Tender Talkin’ Tuna; Shotgun Start for Fluke
This is the official start of the start weekend. The official start-start is actually the July 4th weekend. However, for those of us of an Island Ilk, the re-cycling of the traffic signals and the droop-age in Boulevard speed limits is already cause for summer shock. I’m always looking for cool fishing tales. You can drop me an email or go to http://jaymanntoday.ning.com/ to leave on at my website.
SUSHI WITHOUT BORDERS: I just have to share this.
Aquaculture giant Clean Seas is airlifting top-gene tuna from its raising pens, located well out in the ocean, to nearshore breeding facilities at Arno Bay, on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula.
Upwards of 10 bluefin tuna, weighing in the vicinity of 400 pounds each, will be lassoed, harnessed beneath helicopters, then flown like the wind to a new home.
By the by, those chosen fish were handfed to a perfect plumpness. Secret foodstuffs were used for that first-class fattening. One of the company’s owner said, “Those fish are fed better than me.”
Anyway, 30 divers, scientists and aquaculture technicians work in unison to tenderly entrap the tuna for harnessing to the choppers. Then it gets weirder. The premier tuna, which have never even had to dive out of the water after a fleeing forage fish, are pulled into the heavens and whisked through the air to the breeding tank, where a load of lovers-to-be await.
Despite no visuals with this story, I can picture the looks of sheer unbridled terror on the faces of the transported tuna as they dangle hundreds of feet in the air, moving at over 75 mph, surely convinced that they’ve been taken in the talons of a monstrous ravenous raptor. It’s right about then that the belief that fish are voiceless is dispelled, via a chain of tuna screams – intermingled with obscenities seldom heard outside a hockey rink.
Now, ponder a statement by the chairman of Clean Seas, Hagen Stehr, who reports that stressed fish will not breed successfully.
You don’t say.
I know it’s not a good practice to attribute human traits to wild animals but I can take an educated stab at how these fast-flown tuna might feel about diving into lovemaking after having just seen their here-to-fore pampered lives passing before their eyes
'Tuna are exceptionally difficult creatures to keep calm, the smallest aggravation and the tuna can become quite unruly,' said Stehr. 'It's like a human being, if you're stressed, it might be difficult to make love.”
You don’t say, again. Something grabs me from my home, drags me through water at 75 mph then dumps me in a strange place with huge plump women swarming around me and, go figure, I’m not instantly into throwing out my finest, “Hey, doll. I’m new around here. Any hot spots?”
Anyway, each of those pen-raised tuna is pushing six-figures in value and fill the Asian culinary bill like natural born bluefin. So, I should really be throwing some praises toward this worthy effort to reduce fishing pressure on fast-vanishing tuna stocks.
Of course, I’m anxiously awaiting PETA’s reaction to all this tuna tampering. From what I hear, the Aussies aren’t quite as tolerant of animal rights radicals as we are. It might be interesting if shortly after the PETA-ites reach the Land Down Under that the penned tuna all suddenly gain a few pounds.
UPCOMING DRONE REPORTS: Within 10 years, drones may be available to the public at large. Those are the breadbox-sized unmanned aircraft that are remotely controlled and can go wherever in the hell you guide them, keeping tabs on their progress via an onboard camera you monitor through your home computer.
I’m in there, dude.
Seriously. I’ll simply launch one of those puppies and remotely fly it along the beachfront, hovering over assorted surfcasters to monitor exactly what they’re catching.
“You hear some kinda funny buzz, Frankie?”
“No more than usual, Ed.”
“Wait a minute. I think it’s comin’ from that weird lookin’ seagull that’s kinda just hoverin’ up there.”
Oh, did I mention I was going to design my drone to look like a cross between a herring gull, a turkey buzzard and astrophysicist?
Anyway, once I fully reconnoiter the surfcasting scene, I’ll bank that baby out to sea and zip from one angler flotilla to the next, hovering long enough to see what’s hooking hottest and heaviest.
Finally, in the name of fishing science, I’ll swing on down to that secret nudist beach to see what’s hot thereabouts.
“Cynthia, that ugly bird up there is making me nervous.”
“Oh, your being ridiculous, Pam. Just ignore it and it’ll go away.”
Oh yeah? As my drone overheats and goes down in ball of flames.
GPS DEATH MYTH: Before we dive into a load of heavily angling-angled stuff, i.e. the real reason behind a column called “The Fish Story,” I have to do my part to squelch a ravenously ridiculous quasi-news story cascading through the World Wide Web at the speed of, well, the World Wide Web. It stems from a UK story. The lead of the story reads:
“ It has become one of the staples of modern, hi-tech life: using satellite navigation tools built into your car or mobile phone to find your way from A to B. But experts have warned that the system may be close to breakdown.
“US government officials are concerned that the quality of the Global Positioning System (GPS) could begin to deteriorate as early as next year, resulting in regular blackouts and failures – or even dishing out inaccurate directions to millions of people worldwide….
“The satellites are overseen by the US Air Force, which has maintained the GPS network since the early 1990s. According to a study by the US government accountability office (GAO), mismanagement and a lack of investment means that some of the crucial GPS satellites could begin to fail as early as next year….”
Let me be among the first to say this is total buncha crapola. The fact it arrives from Europe, which is about to market its own GPS system, makes me smell a marketing rat, even though our very own General Accounting Office is helping along that foreign advertising cause.
First, this is not to say such a deterioration of the GPS network wouldn’t be catastrophic, it’s just not going to happen. Hell, the entire U.S. military is now inextricably interwoven into GPS. Those cruise missiles used to zero in on the smallest of targets rely on multichannel GPS receivers to offload munitions on a dime. U.S. Rescue and Response forces totally rely on GPS signals to home in on downed soldiers. Even unmanned drone aircraft, the future of warfare, are fed by GPS signals.
Closer to our watery sport, anglers (forced to give up their Lorans) have embraced the ease and accuracy of GPS. What’s more, something like one in 10 motorists now use on-board GPS navigation devises.
I’m not saying one should totally ignore this dubious news story. I think it should draw due attention to our nation’s high-tech dependence on our GPS system. It’s guiding the way to a fabulous future and we’re sure as hell not going to let the future decay and fall from the sky.
Which is a fine launch into future fishing, as in this coming holiday weekend. Plain and simple: This Memorial Day weekend is gonna rock.
DEADLIEST CATCH REMAINS DEADLIEST: In 1992, the federal government began keeping exacting tabs on who dies most at their jobs. From the get-go, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' National Census of Fatal Occupation Injuries placed commercial fishing atop the deadliest job list. And the latest stats indicate commercialites aren’t going to lose that calamitous distinction.
Despite some marked overall improvements in the safety standards of professional fishermen, they still topped the list in workplace fatalities for 2008, dying at a rate of 112 per 100,000. That is down a bit from the 2007, which stood at 115 per 100,000. The national average, which dropped last year – as much due to work layoffs as better working conditions – is 3.7 per 100,000.
Thirty-eight fishermen died on the job last year.
Historically, the greatest number of commercial fishermen die off Maine and Alaska. With an inordinately high number of fatalities already recorded off the Jersey coast this year, the Garden State will likely be up there when the stats for 2009 come out.
On a “Deadliest Catch” note, Alaska has actually done a yeoman’s job of improving commercial fishing safety. Fatalities there have dropped nearly 40 percent in the past 25 years, the greatest improvement in the nation, according to the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association.
As for who else is making it home from work, the next most dangerous jobs are logging (87 deaths per 100,000 employees); aircraft pilots and flight engineers (67 deaths per 100,000); iron and steel workers (45/100,000); and farmers and ranchers (38 per 100,000).