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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Monday, July 31, 2017: Back to relative normalcy in ocean and sky ...

Once again, the superior mind of man over squirrel ... 

Squirrel jump fail

Image result for man runs into wall gif

You better hide ... I'll be getting you very soon, like next week or whenever. 

Time-lapse dandelion closing

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Need info ... Jay, got half way across the bay from SC and saw this baby term in the water with his parents frantic above. I was able to net him and sailed to the marsh land on Cedar Bonnet to get him on dry ground. Bird had two bracelets, one S73 but the other metal tag was unreadable. Parents did not follow my boat. Hope it does not become gull appetizers.  Do you know where I can let the tagging agency know of their juvenile?

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Monday, July 31, 2017: Back to relative normalcy in ocean and sky. Surf has dropped to three feet and under, though water is still dingy from the blow.

If there is a dead fishing period during our March to December fishing season, it’s August, especially if it comes in hot and heavy (humidity), which I assure you will be the case. While fluking is the go-to gamefish in close, there was a time that tiny snapper blues could be fun. Haven’t seen those tiny-hook summer days in many a moon but we’ll eventually see something from the ongoing showing of massive slammer schools. They are breeders. If you’re a crabbing type, why not throw out a snapper-popper or bobbered offering to see if those mini-snappers are in the August mix.

I have to think the kingfish, which are very speedy spawners, might be hanging in the wash and deeper beachside holes throughout the month. Who knows, there could even be some croakers and spot in the panfish mix. Not many surfcasters go with small enough set-ups to nab swash fish, which is a huge mainstay summer/fall fishery down North Carolina way. With all this talk of climate change, NC’s fisheries should be inching up this way.

By the by, Harvey Cedars should remain hot on the kingfish front due to a reshowing of summer coquina clams, by the millions. I’m not sure why that Island area annually holds the lion’s share of these colorful mini-clams but I’ve been seeing loads of them while playing beach volleyball thereabouts.

Combine the coquinas with the explosive hatches of sand crabs (mole crabs) in HC and it would make a smorgasbord for pompano. Yes, we get them up here. The problem is they’re not much larger than a freshwater sunfish, at most. I’ve netted as many as 40 in a single castnet throw. I only once found one worthy of a filleting, a solid one-pounder -- but, it looked at me all pathetic, with that puckered little pompano mouth, so I let it go. In Florida, pompano can go for $20 a pound.

Togging is tough, even with only one allowable take. Despite some great blackfish catches in-season -- Nov. 16 through April – this fishery remains in hot water, survival-wise. It could be anything, from loss of eelgrass nurseries to too many fluke sucking down young-of-year -- or who knows what else. The species just isn’t making much of a comeback despite years of tightening conservation.

When high tides and early mornings align, there are small bass in the surf; nothing large but willing to grab small jigs. A 26-incher went for a Ava.

Fluking in Barnegat Inlet is on fire. I’m not big on hyping fluke spots since I have no doubt we’re already approaching our legal NJ poundage but I can’t overlook the hot hooking going on – including right off the BL rocks. Plus, I feel good when I e-receive, “Jay, thanks for the tip. We caught eight large fluke off the jetty. In the past I had never caught one. All on Gulp. Had to run and buy more. Took our time releasing shorts. Hope this keeps up.”  

I’m wondering what is in the bellies of inlet fluke. I doubt I’ll hear much feedback on that since the stomachs of flatfish are close their mouths. They regurgitate faster than any other gamefish. 

Notice how close a fluke's mouth is to its stomach. 

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Check this out at Fisherman's Magazine -- and subscribe. It's imperative to keep fishing publications like this up and running. 

http://www.thefisherman.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=feature.display&am...

U.S. Senate to discuss Magnuson reauthorization on Tuesday - more on the efforts to reform our federal fisheries law & what recreational fishermen are up against at The Fisherman homepage.

Rep. Frank Pallone and Sen. Bob Menendez make the rounds in Atlantic Highlands talking with recreational fishermen, while back in DC their fellow congressmen are tackling fisheries reform.
THEFISHERMAN.COM

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Fish Monger II Mon 7/31 Fluke DOUBLE BOAT LIMIT (26 man total orl) With ANOTHER DOUBLE DIGIT!!!! Well after saying it couldn't get much better all last week with boat limits today topped it... Today was the best bite we seen in a long time... 78 keepers landed (orl) keeping our boat limit of 39 fish and relaseing smaller 18-20 inch keepers. Insane quality including another double digit fish over 10lbs Darren Summer ...the whole first two rows were 4-7lbs. Lock n load at times everyone hooked up ... Counted 7 double headers today... For some guys it was by far the best dayfishing they every had. Think everyone had atleast a double limit n 2 guys alone were tied for hh with a quadruple limit of 12k a piece... add a couple hundred shorts on top of it n u didn't go very long without a bite. NOOOOOO SPEARING jigs n gulp get it done as usual.. Truly a day to remember.. Thanks

