Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
The final test ...
Monday, March 25, 2019: If you went daringly early with transplanting indoor plants outdoors, you might need to do some covering up tonight. It could go sub-freezing by dawn’s early light. Fortunately, the ground should hold enough warmth to prevent death from above. Besides, you still have plenty of time to begin again … via Reynold’s Gardening and such.
I’ve been doing some mighty fine time in the outback, going in way-far yesterday. You sometimes need to drive a long way to hike a long way.
After many a mile behind the wheel, I matched it with a goodly bit of mileage on the hoof. For my exploratory trouble, I came across the barely definable ruins of a very old glass-making site, possibly late 1700s. It hosted pieces of hand-blown bottles, based on the open pontils on the broken pieces of discarded glass pieces -- amid the culet (crushed glass). The prime color was clear blue, in assorted shades. I kept a handful of goodies, unsure if I was on state land, though there was nary a sign anywhere nearby. (More of signage below.)
The vernal ponds remain filled to the gills, many of them blocking dirt roadways, especially those of a secondary hard-to-negotiate nature. The roads I was hiking had lost their drivability long ago. Even dirt bikes have given up on them, which is saying a ton. There’s no biking through or around the puddles. I waded through the icy water.
Below: One of my jaunts ...
Found today, 3/24/2019 -- near Green Bank. Likely an egg mass from Rana sylvatica (wood frog). About the size of a baseball. Eggs are too separate for it to be a bryozoa. Also shown: Reflections in a pond almost pitch black from tannin.
The following message was sent by the NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife to e-mail list subscribers. Press inquiries related to this message should be directed to the DEP Press Office at 609-984-1795.
Space is still available in the April 6-7 Outdoor Women of NJ Turkey Hunting Workshop at the Atlantic County Game Preserve. Come learn all about turkey hunting to be ready for the spring season. The workshop is open to women 18 years of age or older who have completed a Hunter Education course.
Workshop Information (pdf, also attached)
Registration Form (pdf, also attached)
Hunter Education Information
This weekend on OTW TV, we join the venerable Shell E. Caris to cast for late-season schoolies in the New Jersey surf before hopping aboard the Canyon Runner for our last striper trip of the year.
Watch the full episode on NBC Sports Boston on Sunday at 10 a.m. or next Wednesday on OnTheWater.com
Copyright © 2019 GateHouse Media, LLC.
By Jennette Barnes
March 25, 2019
The federal fishing administrator for the Greater Atlantic region told The Standard-Times Wednesday that although offshore wind will not threaten the overall sustainability of the scallop industry, the damage to it could be significant, especially for fishing grounds off New York. But later in the day, he clarified his comments, saying the “damage” remark does not accurately reflect his position.
Michael Pentony’s initial comments came when asked in an editorial board meeting if offshore wind gives the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration cause for concern about the sustainability of the scallop industry, particularly with regard to wind turbines off New York.
He began, “I think it’s difficult to say that we have concerns about the sustainability of a three-to-five-hundred-million-dollar-a-year fishery.”
Asked specifically about damage to the industry, he said, “The damage could be significant, and we definitely have concerns about that. I’m less concerned about the overall long-term sustainability of the fishery, but certainly we have concerns about the impacts of that particular area and how that could ... play out.”
After the meeting, The Standard-Times sought comment from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the federal agency responsible for offshore wind. A spokeswoman for Pentony’s agency, NOAA, got wind of the question and contacted the newspaper asking about the yet-unpublished “quote error.”
The editorial board meeting was recorded on video.
In a subsequent telephone interview, Pentony said he wanted to correct the record and re-characterize what he said. With regard to offshore wind posing a risk of significant damage to the scallop industry, “my position is unequivocally no, it does not,” he said.
Pentony said the New York Bight area does seem to have “the most significant potential effects” on the scallop fishery, compared to other areas.
He sat down with The Standard-Times editorial board for the first time since his appointment to the position was announced in January 2018. He spoke on a variety of issues critical to the SouthCoast fishing community, including sectors, the future of Carlos Raphael’s fishing permits, climate change and the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
Acting on behalf of NOAA, Pentony submitted written comments to BOEM on Friday about Vineyard Wind. He expressed multiple concerns about the Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed wind project south of Martha’s Vineyard.
In the letter, he said many of BOEM’s conclusions about the scale of the effect on biological and socioeconomic resources are “not well supported” in the document.
On fisheries, he wrote that the document did not incorporate the most accurate or updated data on fishery landings and revenue, and that in some cases, “the data are not used in the proper context.”
He also wrote that BOEM’s draft did not sufficiently address NOAA requirements regarding the effect of pile driving on sea turtles, marine mammals and fish, including Atlantic sturgeon, which are endangered in the New York Bight.
Pentony pointed out in the editorial board meeting that BOEM, not NOAA, makes the decisions about siting wind turbines in federal waters.
Asked to comment on the letter, BOEM spokesperson Stephen Boutwell said his agency would respond to NOAA in the final version of the Environmental Impact Statement.
Boutwell responded to Pentony’s remark about damage to the scallop industry by saying fishing is an important use of the Exclusive Economic Zone that BOEM considers in its decision making. He said BOEM communicates with commercial and recreational fishermen on a regular basis to ensure that the agency understands their concerns, and that “with proper mitigation, the proposed project activities would have a minor to moderate effect on commercial fisheries.”
