Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

HOLGATE HAPPENINGS: Monday morning’s high tide along the Holgate refuge saw a spookily stunning ocean overwash ...

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HOLGATE HAPPENINGS: Monday morning’s high tide along the Holgate refuge saw a spookily stunning ocean overwash; somewhat out of the blue.

A drone shot taken from north of Forsythe Wilderness Area – no drones allowed over the refuge itself, mind you – clearly showed at least half of the Island’s far south end being swamped by surging seas. As many as eight crossover points can be seen, where ocean flowed briskly into the bay.

The inrushing ocean waters were the result of powerful grounds swells, which we’ve been experiencing off-and-on for weeks, egged on by high astronomical tides.

Regardless of the tide-encouraging cause, there wasn’t an overly impressive showing of oceanic might considering the eye-opening extent of overwash. It reflects how easily ocean and bay now greet each other as the north end of the Forsythe Refuge property steadily erodes.

For a Holgate long-timer like myself, it’s not a stretch to see these increasingly frequent oceanic overwashes as a softening up, akin to a naval bombardment. Things are being readied for a big hurt, via a kickass Island-attacking storm.

For one instant, forget the whole ocean rising/sky falling rhetoric and more practically recognize a big-hurt storm will surely come, the likes of which have regularly shown since LBI time first began. Holgate is not ready, not even remotely able to take such a blow. The reason is obvious: No replenishment sand has been placed from just south of the Holgate parking lot to near Island’s end. The whole effectiveness of the ongoing Barnegat Inlet to Little Egg Harbor Inlet Long Beach Island Storm Reduction Project is replenishing all of LBI – not leaving an unprotected end dangling for the ocean to dine upon.

I hear ya: “Oh, there he goes again with his replenishment whining!” Hey, I can’t quit now that the writing is on the sand. We just can’t allow 2.5 miles of LBI’s finest undeveloped real estate to break away. And it will/is.

Even though the refuge owns the bulk of the far south end land, their property is still part of our Long Beach Island. Overall, the refuge is excellent about being good neighbors in the many communities where it coexists with locals. Fully realizing Holgate is unique as a Wilderness Area, this does not preclude the refuge being sensitive to and working with local municipalities to protect and preserve its Island property.

Finally, I’m more convinced than ever that replenishing the far south end beaches would absolutely benefit nesting piping plover by greatly reducing the chances of nests being destroyed en masse by increasingly frequent ocean-to-bay overwashes.

Replenishment of Holgate is all good and good for all.

BASS REG BINGO: It’s a good time to bring up the matter of 2020’s striper regulation change. The writing is already on the regulatory wall that no bass over 40 inches will be keepable.

While I can offer sound science that such a move is borderline ridiculous, it nonetheless caters to (and quiets) those who want trophy cows for their hooking (and releasing) pleasure, more so than any inordinate number of eggs mongo bass bring to the spawn table.

Remarkably successful efforts to save overfished striped bass stocks back in the late 1980s were predicated on allowing smaller bass to be protected until large enough to spawn at least once, thus the 32-inch emergency minimum. It rightfully emphasized the lower end of spawning size spectrum. The results were quite possibly the greatest fishery comeback ever seen. Now, suddenly, success has somehow taken on a whole other size perspective: “Save all the huge fish.” Again, it’s all about placating anglers more than applying sound science.

My pontificating over – and ineffectual – here’s a read from the state, based on a recently completed online survey form sent to 146,660 of NJ’s registered anglers and outdoor enthusiasts. With 24,018 responses, it was determined, “Anglers generally thought Striped Bass regulation changes are necessary now.”

When it came to support for a slot limit regulation that would prohibit harvest of striped bass over 40 inches “respondents overwhelmingly supported this option.”

The survey showed anglers who supported the slot limit “overwhelmingly supported” prohibiting the keeping of fish over 40 inches as opposed to hiking up the minimum size limit, which would likely have been allowable under federal mandates to cut back overall harvesting. We might have gone back to the proven successful 32-inch minimum.

