Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Sat. may 29 -- Bass show big in LBI Cup

Saturday, May 29, 2010:

The BHM&TC Striped Bass Tourney was big, as in some 44 boats big. The top fish kept the theme as a 41-2 and 38-6 climbed aboard Lucky Stripes for Captain Green. Wally Johnson and the XYZ were also looking large with 38-4 and 39-4. Donuts and Capt. Bob Donat came in with 38-8 and 33-1.

The bluefish side-bet didn’t fare as well, as the choppers never showed. In fact, barely cocktail fish, under 2 pounds, were looking golden, cash-wise. I’ll have more on that event as I get info.

The fluking was right where it was expected: just about too many fish to count and too few take-homes to mention. Here’s a note I got from Bill K: “ Jay,

Fished with Bill & Nate Figley today in the Great Bay. We caught around 150 fluke with only 3 keepers just over the 18" min.”

Lots of radio chatter about the fluking near Barnegat Inlet. A few spoke in “decent” terms but the frustration over size was all the buzz even in prime DC and OC channel holes.

[Chronicle Herald] By Bill Powers - May 28, 2010 - The spreading oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico is threatening the breeding grounds of the Atlantic bluefin tuna and is raising concerns in Nova Scotia about the future of the species in Atlantic Canada.

'There is an important rod-and-reel fishery and a significant tourism industry associated with the great fish during the fall season in the Maritimes,' said Reg Hartlen, at H&H Fisheries Ltd ., in Eastern Passage.

'I was watching it all unfold on television last night and it is clear that even with the best technology available in the world, they don't know what to do.'

H&H Fisheries buys significant amounts of bluefin tuna in the fall, when boats from around the Maritimes capture the majestic sea creatures as they follow the Gulf Stream north and along the Nova Scotia coast.

Bluefin are in huge demand in overseas markets. Most products from the Maritime bluefin fishery end up in Japan, said Hartlen. Many other species that visit waters off Atlantic Canada are at risk because of the ruptured BP oil well, including other species of tuna and several varieties of shark, he said.

Many people associated with the industry first heard about the threat to the bluefin after the gambling website PaddyPower.com placed odds on which species faced extinc­tion first because of the disaster. The bluefin is listed as second most likely to face extinc­tion on the websites pool, right after the Kemp's ridley turtle.

If the bluefin tuna is listed as extinct at any time because of the oil spill, the online bet­ting site will pay $6 on a $4 bet.

The betting site said it posted the odds on the extinction of some species to draw atten­tion to the magnitude of the environmental crisis.

Both the Kemp's ridley turtle and the blue­fin tuna would be heading to the gulf about this time of year to spawn.

Scientists fear the turtle will burrow into oil-covered beaches on the Gulf coast while the oil in the water may interfere with the spawning of the bluefin.

Stephen Kiley, a former Shad Bay charter boat captain, said the disaster has potential implications on many species that spawn in the gulf and follow the warm Gulf Stream up to the Atlantic Canadian coast as summer closes.

'Anybody who knows anything at all about the importance of the gulf region to our fishery is watching this situation very closely,' said Kiley.

'One of the worst environmental night­mares of our time is unfolding right now in the gulf. We'll be living with it for years.'


{seafoodnews.com] May 28, 2010 - The National Fisheries is applauding and supporting a call from two scientists for the FDA to reopen and update its advice on eating fish during pregnancy, on the basis that the current recommendations to limit consumption to 12 oz a week actually lead to less positive outcomes for babies.

The new science says these benefits exist 'In Spite of Methyl-Mercury in Most If Not All Fish'

Two of the world's top experts on brain health are calling on the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to update its 2004 advice on fish and pregnancy because it is out of date and may be 'inadvertently causing harm. '

The extraordinary request came in the form of an open letter and petition from Professors Thomas Brenna of Cornell University and Michael Crawford of London Metropolitan University to FDA Commissioner, Dr. Margaret Hamburg that was posted online.

'[A] consistent stream of new publications and international scientific evaluations has persuaded us that this advice has become outdated and that it may be inadvertently causing harm, inconsistent with your public health mission, ' the letter states.

