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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Friday, February 22, 2013: I’m on one of those tazmo runs

 

 

Friday, February 22, 2013: I’m on one of those tazmo runs – tons to do and no time to do same. It all stems from the big fix. I apologize for laps in entries here but anyone suffering from Post Sandy Stress Syndrome can relate. And as I've noted, I’m well ahead of the curve when it comes to getting my life back on path. Now if I could only find some familiar landmarks ... 

If you happened to find wayward floating fishing gear (mainly tackle boxes) after Sandy, please make a concerted effort to relocate the rightful owners. Face it, the odds are pretty good that found goods were likely from someone in the nearby 'hood.

I know three LBI folks who lost significant tackle boxes.

I'd like to think that found stuff would be returned out of the goodness of a finder's heart, but I have researched, to the hilt, and also learned that found good are legally NOT the property of the finder. Dead opposite. The finder MUST immediately begin searching out the rightful owner -- or turn found items into the PD -- or be guilty of theft. That's the law, I promise you. I discovered this while answering questions about vessels found stranded or free-floating.

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By the by, I was asked to pass on info about the Sandy Support group at St. Francis Center.


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I’m getting reports of insane fishing out on the wreck. I’m talking epic, near-all-time togging and black sea bassing.

Season info: “For the first time since 2009, the recreational black sea bass fishery will be open from January 1 through February 28. The minimum size limit remains at 12.5 inches and the possession limit will be 15 fish. These regulations pertain to both New Jersey state waters as well as Federal waters. The Division is also advising that recreational black sea bass measures will likely change from 2012 regulations later in 2013 - all new regulations will be announced on the division website and via the NJ Marine Fishing E-mail List when they are determined.”

Black sea bass Video 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZDLc95-hb8

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Sea Bass and Fluke Regulations Update

By Paul Haertel 2nd VP JCAA

 
Sea Bass – As we go to press we received a little bit of good news regarding sea bass. On 2/14/13 the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) voted to accept the recommendation of their Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) to increase the Allowable Biological Catch (ABC) to 5.5 million pounds. This is an increase of 1 million pounds from what was initially approved. The ABC will be split with 51% going to the recreational sector and 49% to the commercial sector. However, we are still going to end up with more stringent regulations than last year as the increase will not cover the overage that occurred in the recreational sector last year. Still, regulations are expected to be much better than the draconian measures that the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) was set to consider at their upcoming meeting on 2/21/13. The various proposals included reductions for New Jersey that ranged from approximately 44-53%. At their upcoming meeting, the ASMFC will discuss various state by state and regional options but with the increase in the harvest limit the reductions will no longer be as severe. Once one of the options is approved it will be up to the individual states or regions to develop regulations that comply with that option. The New Jersey representatives to the ASMFC will work closely with the New Jersey Bureau of Marine Fisheries (NJBMF) in attempting to have the best possible options and regulations approved for our state. On 2/26/13, the NJBMF will hold an advisors meeting before the New Jersey Marine Fisheries Council (NJMFC) is expected to finalize our regulations at their March 7th meeting.
 
UPDATE – 2/21/13
     I listened in on the sea bass portion of ASMFC webinar today. The commission voted for option 4 of Addendum XXIII which is for Ad Hoc Regional Measures. They also approved the 1 million pound increase that the MAMFC previously approved. Our state will now be in the region with the states to our north. This will result in New Jersey and the other northern states having to develop regulations intended to reduce their catch by about 32-34%. The exact reduction percentage will be calculated within the next few days after which the States will have to come up with proposals that meet the mandated reduction. This may take time and therefore it is unknown if our State will have any proposed regulations approved by the ASMFC in time for the advisors meeting. The size limit is expected to remain at 12 ½” but the bag limit may be reduced. Our season will be shortened significantly and I anticipate that we will have a lengthy mid-season closure. Though that is no good, it would likely allow sea bass season to be open after the fluke season closes. At least that would give inshore fishermen something to fish for as not many stripers will have arrived and the limit on blackfish at that time of the year will probably be only one.
 
