Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
A woodpecker goes a bit batty ...
Likely a slight deduction for the landing ... despite his jumping up, all, "I meant to do that!"
Practicing for LBI ...
My captive un-fried green tomato. Look hard.
Tuesday, September 04, 2018: It’s a heat repeat out there. Temps aside, it’s exceptionally nice for fluking, be it boat, rocks or beach. Check out the mega-flattie below, taken off Barnegat Inlet. The ocean water temps in into the upper 70s with light onshore winds. It could top 80 with all the sun and heat.
I have to apologize for passing on inadequate Holgate data. It turns out the point of no passage is well north of The Rip. I guess I should have first gone there myself before writing that just the back cut was off limits. That buggy and pedestrian stoppage point takes easily half the fun out of a trip to the “south end.” Definitely not worth airing down for -- unless you want to go after the fairly plentiful fluke in the frontbeach swashes. The currently off-limits Rip itself is surely the preferable fluking territory. It might also already be holding kingfish, though I’ve gotten almost no reports of kings being taken from Barnegat Bay. Kingfish are sometimes caught in blowfish chum slicks. Nor so, so far.
I should mention that the largest brown sharks I’ve ever heard of being caught on LBI came from the Holgate Rip area, always after dark – often mid-summer, when the end was open all year.
Lest it be forgotten, the first closure of the Holgate end was for a three-year state bird study. The study was completed well within that time span but that did not lead to summer passage for the public. The feds had requested, rather strongly, to be allowed to maintain the closure in the name of mainly plover at the time.
In an agreement – one I sought to see but was denied access to, even though I was neither opposed or unopposed to closures – Forsythe instantly gained an inalienable right to carry on summer closures, which has grown some, having begun at an April 15 starting date but having now migrated to a plover-triggered April 1 shutdown. Also, as we’re now seeing, the reopening can be piecemeal, at the mercy of birds and refuge.
While the signing over of state-owned beach property to management by a federal agency seemingly violates New Jersey’s beaches-for-the-people constitutional language, as guaranteed by NJ Public Trust Doctrine, precedents set in other states, like Connecticut, indicate the US Fish and Wildlife Service can exert what I’ve called “adjacency rights.” They allow state managerial rights to be transferred to FWS refuges and its related wilderness areas. Yes, NJ might be able to take over the plover closure and monitoring, but it really wouldn’t be money well spent. Very little would change from the current fed-funded methodology of summer closings.
Per NJ: “The public trust doctrine is recognized in New Jersey and applies to the State's ownership and management of tide-flowed land.”
A far more abstruse beachline issue arises over the refuge’s contracted ownership of land above mean high tide. As to where said mean high tide line might be in Holgate’s erosionally aroused beach area is complex. When timeframe references are added into the mix, things get mindboggling. Here’s a definitional read on the basics of tidal datum related to mean high tide.
“As used in tidal datum determination, it is 19-year cycle over which tidal height observations are meaned in order to establish the various datums. As there are periodic and apparent secular trends in sea level, a specific 19-year cycle (the National Tidal Datum Epoch NTDE) is selected so that all tidal datum determinations throughout the United States will have a common reference.”
That 19-year datum presents an obvious bugaboo, maybe more so in Holgate than anywhere else in the entire nation, I kid you not.
What’s more, that timeframe datum is further micromanaged when it comes to establishing NJ mean high tide.
“Mean High Water Line or Mark (is the) line formed by the intersection of the tidal plane of mean high tide with the shore. The mean, sometimes called ordinary, high tide is defined as the median between the spring and the neap tides. The average to be used should be, if possible, the average of all the high tides over a period of 18.6 years. In New Jersey the State owns all lands, now or formerly, below the mean high water line …”
You might have guessed the big ticket item in that definition is “In New Jersey the State owns all lands, now or formerly, below the mean high water line.”
That brings us to the most complex legal point in all of Holgate: Can the management of a federally-defined Wilderness Area, like Forsythe’s Holgate Wilderness Area, supersede state and local laws in the name of what I’ll this time call “adjacent impacts”? I was once militantly told by a former Forsythe manager – and former Marine -- that not only can the refuge readily do so but holds such an action at its beck and call. Said manager and I went at it, majorly, mano a mano, right on the contested beachfront. We were far from brothers in arms in that instance. Since then, far cooler and sensible heads have prevailed. A quiet compromise currently prevails, though the rapid eating away of fully two-thirds of the wilderness area’s front beach has made further mincemeat of the entire 19-year – or is it 18.6-year – “Mean High Water Line” datum concept.
