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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Saturday, December 07, 2019: The small stuff is out there, striper-wise ....

Below: Barnegat Bay garlands-up for Christmas .. 

Saturday, December 07, 2019: The small stuff is out there, striper-wise. For boat bassers, they’re not the slam dunk they had been. Oh, some captains are nailing the biomass, first try. Others, like those motoring south of Little Egg Inlet, have gotten the cold shoulder from the bass. I saw a handful of boats coming into LEI from the north. Haven’t gotten any word on how they did.

Below: Recent.

Good trip today. Kept our slots and one over 28”. Lost count on through backs. Great bunch of guys. Weekend weather looks good.

As to surfcasting, let’s just say it’s a lot better than it had been when we were looking for larger models.

For those of us content with a fishing state of takehomelessness, there are some easily-gotten 22-inchers. Mid-Island north, especially HC, seems a bit better than elsewhere south.

Thinking artificially, the schoolies are going for Sassy Shad, Wildeyes and any number of jighead varieties, when couple with taily plastics. A goodly amount of tail waggle is seemingly essential. 

Still unwilling to give up the ghost of plugging, I’ve garnered some lineside interest using small, deep-diving plugs.

Saw a couple bass caught mid-Island on bait; one was that close to keepable – and Classic money. I tried to help out by legally pursing its tail for the catcher, but it still came up short … no matter how you cut it. I’m using “cut it” in a metaphorical sense. Tt was released and sped away. I hate to keep harping on it, but bass are bulldogs. This utter nonsense that at least half of them die after release is just that: utter nonsense. I will concede that cooler weather and icy water makes recovery after release that much easier on the fish.  

Ever notice how sometimes you mention something, and it then seems to suddenly jump up? Well, just such a jump-up erupted yesterday evening as I plugged Surf City. Ocean herring, which I head written about as being AWOL, were busting all along the beachline, mainly in close. As the sun slunk off, a few of them went airborne. It was a good sign, though they seemed a bit small -- half the size as the jumbos we used to catch using multi hook Sabiki rigs.  

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Jay Mann
Fully non indigenous, starlings are seldom worth an avian mention -- much less a photo shoot. But, lo and behold, I walked out my front door today -- I seem to attract any wildlife weirdness -- and lit upon likely the largest flock of these year'rounders I've ever seen on LBI. Hey, just the fact they rough it out here makes them at least a little local. What's more, they have a famed and adored tropical brethren: the myna bird. (The pics don't do justice to the size of the flock that had gathered.)
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BELOW: Here's one of those secretive Holgate refuge denizens, sometimes out there in huge numbers. I believe it to be a type of vole -- in its thick, very attractive winter fur. Foxes and snowy owls (when present) dine on them. They're numerous this year -- easily found under larger pieces of junk I'm trying to haul out -- but not like the almost spooky numbers they show in irruption years, when the refuge is crawling with them. They're fairly large (hamster-esque) when compared to the likes of mice, maybe three or four times larger. Short tails. Unlike mice, voles can't jump or even climb worth a hill of beans so they're virtually never a household pest. This one was gently released after the photo shoot.

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Paul Haertel is with Ryan Loughlin.
A slow pick with the tog today but at least we picked a couple of the right ones, 10.5 lbs for me and a 14 lb monster for Ryan Loughlin. With Jake Lemcoe and Jacob Bowles
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Magictail 1oz glow fooled this slob 15.4 on the custom Garone uninted composite. Caught on the slob producing MagicStick 

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Dan Arnold checked in to Beach Haven, New Jersey.
Tonight’s Dan can’t cook fresh tog tonight
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Bob Popovics
Old tip! Taper doesn’t just happen to your fly. You need to tie it in!
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New Jersey Bill Targets Hunters and Gun Owners

Democrat Assemblywoman Patricia Jones has introduced one of the most egregious attacks on hunters and gun owners seen this legislative session. Assembly Bill 6003 would require hunters to obtain firearm liability insurance in the amount of $50,000 dollars, while confiscating the firearms of those who do not have the insurance, and holding gun owners responsible for crimes committed by someone who steals their firearms.

AB 6003 is currently in the Assembly Committee on Financial Institutions and Insurance. With only a few weeks left in New Jersey’s session, it is unclear if AB 6003 will get a hearing. Regardless, New Jersey sportsmen should make their voices heard today to ensure this terrible bill is not reintroduced in 2020.