Fluke – New Jersey has been forced to take approximately a 15% reduction from the recreational
quota it had last year. This is due to a cut in the overall coastwide quota and the fact that New
Jersey slightly exceeded its quota last year.  This may very well renew the battle that we had last year when
commercial representatives on the NJMFC overruled the standing motion recommended by the advisors
and the council’s recreational representatives. That resulted in a shorter season with a 17 ½” size limit and a
5 fish bag limit rather than a longer season with an 18” size limit and 8 fish bag limit that the vast majority
of JCAA member clubs favored. The NJBMF has recently developed a number of preliminary options for
this year including those with varying seasons and size limits. However, all have the same 5 fish bag limit
that we had last year. Unfortunately, at this time no options are being considered to return the bag limit to 8
fish as there is insufficient data to increase the bag limit when increasing the size limit. The JCAA pointed
out last year that it was not a good idea to give up a portion of the bag limit unless it is absolutely necessary.
While a 5 fish bag limit is really not all that bad, most fishermen would not want to reduce it any further.
This could become a problem if we exceed our quota this year. Therefore, this year’s battle will be between
those preferring a shorter season with a size limit of 17 ½” and those who prefer a longer season with an 18”
size limit. Last year, even with the 17 ½” size limit, we had a season that lasted 147 days. This year if we
keep the size limit at 17 ½” we will be forced to reduce the season to 117-122 days.   On the other hand if
we raise the size limit to 18” we will probably be able to have a season ranging from 131-149 days. Below
are some of the preliminary options being considered. Some of these may be modified or deleted and others
will be discussed as well at the advisors meeting on 2/26/13 . Ultimately though, only a few options will be
chosen for the public to have input on at the NJMFC meeting on March 7th. The meeting will begin at 4:00
PM and is will take place at the Galloway Township Library on Jimmie Leeds Rd. in Absecon. The
regulations will be set immediately after the public comment portion of the meeting.  Therefore, those
interested are encouraged to attend and give their opinions.
 
The 2012 season had a 5 fish bag limit at 17 ½” and ran from 5/5 – 9/28 for a total of 147 days.
Below are just a few of the preliminary proposals being considered for this year. All have a 5 fish bag limit.
 
17 ½” with a season from 5/11 – 9/4 for a total of 117 days
17 ½” with a season from 5/18 – 9/16 for a total of 122 days
17 ½” with a season from 5/24 – 9/22 for a total of 122 days
18” with a season from 5/25 – 10/2 for a total of 131 days
18” with a season from 5/2 – 9/12 for a total of 135 day
18” with a season from 5/4 – 9/29 for a total of 149 days
 
UPDATE – 2/21/13
     Though I did not listen in on the fluke portion of the ASMFC meeting I have been told that there is a chance that New Jersey may not have to reduce by 15%. However, this will be dependant on what other states do. The way I understand it, is that if their regulations are conservative enough to ensure that their quotas are not likely to be exceeded then New Jersey might not have to reduce by 15%. There is even a possibility that we could have the same regulations as last year. However, all this will take time so it is unlikely that we will know for sure by the advisors meeting or even the NJMFC meeting. 
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The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife will hold its next public forum to discuss freshwater fisheries culture, research, management and recreational angling in New Jersey on Saturday, February 23, at Batsto Village in Wharton State Forest in Burlington County. The forum will begin at 10:00 a.m.

Anglers are invited to share their views and recommendations for the future of freshwater fisheries research and management in New Jersey with Bureau of Freshwater Fisheries biologists. Preliminary results of the recently completed trout angler telephone and on-line surveys, as well as 2012 field sampling results, will be presented. Anglers are invited to ask questions and comment on any aspect of the division's fisheries management programs. By providing input, the public can help guide the development of all New Jersey's freshwater programs and the regulations which govern them.

Pre-registration is not required but is appreciated, and will help ensure that all attendees can be accommodated. Individuals can pre-register by calling 908 236-2118 or by sending an e-mail to njfwfish@earthlink.net. Be sure to include name, address, phone number and the number of people attending.

Don't miss this exciting opportunity to shape the future of New Jersey's freshwater fisheries programs.

DIRECTIONS

Historic Batsto Village is located on Route 542 in Wharton State Forest, Washington Township, Burlington County. It is about 45 miles southeast of Philadelphia and approximately 25 miles northwest of Atlantic City. The nearest town is Hammonton, NJ 08037, which is about 8 miles to the west.

