Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Tuesday, March 28, 2023: I realize that last week’s resurrection blog was heavy with snark ...

ABOVE: Going back a couple thousand years, this was the olden-day answer to an eel spear, what we call a gig. Once attached to a wooden pole, it could stab eels and pike with the best of them. It could also be called into immediate and devastating service if a barbarian hoard swooped in to steal one's eels. This archaeological find came from Mill Lane, Thetford, eastern England.  

Below: When I opted to keep one ... way back 

Tuesday, March 28, 2023: I realize that last week’s resurrection blog was heavy with snark. Well, my snark doth have reason. By getting wiggy wid it, I hope to actually inspire … in a shock-jock way.

Despite my accusations of “moronics,” I secretly align with many of those diverse and divergent opinions I forsook. I’m most secretly aligned with Dale P and those hooked on a sonar/radar cause of deaths.

By ridiculing die-off opinions, I’m efforting to force folks into defending their thinking – and political causes – which might ultimately leads to my end game of uncovering the why behind the marine mammal deaths. My methodology might initially sound counterproductive, but keeping the deaths alive is now my soul goal.

YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS, MANN!: Now, I’ll demonstrate how truly beyond out-of-the-box I can go, concurrently proving to anti-turbiners they have unknowingly been in the presence of provocatory greatness. Warning: I will go where few have gone during the process of launching accusations against offshore wind. I’ll be shaking the accusatory tree to the core by saying the ongoing whale and dolphin deaths might be tangible proof of turbine lethality.

Focus, please, on the already up-and-churning array of wind turbines off Block Island. Now, members of court of social media opinion, what if the deleterious effects of those fully functioning devices are already wreaking havoc on passing marine mammals? By my dead reckoning, any creatures lethally impacted by those turbines would finally succumb … right off Jersey! As the whale flies, Block Island is in-line with the die-offs. The proof is in the wash-ups.

Oh, I’m not done yet, incredulous souls, since I have quite a feel for yellow journalism theatrics. What if the Block Island turbines only supersaturated the marine mammals with stresses beyond their tolerances. Stress can kill, and symptomlessly.

Stressed out creatures become sitting ducks for bacteria and viruses that would otherwise be fended off if all were right in the marine realm. A creature stressed to hell and back can allows once-innocuous microbes to run rampart, thriving within compromised immune systems. Once again, such fatally stressed out the victims would finally give up the ghost right about … here.

(See "Shhh ... Ocean Noises Stress Out Whales," https://www.science.org/content/article/shhh-ocean-noises-stress-ou...)

OK, I’m sure I’ve reached the tolerance of anyone reading this segment. I won’t dare bring up the inane possibility that marine mammals have gotten wind of turbine builds and have made suicide pacts in an effort to stop the builds – you know, sacrificing for the better good of the group.

No, I’m not make mock of the sad die-off situation, though I already hear the haters who read my hyperbolic wordage and see it as throwing more shrapnel in the fire. Recall, s'il vous plait, my endgame of forcing an answer to what is killing the marine mammals. All is fair in provoking action, even the absurd.

 WHO GETS THE GUTS: In the sheerest of naivety, I had assumed and assured that NOAA was getting the telltale innards from whale necropsies. I’ll defend my naivete by noting I was told same by a higher up authority.

Well, fret along with me since I’m now told that no such internal organ pass-alongs take place. In stronger terms, NOAA doesn’t touch the stuff.

Here’s a communique from Amanda J. Patterson, MLS, FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) Coordinator: “To the best of my knowledge, NOAA just recommends where to send samples, and then our research partners share the results with us.”

As to FOIA requests, she writes, “You can request a query of the database which will indicate if a particular case got a necropsy or not, but (it) will not have the report attached. There is usually a lag of several months of data entry, so this winter's whale cases may not all be in there yet.”