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Nature Conservancy Project Reseeding Wild Oysters in Maine’s New Meadows River

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Press Herald] Kevin Miller - July 31, 2017

PHIPPSBURG — In a quiet tidal cove a few miles from Popham Beach, a team of biologists and fishermen are working to improve water quality and habitat by helping a popular delicacy gain a literal foothold in the muddy bottom.

The late-July sun was baking the air and mudflats as a team of workers dropped what looked like miniature, concrete castles into the receding waters of “The Basin” area of the New Meadows River. Although nearly impossible to see with the naked eye, untold thousands of oyster larvae were tucked into the nooks and crannies of the concrete contraptions, waiting for transplant into their new tidal home.

Oyster farming is booming in the state as restaurants from Boothbay to Los Angeles put shellfish grown in the cold, clean waters of coastal Maine on the menu. But this experimental 400-square-foot plot in The Basin isn’t aimed at the commercial market, at least not directly. Instead, The Nature Conservancy and its partners are exploring ways to help restore or build up oyster populations growing on the bottom – rather than in floating cages or bags used by oyster aquaculturalists – in hopes of encouraging more natural spawning in the future.

“This is different in that it is meant to be more permanent on the bottom,” said Jeremy Bell, aquatic habitat restoration manager with the Maine chapter of The Nature Conservancy, pointing to the heavy concrete “tiles” slated for The Basin floor. “And hopefully, as we learn the technique, you will get oyster populations growing and you’ll get the habitat protection that comes with that reef.”

The Nature Conservancy worked with the Phippsburg Shellfish Commission, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) to line up the project. Located just offshore from a 10,000-acre Conservancy property known as the Basin Preserve, the plot is situated in a sheltered cove that has long drawn both commercial and recreational shellfish harvesters looking for oysters, clams and other edibles.

Eagles, osprey and gulls flew above on a recent afternoon as boaters – in small aluminum boats and high-priced cruisers – drifted through the cove roughly halfway down the peninsula best known for Popham Beach State Park. On the shoreline, about a half-dozen people worked to prepare the concrete “tiles” of oyster larvae while divers scouted out the best placement spots in the calm waters.

Dean Doyle, a fisherman who serves on the Phippsburg Shellfish Commission, said you can still find nice, native American oysters in parts of The Basin along with the non-native European oyster commonly found in Maine. But much of the basin’s clams were lost to worm diggers a few years ago, a long-running competition that periodically erupts into tense waterfront exchanges and municipal meetings among those midcoast Mainers who work the mudflats.

Doyle said the Phippsburg Shellfish Commission supported The Nature Conservancy’s proposal.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Doyle, who also volunteers with DMR’s water-quality monitoring program. “This is the perfect area to put them. We used to have a lot here . . . Hopefully, it will work, and these will spawn and settle in the area. It can’t hurt to try.”

Oysters have long been a dietary staple of Maine residents, perhaps best illustrated by the massive shell middens left behind by Native American communities in places such as Damariscotta. And while oysters have always been popular elsewhere among some segments of the population, the bivalves are undergoing a renaissance in restaurants across the country, whether served raw on the half-shell or in some other fashion.

Maine’s oyster aquaculture industry is capitalizing on their growing popularity.

Maine DMR reported that oyster farmers hauled in a record $5 million worth of oysters – or roughly 2.1 million pounds – in 2016. That is a fraction of the value of Maine’s roughly $500 million lobster industry but represents a growing segment of a fishing industry that many fishermen and observers say has become too dependent on the official state crustacean. Oyster landings in Maine have increased 254 percent, and the harvest’s value has grown about 300 percent since 2011, according to state records.

And while the Damariscotta River and other parts of the midcoast have long been known for their quality oysters, new oyster aquaculture leases are going out from southern Maine to Down East.

Bell said The Nature Conservancy doesn’t ever plan to commercially harvest the oysters that he hopes will soon be populating that corner of The Basin, even though they are using the genetic strain of American oyster commonly used in aquaculture. If the population grew large enough years down the line, Bell said he would be comfortable with locals harvesting some of the oysters on a sustainable basis.