Directions via MapQuest.

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The good news is the sharks are staging an impressive comeback. I’m guessin’ you might be able to guess the bad news. In a nutshell: In 2012, the U.S. saw the highest number of shark attacks, 53, in over a decade: 

University of Florida reports 2012 U.S. shark attacks highest since 2000 

— Shark attacks in the U.S. reached a decade high in 2012, while worldwide fatalities remained average, according to the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File report released today. 

There were seven fatalities worldwide, which is lower than 2011 but higher than the yearly average of 4.4 from 2001 to 2010. It is the second consecutive year for multiple shark attacks in Western Australia (5) and Reunion Island (3) in the southwest Indian Ocean, which indicates the localities have developed problematic situations, said George Burgess, director of the file housed at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus. 

“Those two areas are sort of hot spots in the world – Western Australia is a function of white shark incidents and Reunion is a function most likely of bull shark incidents,” Burgess said. “What I’ve seen in all situations when there’s been a sudden upswing in an area is that human-causative factors are involved, such as changes in our behavior, changes in our abundance, or an overt shark-attracting product of something that we’re doing.”

Eighty unprovoked attacks occurred worldwide, slightly more than 2011. Four attacks were recorded in South Africa, three of which resulted in death, which is higher than its recent average of one fatality per year. Australia had an average year with 14 attacks and two fatalities, despite the media attention regarding incidents in Western Australia that resulted in a government-sanctioned culling hunt for endangered white sharks.

“The concept of ‘let’s go out and kill them’ is an archaic approach to a shark attack problem, and its opportunities for success are generally slim-to-none,” Burgess said. “It’s mostly a feel-good revenge – like an ‘eye for an eye’ approach – when in fact you’re not likely to catch the shark that was involved in the situation. The shark that was involved in the situation also isn’t necessarily likely to do it again.”

Following long-term trends, most shark bites occurred in North American waters (42). 

The 53 U.S. incidents include Hawaii and Puerto Rico, which are not recorded as occurring in North American waters in the International Shark Attack File database. Florida led the country with 26, followed by Hawaii (10), California (5), South Carolina (5), North Carolina (2) and one each in Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon and Puerto Rico. 

One fatality occurred in California, and Hawaii had the highest number of attacks since seven in 2007, more than its yearly average of four. Most incidents in Florida occurred in Brevard (8) and Volusia (7) counties because these central east coast beaches are high aquatic recreation areas, especially for surfers, Burgess said. 

“The numbers from an international standpoint were on target for the last couple of years because, in theory, each year we should have more attacks than the previous year owing to the rise of human population from year to year,” Burgess said. “Thus the shark attack rate is not increasing even though the number of shark attacks is rising. Shark attack as a phenomenon is extremely uncommon, considering the millions of hours humans spend in the water each year.”

The 2012 U.S. fatality rate of 2 percent is far lower than the 22 percent for the rest of the world, likely due to superior safety and medical capabilities in the U.S., Burgess said.

“We could reduce risks by avoiding areas and times when sharks are most common, and where danger is at its highest,” Burgess said. “A perfect example of that is in Western Australia, where people have been getting hit in areas of known white shark abundance at times of year when white shark numbers are at their highest – the responsibility is upon us, as humans, to avoid such situations or else pay the consequence.”

Surfers experienced a majority of shark incidents with 60 percent, largely due to the provocative nature of the activity. Swimmers were affected by 22 percent of attacks, followed by divers, with 8 percent.

Burgess said 30 million to 70 million sharks are killed every year in fisheries, and people need to recognize humans pose a greater threat to elasmobranchs (sharks, skates and rays) than sharks do to humans. Worldwide over-fishing, especially to meet demands for flesh and fins used in shark fin soup, an Asian delicacy, continues to contribute to the decline in shark populations, Burgess said.

In the case of a shark attack, researchers advise taking a proactive response, such as hitting the shark’s nose, since they respect size and power.

“Shark attacks are rare and it doesn’t matter whether you call them attacks or bites or bumps – your chances of having any of them are slim,” Burgess said.

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