Pentony told the editorial board that he wants to make sure BOEM is using the best possible data and interpreting it correctly. A year ago, he said, BOEM was using vessel trip report data, and NOAA told BOEM that using vessel monitoring system data would be better, because it shows actual vessel tracks and can differentiate between a vessel fishing and steaming.
He said BOEM had picked a “hotspot” for the squid industry and assumed that the squid would move. But the squid aggregate there for biogeographical reasons, and the place where BOEM suggested squid fishing could take place already has a lot of lobster gear in the water, he said.
Pentony said Vineyard Wind’s potential impacts are more about squid and whiting than scallops. He said proper orientation of vessel travel lanes and spacing of the turbines will make a big difference in whether fishing can continue in a given area.
Photo Credit: Ian Dyball/ iStock/ Getty Images Plus
Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press
By Patrick Whittle
March 25, 2019
Maine fishermen began several weeks of taking to rivers and streams to fish for baby eels Friday, which marked the start of a high-stakes season harvesters hope isn't interrupted by poaching concerns as it was a year ago.
Fishermen in Maine use nets to harvest baby eels, called elvers, to feed demand from Asian aquaculture companies, who use them as seed stock.
The tiny eels are the source of one of the most valuable fisheries in the country on a per-pound basis, and they were worth a record of more than $2,300 per pound last year. Maine's home to the only significant elver fishery in the country.
Last year's season was shut down two weeks early by state regulators after investigators found that illegal sales had caused Maine to blow past its quota for the eels. New controls on the fishery are expected to clamp down on clandestine sales, and the use of a swipe card system to record transactions remains in effect.
Darrell Young, co-director of the Maine Elver Fishermen Association, said the health of the fishery also depends on members of the industry "behaving themselves" this time around.
"Buyers wanted to find their way around the swipe cards. They just made it harder for everybody else," Young said.
The elvers are raised to maturity in aquaculture facilities so they can be used as food, such as kabayaki, which is a skewered, filleted cut of the fish. Most of the world's eel is produced in China, and the fish is especially popular as food in Japan. Some of the elvers harvested in Maine eventually come back to the United States for use in sushi restaurants.
An interstate fishing commission set the quota at 9,688 pounds. That was about the amount of elvers Maine fishermen harvested in 2014, when regulators decided to tighten controls on the fishery. The quota had previously been more than 2,000 pounds higher.
The elver fishing season has the ability to run until June 7, but it ends earlier if fishermen tap out the quota before then.
Elver fishing sometimes begins slowly and heats up in April and May because fishermen need rivers and streams to thaw before they can fish.
American elvers became especially valuable in the early 2010s, when other country's eel fisheries faltered. They've been worth anywhere from $875 to $2,366 per pound since.
Copyright © 2019 GateHouse Media
By John Doyle
March 25, 2019
Some of the region’s biggest food industries, notably maple syrup and fishing, are in peril as a result of climate change. That was the consensus among a panel of experts who spoke at the University of New Hampshire Friday morning.
The panel was attended by U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas, D-N.H., and hosted by the League of Conservation Voters, New Hampshire Sierra Club, and Union of Concerned Scientists in partnership with the UNH Sustainability Institute.
Tim Gaudreau, a maple farmer from Barnstead, said climate change is evident, even if it’s a slow process and isn’t easily noticeable.
“We’re outside working in that sun and rain and snow all the time,” Gaudreau said. “We bear witness to all those changes.”
Peter Whalen, a fisherman who began his career 35 years ago off the shore of New Jersey and is now based in Portsmouth, says he notices the effects of warming ocean waters in what he catches from year to year.
“The lobster industry south of Cape Cod (Massachusetts) has collapsed,” Whalen said. “That’s because of warming waters and lobsters moving north. We’re not that far off from that happening. It’s real, it’s here.”
Whalen said what he called the “dramatic” migration of lobsters has made the waters off the Gulf of Maine “ground zero” for climate change. He said changes are subtle, but will become more noticeable, notably at seafood restaurants.
“Most everyone in this room have eaten what we call ‘Maine shrimp,’ those little tiny shrimp,” Whalen said. “Those have pretty much disappeared because of climate change. I see it every day.”
Jennifer Wilhelm of the N.H. Food Alliance and operator of a small farm, said erratic weather patterns caused by global warming have a grave impact on agriculture.
“It affects the number of field days farmers can be out,” Wilhelm said. “We’re seeing temperatures increase, and projected to increase are the number of extremely hot days. (It) means a potential loss of revenue for farmers.”
In her remarks, Shaheen took the Trump administration to task for its environmental record.
“Sadly, what we’re seeing from this president and this administration is taking us in the wrong direction,” Shaheen said. “When I was governor, we started restricting mercury emissions. To go back now, more than 20 years later, makes no sense.”
Pappas said the data supporting the impact climate change has on maple syrup farmers is “unmistakable.”
“The season’s starting a lot earlier,” he said. “It used to start about Town Meeting day, they tell me, the beginning of March. Now it starts in early February, believe it or not, when they’ll go out and start tapping trees. The yield is going down.”
Gaudreau said while the maple industry faces challenges now, he’s encouraged that trends could change in the future.
“Everyone here has to make changes now if we want to see sustained improvement in the future,” he said. “Right here, right now, this is the thing that excites me, seeing all your faces. If you want maple syrup to be in New Hampshire in 100 years, you better get working.”