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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Monday, November 08, 2010: It’s a tad crazed out there, wind-wise (see below). This might make for some super clamming during low tides. Unfortunately, this wicked wind will blow away much of the fi…

Monday, November 08, 2010:

It’s a tad crazed out there, wind-wise (see below). This might make for some super clamming during low tides. Unfortunately, this wicked wind will blow away much of the fishing week, though this is an ideal time for hard-core anglers to win daily or even weekly prizes in the Classic, as fishing pressure is also blown away.

We’re at the height of the fall surf fishing run -- and things are far from Ethiopian. The slowness is not simply weather- or wind-related. It’s just not kicking autumnal butt the way it should. Part of the slowness is centered on the bluefish AWOLness. There are barely 80 blues entered in the Classic. That’s the worse showing in 10 years. Still, Dick C. knows there are some slammers skirting the suds. His 16.06, taken last Wednesday, has taken the lead in this $1,000 category. As usual, it’s not the number of fish but the quality that rules the leader board in years like this.

The bassing remains fairly bogus for surfcasters, HOWEVER (!), the bass are burning brightly for many boat angers, especially those geared to working inlet areas. Little Egg is hot all the way into Great Bay. Barnegat Inlet, you need to get outside and head north. A tad iffy, weather-wise and fish-wise.

Many boaters are using eels as a prime attractant. However, smaller stripers are being suckered in with clam gobs fished on the drift. J.M. emailed that he took a 22-pound and an18-pound bass on a “bare” all-white Spro, being softly jigged (slow, fluking-like rise and drop) during a fast drift. With the paucity of blues, plastic tails and lead-inset jigs (Wildeyes and such) can also be used for bassing.

Bridges have some bass action.

Black seabass are now legal to catch. I’m not sure when weather will allow going after them or (soon) blackfish. What’s wrong with this recent email? “Jay, We ran out of live baits so we caught a few real small blackfish and swam them …” As the new quirky maxim goes: “That’s just wrong in so many ways.”

WIND WILDNESS: Where the hell did those winds come from? The shutters were fully a-rattle this early a.m. as 40 mph west winds fired in on the shirttails of a massive storm off New England.

A huge low-pressure system up north took what is misnamed a “retro” course, seemingly moving backwards (east to west), opposing planetary rules that require systems in the northern hemisphere to move west to east.

What actually happens in a retro-storm scenario is a low detonates, meteorologically speaking, off the coast, as warmer ocean water hyper-energizes the system. However, in a retro storm, the center seldom shifts very far west. What happens instead is an intensification process essentially fattens the storm, causing outer fat bands of wind and rain to expand outward, moving counterclockwise. This gives the illusory look and feel the storm is moving west to east.

I note this recent storm and its retrofication (my word – obviously) since we’re in the general birthday zone of the 1991 Perfect Storm, a.k.a. Halloween Storm (preferred) and the No-Name Storm (sucks).

The Halloween Storm was, far and away, the largest storm I’ve seen in my 40-some years of serious weather watching. And, yes, the Halloween Storm even dwarfed the Great March Storm and even the hurricane of ’44. In fact, you could fit both the March Storm and ‘44 Hurricane inside the Perfect Storm and have plenty of room for the next four or five largest systems. A satellite view of the Halloween Storm’s coverage area shows it took up most of the entire Northwest Atlantic. Unprecedented. Fortunately, 90 percent of the system remained offshore.

Having been a wave person my entire life, I can also add a mind boggling, albeit scientific, perspective to the Halloween Storm. I direct you to a highly accurate buoy reading (located at 42°16′N 62°00′W / 42.26°N 62.0°W / 42.26; -62.0), which reported a wave height of 100.7 feet on October 30. Yowza.

I’ll belabor this large NE storm just a bit more by noting that this fall/winter has seeming adjusted to a La Nina-related oscillation pattern. While milder and wetter winters are common in NJ under this big-picture weather set-up, it is also marked by a shift of major winter storms from off the Delmarva to off New England. Obviously, a single storm is not enough to go on but I’m among the many who would rather see the rainy winter and let New England have the honors of all-time storm-age.

Off the wires:

{Bangkok Post] - November 8, 2010 - The craze for sushi has fueled a black market in tuna worth billions of dollars, as governments collaborate with the industry despite fears for the species' survival, an investigation found.

A seven-month probe by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists found that fishermen have willfully violated official quotas in order to supply the lucrative tuna market, which is dominated by Japan.

The investigation covered 10 nations but found particular violations in France, where it said the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has joined forces with the tuna industry to doctor catch numbers.

'Everyone cheated,' said Roger Del Ponte, one of the six French fishing captains facing criminal charges.

'It's like driving down the road. If I know there are no police, I'm going to speed,' he said in the report.

The journalists said the black market in Eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna was worth at least four billion dollars between 1998 and 2007. The calculation came from comparing the estimated total catch of tuna with official quotas and then using rates at Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market.

Global fears over tuna stocks emerged in 2007 when France declared it had caught nearly 10,000 tons, almost double its quota allowed under the International Commission for the Conservation of the Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), a regulatory body.

'We found that the system failed at every point. It failed in that vessels were overfishing and that officials were turning a blind eye to that overfishing for years,' said Kate Willson, a reporter on the investigation.

Facing an outcry, ICCAT came up with a new system in 2008 to keep track of the trade. But the study said the database was ineffectual and the tuna industry was heading to areas with even less oversight such as North Africa.

Willson said the French ministry declined repeated requests for comment.

'There is no way to know if the situation is getting better. We're supposed to trust them that they are getting better,' she said.

ICCAT found that spawning stock of Eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna has tumbled by nearly 75 percent in the past four decades, with more than half of the loss between 1997 and 2007.

Jean-Marc Fromentin, a marine biologist on ICCAT's scientific body, said that experts had recommended a cut in fishing quotas as long ago as the late 1990s.

'If the countries had listened, then there would have been no risk of collapse,' he said in the report.

'But because they didn't pay attention, and they didn't control (catch limits), then after a few years the situation became really critical and we began to speak about the risk of collapse,' he said.

ICCAT meets in Paris from November 17 to 27, ahead of which European Union fisheries commissioner Maria Damanaki has called for a substantial reduction in the bloc's tuna catch quota of 13,500 tons.

France has opposed the quota, arguing that tuna stocks will be sustainable by 2022. Diplomats say that France is backed by other Mediterranean countries including Greece, Italy and Spain, while Britain is the only country clearly to back Damanaki's position.

A March meeting in Qatar soundly defeated a proposal backed by the United States and European Union to ban the international trade of Atlantic bluefin tuna after an aggressive lobbying effort by Japan.

The study said that Japan has driven the demand for the Atlantic bluefin, with the industry taking off in the 1980s when the Japanese developed a passion for 'toro,' the fatty belly of tuna.

But after years of financial backing for the industry, Japan has tried to distance itself from perceived excesses, the study said. Last year it temporarily halted imports from Tunisia due to a lack of required documentation on the catch.

The study traced industry excesses to the mid-1990s, when Japanese companies helped set up tuna 'ranches' in which fishermen would take their catches to underwater cages to fatten them up.

With little oversight, the industry began to 'launder' tuna by misreporting weight and country of origin, the study said.

'For the fish that are over quota, you have to find a solution,' a former manager at a Spanish tuna ranch said in the report. 'You either trade it illegally or keep it until the next season.'

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