I found one part of the survey interesting in a Classicesque way. “We also asked anglers what size Striped Bass they personally consider ‘trophy’ or ‘memorable’ size; the most common responses were 36- and 40-inches.” That offers a sense that the Classic, even when saddled with a 40-inch max cap will remain “memorable.”

One nonissue within upcoming reg changes has to do with the degree circle hooks enter the picture. I see it as a no-brainer: circle hooks are great. They’re also efficient. Ask commercial fishermen who use them. Still, there is some debate circling overhead, leading to three so-called options coming into play -- though I can ferret out only two amid the supposed three. The state’s language: “Status quo (recommend states promote their use), a mandate that states implement regulations requiring the use of circle hooks, and a mandate that states promote the use of circle hooks (via, for ex., educational materials).”

Just use the bloody things … and let’s get fishing.


Tuesday, October 01, 2019: The hot shot I wrote about last week is about to hit. Gonna feel weird but will disappear quickly. Tomorrows west winds will eventually go NE by Thursday, then SE. The full-cycle wind pattern will repeat itself through the Chowderfest Classic-start weekend. Winds will get testy out of the west by Friday, before backing off.

Saturday’s Classic start will be accompanied by a solid 15 mph NE blow. Weather shouldn’t be bad, though.

Ocean will remain heavily swelled, via short-period wind swells and some lingering groundswells. It remains deadly out there, rip current-wise.

If you haven’t signed up for the LBI Surf Fishing Classic, you better get a move on it. The event’s sign-up gifts – the expression “free gifts” is superfluous since all gifts are free – could run out, losing you a T-shirt, cap and pizza slice.

Make sure to check out the Classic’s hot 2019 hoodies. I’m serious, these are hot looking and feeling. While far from cheap at $50, they are top material/quality and the perfect gift. They do run slightly large.

I managed a quick trip to the Rip yesterday and had one-pound blues in every cast of a Tom White “Return to J Mann: popper. It’s a larger plug but those ravenous cocktails blasted it, quickly ripping off the essential bucktail on the rear stinger hook. I’ll have to tie some more on since that bucktail presence really adds to the plugs tail sway when walked instead of popped.  

Mullet still moving past en masse. Lots of small spearing in the edge water mix.

Being a fan of black seabass since my seining days around High Bar Harbor, I’m doubly appreciative of how these tasty wreck and structure fish offer anglers an excellent angling option. That appreciation was duly irked upon reading that NJ Fish and Wildlife officers patrolling near Townsend Inlet and busted “an individual in possession of over sixty undersized black sea bass.” A while back, I mentioned the amazing outflow of young-of-year sea bass currently migrating seaward through Barnegat Inlet. One has to wonder how many poachers are in the system. I’ll venture those 60 illegal fish weren’t that anglers first take. I won’t get into the ongoing highly illegal trafficking in species like sea bass. This is not to imply the accused got off easy. He was issued a court mandatory summons for his violations. Additional summonses were issued for exceeding his possession limit. If penalties are maximized, he’s looking at $3,600.

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VIDEO SHOWING FIDDLER CRABS INVASION: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQQpWBrOU94&fbclid=IwAR0wJGVva4...


Fun with a friendly fiddler ... also see https://www.youtube.com/watch…

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Check out this ghost crab I caught. Holgate has some of the largest ghost crabs anywhere. 


9/30/19 UPDATED 9:49 AM The guy that gave me the report on the blues on poppers said that they are definitely getting bigger. Some 6 and 7 pounders mixed in there. He did also say that at the top of the tide, the water at IBSP was up to the dunes, so be careful. The tide is going out now, so the rest of the morning and early afternoon should be fine


Frank Calabrese to Everything Lbi

Found this guy in Holgate in the preserve ocean side. Input the data and waiting for details on where this crab has been. Unfortunately he was dead

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Got some big blowfish with Matt, 8, today. He also got 2 new species...a Remora and a Lizardfish. Pretty rare and kind of cool!!

Major kudos to the crew over at LBIFC for putting on a great event yesterday. The 73rd Annual “World Series” surf fishing tournament. The weather, fishing, food, and prizes were all on point.

