"Why does everyone want me to lick this? ..."
Thursday, July 30, 2015: South winds will have their way this afternoon, blowing away fluking, except for the truly dedicated. Not to worry, a frontal passage will have west winds – light one at that – moving in by tomorrow morning, leading to excellent fishing conditions, with even a modest drop in humidity. Nonetheless, sun will be beating down worse than ever, so suncreen it to the hilt.
Black seabass are now getting hit real hard by hordes of anglers. If there’s a chance you don’t need to go the full bag-limit route it might help the fishery survive this meat-rush by folks wanting to catch at least something during the fluke drought.
Below: Tiny black seabass using eye color change to thwart attacker. When I kept them in a saltwater aquarium, they would go all devil-eyed at feeding time, trying to intimidate tank-mates.
I’m anxious to see if we start hooking smaller – as in very small – black seabass in and around BL Inlet. These are not keepers by a long shot but indicate whether the fishery is repopulating with young-of-year and year-class recruits.
Had a new reader contact me after trying deep-fried pieces of stargazer, caught during a fluke drift. Both he and his physician wife found them “delicious.” While those eaters defined themselves as avowed seafood lover but I’ve occasionally read the same upbeat rating offered by folks on fishing websites.
An interesting angle on this one-ugly-fish is the way it’s young -- when less than an inch long – are found well out at sea. It seems the species does begin in the bay.
As I enjoy writing, I’ve allowed stargazers to shock me, as they're wont to electronically do. If you want to feel their jolt -- it’s not all that bad -- all you need to do is push down on the top of a stargazer's head. The shock comes when the animal does this bodily spasm. Looking closely at pictures and video of stargazers exploding out of the sand to go after prey, they employ that exact same spasm. I'll bet anything they are simultaneously electrifying the nearby water when attacking; stunning any prey they fail to suck in, allowing for a follow-up big gulp.
I’ll videotape it this fall if I get one. The one I used was a decently-sized three pounds. I’ll pass on some those I’ve seen via Facebook photos, some pushing 10 pounds. I’m guessin’ those could numb-arm me real fast.
Below: Medium-sized 'gazer.
Below: A proven way to differentiate a northern striped bass angler from a southern rockfish angler:
A: A just-caught northern striped bass ... being quickly released by an angler.
B: A just-caught southern rockfish ... immediately being banjo-strummed by an angler...
Why I think cats are generally morons ... Click here ...
You Say Striped Bass, I Say Rockfish. What's In A Fish Name?
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [2015 NPR] Clare Leschin-Hoar - July 30, 2015
Order a rockfish at a restaurant in Maryland, and you'll likely get a striped bass. Place the same order in California, and you could end up with a Vermilion rockfish, a Pacific Ocean perch or one of dozens of other fish species on your plate.
This jumble of names is perfectly legal. But it's confusing to diners — and it can also hamper efforts to combat illegal fishing and seafood fraud, says the ocean conservation group Oceana.
Under current Food and Drug Administration rules, a single fish species can go by multiple names from the time it's caught to the time it ends up on your plate. Conversely, lots of different fish legally can be sold under a single name.
For example, that "grouper" on a menu could be one of 64 different species. It could be a fish known by the common name sand perch (scientific name: Diplectrum formosum), which is plentiful. Or it could be a goliath grouper, a critically endangered species. The FDA says all can be sold under the acceptable market name "grouper."
Oceana wants the entire supply chain — from boat to plate — to ditch the FDA's list of "acceptable market names" for seafood. Instead, it wants the FDA to require that a species' Latin scientific name or common name be used in all cases.
Below: Goliath grouper lives up to its
. Now that's a selfie.
Oceana says more precise labeling of seafood — the kind it calls for in its One Name, One Fish report — will go a long way toward protecting vulnerable or endangered species and deterring illegal fishing. And it says it will help to put a stop to seafood fraud — an issue the nonprofit group has been working on since 2011.
