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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Monday, October 09, 2017: THE OCEAN Is junked up; More waves to come.

Opening credits for MGM ... 

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Alan Thomas

Went fishing today and some hitchhikers wanted a free ride home.......not really 

But they were resting on our riggers at the dock

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Check out this frickin' bluegill ... Called bream/brim down south. 

Monday, October 09, 2017: The ocean is junked up; windblown to brown and chopped into unfishability. Only sections of Holgate and Barnegat Inlet are even remotely angler-friendly. 

Disturbingly, no sooner will windblown ocean lose its short-period south swells than the waves will rapidly arrive out of the north, compliments of honking high pressure winds out of the NE and E – right through the frickin’ weekend!   

An upside is how NE and E winds should rather quickly blow in real clean water. The down side is the water will remain too mild; well into the 60s if not touching on 70. Those are nonactivating temps when it comes to sparking big bass and blues into wildly biting. 

There will continue to be small surf stripers, catchable on bait, jigs and surf popper, especially when cleaner water sets in. Many 2017 LBI Surf Fishing Classic entrants like to hear those small bass are in the mix, knowing that a rogue mega-striper might idly wander into the surging suds. 

Big bluefish are making touch-and-go swipes along the beachline. I don 't know if there's such a thing as resident choppers but these recent blues might have been locals.  Below are blues entered into the Classic. A couple other non-entrant blues were also caught. 

Saturday, BL, 12.52 pounds, Quinn Rutan, bunker.

Sunday, Ship Bottom, 7.94 pounds, Gary Grippaldi, bunker.  

The bayside striper bite remains brisk. Unfortunately, some of the best hooking areas require knowing someone thereabouts -- to use their docks. It's what I call an exclusive backyard bite.

NEVERENDING SURF: The waveriding genes in me require I update the fact we have entered the fourth straight week of big, often-mean surf. Believe me when I assure that such a protracted run of nonstop waves is unprecedented. What’s more, we could add in another week of pounding surf if the forecast 25 mph NE gusts develop. 

 

Not everything is bigger in Texas. Check out this raccoon from a Texas Facebooker. That's the common size of these ubiquitous masked marauders -- in NJ they're often twice that size ... or larger. 

Gloria MyPhung (TEXAS) 

This guy was inside my garage, scratching up our cars and playing hide and seek. We had to move our cars out and wait for him to come back out. And Dan is sitting out there preaching him how he scratched up our cars; I’m just in here SMH with Dan. Anyway, we got 1 down and 5 more to go! Now that I got him, what do I do with him?

No automatic alt text available.

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In NJ: 

Below: I wrote that angry raccoons can look like angry wolverines. Check it out ..

Image result for angry wolverine animal

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Below: This story is interesting. It marks big money entering the fight to keep commercial fishing legal and on the up-and-up. It utilizes inescapable eyes in the sky. However, who moves in once criminality is seen by circling satellites? Enforcement will prove the power of this look-down method of going after the illegal depletion of fish and other seafood....

Microsoft Co-Founder Donating $40 Million to Use Satellites and Software to Fight Illegal Fishing

[Bloomberg] By Dina Bass - October 9, 2017

Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen, concerned about illegal fishing depleting global fish populations, will spend $40 million to develop a system that uses satellite imagery and data-analysis software to help countries spot and catch unlicensed fishing boats.

Called SkyLight, the system is being tested in the Pacific Island of Palau and the African nation of Gabon. Allen is trying to use technology to aid enforcement, particularly in countries with thousands of miles of coastline to patrol and few resources to do so. Allen will announce the initiative at the Our Oceans Conference in Malta on Friday.

Illegal fishing accounts for about 20 percent of the world’s catch, costing up to $23.5 billion a year, according to the World Wildlife Foundation, and placing additional stress on a wild fish population that has declined by about half since 1970. Overfishing raises the risk of conflict among fishing nations and raises the risk of hunger and joblessness in an industry that provides employment for more than 1 in 10 of the world’s people. Allen, an avid diver, has backed other ocean health projects and is also active in conservation efforts like trying to save the African elephant population by using drones and sensors to track their movements.

“The stakes are high and the threat is real,” said Dave Stewart, general counsel and head of government affairs for Allen’s Vulcan Inc. “Very few countries have access to timely, actionable intelligence and technology to address this issue. We are developing an illegal fishing intelligence network that will bring this to them.”

About 90 percent of the world’s fishing grounds are being harvested at or beyond sustainable limits. Some species, such as the southern bluefin tuna, are threatened with extinction. Shrinking supplies off the central and western coast of Africa have raised concerns about future food shortages there. In the Mediterranean and Black seas, catches have fallen by a third since 2007.

