Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report


Friday, April 27, 2012: A real chill tonight -- and mainland frost. Just as cool tomorrow night. Weird. 

Winds should back off a bit tomorrow.

Tog fishing is about to end (Monday). The winds have played havoc with the boat anglers going after better blackies, however, I got a coupe, reports about keepable tog being taken off the South Jetty (BL) so I made a stop-by. Wished I hadn’t. Some folks are at it again, including some quickly walking doubtful fish back to vehicles. I refuse to be anything resembling an enforcer. This is not to say there is blatant abuse but I got an earful from a fellow I know that keeps a far closer eye on such things than I do. On the up side, some sweet tog have been taken off the rocks.


I keep thinking the ocean will start thinking better bass – and the ebaches just to our north have seen such things. I’d definitely give plugging or jig throwing a try this weekend. I purposely call it jig throwing because it really isn’t quite the same when you throw a jig from bank or beach and jump it back in. In-boat jigging is a whole different animal – and actually a lot less strenuous.


I went up to Chatsworth today to do some railroad related treasure hunting – the rails used by the famed Blue Comet. Right after I took then turn off from Rte 72 toward town, I saw a whole pile of bluefish carcasses on the side of the road. Not to worry. They had been fully – and fairly impressively – filleted. No waste whatsoever. Why they made it that far from the shore is worth a guess: The carcasses were garden bound but must have gotten a tad ripe or the garden buff rethought the fertilizer concept.






The number of cases in the salmonella outbreak linked to raw scraped ground tuna, often used for sushi, is now at 200 according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report Wednesday.

The outbreak, which has been seen in 21 states and the District of Columbia, has hospitalized 28 people to date.

While the vast majority of cases were due to the strain, Salmonella bareilly, the federal health agency reports that 5% of patients were infected with a different strain, Salmonella serotype Nchanga.

According to the CDC:

A total of 200 persons infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Bareilly or Salmonella Nchanga have been reported from 21 states and the District of Columbia.

190 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bareilly have been reported from 21 states and the District of Columbia. The number of ill persons with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bareilly identified in each state is as follows: Alabama (2), Arkansas (1), Connecticut (8), District of Columbia (2), Florida (1), Georgia (9), Illinois (15), Louisiana (3), Maryland (20), Massachusetts (24), Mississippi (2), Missouri (4), New Jersey (18), New York (33), North Carolina (3), Pennsylvania (7), Rhode Island (6), South Carolina (3), Texas (4), Virginia (9), Vermont (1), and Wisconsin (15).

10 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Nchanga have been reported from 5 states. The number of ill persons with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Nchanga identified in each state is as follows: Georgia (2), New Jersey (1), New York (5), Virginia (1), and Wisconsin (1).

No deaths have been reported from this outbreak.

The outbreak has been linked to frozen raw yellowfin tuna product from Moon Marine USA Corporation. The tuna product was recalled two weeks ago.

[Seattle Times] By Jeff Barnard - April 27, 2012 - 

GRANTS PASS, Ore., Oregon officials were successful in getting permission to kill sea lions that feed on protected salmon trying to swim upriver to spawn. Now they want federal approval to shoot a type of seabird that eats millions of baby salmon trying to reach the ocean.

In an April 5 letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Wildlife Chief Ron Anglin said harassment has "proved insufficient" in controlling double-crested cormorants.

He said officials want the option of killing some of the birds to protect endangered wild fish as well as hatchery fish vital to sports and commercial fishing.

Oregon needs federal approval to start shooting dozens of the long-necked, dark gray seabirds on coastal rivers because they are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

The letter obtained by The Associated Press was a formal request to add Oregon to the 28 states authorized to kill cormorants to protect public resources, such as game fish. The Fish and Wildlife Service is updating the authorization, which expires in 2014.

Anglin said sportsmen's groups have been pressing the agency for years to do something about the growing numbers of cormorants, and research on the millions of salmon being eaten by the big nesting colony at the mouth of the Columbia River brought the issue to a head.

"Whether it's logging, gravel removal or the fact we've had estuaries constrained through dikes and road systems and everything else, they are not naturally functioning systems anymore," he said in an interview. "Under that kind of system, it doesn't take much of a stressor that could have a significant impact."

Once considered a nuisance bird, cormorants were added to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1972, the same year the pesticide DDT was banned.

Like eagles and other predatory birds, cormorant numbers started to climb. Current estimates are that about 70,000 cormorants live in the West between southern British Columbia, the Mexico border and the Continental Divide, said Dan Roby, a professor of wildlife ecology at Oregon State University who is studying the birds.

The largest nesting colony in the West is now on East Sand Island, at the mouth of the Columbia, where more than 27,000 birds are blamed for eating 22.6 million young salmon last year, 15 percent of the smolts — hatchery and wild — heading to the ocean, Roby said.

The Army Corps of Engineers is just starting work on a plan to deal with the birds.

