Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Friday, January 30, 2015: LONG HOLGATE MEMO

OK, so maybe there are one or two things a pit bull can't always do better than other dogs ... 

Friday, January 30, 2015: Holgate is an easy drive-down at low tide. A lone owl is way up near the washover area – and also well over toward the bay. It’s one of the heavily marked owls. I haven’t seen Whitey in a while. He was an amazing sight – no disrespect to the current speckled ones that have been around the last couple week.

Saw a young fellow who had walked all the way to the Holgate Rip to fish. I can pretty much what came of his effort, though I didn’t chat with him. Still, be seemed to be having a fun time. Fun is in the hands of the rod-holder.

 Below is a blogified dissertation on the Holgate end erosions. Hey, it’s winter so maybe you have a bit of time to read my read on things down there.

Cow: "Why don't you show us how to can count to ten, Flicka. ... Dumbass." 



"Dumby-dum-dum .. Hey, dad what's up? Got me a cup ... "

"Please tell me he's not from my litter." 

Below: Great catch. 


LONG HOLGATE MEMO: I want to offer a divergent read regarding the on-refuge erosion in Holgate. It’s a read I hesitate to bring up since it could diminish from the attention being given to the egregious erosion problem at the washover zone on the north end of the area.


It must be recognized that there are some impressive sand gains accompanying the erosion in the Holgate refuge area. A veritable plateau worth of eroded sand has been transported south and is strikingly accruing at the far south end of Holgate. 

Below is a video of the rolling dunes – almost rolling hills – that have formed there over the past 15 years or so. I measure it as well over 400 yards/meters across. Remarkable. Early-onset grass vegetation is already rooted on the dunes.


I have long guessed that the Forsythe Refuge, overseers of this wilderness area, wouldn’t overly mind if its portion of LBI broke off on its own, becoming an island unto itself, vis-à-vis Tucker’s Island. It would then more truly be a wilderness area, as it is so assigned. Such a breakaway would categorically cure tons of social problems and enforcements issues the refuge now has with the area.   I sure can’t blame refuge authorities for that thinking.


However, legal issues would surely come into play if the refuge portion of Holgate  breaks away. Long Beach Township – and, likely, all LBI municipalities -- won’t be overly enthralled with losing two miles of once-publically-accessible sands. That area has never been more popular as a tourist draw. I’m bettin’ it would be worth battling for in court.


What’s more, NJ would have to closely examine the constitutionality of essentially giving up once-public beaches, something verboten by the state’s constitution. At the same time, the feds have their laws in tow.


That said, I’ll bring some science into the issue. While past breaches in Holgate have led, famously, to sudden ocean/bay inlets, the current geological set-up at the expanding washover area is not conducive to the formation of a new inlet. Remember, in the past, the breaches leading to instant inlets have come with a single Island-dissecting storm.


The slow erosion process now occurring is simultaneously forming shoals in the bay to the west of the washover areas. In fact, it’s a textbook example of barrier island migration -- underscored by the formation of bayside sedge islands. All our bayside sedges were likely part of an ancient barrier island, much later dubbed Long Beach Island.


The shallows now developing west of Holgate wilderness area are accruing sand at such a rate they’ll soon be above water throughout tides, fundamentally independent sand islands. Grasses and even larger vegetation will appear on them almost overnight, as we saw happen atop the erroneously named Tucker’s Island, which we watched form at the back hook of Holgate.

(By the by, the site of the original Tucker’s Island is well out as sea, showing the remarkable westward migration of the unfettered {by bulkheads} south end.)


Interestingly, it’s the rapidly forming shoals to the west of the Holgate washover areas will greatly reduce the chances of a future dynamic east/west breach thereabouts. Those soon-to-be sedges will interfere with the daily tidal flows needed to keep an inlet open.


To be sure, the washover area would eventually – well within a decade – overwash enough for the ocean and bay to meet, just not as an active inlet. Such a hookup is already happening with regularity. In just the last few months, bay and ocean have met there on nearly two dozen occasions (that I have recorded). It no longer takes a storm – just astronomically high tides – for LBI to breach there.


What might come of this area is a mystery, likely a unique sand scenario. That’s because natural and predictable geological patterns can’t play out there due to the fully-bulkhead bayside areas just to the north. Those manmade bayside barriers prevent most of LBI from naturally migrating westward. That makes for a truly unique erosional arrangement in the Holgate refuge area, one that defies simple geological/natural mandates.