"It's another tool to help with enforcement," says Oceana senior campaign director Beth Lowell. "People have a right to know about the food they eat. It shouldn't be that hard to find out what fish I'm eating without having to do a DNA test or ask the server, who has to ask the manager, who has to ask the distributor."
Jeremy Sewall is the chef and owner of the Boston-area seafood restaurants Row 34 and Island Creek Oyster Bar. He orders all his fish whole so that he knows exactly what species he's getting. He says he's all for accurate labeling and transparency in the seafood world.
"We work hard to find out where our fish is from and are extremely happy to share it with our consumers," he says. But the idea of using only a fish's common name or scientific name on menus "only adds confusion to an incredibly confusing industry," he says.
For instance, Sewall notes that he often serves local hake. But there are several local hake species. Does he change the scientific name listed on the menu each night, depending on what the catch of the day is? Requiring that kind of constant updating would be ridiculous, he says, not to mention a nightmare to manage.
But if guests do ask for specifics on their seafood supper, he says his staff is always eager and able to answer.
Below: Red snapper ... a fish in deep trouble.
For example, "if we're serving snapper for ceviche or crudo, we buy genuine American Red Snapper from the Gulf of Mexico and adjacent Pacific waters. We try to trace it back to where it comes from, and we label it as American Red Snapper," he says.
Snapper is one of the species on Oceana's hot list. It calls out the FDA for allowing 56 species — everything from mullet snapper to Colorado snapper to golden snapper — to be sold simply as "snapper." It's not only that so many different fish species can be called "snapper;" according to Oceana's sampling of retail outlets, many fish sold as "snapper" are something else entirely. Oceana's sampling in 2013 found that, in all, one-third of the seafood sold at the retail level did not match its label.
"People should be able to know what they're buying. If they're buying a snapper, they should get a snapper," says Oceana's Lowell.
The FDA's own testing at the wholesale level has found fish fraud to be less prevalent but still problematic: A report released by the FDA in 2014 found that 15 percent of seafood products at the wholesale level were mislabeled.
Some in the fishing industry are backing Oceana's call for "one name, one fish." That includes Tri-Marine, a Washington-state based global tuna supplier, and the Southern Shrimp Alliance, an industry group. Both groups submitted comments in favor of specific labeling to President Obama's task force on illegal fishing and seafood. The shrimp group notes that farmed shrimp — which could have come from countries where antibiotics are widely used — are often mislabeled as Gulf shrimp.
But Gavin Gibbons, a spokesman for the National Fisheries Institute, the seafood industry trade group, says creating a "one name, one fish" rule "will have zero effect." He says most fish fraud occurs not because of name confusion, but because of intentional deceit. He says what's really needed is better enforcement through DNA testing, which the FDA is now ramping up.
Even if the seafood industry were in agreement behind the "one name, one fish" policy, it's not clear most consumers would care. Although many chefs like Sewall are willing to go the extra mile to make sure guests know the snapper is the real deal, the fact is, the effort often goes unnoticed by customers.
"The reality is, they're not interested," says Sewall. "They're hungry."
Sailing Open Boat tomorrow (Fri, July 31) afternoon/evening from 2:30 PM to 7:30 PM. Pickup and dropoff at Barnegat Light on this one. I can give you specifics when you call. Targeting schoolie stripers, blackfish, and blues at the inlet jetty. We will be chumming with live grass shrimp for the bass and tog. No sinkers. Just a baited hook drifted back to the jetty with 10 pound spinning gear. If you have never tried this, it is something to see. Just about all of the stripers are 20 to 26 inches but every once in a while we find a legal one. The blackfish vary in size from 1 to 4 pounds. We can throw lures at the inlet blues while we are waiting for the tide to shape up for our shrimping. $150 person, three people max, all fish are shared.
The past week proved to be a successful one for the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association with decent action both inshore and offshore.
