"So, coach, what happens when a balloon slips out of your hand when you're blowing it up?"
"Below: Her thoughts on heading back to school soon."
And mom's thoughts ...
Thursday, August 25, 2016: We’ll be blowy through Friday. It’s already pushing 15- to 18-mph (midday). That is accompanied by a swell of two to three feet. The odd part if that swell period is as high as 12 seconds, making it a medium-period swell, which means there could be than just near-in winds pushing water. Obviously, the tropical systems are too far off to offer a major influence – that won’t show until Sunday-ish. However, when winds turn from a brisk South to light/moderate West on Saturday (morn), the waves might linger longer than would a short-period wind swell.
Sunday, winds are forecasted to swing light Northeast. However, I see the potential for moderate-plus NE winds on Sunday, should a couple weather factors align.
While the ocean remains fairly clean, it is showing increased turbidity from the ongoing South winds. This is not the full-blown discoloring that eventually comes with protracted side-ass south winds, i.e. tan/coffee- to even brown-colored water. However, we still have 36 hours of those Southerlies to go. It could definitely get murky. As to upwelling, even that might play spoiler for this next-to-last weekend of fiscal summer.
I’ll note again, it’s astounding how many folks have already headed back home to prep for school -- parents and student alike. Of course, those early-off folks are doing that so they can strategically return for weekends throughout September. We’ll also soon be seeing an influx of property owners who rented out their homes all summer and now get to luxuriate in September's semi-solitude -- though I see very crowded weekend clear into October. Sorry.
SURFCASTERS NEEDED: The final technical touchups for the 2016 Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic are being made this coming week. It will run from Oct. 8 through Dec. 4.
This year is gonna be a Classic like no other – money- and prize-wise. I kid you not. It’s loaded at all levels.
Doubly attractive are the early-event $500 cash prizes for the biggest first-day striped bass and bluefish on opening day, Oct. 8. If no fish are caught opening day, the cash just keeps carrying over until a winning fish, in each category, is weighed in. Those starting-gun prizes demand you sign up early – and often. By “often” I mean getting the whole family locked into the event. It’s most often the man of the house that has to take the sign-up lead.
CLASSIC TWEAK: Regarding the Classic, I have to excitedly note a tweak to the number-of-rods rule – and I fought for this tweak. This year, you will be allowed to simultaneously fish two bait rods AND (ta-da) a plugging rod. Thank-you, thank you very much.
I see a smile sneaking across the faces of many a contestant, especially those who have gone through the hideously-frustrating, time-consuming mania of seeing a blitz nearby and needing to rush back to spiked rods and crazily reel one in – to not violate the former two-rod-only rule. And anyone who asks, “How much time does it really take to run back and reel in that bait rod?” has never felt the adrenaline surge caused by sudden nearby blitzing action.
Below: A blitz doesn't care about skill levels. Anyone can go big.
I feel a plugging rod allowance is now more appropriate than ever with circle hooks in play. Those hooks offer a larger degree of take-down forgiveness, should an angler get too far from meat sticks.
As to now possibly needing to abandon plugging because a bait rod goes down – I’ll take that problem any day of the week. Bolting for a pinned rod -- quivering in a 9 O'clock bend position -- is full-blown surfcasting excitement, providing you’ve properly tweaked your drag. Whenever I hear about a rod getting ripped out of a spike, I know it’s angler error – even a suddenly one-rod-down angler quietly knows that.
There are also some other tweaks to the rules, which I’ll explain in upcoming blogs, though you’ll get the good-old rules brochure when you sign up. Mull it over – and notice how this highly-refined this event has become.
Yes, “highly-refined.” There are numerous meetings prior – and after – each year’s Classic. Some of the best folks in the business work well overtime – many a meeting running over two hours – to find the best way to make the contest fair and fun – with a huge emphasis on fun!
What other event, anywhere, offers eight weeks of flowing cash and prizes for a measly $30 entry fee? Seventeen and under get in for $15.
And I hope to keep folks in here posted on the action like never before.
Started in 1954, the Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic is one of the nation's oldest and most recognized surfcasting tournaments. (Check out our Tournament Archive) The eight week surf fishing tournament for striped bass and bluefish offers surfcasters the opportunity to compete for thousands of dollars in daily, weekly, segment and grand prizes. There's also special prizes presented by businesses and fishing clubs.
Filipino Fishermen Stashed 75-Pound Pearl Worth $100 Million Under His Bed for 10 Years
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [The New York Post] by Yaron Steinbuch - August 25, 2016
A fisherman in the Philippines is happy as a clam after discovering that a mammoth pearl he stashed away for 10 years under his bed is worth a cool $100 million.
The lucky angler, who has not been identified, discovered the 75-pound pearl — believed to be the biggest ever — in the sea off Palawan Island, the Mirror of the U.K. reported.
