Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Hot angling/fishing/outdoor reads -- off world presses:
(Being well informed is being well equipped)
This grizzly read offers some close-contact insights into being mauled. And don’t I read it and assure that if had been me, it would have been a drop to one knee careful aim and neutralize the attacker. Then I envision the gun jamming and curtains.
Associated Press Newswires] By MARY PEMBERTON June 25, 2010
(c) 2010. The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The bearded, sandy-haired geologist was on a job in the remote Alaska wilderness when a grizzly bear suddenly emerged from the brush just yards away.
So Robert Miller did what he was trained to do -- he fell to the ground, clasped his hands around his neck to protect it and played dead.
The bear wandered away and Miller thought he was in the clear. Pulling himself to his knees, he found out how wrong he was.
The bear charged again and 'this time he didn't want me to move. He was really thrashing me around,' the 54-year-old said Wednesday from his hospital bed, his right arm and leg swathed in bandages, his left ear criss-crossed by stitches.
Miller had been out scoping possible mining projects Sunday for his employer, Millrock Resources Inc., in a remote valley of the Alaska Range mountains near the Iditarod Trail. He'd finished for the day and was waiting for a helicopter to pick him up.
Miller was clearing brush with a handsaw so the helicopter could land, when the bear appeared about 25 feet away.
'When he stepped into the clearing he didn't snarl and stand up and show me how big he was. He just came for me,' Miller said.
Miller managed to pull out his .357 Magnum revolver and squeeze off a single shot, possibly grazing the animal. Then his survival training kicked in: He fell onto his stomach, dug his face into the dirt and covered his neck with his hands to protect it from the grizzly's claws and teeth.
The bear went for his exposed right arm, gnawing and clawing it and chipping the bone off the tip of his elbow. The attack lasted 10-15 seconds, then the animal lumbered away.
'I thought it was over, I thought he was gone,' Miller said.
He rolled over and was getting to his knees when the bear, which was only about 40 yards away, came at him again.
'As soon as I turned, he was running already. It was shoot, shoot and roll back over,' Miller said.
He managed to fire two more shots, but with his right arm badly injured he thinks he missed the bear. Then he lay still as the animal gnawed and clawed at him.
'It was no problem to lay there with my neck covered and let him chew. It was actually painless at that point,' Miller said.
After the second attack, Miller played dead again, lying still for three to five minutes as thoughts raced through his mind. Was the bear still around? How bad was he bleeding? Where was his gun?
He tried to move and realized he couldn't. He was too badly injured.
'I was just hoping my radio was still in my vest pocket and it was,' he said. 'I got it out and started radioing mayday, which nobody answered.'
He tried calling for help about every 20 seconds; about 20 minutes passed before a voice came over the radio.
It was the helicopter pilot. Not knowing there had been a bear attack, he was calling in to let Miller know he was within five miles and needed to know the exact pickup spot.
'I told him what had happened. So he came in low, just doing outwardly expanding circles to make sure there was no bear around,' Miller said.
Reassured the grizzly was gone, the pilot flew to the next valley and picked up geologist Ryan Campbell, who was trained as a wilderness medic.
Campbell cleaned Miller's wounds and applied pressure bandages to stem the bleeding. That's when Miller really began hurting.
'When he was cleaning out the wounds with this spray bottle ... it was a mixture of fire and electricity,' Miller said.
He was flown to a nearby air strip where an emergency medical technician was waiting, then taken by medical helicopter on the more than hour-long trip to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.
Miller was fortunate to have survived, said Rick Sinnott, an Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist.
He should have been packing a more powerful gun, Sinnott said. 'You have to be a very good shot or very lucky to stop a brown bear with a .357 Magnum.'
Miller did the right thing to play dead with the grizzly, Sinnott said.
'Most of the time they just want to neutralize you and if you are playing dead after they swat you or hit you, you are pretty much neutralized. But if you try to run or stand right up or are screaming or waving your arms around, then they think you are still a danger,' he said.
Propped up in his hospital bed Wednesday, Miller gingerly touched what he thought were bite marks just above his buttocks on his left side. His right arm was heavily bandaged from bicep to wrist; another bulky bandage encased his right thigh, which the bear had chewed from the back of his leg to the front.
Miller's face was unscathed except for a few scratches, but the bear nearly ripped off his left ear. Using his finger, he traced where it had been reattached with two rows of stitches.
Still, the geologist, who until five years ago worked as a roofer, said he holds no grudge against the bear.
'The bear was just doing what bears do,' Miller said.
[seafoodnews.com] June 25, 2010
U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) today chaired a briefing of Maryland's Congressional delegation on the potential impact of the Gulf oil spill on Maryland's beaches, the Chesapeake Bay and the safety of seafood that is shipped to Maryland's markets, restaurants and grocery stores. Senator Mikulski is Chairwoman of the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA), which is working in the Gulf to track movement of the oil, aid in clean-up of shores and marshes, assist the fishermen, and ensures our seafood is safe to eat.
The delegation was briefed by Eric Schwaab, NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries; Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Principal Deputy Commissioner for FDA; and Dr. Steve Murawski, NOAA Director of Scientific Programs for Oil Spill.