SkyLight, which will be broadly available in the first half of next year, takes multiple data sources from satellite images, to shipping records to information manually collected by officials standing on docks, and uses machine learning software to track and predict which vessels might be operating illegally. Over time, Vulcan is building its own database of all the boats it tracks. That allows countries to better focus limited resources. Some of the countries impacted have “one enforcement boat that goes out once a month if they have gas money,” he said.

Along with the tracking network, countries will also get access to Vulcan’s in-house scientists and business analysts, who will help advise them on how to make the best decisions about fishery management, the number of fishing licenses issued and appropriate penalties for illegal fishing

The service is cloud-based and will enable different countries to communicate and share information as boats move from one country’s waters to the next, a challenge currently. Allen’s donation will cover the cost of setting up the service and starting with the initial countries. Vulcan is charging participating countries for using SkyLight but plans to use the funds to expand and sustain the program rather than as a money maker, Stewart said.

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Check out this drone shot from Australia. 

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Now that the season is over . I get a 20 incher

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Capt. Alex (lhsportfishing@comcast.net)
Hey, hey, hey, its Fat Albert……. If any of you remember that show, you are old as dirt or as old as me. Got into the False Albacore (aka Fat Albert) Saturday morning. They were pushing tiny rainfish, like 2”, to the surface.  It was run n gun fishing to keep up with visibly active schools.  If you have never caught a false albacore before on light tackle you do not know what you are missing.  They scream drags like no tomorrow. If I was to make a list of the top “sport fish” to fish for on Lighthouse Sportfishing, Fat Albert would be number. True dat! Before I got into the false albacore I was slamming several tiny blitzes just off the surf zone. Tiny blitzes??? Is that an oxymoron? What I mean is, blitzes of snappers and super spike weakfish (6-10”).  There were gulls, terns and pelicans working the mayhem. The bay is way too warm for this time of year. Enough said….. Jimmies, male blue claw crabs, are still active and full of meat. Lots of openings for magic hour / night trips and some prime dates available for bass season. Now is the time to hop on board the Debbie M or with one of the other light tackle guides if you want to get into the false albacore. They have not had a strong showing locally the last few years but that his history.

 

Screaming drags,

Capt. Alex

609-548-2511

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Above: Mike Laptew
You won't find a single green crab in this photo. I wonder why?

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Check out this segment of an AP story: 

... And finally, the salmon you buy at Walmart and Aldi may have come from North Korean forced labor, subsidizing that country's nuclear program. That's the alarming headline from an Associated Press investigation published Wednesday, shining light on a Chinese seafood processing company that relies on North Korean workers who are "paid a fraction of their salaries, while the rest — as much as 70 percent — is taken by North Korea's government." That money may be subsidizing North Korea's weapons program, which has continued to escalate as a source of tension between the country and the United States following insults that President Trump has traded with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
It is a federal crime for products made in North Korea to be sold in the United States, and companies contacted by the AP have said that using forced labor, or supporting North Korea, is unacceptable in their supply chains. ...

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Now that's a tilefish ... 

John John Orena

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Soaring Tuna Prices Hit Japanese Sushi Market Hard

SEAFOODNEWS.COM by John Sackton   Oct. 5, 2017

Soaring tuna prices, especially for Bigeye and Yellowtail, are hitting all parts of the sushi market in Japan.

“Sushi is all about tuna”, Takashi Morio, an analyst at Fuji-Keizai, told Emiko Terazono, commodity reporter for the Financial Times.

Bigeye tuna costs about 1/3 as much as Bluefin, and has long been a staple in mass market sushi, especially for the conveyor sushi chains and supermarkets.

However its price is up over 30% from a year ago, while the volumes going through the Tsukiji market have fallen about 10%, according to the Tokyo Metropolitan government.

Conveyor belt sushi operators offer small plates of sashimi or nigari for Y 100; or about 88 cents US.  They can’t raise prices because they are in a highly competitive situation, so they have had to grit their teeth and absorb the price increases.

These pressures have led to some consolidation.  For example, Akindo Sushiro, one of the largest conveyor belt sushi chains, backed by UK Private Equity, recently merged with its rival Genki Sushi, allowing the equity partner to exit the industry.

Analysts say that gaining bigger market share is one way these companies can address price pressures.  It helps their negotiating position.  But the drawback is that they also need large volumes of some of the less common sushi offerings like octopus or flying fish roe.

