Right now, your donation will be matched dollar-for-dollar
Help us defend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, now being gutted by the Trump administration. Power Audubon’s fiercest fight with your generous gift.
Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Absolutely no resemblance to humans ...
Lest we forget ...
Tuesday, July 03, 2018: Fishing is good to excellent. Catching, on the other empty hand, should be backhanded one good. Flukers plying their drifts in much of Barnegat Bay are coming up short – or empty-hooked when shorts aren’t around. You might not suspect this skunkiness if you’ve seen some of the shop website photos of the fine doormats, one pushing 10 pounds. However, I have to write with the preponderance of evidence. My verdict is the bay is guilty of hiding flatties … in an accessory-during-the-fact manner.
Making fluking matters iffier still, the sun is doing a major beatdown, heating the bay into the 80s. That forces flatties into deeper bay water – and out of the frenzy-feeding mode. The hot-up – far beyond a mere warm-up -- is anchored in place. Flatties are already fleeing into the cooler inlets and ocean. While that would seemingly put them at-the-ready in inlets and the ocean, radical water temperature swings – with ocean-bottom waters still in the 50s, even 40s – can put fluke in a minor thermal-shock stupor, a low-eat stupor. It has something to do with digestion problems when water temps swing all over tarnation. Zones with steady fluke-friendly water temps are where the action is. Good hunting.
THE SKIES DECIDE: By the by, both our bay and ocean temps are dictated solely by solar and wind influences. We do not have our very own Gulf Stream, or even a visiting Labrador Current. Instead, we got Old Sol doing all the manual labor. Solar energy alone is what kicks our beachline water into the dippable 70s. I took a 72-degree mid-Island reading over the weekend. It’s only going up from there.
Fueling the current ocean water temp uprising is an ongoing stint of sizzlingness. If the just-in future forecasts play out, we’re in for 3H (hazy, hot, humid) conditions for all July. Above to much-above normal temperatures are being forecast for the entire summer … and across the entire nation -- which, I’m pretty sure, includes us, pending any federal legal actions against for being a sanctuary state.
As to wind factors, they can single-windedly cause oceanside water temps to vacillate like mad. Should typical summer winds from the west and south blow like the dickens, they are famously able to blow away the tedious topside warm water layer, upwelling the hell out of toasty waters. Not that many years back, then-lifeguard supervisor Don Myers and I both officially recorded a midsummer ocean water temp that had upwelled down to 40!
For those into the science behind stuff, here's a fine upwelling study published by a meteorologist buddy of mine, Jim Eberwine: https://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/publications/tm/pdfs/tmfnec31.pdf
Below: Look at the dark blue water-temp color hugging the NJ beachline. Upwelling at it finest/worst.
Shark note: You almost could't miss the recent great white headshot viraling all over social and official media. The somewhat-great white has momentarily become as popular as that famed 1.5-ton massive great white cutely called Mary. The far more modest local shark, sizing in at circa 50 inches, is having its 15 minute of fame due to its fearsome photo-look. Caught in a 26-foot boat fishing atop a wreck off Atlantic City, the federally-protected fish was quickly photographed by boat captain Chris O Neill, as it was quickly being unhooked and released. The young great white swam off strongly -- though a bit confused, seeing it thought of itself as the alpha predator out there.
In checking on the catch, it turns out there may have been as many as three GWs taken at about the same 10-mile distance from shore. I'd like to think it's not the same one, though sharks are far from Rhodes scholars.
Referencing the above-mentioned warming of the near-beach waters, it could become an interesting shark summer should the rays arrive in goodly numbers. No rays and the shark showing will be strictly brown/sandbar varieties.
There is also a seemingly increasing presence of the terrifying looking but totally non bad-ass sand tigers, offering a wildly toothy continence when landed -- and instantly returned seaward. Can't say if it's an increase in number that have them showing up more and more or an increase in shark fishing bycatching. They often come to within spitting distance of the shore and are often the basis of shark-sighting beach alerts, though they're far more active after dark, when they go crab-eating crazy. To the good, they're one of the few sharks that dine of skates, though skates pale by comparison to their taste for stingrays. What's more, sand tigers -- what we once called grey nurse sharks -- will readily eat dogfish.
If you're keeping a wary ye on nearshore drilling, here's a write-up from the New Jersey Sierra Club, hollowed by a PDF of the technical lingo floating around Congress. ...
EPA Pushes Rule for Drilling Off Our Coast
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced an update to the Outer Continental Shelf Air Regulations. This is for drilling off the coast of New Jersey and they include New Jersey State Requirements because we are an adjacent state to the drilling plans. This comes after the Administration introduced a bill that would impose a fee on states that attempt to ban offshore drilling as New Jersey has done with our new law.
