Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Friday, December 18, 2015: I can’t speak of bass today but there was bunker

Friday, December 18, 2015: I can’t speak of bass today but there was bunker out the bazooka just off the beach in Ship Bottom and Surf City. Literally acres of them, right on the surface; occasionally within casting distance. Naturally, I had to get over to the mainland so I couldn’t even throw a Hopkins or snag hook to see if anything was lurking below the menhaden. The only thing on them were some very late-staying gannets, hitting them further out, showing the massive schools weren’t just near the beach.

Just got this confirmation from Greg O. 

"SB to HC.... Schools of pnuts to md size bunker all thru the 4 towns

Gannets gathered up a few times but broke up quick... Not a lot of fish. Couple short bass on swim shads... A barely ish keeper on bait that spit it in the wash, blue on bait, bite off on bait.

We did best in NB but know of a 35-36" bass caught by Steve warrens gang also ...Surf City."

And check this out: 

Greg O'Connell 
Dec 19th and there's still 33" bluefish in the LBI surf.... Crazy
Greg O'Connell's photo.
Greg O'Connell's photo.

I’m on Christmas break but have nowhere to break away to, except Holgate, the Pines and astral projections.

I plan on writing in here. Daily blogs are now something I use therapeutically, as an outlet for my AD/HD writing urge. In fact, when I’m not writin’ thing don’t feel right.

The SandPaper will put out its final 2015 issue this Monday (not Wednesday). We’ll be back in business with the paper out on January 13. I can be reached concerning news items at jmann99@hotmail.com – or, if it’s something sizzling hot, at 290-1968.

The SandPaper’s on-line/cloud edition – and updates – will be up and running throughout the vacation period. Any major stories will be placed there by a skeleton crew of writers. That site is http://thesandpaper.villagesoup.com.

Treasure hunting time is always my gift to myself over the holidays. I'll offer some looks at anything cool I dig up ... if I don't get shot by hunters first. I wear loads of orange but the woods are either inordinately packed with shooters this year or they're moving closer to humanized areas; closer to where I usually dig. The deep woods portion of the outback is actually lighter than usual on the hunter side of things. 

Note: Even today's barely 40 air temps were meaningless to the ticks. The bloodsuckers were still hanging out, per a fellow I bumped into walking his large, light-haired dog. Of course, for me, ticks roll off my back. It's chiggers that I'd like to see go extinct. 


Since you know I'm a bit out-there I guess I can share this tidbit with all y'all. I got word that a snowy owl had shown up on LBI (see proof below) and now I'm all nervous. And you can guess why. Many see these owls as harbingers for icy weather; that they arrive as a warning. of course, every short and even long-term forecast out there has the weird mildness hanging around until the cows come home ... not the snowys. 

The elusive and majestic Snowy Owls have finally returned to LBI!! Just in time for this cold weather. I haven't heard of anyone seeing one this year. 


With less than a week before Christmas, thoughts of what last minute gift might be appropriate for the anglers on your list can be cause for some stress. A couple of the captains from the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association have ideas for what to buy.
Captain Dave Kreines of the boat “Byte Me” notes his feet tend to get cold, especially in early spring and late fall, He says he always appreciates good heavy outdoor socks. A stocking stuffer that is always handy for an angler is a nail clipper on a lanyard so it's always handy. These are great gifts for a kid to give, since they are relatively inexpensive.

Captain Carl Sheppard of the “Star Fish” recommends a guest membership in the BHCFA’s Junior Mates Program. He says this is a great idea for children or grandchildren ages 13-17 that like to fish and would be interested in learning how to be a mate. For dedicated anglers Captain Carl suggest wire line and rods and reels for the wire line fishing. With the exceptional recent fall striped bass season in the ocean, he says more anglers will be turning to trolling for the bass. Boaters who shrink wrap their boats might like a new product out called Natural Solutions. It is a candy sized bar which you can activate and then hang in your boat to stop mildew and mold.
Captain Lindsay Fuller of the “June Bug” suggests a gift certificate for one of the boats in the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association. Not only is Captain Lindsay offering gift certificates, he is also offering a neat “June Bug” T-shirt for every gift certificate. The shirt can be either for the giver or the receiver of the certificate.
Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be obtained at the website www.BHCFA.net


Robert Pruszynski
New color. Yea or nay?
Robert Pruszynski's photo.

As New England Waters Become Hotspot for Global Warming, NOAA's Fish Models Fail to Keep Up

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [Standard-Times] By Steve Urbon - December 18, 2015 - 

NEW BEDFORD — In the Pacific off Japan, underwater kelp forests have been stripped and replaced with coral, better suited to the colorful tropical fish that have migrated north and have driven out other native species.

In the Pacific Northwest, oyster beds have been devastated by the ocean's acidity.

Off Long Island, summer flounder now thrive after moving northward from the mid-Atlantic.

Lobster populations are declining in the waters off southern New England.

Yellowtail flounder are transparent and thin, starved for nutrition.

