Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

March 25, 09 -- Weekly column -- Editorial stuff

Seals Fates Sealed;
Holgate Hallucinations

Well, it looks like members of the Canadian parliament have turned their attentions from their wives and concentrated on beating baby seals instead. (Can you tell this is gonna be kinda editorial?)
That frozen-brained nation’s Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea announced Friday that Canada will allow baby seal bludgeoners to kill 338,200 young-of-year animals in 2009. That’s 55,000 more bashed brains than last year. Maybe there’s not a recession in the Great White Fur-coated North.
Shea, buttressed by the commercial fishing industry -- claiming the seals are eating all the fish, preventing a comeback -- is waving the old standby excuse that “Our scientists made us do it.”
Let me get this straight, fishermen harvested billions (yes, billions) of pounds of Canadian groundfish over the past decade but it’s those damn seals ruining the stocks. It sure seems we’re dealing with more than just seals with compromised brains.
Animal rights groups, including some seriously sincere ones (I happen to be a member of the SPCA), were royally pissed over not just the continuation of the seal hunt but the increase in the kill. The clubbers were, of course, all orgasmy over the prospect of smashing the life out of even more ill fated young’uns.
Friendly critique: What kinda frickin sick-o guys can club baby seals to death?
And I can say “guys” with little fear of being accused of sexism -- though I just know there’s this one moosey crew-cut gal up in the city hissing, “I have you know, Mr. Mann, women are just as qualified and capable of clubbing baby seals to death as men.”
Yeah, right. Hell, I’ve seen how women react when trying to put a hook through a fishing worm. It’s tough to envision any female smashing skull after skull of newborn seals – though, for moosey gal’s sake, I’ll stretch my imagination and conjure up the picture of a intricately mascara-ed gal on her first seal hunt, meticulously decked out in her white L.L. Bean “Seal killing” ensemble, replete with a cap that reads, “Baby Seals Fear Me,” with her eyes squished shut, her head turned sideways and taking tepid swipes with the club, screaming, “Oh, I can’t! I can’t! (Aimless swing) There. Is it dead yet?”
And a nearby burly blood-splattered male bludgeoner saying, “Nope, Darlin’, you haven’t come close to it yet. In fact, the little critter is rubbing up against your Ugg boots. Seems to think you’re its mamma. Hey, everybody, check this out, she ain’t killin’ ‘em, she’s adoptin’ ‘em.” Raucous hilarity from an army of seal batterers, who quickly resume their swinging ways, singing “99 club-battered seals on the ground, 99 club-battered seals, you smack one down and skin it around, 98 club-battered seals on the ground.”
Anyway, this seal clubbing is a man thing, but far from manly. In fact, you can’t tell me these guys are normal in the head. I’m guessing they’re from the shallowest end of the human gene pool. In fact, aren’t cavemen depicted as lugging around big-ass clubs? Hmmm.
I choke on the line that killing 338,000 baby seals is just a job, one that boosts the economy. My guess is all those brain bashers more than neutralize the amount they add to the Canadian economy when they have to tap that country’s socialized medicine for costly psychiatric treatments. There is now a condition known in the medical realm as posttraumatic seal-clubbing disorder, PTSD, marked by a sufferer’s explicable urge to handle all life’s difficulties by clubbing everything and everybody at the drop of a hat – providing the to-be-clubbed target is fully incapable of fighting back.
In fact, here’s a transcript from an actual PTSD patient (or not):
Clubber: “Doc, I club the bejeezus out of baby seals for a living and when I try to go to sleep at night I close my eyes and all I see are little seal faces staring at me.”
Doc: “Imagine that.”
Clubber: “I’ll try”
Doc: “I’ll tell ya what. Why don’t you get real comfortable on that couch over there. Now close your eyes. You seein’ little seal pup faces?”
Clubber: “Yep, here they come now.”
Doc: “Good. What I’m going to try is a new and controversial headbreaking, I mean groundbreaking treatment devised by a Doctor C. Howellit Feels. So, you just stay all comfy while I walk over and take a solid hold of this heavy marble-based trophy I received for lifelong service to the SPCA and I’ll just mosey to the end of the couch right above you. You ready?”
Clubber: “Sure am, Doc.”
Doc: “There, how that feel?”
Clubber “Wow, amazing. All the seal faces are gone and I see these bright colors and now, look, all these flashing images from my past. There’s my kindergarten teacher, Miss Martha. ‘Hi, Miss Martha.’ …”
“Imagine that.”