As to Holgate as a Wilderness area, here’s a background read via Forsythe:
“In 1984, to posthumously honor a New Jersey conservationist congressman, Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge (established in 1939) and Barnegat National Wildlife Refuge (established in 1967) were combined to create the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge.
“Although the refuge consists of more than 39,000 acres, less than 7,000 acres in the southern division (the Brigantine) qualify as Wilderness. This trailless area, a tidal wetland and shallow bay habitat, is one of the most active flyways for migratory waterbirds in North America. Birdwatchers, binoculars in hand, have zoomed in on close to 300 species, including Atlantic brant and American black duck.
“The Wilderness also protects Holgate and Little Beaches, two of the few remaining barrier beaches in New Jersey. Grasses on these shores stabilize the fragile dunes and safeguard the rare piping plover, black skimmer, and least tern.
“The refuge is open during daylight hours, but there are prohibitions on camping, fires, horses, kite flying, swimming, flower picking, or anything else that might endanger the wildlife and their habitat. During nesting season (mid-April to mid-July), the area is closed to all public use. In the same protective vein, access to some portions is restricted to people with special-use permits for research and education.”
There’s a load more to this but enough for now. You might want to also check out my weekly SandPaper blog, coming out tomorrow, regarding the proposed terminal jetty and possible interplay with the refuge and the NWS.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Coastal Sharks Management Board releases Draft Addendum V to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic Coastal Sharks for public comment. The Draft Addendum proposes options to allow the Board to streamline the process of state implementation of shark regulations so that complementary measures are seamlessly and concurrently implemented at the state and federal level whenever possible.
The FMP currently allows for commercial quotas, possession limits, and season dates to be set annually through Board approved specifications. All other changes to commercial or recreational management can only be accomplished through an addendum or emergency action. While addenda can be completed in a relatively short period of time, the timing of addenda and state implementation can result in inconsistencies between state and federal shark regulations, particularly when NOAA Fisheries adopts changes through interim emergency rules. The only option for the Board to respond quicker than an addendum is through an emergency action, which has a set of criteria that are rigorous and often not met, making it rarely used to enact regulatory changes. The Draft Addendum seeks to provide the Board more flexibility in responding to changes in the fishery for shark species managed under the FMP.
A public hearing webinar will be held Tuesday, September 25th at 5:30 p.m. The details of the webinar follow:
Registration URL: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2613822106816627203
Room Number: 853-657-937
Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on Draft Addendum V either by attending the public hearing webinar or providing written comment. The Draft Addendum is available at
http://www.asmfc.org/files/PublicInput/CoastalSharksDraftAddendumV_... and can also be accessed on the Commission website (www.asmfc.org) under Public Input. Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on October 1, 2018 and should be forwarded to Kirby Rootes-Murdy, Senior Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at 1050 N. Highland Street, Suite 200A-N, Arlington, VA, 22201; 703.842.07401 (fax); or firstname.lastname@example.org (with the Subject line as: Draft Addendum)
A PDF of the press release can be found here - http://www.asmfc.org/uploads/file/5b885d89pr27CoastalSharksDraftAdd....
George Eisele of Harvey Cedars caught this 29”, 9 lb Fluke off Barnegat Light on Labor Day.
Measured and weighed at Bobbies Marina.
AJ and I were fishing a jetty in Southern NJ when this extraordinary and rare event occurred. A large tuna launched itself out the water while chasing bait fish and landed on the rocks near us. Nobody would go near it except me and this nice fella. While he and I discussed options one lady asked us if we were going to push it back in. I giggled a little and said, "no ma'am, sorry, we're discussing which one of us is going to eat it."
The power of this thing was unbelievable. Whereas most fish merely flop around on dry land this thing's attempts at escape sounded like a helicopter taking off and blasted water and sand 30' in every direction.
He was actually reluctant to take the fish home, because it was so big. But I convinced him not to let it go to waste, and that since he lived fairly close he should take it, and immediately. He agreed and did. I hope he and his family and friends got to enjoy it.
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Cape Cod Times] by Ethan Genter - September 4, 2018
Poachers will face stiffer penalties later this year after the state adopted new provisions that have raised fishing violation fines as well as made other changes state law.
Noncriminal fishing fines will be doubled in November, along with a number of other changes, after the passage in August of the Environmental Bond Bill.