Such degrees of separation from researchers, marked by political shades of grey, surely adds to the government’s ability to forego open-ended honesty about findings. Keep in close mind that even a finding of “no obvious cause of death” looms huge. It keeps the process alive and kicking, despite moving it closer to a cold case file.

Hoping to thwarting any cold casing, I’ll run larger than ever with the sheer possibility of a cover-up, should answers be found.

I had written that the Marine Mammal Commission said a crack team of independent scientists were on the causal case. In this day and age, it’s neigh impossible that absolutely nothing could be surmised from necropsies. Liar, liar, blubber on fire. Just level and admit the deaths have something to do with COVID – or suicide notes found washed up with the whales.

OP-ED WINNER!: In case some of you missed Linda Bonvie op-ed piece in The SandPaper:

Are you wondering if those mammoth turbines that may soon appear on the horizon of our beloved seascape may harm marine life, but afraid you’ll inadvertently be influenced by sneaky Big Oil-backed groups out to squash our Green Dreams?

I can help.

To summarize what I’ve uncovered in the course of extensive research, the experts telling us to calm down don’t really know squat about the effects the building and operation of these monolithic structures may have on our shores and the diverse creatures that live within our marine environment. In fact, often those very same agencies that tell us not to worry also acknowledge that we are in deep, uncharted waters.

Take the Marine Mammal Commission, an “independent government agency” that issued a statement regarding the devastating whale deaths we have experienced in recent months.

The commission said there is “no evidence to link these strandings to offshore wind energy development.” Yet, that very same commission, in its paper titled “Renewable Energy Development and Marine Mammals,” revealed that “considerable uncertainty exists regarding the potential short- and long-term impacts of offshore wind development on marine mammals that occur in U.S. waters.”

The commission went on to say in that paper that all phases of wind energy development can be disrupting and disastrous to marine mammals, from the devices used in surveys that can “generate sound that may affect a marine mammal’s behavior” and lead to “serious consequences,” to the pile driving during construction to the operational sounds of completed wind turbines in use. (Also mentioned by the commission is the almost-never-talked-about electromagnetic energy given off by extensive underwater cables that will be transmitting the power and “which may be detectable by certain marine species, including marine mammals.”)

What about National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries? Despite issuing scores of documents over the years detailing the plight of the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale (with population numbers estimated to be below 340), the agency is willing to issue dozens of “incidental harassment authorizations” (IHAs), also called “takes,” of marine mammals including the right whale not only to wind energy companies such as Atlantic Shores and Ørsted, but to numerous other developers up and down the East Coast.

Atlantic Shores, in fact, was issued several IHAs for its ongoing surveying activities that started in 2019 authorizing the harassment or “taking” of right whales and other marine animals. “Harassment” is defined as either level A: “any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance that has the potential to injure a marine mammal” in the wild, or level B: acts that can potentially “disturb (but not injure) a marine mammal by disrupting behavioral patterns.” (Of note, Atlantic Shores recently applied for both Level A and B harassment authorization for a period of five years beginning Jan. 1, 2025.)

The April 2021 NOAA authorization issued to Atlantic Shores allowed for the “harassment” of eight North Atlantic right whales, eight humpback whales, nine fin whales, over 2,000 bottlenose dolphins and over 1,000 harbor and gray seals, among other animals. And that was just for one year for one lease area.

In my attempt to find out about the other lease areas off LBI, including how many other IHAs Atlantic Shores had been issued, a NOAA public affairs officer told me that NOAA Fisheries “issues IHAs on request, but we do not otherwise track the activities of wind energy developers.”

Asking Terence Kelly, external affairs manager for Atlantic Shores, resulted in even less information. In an email, he wasn’t sure he could “pull the stuff” related to my questions, and suggested I go “thru the agencies.” One of the questions I asked Kelly was to further detail a “harassment take” reported by Atlantic Shores of a right whale sometime between April 2020 and January 2021. (Also reported during that time frame was the “harassment” of three unidentified whales, nearly 400 dolphins and eight humpback whales).