Oregon has already shot 16 cormorants on the coast under a federal scientific permit to see how many young salmon they are eating, and is preparing an application to shoot enough cormorants on the Rogue, Umpqua and Tillamook estuaries to reduce nesting colonies there by 10 percent, said Rick Swart, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The department also pays for volunteers to harass cormorants with speedboats and firecrackers on the Tillamook, Nahalem, Hebo, Alsea and Coquille estuaries.

"This is not a population-control strategy," said department predatory bird coordinator Lindsay Adrean. "The idea is to get them to stop using those areas altogether."

Lethal control of one species to help another is not new. Oregon kills sea lions protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act that prey on adult salmon at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. Federal hunters put out poison eggs to kill crows and foxes that eat Western snowy plovers, a threatened shore bird. In the Midwest and east, cormorants are killed to protect fish such as yellow perch. And the federal government is planning to kill barred owls that have been pushing out northern spotted owls in the Northwest.

Stan Steele, a retired fish and game trooper now with the Alsea Sportsmen's Association, said predator management has become a necessary part of restoring salmon.

"It's not that any of us is against birds," he said. "But we have to have balanced management."

Bob Sallinger, conservation director for Portland Audubon, faulted the department for going ahead with a strategy of killing cormorants on the coast before they had scientific data showing it would do any good.

"We are scapegoating the species for fish declines being caused by other things," he said. "We don't have a holistic plan for how we are really going to deal with cormorants, if in fact we do need to deal with them."




[Gloucester Times] By Richard Gaines - April 26, 2012 - 

The New England Fishery Management Council Wednesday grappled with pending implementation of a NOAA decision to give Atlantic sturgeon the extreme protection of the Endangered Species Act all along the Atlantic coast.

Although there is not even a rough outline of the protective action, the development is destined to come at a heavy price paid by commercial fishermen, especially gillnetters, whose gear can snare the ancient giant that swims along the inshore waters and breeds in rivers.

Ron Smolowitz of the Fishery Survival Fund predicted an impact on commercial fishing that rivals the listing the "spotted owl" had on logging in the Pacific Northwest, making "protected habitat" of millions of acres.

NOAA estimates the survival rate of sturgeon hauled up in fishermen's bycatch — collateral fish pulled up when fishermen are targeting other species — is remarkably high, at roughly 80 percent from gillnets, 95 percent for sturgeon hauled up in trawl nets.

"I've probably caught two sturgeon in 35 years," said Richard Burgess, who owns and operates multiple gillnet boats based in Gloucester. "This year alone, our 36 boats (in the Gloucester gillnet sector) have released four to five alive."

Burgess said the last time he caught one was 2001.

"It was eight feet long, it took three of us to put it back live," he said. "They're strong as bulls and often break out of gillnets."

NOAA estimates the survival rate of sturgeon hauled up in fishermen's bycatch — collateral fish pulled up when fishermen are targeting other species — is remarkably high, at roughly 80 percent from gillnets, 95 percent for sturgeon hauled up in trawl nets.

Although there has never been a stock assessment for sturgeon, the listing decision was made Jan. 31 in response to a petition filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Fishery management councilors found that difficult to understand.

"I am uncomfortable," said Councilor David Pierce, deputy director of Massachusetts marine fisheries. "I have no information on the status of the stocks."

"It's incredible we're going through this now when (environmental) conditions are more favorable and there are fewer fishermen," said Councilor Glen Libby, a commercial fisherman from Maine. "The timing is a little scary."

"We didn't ask for this fight," said Councilor David Goethel, a New Hampshire trawl fisherman. "(Sturgeon) should not have been listed, it should have been sent back, and they should have done a stock assessment. We should gather as much info as possible."

The fishery management council has no clear legal standing to halt or delay the listing, but the members settled on an aggressive and skeptical strategy of engagement and fact-seeking after lengthy debate in the middle of its three-day April meeting in Mystic, Conn.

On a 13-3 vote with one abstention, the council agreed to ask NOAA to clarify the methodology used for determining the fish was in jeopardy, bycatch and bycatch mortality estimates, and sought standing to work collaboratively with NOAA on a "biological opinion," the formal document defining the extent of risk to the species' perpetuation.

NOAA has divided the sturgeon into five "distinct population segments," and decided that, in New England, the fish is "threatened," a standard of risk below "endangered." Still, the protective measures to be announced as soon as June, according to a presentation at the council by NOAA's Kim Damon-Randall, will undoubtedly take its toll.

Rick Marks, a Washington, D.C. attorney whose firm represents a number of industry associations including the Monkfish Defense Fund and Garden State Seafood, said NOAA has never produced "a single, reliable population estimate for any of the five distinct population segments" and has failed to "adequately gauge" the benefits of existing management measures that "according to NOAA were adequate to prevent an ESA (Endangered Species Act) listing in 1998."

He said in an email that the listing would affect 40 East Coast gillnet fisheries at risk.

"This is another example where 'best available science' and precautionary decision-making are doing a disservice to the U.S. fishing industry," said Marks.


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