Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Friday, January 20, 2017: Can I talk just a wee bit of weather, California-style? ... FINDING (or not) Aserdaten, NJ.

Another "he seemed so much smarter at the pet store" moment ...

Can't leave cats out of that mix: 

And under dumb human tricks ... 

Above: For insights see https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/19/science/frozen-fish-wall-south-d...

Friday, January 20, 2017: Can I talk just a wee bit of weather, California-style? I promise I won’t go overly on and on … just to where it impacts us.

I have long seen an association between big storms hitting the West Coast – they’re getting clobbered right now -- and our having a mildish winter. Obviously, there’s a ton of atmospheric nuances that goes along with the Left Coast getting stormed under and us seeing mellow winters. That said, it is either a unique atmospheric arrangement that causes West Coast storms to form, storms that consequently thwart icy jet streams from getting to us, or, the lack of powerful jet streams in winter lead to Pacific storms bombarding that coastline.

We’re currently getting a few swipes of moisture with our mid-January mildness. Just today’s fast-moving warm front rain could have been a fast couple inches of snow had it been closer to normal out there. Sunday/Monday’s precip could have been 10 or more inches of white. 

TREASURE CHATTER (Part 1): I went looking for a lost town that even lost towns have never heard of. No, you’ve never heard of it either. It’s called Aserdaten. Below is little write-up on the oddish history of Aserdaten. In the roughest of directional terms, it is located between Rte. 539 (near fire look tower) and Brick-Wall Corp in Forked River, NJ; Lacey Township. Lacey Township is a lot bigger than it looks driving past on Rte. 9.

Aserdaten, New Jersey
Aserdaten is an unincorporated community and ghost town located within Lacey Township in Ocean County, New Jersey, United States. 
Elevation: 45′
Weather: 41°F (5°C), Wind NW at 0 mph (0 km/h), 95% Humidity

The town I was seeking is so gone that even an aerial map from 1930 doesn’t show a single geographical indicator of where it once existed, even though it likely existed from the early 1800s into the early 1900s – at least in name. Also, it was steeped in agriculture, which usually leaves an earth mark for even centuries. In fact, I often look at the 1930 aerial maps and can’t believe how much farming was done in, well, The Garden State. Nearly the entire length of Rte. 9 in Ocean County was farmed, both sides.

Below: Localized example of 1930s aerial map ... 

Back to Aserdaten, despite its decent longevity, the pines have since been unusually consumptive in reclaiming the deep Pinelands region where the town/homestead existed. My first try at standing in Aserdaten confirmed this.

Using old maps, I had been confident I could easily home in on the downtown Aserdaten. I’ve been dealing in lost towns since I could first read the famed books on same.

For this doubly lost locale, I overlaid old maps with newer satellite views, taken as recently as 2016.

At a satellite lookdown glance, I knew nobody would be driving the family sedan or minivan for a quick visit to Aserdaten. I had this confirmed on my initial search-about. Recent rains rendered the two main dirt roadways I drove --  Jone and Bryant roads – puddled to the point of 4WD-only. I must note that these are both fully legal-to-navigate roads, open for proper public use. I am absolutely not a Baja-er! I see the damage done by malicious off-roading. For more on that subject, see pinebarrensundersiege.com

My truck handled the winter puddles well but bitched and moaned a bit with each successive mud bath.

Despite the puddle pitfalls, both Bryant and Jone -- ancient roads, dating back well over 150 years -- are passable, at least as far as overall width is concerned.  

OFF-ROAD NOTE:  It’s the shrinking widths of backwoods roads that eventually lead to their impassability. Aggressively growing scrub oaks stick their branches onto roadways. These seemingly inconsequential growths can do nasty things to any vehicles too fat to pass by them cleanly. My truck’s side are evidence that they can easily scratch through clearcoat – and even test a cooked-on enamel base coat. Once a dirt road is oaked over, I say let it revert to it roots. At the same time, the state is obligated to keep certain historic roadway open for public appreciation of the Pines. 

As to my first lookabout for Aserdaten, I reached the general area where it might be, per olden maps. And I quickly saw what seemed like vegetative indicators that mankind might have been in play next to the road ... long ago. But, wait. If it was that easy a find, it wouldn’t be a doubly lost town of the Pines, now would it?