But the real goal is a self-sustaining oyster population that can help improve the ecological health of The Basin and, perhaps, serve as a model for other areas around Maine.

Because oysters are filter-feeders, they are often regarded as a natural ally in the fight to improve water quality as they suck up microorganisms, sediments, nitrogen and nutrients from the water. Those activities help reduce sedimentation in the water column and encourage growth of other aquatic plants, such as eel grass. In turn, these provide food and shelter to other aquatic organisms, thereby helping with ecological diversity.

At The Basin, the team is deploying the roughly 2-foot-square tiles that look like something you might find in a tropical fish aquarium. Before arriving in Phippsburg, the tiles had been in a large tank filled with 500,000 oyster larvae. The idea is the concrete-and-rebar structures – in addition to providing a platform for baby oysters – will act like a coral reef, helping to rebuild the complex bottom habitat that provides shelter to smaller fish and other organisms that, in turn, feed larger predators. But Bell acknowledges that is just an idea.

“They tested very well down in Virginia in the Chesapeake Bay,” Bell said. “We don’t know how they are going to work in Maine.”

The team also plans to test other methods of oyster cultivation in the hopes that one, or several, will prove successful at establishing a larger, self-sustaining oyster population and, in the process, improving water quality and habitat.

The larvae-laden tiles weren’t even in the waters, however, before the group came face-to-tiny face with one of the major challenges facing bottom-dwelling oysters, clams and other shellfish in southern Maine.

Almost on cue, small green crabs not much larger than a silver dollar began emerging from seemingly nowhere (but actually from the mud or waters) and side-stepping their ways toward the larvae tiles and piles of oyster shells. The invasive green crab has become a menace in recent years to clam and mollusk harvesters who are scrambling to find ways to stop, or at least slow, their spread because of their capacity to kill shellfish larvae.

Amanda Moeser, an oyster farmer who also leads The Nature Conservancy’s oyster conservation programs in Maine and New Hampshire, and others devised a plan to enclose the tiles in plastic cages with mesh small enough to keep many green crabs at bay. Those caged tiles were later placed in waters in The Basin deep enough for them to stay full submerged and avoid entanglements with passing boats even at low tide.

Bell said the project will have to weather the winter ice-scraping and other challenges, but he was optimistic about the tiny oyster plot.

“We could potentially do this in other places,” Bell said. “Hopefully, other groups or towns might get interested and try it.”

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Brendan S Graham

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Chemistry Prof Studying Ways to Keep Frozen Lobster Fresh

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [CBC News] By Elizabeth McMillan - July 31, 2017

Shah Razul was preparing an Atlantic lobster roll to share with his family in Singapore when he realized something was off.

The expensive Atlantic Canadian lobster he'd bought at a major grocery chain in Singapore didn't have the fresh flavour he'd grown to love while working in Antigonish, N.S.

The St. Francis Xavier University chemistry professor studies ice formation at the molecular level and decided to apply his knowledge to food.

"I was wondering what ingredients they were using to extend the [lobster's] shelf life," he said.

"Immediately understanding the freezing process and crystallization of water and all of these kind of issues, I began realizing I'm sure I can come up with something better."


90 kgs of test lobster
This summer Razul and a team of students boiled, de-shelled and froze 90 kilograms of lobster as part of a yearlong research project to study whether it's possible to make lobster taste fresher longer.

Cooked lobster is frozen in a salty brine to try to preserve it, but Razul said ice still damages the frozen shellfish's tissue when it forms.

"It starts going downhill a little bit. The proteins don't hold up as well," he said.

Razul's lab is examining how compounds known as cryoprotectants can prevent or impede that process at the molecular level.

To do so, he added six ingredients to a brine often used in the lobster industry. He said the mixture will be appetizing and still taste like lobster juice, but he expects it will react differently under a microscope.

He said the dominant ingredients are all natural products and used in food products, but wouldn't disclose them because the formula could be patented.

Taste will be final test

Throughout the year, Razul will be using computer simulations to study the freezing process.

The lobster meat, which was harvested in northern Nova Scotia, is now stored in vials at a temperature of –20 C.

But whether it works will also come down to a good old-fashioned taste test.

Researchers at Acadia University will thaw the lobster and members of the public will conduct sensory tests in six and 12 months time.

"We can get caught up with scientific principles and how crystalization of water happens and what the molecules do," said Razul.

"But at the end, the consumer — or the discerning lobster connoisseur — is going to say, 'But it needs to taste good.'"

The research is funded by Springboard Atlantic, a federally funded not-for-profit that aims to connect researchers with industry.