'We commend FDA for its history of willingness to modify that advice when warranted by new information. The time for the next update has come. '

Brenna and Crawford have created an online petition where interested parties can add their signatures to the letter.

'NFI applauds Professors Brenna and Crawford for their foresight in calling for an update to the advice, ' said NFI President John Connelly.

'Over the past six years the scientific community has produced a wealth of evidence supporting the fact that the real risk to pregnant women and unborn children is that they aren't eating enough fish. We're happy to add our signatures to the petition and urge members of the public to join us. '

According to Brenna and Crawford, science had not advanced enough by 2004 to properly consider the full health benefits of eating fish. '[I]t is no longer consistent with the recommendation to limit consumption of all fish to a maximum of 12 ounces per week for pregnant and lactating women and women who may become pregnant, ' according to the letter.

'There is persuasive new evidence that consumption of more than 12 ounces per week of most marketplace species will actually improve fetal neurodevelopment. This improvement occurs in spite of methyl-mercury in most, if not all fish. '

The letter closes with a call to FDA to complete its work on a draft report it initially released in January 2009 that used a new method for measuring the net beneficial effect of seafood consumption.


[Washington Post] May 28, 2010 - by Joel Achenbach and David A. Fahrenthold

Copyright 2010, The Washington Post Co. All Rights Reserved

With mud continuing to battle oil in an attempted 'top kill' of the leaking well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, the historic scale of the disaster became clearer Thursday when scientists said the mile-deep well has been spewing 12,000 to 19,000 barrels of oil a day, far more than previously estimated.

The new figure supports what many observers have assumed from the images of oil slicking the gulf surface, slathering beaches and spurting from a pipe on the sea floor: This is the worst oil spill in U. S. history.

President Obama, feeling pressure to act in a crisis now in its sixth week, yanked the exploratory drilling permits for 33 deepwater rigs in the gulf and suspended planned exploration in two areas off the coast of Alaska. He announced the moves at a news conference carried on cable TV channels that simultaneously showed the live video feed of effluent billowing from the cracked riser pipe at the bottom of the gulf.

Obama pushed back on suggestions that, as he put it, 'BP is off running around doing whatever it wants and nobody is minding the store.' He said that his administration is doing all it can, but that, when it comes to plugging the leak, 'the federal government does not possess superior technology to BP.'

The eventful day included the first prominent administrative casualty of the crisis. Elizabeth Birnbaum, head of Minerals Management Service, which issues permits for offshore drilling, resigned.

The political developments continue to be overshadowed by a technological struggle that has no precedent. Whether the top kill is going to work remains highly uncertain.

The maneuver is a brute-force, yet delicately calibrated, injection of heavy drilling mud into the blowout preventer atop the wellhead. As the mud is pumped from ships at the surface, the hydrocarbons should be forced back down the well toward their source in a porous reservoir called the Macondo field, about 21/2 miles below the floor of the gulf.

It has not been smooth sailing. After pumping mud for about nine hours on Wednesday, BP put the pumping on hold throughout the day Thursday while it pondered the initial results. The company resumed Thursday evening.

'Nothing has gone wrong or unanticipated,' Doug Suttles, BP's chief operating officer, told reporters. He said engineers hope to improve on their initial performance by preceding a mud injection with a blast of rubber balls and other rough-textured materials -- a 'junk shot' -- to clog the blowout preventer and force more mud down into the hole, rather than shooting it out of the leaks in the riser.

'We did believe we did pump some mud down the well bore. We obviously pumped a lot of mud out the riser,' Suttles said.

BP Managing Director Bob Dudley likened the top kill to an 'arm-wrestling match with two fairly equal-rated forces. Or taking two fire hoses and driving them together, trying to overcome the other.'

The well won't be considered killed until the mud injection has been followed by cement to permanently plug it -- at which point the news would be carried by 'the roar coming out of this building,' the deadpan Suttles said.

