Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Friday, March 19, 2010:
If days get nicer than today, It'll come down to mere millimeters of nicerness. It was kick-ass gorgeous out there, especially in the woods.
Trudging through swamp areas, I got a chuckle out of the many frogs sounding off under a high bright sun. These nocturnal mate-seekers were quite literally warming up – stretching vocal cords for what will be an epic sundown turn-on. I have to think that frog dreams, during the long hibernation, have to be dominated by visions of matings, past and future. The puddles and shallow vernal ponds the frogs will be partying within in nights to come, have been transformed from frigid melt-off temps to balmy, as the shallow tannin-browned waters absorbed the sun.
Holgate Inlet: No breakthrough but a snaking of the old inlet. It awaits the anecdotal buoying -- soon to be put in place as cpatians test/work the BH Inlet area.
What was chasing the Piney?: I'm pretty damn sure it was a hybrid: Part coyote, wolf, bear, devil and pine barrens treefrog. Seems the runner didn't have to worry about being eaten as much as being raped.
WHAT IS THAT THING?: I had an odd incident today — one bitterly indicative of the changing lifestyle in our land of the brave.
I was metal detecting near Route 9 in New Gretna, working a heavily-cedared area. Not that far off the highway, I came across a large brand-new black knapsack-type bag, maybe three feet long and filled to gills with something. But what? It was zippered tightly shut. It didn’t have so much as trees dust atop it, so it was a recent deposit.
There was a time I couldn’t have resisted unzippering such a find and excitedly checking out the innards. Instead, from a goodly distance, I only stood and steadily stared at the big bag -- as if a heretofore unrealized X-ray vision would eventually penetrate the quality canvas covering -- revealing?
Just like that, my X-ray vision changed to $-ray vision. Despite being many yards from the large bag, I clearly began envisioning wads and wads of cash, jammed in there so tightly it would take all night and part of tomorrow to accurately count – after rolling around in it. Somewhat oddly, my imaginary fortune firstly solicited visions of Snickers ice cream cones in numbers gone mad. But, from whence came such a found fortune? Since I couldn’t have kept bank-robbery loot, I conveniently drummed up a seedy scenario wherein a mega-valise of unmarked cash was chucked by some dumb-ass drug dealer being hotly pursued -- and opting to off the incriminating green for later retrieval. Works for me – ad pass those $10,000 wrappers.
Licking the tips of my fingers in anticipation of rapid-counting the currency, I began walking forward. Then, maybe ten feet from the bulging bag, I hit the brakes. Before my X-ray/$-ray visions, a distorted face began to appear – the face of our post 9-11 mentality.
In a raw cruel twist of the worm, I began to mentally compute how much all that alleged money space would translate to in terms of waiting-to-be-detonated explosives. I kid you not. Hey, you had to be there to stare at that unblinking black bag. I actually began to breath softer, just in case it was ready to blow. Sure, I hear a couple folks saying: “I woulda just walked up, kicked it a couple times and opened that sucker.” My butt, you woulda. Again, you had to be there.
After another pondering or two, I turned around and walked away; glancing back a time or two in the direction of what might have been my financial salvation.
The entire incident shot my treasure hunting desire to hell. I bee-lined back to my truck. That’s when the water broke on the pregnant afterthought process. Loosed were these ancillary naggings, hissing, “Just walk the hell up and unzipper the stupid thing. It’s probably just some clothes left by a homeless person. Then you just close it and leave the poor person’s stuff alone.” I exploded back, “How many itinerants house their meager things in a costly designer bag?”
The colliding voices got so nerve-wrackingly tedious, I defaulted to the old stand-by, “Screw this. I’m outta here.”
Then, out of left field, what pops forth but the civic duty side of things. What if there’s even the minutest chance that something awful was residing inside that bag? And what if kids come across it?
Just to show how crazily critical this whole incident became, I actually flagged down a passing state trooper. I verbally explained what was going on and he looked at me with a stare just this side of “I knew I shouldn’t a stopped for this guy.”
In what seemed to be an equal mix of not wanting to get his immaculate uniform exposed to unprocessed stain-ful nature and a bona fide curiosity, the trooper got out of his cruiser and very edgily followed me through green briars and damp soil. We got to within staring distance of black bag. And we did just that. Co-staring, neither of us said a thing. The staring thing was new to him. I was a little cockier, in a Round 2 sorta way. I even took to shaking my head ever so slightly in an “Ain’t this just the dangest thing?” manner. I finally broke the stare-fest by offering, “You know, if you think it’s nothing, we can just leave it at that.”
To that, the trooper nonchalantly spoke words that were a sweet verification, of sorts. “I’m sure not going to open it,” he said, with nary a grin. Roger that.
Now, I’ll piss off many folks by admitting I have no ending to this story. I began the blog in mere hopes it would reflect the intrinsic change in the American way of thinking about disenfranchised luggage. In fact, in something of tag-you’re-it, I left the trooper with his overheads flashing and making phone calls -- to whomever one calls when a large utterly mysterious bag sits in a wooded area, begging an explanation but unwilling to offer so much as a hint as to what hides within.
Of course, there is a legal stipulation that if there is a fortune in that bag, I’m technically the owner after 30 days, providing no owners show. I left the officer my business card. Maybe I’ll be counting cash yet. I’m not quitting my day job.
A Major Blow to Bluefin Tuna
A proposed global ban on trading the fish failed today, leaving their future in jeopardy.
Thu Mar 18, 2010 07:25 PM ET
The future looks bleak for bluefin tuna.
An international vote today killed a proposed global trade ban for the critically depleted fish, leaving the species vulnerable to continued rampant overfishing.
The vote at a committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, CITES, was a crushing blow for the iconic species: 20 countries voted for protection (including the United States), 68 against and 30 abstained.
Strong pressure from Japan, the largest importer of bluefin tuna, and the commercial fishing industry prevailed. The market for the fish – which can weigh up to 1,600 pounds each and net thousands of dollars – is just too lucrative for countries to forgo.
Yet doing nothing jeopardizes the health of the bluefin trade for the future. The Western Atlantic Ocean population has plummeted 82 percent since 1970 from about 222,600 mature fish down to about 41,000, according to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, ICCAT, a regional fishery management organization.
Today’s decision puts bluefin tuna’s fate back in the hands of ICCAT, the very organization that has driven the species to its disastrous state. ICCAT has set fishing levels higher than the species can withstand.
We need more sustainable fishing levels. ICCAT should understand that the long-term viability of the fishing industries they regulate depends on the long-term survival of the fish.
We can also do more at home. Now more than ever, the United States needs to step up and increase protections for the species. The Gulf of Mexico is bluefin tuna’s only known spawning ground in the western Atlantic Ocean.
Although commercial fishermen have been banned from directly targeting bluefin tuna in the Gulf since 1982, destructive fishing practices threaten the species. Bluefin get caught on commercial fishing lines intended to snare swordfish and yellowfin tuna. These fishing lines are baited with hundreds of hooks and extend an average 25 miles along the water’s surface. We need safer fishing gear to better protect these fish.
Bluefin tuna can swim faster than 40 mph in spurts, live for 40 years, grow to 14 feet long, dive to 3,000 feet and migrate thousands of miles each year across the Atlantic. We don’t have time to wait to save these truly remarkable fish.