On June 11, Senator Mikulski and Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, went to the Gulf to talk to scientists first hand and find out how the spill could impact Maryland. While on the trip, the Senators were told that were told that the oil would not likely reach Maryland's beaches or the Bay, and that the seafood was safe.
'I want to trust, but verify,' Senator Mikulski said. 'This environmental disaster will have effects for years to come, but I want to know what Marylanders should expect in the coming weeks and months. Thousands of tourists will make their way to our beaches and the Chesapeake Bay this summer. I want to know that they won't see oil washing ashore and that they can feel safe eating our seafood.'
Coastal tourism contributes nearly $10 billion to Maryland's economy each year. NOAA has said that oil from the Gulf is not expected to reach Maryland's beaches and the Chesapeake Bay because any oil that makes its way around to the east coast of Florida will be carried farther out into the Atlantic by the Gulf Steam before going north of Cape Hatteras. However, Senator Mikulski assembled the panel to find out if a hurricane could alter the oil slick and pose an unexpected risk.
Maryland's restaurants and seafood processors depend on seafood from the Gulf for their businesses. Senator Mikulski organized the briefing to find out if seafood coming from the Gulf is safe to eat despite the oil and the dispersants used in the oil. She also wanted to know if seafood that migrates and is caught off Maryland's coast - like tuna - will be affected.
Mr. Schwaab said, 'The seafood coming from the Gulf is absolutely safe.'
NOAA and the FDA explained in detail the protocols the federal government is doing to ensure the seafood is safe, which includes: establishing clear bounds around areas closed to fishing; monitoring fishing vessels to make sure fishermen stay away from closed areas; testing key species of fish - both raw and cooked - to make sure they edible; and stationing seafood inspectors at docks, processing centers and markets to ensure the fish entering the market were caught in the correct areas and are indeed healthy.
Dr. Sharfstein summed up the strategy by saying, 'The bedrock of ensuring the seafood is safe is to make sure fish are not caught in areas that are off limits, and that those closed fishing areas will not re-open until the fish are tested to be safe.'
Dr. Murawski assured the delegation that the oil is vigilantly being monitored by aircraft, ships and satellites, and that liquid oil is very unlikely to come this far north.
'The chances of seeing oil or tar balls wash up on our Maryland beaches are pretty slim, but the economic and environmental consequences of the BP oil spill will reach well beyond the Gulf Coast region. It is critical that we understand the potential impacts of this catastrophe so that we can protect our state and hold BP and its partners accountable for any damage,' said Senator Cardin, Chairman of the Senate's Water and Wildlife Subcommittee. 'I was pleased to hear from federal experts what the government is doing to understand the impacts of the spill in the Gulf, in Maryland and around the nation ahead of a hearing in my Water and Wildlife Subcommittee on this topic.'
'While it is by no means a certainty that the oil spill will reach Maryland's shores, we must take action to fully confront and minimize any potential impacts on the state's economy and environment,' stated Congressman Hoyer, who sent a letter to the President this week requesting a summit of Atlantic Coast officials to discuss preparedness. 'It is critical that we be prepared for potential scenarios to ensure the safety of our food supply, the protection of our shores and the security of Maryland residents.'
Congressman Bartlett said that, 'Marylanders can be relieved that we were assured that the seafood that we catch from the Bay and off our coast and that we buy in the market from the Gulf of Mexico is safe. We were also informed that it is highly unlikely that any oil from the spill would reach the Bay or our coast.'
'We do not expect oil from the Gulf spill will reach the Maryland beaches or impact our local seafood industry, but we definitely want to be prepared in case we feel any of the effects. The Maryland shoreline, the Chesapeake Bay, and the region's crabs and oyster industry are a vital part of Maryland's culture and generate billions of dollars to our economy every year. We must do everything we can to protect our State and our way of life,' said Congressman Ruppersberger, a Member of the House Appropriations Committee.
'As we work to end the ongoing disaster in the Gulf, hold the responsible parties accountable, and take protective steps to make sure it never happens again, Marylanders understandably want to know that the Chesapeake Bay is safe and that our state's tourist and fishing industries will remain protected from the Deepwater Horizon spill and future accidents,' said Congressman Van Hollen. 'The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency is playing a critical role in the response to the current Gulf crisis, and I look forward to working with NOAA and the rest of my colleagues to safeguard our state's economy and cherished natural resources.'
'The untold damage being done to marine ecosystems, the fishing and tourism industries, and the Gulf economy is a tragedy of historic proportions - the impact of which is likely to be felt well beyond the Gulf region,' said Congressman Sarbanes. 'The destruction done by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill highlights the inherent safety, environmental and economic risks associated with offshore drilling. This disaster is a game changer as it pertains to our regulatory framework for offshore drilling and our nation's energy policies more generally.'
'The bottom line is that we need to be prepared,' said Congressman Kratovil. 'The disaster in the Gulf has devastated the local environment as well as the seafood and tourism industries on which the region's economy relies. Given the ecological and economic similarities between the Chesapeake region and the Gulf Coast, we need to be prepared to protect the families, businesses and industry that call our region home in the event that this oil spill or any other has an impact on our region.'