Sure enough, a look-about proved the obvious change in bushes had nothing to do with Aserdaten -- short of it likely having been passed by one Asa Dayton, a name connected to the town, circuitously. More on that in the write-up below. Yes, the name Asa Dayton seemed a clue to the town’s name … or not.

With my first stop-and-miss, I pulled out my printouts of the area and ran into a far-reaching mapping problem.

The map I was most relying on – the last map to mention the town, 1930 – had the town’s name in large letters covering acres and acres of land. I kid you not. You could put a decent-sized city within the “A” and “N.”

This swath of letters was perfectly atop what is now a highly uninviting lay of land, dominated by those aforementioned scrub oaks -- which can also do a number on skin, face and eyes, especially in in winter, when here are no leaves acting as buffers. Simply: You don’t just go bopping about town-seeking in thick Pinelands undergrowth; you’ll come out far worse for wear … after just a couple bops.

Having gotten a late start, I back out of the search before the sun got too low. This wooded area could present a nasty-ass challenge if you got off the non-beaten path in the dark.

It’s not back to square one for my next search. I learned some useful info from my first probe, not the least of which is this isn’t going to be search without scratches and pokes. 


Here’s a fun and informative piece entitled “The True Story of Aserdaten,” written by Ben Ruset, and published in www.njpinebarrens.com on Nov. 18, 2007:

A bit of determination and hard work can sometimes pay off, especially for the ghost town hunter. Just today I had finished an article about the legend of Aserdaten, the forgotten town near the Eureka Gun Club in the Forked River Mountains. I had explored the area yesterday and, despite the success of finding Black’s Stone near the Chamberlain Branch at Eureka Gun Club, had come no closer to finding out any new information about the history of Aserdaten. 

For over 20 years Beck had been unsuccessful in finding out anything more than a vague and sinister story of a man named Asa Dayton who was murdered because the deer that he was raising in a pen on his property broke free one day and ravaged the little farms that once dotted the landscape in the Forked River mountains. It had been hinted by ever so slightly by Dolf Arens, then the caretaker at the Eureka Gun Club, that he had been murdered and buried in a grave near the door to the club. It seemed that the matter had been put to rest. By the time the story was published in the Newark Star Ledger and later in the book “Jersey Genesis” it seemed like Beck’s theory of the murder of Asa Dayton was correct. 

It took one of his readers to finally share the correct information regarding the truth of Aserdaten. Unfortunately this information hasn’t really seen the light of day since it was published in 1959, just six years before Beck’s death. I was fortunate to come across this article, written after Jersey Genesis was published, that finally tells the truth about Aserdaten. 

Asa Dayton was a man who did tend a deer farm at Aserdaten for the Stuyvesant Estate. The deer that Asa Dayton raised were red deer, a non-native species. It would be several years later before the state would begin breeding the same type of deer. Besides raising deer, the Stuyvesant Estate was also involved with winemaking and cultivated grapes throughout the area. Dayton died a natural death, luckily escaping the terrible fate that Beck and others hinted at. After his death, a second caretaker Henry Branson took over. It was one of Branson’s ancestors who finally corrected Beck. 

Branson lived at Aserdaten as late as 1884, leaving for the town of Forked River as an old man. The house where Henry Branson lived in burnt down one Halloween, leaving just an empty clearing and the remains of the deer pen, the operation having ceased before the Stuyvesant Estate was sold in 1909. 

Beck claims that as recent as the 1950s there was a remarkable clearing and cellar hole. Today there is no trace of people ever living there. Aserdaten exists only as a name on old maps, it’s last great mystery now solved.