Getting to fish with my dad, all three boys, and close family friends was fun in and of itself. Scratching out enough fish to finish 2nd overall out of 50+ teams made it even better. First top three at a tournament with all the kids fishing.


Met a couple party animals today. Whitish one in Taylor; black one in Bubba.

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Opossums attract and then kill thousands of ticks per acre, per week, making them one of our best allies in stopping the spread of Lyme disease, researchers say.

A study compared squirrels, mice and opossums, which all eat ticks, and found opossums were the most effective exterminators.

Ticks favor opossums twice as much as the other rodents, the researchers, from Syracuse University, found.

Fortunately, for humans, possums are also the most effective at killing the disease-carrying pests.

Opossums kill almost every tick that occupies them, the study found. A single opossum kills over 5500 ticks per week.

“Opossums are extraordinarily good groomers it turns out – we never would have thought that ahead of time – but they kill the vast majority – more than 95% percent of the ticks that try to feed on them,” disease ecologist Rick Ostfeld explained.

“So these opossums are walking around the forest floor, hoovering up ticks right and left, killing over 90% of these things, and so they are really protecting our health.”

Worldwide, more than 1.3 million people die each year of infectious diseases transmitted by a vector, such as a mosquito, sand fly or tick, according to the World Health Organization.

Vector-borne diseases also inflict heavy tolls on crops, livestock and wildlife, the study’s authors wrote.

The 2019 fluke season is now a week behind us, and the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association are currently enjoying what fish are now around and looking forward eagerly to the true fall season.

The bottom fishermen can still fish for tog, and they are awaiting the re-opening of the black sea bass season on October 8. Also providing action on the inshore artificial reefs and inshore structure are a few porgies and scattered schools of cocktail sized bluefish.

Boats trolling inshore are still picking up Spanish mackerel, bluefish, and false albacore. Boats working a little further out are picking up bonito and even some small mahi.

The best canyon action of the year is now taking place when the weather permits boats to get out there. There are tuna, mahi, swordfish, and tilefish to be had when the tropical storms let up.

In the calm bay waters, there is a wide variety of small panfish including blowfish, small black sea bass, kingfish, bluefish, and even some weakfish. Some of the captains have been finding bluefish and schoolie stripers around the sodbanks, especially during times of low light.

Once the waters start to cool off, the migrations of striped bass will begin, and that will have everyone excited. In addition, large bluefish will be making their way down the coast to provide some hectic action.

Additional information on the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association can be found at www.BHCFA.org.


‘Weirdest fish in the ocean’ makes rare appearance in N.J.’s Barnegat Bay

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A woman spotted what an environmental advocacy organization calls the “weirdest fish in the ocean” in New Jersey’s Barnegat Bay.

Ashley Linick Barnes spotted a mola mola, also known as a sunfish, along the bay front in Ocean County’s Ortley Beach on Monday. She shared a video of the fish on Jersey Shore Hurricane News’ Facebook page and called it the “Barnegat Bay Sea Monster.”

Experts say that while it’s rare to see a mola mola outside of the ocean, they do sometimes enter bays and other waterways through inlets. In 2017, angler Christian Palmisano spotted a sunfish while fishing near Barnegat.

“I’ve seen a bunch offshore, but this is the first in the bay. Someone got lost. It must have been carried in with the incoming tide,” he said at the time. “They aren’t extremely rare here but not something you see everyday.”

The Nature Conservancy says the fish is the “heaviest bony fish in the ocean — and the weirdest.”

According to the organization, the fish produces “more eggs than any other vertebrate on earth,” with females carrying 300 million eggs.

The fish, with a bullet-like, silvery appearance, grow up to 11-feet, weigh up to 2.5 tons, and live to around 10 years, according to National Geographic.

The magazine says they’re found in temperate and tropical oceans globally and often mistaken for sharks due to their huge dorsal fins.



