Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Thursday, December 22, 2011: As I predicted many moons ago, this powerful la Nina is having her way, now certainly giving us a thin-jacket Christmas. I had a 66 degree reading on the mainland last night – a lead-in to the first day of winter. That would be roughly equivalent to a 66-degrre high temperature for the first day of summer if thinking on the other end of the spectrum.
Today looks to be a beaut. Fishing has bee fair along the front beach and I was surely surprised to take a bass on my first cast early today. Keeper. Admittedly, there wasn’t a whole lot afterwards, though I had three very odd short hits, almost as if they weren’t bass. Anyone else getting those swipes? I’d guess large herring were bumping my lipless white Bomber but usually there is some surface splashing to indicate herring are in the house. Short of some nervous pieces of top-water -- that might have been sand eels or smaller baitfish, -- there were none of those flighty herring jumps where I was.
How about fluke still being caught on metals and even plugs, including a 21-incher on a Deadly Dick.
A bit disturbing are some survey reports that winter flounder are next to a no-show so far. Of course, the same water keeping fluke around might be holding winter flounder out of the bay. Winter flounder need very chilly water temps to both survive and to avoid predators lurking in warmer water.
How about this from Fisheads?!: “This evening, Bruce DeRites of Pittstown weighed in 18.3-l/8"long x 22" girth Tautog aka Blackfish. He caught it aboard the Searcher II with Capt. Wayne Eble. Bruce said, "A lot of other anglers had big fish. Tog in the 5-8 pound range." We entered Bruce's fish into The Fisherman's Dream Boat Contest and also submitted it for the NJ Skillful Angler Award. Congrats Bruce!”
I’ve taken some decently large tog but that size is in rarified air. And there’s no way it didn’t put up one helluva fight. That same boat had guys maxing out on tog over 8 pounds. Insane.
Off the Wires:
Charlottetown - The Globe and Mail is reporting this morning that the nations of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have told the World Trade Organization ( WTO ) they are banning the import and export of harp seal pelts - in effect , bringing an end to the annual spring
commercial hunt on the ice pans of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the northern Atlantic Ocean..
Russia had been the most important remaining market for pelts taken by Canadian sealers, following a ban enacted by the Euro nations two years ago. Some estimates place the Russia/China market at about 90 per cent of the annual harvest.
Actually , the combination of a lack of ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence during the past few hunting seasons and fewer buyers paying low prices for pelts had considerably diminished the economic importance of the annual hunt.
The communication sent to the WTO said the named countries would cease importing or exporting "...raw , tanned , and dressed fur skin of harp seals and their pups."
In fact taking "whitecoats", the name given newborn pups , has been banned in Canada for many years; and the lack of solid ice pans upon which pregnant seals hauled out to give birth also made it difficult for hunters to pursue their prey.
The effects of global warming have caused increased mortality of non-swimming pups and in the end played a major part in reducing the annual kill.
Anti-sealing organizations were understandably pleased at Russia's decision .
Rebecca Aldworth , who has led the campaign by the US Humane Society to ban sealing , told the Glove and Mail: "It clearly spells the end of Canadian sealing....".
The Canadian government apparently had no advance warning, and was gobsmacked by the out-of-the-blue announcement.
The population of harp seals that drift southward to the Gulf of St. Lawrence and waters off the east coast of Newfoundland/Labrador has increased over the years to now number more than 9 million animals, according to Department of Fisheries and Oceans statistics.
Hunting them has been a traditional way for five or six thousand east coast fishermen to earn ready cash after the winter freeze up when traditional fishing comes to a halt, but many have ceased going on the hunt because of falling prices for pelts.
Harp seal pelts sold for $CDN 105 in 2006 but were bringing only$CDN 15 by 2010, when the economic value of the harvest was estimated to be about 9 million dollars.
Vancouver Sun] By Jordan Press - December 20, 2011 -
After years of being the nemesis of sealers in the annual seal hunt, an international animal rights group is now reaching out to their historical foes, saying an alliance is crucial to the future of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Humane Society International says it is time for the federal government to buy out the remaining sealing licenses and compensate sealers for loss of income because the death knell for the industry is sounding.