I don’t claim to be a dog whisperer but I’ve always connected with canines at a higher level. I get what they’re thinking. That’s why I want to offer a little insight that even some hardcore dog lovers might not realize.
You need to be very empathetic when photographing dogs. From their point of view, it can make them feel targeted, often emotionally. I kid you not.
Now, I’m not talking about those run and fun shots. The mood of the moment has a pet in a fine fiddle right about then. But a sudden point-and-focus photographing action, especially during a quiet moment, most often makes a dog get an instant sense of guilt -- or reprimand.
This comes from a dog’s extreme sensitivity to interpreting eye contact. Remember, a dog has no idea what a camera is all about. It only knows who’s behind it. With most dogs knowing owners are alpha, being essentially singled out can be an awful feeling.
Again, I’m not even remotely saying pet shots aren’t incredible. I’m a huge fan of social-media pet looks. Just be sensitive with those singling out photos. A dog’s down-looking, what-did-I-do expression will tell you he’s not into the photo session moment.


Tracie Lynn Scherer


Please take note, salmon lovers ... This is the salmon we get. It is most often frozen but just note precuations. 

FDA's Food Safety Regs When Preparing Alaskan Salmon Will Prevent Illness

Recent news reports have mentioned parasites in Alaska salmon; however, Alaska salmon is among the highest quality seafood and safe for consumer consumption. All commercially harvested Alaska seafood, which accounts for more than 60 percent of all the seafood harvested in the United States, is processed in accordance with strict Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations, including parasite controls the ADF&G said. 

<"The Alaska seafood industry adheres to standards that provide safe seafood products. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game works closely with the Alaska seafood industry to ensure that healthy fish are available for consumers," said Dr. Ted Meyers, Alaska Department of Fish and Game Principal Fish Pathologist.

<"Alaska is proud of its heritage as a supplier of some of the highest quality and most delicious seafood in the world," says Alexa Tonkovich, executive director of ASMI. "We go to great lengths to ensure that all of our seafood, including wild Alaska salmon, meets the highest quality standards for our consumers' safety and enjoyment."


Canyon Runner Offshore Seminar Rolls into Town

In-Depth, Hands-on Seminar Makes Stops in AC and Long Island

For offshore fishermen looking for intense sessions dedicated to fishing the edge, don't miss the 
15th Annual Canyon Runner offshore series coming to the 
Atlantic City Convention Center on January 28th, and the Huntington Hilton on 
Long Island on February 25th.
 RFA staff will be manning tables at each event this winter asking people to sign onto a letter of opposition to efforts by the environmental industry to designate the East Coast canyons as marine sanctuaries.  Everyone that signs onto the letter, which is also available on the 
RFA website, will be eligible to win an all expenses paid offshore tuna trip aboard the Canyon Runner.  


This year's 2017 speaker lineup includes the return of Capt. Tred Barta, a legend and pioneer in offshore tuna fishing. This years seminar includes 13 brand new seminars that will help you key in on bigeye, monster makos, swordfish and how to rig and fish your spread to maximize your catch offshore.   boasts an amazing line-up of speakers including Capt. Deane Lambros, Capt. Craig Angelini, Capt. Mike Zajac, Capt. Tim Pickett, Capt. Sean Welsh, Capt. Ryan DiBagio, Capt. John Galvin, Capt. Mark DeCabia, Capt. Joe Shute, Capt. Freddy Gamboa, Capt. Len Belcaro, Capt. Joe Ferrule,and Dave Arbeitman, to name just a few.  There are 27 breakout topics along with over $20,000 in door prizes.  Also included in your admission is free beer and breakfast!


Canyon Runner Seminar Series continues the standard it has long established as the most unique, in-depth, hands-on, detailed and informative offshore seminar on the East Coast attracting more than 1500 participants and a dozen major corporate sponsors from SIMRAD, CAT, Penn Reels, Seakeeper, and DEEP.  


 Click here to see the full seminar line-up for Atlantic City on January 28th.  Space is limited so don't delay so call (732) 842-6825 to get your tickets!


If you're looking to attend the event on Long Island at the Huntington Hilton on February 25th, email adam@canyonrunner.com for seminar tickets.  

To learn more about the Canyon Runner seminar series and for ticket information, go to www.canyonrunner.com or call 732-842-6825.


A longtime RFA supporter, Canyon Runner has contributed well over $50,000 in contributions and membership towards RFA during these annual events. 