“In spite of all the opposition in New Jersey, the Trump Administration in moving forward with drilling off our coast. The federal government is pushing regulations for air permitting for drilling rigs in waters adjacent to New Jersey. Even though all state and federal elected officials in New Jersey are against drilling off our coast, Trump doesn’t care. New Jersey even passed a law to ban drilling in state water and not allowing infrastructure to come in,” said Jeff Tittel Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “This is a public be dam attitude from the Drill Baby Drill crowd in the White House. They are siding with Big Oil over our environment and our economy. Putting our air, our sea and beaches at risk.”
A new proposal for air regulations based on New Jersey for offshore drilling was found in the register. Drilling anyone near our water would directly threaten our communities, environment, and economy. If a tragic accident such as the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion happened off our coast, we’d see a major environmental
“This is a major threat to our air from toxic and carcinogenic chemicals like benzene and TCP, and greenhouse gases like methane. These air pollutants will attack our lungs while an oil spill will attack our beaches. Drilling anyone near our water would directly threaten our communities, environment, and economy. If a tragic accident such as the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion happened off our coast, we’d see a major environmental disaster,” said Tittel. “New Jersey needs to Act and come out strongly against offshore drilling and air pollution during the comment period in the next 30 days. We must tell the Trump Administration that we don’t want oil drilling off our coats, or the air or water pollution that will come with it!”
Sierra Club’s Don’t Rig Our Coastal Economy report found that New Jersey’s coastal tourism industry supports nearly 500,000 jobs, and one out of every six of the state’s jobs are linked in some form to its shoreline. Visits to the area generate $16.6 billion in wages and add $5.5 billion to the state’s tax coffers. During the summer of 1988 when medical waste washed up onto a 50-mile stretch of New Jersey’s shore, tourism dropped off significantly and the area directly lost at least $1 billion in revenue. An oil spill off the coast of New Jersey could trigger an even more dramatic decline in tourism.
“They’re using our state’s pollution rules because of adjacency which means we’ll be directly threatened by this dangerous and unneeded activity. Our rules on air pollution were never designed to deal with offshore drilling because our state has never had it or supported it, nor online drilling. We’re not even sure if our standards would be strong enough to be used for offshore drilling,” said Jeff Tittel. “We don’t have drilling on our land so how would we know if our rules are adequate?”
The Trump Administration has introduced the National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program (National OCS Program). Trump’s proposal is auctioning oil and gas drilling rights in the Arctic Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and possibly Pacific waters around the U.S. He ordered his Interior Department to write the new blueprint with the aim of auctioning oil and gas drilling rights off the U.S. East Coast. Trump’s proposal would span the years 2019 to 2024, replacing the Obama plan, which runs through 2022.
“New Jersey’s coasts are directly affected by the Trump Administration’s proposal. Offshore drilling would be disastrous for our state’s environment and would jeopardize our $38 billion coastal economy and fishing industry. The possibility of an oil spill or leak would threaten New Jersey’s entire coastal economy. Drilling anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic would directly put our coasts at risk. We must do everything we can to protect our shores, communities, and industries from the threats of offshore drilling,” said Jeff Tittel.
In April, Governor Murphy signed A839 (Land) into law, prohibiting offshore drilling in State waters and issuance of DEP permits and approvals for activities associated with offshore drilling. Drilling for oil poisons our oceans and threatens our entire economy from fishing to tourism. We must explore new technologies for wind and wave power and remove obstacles that stand in the way of clean energy. We should be focusing on promoting safe and renewable energy like wind power and not opening up the Atlantic to drilling.
“Even with our new law, Trump’s proposal for offshore drilling is a major threat to New Jersey. It will lead to air and water pollution and threaten our economy and environment. We will continue to fight against any drilling in state waters, or any oil or infrastructure being transported from offshore into NJ. We can’t be threatened by the air and water pollution that comes from offshore drilling. Zinke had told Republican Congressmen from New Jersey that they will probably not be putting leases off our coast. Well it looks like Zinke said that so we would let our guard down. They are pushing for drilling anyway,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “ Even though there is unanimous support in New Jersey against drilling, the Trump Administration doesn’t care. We need to fight back and stand up to the President and his administration. We need to tell them that we will not allow drilling off our coast. Kill the Drill!”
New Jersey Sierra Club
office: (609) 656-7612
BELOW: The official language ... Here's just the "Summary":
SUMMARY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finalizing the
update of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Air Regulations proposed in
the Federal Register on February 13, 2018. Requirements applying to OCS
sources located within 25 miles of states' seaward boundaries must be
updated periodically to remain consistent with the requirements for the
corresponding onshore area (COA), which is typically the state
geographically closest to the OCS source. The portion of the OCS air
regulations that is being updated pertains to the requirements for OCS
sources for which the State of New Jersey is the COA. The intended
effect of approving the updated OCS requirements for the State of New
Jersey is to regulate emissions from OCS sources in accordance with the
requirements onshore. The requirements discussed below are incorporated
by reference into the Code of Federal Regulations and are listed in the
appendix to the OCS air regulations.