Noncriminal fishery violations, such as catching an undersized bass, were established about 25 years ago and are akin to a speeding ticket, said Jared Silva, a regulatory and adjudicatory law clerk with the Division of Marine Fisheries.
Poaching a striped bass, a fish that could be worth $100 in its own right, normally carries a $50 fine, Silva said.
"We're now doubling that," he said. Noncriminal fines will now run either $100, $200 or $400, with the latter reserved for the most egregious violations. Environmental police officers will also be able to hand out a supplementary $10-per-fish fine on top of the noncriminal fines, a new provision, Silva said.
The raising of the fines comes as state officials try to stymie poaching. Officials heard from fishermen and other stakeholders that the current fines weren't enough of a deterrent, especially at the Cape Cod Canal.
"There's always been complaints at public hearings and public meetings," Silva said. Many people felt that poachers would accept the fines and then continue to poach, chalking it up as "the cost of doing business," he said.
The new bill, which was largely concerned with addressing climate change, also streamlines or eliminates obsolete fishing violations, some that go back to the 1910s and '20s.
"We looked at what other states were doing and we were behind the times," Silva said.
New baseline fines for criminal violations also will be instituted.
The new fines will run from $400 to $10,000; violations can also carry up to 2½-year prison terms.
Mirroring a Department of Environmental Protection statute, the Attorney General's Office will be allowed to sue for up to $10,000 in a civil suit.
"We're hoping that there's greater deterrence moving forward," Silva said.
This is just one portion that the DMF has gone through to try and put a lid on illegal fishing activity. They have also started to turn more to the adjudicatory hearing process and taking away violators fishing licenses.
"We've really, in the past three years, ramped that up," he said, partially due to the persistent striped bass violations around the canal. "It's been a successful tool for us."
In mid-August, during a fish blitz at the Cape Cod Canal, Environmental police handed out numerous court summons and more than 50 citations in one week.
Massachusetts Environmental Police Major Patrick Moran said that week that his officers were "writing violations and seizing fish and gear and it just continues to go on and on with no end in sight."
Moran said he welcomes the changes.
"I think what we accomplished should serve as a deterrent to violators," he wrote in an email to the Times. "Prior fines and penalties were looked at as the cost of doing business. We now have the leverage of fining individuals who violate on a per fish basis. Considering some of the overages we have had, that can add up fast and become quite costly."
Environmental police worked with the DMF for about two years to bring fines "out of the stone age and into the 21st century," Moran wrote.
"It's a sad thing when a small percentage of people tarnish the efforts and progress being made by honest recreational and commercial fishers," he wrote. "I don't include that small percentage with other fishermen, because they are poachers, plain and simple, that ruin it for everyone else."
Photo Credit: Massachusetts Environmental Police
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [The Seattle Times] By Corey Ridings - September 4,2018
A few years ago, the “warm blob” — a huge area of abnormally warm water that spanned from southern California to Alaska — triggered a harmful algal bloom that closed Dungeness-crab and razor-clam fisheries along the West Coast, contributed to sea lion pup deaths and dramatically decreased the productivity of fish populations. It made it clear that our ocean is changing, and we have to be prepared.
Next week, the Pacific Fishery Management Council is meeting in Seattle to discuss the threat of climate change to one of the most diverse wild fisheries on the planet. In a national political climate that often denies climate change, the Pacific Council is committed to understanding these changes and the risks they pose to our fish and our fishermen.
Climate change has far-reaching, interrelated impacts on the ocean. For example, the increase in global air temperatures means changes in local weather and precipitation patterns. That in turn alters flow rates and water temperatures in local streams. And that impacts the ability of salmon to survive their journey to the open ocean. Once there, they face new changes that challenge their ability to find food. It’s not just salmon that are seeing dramatic shifts in location and type of fisheries, scientists and fishermen are reporting fish species moving out of historic fishing grounds toward deeper and colder waters.
These changes are already happening on the West Coast. The communities and local economies built on the bounty of our ocean must adapt. And this is where the Pacific Council has a critical role to play in safeguarding target fisheries as well as habitat and protected species such as orcas. One of eight regional fishery management councils, the Pacific Council has jurisdiction over the 317,690 square mile “economic zone” off Washington, Oregon and California.
Moving from science to action is never easy, especially when we don’t have a full picture of how climate change is impacting our ocean, and we have a complex and political system of managing fisheries to contend with.