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Here’s the open letter Jodi has written:

“On Saturday, Sept. 21st, at approximately 7:30 am, I was on the Spring Lake beach walking back to my car with my dog, Opal, from the Belmar dog area. The water did not look as rough as it did on Thursday and Friday, it was low tide and there were ‘islands’ of sand in the water right where we were.

Opal, who is more like a child to me than a dog, wanted to go in the water. She will not go in, nor will I let her go in if the water is rough. We were at the jetty near the Spring Lake Swim Club. I put Opal’s life vest on and I threw the tennis ball. The first two times, it was like any other time, she went in, got her ball and came out. The third time, she went in and got swept back by a riptide and kept going back toward the back of the jetty.Big waves were over there and kept hitting into her as she was trying to get back and it seemed like every second another big wave would come and pull her back even more. I was hysterically screaming, “Help, help my dog, please someone help me.”

I saw a surfer behind me and he said he would go and get my dog. He went in but was having trouble and I was hysterically screaming. Some of the surfers already in the water heard me and started going over to help him. There must have been six surfers out there trying to get Opal.

The waves kept coming and I lost sight of Opal.  I saw all the surfers in a line but no Opal. I was beyond hysterical. All of a sudden one of the surfers held Opal up high so I could see her and walked out of the ocean.

I was hysterical. All I wanted to do was to rush her to the hospital, so I never got a chance to thank them. I would love to find the surfers so I can thank them and give them a gift for saving my baby.”

Signed Jodi from Freehold.

I have Jodi’s contact info so if anyone can email me those surfers’ info, I will gladly pass it along to Jodi, Just email me: liz.jeressi@townsquaremedia.com.

Read More: Help Find Surfers Who Sa


Atlantic Salmon Is All But Extinct as a Genetically Eroded Version of Farmed Salmon Has Taken Over

North Atlantic Salmon Fund
Atlantic salmon, the native salmon that used to inhabit the northern Atlantic Ocean, rivers and seas, is a species now represented by an impostor: farmed salmon. Also known as cultured salmon, farmed salmon comes from hatchery genetic stock and unlike its native ancestors, lacks wild genetic variation. The wild fish our ancestors ate is gone. What appears on our dinner plates is a substitute copy, a genetic dilution of a once mighty fish, the adaptive king of the sea and a significant food for coastal humans since prehistoric times.

The change in genetic stock has been happening for decades, as farmed salmon are released into native waters via restocking programs (in an attempt to reduce the negative impacts of overfishing of wild salmon) and also unintentionally as a consequence of faulty containment in sea net-cages. The resulting “swamping out" effect—farmed in, wild out—along with several other insidious factors, has driven native salmon to effective extinction.

Genetic Erosion

When I began to research the scientific literature on native Atlantic salmon, I was stunned to discover that this species (Salmo salar L.) is essentially extinct. How can this be possible? Is the fish before our eyes and on our platters not real? Yes, indeed it is, but the verified statistic is that 99.5 percent of all Atlantic salmon living today, whether farmed or fished from open ocean or rivers, is not what biologists call “wild type" and does not faithfully represent, in a genetic sense, the native fish that once broadly populated waters of our planet's Holarctic zone, the ecological region that encompasses the majority of habitats found across the Earth's northern continents.

The fish we eat today is not the fish that fed our ancestors or even the fish that fed our forebears of a century ago. Today's salmon, because of the effects of a force called genetic erosion, is the diluted copy of a fish that once thrived on a wild genome, that tried and true set of original genes which, in the case of salmon, generated a fish capable of magnetic field navigation, survival in fresh and salt water and geochemical detection of spawning micro-habitats.

Sockeye salmon preparing to spawn near outlet of Lake Brooks. Each of these salmon may represent as many as 1,000 other salmon that died in the attempt to return and spawn. Salmon face death throughout every phase of their life. Photo credit: National Park Service

Genetic erosion, simply defined as the loss of genetic diversity over time, eliminates the potential of a species to adapt to new environments and leads to extinction. The swamping-out effect by farmed salmon has been one eroding genetic force working against wild salmon. We human predators have overfished, toxically farmed, illiterately stocked, dammed and blindly released, by millions, farmed and unfit Atlantic salmon fishes into the wild. The hatchery stock has bred with and overrun the native species, one that had been evolving for hundreds of thousands of years and which is now genetically eliminated, all in the quick human feeding frenzy of the last century.