In this situation, demand from big players can drive up prices in lower volume markets.

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I see jigs like these and wonder if they'd work in saltwater ...

A fresh crop of Red Cash Craw Flipping Jigs are ready to roll. Let us know how we can help you with your jig fishing needs. Red Cash Craw is not yet on our site, message me if you would like to order some. www.spittinimagejigs.com
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Storm Brews Over New England’s National Monument Offshore


SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Press Herald] by Colin Woodard - October 9, 2017

Ever since President Trump announced he would review his predecessor’s creation of national monuments, Mainers have been focused on the future of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in northern Maine.

But a second New England monument also fell under the review conducted by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, one that scientists and conservationists say is essential for understanding the rapid changes going on in the Gulf of Maine and northeast Atlantic.

Zinke has recommended that the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument – a 4,913-square-mile area of underwater canyons, thousand-year-old coral forests, and volcanic mountains on and beyond the southern edge of Georges Bank at the mouth of the Gulf of Maine – be opened to commercial fishing, a move proponents say would defeat its purpose.

“With the removal of fishing restrictions, a lot of the benefits of having this undisturbed area go away,” said Peter Auster, senior research scientist at the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, who has explored and studied the area with submarines and remotely operated vehicles. “Undisturbed, the animals in these areas should be able to feed more, grow larger and become more fecund, potentially contributing more to the success of fisheries, even if they’re ultimately captured outside the area.”

The monument protects undersea canyons, including one deeper than the Grand Canyon, and a group of seamounts taller than Mount Washington, that lie in an area that is not intensively fished. The area is frequented by fin, sei and sperm whales, and is home to groves of fragile, 9-foot-tall coldwater corals. It’s the only permanently protected reserve in the federal Atlantic waters and would be the largest entanglement-free area for marine mammals on the Eastern Seaboard.

“The idea of opening up the monument to commercial fishing defeats the purpose of having it,” said Zack Klyver, senior naturalist with the Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co. “You need a place where stresses are removed to really understand what the true impacts of things like climate change and ocean acidification are.”

Zinke’s recommendation, which was leaked to The Washington Post and published on Sept. 17, was applauded by seafood interests, particularly in southern New England, who had opposed President Barack Obama’s designation of the monument in 2016. Eric Reid of Rhode Island-based Seafreeze Ltd., a major supplier of frozen-at-sea seafood that operates a fleet of fishing vessels, said the monument was designated after “behind-closed-door campaigns led by large, multinational, environmental lobbying firms despite vocal opposition from local and federal officials, fisheries managers and the fishing industry.” Zinke’s recommendations, he said, “make us hopeful that we can recover the areas we have fished sustainably for decades.”

The heads of eight of the nation’s fisheries management councils – the industry-led bodies that implement fisheries regulations in federal waters – were already on record against the commercial fishing restrictions. In a May 16 letter to Zinke and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, they said the bans were potentially counterproductive because they “disrupted the ability of the Councils to manage fisheries throughout their range as required by (the federal fisheries act) and in an ecosystem-based manner.”

Five fishing industry associations – including the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association, the Atlantic Offshore Lobstermen’s Association and the Rhode Island Fishermen’s Alliance – have a pending suit against the federal government alleging presidents do not have the power to designate marine monuments because the Antiquities Act refers to “land” controlled by the federal government.

The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts monument doesn’t qualify because it’s submerged and is located more than 12 nautical miles from shore, inside the United States’ Exclusive Economic Zone, but outside its territorial waters, said Jim Burling, vice president for litigation at the Pacific Legal Foundation in Sacramento, California, which is representing the fishing groups.

Burling said it’s too early to tell whether Zinke’s recommendation will satisfy the groups’ concerns with the monument. “The proof will be in the pudding,” he said. “We talk about management changes today, but those could be changed back with the next administration. We think the time will have to come to determine the legality of these kinds of national monuments.”

Peter Shelley of the Conservation Law Foundation, an environmental attorney who is watching the case closely, strongly disagrees. “Their arguments run against the phalanx of academic and legal opinion on the Act,” he said, adding that the federal government has controlled fishing activities in the area since 1976, and that other countries around the world have created marine reserves in their Exclusive Economic Zones.

“But the most distressing thing about the litigation are the preposterous claims of economic harm that have been made, particularly by the offshore lobster industry,” Shelley added. “There’s no evidence or data that suggest the impacts are going to be significant in any respect.”

Recreational fishing, bird and whale watching are allowed in the reserve, and lobster and red crab fishermen have seven years to move their gear out of the area.