More Critics Say FDA Fish Advice to Pregnant Woman Makes Things Worse



Concerns about mercury contamination have led many pregnant women to under-consume seafood. So the FDA issued a new chart explaining what to eat and what to avoid. But critics say it muddles matters.
For many pregnant women, understanding what seafood is safe and healthy, and what should be avoided because of mercury concerns comes with a lot of hand-wringing. In part, that's because the federal government's advice on the matter, first issued in 2004, has long been criticized as unclear.
That guidance has included advice on how much seafood to eat, and which species pregnant and nursing women should avoid over concerns about mercury contamination.
But critics say the government advisory has done more harm than good, scaring many pregnant and nursing women (and let's be real — pretty much everyone else) away from eating seafood altogether.
The problem is real. According to a spokesman for the Food and Drug Administration, the agency analyzed fish consumption data from more than 1,000 pregnant women in the U. S. and found that 21 percent of them ate no fish whatsoever in the previous month. And those who did eat fish consumed far less than recommended by the Dietary Guidelines: Some 50 percent ate less than 2 ounces a week and 75 percent ate less than 4 ounces.
This week, in the waning days of the Obama Administration, the FDA and Environmental Protection Agency issued an update to the advice, listing more than 60 species in a chart that ranks fish as a "best choice," "good choice" and "choices to avoid." The goal is to make it easier for moms-to-be to feel confident about the type of seafood they include in their diets.
The new advice recommends consumers choose a variety of fish to eat. And it comes with an easy-to-understand illustration of what an appropriate portion size should be: 4 ounces for an adult, the full size of your palm; and 2 ounces for children aged 4-7 — which is more like the inside cup of your palm.
And while expectant mothers have long been warned to stay away from shark, King mackerel, swordfish and tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico, now there's three new species on the list of what to avoid: marlin, orange roughy, and bigeye tuna.
But, not everyone is thrilled with the new advice.
"You can put this in with the Chelsea Manning pardon, it's that controversial," says Dr. Tom Brenna, a professor of human nutrition at Cornell University and a member of the government's 2015 Dietary Guideline Committee.
Brenna and other critics say the new advice doesn't always jibe with the agency's own scientific findings.
For instance, a 2014 report from the FDA looked at the net effects of eating commercial fish during pregnancy on the neurodevelopment of growing babies. The report found it would be safe to eat 61 ounces of halibut a week. (That's about 15 four-ounce servings.) But the new advisory from the FDA suggests that halibut be limited to just once a week.
"They're completely ignoring their own [2014] report," Brenna says. "It's a terrible, awful message. They've ignored the nutrition science and at best, they're ranking the amount of mercury."
And Brenna argues that splitting tuna into three different categories muddles an already complex message even further. Bigeye tuna (often known as ahi) falls on the "avoid" list, while albacore and yellowfin are listed as "good choices," and canned light tuna, which includes skipjack, is listed as a "best choice."
"People won't see there's a difference between the types of tuna, they'll only see that tuna is on the list," Brenna says.
Meanwhile, others worried the new advice might prompt pregnant women and small kids to eat too much tuna. "If pregnant women or small kids followed the new advice from the government on mercury and tuna[, ] they could easily consume more mercury than is safe for developing brains," Lisa Lefferts, a senior scientist with The Center for Science in the Public Interest, said in a statement.
In an email to NPR, FDA spokesperson Peter Cassell says it's important to note that this guidance is targeted to certain women and young children. "We took a cautious and highly protective approach in determining which fish belonged in each category and are comfortable with the limits we are providing."
While mercury looms large when we're talking about pregnant women and seafood, it's not the only contaminant of concern.
The new EPA/FDA chart lists both wild striped bass and bluefish as "good choices," meaning one serving a week is OK. But striped bass and bluefish on the East Coast have been known to have high levels of PCBs, which can build up in the fatty tissues of fish and bring health risks to humans, says Tim Fitzgerald of the Environmental Defense Fund.
That's why, for example, depending the fish's size, Maryland's consumption advisory recommends women limit meals of striped bass to as little as one serving a month — far less than the new FDA/EPA advisory recommends.
The FDA maintains that its final consumption recommendations were based on rigorous scientific analysis. Agency spokesman Cassell says the FDA believes the recommendations will instill confidence, not uncertainty.
Brenna disagrees.
"I think the advice they're giving is not based on the evidence in their own detailed report," he says, "and that it confuses everyone."

