Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Monday, February 03, 2014: One might think this drab and down-pourish day might qualify for an “awful little day” rating. Oh, fully contraire. This day is working it’s ass off to our extreme benefit. There had been enough excess salt on the Boulevard to allow speed tests, a la Bonneville Salt Flats.
It’s funny the way folks run me through the ringer for getting salt all over my vehicle by driving on the beach. The material they now put on the roads to melt the frozen muck makes normal sea salt look like baby powder. Ask any mechanic.
Easily as significant, this damn decent rain is just that, rain. Talk about a gift. By mid-morning, we’re pushing about well over an inch of sky liquid. That would be 10 inches of wet snow, 12 inches of dry.
What’s more, this rain is putting a thawing on long-frozen ground. That’s great news for many folks needing repairs (or rebuilds) but having their builders stymied by the inability to get through frozen ground.
So, embrace the chill and wetness of this day.
Mightn’t we switch over to snow and find ourselves back in the winter soup? Quite possibly. But being cleanly bathed in rainwater for even short stint is fine feeling this growingly awful winter.
DROOL BOWL: What an awful little Super Bowl. Oh, I knew the Seattle defense would break its playoff slump. Last night they showed what wins the biggest games: Defense – and some of the worst-ass playing a Super Bowl team (Denver) has ever displayed.
Warned about possible horrid weather for the game, the Broncos instead experienced a perfect storm of ineptitude from the first play onward.
A little sidelight I focused on was the catastrophe for businesses that had their multimillion dollar Super Bowl “spots” (commercials) played later in the game – thinking it would be a cliffhanger with folks riveted to their sets – only to see upwards of one-third of the viewing audience gone, having switched to the likes of the far more interesting Downton Abbey. It seems that Seattle Seahawks once took a team trip to “Omaha” – and hated it there.
Checks out this shark finning factory: http://ecowatch.com/2014/01/31/group-exposes-biggest-shark-slaughte....
Want something totally different to toy with this trapped-inside winter? Check out a group I’m in with: http://www.arrowheads2013.com/q-vi-05.html. It’s an Indian artifact collecting group --- offering cool tales of being on the “arrowhead” trail. The group is also heavily into flint napping, i.e., making arrowheads from scratch. Loads of YouTubes on flint napping. The cool thing is you don’t need major tools or even exotic materials. I sometimes flint nap using pieces of everyday glass. As you might guess, this is one pastime that demands eye protection at all times.
There’s a movement afoot to persuade The Weather Channel to cease naming winter storms. For some reason, it really pisses off certain people. Of course, there is now a rapidly growing number of people who are perpetually pissed off at everything in sight and beyond – going so far as being horrifically pissed off when they can’t find something to be really pissed off over. It might be some sorta bacteria.
I’m not that impressed with the winter storm naming process only because it somehow diminishes from the integrity and tradition of naming tropical systems. Generally speaking, though, TWC’s name-that-storm strategy is a wash. Ain’t that bad, ain’t that good.
Admittedly, the winter storm naming is yet another marketing tool/gimmick by The Weather Channel, which is fighting to keep its place on cable. And the famed weather watch station is in a bit of a bind, as its rising fees are sending some cable networks packing. Quick to fill in any TWC vacuum is something called Weather Nation, at http://weathernationtv.com/LocalWeather.
Important fishery news:
Battle lines over Magnuson spelled out in Pew Conference call before hearing this week
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [The Press of Atlantic City] by Richard Degener - Feb 3, 2014
Proposed changes to the nation’s primary fishing law will mean stocks take longer to rebuild and, in the long run, will hurt the marine environment and cost the fishing industry jobs.
Or, the revisions will not hurt fish stocks, even as they take longer to rebuild; there is no harm to the environment; and immediate jobs will be created or in some cases saved.
These differing views are emerging as environmental groups and the fishing industry draw battle lines over changes to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
The Magnuson Act, which controls fishing from 3 to 200 miles offshore, dates to 1976 but was last reauthorized in 2006. It expired in 2013.
The act controls catches of scallops, bluefish, surf clams, squid, porgy and numerous other species off the southern New Jersey coast including Cape May, the second largest fishing port on the East Coast; Barnegat Light; Atlantic City; Belford; and Point Pleasant.
The latest reauthorization is set to be discussed next week before the House Committee on Natural Resources. The chairman, U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., has a plan to ease up on stock rebuilding to help fishermen immediately.
Hastings calls it the “Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act.” It is widely supported by both the commercial and recreational fishing industries in southern New Jersey.
But environmental groups, in a telephone press conference on Friday, called it the “Empty Oceans Act.” Easing up on plans for rebuilding stocks could translate into anglers getting to keep more fish or catching smaller ones. It could mean commercial fishermen get larger quotas. The environmental groups argue this could come at a cost in the future.
The Magnuson revisions in 1996 and 2006 put in strong language to rebuild stocks. They prevented overfishing by having marine scientists come up with catch limits that fishery managers were required to follow. There were strict accountability measures. Green groups want to keep it that way and not return to the management before the revisions.