Of course, we very likely won’t get to see what happens when a fully-anchored barrier island allows its tail to wag naturally and freely. The “big fix,” coming to LBI via the 2015-2016 Island-long beach replenishment project, will instill the eroding portions of the far south end with so much sand that “natural migration” will give way to manmade sand infiltration. However, what nature does when faced with a flood of arriving sand is still natural in its own right -- and will offer amazing insights into barrier island under the influence of, well, us. The thing is, can still get to appreciate the far south end while watching all geological goings on. My video cam is ready. 


Audubon Extends Contract to Operate Sustainable Seafood Program


SEAFOODNEWS.COM [NOLA Media Group] January 30, 2015 
The Audubon Nature Institute will continue operating Gulf United for Sustainable Fisheries program, a sustainable fishing program, in 2015.
The Audubon Commission, the governmental arm of the Institute, on Thursday agreed to sign a $272,000 contract with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to continue the program through the end of the year. 
The contract will pay for three of the program's five employees and associated overhead. The other two employees are funded through a separate grant.
Created in 2012, GULF is dedicated to the longterm viability of Louisiana's fisheries, which it works to preserve through education programs and a sustainable-seafood certification program. 
The state agreed to fund the program for another year because it has an interest in ensuring the program is a successes, said Laurie Conkerton, vice president of development. Retailers want to be able to tell customers that their seafood is sustainably caught, she said. Eventually, states that don't have certified programs could find it hard to get their harvest into grocery stores and seafood shops.
Ultimately, the state hopes to endow the program with money it receives from its money it hopes to receive in the wake of the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, said Ron Forman, president and chief executive at Audubon, said Thursday. 


NOAA's Stand-Pat Cod Stance Draws Fire


SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Gloucester Daily Times] By Sean Horgan - January 30, 2015 

Fishing stakeholders have not surrendered in their campaign to get NOAA Fisheries to modify the emergency interim actions that have shuttered the Gulf of Maine to cod fishing and severely restricted fishing for other species.
The stakeholders, including the Gloucester-based Northeast Seafood Coalition and the Maine-based Sustainable Harvest Sector, are widely displeased at what they consider NOAA’s casual rejection Wednesday of an industry plan that would eliminate the 200-pound cod bycatch trip limit and open up some closed broad stock areas in return for the sectors surrendering up to 60 metric tons of allocated cod quota.
“I’m flabbergasted,” Maggie Raymond of the Associated Fisheries of Maine said Thursday in advance of the New England Fishery Management Council meeting in Portsmouth, N.H. “It’s just shocking that (NOAA Fisheries) is not willing to work with us.”
NOAA Regional Administrator John K. Bullard on Wednesday announced the federal agency has no plans “at this time” to modify or remove any of the restrictive emergency interim measures it enacted last November to protect the imperiled cod stock in the Gulf of Maine.
That meant the 200-pound cod bycatch trip limit remains in place.
That meant the rolling broad stock closures, which will close many fertile inshore areas and force fishermen to travel much further out to fish for other allowed species, will proceed as scheduled.
And that meant that the industry proposal to trade cod quota for changes in the actions — a proposal chiefly developed by the Gloucester Fishing Community Preservation Fund along and the Northeast Fishery Sector 4, with quota contributions from other sectors — was off the table.
But perhaps not for long.
Raymond, the NSC and other fishing stakeholders said Thursday that some council members were interested in revisiting changes to the emergency interim actions because of safety concerns of fishermen forced to travel farther in inclement weather and overall displeasure at NOAA’s quick dismissal of the industry proposal.
“The fact that these measures will cost the industry over $1.5 million in the last months of this fishing year while putting safety issues front and center means they’re really not accomplishing anything,” Raymond said. “So, what are they saving?”
Bullard’s explanation that NOAA Fisheries primarily rejected the industry proposal because the agency “could not figure out how to do it” within the current time constraints rankled fishing stakeholders and some council members, particularly when he dismissed the idea of using exemptions to implement the industry plan.
‘No communication’
“If there were issues, they could have convened a conference call and we could have worked something out,” Raymond said. “But there was no communication. And then for them to say they just couldn’t figure out a way to do it or there wasn’t time? It’s very, very disappointing that the agency chose not to work anything out with us.”
The NSC, in a statement of its opposition to retaining the original interim actions, said that, rather than saving cod, the emergency measures will increase cod discards by almost 500 percent.
“We’ve shut down the redfish fishery, crippled the pollock fishery, bankrupted the entire inshore fleet and knowingly implemented a management plan that increases discards from 2 percent to 500 percent in the hope we may conserve 200 metric tons of cod that are already accounted for in the recent cod assessment? All to benefit a nation?” the NSC statement read.
NSC Executive Director Jackie Odell was even more specific on Thursday.
“The agency’s current cod protection measure (200-pound trip limit) is projected to have 23.5 metric tons of landings and 116.5 metric tons of discards,” Odell said. 
“Under the status quo, the fishery discard rate on Gulf of Maine cod was 2.29 percent with 538 metric tons landed and only 12.3 metric tons discarded.”

