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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Funeral service for Barry Baxter; Numerous news issues

FUNERAL SERVICE FOR BARRY BAXTER:
Barry Baxter passed away and the service will be held on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at Holy Innocent Episcopal Church located on Marine Street in Beach Haven. In Lieu of flowers, donations in his name can be made to the Beach Haven Library. Barry was a member of the BHMTC since 1990.


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The petition to keep beach buggies rolling in NC can be found at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/cape-hatteras-access-preservation-alliance.html.


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NMFS issues final specifications for the 2009 summer flounder,
scup, and black sea bass fisheries. This final rule specifies allowed
harvest limits for both commercial and recreational fisheries,
including commercial scup possession limits. This action prohibits
federally permitted commercial vessels from landing summer flounder in
Delaware in 2009 due to continued quota repayment from previous years'
overages.
The actions of this final rule are necessary to comply with
regulations implementing the Summer Flounder, Scup, and Black Sea Bass
Fishery Management Plan (FMP), as well as to ensure compliance with the
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-
Stevens Act).
The intent of this action is to establish harvest levels and other
management measures to ensure that target fishing mortality rates (F)
or exploitation rates, as specified for these species in the FMP, are
not exceeded. In addition, this action implements measures that ensure
continued rebuilding of these three stocks that are currently under
rebuilding plans.



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(A) fierce appetite for live reef fish across Southeast Asia - and increasingly in mainland China - is devastating populations in the Coral Triangle, a protected marine region home to the world's richest ocean diversity, according to a recent report in the scientific journal Conservation Biology. Spawning of reef fish in this area, which supports 75 percent of all known coral species in the world, has declined 79 percent over the past five to 20 years, depending on location, according to the report.

Overfishing in general, and particularly of spawning aggregations that occur when certain species of reef fish gather in one place in great numbers to reproduce, may be the culprit, says Yvonne Sadovy, a biologist at the University of Hong Kong who wrote the report along with scientists from Australia, Hong Kong, Palau and the United States.

She said the report's conclusions were based on the first global database on the occurrence, history and management of spawning aggregations. It includes data from 29 countries or territories. Some of the information is based on interviews with more than 300 commercial and subsistence fishers in Asia and the western Pacific between 2002 and 2006.

'The Coral Triangle has relatively few spawning aggregations reported in the communities we went to,' Sadovy said in an e-mail message. 'We think that this might be due to the more heavily fished (overall) condition of reef fisheries in many parts of the Coral Triangle, where there is uncontrolled fishing and high demand for live groupers for the international live fish trade.' About one- third of the species mentioned in the report are sold in Asian markets.

[The Scotsman] - January 23, 2009 - The world's largest wave farm is to be built off the Western Isles, in a major boost to Scotland's aspiration to becoming a world leader in renewables.

Permission has been granted for a huge green energy device, operated by the power of the waves, to be constructed off Lewis.

The 4MW Siadar Wave Energy Project, which is is to be constructed 400 metres offshore, will provide enough electricity to power about 1,800 homes.

The GBP 30 million project was approved yesterday by Alex Salmond, the First Minister, who said it was another step towards Scotland leading the world in marine renewable energy.

Npower Renewables and Wavegen, which are behind the scheme, hope it will be completed by 2011.

This would be the first commercial-scale wave farm in Scotland, and would be larger than the Pelamis scheme off Portugal - the only other similar project.

Mr Salmond said: 'This is proof of Scotland's unique opportunities in renewables and evidence that we are already on the way to seizing every opportunity to maximise our natural resources and capability to generate clean, green energy.'

And he said the renewables sector was a key strength of Scotland's economy and one that continues to grow through the current downturn.

The scheme is expected to create up to 70 jobs in the Western Isles.

Jason Ormiston, the chief executive of Scottish Renewables, the green energy trade body, said: 'The marine technology of the future has today taken solid steps towards full commercial realisation.

'The planning system has, at times, been a major barrier to renewables development in Scotland, but this timely decision by government should send a confident message to marine developers that Scotland maintains a world-leading role in marine energy.'