In visual terms, the force of this steep genetic erosion has clear cut to an industrial hedge and burned to the biological bones, a body of irreplaceable, adaptive genetic material equivalent to a massive, old-growth forest, one which had stood for millennia over the entire Holarctic region of Earth and which is frankly not restorable. One could say that the old-growth forest of Atlantic salmon is dead.

This is not an easy tale to tell. The salmon, however, is an able storyteller, being a familiar and marvelous fish. Salmon is anadromous, a migrant from fresh water to salty sea, a fish who returns to its birth river to spawn in the family niche for the next generation, for the continuation of each clan, the many clans for each population and the many populations for each species.

Technically, the only way to explain why the salmon you think you are eating is extinct is through the lens of population and molecular genetics. Yet, the salmon is truly a salmon of knowledge and can tell its story in many ways, being a once highly diverse and differentiated, smartly pedigreed family of kin and clan. If you can follow maps and glaciations, rivers and open seas, then you can follow the clans of salmon and their ancestral family trees and the recent loss of their protective, genetic canopy.

Salmonid Evolution

The earliest salmon came from a diverse group of ocean vertebrates known as the ray-finned fishes and was part of a broad divergence of ocean fishes that adapted over eons to the cold, northern waters of the upper Northern Hemisphere, around the Arctic Circle. Early Atlantic and Pacific salmonid ancestors branched into separate ocean groups of early species types about 600,000 years ago.

Well before the coming of its most evolved predator, Homo sapiens sapiens, before the industrial degradation of the earth's ecosystems, before and after the last retreat of the Last Glacial Maximum, salmon prospered, undisturbed and free to navigate the seas and inland rivers. The females raked their redds (spawning nests), the males attended, their black-eyed eggs developed. They grew into spotted fry, then young parr (juveniles) camouflaged in lines matured to silver-scaled adults, who when ready put out to sea to amass body weight as they navigated the ocean using the Earth's magnetic fields to guide them.

Photo credit: BPA.gov

Consistently, the salmon returned upriver to breed again, homing back to their place of ancestry, their birth location, not only to pass down the best surviving, evolutionary genetic lines, but the unique adaptive differences of their clan, which allowed them to detect, recall and locate that singular family place as being their own. Innumerable salmon clans eventually earmarked to all of the available 

On their way, during their travels, over time and in prehistory, salmon differentiated. Individuals of each clan began to accumulate small genetic differences by random chance, breeding and keeping those differences unto themselves and their families. Salmon clans became unique within their family's geographic niche because they spawned among their own. The clans grew and multiplied, each clan at its own location, spreading and creating more clans, larger and more diverse populations, accumulating more of those familial differences.

Clan-genetic differentiation can now be measured by DNA fingerprinting, has been shown to correlate to geographical breeding location and, most importantly, became locally adaptive. Salmon evolved to cull the identity by smell of their home waters in the elegant genetic processes of gene co-adaptation and where the salmon bred was where the salmon was most fit. Dynasties of ecological fitness, each clan best suited to its own specific breeding location, certainly emerged.

Surviving a Frozen World

We know that the ancient, wild Atlantic salmon faced and survived Holarctic glaciation, for their genes also left a fingerprint of their biological survival gear in their molecular patterns. Well studied in northern Europe, there likely existed one or more refugia under the Weichlesian glacial plates, bodies of fresh water in which the prehistoric salmon survived as the rest of its world froze over, unable to migrate to sea.

Isolated in its clans, separated by distance and geological formations, in different rivers, breeding with no outsiders and accumulating differences, the ever-adaptable wild salmon colonies were yet diverse enough to self-populate over long periods of time, being naturally fit and self-sustaining. Meanwhile, saltwater clans were successfully breeding in the ocean. As the glaciers remained, the separated salmon clans accumulated and passed on those unique fitness differences for best survival in their different environments.

