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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Thursday, June 10, 2010: Winds have gone west and should return things to a more summer like feel – not that we’re into summer yet but it seems like we’re in for a long hot run – unless the volcano …

Thursday, June 10, 2010:

Winds have gone west and should return things to a more summer like feel – not that we’re into summer yet but it seems like we’re in for a long hot run – unless the volcano factor kicks in and we get some bizarre cold spells, which has happened during other large eruptions in the northern hemisphere.

I’ve been accumulating various reports and bassing has not been burning up the scene, that’s for sure. It’s almost as if we’re prematurely into a summer pattern there also. There are bass but not a blastable numbers. A few pods were found off Wreck and up north off IBSP. The bunker pods are not what they should be and I have a slew of emailed concerns about the bunker boat activity in the EEZ. It’s not like that fear hasn’t been voiced before – and is now being taken to court, so to speak, as some actions against the wholesale facxtory ships is being considered by a few (far too few) federal legislators.

The fluking has not been good. Sure, a few big flatties have been coming from the “Creeks” inside Barnegat Inlet and the LE end of things has offered a few fair sessions but the sheer-numbers thing (low keeper count) has gone temporarily a tad cold. That’s likely just a barometer swing thing. The bottom is coated with fluke. And, yes, these seemingly ravenous feeders do just completely turn off and essentially sulk on the bottom. Scientific studies of transmittered fluke by Rutgers indicate these fish can go fully shut-mouthed for reasons only known by the fish – though the noted barometer thing, along with rapid water temperature swings, are suspected. Not surprisingly, larger fluke are more prone to feeding pauses, as is the case with virtually all species.

Sea bass are showing but are dramatically down in size, compared to a few years back when things went crazy big. My main concern with this species is the fewness of young-of-year I’ve been seeing in my annual bayside seining pulls. As I oft note in here, you really have to know what you’re looking for when counting larval sea bass. They go through an utter metamorphosis from larvae to, say, 6 months; from this blenny-looking what-the-hell-is-this to a predatory shape identical to adult fish. The eyes are the give away at all ages. Sea bass have this ability to sorta flash eyes, as if a silvery reflective lens slides down. It seems to be done as a warning or anger devise. I most often saw it in my aquarium during feeding.

Driving over the bridges early yesterday, I didn’t like the hue of the water. It had that red/brown look of

Aureococcus anophagefferens, that’s the algae behind notorious brown tides.

Back in the mid-1990s and again in 2002, that species of algae went haywire in the bay and badly damaged the shellfish population – and even drove weakfish out of the bay in the mid-90s.

We haven’t had a problem in recent years due (I believe) to winter, late-spring and early summer nor’easters, which flushed out the bay and also led to strong freshwater influxes from rain runoff.

That freshwater influx is a two-edged sword by some scientific reckonings. A major NJ study done on A. anophagefferens (ending 2004) indicated that high salinity was a major contributing factor to backbay blooms. Freshwater influxes would help stave off blooms. However, more recent individual studies show a link between the blooms and dangerously high nitrogen loads in the bay, caused by fertilizer and petroleum contaminates contained in runoff from rain, arriving in the bay as freshets.

Oddly, the larger earlier study could not make a definitive correlation between brown tides and high nitrogen counts. High salinity seemed far more a factor. I also saw that in the data and began to wonder if the lowering of the South Jersey aquifers (from human demands) reduced beneficial freshwater intrusions into the bayside marine environment. If that holds true, the current healthy aquifers should be doing their thing -- after three years of heavy rains finally sinking downward. A brown algae bloom this year will give merit to the nitrogen-load theory. With some heat and sun likely showing through the weekend, it’ll be easy to see if the bay takes on that unnatural red/brown to coffee-and-cream look.

The north end of Harvey Cedars is being replenished, after the heavy equipment was shifted from the south end of the borough, where work has been completed. The overall impact of the work on fishing and even beachgoing has been minimal during this project, as the Army Corps closed only small areas of beachfront as work progressed, unlike in Surf City with its fuse woes and larger closures.

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[Times of Malta] June 8, 2010

The Federation of Maltese Aquaculture Producers has hit out at Greenpeace over an incident yesterday which saw a Greenpeace activist injured by a grappling hook during a protest against tuna fishing.

The incident occurred when the activists attempted to disrupt a fishing operation and tried to free the fish already caught and which was destined to go to Maltese fishfarms.The injured activist is being treated in Malta.

The federation condemned the use of violence but pointed out that the incident occurred because the activists intervened in a legitimate fishing operation. The fishermen, it said, had done nothing to provoke attention from the activists except by carrying out their legitimate business.

'The activists' effort against the fishermen cannot be considered other than violent and illegal. There is no other way to define a concerted and well planned action which seeks to prevent another from carrying out his lawful activities,' the federation said.

'The activists cannot have expected the fishermen not to resist the attack; they sought confrontation and got the confrontation they wanted.'

The federation noted that a French patrol boat which was in the vicinity called the activists by radio and commanded them to desist because the fishing expedition was being conducted legally and was being monitored properly; the activists did not obey the command and, according to press releases issued by Greenpeace, they insisted that they didn't care whether the fish was being caught legally.

'The Greenpeace activity was violent and unlawful. They alone bear the blame for the consequences of yesterday's incidents.'

The federation pointed out that the Blue Fin Tuna fishing carried out this year by the fleets of the European Union is highly regulated and sustainable. All purse seiners trawlers carry international observers on board and are subjected to an unprecedented level of controls. The purse seiners are required to fish according to scientifically set quotas and the available season has been reduced to only 30 days. This year's season, which ends on the 14th June, has so far been marred by bad weather in this area of the Mediterranean.

The federation urged Greenpeace to give up its confrontational stance and t'o return to an honest and open discussion on the continuation of the fishery in a sustainable manner.'

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