It’s a tough challenge but not an impossible quest for a region that took the difficult steps necessary to implement science-based management, recover our fish stocks and build sustainable fisheries for the future. We have seen the results of working in partnership with fishermen, businesses and communities.
Today, climate change poses a real threat to these hard-won successes. The future of our fisheries depends on our ability to adapt to these new uncertainties by creating efficient, responsive and timely management systems that can meet the needs of fisherman and the ecosystem. The Pacific Council already has taken steps toward incorporating climate change in its decisions. It has protected small forage fish that feed larger species like salmon and rockfish, and developed a Fishery Ecosystem Plan. In the ways that matter, we have a council that is poised to deliver on addressing climate impacts on fisheries this September.
The council will be considering not just the impact of climate on the health of our fish populations, but also the subsequent effects those changing conditions have on our fishermen and their communities. The goal is to identify ways to monitor and anticipate those changes, and then find ways to adapt to ensure sustainable fisheries management. It’s a big task, but with good planning, it’s the sum of many small steps.
We need to support this effort in bringing solutions to the larger climate conversation. Now more than ever, we need to understand the natural world we live in, and our relationship to it. Let us not squander any opportunity to protect our fish, fishing communities and the health of our ocean.
SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Protothema] - September 4, 2018
The Arctic ports along the Northern Sea Route are expecting a surge in cargo.
An interview from the Russian Ministry for Maritime and River Transport published on website PortNews says that Arctic ports along the Northern Sea Route are experiencing a surge in cargo. Up to August 24th of this year, 9.95 million tons of goods went through ports in the region, an 81 per cent increase on last year’s 5.5 million. Even though the passage is only feasible for three months of the year, global warming is making it increasingly viable for major shipping companies. This year, temperatures in the Arctic Circle have been unusually warm, topping 30C on several occasions.
That resulted in Maersk confirming that it was sending a ship with a 3,600 container capacity, the Venta Mersk, over the top of Russia on a test run. The decision has been welcomed in Russia where it’s hoped the Arctic route will compete with the southern route through the Suez Canal and Straits of Malacca. The Northern Sea Route runs from Murmansk near Russia’s border with Norway all the way to the Bering Strait in Alaska with all transiting ships requiring a permit from the Russian authorities. Even though travel-time can be reduced by two weeks compared to the southern route, costs are generally higher because vessels have to be accompanied by a nuclear-powered icebreaker.
The Venta Maersk left Vladivostock before docking in Pusan, South Korea. It embarked on its long journey through the Arctic and its expected to pass through the Bering Strait at the start of September before finishing the trip in St. Petersburg at the end of the month. The following infographic shows how a general container-ship would travel between Europe and East Asia, using Hamburg and Shanghai as example ports. A ship travelling between those two cities on the Northern Sea Route would travel about 14,000 kilometres, sparing at least two weeks over the 20,000-kilometer long southern route through the Suez Canal and Straits of Malacca.
Photo Credit: Statista
As American children head back to school, experts have a number of tips to help parents prepare quick seafood meals.
“Serving seafood in familiar dishes like tacos, enchiladas, soups, salads, burgers and baked dishes can be a beneficial way for kids to eat more seafood,” said Joe Urban, director of food and nutrition services for Greenville County Schools in Greenville, South Carolina, in a Seafood Nutrition Partnership press release.
Mild fish such as cod, pollock, and haddock are easily substituted in most dishes that call for chicken, pork, or beef and also provide a good stepping stone for stronger-tasting seafood like salmon or tuna, Urban added.
The sooner seafood is incorporated into a child’s routine, the better, according to SNP.
“Since most kids function better on a routine, incorporating the right foods at the start of the year sets a foundation for months to come. One healthy option for kids is seafood,” SNP said.
The outstanding health profile touted by seafood is obvious, SNP noted. Fish and shellfish supply nutrients such as vitamins B and D, choline, and essential omega-3 fatty acids, which aid in cardiovascular health, brain development, strong bones, and a healthy immune system.
“When kids eat at least two servings of seafood each week, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, they can receive big benefits,” SNP said.
Seafood is also quick to prepare, which allows parents to get a nutritious meal on the table on any night of the week, SNP explained. For example, thin, frozen fish fillets and shrimp can be defrosted and cooked in under 20 minutes.
Another affordable seafood option that parents can incorporate in kids’ meals is canned seafood, such as salmon and tuna. SNP is providing kid-friendly recipe ideas and coupons for these species and more on its website, http://www.seafoodnutrition.org/kidfriendly.