ABOVE: Timing is everything. The timing here is either excellent (for the killer whale) or fatallly bad (penguin)
Friday, December 18, 2009:
Well, that low down in the Gulf did, in fact, decide to make a move. We’re now looking at trouble in the whitest form. Sorry, I’m no longer a snow worshipper, even though I once was a veritable snow worshiper back in school days when it meant time off.
The storm heading our way is doing the one thing I didn’t want to see: It’s going far enough out to sea to keep the wind flow far more north than east. Initially, it looked like honking easterlies would kick in by tomorrow – and push in very warm surface winds via an upper-40-degree ocean (with even warmer water out a ways).
Now, a pattern of NNE winds could usher in just-cold-enough air, blown down from New England, to make this a snow event. This is a set-up that often gives us a goodly load of snow, while depriving the Pocono area not so much as an inch.
There is still a decent chance (maybe 35 percent) of a changeover to rain. The real snow threat will be from the wrap-around effect as the storm slowly moves out from the Delmarva and intensifies. I’ve seen that set-up send last-gasp bands of snow to areas literally right along the beach.
The up side is the likelihood that we won’t see serious beach erosion. There should be some sizeable waves but they won’t be pushed along by side-shore (NE) winds. It’s about the best we can expect from what is a fairly big storm.
There were some anglers doing schoolie searching today. The calm winds and real made for nice December surfcasting conditions. I got no reports of success, though.
I did chat with a fellow who recently went out boat fishing for tog and said it was a total bail session, somewhere around 150 fish for the boat, taken on crabs – fiddlers and white-leg. There was also some added excitement when a bluefish in the 10-pound range grabbed a hooked tog and wouldn’t release it. The blue was netted (released) and the tog was no worse off for wear -- testimony to the protectiveness of their skin, scales and slime. The boat the angler was on kept 35 fish, all larger males. “We were sure to let all the female tog go,” he was sure to emphasize. Good job – though I’m not sure if there is a sure way to differentiate male and female tog this time of year, short of the larger ones likely being cows.
Below is a lengthy selection of the latest news releases. These are very important issues, except maybe for the oyster-eater.
[Senate Release] - December 17, 2009 - U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced final Congressional passage of $1 million for the Partnership for Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Science (PMAFS) – Fish Stock Improvement Initiative.
This funding will assist in the development of urgently needed data to improve the management of summer flounder and black sea bass.
Schumer worked closely with members of the Appropriations Committee to include funding for the project in this year's spending bill. According to the National Research Council, the National Marine Fisheries Service relies on “fatally flawed” survey data to determine the health of many fish stocks, including summer flounder and black sea bass. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ordered an emergency six-month closing of the sea bass fishery starting October 5 of this year, which dealt a crushing economic blow to Long Island's recreational fishing community.
PMAFS will use the funding to focus on the development of urgently needed data to improve the management of summer flounder and black sea bass. To do this, PMAFS will appoint a select steering committee of academic scientists and key recreational and commercial fishery representatives.
This steering committee, in collaboration with federal and state regulatory partners, will establish targeted research programs addressing key data inadequacies, and as a consequence, secure improved management of these key recreational and commercial species.
The recreational summer flounder and black sea bass fishing sectors include individual anglers, party and charter boat businesses, boat builders, fishing tackle manufacturers, bait and tackle retailers, marinas, and many other businesses in fishing communities from North Carolina to Massachusetts.
The coast-wide commercial fishing fleet comprises many family owned businesses that have operated for close to a century and span multiple generations. The fisheries involve both large and small vessels and provide products that are key components of the offerings of most seafood restaurants and seafood retailers. These benefits to the culture and economy of the Mid-Atlantic are only possible with long-term sustainability of the summer flounder and black sea bass fisheries.
Example projects that may be carried out by PMAFS include the following: (a.) Evaluation of discard mortality by trawl capture using live tanks and tagging and monitoring of survival; (b.) Improvement in recreational discard estimates for private/rental vessel anglers; (c.) Evaluation of critical aspects of reproductive biology including spawning season, sex ratio, size and age at maturity, fecundity, and egg quality; (d.) Determination of the relationship of natural mortality rate with age and sex; (e.) Parameterization of forward-projecting numerical models capable of using sex-dependent and age-dependent formulations and, for black sea bass, the change in sex from female to male; (f.) Development of a survey program to identify the sex ratio of commercial and recreational landings and discards; and (g.) Development of supplemental surveys, particularly for black sea bass, to better assess population structure in areas not accessible by NMFS trawl surveys.
A new era in the management of the marine fisheries of the U.S. began with the passage of the scientific standards for domestic fisheries management in the 1996 'Sustainable Fisheries Act' (SFA) Amendments to the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA). This statute set as the goal of management maintaining fisheries at maximum sustainable yield. The need to develop more sophisticated stock assessment and data collection techniques to address the new requirements in the MSFCMA, the necessity of assessing the effectiveness of regulations implemented to meet the requirements of the MSFCMA, the effect of climate change on marine resources, and the need to reduce discards, address discard mortality through gear technology, protect habitat, and provide adequate protection for species of concern far exceeds the fiscal resources currently available in the Mid-Atlantic region.
PMAFS is a multi-state multi institutional partnership that combines the recreational and commercial fishing industries with the expertise of leading academic institutions in the Mid-Atlantic region. PMAFS is the first and only organization of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic. PMAFS will provide the framework enabling these institutions and concerned industry groups to effectively address the most urgent scientific problems in fisheries management and will incorporate this critical information into the management process through well-established partnerships with NMFS, MAFMC, and ASMFC committees and assessment programs.
Gloucester Times] By Richard Gaines Staff Writer - Dec 18, 2009 - The caucus of Atlantic coast federal lawmakers organized to consider ways to loosen regulatory restrictions on commercial fishermen which had been scheduled for Dec 17th has been put off until the new year by the sponsor, Massachusetts Congressman Rep. Barney Frank.
Harry Gural, Frank's press secretary, said that many members are expected to be away from Washington today.
'It now looks like the House may not be in session on Thursday,' Gural said yesterday. 'If so, some members will have to be in their districts.'
Gural said Frank would reschedule the caucus for January.
A resident of Newton, Frank represents New Bedford, which is the nation's No. 1 fishing port in dollar value thanks in large part to the scallop fishery.
It was reductions in the time the fleet is to be allowed to fish for scallops next year, made by the New England Fishery Management Council in November, that Frank cited in announcing the decision to organize a caucus of fishing port representatives to find a way to give the industry more latitude.
Frank has said the effort was warranted because of the harm done to fishing communities along the Atlantic coast by regulators who misinterpret the legal principle embedded in the Magnuson-Stevens Act to balance ecological with economic and sociological interests.
December 18, 2009 - SIOUX FALLS, S.D., A couple were charged in federal court in Sioux Falls with faking the husband's death to collect on life insurance.
A woman, 39, and her 45-year-old husband pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud. The wife was free on bond while the husband was being held without bond.
Authorities said the woman claimed that her husband had died after eating bad oysters during a family vacation in Malaysia in 2003. She eventually settled the insurance case with two insurance companies for $2 million.
FBI agents informed Sioux Falls-based Midland National Life about a year ago that husband walked into the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, and asked to renew his passport. The man was arrested in Guam last month.