DATES: Effective Date: This rule is effective on July 27, 2018.
The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in
this rule is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of
July 27, 2018.
ADDRESSES: EPA has established a docket for this action under Docket ID
Number EPA-R02-OAR-2017-0723. The index to the docket is available
electronically at http://www.regulations.gov and in hard copy at EPA
Region 2, 290 Broadway, New York, New York 10007.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Viorica Petriman, Air Programs Branch,
Permitting Section, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2, 290
Broadway, New York, New York 10007, (212) 637-4021 ...
Fished BL inlet Friday morn. There were 8-10” bunker everywhere. Snagged up a dozen and fished the inside of the north jetty
on the incoming tide. Not a touch from a bass or bluefish. Lots of birds feeding back by the above water jetty end.
Tried fluking the inlet, double creek, and the high bar channel. Don and I each had a pickup but no hook. Other than the snagged
bunker nothing came on board. WP
Happy 10th Birthday G!! Time flies when you’re having fun. Proud of you!
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Cape Cod Times] by Mary Ann Bragg - July 3, 2018
Sonar technology used in Australia for southern rock lobster commercial fishing will be tested in July, possibly in Cape Cod Bay, as a method to better protect imperiled North Atlantic right whales from rope entanglements.
"Getting these and other systems into the hands of the fishermen and incorporating their ideas and feedback into their development is the key," said Patrick Ramage, marine conservation program director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which has its operations center in Yarmouth Port.
IFAW will pay $30,000 to provide the equipment, a trainer and onboard support for what is expected to be a test by one member of the Massachusetts Lobstermen's Association of the acoustic release equipment manufactured by Desert Star Systems, a company based in Marina, California, and founded by Marco Flagg.
The equipment replaces the typical surface buoy and vertical rope that lobstermen attach to their traps on the seafloor to identify the trap locations. Instead, the new equipment has a bottom-anchored mesh bag full of rope and floats that can open and pop up to the surface with an acoustic command from a boat. The equipment dates from the mid-1990s when a lobster fisherman in Australia wanted to prevent trap losses from gear entanglement with ships.
The equipment was tested earlier this year by five commercial snow crab fishermen in Canadian waters, Flagg said.
"The Massachusetts test is on the small side but I'm happy it's happening," Flagg said of what is the first pilot of the product in United States waters. Each release mechanism costs about $1,500 to $1,700 and lasts for 10 years, he said.
A Sandwich-based lobsterman is expected to pilot the equipment, according to the lobstermen's association president Arthur "Sooky" Sawyer.
"It has to be tested," Sawyer said. "That's the only way we're going to find out anything."
Also in the pipeline is a test of equipment that would inflate a bag to bring lobster traps to the surface, Ramage said. The "line-less lobster raft" is sold by Sea Mammal Education Learning Technology Society, known as SMELTS, in Sedro-Woolley, Washington.
"Our approach in this work overall, particularly in light of the catastrophic mortality numbers in 2017, is to really partner or explore options with any and all comers," Ramage said. With the lobstermen's association, given a history of collaboration, the intention is to address the threat to right whales while ensuring the continued viability of the fishing industry, Ramage said.
In 2016, landings for American lobster in Massachusetts were valued at $82 million, which was second only to sea scallops at $281 million, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. In that year, the state issued 1,505 coastal, offshore and seasonal commercial lobster permits to residents.
Last year, in particular, a dozen documented right whale deaths in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Canada were linked to snow crab fishing gear entanglement and ship strikes, and five live entanglements were documented in the Gulf as well. This year, the sole documented right whale death, off Virginia, is linked to a chronic entanglement. Each year the right whales migrate along the Atlantic coast from Florida to Canada, according to scientists.
The assessment of the right whale population is bleak, according to scientists Tim Werner and Scott Kraus, with New England Aquarium's Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, and Mark Baumgartner and Michael Moore at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in a prepared statement of the new Ropeless Consortium based in Woods Hole.
The group comprises researchers, fishing industry representatives, gear developers, regulators, nonprofit agencies and others focused protecting whales from entanglements.
Based on the overall deaths of right whales in the past half-dozen years, and an imbalance in the deaths of females, the total population of less than 450 within two decades would have "so few females left that recovery of right whales would be impossible," the four scientists said in the statement.
After an emergency audit, with consideration given to the right whale deaths last year, the Marine Stewardship Council removed the Gulf of St. Lawrence snow crab fishery's certification as sustainable. The international council addresses unsustainable fishing and works to safeguard seafood supplies.
