Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Wed. May 4, 2011:
The weather was idffy and drippy not to mention brisk via west winds. Still, bass were taken on the front beach and I belive I'll do some bayside dark Causeway angling -- after watching the Flyers flounder. I was also ionvited to a Brant Beach bayside backyard dock where "big" bass have been taken lately. 


The big news remains the DEP's institution of the NJ Saltwater Registry at www.saltwaterregistry.nj.gov . I'm done registering. It took roughly 90 seconds of filling in blanks. If anyone says it's too much of a pain to register maybe they really shouldn't be doing anything as strenuous as fishing. I will note that the info asked for is very standard fare for almost any important -- and even many unimportant -- registration forms, including signing up for the likes of internet sites. Try to have at the ready your name, home address, home phone, DOB, email and that seemingly innocent last four digits of your social security number. 

As a sidebar to the above commonly issued personal info, the loosing of those seemingly mundane dates and inner-data is actually enough to make your life miserable if it gets into the wrong dastardly hands. Of course, the state has good internet security, right? The now over-common use of the last 4 digits of the SS number is getting problematic since someone stealing an ID can get a long way with knowing a target's DOB and just those 4 numbers. Be judicious in offering that info.


Back to the registration, I'm one of the many wondering what in bloody hell the DEP is thinking in levying such sinisterly high fines for failure to register. It's gotta be a funding search. According to the RFA, the DEP's official regulation indicates that any person in violation of not being registered within the state of New Jersey or failure to have their registry card in possession may be liable to a penalty of not less than $300 or more than $3,000 for the first offense, and not less than $500 or more than $5,000 for any subsequent offense. Notice that biggy: Failure to have a card in their possession. 

I'm assuming RFA researched this fine schedule since they are now hounding  the DEP for clarification of the rationale behind such nasty citations. "Not less than $300" is brutal, especially for some one not only as broke as I usually am but also as inclined to forget my wallet in my rush to get out fishing. I still have to worry about vindictiveness on the part of the DEP over failing to get the for-pay registration it had hoped for. I'll re-note here that a pay registration would have put the like of the state's Division of Fish and Game on relative easy street, funding-wise. As part of the push for a free registry, groups like RFA and JCAA implied they would undertake efforts to find other sources of money for the always-hurting Fish and Wildlife folks. I'd help out since I know a few of the officers and they are seriously dedicated -- and work their asses off. 

Below is a load of reading stuff. 




Info from www.BHCFA.com:

Captain Adam Nowalsky of the “Karen Ann II,” a member of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association, ended the spring blackfish season in good fashion.
            Captain Adam had the father and son team of Alan and Michael Preis and their group out for the closing day of the season. The group went home with their limit of blackfish with Preston boating the largest blackfish of the year so far with a 9-pound monster.
            The current set of regulations for black sea bass has the captains of the BHCFA gnashing their teeth over what they feel are bad decisions being made on poor scientific evidence. Two of them are participating in a scientific project to help correct this.
            Scientists at Rutgers University are undertaking a study of sea bass, especially the effects of sex change on sea bass and how it affects their spawning abilities. Most black sea bass first mature as females with some fish later undergoing a change to become male. It is hoped that learning more about this process will help improve our abilities to manage this species.
            The project is funded by NOAA’s Mid-Atlantic Research Set-Aside Program. Captains Adam Nowalsky and Frank Camarda of the “Miss Beach Haven” are participating with the project. They will be tagging and releasing sea bass this summer.
            Anyone catching a tagged black sea bass is eligible for a reward by calling 1-888-776-6537 and providing information on the fish.
Additional information on the association can be found at www.BHCFA.com or by calling 877-524-2423.
News wires: 