Tomato Sushi Seen as Tuna Substitute for Those Who Want 'Vegetarian' Seafood

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [NPR] by Alastair Bland - January 30, 2015

It's a dead ringer for Ahi tuna sashimi. It cuts into glistening slivers that are firm and juicy. And it's got a savory bite.
But this flesh-like food is not fish. It's made of tomato, and it's what San Francisco chef James Corwell hopes could be one small step toward saving imperiled species of fish, like bluefin tuna.

"What I want is to create a great sushi experience without the tuna," Corwell tells The Salt.

To make this Tomato Sushi, he skins and removes the seeds from fresh Roma tomatoes. Then he vacuum seals them in sturdy plastic bags and cooks them in hot water for about an hour — a technique called sous-vide.

The process firms up the tomatoes and creates a texture similar to tuna. Corwell throws in a few more ingredients (he won't divulge what they are), and slices them up. When eaten with sushi rice, nori, ginger, soy sauce and wasabi, they're delicious.

Corwell is not the only entrepreneur experimenting with fish-like alternatives to seafood. (His product is so far available at one retail market in San Francisco and via mail order.) But with issues like overfishing, bycatch and high mercury levels gaining traction with consumers, it may only be a matter of time before demand kickstarts a faux-fish movement on the heels of the plant-based protein revolution already underway.

So far, a handful of sushi chefs and food manufacturers are testing the waters. Sophie's Kitchen makes vegan calamari, scallops and fish fillets, with most products breaded and ready to bake or fry. Their VeganToona actually comes in a can; it's made from pea protein, potato starch, seaweed powder and olive oil.

Garden Protein International uses soybeans and other plant material to make a line of vegan meat substitutes, including a "Fishless Fillet."

But in spite of these trailblazers, the alt-seafood market is still a few steps behind plant-based alternatives to meat, egg and dairy products.

Beyond Meat, a company based in Los Angeles, makes vegan ground beef and chicken strips with soy and pea protein.

"We take [amino acids, fats, carbohydrates and minerals] and, with heat and pressure, stitch them together in the architecture of meat protein," he says. "We do what it takes a cow two years to do in three minutes."

Impossible Foods is making plant-based beef, complete with bioengineered plant-based blood, and cheese. Hampton Creek Foods makes a vegan mayonnaise with pea protein in place of eggs.

Muufri is a small firm still in the research-and-development stages of creating milk — without the cow. The production process, explains one of the company's founders, Isha Datar, involves genetically modified yeast cells, which reassemble amino acids into milk-like form.

Datar says that her company is not inventing new versions of dairy products. "We're just learning new ways to make the same product," Datar says.

So far, Brown of Beyond Meat, who has been a vegan for about 15 years, has not seriously attempted making vegan fish. But he says he is thinking about it.

"I'm not interested in making [plant protein] behave like meat," he says — a reference to tofu burgers, Tofurkey and myriad other meat alternatives made primarily with soybeans and other legumes. He wants to make real fish, and he believes tuna flesh will not be hard to approximate with his meat-making machinery. "Tuna has a similar architecture to the proteins we're already working on."

He says he was once approached by a canned tuna distributor interested in an odor-free albacore. But overall, Brown says, the demand for manufactured fish is not great enough yet. He says most vegan food tech is aimed for now at using plants to replicate meat products because of negative media portrayals of factory farming.

San Franciscans, it seems, have a few options for vegan alternatives to seafood. Earlier this month, restaurateur and sustainable fisheries advocate Casson Trenor opened a restaurant there called Shizen Vegan Sushi Bar and Izakaya.