(End friendly critique)
Seriously, though, you’re telling me a person can be right in the head after killing thousands of seal pups?
And where the **** are all these hotshot PETA people? They’re all cocky and self-congratulatory when dramatically throwing fake blood on women in $2,000 Alexander McQueen heels walking down Avenue of The Americas wearing furs but notice these die-for-animal types aren’t quite so arrogant when it comes to going up to Labrador and standing between the clubbers and the clubees. Of course, PETA spokesperson k.d. lang, a Canadian, promises to write a real nasty song about seal bashing, once she makes a final choice on her gender and then tracks down who the hell stole the capital letters to her name.
Speaking of going up north to the killing fields, I have this morbid desire to just once sit around in the bar where all the clubber hang out during seal season, just to see how many times a night one of the smashed guys yells out, “Bartender, gimme another CLUB soda!” to peels of mindless laughter.
By the by, anti-seal hunt folks got some dramatic support this week from, of all the bleedin’ places, the Kremlin, where Prime Minister Vladimir Putin vociferously banned the hunting of “whitecoat” seals. Those are baby seals under one year old -- and the very favorite of head-smashers. At the same time, Putin said he intends on soon banning the hunting of all seals under one-year-old.
Not mincing any words, Russian Environment Minister Yuri Trutnev said the “bloody sight of the seal hunting ... that you cannot even call a real hunt, is banned in our country just as in most developed countries.”
You go, comrade. Take that Canada.
(Boy, has history changed. When I was growing up, Khrushchev took off his shoe and banged it on the podium as an attack on America’s nuclear weapons policy, now a Russian leader is banging his shoe on the podium to go after guys wielding clubs in Siberia. Gives a whole new meaning to the Cold War.)
PS: European Union's parliament has imposed skintight regulations on the importing of seal products because of the cruel hunting methods.
HOLGATE HALLUCINATIONS: The following is not one of your everyday tales of nudity in Holgate. Hey, I’ve seen more than a few in-the-buff folks splashing in the suds of the far south end. But in March, with 48-degree water, with someone high on magic mushrooms? That’s kinda a new one on me, though I was on Maui for much of the Sixties so I might have missed a drug-crazed Holgate nudist or two.
As I first heard the story, a male, naked as a jaybird (whatever the hell that means) was seen running the beaches of Holgate, adjacent to the Forsythe Wildlife Refuge. Clothing evidence, later recovered by police, indicated the man began his bare-ass escapade way down at the 6,500-foot mark.
The male, in his early 20s, eventually came running out of wilderness and onto the famed end-of-Boulevard parking lot area. It was quickly apparent this was not a happy-go-lucky spring break streaker but a mind-bent overdoser, plainly panicked.
Reaching the house-holding area of Holgate, I was first told he randomly picked a home where he ran up and pounded on the door. When the surely shocked homeowner responded, the clothing-free fellow screamed he was dying after, by his own freaked out admission, he had taken “magic mushrooms.”
Obviously, this man was not mentally prepared for the rush of psilocin in such “shrooms,” a popular nickname used by those favoring fungus as a means to psychotic sojourns.
No, I have no personal insights into this (or any drug) but as I researched magic mushrooms I was astounded at the huge number of books on the subject everything from how to grow the things, eat them, experience them and, I’m sure somewhere, how to run around naked thinking you’re dying on them.
Sidebar: I have to pause here to ponder, as I’m sure most folks would, what I would do if a hallucinating butt naked man pounded on my door claiming to be wounded by magic mushrooms. Since I’ve become a bit suspicious of folks, i.e. the entire world is definitely out to get me, I’d see through that disguise right away.
Bam! Bam! Bam!
“Yes, and what can I do for you, naked young man seemingly crazed on some hallucinogenic fungal matter?”
“Oh, sir, help me. I’ve eaten magic mushrooms and now I’m being chased by a creature with the body of an iguana and the face of Reverend Al Shapton. I think I’m dying!”
“Oh, sure you are – and if I buy just five subscriptions from a list of over 1000 popular magazines you’re offering, the psilocybin gods will swoop down and miraculously save you from Reverend Iguana, right? Well, buddy, this isn’t my first rodeo so you can just get the hell outta … Hey, wait a minute. Is that-there Maxxim magazine on your list? I’ve been thinkin' about, maybe, a trial year or two. Why don’t you come on in. I’ll get you a towel.”