The lobstermen's association in Massachusetts, along with state and federal officials, is currently being sued in federal court in Boston by marine conservationist Richard Max Strahan over the licensing and use of vertical buoy lines. A motion to dismiss is set for Sept. 7.
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Bangor Daily News] by Nick McCrea - July 2, 2018
Maine’s lobster industry is on watch as fisheries regulators weigh whether to make significant cuts to herring catch limits, which could drive up bait costs that have already seen a sharp increase over the past decade.
Maine’s lobstermen draw their bait from the Atlantic herring stocks, which are managed by the New England Fishery Management Council and National Marine Fisheries Service.
In recent updates, the council said it planned on setting a significantly lower herring catch quota in 2019 than in 2018. The catch limit for 2018 was 111,000 metric tons, the same as it was in 2017. But the herring fleet landed many fewer fish than that last year, harvesting just 50,000 metric tons.
The council also called for a reduction to the catch cap for the rest of 2018 amid concerns about low densities and slow replenishment in the fish stock.
“The decline of the most important forage stock in New England is a significant blow, not only for the lobster industry that uses it for bait, but also for those species that rely on herring as forage like groundfish, tuna, whales, and seabirds,” Ben Martens, executive director of the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, wrote in a recent post. “Without this motion, rumor has it that the herring fishery would need to be capped at 15 metric tons in 2019, far lower than the 100-metric ton fishery that has operated in recent years.”
A herring stock assessment group held meetings in late June to try to determine its next steps and come closer to determining what quota it might propose. The group should release more details about the expected catch limits in the fall.
“Everyone’s worried about the quota and what that’s going to be,” said Kristan Porter, a Cutler lobsterman and president of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association. “There’s bait around right now, but what happens in the fall? We just don’t know.”
The prospect of a shortage of herring, the preferred and primary bait source for Maine’s lobstering fleet, has lobstermen worried about the possibility of dwindling supply driving up prices. In some areas, herring might not be available when lobstermen are looking for it. Many are considering whether they’ll have to turn to alternative baits or stockpile while supplies are still available.
In June, the International Council for Exploration of the Seas recommended chopping North Sea herring catch quotas by 40 percent — from 491,355 metric tons to 291,040 metric tons — in 2019. That proposal sparked concern about herring supply and the state of the fishery in Europe.
If herring become harder to come by on Maine docks, it could push more lobstermen toward menhaden, also known as pogies, the second-most-popular bait in the fishery. That shift could put a strain on menhaden supply and drive those prices up, which could in turn prompt lobstermen to seek out other bait sources that could run into their own supply-and-demand challenges.
Over the past decade, herring catches have dropped about 40 percent. The price of the bait fish has climbed about 80 percent during that same period, according to Patrice McCarron, the Maine Lobstermen’s Association executive director.
“We’ve definitely seen diversification in the bait supply, but the price of all bait products is going up, and herring is kind of driving it,” McCarron added.
It’s possible that a pair of onshore salmon farms planned for Maine, one in Belfast and the other in Bucksport, could open up a new bait source for the lobster industry. Belfast-based Nordic Aquafarms has been speaking with officials in the lobster industry about the potential for selling salmon guts and other “cut-offs” to fishermen after processing.
Those salmon will need to be fed. The farms are still working out details of what will go into the feed they give to the salmon. Traditionally, salmon feed has been made from protein and oil from other types of fish, though some feed producers have ramped up the plant material in the feed and used alternative protein sources, such as insects.
Nordic has said it won’t source its feed fish stocks from New England or Maine waters, but is still working out details.
Photo Credit: NOAA FishWatch
Help us defend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, now being gutted by the Trump administration. Power Audubon’s fiercest fight with your generous gift.
Audubon is a top-rated charity and your donation will be securely processed
Great day fishing in the ocean today!! Had to be at least 20 degrees cooler! Caught a bunch of sea robins, sea bass, a skate and a couple of short fluke. No keepers though.
endangers nearly half of all North American birds
The federal agenda
guts support for conservation and clean energy programs
Critical landscapes for birds are at risk from
development and drilling
For more than 100 years, Audubon has embraced the mission of protecting birds and the places they need. Your gift funds a well-integrated program of science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Your support lets us stand up for birds, defending the clean air, clean water, healthy habitat, and stable climate they—and we all—require.
“I love birds and am grateful for Audubon's conservation and protection efforts.”
— Kris R., friend of Audubon
“I look to Audubon as a leader in the fight against climate change.”
— Stefan J., monthly supporter
“No other organization does the work Audubon does. It’s very well rounded and well run.”
— Julia A., member of Audubon
Photos from top: Steve Torna/Audubon Photography Awards; Lin Teichman/Audubon Photography Awards