Unaware of the giant pearl’s value, he kept it as a good-luck piece under his bed until a fire in his home forced him to move. The superstitious fishermen then decided to hand it over to the tourism office in remote Puerto Princesa, city officials said.
A stunned tourism officer determined that the pearl, measuring a foot wide and 2.2 feet long, dwarfs the official current record holder — the $35 million, 14-pound Pearl of Allah, which in 1934 was also found off Palawan.
“The fisherman threw the anchor down and it got stuck on a rock during a storm,” tourism officer Aileen Cynthia Amurao explained. “He noticed that it was lodged on a shell and swam down to pull up the anchor, and also brought the shell with him.
“He didn’t know how much it was worth and kept it tucked away at home as a simple good-luck charm,” she added.
Amurao told local media she has called on experts to authenticate the fortunate find.
“We were amazed when he brought it to us,” she said. “We now need help from gemologists to fully certify it. But we believe Puerto Princesa is likely to earn another prestigious title and a record breaker for having the world’s biggest natural giant pearl from a giant clam.”
An expert at Appraisers WorldWide said pearls typically aren’t cut down into smaller pieces because they’ll lose their luster.
“I don’t know what kind of jewelry can be made out of [this pearl],” he mused. “This is probably a museum item.”
The Pearl of Allah, also known as the Pearl of Lao Tzu, has been exhibited at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in Times Square.
Officials plan to keep the fisherman’s pearl in the Philippines in a bid to increase tourism to the area.
Giant clams, which rarely produce pearls, can grow as large as four feet in length and weigh 500 pounds. They’re typically found in the South Pacific or Indian Ocean
Ocearch says it's found first-ever great white sharks nursery
Ocearch finds thriving oil rig ecosystem in Gulf of Mexico
Ocearch said its team of fishermen and scientists has found the first known birthing site for great white sharks on the North Atlantic Coast. After 26 expeditions, Ocearch said the nursery in the famous waters off Montauk, Long Island is the most significant discovery they’ve ever made, reports CBS News correspondent Jeff Glor.
As soon as the shark slides onto the lift, scientists and researchers rush in. By now, the process of tagging is routine for Ocearch. But the particular goal of this trip is not.
“It’s kind of like step two in the science,” said Chris Fischer, founder of Ocearch and the expedition’s leader. “When we started this work back in 2012, 2013... the real question was where are these sharks in the North Atlantic giving birth? Because that’s where they’re most vulnerable.”
For researchers, finding the North Atlantic nursery can lead to better protection policies and far more scientific knowledge.
“Why is this spot so important for you?” Glor asked veterinary pathologist Harley Newton.
“Because this is a unique population. This life stage hasn’t been studied very much.”
Newton is with the Wildlife Conservation Society and has been studying sharks for 16 years.
“The first one was very exciting. And actually every single one so far has been very exciting,” Newton said.
But for all the fear of sharks, she said the actual facts remain scant.
In addition to applying the tags, the team is also taking blood samples and conducting muscle biopsies, with the goal of having the shark on and off the lift in under 15 minutes. And now, the team said it’s made history with the discovery of the birthing site.
“Definitely the nursery, likely the birthing site,” Fischer said.
Fischer’s team will also determine if any of these sharks are the offspring of great whites they first encountered off Cape Cod.
“The strategy at the time was, get a tag out on big mature animals, and when you get one on a big female, 18 months later, she should lead you to the holy grail of the research, the birthing site,” Fischer explained.
In 2012, “CBS This Morning” was there when a 2,000-pound female named “Genie” became the first-ever great white successfully spot-tagged in the North Atlantic.
“Look, if we thought we were hurting these animals, we wouldn’t do what we were doing,” Fischer said, rejecting accusations that they may be hurting the young sharks. “We don’t learn unless we let them go in good shape. The fact of the matter is that we have to get tracking devices on a handful of these animals so we can help them all thrive.”
The team could go days without finding one shark, but on this trip, they seemed to be everywhere. This week alone, Ocearch has tagged and released nine great white sharks, including a female aptly named “Gratitude.”
“She was anxious to get off,” Glor said.
“She was, yeah. And she’s gone, but now everybody can follow her,” Fischer said.
The GPS locators now worn by the nine shark pups are only activated when the animal’s dorsal fin breaks the surface. Five of them -- Gratitude included -- are now transmitting their locations off the coast of Long Island. They’re expected to stay in the area until they reach adulthood at the age of 20.
Think this popper has caught a few fish? I LOVE the new Mad Mantis ones, and they work better than anything in my box. But yesterday was one of those days that all they wanted was that BIG splash. It's my last one!
... Bring them back!