Anyway, turns out this fellow finally went down in a heaving heap of hallucinations and inner horrors, somewhere in the parking lot. After being treated by police and paramedics, he was transported to SOCH, where modern medicine helped him tiptoe through the fanged tulips. He was released the following day with no apparent long-term affect, though I’m thinking he should, until further notice, avoid any images of Sharpton. I feel kinda bad for the guy and would invite him down for a future fishing trip if I weren’t so worried he’d pull out a bloodworm, flashback, and begin ripping all his clothes off.
Police say the zoomin’ shroomer – and another fellow, who also “shroomed’ but stayed clothed within a car -- could be charged with a number of misdemeanors. They both claim the incident was a spring break thing gone awry.
DREDGING WILL DING MIGRATION: You may have seen on my website (http://jaymanntoday.ning.com/) that Mill Creek is about to be dredged. What had been one of the finest white perch years on record will be sucked clean away, I fear.
The Reader’s Digest version is this: For two years Stafford Township has been working to get permits to deepen the Mill Creek channel, which had silted in heavily, primarily where the clean freshwater flow of the creek pours into the brackish waters of the lagoon. This year, the municipality finally got all the needed permits and recently clear-cut a dredge material placement area on township property next to its Jennings Avenue community center. That’s when anglers and concerned citizens began to realize the bottom disrupting work would be taking place right when spawn-eager anadromous fish, including American eels, white perch and blueback herring were coming upstream. The American Littoral Society quickly latched onto the matter, as did independent fact-seekers.
The township officials, when advised of the eco-crisis dredging could create, were far more concerned with the fact that dredging contracts had been signed and the work about to commence – with huge penalties if the township were to break contracts at the last second.
Attention quickly swung to the DEP, which had permitted the dredging. A higher up in that department was brutally frank when he said, “We dropped the ball.” Turns out all the proper people, within the Division of Fish and Wildlife, did not see Stafford Township’s permit requests.
That sucks at the state level, but I can’t believe the town, with some supposed environmentalists on its commission, was clueless to the conflict of fish and the boating needs of lagooners. And to think the township leadership (Republicans) is running its upcoming election from an eco-green angle, claiming it has wonderfully preserved the environment over the past 20 years. I won’t even get editorial on that issue. I’ll let you look around the township and decide how well the current politicos have maintained the look and feel of a quaint bayside community, a municipality one with its natural surroundings.
Here’s a related email.
“Not just because I live on Mill Creek Road, no no, across the street from the creek, I am interested in details on the dredging. Where are they working, what is the scope of the project? How the hell did they get permission to do it without half the world knowing? It always amazes me how stuff gets done down there….”
You’ve got me. I think there may be some serious fallout for this – and during an election year. I did hear that the land area at the end of the trail adjacent to the community center is going to be the deposit point for spoils. How they got that permission is interesting (if it’s true) since that is impacting the actual Mill Creek itself. I’m also told that curtains will be used to reduce the dispersion of mud into the waters. These are technically called turbidity or silt curtains and are prescribed by both federal and state governments to reduce the flow of suspended particulates into water adjacent to the likes of dredge projects. Might these reduce the murkiness in the Mill channels and Mill Creek waters? We’ll soon find out. By the by, the dredge spoils have a ton of leachate, as in drippage. All that runoff is going to be collected and redirected into a purification system and eventually into a sewer pipe, to be expelled near Jennings – somewhere. Exact locale unknown.
I want to add a nonpolitical scientific point. Fish migrations are still fairly mysterious, despite loads of scientific efforts to track and record them. The complexities arise when trying to pinpoint the way, say, anadromous fish find their ways hundreds if not thousands of miles back to their natal streams, places of birth.
It is known that celestial cues, in the skies above, are used for big migratory moves by fish. But when homing in on that tiny natal stream, celestial leads are too imprecise. That’s when the likes of olfactory cues – akin to the smells of home – kick in. Each fish seems to have the beyond-astounding ability to find its natal stream by processing the slightest of chemical signatures from that stream, even when that signature is diluted in larger bodies of water. Combining with olfactory cues are electromagnetic cues for nights or days that are cloudy. Relating the above cues to the Mill Creek dredging, the chemical cue, likely the most important, is surely wrought asunder, as an overdose of bottom material permeates the lagoon. That leaves only the electromagnetic cues. Will all that dredging equipment screw those cues? Likely not. But will the migrating fish be willing to head into unfamiliar smelling waters based on magnetic stimuli alone? Highly unlikely. It’s not a good scene – and bad news for future fishing when the generation of fish lost to the dredging leave a huge gap in eel, herring and perch numbers.

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