Atlantic Shores’ “Protected Species Observer Report” in July 2022 for one lease area noted two dead loggerhead sea turtles and one unidentified dead sea turtle during June and July of 2021, all with no signs of “tar, oil, gear or debris entanglement” that were determined (strictly by observation as they floated by the vessel) to have not sustained any injuries related to the survey activities.

But dead whales are harder to ignore than dead sea turtles, and as the media reported on more and more whales strandings (nine being in New Jersey alone since Dec. 1) NOAA did what any good federal agency would – it held a press conference at the end of January.

One participant, Benjamin Laws, in the Office of Protected Resources at NOAA Fisheries, when asked by a reporter from Newsday if the sonar used in the survey work could affect the whales in any way, said “there are no historical stranding events that have been associated with use of (acoustic) systems like these,” later adding, “there is no information that would support any suggestion that any of the equipment that’s being used in support of wind development for these site characterization surveys could directly lead to the death of a whale.”

Only that’s not exactly true.

In 2013 an independent scientific review panel spearheaded by the International Whaling Commission determined that the mass stranding of 100 melon-headed whales in Madagascar in 2008 “was primarily triggered by acoustic stimuli,” specifically a multi-beam echosounder operated by ExxonMobil. (Equipment used by Atlantic Shores, Ørsted and other Big Wind companies includes multi-beam echo sounders as well as other acoustic devices.)

Since the Madagascar study was done in conjunction with NOAA (even receiving financial support from them), along with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Marine Mammal Commission, which hosted the meeting, certainly someone within these agencies must have some recollection of the study they themselves participated in.

But with billions already invested by private developers in purchasing leases off the coasts of New Jersey and New York, perhaps being “green” these days has more to do with the color of money than the environment.

Linda Bonvie of Little Egg Harbor is a health and environmental journalist and co-author of A Consumer’s Guide to Toxic Food Additives.



Now for something solid as asphalt – and maybe just as dumb. Nobody in their right motorist mind can miss the taking-forever road work on Rte. 72 near Marsha Drive.

It is a partial Rte. 72 widening process. That word “partial” looms large ... and troubling. There will soon be three lanes both east and west thereabouts. It is mainly meant to accommodate the overflow of traffic coming down Marsha from Bay Avenue to the north. The backups during busy summer periods have occasionally gone back as far as Hilliard Boulevard on Bay Ave. Throw in those crazy rubbery white pools meant to differentiate traffic not turning from Bay onto Marsha and it’s a mess. So, why not just transfer that mess onto 72, I ask sarcastically.   

The modification of the 72/Marsha intersection is meant to mainly accommodate more traffic heading LBI-ward. It also allows an easier turn for 72 traffic exiting onto south Marsha, along with the easier merging of traffic coming out of Beach Haven West and onto 72 east.

If this isn’t quite clear, verbally, you’ll be seeing the set-up in action, albeit later than sooner. I will venture to throw in the zinger: When on eastbound 72, all lanes lead to the two-lane West Thoroughfare Trestle Bridge. In the short distance from Marsha to bridge, there will surely be a veritable combat zone as four lanes gauntlet into two.

Try to picture already traffic-irked, highly irascible Island-bound motorists seeing the wider roadway in the Marsha vicinity as a golden leadfooted chance to get a few cars ahead. Now add in the need for a nonexistence kindness factor to nicely allow merging side traffic to nose in line.

There will be lines and signs trying to limit hopscotching while encouraging kindness toward mergers. But Pa/NJ/NY drivers will be Pa/NJ/NY drivers. I see that final stretch prior to reaching the Causeway as regularly featuring the Road Rage Capades. I plan on hanging thereabouts on busy summer Saturday morns, videoing the, uh, interactions. I see big money as I out hit “Baby Shark Dance” on YouTube.