Final Rule for Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology Now Available

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] - January 20, 2017

The final rule on standardizing and reporting the methodology for assessing bycatch, was published today in the Federal Register. The rule interprets and provides guidance on the requirement of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) that all fishery management plans (FMPs), with respect to any fishery, establish a standardized reporting methodology to assess the amount and type of bycatch occurring in a fishery.

The final rule establishes requirements and provides guidance to regional fishery management councils and the Secretary of Commerce regarding the development, documentation, and review of such methodologies, commonly referred to as Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodologies (SBRMs).

The rule will be effective February 21, 2017.

The MSA requires that any fishery management plan (FMP) prepared by a regional fishery management council (Council) establish a standardized reporting methodology (SBRM) to assess the amount and type of bycatch occurring in the fishery. The law also includes conservation and management measures that, to the extent practicable, minimize bycatch and bycatch mortality.

This final rule sets forth NMFS' interpretation of section 303(a)(11) and establishes national requirements and guidance for developing, documenting, and reviewing SBRMs. A proposed rule for this action was published last February with public comments accepted through April 25, 2016.

The full final rule can be found here.


2017 Benchley Winners Announced for Excellence in Ocean Conservation

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] - January 19, 2017

Ten recipients were announced for the Tenth Annual Peter Benchley Ocean Awards this week, including an Indonesian minister fighting poachers, two U.S. senators supporting marine monuments, and a young brother and sister duo concerned about turtles. The awards are unique in acknowledging outstanding achievement across many sectors of society leading to the protection of our ocean, coasts and the communities that depend on them.

Co-founded by Wendy Benchley and David Helvarg, and named in honor of Peter Benchley, author of Jaws, this Award celebrates the life and legacy of a man who spent more than 40 years educating the public and expanding awareness of the importance of protecting sharks and ocean ecosystems.

"At the heart of every great non-profit, every policy initiative, and every activist success story, are the tireless efforts of extraordinary individuals —marine scientists, policy makers, photo journalists, explorers and activists—who have committed their lives to working on important ocean issues," the Ocean Awards announcement said. "To date fifty-five Benchley Ocean Award honorees have been recognized for excellence and achievement across many ocean conservation disciplines."

"This year’s winners exemplify the kind of marine leadership that can offer solution-based answers to the threats we now face on our blue marble planet," said Helvarg. "To date the 81 Benchley Award winners have included five Heads of State, U.S. Senators, marine scientists, journalists, explorers, youth leaders and “Seaweed” citizen activists.

This year’s winners include:

For Excellence in National Stewardship: Susi Pudjiastuti, Indonesian Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

Susi Pudjiastuti was appointed by the Republic of Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo in 2014. Since then she has ordered the blowing up and sinking of more than 200 illegal foreign fishing vessels caught poaching— a strong deterrent to organized crime groups that have invaded and overfished Indonesia’s biologically rich waters for years. She has been instrumental in the freeing of slave crews held on many of these vessels, and she’s had illegally trapped whale sharks freed. Her work has providing important economic benefits and sustained livelihoods for tens of thousands of Indonesian fishermen, their families and their communities.

2017 Excellence in Science: Dr. Ben Halpern & Dr. Ussif Rashid Sumalia.

Dr. Halpern is a Professor of Marine Ecology at UC Santa Barbara using big data to help inform and facilitate effective ocean conservation and resource management including the potential for marine reserves to improve ocean conditions.

Dr. Sumaila is Professor and Director of Fisheries Economics Research at the University of British Columbia focusing on how economics, through integration with ecology and other disciplines, can be used to help ensure ocean resources are sustainably managed. His work includes estimating the multiple benefits to be gained from setting up marine reserves.

2017 Excellence in Policy: US Senators Brian Schatz & Richard Blumenthal

Senator Schatz grew up in Hawai‘i where he developed a passion for the ocean. In June 2016, he sent a proposal to President Barak Obama to expand Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument ten years after President George W. Bush signed the executive order establishing it. That expansion made it the largest permanent conservation area in the world. He has also helped develop and pass legislation to address toxic algae and dead zones, pirate fishing, coral reef conservation and seafood fraud.