However, Patrick Harvie, a Green MSP, said the small scale of the project was 'a stark illustration of the failure of successive Scottish administrations to provide enough support for wave and tidal power.'

He added: 'It would take 340 schemes on this scale to replace just the single nuclear plant at Torness.

'If the First Minister is serious about ending Scotland's dependence on nuclear power he'll need to up his game on marine renewables.'

FACT BOX

THE wave-power device will be about 250m long and will resemble a large wall out at sea.

Inside the hollow concrete casing there will be more than 35 turbines, powered by the movement of the waves.

The construction will weigh about 30,000 tonnes and will be attached permanently to the ocean floor.

This is likely to present a huge logistical challenge because of the high winds and powerful currents.

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[IPS/GIN via COMTEX] - January 23, 2009 - REYKJAVIK, Iceland, An advertisement has again fueled the question of what's best for whales vs. what's best for people.

'Start whaling' proclaimed the full-page advertisement that appeared in Icelandic newspapers in early January.

The ad was placed by Marine Exploitation, a consortium of municipalities, fishing associations and trade unions associated with fisheries that calls for the sensible exploitation of natural resources.

It calls on the Icelandic government to ensure that whaling in Iceland starts this summer, within the limits that the Marine Research Institute (MRI) has recommended for certain species.

'There are 350,000 cetaceans, large and small, in the ocean around Iceland,' states the advertisement. 'Every year these eat about 6 million metric tons [6.6 million tons] of biomass, 2 million metric tons [2.2 million tons] of which is fish,' it continues.

Dolphins and porpoises are included under the 'cetaceans' umbrella.

But where do these figures come from, and are they accurate?

Gisli Vikingsson, Head of Whale Research at MRI, said the figure of 350,000 cetaceans is indeed accurate as it was the average total number for counts done between 1987 and 1995 of the 12 cetacean species that are found regularly around Iceland. In 1995, 62,000 of those were minke whales.

'The total figure is actually considered an underestimation, as the smaller cetaceans tend to be underestimated in counts that are based primarily on the large whales,' Vikingsson said.

In the last count for whale populations around Iceland in 2007, only a part of the area was surveyed due to bad weather conditions and sea ice, according to Vikingsson.

'The number of minke whales was only 10-15,000, which is much lower than in earlier counts. This is not considered a decrease, but rather a shift in distribution within the population area [which extends from East Greenland through Iceland to east of Jan Mayen]. Nevertheless, we at the MRC changed our whaling recommendations for minke whales from 400 down to 100 because much of the area was not surveyed,' Vikingsson said.

Counting of a limited area was carried out last summer, and the figures seemed to reflect earlier totals prior to 2007. A new count will be carried out this summer, Vikingsson said. 'Recommendations for a minke quota for 2009 will be given out in the next few months.'

'We want to take 200 minke whales and 150 fin whales, which are within the limits recommended by the MRI,' said Gunnar Bergmann Jcnsson from the Association of Minke Whale Hunters (AMWH). He was referring to 2008 limits.

The quota for minke whales in 2008 was 40, of which 39 were caught. No fin whales were caught last year.

Fin whales are caught by the company Hvalur (meaning 'whale') whereas fishermen from the AMWH catch minke whales from small boats.

The ad implies that cetaceans are eating fish that humans could otherwise catch. As Jonsson said, 'About half of the diet of minke whales is composed of white fish, such as cod and haddock, while fin whales primarily eat planktonic krill -- the main food of cod and haddock. Thus these whales are both eating from cod and haddock and, in the case of minke whales, actually eating cod and haddock that humans could otherwise catch.'

But Vikingsson raises questions about these figures.

'Obviously hunting of this magnitude will not have an immediate effect, either now or within a few years. But looking to the long term [decades], preliminary results indicate that hunting to this degree could have a considerable effect on the yield of fish populations [20 percent less long-term yield of the cod population], at least in reference to the population models that most scientists adhere to, including those from the IWC,' Vikingsson said.

'But great uncertainty reigned over these figures, not least in the calculations for minke whales,' he added.