MANN (WAY) OVERBOARD: While web surfing the subject of wind turbines, I came across quite the socio-political turbine item relating to one of the most famed and controversial names in the world: Donald John Trump, as big a turbine hater as tromps the planet.  

Trump utterly despises oceanic wind turbines. He claims his hatred is based a publicly-proclaimed anxiety that “birds will be killed by them.” See “Trump Claims Wind Turbines Kill 'Thousands' of Bald Eagles,” at www.newsweek.com/fact-check-are-thousands-bald-eagles-killed-wind-t....

Closer to tycoon reality, Trump’s hatred stems from damnable issues surrounding his building of the Trump International Scotland in Aberdeen. Locals there say the tycoon bullied landowners and local government into selling -- or relinquishing -- land for his links.

In the land acquisition process, Trump allegedly drove a beloved local family off their ancestral farmlands, in doing so he besmirched that family’s name, which trickles down to most everyone in Scotland.

A farm shed on Sheila and Michael Forbes' property near Aberdeen, Scotland, with a mural and words that say 'Trump lies.'

In Scottish Gaelic, The Donald quickly became highly fuath (hated) and dubbed a bamstick, “someone who is belligerent or disruptive.” Check the news story headlined “New Trump golf course provokes fury in Scotland,” at theguardian.com/us-news/2020/oct/17/new-trump-golf-course-provokes-fury-in-scotland.”

The Scottish government at first embraced the entrepreneur and his plans for exotic links. That embrace chilled quickly. Then, even Parliament they went fuathy on him, especially when he sued to stop the building of 11 nearshore wind turbines, to be located within what he called “my ocean.”

Long and short of it, his loathing of oceanic wind farms -- on business principles alone -- has never left him. It was deepened after being defeated in Scottish court, having to pay for his misfired lawsuit. The Washington Post reported, “Trump Organization ordered to pay $290,000 after losing battle against Scottish wind farm.”

As an “Overboard” extra, I’ll pass along a highly undocumented piece of a dialogue between Trump and a top advisor.

Advisor: Sir, I thought you should know there are plans to build turbines in the ocean off your golf course.

Donald: What? There’s oil out there. Hey, maybe there’s some under my golf course?

Advisors: Forgive me, sir, but I believe you’re thinking of oil derricks. These are wind turbines. Each one will be the size of the Eiffel Tower.

D: The Eiffle Tower? They use that to pump oil, right?

A: Not that I know of sir.

D: Then what the hell is it for?

A: Truth be told, I have no idea.

D: So, you mean to say I’ll have a bunch of Eiffle Towers on my golf course … a huge mini-golf course!

A: They won’t be on your golf course, sir, but off your golf course.

D: What’ll these turbine things look like.  

A: They’re like very tall poles. On top are huge propellers, with each blade larger than a 747.

D: You mean I’ll have a bunch of Eiffle Towers taking off and landing right next to where my golfers are teeing off!?

A: No, sir, the turbines will be staying put. But they will be highly visible to any golfers looking out to sea.

D: Unacceptable. I hereby ban turbines from my section of sea.    

A: Sir, I believe the ocean is technically owned by the United Kingdom.

D: What those desert oil people!?

A: No, sir, that would be the United Arab Emirates. Any oil the United Kingdom produces comes from the ocean bottom.

D: So, there is oil out there!

A: Yes, but it’s much further out, sir. The turbines are in much close. They’re meant to convert wind power into electricity.

D: Hell, my golf course already has plenty enough electricity. Besides, I’m here in Scotland. I don’t even have to deal with that United Kingdom.  

A: Sir, Scotland is part of the United Kingdom.

D: Since when?

A: I believe the Acts of Union was passed by the English and Scottish Parliaments in 1707.

D: Well, that’s out of date by now. Get those acts overturned.

A: That can’t be done peacefully, Sir.

D: Oh, really. Where’s the United Kingdom’s capitol building?

A: I’d rather not say, sir.  


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