Senator Blumenthal is a lifelong law enforcement leader and strong proponent for environmental stewardship. He was an early and outspoken voice in calling for the designation of the New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts area as a marine national monument, the first in the Atlantic. On September 15, 2016, President Obama designated the Monument, which protects 4,913 square miles of ocean, phases out commercial fishing, and prohibits other extractive activities such as mining and drilling. Senator Blumenthal has also played an important role in addressing the issue of climate change and its impact on our public seas.

2017 Excellence in Media: One World One Ocean

The One World One Ocean media campaign was launched in 2011 to bring focus and advocacy on behalf of the ocean through IMAX films like ‘Humpback Whales’ that MacGillivray Freeman Films has been making for over 40 years.  One World One Ocean is committed to the long-term release of its ocean films and outreach programming across every platform including innovative social media and infographics.  With an overarching goal of continually reminding the public that healthy oceans are essential for life on earth, their campaign goals focus on three key issues: getting people to eat sustainable seafood, reducing plastic pollution, and expanding ocean protected areas for wildlife, habitat and the future.

2017 Excellence in Solutions: Rhode Island Ocean Special Area Management Planning Team & The Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Regional Planning Bodies

To fully utilize and protect the ocean requires good planning which is why this year’s Solutions Award is going to three model programs that engage a wide range of ocean stakeholders including state, federal and tribal managers to better understand, map and make use of our public seas for all citizens.  They are: The ocean SAMP team in Rhode Island and two ocean policy planning bodies in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic that were established under the U.S. National Ocean Policy of 2010.  Each of these three groups has produced landmark ocean plans that will benefit all users while protecting the ocean’s ecosystem.

2017 Christopher Benchley Youth Award: Carter and Olivia Ries

At the very young age of 7 and 8, this Georgia based brother and sister were motivated to help protect endangered species. The sight of sea turtles covered in oil and suffering due to the BP spill drove them to tears and action—collecting and delivering much needed supplies to animal cleaning stations down in the Gulf. It was during this time that they learned about the devastating impacts of plastic on turtles and ocean wildlife. This inspired them to create a plastic pollution curriculum that is has been adopted nationwide and overseas. They also formed the non-profit ‘One More Generation,’ (OMG) group with help from their dad to protect endangered species for the next generation of children. Now 14 and 16, Carter and Olivia have spent more than half their lives committed to raising awareness and making big waves of change including a new program to reduce use of plastic straws in restaurants across the U.S.

2017 Hero of the Seas: Robin Alden / The Penobscot East Resource Center

Robin Alden is the Founding Executive Director of the Penobscot East Resource Center (PERC), based in Stonington Maine. It works through education, collaborative research and policy to bring together the knowledge and expertise of fishermen, scientists, and policy makers in the management of Maine’s coastal fisheries focusing on the 150 miles of coast from the Penobscot Estuary to Canada’s Maritime Provinces. Robin credits the urgent threat of climate change as a motivator for spurring government regulators to adopt more collaborative approaches that include local fisherman and their unique knowledge in making tough, informed decisions. A former fisheries journalist and state commissioner, Robin is also a recipient of the White House Champion of Change award for Sustainable Fisheries.

Honored for Sustained Ocean Achievement: Joshua S. Reichert and the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Ocean Group

For almost three decades, Dr. Reichert, and the Oceans Group of the Pew Charitable Trusts, have focused their attention on pushing decision-makers to protect the world’s ocean. They’ve worked on overfishing, enforcement systems needed to deter illegal fishing and replacement of non-sustainable gear such as bottom trawls and longlines that results in the bycatch of non-targeted marine wildlife. In addition, Dr. Reichert has provided key leadership in a host of other environmental initiatives including the creation of the world’s largest network of marine parks.

An additional Benchley Honor may be announced closer to the awards dinner and ceremony at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and Sant Ocean Hall on Thursday May 11 in Washington D.C. This will follow the 6th biennial Blue Vision Summit May 9-11. 


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