A chart on the World Trade Organization website shows that Canada's largest market for seal products, Russia, banned the import and export of seal products in August.
The executive director of Humane Society International/Canada said that news means it's time for sealers and activists to get proper compensation for sealers and their communities.
Rebecca Aldworth said sealers would still be able to earn a living and transition to new work, while activists would be able to see the end of the seal hunt.
"We're not trying to take money out of their pockets. We're trying to find a way forward," said Aldworth, herself a Newfoundlander.
"To me, the idea of a buyout seems the right way forward."
Aldworth estimated a buyout would cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, but argued the one-time cost could be less than ongoing annual spending on the seal hunt, including enforcing regulations.
Atheist North Korea has threatened to shoot out the lights of a giant Christmas tree-shaped tower that South Korea plans to illuminate near the tense border.
The Communist North warned its southern enemy of ‘unexpected consequences’ if it went ahead to turn on the lights, saying Seoul would bear the ‘entire responsibilities’.
South Korea plans to illuminate about 100,000 lights on the 100ft-tall steel tower in the shape of a Christmas tree at the top of Aegibong Hill, located some two miles from the border with North Korea.
Written by admin on 15 December 2011
By Jeff Angers
Center for Coastal Conservation
From The Saltwater Sentinel – the Newsletter of the Center for Coastal Conservation
It is easy to see why federal fisheries management is in the shape it is in.
On one side of the debate is a completely obstinate environmental community that refuses to budge even an inch to address a train wreck in federal fisheries brought on by some provisions of the 2006 reauthorization of the Magnuson Stevens Act. On the other extreme is a recreational group involved in a coalition of charter and commercial fishing entities that takes a wildly different view from the environmental community.
In between and catching flak from both sides is a coalition of responsible fishing and boating groups working to find a way to address problems in federal fisheries management that doesn’t leave anglers at the dock, while remaining committed to conservation of our marine resources.
Last week, the environmental community sent letters to Congress opposing H.R.2304/S.1916 — the Fishery Science Improvement Act. One of the letters was signed by 129 scientists opposing the bills, although it is not clear if all of those scientists were sure what they were signing. Conversations with some of those scientists after the letter was released confirm that the bills were misrepresented.
This week, the Recreational Fishing Alliance launched yet another attack on everyone who does not support their “Flexibility” bill. Variations of the Flexibility Bill have been introduced in the last three Congresses to fix a 1996 requirement to rebuild overfished fisheries in a time certain. Environmentalists condemned that bill as fundamentally unraveling just about every conservation tenet of the 1996 reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The 1996 reauthorization of MSA is responsible for many of the conservation provisions that have successfully rebuilt a number of our fisheries. However, that doesn’t discourage RFA from searching for scapegoats in our community for their bill’s repeated failure and engaging in an Internet campaign of scorched earth against its enemies, real and imagined.
Meanwhile, the environmental community refuses to do anything to disprove the impression that its ultimate goal in the 2006 reauthorization was to close the oceans and remove anglers from the water. To the contrary, it uses its vast resources to lobby against any effort to adjust the Magnuson-Stevens Act to fit the current capabilities of NOAA Fisheries. That intractable attitude is one of the factors that drives responsible members of the fishing and boating community up the wall.
It is said that when you start taking flak you know you are over the target. With attacks on the Fishery Science Improvement Act from the extreme ends of the political spectrum, it is clear that the Congressional Sportsman’s Foundation, American Sportfishing Association, The Billfish Foundation, Coastal Conservation Association, International Game Fish Association and National Marine Manufacturers Association and the Center for Coastal Conservation, must be over the target.
As this session of the 112th Congress comes to a close, it looks as though passage of FSIA may be a bridge too far. But when the Congress reconvenes next month, we have another opportunity. I expect our champion Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) to secure a mark up on the House version of the bill. I believe Senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will do likewise in the Senate. And we will solve this problem facing America’s fishermen.
The Magnuson-Stevens Act comes up for reauthorization in a few years, and it is difficult to imagine how radioactive the environment may be by then. By refusing to engage in any meaningful manner, the environmental community has given fertile ground to an increasingly extreme opposition. At a time when groups should be working together to address problems in federal fisheries management, the issue is more polarized than ever and the future is uncertain, if not downright bleak.