A Spanish court has sentenced two Somali pirates to 439 years in jail each for their role in the hijacking of a tuna fishing boat.
The two men have been detained in a Madrid jail since they were caught after the attack in late 2009.
The court said government-linked bodies had paid to have the vessel freed, but the government has insisted it does not pay ransoms.
The vessel and 36 crew members were held off Somalia for 47 days.
The Somalis were found guilty of 36 counts of illegal detention and robbery with violence, but absolved of charges of terrorism, membership in an organised crime group and torture.
Maximum sentence
The National Court identified them as Cabdiweli Cabdullahi and Raageggesey Hassan Aji, according to the Associated Press.
Under Spanish law, they will serve only a maximum of 30 years in jail, regardless of the sentence.
They were also ordered to pay 100,000 euros to each person detained.
During the trial, the suspects said they had been fishing and were themselves seized by the pirates who later hijacked the vessel.
The court said 'public organisations linked to the Spanish government' had paid for the release of the crew.
Spain's Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez said the government did not pay ransoms.
Piracy is a highly lucrative trade in Somalia, where gangs can often demand millions of dollars in ransoms.
[Cape Codder] by Rich Eldred - May 3, 2011
Copyright © 2006-2011 GateHouse Media, Inc. 
BREWSTER, It's the great whale convention – certainly the greatest any of us have seen from shore or ship anywhere in the world.
Cape Cod Bay has been visited by 201 different north Atlantic right whales so far this spring, that's out of an estimated 473 known to exist worldwide.
'It is exciting. It's kind of a bonanza for us to see this many whales. We start asking questions,' said Karen Stamieszkin, an associate scientist who studies right whale habitat at Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies. 'Why are so many here? Which animals are here and which are not? We know them all individually. We so lucky to see these animals in such great numbers.'
They don't come for the un-crowded beaches, the lobster specials, Brewster in Bloom or even the nightlife. They come for the Calanus, a 10-legged planktonic copepod that swims freely but basically drifts with the currents.
The giant 50-foot, 70-ton right whales scoop food from the seawater by opening their mouths and swimming through swarms of zooplankton and catching the tiny shrimp-like creatures in their baleen. Copepods and krill are the favorites, or at least they eat the most of them.
'There is an incredible prey resource in the bay right now,' Stamieszkin said. 'Right whales come here primarily to feed. We're seeing an enormous biomass of calorically rich food this year. It's mostly late stage (older) Calanus, they go through metamorphosis in life so we know what stage they're in, and they are bigger and have more oil in them when their older.'
The center hasn't analyzed all its data yet. They do plankton sampling and aerial surveys of the right whale population in the Bay and just outside it.So why are all the copepods here? They can swim but not to the point of swimming to Cape Cod.
'One thing that's different about this year are the winds,' Stamieszkin opined. 'I think maybe the wind and currents are very strong this year and it was a strong year for (copepod) production in the Gulf of Maine.'
There may also be a tie in to the North Atlantic climatic oscillation creating a more productive environment that combined with currents carrying more food into Cape Cod Bay have created a boom year.
'If people get the opportunity to see them close to the shore it is a beautiful sight,' Stamieszkin expounded. 'They're odd looking whales but when they feed with their mouths open, blindly swimming through plankton, there is a graceful quality to it, weaving in and out from each other. It's a beautiful sight.'
The viewing opportunity is mostly on the Outer Cape. The wind and current have clustered most of the prey on the eastern side. The Provincetown area is the real hot spot; whales can be seen from shore.
'The way oceanography works at Race Point (on Provincetown) is complex, it holds water there. Different tidal currents rip through Provincetown and all the forces act to concentrate plankton in one place,' she explained.
'The wind has switched to the south the past few days,' Stamieszkin noted. 'I think things are moving around and the resource is getting pushed out of the Bay. There may be a lot of activity along the backside of the Cape the next few days.'
Center for Coastal Studies has 25 years of right whale data to analyze and Stamieszkin will be comparing years to years, weeks to weeks, looking at the zooplankton supply spatially and temporally.
'As of Monday there were still over 100 whales in the Bay,' she observed. 'I'm looking at one quarter of the whole population in one day. We're still doing identification work.'
Each whale may eat 1,000 pounds of food a day, so eventually they'll move on in search of more, dispersing through the Gulf and North Atlantic.
'We have seen a lot of near collisions with boats, because Race Point is a big boating area,' Stamieszkin cautioned. 'The Center encourages people to slow down. There is a law against approaching them within 500 yards.'
 [CBC News] by Emily Chung - May 3, 2011 
Copyright © CBC 2011
Small fish like sardines may not necessarily be a more sustainable dinner choice than large predators such as cod, a new study suggests.
'We were really surprised by the results,' said Malin Pinsky, lead author of a study published Monday that found stocks or regional populations of smaller, short-lived fish collapse because of overfishing just as frequently as stocks of large, long-lived species such as cod, tuna and sharks.
The findings, which appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are particularly worrisome because the collapse of a small species may have wider-ranging effects than the collapse of large species, Pinsky said.
How the study was done
Researchers looked at a database of 223 scientific fish stock (regional population) assessments of 120 species compiled by researchers at Dalhousie University in Halifax. Within that database, they looked for collapses - situations where the estimated size of a fish stock fell to less than one-fifth of the level deemed necessary to support fishing at the highest rate considered sustainable.
The researchers also looked at the database of fish catches from 1950 to 2006 maintained by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, which includes 891 fish stocks from 458 species. Within that database, they defined collapses as periods of more than two years where catch levels were less than one-tenth of the average catch during the five years with the biggest catches.
Collapses of individual populations of certain small species had previously been recorded but had not been examined on a larger scale to look for trends.
'It removes a very important food source for all the species that rely on it, so actually, a lot of mammals, birds and in some cases larger fishes can also decline,' he told CBC News, adding that larger species recover more slowly.
Advocates of sustainable seafood, such as Taras Grescoe, author of Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood, have suggested that responsible consumers eat species low on the food chain, such as mackerel, herring and sardines.
Those species are also recommended by groups such as SeaChoice and Seafood Watch, which help consumers make sustainable seafood choices.
One of the criteria such groups use is a species' 'inherent vulnerability' to fishing, based on factors such as the rate of reproduction - which is usually higher in smaller species - the age of first maturity and the maximum age, which are usually lower in smaller species.
Pinsky, a PhD candidate in biology at Stanford University, and his U.S. and Canadian collaborators wanted to find out whether such 'life history' characteristics of different species could help predict which ones were more likely to collapse under pressure from fishing.
He hypothesized that larger, slow-growing species were more vulnerable than smaller species in the ocean, just as larger species tended to be at higher risk of extinction on land. The hypothesis appears to be incorrect.
Daniel Ricard, a PhD candidate in biology at Dalhousie University, collated some of the data for the study and is one of Pinsky's co-authors.
Place of origin matters
Ricard, who has expertise in assessing fish stocks, said the results show 'you cannot be complacent about anything' and all fisheries need to be managed carefully.
They also show that consumers need to pay attention to more than just the species they are eating because many larger species have some sustainable stocks and many smaller species have some stocks that are depleted, he said.
'People really have to educate themselves, and also ask the hard questions when you go to the fishmonger at Sobey's or Superstore or Loblaws: Where is that fish from? Where was it caught?'
Pinsky advises eating throughout the food chain rather than focusing toward the bottom.
'Don't assume just because it's small and short-lived that it's immune to the impact of fishing,' he said. 'We have enough fishing power to collapse anything if we're not careful.'

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