The 2016 John Koegler Memorial Fishing Tournament for the Junior Mates of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association was a major success. Everyone involved caught fish on the four boats participating. The boats participating were the “Reel Determined,” the “Star Fish,” the “Insatiable,” and the “Francesca Marie.” In addition to a good number of fluke ending up in the box, a small mahi and a bonito were also caught. The boats fished south of Little Egg Inlet in 65-feet of water.
Captain Carl Sheppard reports the “Star Fish” has run trips morning and afternoon every day this week and caught fish on every trip despite some unpleasant weather mid-week. He already has plans to fish right into December.
Captain John Lewis reports the “Insatiable” found hot fishing this past week with most of his 7 trips landing double digit catches. He has found that the fish seem to be moving around, and he has been relying on other captains of the BHCFA for their tips on where the daily bites are occurring.
Captain Lindsay Fuller reports he has fished the “June Bug” inshore several times earlier this week on the Garden State South, Little Egg, and Atlantic City artificial reef sites. The action is good with a plethora of short fluke. On one trip his anglers landed a houndfish and a Spanish mackerel. He also had an offshore trip to the Wilmington Canyon. He left at midnight and began fishing at the 100 Tip about 4am. Despite lots of bait on the machine, the action was slow. He picked up a 6-inch yellowfin tuna which was released back to his mother. He heard of only one white marlin being raised by the boats in the area. He reports the water temperatures were steady at 79-80 and the water color was greenish blue.
Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.BHCFA.net
(And what are the chances this guy will comply?)
Virginia Marine Resources Commission Hits Local Fisherman With New Maximum Punishment
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [The Virginian-Pilot] by Dave Mayfield - August 25, 2016
NEWPORT NEWS -- Last year, state lawmakers answered a plea from Virginia’s commercial fishing industry to toughen the penalties for watermen who repeatedly break the law.
On Tuesday, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission brought down that bigger hammer for the first time – yanking the licenses of a Hampton fisherman for five years and slapping him with a $10,000 civil penalty.
It took the commission’s law enforcement staff 50 pages to document David A. Turner’s history of fisheries violations – nearly two dozen in state courts since 2001, including 10 this year. Among the latest were convictions for harvesting oysters from creeks that had been condemned because of pollution. An undercover sting by Virginia Marine Police led to those charges.
“I haven’t seen anything this bad,” Marine Resources Commission chief John Bull told fellow commissioners after listening to a police officer’s rundown. It was a “laundry list … of some of the most serious oyster violations that I can imagine.”
“Taking oysters from a condemned water and shucking them and selling them could kill somebody,” Bull added.
Turner’s punishment was handed out in his absence. Bull said he’d been served notice of the hearing and asked to appear. There’s no requirement to do so, however, and The Virginian-Pilot couldn’t locate him Tuesday. A phone number found for him in an online search has been disconnected.
Growing concern among commercial fishermen about repeat offenders led to the General Assembly’s passage of the bill that toughened potential penalties. Introduced by Republican Del. Scott Lingamfelter of Woodbridge, it passed both chambers unanimously.
The law upped the maximum license revocation from two years to five. It also authorized the financial penalty, which if not paid within six months can bring a lien against the offender’s property. The money goes to the Virginia Marine Products Board, the marketing arm of the state’s seafood industry.
Bull said “the paradigm has shifted” on repeat offenders.
The commission, he said, needs to end “a way of life in which the cost of doing business is paying a couple-of-hundred-dollar fine to a judge and walking away and saying, ‘Well, maybe they won’t catch me again for a while.’ ”
And he said it’s in the interest of the majority of fishermen who abide by the law to crack down harder on the worst offenders: “The commercial industry is at risk when people like this do these types of things.”
Rob O’Reilly, the Marine Resources Commission’s chief of fisheries management, said if federal investigators can trace back to Virginia a human death attributed to eating tainted oysters, it could bring restrictions on harvests that have surged in recent years after decades of decline.
Turner, 53, first had his state licenses revoked – for a year – in December 2013. According to commission documents distributed Tuesday, that was after his conviction on four violations. He was back before the commission in January 2015 after more court convictions, including for harvesting oysters from a condemned area. That time, the commission revoked his licenses for two years – the maximum then allowed.
The latest commission action was prompted by Turner’s convictions in Hampton General District Court early this year on 10 other offenses – ranging from shucking oysters without a license to commercially fishing while his license was revoked. In the summary distributed by the commission, marine police say he took oysters from condemned areas of the Back River and Brights Creek and that he told an undercover agent at one point, “We don’t want to be here real long, yea, it ain’t like it’s totally legal to be doing this.”
Bull called Turner’s record of offenses “breathtaking.”
Greenpeace Only Blesses 3 out of 14 Foodservice Companies - the Three that Agreed to Talk to Them
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [News Analysis] by John Sackton - August 24, 2016
Greenpeace released its first report on Foodservice companies use of seafood, saying "Ocean Destruction Comes from Foodservice."
