Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Wednesday, January12, 2011: Well, that might be it for the nasty winter. You heard right. This grazing blow of snow –1.5 inches on LBI – might be enough to take us to a suspected warm-up.   I choose …

Wednesday, January12, 2011: Well, that might be it for the nasty winter. You heard right. This grazing blow of snow –1.5 inches on LBI – might be enough to take us to a suspected warm-up.


I choose the word“suspected” as a way to avoid the word “expected.” There is nothingexpectational about weather until it’s right the hell upon us, i.e. “We expecthigh tides and moderate tidal flooding with this storm.”

The “suspected”part is based on the supposition that La Nina conditions, as we have now inspades, often lead to a very harsh early winter then a veritable plug pull forthe rest of the season, including some record warmth – though even I find thathard to picture, as my fingers slowly thaw and itch after even a quick bout ofshoveling.

Still, the lastbig La Nina episode we had – not that many years back – we were ice fishing thecove before Christmas and up into the start of the new year. By January, therewere a couple days when short-sleeved shirts sufficed as I explored theOutback.

By the same token,the famed hurricane guru Dr. William Gray now uses a vast array of La Nina typefactors in an effort to perfect his tropical systems forecasting and has onlygotten worse and worse at it. Interestingly, the good doctor did best when heonly dealt with a couple world weather factors, primarily Pacific and Atlanticoscillations.


TELL US, OH TUNA:You know the way old-timers can look at the bushiness of squirrel tails, thethickness of caterpillar fur, the hair length on the bottoms of rabbits’ feetto predict the weather for the coming winter? Well, here’s a Farmer’s Almanacworthy homespun forecaster I’m fostering: Tuna fishing in Ecuador can tell whatN.J. winters will be like.

As we speak, tunafishermen in Ecuador are suffering hideous low landings of tuna. That means thesecond half of our winter will be not just forgiving but even mildish, althoughquite wet.

I’m, of course,simply parlaying the impacts of La Nina on Ecuador into a forecast for us. Thatsmall South American nation is something of a window into how either El Nino orLa Nina is playing out. This year, La Nina’s cooler upwelled waters are leadingto a reduction of microscopic marine creatures in waters off Ecuador. Thatreduction leads to fewer forage fish – and, eventually, fewer tuna. If NorthernHemisphere weather patterns play out as they have in the past under strong LaNina conditions, Ecuador’s tuna shortage will ultimately mean a break in thewhite and frigid weather we’re having.

Hey, who needs theFarmer’s Almanac? 


Below is adisturbing report out of D.C.:


Jan 12, 2011-NOAA, in an official report to Congress, cited six countries as engaging inillegal IUU fishing. They countries are Colombia, Ecuador, Italy, Panama,Portugal, and Venezuela. NOAA says their fishing vessels engaged in illegal,unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in 2009 and/or 2010.


Italy and Panamaare listed on the report for the second year, although the two countries didtake action against vessels identified in 2009.


China, France,Italy, Libya, Panama, and Tunisia, all identified in last year's report,applied penalties to the vessels in question or adopted laws to strengthencontrol of their fishing fleets or both. Each has received a positivecertification as a result of their actions.


The nationsidentified in today's report had fishing vessels that did not comply withmeasures agreed to under various international fishery management organizations,such as closed fishing seasons, vessel registry lists, and a ban on the use ofdriftnets. Other violations included illegal gear modifications, fishingwithout authorization, and possession of undersized bluefin tuna.


While Italy andPanama took corrective actions for illegal fishing identified in the 2009report, other vessels from these countries still engaged in IUU fishing, whichincluded illegal use of driftnets and fishing in an area when it was closed topurse seine nets.


If a nation failsto take appropriate action to address the instances of illegal fishingdescribed in the report, that nation's vessels may be denied entry into U. S.ports and the President may prohibit imports of certain fish products from thatnation or take other measures.


'We are encouragedthat the nations identified in 2009 have taken significant actions to addressillegal fishing by their vessels, and we are now reaching out to the sixcountries identified in today's report, ' said Russell Smith, NOAA deputy assistantsecretary for international fisheries. 'Illegal fishing must be stopped as itsubjects our fishermen to unfair competition and undermines efforts tosustainably manage the valuable fish stocks around the world that so manycommunities depend on for food and jobs. '


Annual globaleconomic losses due to IUU fishing are estimated to be as high as $23 billion.


Today's decisionsfollow two years in which NOAA's Fisheries Service, working with the U. S.Department of State, conducted extensive outreach at bilateral and multilateralmeetings to inform fishing nations of potential U. S. actions to combat IUUfishing. NOAA is addressing the problem of IUU fishing through theinternational provisions of the U. S. Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation andManagement Reauthorization Act.


The act amends theHigh Seas Driftnet Moratorium Protection Act, which requires the United Statesto strengthen international fishery management organizations and address IUUfishing activities and the unintended catch, or bycatch, of protected livingmarine resources. Specifically, the Moratorium Protection Act requires theSecretary of Commerce to identify those foreign nations whose fishing vesselsare engaged in IUU fishing, and what actions those nations have taken to end thepractice.


Today's identifications of countries will be followedby consultations to urge these nations to adopt effective measures to combatIUU fishing. Following consultations, NOAA will formally certify whether eachof the six nations have addressed the IUU fishing activities of their vessels.

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