The “Starfish” under Captains Vic Bertotti and Cark Sheppard has been catching fish on the inshore artificial reefs and wrecks. During the week Captain Vic has been catching keeper black sea bass and fluke on the reefs. Captain Carl tried trolling south through the Lobster Hole. They found the fishing slow and dropped down on a wreck for a nice load of sea bass. Another trip to a wreck resulted in 10 keeper sea bass to 17-inches.
Captain Bob Gerkens boated some world class golden tilefish on the “Hot Tuna.” A trip for inshore bluefin tuna did not produce and they headed to one of the Southern canyons experiencing an evening bite of bigeyes. His party picked up 20 mahi-mahi on light tackle near lobster pots before setting up for tile fishing on the canyon wall. The first tilefish was a nice 35-pound fish, and the second a monster 60-pounder. At dark they trolled for bigeyes and boated one fish, missing several others. The last fish of the night tired out all of the anglers until it was brought to the boat. It broke the rod and line at the boat and was estimated at 80-inches and 300-pounds.
Captain Ray Lopez had his daughter and junior mate Max Goldman out on the “Miss Liane” on a training trip to the reefs where they caught and released 75 short fish and brought home three nice fluke and a sea bass. Another day Captain Ray had the McTague party out. They managed two keeper fluke along with tons of short fish.
Captain Jimmy Zavacky had the “Reel Determined” on a reef trip and picked up six keeper fluke and many throwbacks to keep the crew busy. The next day he took the boat to the canyons looking for bigeye tuna. After a smooth trip the afternoon bite was slow, but the evening action was hot. Bob Greiss boated a 223 pound tuna after a 50 minute fight. Later Steve Burrows managed to bring in a 143 pound tuna. In addition, the crew brought an 8-foot hammerhead shark to the boat which was released.
Captain Lindsay Fuller had the Forse family out on the “June Bug” for some wreck fishing south of Little Egg Inlet. They picked up a few short fluke before heading to the northwest corner of the Garden State South reef. After catching more shorts, 7-year-old Matt Forse boated a 22-inch fluke. Another day Captain Lindsay had the Simpson party out for some inshore trip. They managed short fluke, a small brown shark, and some sea robins.
Captain George Finck of “Sparetime” Charters reports he had many trips this past week with good catches of sea bass and fluke. His anglers enjoyed the good weather and calm seas. Captain George was quick to praise his young fishermen citing 13-year-old Chris DeCarlo for outfishing the adults on his trip.
The Junior Mate Training class had an exciting class recently when US Coast Guard Petty Officer Ben Watson presented a program on water safety. Areas covered included “man overboard,” proper use of a radio in event of a problem, sea preparedness, and prevention of problems. Assisting was CG Auxiliary member Michael Cocciolillo.
House Passes Bill to Combat Foreign Illegal Fishing
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Tampa Bay Newspapers] July 28, 2015
WASHINGTON DC - The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation cosponsored by Congressman David Jolly, R-Indian Shores, July 27 to fight the problem of illegal fishing from foreign vessels in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Enforcement Act of 2015 (H.R. 774) passed the House by voice vote.
“Illegal fishing from foreign vessels is a direct threat to the livelihood of thousands of hardworking Americans along the Gulf coast as well as the quality of life throughout our Bay area communities. This bill will strengthen enforcement mechanisms against those who illegally fish our waters and will protect this important resource for our recreational, commercial, and charter boat fisherman,” Jolly said.
The Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing Enforcement Act stiffens penalties for those caught illegally fishing in U.S. waters by potentially stripping poachers of their boats and equipment and laying the groundwork for criminal charges based on the laws of their home countries.
According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Gulf of Mexico’s commercial and recreational fishing industries contributed more than $30 billion annually to the region’s economy in 2012.
Globally, illegal and unreported fishing account for up to $23.5 billion worth of seafood, or about one in every five fish taken from our oceans.