[New York Times] By Andrew W. Lehren and Justin
Fearing that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will deal a severe blow to the bluefin tuna, an environmental group is demanding that the government declare the fish an endangered species, setting off extensive new protections under federal law.
Scientists agree that the Deepwater Horizon spill poses at least some risk to the bluefin, one of the most majestic - and valuable - fishes in the sea. Its numbers already severely depleted from record levels, the bluefin is also the subject of a global controversy regarding overfishing.
The bluefin is not the only fish that spawns in the gulf, and while it is often a focus of attention, researchers are worried about the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on many other species.
In fact, scientists say, it is virtually certain that billions of fish eggs and larvae have died in the spill, which came at the worst possible time of the year. Spawning season for many fish in the gulf begins in April and runs into the summer. The drilling rig exploded on April 20, and the spill has since covered thousands of square miles with patches of oil.
Both the Bush and Obama administrations tried to win greater international protection for the bluefin, but their efforts were derailed by opposition from countries like Japan, where a single large bluefin can sell in the sashimi market for hundreds of thousands of dollars. (The tuna fish sold in cans comes from more abundant types of tuna, not from bluefin.)
The bluefin uses the Gulf of Mexico as a prime spawning ground, and the gulf is such a critical habitat for the animal that fishing for it there was banned in the 1980s. But after spawning in the spring and summer, many tuna spend the rest of the year roaming the Atlantic, where they are hunted by a global fishing fleet.
The environmental advocacy group, the Center for Biological Diversity, in Tucson, filed the request under the Endangered Species Act in late May. If the petition is granted, a process that could take years, the endangered listing would require that federal agencies conduct exhaustive analysis before taking any action, like granting drilling permits, that would pose additional risk to the fish.
Beyond tuna, other animals at apparent risk of harm include the whale shark, the largest fish in the ocean, and a group known as billfish, the foundation of a large recreational fishery in the Gulf of Mexico and the western Atlantic. The billfish that could be affected include the fastest fish in the ocean, the sailfish, as well as blue marlin and swordfish.
'This is a much bigger problem than people are making out,' said Barbara Block, a Stanford researcher who is among the world's leading experts on the bluefin tuna. 'The concern for wildlife is not just along the coast; it is also at sea. We're putting oil right into the bluewater environment.'
Some of the science documenting the risks that oil drilling poses to spawning fish was paid for by none other than the Minerals Management Service, the federal agency responsible for leasing offshore tracts for oil development.
Yet the results appear to have had little impact on the way the agency carried out its business. For instance, it never adopted seasonal limitations on drilling in the gulf that might have reduced the risk of oil spills during spawning season. It also dismissed the dangers that drilling posed to deep-water fish as 'negligible.'
President Obama has acknowledged the agency's failings. Its director, S. Elizabeth Birnbaum, resigned, and a reorganization of the agency's functions is under way (last week, it was renamed the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement).
The agency responded to inquiries by saying that in light of the Deepwater Horizon spill, its policies - including those for fisheries - were under review.
Given that a single female fish can produce tens of millions of eggs, scientists say that many billions of them would have been in the water on April 20. The vast majority of those would never survive to adulthood even in normal times; now bathed in oil, fewer will make it.
'It's obvious that any egg or larvae encountering oil will die,' said Molly Lutcavage, director of a research center on large fish and turtles at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Less clear is whether fish would have continued to lay eggs near the spill after it began. Most fish can smell, and researchers hope that at least some species would have avoided spawning in oil. However, fish that can be readily spotted from the air, like whale sharks, have been seen in recent weeks in the vicinity of the spill.
'The question is, does everything shut down if there's oil there, or do they just go ahead and spawn anyway?' said Eric Hoffmayer, a researcher at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Many important fish in the region, like yellowfin tuna, are able to spawn across broad areas of the gulf, and that means significant numbers of such fish should have hatched this year far from the oil spill.
But other species, including bluefin tuna, apparently have a strong instinct to spawn in a specific part of the ocean. Scientists fear that instinct might overcome the presence of oil in the water, causing the fish to spawn in areas where their offspring would be likely to die. One of the spawning areas in the gulf favored by bluefin is in the vicinity of the spill, Dr. Block said.
The risks the spill poses to fish of all kinds have provoked deep alarm among commercial and sport fishing groups. At least a half-dozen major billfishing tournaments scheduled for June and July have been canceled, and tourists who would normally take deep-sea fishing trips this time of year are avoiding the gulf. The American Sportfishing Association estimated that business owners were losing millions of dollars in a recreational fishing industry worth more than $3.5 billion a year in the gulf.
'It's having a horrific impact on the marine and fishing industry,' said Dan Jacobs, tournament director for an offshore fishing championship. 'The big question is, how long is it going to last?'
Given that it takes some big fish years to reach spawning age, the death of larvae and juvenile fish could have consequences that might not show up for a long time.
'The oil spill could be the last straw with these very vulnerable species,' said Ellen Peel, president of the Billfish Foundation, a nonprofit group that supports recreational offshore fishing.