Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Friday July 24, 08 -- Conditions settling -- for the moment.

Friday, July 24, 2009: Waves: Dropping but still holding at a solid 5 feet on sets, powerful swells. Water clarity: generally good to very good as light onshore winds push in outside waters. Winds: Light east for a good part of the day. Look for SE to have a significant impact on weekend.

Wind note: LBI is tilted NE to SW. This is hugely important when you’re taking in the National Weather Service “Martine Forecast.” The forecast of SW winds sound as if they would be lightly offshore (land to sea) however the cant of the Island makes SW winds blow parallel to the beach line. These are sometimes colloquially known as “side-ass” winds. It makes quite a difference when surfcasting as this wind can generate a side current very quickly.
South winds are actually a slightly onshore flow. We often experience them midday as “daytime heating” winds increase. Southeast winds, which we see most of the summer, are significantly onshore. They’re very cooling breeze but can cause problems when whipping as a cold front approaches,
I have gone to other beaches along the NJ coast to surf, fish or play volleyball and it’s interesting how differently those same winds hit those beaches – beaches without the NE to SW angle. Most beaches are far less impacted than LBI. Believe it or not, the winds even hit differently right across the Barnegat Inlet at Island Beach State Park. We used to boat over to surf the south end of the IBSP because the winds there were more offshore than LBI, making for cleaner waves.
Once you’ve boated a few miles out to sea, the influence of the land diminishes. By, say, 10 miles out there is what might be called a clean read (feel) of the prevailing winds, as land heating and geological layout effects are gone. Obviously, out in the canyons, there is an open ocean influence that often creates conditions so different from the shoreline that a separate forecast is given for that zone.

Fluking will resume with vigor today. Boats not wanting to mess with the ocean swells and waves will find some better flatties near the inlets, as is often case right after a quick storm. The stir brings the fish in and the calming conditions have them moving out. If you’re lucky, you can catch them in transition. Also, this is one of the rare times you might find fluke in the 20-foot zone, right off the beach. That area, once famed for the best fluke all summer, has been so lacking in flatties for the past 10 years that some headboat captains believe there is something very ecologically/environmentally wrong in that zone. Capt. Bill Hammarstrom believes it is toxins that arrive through the outflow pipes from the county’s sewage treatment plants, which output right in that zone.
There is growing evidence that certain household chemicals -- pharmaceuticals, caffeine, birth control products and health and beauty aids – introduce something called endocrine disruptors into the sewage system. It eventually reaches the coean via outflow pipes. Endocrine disruptors can knock the crap out of the growth, reproduction, development, and metabolism of fish and other vulnerable marine life forms. The county’s sewage treatment system definitely does not remove – or even test for -- these insidious chemicals. This issue was recently explained to a very attentive congressional committee. Tom Fote of JCAA did the presenting down D.C. and did an incredible job of making a complex subject understandable. No, I’m not implying out political leaders are slow. Nice job, Tom.

Here’s something off the newslines. It is an interesting angle taken by the reporter, John Stockton:

July 24, 2009 - A report released yesterday by the Pew Environment Group quantifies the potential financial benefits of rebuilding four fish species in the Mid-Atlantic: summer flounder, black sea bass, butterfish and bluefish.

The report, Investing in Our Future: The Economic Case for Rebuilding Mid-Atlantic Fish Populations, provides a new analysis and estimates direct financial benefits by comparing status quo management of four particular fish species with what would have happened, if those populations had been rebuilt by 2007. The report finds that rebuilding summer flounder, black sea bass, butterfish and bluefish populations by 2007 would have generated an additional $570 million per year in direct economic benefits in perpetuity.

Most of that value is assigned to recreational fisheries, based on modeling what anglers are willing to pay to catch more fish. $536 million of the $570 million in projected benefit is due to recreational fishing assumptions. The gain for commercial fishing is estimated at $33.6 million per year.

The study appears to look at a simple comparison of what the value would have been if managers had followed immediate rebuilding strategies, instead of a more gradual approach. Unfortunately, the paper does not address the higher costs associated with such benefits.

For example, without question having more fish is more economically valuable than having less fish. But the study would have been improved if it also calculated the costs - in lost incomes, unemployment, capital destruction, and pressure on other fisheries, that would have come from the rapid rebuilding scenario.

As a result, the study's claims, while certainly true, are not the whole story.

A more credible approach would have also quantified the costs of rapid rebuilding on the commercial sector, and subtracted those costs from the overall expected benefits to the commercial sector.

'Results from this study provide strong analytical evidence that there is significant value in rebuilding fish populations and lost financial benefits from delayed action,' said Dr. John M. Gates, report author and professor emeritus, Departments of Economics, Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, University of Rhode Island. 'It's important to note that the primary, direct benefits represent a conservative estimate and, if related economic benefits had been included, the result would likely expand well beyond the figures estimated in this study.'

The authors say that 'Delays in rebuilding translate to lost opportunities for commercial and recreational fishermen to catch the maximum amount of fish that can sustainably be taken from a population. Failing to quickly address overfishing and allow populations to rebuild as quickly as possible forgoes current financial benefits and may result in more costly regulations in the long-term.'

'This report shows that rebuilding efforts provide substantial contributions to the Mid-Atlantic economy and its coastal communities,' said Lee Crockett, director, Federal Fisheries Policy, Pew Environment Group. 'In order to achieve the economic benefits outlined in this study, rebuilding measures must be adopted, enforced and sustained.'

A copy of the report can be downloaded from the Pew web site.

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