On Georges Bank and the Gulf of Maine, what cod are left after years of stock collapse have moved east and north, or gone to cooler bottom temperatures, or died off.

Climate change and rising atmospheric carbon are having pronounced effects on the fisheries of the Northeast and the rest of the country.

The situation in New England is especially worrying because the ocean waters here have been disproportionately affected. “The Gulf of Maine is warming faster than 99 percent of all the other water bodies on Earth," said John Bullard, director of NOAA Fisheries in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

Bullard has for some time used his platform at the New England Fishery Management Council to push for scientists to incorporate the changing climate, water acidity, and changing ocean currents into their system of issuing catch allocations each year.

One of the people who has testified about NOAA's climate research is Jon Hale, head of the oceanography program at NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole.

“We've been working on climate vulnerability assessments for 82 fish and invertebrate species in this region," he said. “About half of those 82 are highly vulnerable or very highly vulnerable to climate change.

“In this part of the region the climate change signal is very strong; waters have been warming at the greatest rates. Ocean salinity is changing. Ocean current patterns are changing. There are a number of species which we have fisheries for at the southern extent of biogeographic ranges," he said.

Yet NOAA continues to make fishery management decisions based on catch rates and trawl surveys of the fishery, with only occasional consideration of the effects of climate change. Good data have been elusive, and the New England Fishery Management Council regularly recommends — and NOAA generally approves — catch limits that are very cautious, with a high degree of uncertainty in the projections.

All these changes have led to a dramatic decline in the once-vibrant groundfish industry in New Bedford, Gloucester, Rhode Island and the South Shore. The fishing fleet in the Northeast U.S. has been dwindling along with the populations of certain species, particularly cod and yellowtail flounder. Regulators allow for such low levels of what is called bycatch that boats rapidly exhaust their quotas and must stop fishing entirely unless they buy or lease quota from other boats.

NOAA put the size of the groundfish fleet in the region at 446 boats in 2010 to 327 in 2013, and falling. Cod in particular has cut into the size of the fleet because quotas are so low that it is now deemed a "choke species." The numbers can also conceal another factor: Regulators count a fishing boat as active even if it goes fishing just one day per year. To prolong the fishing season, boat owners and scientists have developed ways of mapping the "hot spots" in real time, enabling boats to avoid yellowtail in particular. If boat owners catch less of a so-called choke species, they can continue fishing for their intended catch. Amid all this turmoil, some species continue to thrive, such as red fish and haddock. One theory is that cod are migrating or finding deeper water farther offshore, and fishermen insist that there are a lot more cod than NOAA believes because NOAA continues to look for them in the places they have moved away from.

NOAA works with a “single species management" model that takes species one at a time, in isolation from the rest of the fishery. This has proven very difficult and complex, and the prospect of throwing climate variables into the calculations results in a daunting problem to ovecome.

Dr. Brian Rothschild, dean emeritus of the UMass Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology, has said publicly that he thinks the job might indeed be possible under the current methods. He backs a much more simplified approach, what some call a holistic method.

Mike Fogarty, who leads the Ecosystem Assessment Program at the Northeast Science Center, has long sought a way to link environmental factors into fish population estimates. He works with the U.S. GLOBEC, a multi-institutional project to look at climate change and ocean ecosystems.

Fogarty likens the current methods of single species predictions “going down a rat hole. We need to get away from the rat hole model. I agree with Brian."

Some effects of climate change may not be immediately apparent. Fish migration, for example. The fish are moving, but the plankton and other fish species that they prey upon might not be moving to the same place, or at the same rate, or at the same time of year. That could cause a calamity in the fishery. Researchers call this mismatches.

Rothschild, meanwhile, said he thinks that fisheries researchers need to take into account the ability of fish species to adapt to changing conditions, or not.

There is also worry that warmer waters are endangering fish eggs and juvenile fish, making them vulnerable and unable to multiply, less resilient, causing a permanent collapse of a fishery.

There's another wrinkle as well: In the current issue of the journal Science, scientists observing what is called the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation pose another conundrum: Using records of water temperature readings off the Northeast dating back to 1860, a pattern emerges. Water temperatures rise and fall with surprising regularity, cycling every 20 years or so.

We are currently at the third peak in ocean temperature since the readings have been taken, and the reason for the cycle remains elusive. Ocean currents have been suspected as the cause, but researchers say they have ruled that out.

In addition to warming waters, human activity — mainly industry with its carbon dioxide emissions — plays a clear role in causing acidification when some of the absorbed carbon dioxide is converted to carbonic acid, depleting the ocean of carbonate, which organisms use to grow shells and exoskeletons. The acidification is now threatening shellfish but scientists fear it could eventually affect fin fish as well.

So something else must be behind the warming and cooling cycle.

But the answers to that, along with other innumerable questions, remains to be found by an ever-increasing pool of marine scientists here and around the world.