Take Action Today! New Jersey sportsmen should call their Assembly member and ask them to vote NO on AB 6003. Sportsmen can contact their legislators by using the Sportsmen’s Alliance Legislative Action Center Directory


Under the bill, first-time violators of the insurance requirement would face a $1,000 fine, while repeat offenders would be saddled with a fine of $5,000 and revocation of any permit, identification card or license to purchase, carry, or possess a firearm for five years.  

A person failing to report a lost or stolen firearm would be liable for all damages caused by that firearm, including personal injuries or medical expenses.

Finally, failure to carry proof of liability insurance shall result in the seizure of the firearm by law enforcement.

“AB 6003 is an unnecessary attack on law-abiding hunters and firearm owners, and unjustly penalizes them when their own firearms are stolen by criminals,” said Bruce Tague, vice president government affairs for Sportsmen’s Alliance. “This bill should never see the light of day.”

About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research.  Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: OnlineFacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Well 2019 is in the books...

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Researchers Discover Valuable Uses for Snow Crab Carcasses

Copyright © 2019 CBC/Radio-Canada
By Paul Withers
December 5, 2019

Snow crab processors in Nova Scotia may have found a way to turn crab waste into cash after a four-year study demonstrated the carcasses can be turned into fertilizer, used to strengthen concrete or to neutralize acidic wastewater like mine tailings.

That's encouraging news for Louisbourg Seafoods, one of six snow crab processors in Cape Breton, and a partner in the study.

The company trucks 450,000 kilograms of crab waste each year from its processing plant in Glace Bay to a compost facility 200 kilometres away in Guysborough.

"We really want to find a way to do something with the crab waste other than what we're doing with it now," said Allan MacLean, senior operations manager.

"We pay about $35,000 a year to get rid of it this way, so we'd obviously like to save that and if there's a way that we can increase the revenues from the crab waste, that's obviously an important aspect for us."

Why This Fishery is so Important

Snow crab is one of Atlantic Canada's most lucrative fisheries, creating jobs and pumping money into rural communities.

In 2017, the fishery was valued at $967 million in Atlantic Canada and Quebec.

This year, fishermen in the four Atlantic provinces were allowed a total catch of over 60,000 tonnes (or 60 million kilograms).

One-third of that by weight will be discarded after processors remove the legs and shoulders.

"Hopefully, the waste from all of the processing facilities in Cape Breton gets utilized, other than just going to a composting site," said MacLean.

Louisbourg Seafoods and Cape Breton University chemist Stephanie MacQuarrie teamed up four years ago to investigate other uses for the carcasses.

The research project received around $200,000 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

MacQuarrie dried and crushed the shells into small particles and then burned the powder in an oxygen-free atmosphere, a process known as pyrolysis.

The result is a charcoal known as biochar.

The burning also produced a bio oil with a high heat value when burned.

MacQuarrie said her lab tests show the unburned powder — which is primarily calcium carbonate — and biochar are both effective fertilizers and can be used as a remediation medium to neutralize acidic water at low doses.

Biochar was tested at two Cape Breton mine tailing sites, where it also removed iron, a common tailings contaminant.

Lab tests also showed biochar may be used as a substitute for fly ash to strengthen concrete.

"I'm excited about this project. We're taking a stream of material that is currently not valuable to the producers — in this case Louisbourg Seafoods — and looking at making a higher-value product that could be used as a replacement in other applications," said MacQuarrie.

Pitching it to Industry

This week, MacLean and MacQuarrie presented the results of the research to industry and government at Cape Breton University.

The cannabis industry has also expressed interest, said MacQuarrie.

She's not alone in exploring the possibilities.

Challenges

In the case of biochar from snow crab, there are some challenges.

The season is short, running from April to the end of July, meaning a lot of product comes in at once.

The waste needs to be stabilized quickly and likely processed at a central location, which would require an industrial-scale drying and burning facility.

Upcoming Meeting

Cape Breton crab processors will be meeting next week to talk about the research and its potential.

MacLean believes it could pay for itself in two or three years.

"I just think that there's a product here that can be utilized for the benefit of the environment, instead of just strictly going to a landfill site or to a compost site," he said.

Photo Credit: RandyAlexander/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Another Cut in Atlantic Cod Fishing Not Enough for Environmentalists

 

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press
By Patrick Whittle
December 6, 2019

Fishing regulators are proposing another cutback to the catch limits for Atlantic cod, but some environmentalists say the move isn't significant enough to slow the loss of the species.