Razul said he hasn't formed any partnerships yet, but he hopes it will eventually help industry and lobster lovers alike.

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Fast Facts:

• Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in support of the Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Preservation for Wildlife Act.

• At issue is a currently confusing definition of waterfowl baiting.

• With millions of dollars in agriculture and outdoor recreation at stake, rule clarity and fairness are essential.

• Proposed language will empower states and federal agencies to cooperatively solve this unintended problem and potentially permit managed flooding as an allowable means to destroy a damaged crop.

 

 

Ducks Unlimited supports clarification of baiting law on ag lands

Agricultural lands are important for waterfowl and hunters

 

[{{EmailCampaignAction-Read release online »}}]Read release online »

MEMPHIS, Tennessee – July 31, 2017 – Ducks Unlimited traveled to Capitol Hill to support baiting regulation clarifications that benefit landowners, agricultural producers and waterfowl hunters.

Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee in support of the Hunting Heritage and Environmental Legacy Preservation (HELP) for Wildlife Act (S. 1514). The HELP Act will clarify what constitutes “baiting” migratory birds in a way that will protect agriculture producers and hunters.

“Ducks Unlimited supports a reasonable approach that would allow normal agricultural practices to be determined by the state cooperative extension service and the state fish and wildlife agency, in consultation with the U.S. Department of the Interior,” Hall said. “Agricultural practices vary across the country, and this approach ensures appropriate state-level conversations occur while guaranteeing that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service perspectives are also considered.”

At issue is a currently confusing definition of waterfowl baiting which does not consider variations in crop type, extenuating weather events, crop insurance requirements and local harvest timing. This situation has inadvertently discouraged optimum habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds, prevented farmers from maximizing their on-farm income, and reduced opportunities for hunters who lease farmland and support local communities with tourism dollars. With millions of dollars in agriculture and outdoor recreation at stake, rule clarity and fairness are essential.

While rice is the most important agricultural crop for waterfowl in many parts of the country, crops like soybeans and corn also provide food resources, particularly in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley. In recent years, tropical storms in late summer and early fall have flooded crops just prior to crop harvest. These severe weather events have resulted in crop damage and financial hardship for producers. To receive a crop insurance payment, these producers must destroy their crop through mechanical means (disking, mowing, plowing). If these fields are also managed and leased for waterfowl hunting, they are now considered “baited” for the purposes of hunting.

“These activities are required by crop insurance rules, but the timing makes the interpretation questionable,” Hall said. “Furthermore, hunting leases often are executed in the summer or early fall while ratoon crops may be developing, leading to concerns and questions as to whether even a small standing ratoon crop near a blind may be altered to facilitate waterfowl hunting. The ultimate objective of law enforcement is voluntary compliance by citizens. When an honest hunter or landowner cannot interpret the regulations and feels compelled to call a wildlife officer to assure their fields are legal, then the regulations need to be modified to clarify and recognize normal agricultural practices.”

The proposed language will empower states and federal agencies to cooperatively solve this unintended problem and potentially permit managed flooding as an allowable means to destroy a damaged crop.

The HELP Act also includes reauthorization of the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), one of Ducks Unlimited’s top priorities, and several other important provisions designed to improve the management of fish and wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation. The HELP Act will reauthorize the NAWCA, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Act, the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act and the Chesapeake Bay Program until 2023.

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 14 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.

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Interact with Barnegat Bay Critters on Display at Stockton at Manahawkin on August 8

 

For Immediate Release

Monday, July 31, 2017

 

Contact:         Marielena Dottoli

                        News and Media Relations

                        Galloway, N.J. 08205

                        Marielena.Dottoli@stockton.edu

                        (609) 652-1776 ext. 5736

                        stockton.edu/media

 

Galloway, N.J. - The public is invited to take part in an interactive program and discussion titled, “What Calls Barnegat Bay its Home” at 10 a.m.Monday, Aug. 8 at Stockton University’s Manahawkin location, 712 East Bay Ave. 

Barnegat Bay is home to hundreds of species from algae to mammals. Dr. John Wnek, adjunct faculty member with a Ph.D. in Environmental Science, will discuss some of the creatures that inhabit Barnegat Bay.

 

The program will focus on some resident and seasonal species found in Barnegat Bay and provide an overview of the habitats that are necessary for their survival. Guests will have the opportunity to interact with some of the local Barnegat Bay critters.

 

The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited. Please call 609-626-3883 to register.

For more information about classes and other activities at Stockton University at Manahawkin, visit Stockton.edu/manahawkin.

                                                 

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