Behind the GMO Salmon labeling Requirement: Congress Felt Snubbed by the FDA

SEAFOODNEWS.COM  by John Sackton   December 18, 2015

The two pages in the omnibus budget bill prohibiting the sale of genetically modified salmon without a label, and instructing the FDA to come up with a labeling policy, came about because of Congress' anger at the FDA.
According to Agri-Pulse, the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, Jerry Moran, said he and other lawmakers, including ranking Democrat Jeff Merkley of Oregon, were unhappy that the FDA announced the approval of the biotech fish in November without providing any advance notification to Congress.
“I would have appreciated an understanding of what FDA was doing and was thinking and that did not occur,” the Kansas Republican said.
The current prohibition expires on Sept. 20, 2016 and this should allow time for the FDA to get its act together.  Moran said "What I hope happens now is that there is a conversation between FDA and those members of Congress who are so strongly interested in this topic."
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski who advocates for labeling genetically modified salmon, says that labeling animals and plants are different issues, and that the push to label genetically modified salmon should not be confused with the broader controversy on whether to require labeling on all GMO products.


Land Trust Alliance Cheers Passage of
Landmark Conservation Legislation

‘The Importance of This Vote – and This Incentive – Cannot Be Overstated’

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 18, 2015) – The Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization working to save the places people love by strengthening land conservation across America, today praised Congress for voting to make permanent a tax incentive supporting land conservation.

“The importance of this vote – and this incentive – cannot be overstated,” said Rand Wentworth, the Alliance’s president. “This is the single greatest legislative action in decades to support land conservation. It states, unequivocally, that we as a nation treasure our lands and must conserve their many benefits for all future generations.”

In a strong bipartisan action, the House voted 318-109 and the Senate voted 65-33 to pass the bills that included the tax incentive.

Farmers, ranchers, the public and generations of future Americans will directly benefit from the incentive that encourages landowners to place a conservation easement on their land to protect important natural, scenic and historic resources. The Alliance led its more than 1,100 member land trusts and 5 million supporters through a collaborative, multi-year campaign to secure the incentive’s permanency.

“As we celebrate this landmark moment in land conservation, we are immensely grateful to our many champions in Congress, our countless individual and institutional allies, and all who tirelessly worked toward this pivotal day,” Wentworth said. “This vote represents an unqualified congressional endorsement of our long-held belief: It is in all our best interests to permanently protect important natural, scenic and historic resources for public benefit.”

First enacted in 2006, the incentive is directly responsible for conserving more than 2 million acres of America’s natural outdoor heritage. Lands placed into conservation easements continue to be farmed, grazed, hunted or used for outdoor recreation and wildlife conservation, and these lands remain on county tax rolls, strengthening local economies.

Congress made the incentive permanent as part of a broad, year-end deal the White House supports. Once signed into law, the incentive will be applied retroactively to start Jan. 1, 2015. An earlier version of the incentive expired Dec. 31, 2014.

“As much as this moment energizes me and all who support land conversation, I know our work is not done,” said Andrew Bowman, who will become president of the Alliance when Wentworth retires Feb. 10. “The Alliance has cultivated in Washington and beyond a nonpartisan enthusiasm for land conservation and will build on that consensus to generate essential and lasting support for conservation.”

The incentive advanced through Congress as part of the America Gives More Act, a package of tax incentives to encourage charitable giving. It passed the House earlier this year, 279-137. A standalone version of the incentive, the Conservation Easement Incentive Act, earned 52 Senate sponsors this year. The agreement announced today also encourages donations to food banks and facilitates charitable deductions from IRAs.

“The bipartisan Conservation Easement Incentive Act provides private land owners an important tool to conserve our state’s precious natural resources, increase outdoor recreation opportunities and preserve our proud tradition of ranching without facing onerous regulations. This is an important policy for Nevada, and I am pleased to see it included in the final tax deal,” said Sen. Dean Heller (NV), also a lead sponsor.

 “Our farmers and ranchers are some of the best stewards of our land,” said Sen. Stabenow (MI), a lead sponsor of the conservation provision. “That's why I led a successful bipartisan effort to make this important deduction permanent, so more landowners can take part in conserving our land, water and wildlife habitats. This is a win for taxpayers, a win for farmers, and it’s a win for our environment.”

 “This commonsense, bipartisan legislation is about supporting farmers who want to preserve our nation’s most cherished natural resources for future generations,” said Rep. Mike Kelly (PA), lead sponsor of the House bill to make the incentive permanent. “Since 2006, conservation easements have conserved hundreds of thousands of acres of America’s farmland and open space for hunting, fishing, hiking and locally-sourced food production.”

“Conservation easements have encouraged landowners across our county to conserve millions of acres of farm lands and scenic open spaces – so we know they work,” said Rep.  Mike Thompson (CA), lead Democrat on the House bill to make the easement incentive permanent.  “By making this conservation tool permanent, landowners will have the certainty they need to preserve and protect even more property and natural resources for future generations.”

About the Land Trust Alliance

Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save the places people love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance represents more than 1,100 member land trusts supported by more than 100,000 volunteers and 5 million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C. and operates several regional offices. More information about the Alliance is available at www.landtrustalliance.org.

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