Atlantic cod fishing was once one of the biggest marine industries in New England, but the fishery has deteriorated after years of overfishing and environmental changes. Fishermen caught less than 2 million pounds of the fish in 2017, decades after routinely catching more than 100 million pounds annually in the early 1980s. It was the worst year for the fishery in its history.

The cod fishing industry is now subject to strict quotas. The New England Fishery Management Council, a regulatory panel, proposed on Wednesday to cut the allowable commercial catch limit for cod on two key fishing areas off New England from more than 4 million pounds to less than 3 million pounds per year.

“The current stock status is overfished, and overfishing is occurring," said Jamie Cournane, groundfish plan coordinator with the management council. “Over the years, people have discussed the role of the environment and other factors on these stocks."

But Conservation Law Foundation, a Boston-based environmental group, said nothing short of an end to directed fishing of cod will be enough to rebuild the stock.

“It should be an incidental catch fishery. It's abundantly clear that decades of risky decisions have failed this fishery and generations of fishermen," said Erica Fuller, an attorney for the group, at Wednesday's meeting. “Put these stocks on a track to rebuild."

Atlantic cod were once the preferred fish for fish and chips, but other species have filled that void in the years since the species' population dropped and the fishing industry for it fell into decline.

The New England Fishery Management Council's recommendation must be approved by the U.S. Department of Commerce to go into effect.

Fishermen in the Northeast have long avoided cod because of the low quotas. The fish is a “choke species,” meaning fishermen must stop fishing altogether once they reach their quota for it. Most instead target more plentiful species, such as haddock and pollock.

The new catch limits would apply through 2022, though they could be updated in 2021 and 2022, because the U.S. shares some of the catch quota with Canada.

Magic Mushroom is Saving Millions of Bees From a Deadly Virus

Two types of mushrooms are helping bees fight a major virus contributing to colony collapse disorder.

A recent study published in Nature Scientific Reports, a specific type of mushroom extract can help honey bees fight off a devastating virus that is suspected of contributing to massive bee die-offs in recent years.

Bees are dying, in massive numbers. Termed colony collapse disorder, a significant cause of the die-offs is a parasite named Varroa destructor. A tiny 2mm eight legged mite that invades honeybee hives around the world, latching onto the bees and feeding on their bodies, a process which transmits a devastating RNA virus.

This new study was conducted by researchers at Washington State University, with help from the USDA and a Washington based business called Fungi Perfecti.

The Magic of Mushrooms

The researchers found that bee colonies that were given mycelium extract from amadou and reishi fungi saw a 79-fold reduction in deformed wing virus and a 45,000-fold reduction in Lake Sinai virus.

One of the paper’s authors, WSU entomology professor Steve Sheppard, says that he hopes this finding will make this deadly virus a thing of the past.

“Our greatest hope is that these extracts have such an impact on viruses that they may help varroa mites become an annoyance for bees, rather than causing huge devastation. We’re excited to see where this research leads us. Time is running out for bee populations and the safety and security of the world’s food supply hinges on our ability to find means to improve pollinator health. One of the major ways varroa mites hurt bees is by spreading and amplifying viruses. Mites really put stress on the bees’ immune systems, making them more susceptible to viruses that shorten worker bee lifespans,” Sheppard said.

Sheppard’s lab is working with a company called Fungi Perfecti, which is owned by the famous mushroom researcher Paul Stamets, who is also a co-author of the study.


Mycologist Paul Stamets and colleagues receiving funding for Honey Bee Mushroom Research

Sheppard explains, “Paul previously worked on a project that demonstrated the antiviral properties of mycelial extracts on human cells. He read about viruses hurting bees and called us to explore the use of the extracts on honey bees. After two years, we demonstrated that those anti-viral properties extend to honey bees.”

Unfortunately, the mycelium extract isn’t currently available in large quantities for mass distribution, but Stamets says that they are in the process of increasing their production volume.

“We are ramping up production of the extracts as rapidly as is feasible, given the hurdles we must overcome to deploy this on a wide scale,” Stamets said.

The researchers aren’t entirely sure how the extract works, but they suspect that it either boosts the immune system or somehow fights the viruses. Sheppard explains:

“We aren’t sure if the mycelium is boosting the bees’ immune system or actually fighting the viruses. We’re working to figure that out, along with testing larger groups of colonies to develop best management practices and determine how much extract should be used and when to have the best impact,

To learn more about the majestic potential of mushrooms, please see Paul Stamet’s TED talk 6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World and his insightful book Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World

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