The hollowness of the campaign is illustrated by the fact that only 3 out of 14 companies agreed to speak to Greenpeace, and those were the only companies given a "passing" grade. They were Sodexo, Compass, and Aramark.
The others -- Sysco, US Foods, Performance Group, Delaware North, Gordon Foodservice, Reinhart, Food Services of America, Shamrock Foods, Maines Paper and Foodservice, AVI Food Systems, Centerplate and Elior North America all refused to talk to Greenpeace.
The report is largely focused on tuna, and on attacking the Thai Union Group. Greenpeace is involved in other campaigns to shut down purse seine and longline tuna fishing, including all tuna caught using FADs.
The use of these rankings as a pressure tactic is celebrated by Greenpeace:
"Take Kroger, for example, which has a large contract with Sysco for foodservice items (e.g., sandwiches, salads) at delis in more than 2,800 Kroger stores and 800 convenience stores nationwide.5, 6 As a well-known supermarket chain, second in U.S. sales only to Walmart, Kroger does not need or want international scandals of human rights abuses in the seafood industry to become a topic of conversation in its corporate dining halls, among shareholders, or with the millions of loyal customers who shop at Kroger and its banner stores. As a responsible company, Kroger should engage Sysco, which in turn can engage its suppliers, to ensure any seafood provided in Kroger stores is sustainable and ethical.
"Foodservice companies must also take action to address human rights concerns throughout their supply chains, cease sourcing conventionally caught tuna (e.g., using fish aggregating devices [FADs] or longlines), advocate for governmental action in the U.S. and globally, and ensure their workers in the U.S. are paid and treated fairly."
In effect, Greenpeace is telling its members who support human rights and higher wages for workers overseas to not lobby the US government to take action to support these goals, but to demonize Foodservice companies who do not join Greenpeace's own crusade.
The actual foodservice firms are almost an afterthought; simply there as a target as Greenpeace seeks donations to continue its war on the major tuna companies. They call on the companies to become political advocates.
For example here are their recommendations for Sysco:
"Sysco must work to address systemic problems in the foodservice industry (e.g., rebates, lack of traceability) and advocate for reforms in the global seafood industry, from suppliers to governments and fishery management bodies. Sysco needs to ensure that workers throughout its supply chains are treated fairly and are provided the right to free and fair choice of union representation without employer interference."
Ironically, they call on foodservice companies to abandon industry trade groups like the National Fisheries Institute and the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation.
As anyone who has followed the development of the two principal controversies Greenpeace is seeking to build on- the lack of regulation in international tuna, and the abusive labor practices in some supply chains in Asia -- both NFI and the ISSF have been international leaders in tackling and addressing these problems.
The ISSF was formed precisely because too much tuna management was done for political gain without regard to the science of sustainable management. They have succeeded in significantly upgrading the degree to which regional tuna management bodies use scientific, rather than political advice, in setting harvest rules. Although there are still many issues to resolve, the efforts of the ISSF have led to reductions in effort on tuna stocks, and to reductions in bycatch.
Although the tuna industry is not perfect, groups such as the ISSF which unite both the WWF and the global tuna industry have made significant gains over the past few years. Greenpeace has gained nothing.
Regarding labor abuse, the NFI was one of the key stakeholders pushing the Thai government to make the reforms that led the US State Department to upgrade Thailand from a level 3 to a level 2 country in their human trafficking reports. This upgrade came about after first, serious issues were found to exist both in high seas fishing, and in onshore processing in Thailand with the use of undocumented migrant labor, often subject to exploitation. The Thai government and industry have made progress on this issue, and Thailand has passed a number of laws, and the industry has adopted practices such as abandoning outside peeling sheds, that have helped mitigate the problem.
But no organization or industry can eliminate corruption 100%. Greenpeace is attempting to capitalize on labor abuse by claiming nothing has changed when in fact the addition of anti-slavery enforcement and policing of labor abuse practices is probably the most significant change in supply chain management over the past few years.
So Greenpeace hopes that over time, this foodservice focus will help it raise money and stir a few supporters to call broadline distributors.
Fortunately they are unlikely to repeat the success they have had in the retail sector. The reason is that few of the broadliners sell directly to consumers. They sell to other businesses, and Greenpeace has an uphill battle to explain to its members just who the broadliners are, since they don't interact with them in the same way they interact directly with retailers.
Further, most of the companies Greenpeace is targeting have not ignored seafood sustainability or supply chain management to guard against labor abuses. Instead they have chosen to work with other partners, or taken their own steps to address these issues.
What Greenpeace cannot abide is companies acting on their own, outside of the approved Greenpeace framework on these issues. That is why it is compelled to try and stir up a campaign because it is vital to Greenpeace, not because it is vital to seafood sustainability or ending labor abuse.