"So much of sushi is visual, and using vegetables gives us the opportunity to use so many beautiful colors," Trenor says. "We have some dishes that feature the bright color of tuna meat. Are we trying to mimic maguro? No. Are we trying to put purple and red into the menu? Yes."

Corwell of Tomato Sushi was first convinced of the need to shift away from eating the bigger tuna species after visiting Tokyo's celebrated Tsukiji fish market in 2007. He was stunned by the hundreds of frozen bluefin carcasses sprawled across the warehouse floor.

"The way I learned to cook with big slabs of meat [and fish] isn't going to be possible in the future, and that's nothing to be scared of," Corwell says.

Tuna isn't his only focus. Corwell has created an eggplant-based rendition of unagi and a granular seasoning blend meant to taste like dried, salted bonito flakes. Through the use of fermented ingredients and yeast, caramelization and lots of stovetop test runs, Corwell says he hopes to develop many more vegan sushi products.

"[Tomato Sushi] is the just the tip of the iceberg," he says


Chefs Gearing Up for Lent with Old and New Seafood Ideas

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Nation's Restaurant News] By Fern Glazer - January 30, 2015 - 

For the millions of people who abstain from eating meat during Lent each year, the 40-day Christian holiday that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter, eating out can be a challenge. This year, a number of chefs and restaurant chains plan to make it easier on customers by reviving popular seafood dishes and creating fresh options.

At Molyvos in New York City, chef Diane Kochilas and executive chef Carlos Carreto have long offered a special Greek Lenten menu, featuring an evolving list of seafood dishes.

“Lent brings even greater attention to what Molyvos specializes in — fresh, healthy, authentic Greek cuisine,” said owner Nick Livanos. “Variety is important on any menu. Molyvos has always offered a menu that includes options for every palate. We think it’s important to serve a rotating selection of Lenten fare.”

Among the items slated to be on Molyvos’ Lent menu this year are dishes such as Seafood Phyllo Pies, made with shrimp, chopped mussels, octopus and squid, fish, onions, herbs and lemon zest; and Prawns and Artichokes a La Polita, a modern take on the classic Greek dish, made with stewed or braised artichokes, leeks, baby carrots, fennel and grilled or pan-seared prawns and served with a white wine and lemon sauce.

Similarly, at Red Star Tavern in Portland, Ore., chef Kyle Rourke has been offering  seafood dishes during Lent not only to provide options to those who observe, but also to entice them to come back. In preparation for this year’s celebration, Rourke just added back to the menu last year’s Marinated Gulf Shrimp, with citrus cucumber and charred sweet potato, and Fisherman’s Stew, with mussels, rockfish, potatoes, cabbage and chorizo in a green chile broth.

“Having such dishes available and on people’s radar during Lent appeals to a slice of the population looking for a good alternative to meat,” Rourke said. “If someone visits us for the first time during Lent, I hope they come back when they can enjoy a great steak or our signature Red Star Burger.”

The 100-unit Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom has been offering seafood Lent options since 2006, and it will once again offer its popular fish and chips platter, as well as an all-you-can-eat fish fry, a fish sandwich and a seafood chowder at select locations.

“It’s about being relevant, giving our customers what they want,” said Gretchen Sherlock, senior brand manager for Old Chicago.

Offering a Lent menu has not only been a way to give customers what they want; it has also increased sales for Old Chicago. Friday fish sales at restaurants that carry Lent specials have grown 15 percent to 20 percent during the 40-day period at locations that offer those items, Sherlock said.

McAlister's Deli, which began highlighting its meatless offerings on a special Lent menu several years ago, will bring back its successful limited-time Cajun Shrimp as a Po’ Boy, Caesar Wrap or Caesar Salad. Togo’s will bring back its frequently requested Lemon Pepper Tuna sandwich.

Checkers and Rally’s, which began offering value-priced Lent offerings eight years ago, will offer a two-part Lent menu this year. For the first half of Lent, the chain will offer a Pick 2 for $2 crispy fish sandwich or spicy chicken sandwich. For the second half, it will switch to a $2 chicken slider and a famous fries box, in either classic or buffalo flavors, on a brioche bun. Also available will be the Deep Sea Double sandwich and the Double Spicy Chicken sandwich, both priced at two for $5.

“Offering Lent-friendly items during this time is critical for us,” said Ryan Joy, senior director of research and development at Checkers and Rally’s. “Many of our markets respond very well to the Lent items, not just for Friday, but for the entire Lent time period, and we need to have something for this guest.”

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