Arni Finnsson from the Iceland Nature Conservation Association has a different viewpoint on the diet of whales. 'Actually there is now good agreement among scientists that we just don't know whether fewer or greater numbers of whales would mean more or less fish,' he said. 'In 2003, the IWC Scientific Committee agreed that for no system at present are we in the position to provide quantitative management advice on the impact of cetaceans on fisheries, or of fisheries on cetaceans.'

Is there a market for the whale meat? 'There will not be a problem with selling the meat. In Japan the market is large enough for the sale of a lot more meat to be no problem. Eighty percent of the minke whale meat and all of the fin whale meat will go to Japan,' Jonsson said.

But Finnsson is not so sure. 'Whale meat in Japan is a luxury product. It is a luxury product for generations that grew up after World War II and became used to whale meat which was cheap at that time,' he said. 'The market in Japan has contracted, and there are large stocks of whale meat in freezers. In addition, one could mention that the minke whale meat from Norway, which was transported by air from Iceland to Japan last May, is still in customs. It has not been sold. Therefore, to claim that there is a market for imported minke whale meat in Japan is, at best, premature.'

All the Icelandic minke whale meat last year went to the domestic market.

In Norway in December a quota was given out for 885 minke whales for the coming summer, a decrease from the 1,052 minke whales that were authorized for catch the year before.
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John Sackton - Jan 22, 2008 - The announcement yesterday that all federal rule making will be suspended until reviewed by the incoming administration may have specific impacts in the seafood industry.

According to Dick Gutting, writing in Urner Barry's Foreign Trade Data Alert, the memorandum states:

1) No proposed or final rules are to be sent to the Federal Register until they have been reviewed and approved by an agency or department head appointed or designated by President Obama (there are certain exceptions for Defense Department matters);

2) Proposed or final rules at the Federal Register are to be withdrawn until they can be approved or reviewed as described above;

3) Agencies are to 'consider extending for 60 days the effective date of regulations that have been published but have not yet taken effect . . . for purposes of reviewing questions of law and policy raised by those regulations.' If an extension is provided, the agency is to reopen the comment period for 30 days.

4) These directions do not apply to regulations subject to statutory or judicial deadlines.

Gutting says that NMFS must now 'consider' whether to delay enforcement of the new minimum size limit for imported spiny lobster.

He also says that delays also are possible in the issuance of any rules governing the future inspection of catfish by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
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Tsukiji reopened tuna auctions to the public this week, with flyers about bad behavior
SEAFOOD.COM NEWS [Japan Times, Tokyo] By Mariko Kato

Jan. 22--The Tsukiji fish market, one of Tokyo's most popular tourist attractions, reopened its early morning tuna auctions to the public Monday after a monthlong ban.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government, which runs the gigantic wholesale market in Chuo Ward, temporarily banned onlookers, 90 percent of whom are foreign tourists, from the tuna trading floor Dec. 15, citing visitors' bad behavior among other reasons. The ban ended Saturday, and the first auctions took place Monday.

'We decided to reopen because we had said we would only close for a month,' said Yoshiaki Takagi, deputy head of the venue, officially called the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market.

Even after the ban was imposed, a few dozen people a day continued to show up in hopes of catching a glimpse of the bidding, Takagi said. Before the temporary closure, as many as 500 people would watch the auctions.

'We were so lucky that we were able to see the auctions today,' said Danish visitor Rikke Grundtvig, who was one of a group of international MBA students on a study visit from the Berlin School of Creative Leadership at Steinbeis University Berlin.

'We have many nationalities in our group, South African, Brazilian, American, and we all wanted to see the fish this morning before we started studying,' she said.

The central observation area, which measures about 30 sq. meters and has room for about 60 people, opened at 5 a.m. with the auctions starting at 5:30 a.m.

Security guards were deployed on the auction floor and handbills in five languages outlining acceptable behavior were distributed to observers.

According to Takagi, media reports that cited visitors' poor behavior as the main reason for the tentative ban were not entirely accurate.