Even if the well is plugged this weekend, the spill already is of epic proportions. The Flow Rate Technical Group, a task force made up of scientists from government and academia, has produced preliminary estimates that 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day have leaked into the gulf, U.S. Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt said Thursday.

The scale of the spill has been a matter of furious debate and speculation. The Coast Guard initially pegged the spill at 1,000 barrels a day. Then the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration used satellite images to make an estimate of 5,000 barrels a day.

Government officials and BP executives repeated that figure for weeks, even as independent scientists came up with figures as high as 95,000 barrels a day.

There are 42 gallons in a barrel. Assuming that the leak began when the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig sank to the gulf bottom on April 22, and subtracting the amount of oil that BP said it has siphoned from the leaking pipe and pumped onto a barge, the new estimate would suggest that 17 million to 27 million gallons of oil have polluted the gulf.

The 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, by comparison, put 11 million gallons of oil along more than 1,000 miles of Alaska's coastline.

Interior Department spokesman Frank Quimby said scientists used multiple techniques. One took video of the plume of oil escaping from the pipe and fed it through computer models. The result was 12,000 to 25,000 barrels a day.

Another technique relied on a NASA plane that could differentiate oil from water on the gulf surface. That produced an estimate of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels a day. A third method relied on measurements from the insertion tube that siphoned oil from the end of the riser. That produced an estimate of 12,000 barrels a day.

Also Thursday, scientists from the University of South Florida reported the discovery in the gulf of a 'plume' of dissolved oil that was six miles wide and up to 20 miles long. The plume extended from the surface down to a depth of 3,200 feet.

The oil is entirely dissolved in the water, which appears clear, USF professor David Hollander said. That seemed to confirm the fears of some scientists that, because of the depth of the leak and the heavy use of chemical dispersants, this spill was behaving differently than others. Instead of floating on top of the water, it may be moving beneath it.

That could hamper containment efforts and would also be a problem for ecosystems deep under the gulf. There, scientists say, the oil could be absorbed by tiny animals and enter a food chain that builds to sportfish such as red snapper. It might also glom on to deep coral formations.

Oil has now hit 101 miles of Louisiana coastline, state officials said, mainly lapping up on state's outer ring of uninhabited barrier islands: Whiskey Island, Raccoon Island, Isle Grand Terre. The beaches and marinas of Grand Isle -- a rare beach in a region of marshy coast, and a weekend destination for Cajuns and deepwater fishermen -- are deserted, except for those working on the spill.

'We should have about 4,500, 5,000 people on the beach,' said Mayor Dave Camardelle at a news conference with Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) Thursday. 'And it's a ghost town.'

Five of seven workers helping clean up oil in the Gulf of Mexico were released from the hospital Thursday after complaining of nausea, dizziness, and headaches the day before, prompting the Coast Guard to order all 125 boats working in the Breton Sound area to return to port. The incident has highlighted concerns about possible health risks. So far, air monitoring has not found alarmingly high levels of toxic chemicals, officials said.

On Thursday, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers gave approval to a plan that sounded far-fetched in the spill's early days: build more Louisiana.

The corps approved part of a state plan to build a line of six-foot-high barrier islands off the Louisiana coast, designed to block oil on the surface and under the water.

In all, Jindal said, the Corps approved building 40 miles of the 100-mile barrier that Louisiana had proposed. The first move, he said, would be to build one smaller section as a prototype. He said BP should be made to pay for the plan, which has been estimated to cost tens of millions of dollars.

The oil industry did not welcome Obama's new moves on offshore drilling. Bill Tanner, a spokesman for Shell Oil, said, 'We respect and understand today's decision in the context of the tragic spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but we remain confident in our drilling expertise, which is built upon a foundation of redundant safety systems and company global standards.'

In Lafourche ('la-FOOSH') Parish, a mosaic of bayous, lakes and marshland, oil has already penetrated some marshes. Charlotte Randolph, the parish president, said she fears for the future of fishing in the area.

'If this destroys our water, then we can't be who we were before,' Randolph said. 'The other industry here is oil and gas. We had a happy marriage before. And now the husband has really done something awful.'

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