be producing salmon for the restoration program, which "started a series of dominos tipping over," said Gephard.

    Soon, New Hampshire followed suit. Then Massachusetts decided to pull out -- and Vermont was getting its eggs from Massachusetts, so Vermont pulled out, he said.

    The good news is that there will continue to be some Atlantic salmon in Connecticut rivers such as the Salmon River in East Haddam and the Farmington River in Windsor.

    "We recognized that we could no longer operate a true restoration program," so DEEP has "transformed the restoration program to a legacy program ... to keep the species present in the watershed at low levels, so people can see the salmon in the river, so they can keep performing a biological function."

    Connecticut also for years has operated the popular "Salmon in the Schools" program with the Connecticut River Salmon Association, in which students learn about salmon and its history in the state and hatch their own salmon eggs, and that also will be able to continue, Gephard said.

    The legacy program will be supported by DEEP's own Kensington Fish Hatchery in Berlin and "we will be stocking much smaller numbers in selected tributaries," Gep­hard said. "The real salmon habitat has been in tributaries, not the Connecticut River."

    Begin next fall, instead of releasing 1.4 million salmon fry, DEEP will release 200,000 fry, he said. Until now, "we've been stocking the main stem Farmington River (in Windsor) and maybe 20 of its tributaries and the Salmon River (in East Haddam) and maybe 13 of its tributaries."

    Under the legacy program, it will be more like a half-dozen total tributaries, Gephard said.

    Changing the salmon program also will free up one full-time person and one spring seasonal employee to do other work on species, such as shad and brown trout, with which DEEP has been having greater success, he said.

    Gephard's boss, Hyatt, who is chairman of the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Commission, said the soon-to-be absence of salmon in other New England waters is likely to bring additional fishermen to Connecticut rivers.

    "Quite honestly, this is a 180-degree flipflop from the way the salmon program used to be," Hyatt said. "Up until a year ago, the sport fishing" in waters such as the Shetucket and Naugatuck rivers "was just a (fringe benefit) of the restoration program."

    Now, "the sport fishery is the principal reason for growing the salmon and the restoration" will become ancillary, he said.

    He estimated that the cost to run the salmon program next year, with more than half the hatchery now dedicated to trout production, will be about $200,000, less than half of the previous $450,000 annual cost for a full restoration program.

    Hyatt pointed out that the cost is "supported heavily" by the purchase of fishing licenses and federal excise taxes on fishing tackle.


     Laine Welch: Insects could be the new rage in fish feeds.

    The most costly part of the farmed fish business is feed – it represents 60 to 70 percent of production costs. And the bulk of the feed – which totaled 870 million tons valued at $350 billion in 2011 -- is made from ground up wild fish, such as anchovies, herring or menhaden. Roughly 10 per cent of global fish catches go to fishmeal, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. It takes up to four pounds of wild fish meal to grow one pound of farmed salmon, and the farmed fish industry is facing increasing criticism to find other food sources. To the rescue --- insects!

    Tests are showing that all kinds of insects can be an attractive option in the global search for alternative and sustainable proteins. The FAO’s Animal Feed Resources Information System, or Feedipedia, says that the high crude fat content in black soldier flies provide ‘high value feedstuff’ for both fish and livestock. Silkworms, maggots, mealworms, termites all provide meal nutrients of varying types and degrees. Topping the list for best insect based fish feed is grasshoppers or locusts of any kind.

    In feeding trials, the fish fed up to 50 percent of the grasshopper feed showed better growth and development than those eating the traditional fish based meal. The fish farming industry is continuously reducing its dependence on fish based feeds, says Josh Goldman of Australis Aquaculture, the world’s largest producer of barramundi, a sea bass. Growers need to support the abundance of wild fisheries in terms of their use as feed ingredients, he says, and for customer appeal.

    "Anyone who is going to do well in business is going to listen to their consumers very carefully." 

    Find the Insects as Animal Feed report at www.thefishsite.com and at www.alaskafishradio.com.




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