Lee Crockett, director of U.S Oceans for The Pew Charitable Trusts, said that since 2000, the stocks of 34 fish species have been rebuilt, and the number of species subject to overfishing has declined from 72 to 26.
“The Hastings proposal would reinstate a management system that too often ignored science, succumbed to political pressure and delayed action to restore vulnerable fish populations. This contributed to overfishing that drove the collapse of many fisheries in the 1980s and early 1990s,” Crockett said. Fishermen, however, often question the science used in the process and argue the act has taken away jobs as catches are cut back. Even when stocks are rebuilding, they argue, they are seldom allowed to increase their catches.
“If the goal of Magnuson was to grow fish stocks, then it was a success. It was not the goal. It was designed to have fish and to create a robust fishing community. If you don’t have fishermen, then Magnuson is not a success. Magnuson is only providing positive results for half the equation,” said Jim Hutchinson, of the Recreational Fishing Alliance.
RFA Executive Director Jim Donofrio said the 10-year rebuilding for each species the Magnuson revisions called for “is an arbitrary number” that has kept fishermen off the water.
“It was pulled out of a hat,” Donofrio said. “In a dynamic marine environment, there is no time frame. If stocks are on an upward trend, let us go fishing. We’re going to get behind Doc’s bill. It’s a good start.” Changes are also supported by the commercial industry. “I think most of us feel we’re already solved overfishing, for the most part,” said Jeff Kaelin, of Lund’s Fisheries in the Port of Cape May.
Kaelin said the revisions called for taking all species to their Maximum Sustainable Yield, or MSY, but he noted doing that with some species, such as dogfish sharks, resulted in the sharks eating the babies of more valuable species, such as cod. He said the Hastings proposal even fails to address this problem. “If you’re concerned about dogfish eating cod larvae, you might what to fish dogfish down below MSY, and this bill doesn’t allow it. The bill doesn’t go far enough to allow ecosystem management to occur,” Kaelin said.
Crockett disagrees with Kaelin on the MSY argument and says it should not be used to “kill a certain fish we don’t like or think is too abundant.” He does agree more ecosystem management is needed.
Crockett said fishery management should protect fish habitat, avoid incidental catches of nontarget species and save forage fish the larger, more valuable species feed on. He is concerned the Hastings bill allows fish councils to deal with endangered species issues, such as marine mammal incidental catches, instead of governing them by thorough reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA.
Rick Marks, an attorney for the fishing industry who will testify before the House committee next week, said the industry just “needs some tweaks” and not sweeping reforms.
He said the Hastings proposal doesn’t end efforts to end overfishing but allows more time, up to three years, if there are “social and economic consequences” from immediate cutbacks. He disputed the environmental view that there will be long-range costs.
“Under-fishing is costing the country more money than overfishing, in lost yield,” Marks said. He also noted The National Academy of Sciences in a report last year said the 10-year rebuilding was arbitrary and harmful to the industry. Marks said the Hastings bill bases the time frame on biological data. He also supports new measures Hastings wants to put on fisheries run by catch-shares, a system where fishermen are given a share of a fishery, and no new entrants are allowed. Marks represented fishermen in Barnegat Light who created the golden tilefish fishery, only to see a new catch-share program give it to Long Island fishermen.
“A $10 million fishery went to three fishermen at one dock in New York. You can only put your hand on the hot stove once,” Marks said.
The next possible catch-share in New Jersey is for monkfish. Hastings wants to give fishermen a vote on whether a new catch-share program is set up.
Oyster lover rejoice:
Whereabouts of Gulf of Maine cod a mystery since waters have recently warmed 3 to 5 degrees
SEAFOOD.COM NEWS [ABC] - November 11, 2013 -
PORTLAND, Maine —Researchers are saying the weather has caused unprecedented challenges for commercial fisheries in Maine.
A new study said that the water temperature in the Gulf of Maine is warming, and that warmer water is bringing new fish species, while others are disappearing.
Scientists said cod, for example, have disappeared from some gulf waters, and they aren't sure where they went.
Captain Mike Russo has fished off of Cape Cod since 1984, but this year he moved his operation to Portland.
"I came to Maine this year because the fish have pretty much evaporated from the Cape where I fished for a long time," said Russo.
Russo said a couple of warm years have increased the water temperature in the Gulf of Maine. He said the fish are on the move and it has made for some rough years for fishermen.
"My gut's telling me it's cyclical. It's just a matter if you don't bleed out before they come back, and things get better again," said Russo.
The Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland is tracking the changes. Scientists report a three-to-five degree increase in water temperature since 2012 and it is having a trickle-down effect.
"Cod have disappeared. We don't know where they've gone. Potentially in deep waters. The Canadians aren't finding them in their surveys either, so it's a bit of a mystery as to where they've gone to," said scientist John Annala.
Some southern species of fish are popping up more often, like Atlantic mackerel and black sea bass.
Some of these species are managed by a quota and others require a permit to catch.
"Even if they move up here, and are available to fisherman, fisherman are not legally allowed to keep them," said Russo.
Russo also said it would be too costly to invest in gear and permits to catch another species of fish after years of catching groundfish.
Researchers said they hope their findings can help improve fish management and enable fishermen to continue their livelihood.