An economic impact analysis prepared in July by the Washington-based environmental consultancy TBD Economics predicted lobster fishermen would face at most minor losses: between a net $85,000 annual loss and a $10,000 annual gain once potential spillover benefits of protected breeding populations within the monument were taken into account. The report said this represented about 0.015 percent of the fishery.

Red crab fishermen would face slightly greater net losses of between $34,000 and $188,000 a year, the study estimated.

Auster said scientists haven’t thoroughly evaluated the spillover effects of the monument, but that the most likely beneficiaries would be lobster, mackerel, squid and redfish stocks, as those species use the reserve in substantial numbers.

The monument was originally to include Cashes Ledge, an underwater mountain ridge 80 miles east of Kittery, but that component was dropped in the face of opposition from fishermen and even the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

Shelley said it was in Maine’s interest to have the seamounts and canyons area not be actively fished or lobstered on account of the rapid warming of the Gulf of Maine, which is expected to displace traditional commercial fish species and is making the seawater more acidic, compromising the ability of at least some shellfish to grow their shells.

“There needs to be at least one control area in the U.S. North Atlantic where there would be a reference site to help distinguish potential offshore impacts associated with climate change from those caused by fishing,” he said. “If lobsters suddenly started to crash, is it because of harvesters or because of temperatures? Having places like this could help us to rule out some things.”

But Paul Molyneaux, a fisheries development consultant from East Machias and author of “Doryman’s Reflection,” a personal account of the collapse of New England groundfishing, said some commercial fishing practices are compatible with the goals of the monument.

“It all depends on the scale and the gear,” he said. “Commercial fishing takes in destructive gear types but also people making a living with a rod and reel. Some of them are probably able to take place that are going to be consistent with a healthy marine ecosystem.”

Trump has been expected to decide whether to adopt Zinke’s recommendations for several weeks. A spokesman for the Department of the Interior did not respond to requests for comment.

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Help Gulf of Mexico Recovery by Consuming Sustainable Seafood


SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Houston Chronicle] By Lora Snyder - October 9, 2017

Many of the men and women who work every day to bring some of the best, sustainable seafood to your dinner plate have plenty to worry about - fishing can be hard business.

Fishers and others in the industry deal with a host of ever-changing variables: fuel prices, market fluctuations, fishery health and abundance, competition with imports, long unpredictable hours and one of the more uncertain wild cards - weather. Changing winds can mean the difference between days' or even weeks' worth of income.

And now, weather is becoming even more of a concern. Today, stronger and stronger storms that scientists attribute to warming oceans - a result of human-caused climate change - are becoming more common. These days bad weather is an existential threat to the industry.

According to the Chronicle Hurricane Harvey damaged or destroyed 25 percent of the Texas shrimp fleet. Oystermen predicted shortages of upcoming oyster harvests due to the runoff from Harvey's historic rains. And then came Irma. Tragically, a Florida shrimper lost his life off the coast of Tampa, when the hurricane bulldozed up the state's Gulf Coast.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have been devastating, but there is a unique way to help your fellow Americans. This is a great time to get better acquainted with our own healthy and sustainable seafood that's right here in our backyard.

Much of the seafood consumed in the U.S. enters our borders through an opaque global seafood supply chain, which means consumers are often unknowingly eating seafood that is associated with unsustainable overfishing, high levels of bycatch (the killing of non-target species), marine habitat destruction, and even human rights abuses and slave labor.

But consumers don't necessarily have to feel bad about the seafood they eat, if they pay attention to where it comes from and how it was caught.
In decades past, as overfishing threatened to decimate many fish stocks, the United States implemented management measures that have put U.S. fisheries on the path to recovery. Today, because of the strong directives of the federal Magnuson-Stevens Act, the United States has some of the best-managed fisheries in the world. Improvements in the region are needed, especially in terms of bycatch reduction and habitat protection, but the Gulf of Mexico has shared in and contributed to much of that success.

Many commercial fishermen in the Gulf understand the need for responsible fisheries management and have made short-term sacrifices to ensure the sustainability and abundance of our fish stocks. According to a recent government report, out of the 40 species that the Gulf Fisheries Management Council manages, only three fish stocks are overfished and those are all on course to be rebuilt on time.

The gag grouper, a popular target of Gulf recreational and commercial fishers, offers an example of the effectiveness of U.S. fisheries management. The government recently reported that since it implemented a rebuilding plan in 2010, gag grouper stocks have rebuilt to sustainable levels. Catch limits and quotas on Gulf red snapper show similar promising results, and as the stocks rebuild, fishers in the Gulf are beginning to see increased quotas.

Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch guide provides an easy way to find sustainable Gulf seafood that consumers can feel good about. The online guide lists fish by type, the method by which the fish was caught or farmed, and its geographic origin. Seafood Watch informs consumers which seafood to avoid, which fish are good alternatives and which are the best choices.

Gulf fishermen are also increasingly committing to transparency and traceability in the seafood supply chain. They understand that consumers want to know where their fish came from, and that it was harvested sustainably and ethically. Tracing systems like Fish Trax, developed by David Krebs of Ariel Seafood in Destin, Fla., and Gulf Wild, a nonprofit supporting Gulf fisherman, use codes and software that track the fish from the boat to the point of sale.

With tools like these tracing systems and the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch guide, it's easier than ever for consumers across the U.S. to know they're enjoying fresh, responsibly caught, honestly labeled seafood, and that they're supporting domestic fishermen and businesses.

At the store when you buy wild-caught sustainable seafood from the Gulf, you can know that you are supporting seafood industry members who are doing the right thing for the oceans and who could use help as they fight to recover from the recent devastation.

Harvey and Irma are tragedies, and their consequences might be felt for years. But you can help in this small and delicious way, by eating sustainable seafood from the Gulf of Mexico.

Snyder is campaign director at Oceana, a nonprofit ocean conservation and advocacy organization.

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Longer Snow Crab Season Part of 'Perfect Storm' Causing Whale Deaths


SEAFOODNEWS.COM [CBC News] Karissa Donkin, Shane Fowler - October 9, 2017

The fishing industry says it's looking for a solution to help prevent North Atlantic right whales from enduring painful, and sometimes deadly, entanglements with fishing gear.

The Maritime Fishermen's Union says a longer snow crab fishing season and an unprecedented number of right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence created a "perfect storm" this year for a massive die-off.

Twelve right whales have been found dead in Canadian waters, and another three have washed up on the east coast of the United States.

One of the right whales found dead off Canadian shores has been confirmed dead as a result of being entangled in fishing gear.

Entanglement is also the suspected cause of death of a two-year-old right whale found in September, covered in deep cuts from heavy ropes.

"This is not something that we had hoped for," said Martin Mallet, interim executive director with the Maritime Fishermen's Union.

"This is a bad, bad thing for the whales, and for the industry."

At least five other whales have been spotted entangled in fishing gear but haven't died from those injuries.

Some entangled whales will carry gear for months, suffering before they slowly succumb to their injuries.

"Our association is being proactive with this issue and there are some consultations that will be going forward with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans as soon as early November," Mallet said.

'Mixed feelings' about speed limit

Ship strikes were the most common cause of death for endangered right whales during the deadly summer.

Scientists who performed necropsies found the animals with internal blunt force trauma.

The federal government has vowed to do whatever it takes to save the endangered species.

Because of larger quotas this year, the snow crab season was longer than usual, although Fisheries and Oceans closed the season a few days early in places as risks to whales in the gulf grew.

The government has also forced large vessels to slow down in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Industry players say they have "mixed feelings" about the new 10-knot speed limit in a large zone of the gulf.

"I've heard concerns for sure," said Serge Buy, CEO of the Canadian Ferry Association.

A ferry delivering goods to Newfoundland and Labrador has started charging customers a new surcharge to recoup costs associated with slowing down, Buy said.

"But I've also heard a clear statement that our sector stands by measures that are there to protect the whales, as long the measures are well-founded in science."

Extra costs and longer trips
For the shipping industry, the slowdown zone means vessels could find themselves burning more fuel and paying extra labour costs.

A large container ship carrying manufacturer goods typically travels at 18 knots, according to Sonia Simard, the director of legislative and environmental affairs for the Shipping Federation of Canada.

Slowing down to 10 knots could add an extra five to eight hours to a one-way trip, Simard said. Her organization represents international vessels that ship goods in and out of Canada for industries such as mining and forestry.

Despite the added costs, Simard said the shipping industry plans to follow the rules.

"It costs money but at the same time, we certainly as an industry understand the need to ensure that vessels and whales, they can safely co-exist."

Simard said the shipping industry will work with the federal government to find a solution for the future and is open to moving the shipping corridor.

Ships that break the speed limit could face fines of up to $25,000.

Transport Canada has already penalized vessels for going too fast. The Canadian Coast Guard and a cruise ship were both fined $6,000 in September.

The speed limit is expected to be in place until right whales migrate for the winter, something that could happen as late as December.

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