'We closed mainly because around the New Year's period the auctions get very busy. More trucks pass through the market and it gets dangerous,' he said, adding it is difficult for the auctioneers to walk around the observation area.

But Takagi acknowledged that onlookers were causing a hygiene risk and disruptions.

'Some tried to touch the fish and used flash photography, which made it difficult for the auctioneers to see the buyers, who signal by hand,' he said.

Last April the market established rules urging visitors to voluntarily 'refrain from coming.' But, Takagi said, 'these measures weren't very effective.'

'It's shocking that tourists would try to touch the fish. If I were running the market I would have shut it down, too,' said a visitor from Los Angeles who identified himself only as David. 'But it would have been a real shame if the auctions had been closed today, as it's been the highlight of my Japan trip so far.'

Tsukiji market did not set out to be a tourist attraction, Takagi said. 'It's first and foremost a place of work,' he said, though adding he wants tourists to watch because 'it reflects Japanese food culture'.

The metro government announced Thursday that Tsukiji market will move to a new location in Koto Ward in 2014. The next venue will be more welcoming to visitors, Takagi said.

To see more of the Japan Times or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.japantimes.co.jp/.


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[Copyright 2009 States News Service] - January 22, 2009 -
BRUSSELS, BelgiumThe Fisheries Committee is arguing for the elimination of lethal whaling for scientific purposes and the maintenance of the global moratorium on commercial whaling.

In a report adopted on Wednesday, MEPs call for the EU to work towards obtaining a 'universal agreement' on whaling.

Almost one in four cetacean (whale, dolphin and porpoise) species are currently regarded as under threat, with nine species listed as either endangered or critically endangered, and the status of others remains unclear. According to the report drawn up by Elspeth Attwooll (ALDE, UK), although some whale populations have recovered somewhat since the introduction of the moratorium in 1986, others have not and their ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions remains unknown.

Exceptions to the current moratorium

The present moratorium applies only to commercial whaling. In addition to the exception for aboriginal whaling, scientific research can be undertaken under special permits which are issued by the country undertaking the research. Not all members of the International Whaling Commission (20 out of 27 EU Member States are members of the IWC) have signed up to the moratorium so commercial whaling still takes place.

'There are suggestions, too, that the commercial use of whale meat is a by-product of scientific whaling', says Ms Attwooll.

The Fisheries Committee is calling on the Council, the Commission and those Member States participating in the working group of the IWC to work toward the achievement of an 'universal agreement' on whaling.

The tragic history of commercial whaling, combined with the numerous threats currently faced by whale populations, means, says the committee, that the EU must promote the highest level of protection for whales at a global level.

Maintain global moratorium on commercial whaling and end scientific whaling

MEPs support the maintenance of the global moratorium on commercial whaling and a ban on international commercial trade in whale products. They seek to end 'scientific whaling' and support the designation of substantial regions of ocean and seas as sanctuaries in which all whaling is indefinitely prohibited.

The committee notes that the EU Habitats Directive defining the Community position with respect to whales (and dolphins) 'would not allow the resumption of commercial whaling in respect of any stock of whales in EU waters'.

The report accepts the need for a limited amount of hunting to be done by those with a tradition of hunting whales for their own sustenance, but calls for much greater emphasis on research into, and the employment of, humane killing methods. The committee calls for any such hunting to take place only with 'clear quotas' and 'under strict controls'.

More Marine Protected Areas

MEPs call also for the establishment, in suitable locations around the world, of more Marine Protected Areas in which whales would receive special protection and for the use of more selective fishing gear to avoid by-catches of other species, particularly cetaceans. Threats to the cetacean population arising from climate change, pollution, ship strikes, fishing gear, anthropogenic ocean noise (including sonar, seismic surveys and vessel noise) and other hazards should also be tackled outside such protected areas. The Fisheries Committee considers that the Commission should, in advance of global action, bring forward further proposals to counter such threats in respect of EU waters and EU vessels.

The Commission should also define a revised regulatory framework for the practice of whale-watching that protects the economic and social interests of coastal regions where this activity is carried out, taking account of its recent development, MEPs say.
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