Then the glacial ice retreated upon the warming Holocene, about 12,000 years ago. The oceans rose and fingered inland into fjords and rivers as glaciers melted and individuals from refuge salmon clans began to spread into fresh territory. Some pioneered the newly opened, post-glacial rivers, challenging distance and falls, spawning further upstream again and again, as the case may be, until all of the available rivers of the north Atlantic islands, eastern Russia, the Baltic Sea and their appurtenant inland flows were filled with unique, wild salmon, a literal natural spectrum of glorious natural diversity.

In the lands abutting the northeastern Atlantic Ocean, this distribution and range included every river in and out of the sea coasts from the north of Spain to the Arctic latitudes and in North America from the Connecticut River northward. Here lived and bred the “wild type" Atlantic salmon, adaptive king of the sea and the “leaper," the muscled fish of power, grace and fortitude. Meanwhile, our own species experienced an upturn during the advent of agriculture, about 10,000 years ago and spread around the globe. As far as the wild salmon was concerned, all was kept in checks and balances until our epoch of genetic erosion, the superseding Anthropocene, which began c. 1950. Ours is an historic epoch physically characterized by the plastic geological layer now forming as a permanent record in the crust of human industrial ways.

Today's Salmon

The salmon has taken a fatal series of genetic blows. Its “old growth forest" was set on fire by a human feeding frenzy that began with overfishing and was fed by industrial aquaculture. The genetic erosion is shocking and steep.

Today, 99.5 percent of all native Atlantic salmon has disappeared from the wild. In Europe, Scandinavia and around the Baltic Sea, native indigenous salmon has vanished from the Russian rivers Neva and Narva, the Luleälven and Umeälven of Sweden, from the Odra and Wisla in Poland and the Vilia of Belarus. In fact, only 10 of the many rivers which empty into the Baltic arm of the northern Atlantic Ocean sustain wild salmon populations any longer and the wild Baltic salmon genome is the only one with natural resistance to the destructive Gyrodactulus salaris parasite.

Around the British Isles, in Ireland and across the pond to North America, wild salmon populations are extinct or endangered or threatened. The Kola Peninsula of Russia is known to be a current refuge for wild type Atlantic salmon, yet is also known to harbor military and radioactive waste at ecologically harmful levels. The grand Torneälven of Sweden, called Tornionjoki where it traverses Finland, is one of the last rivers to host wild Atlantic salmon in the world. (For more on the status of Atlantic salmon, see the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List map. Researchers at the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management have produced a report on the Baltic extinctions. Anna Tonteri, a conservation geneticist at the University of Turku in Finland has written an excellent doctoral thesis about the population genetics of north European Atlantic salmon).

Photo credit: IUCN

The Baltic salmon extinctions were largely enabled by human destruction of migration routes for spawning, upon the building and operation of hydroelectric dams. Further molecular DNA studies of the hatchery stock salmon from this exemplary sea have demonstrated a genetic “homogenization." Stock salmon populations constitute more of a weak puree than a chunky soup, in terms of “population genetic structure," another statistical measure of diversity. This is why—although the map above may demonstrate a wide range and lesser areas of extinction—the actual number of wild salmon living within the extant areas is quite small at around 0.5 percent. In other words, the orange areas showing extant salmon are overall 99.5 percent inhabited by farmed stock salmon.

We have learned to overlay DNA diversity upon geography and geologic history, in a relatively new field called landscape genomics. The important data is not just in the map or the numbers of fish, but in the genetic quality and the relationships of the individual salmon that comprise the families, clans and populations. An apparent abundance by numbers does not mean a population is healthy, self-sustaining and diverse.

In Ireland, the release of farmed salmon has not only caused genetic erosion, but has disrupted the capacity of wild populations to adapt to warmer waters. This is a problem for salmon across its geographical range for the obvious reason of climate change. Strong and well founded recommendations for saving the remaining wild salmon include cessation of stock salmon releases and re-establishment of native spawning grounds. The future effects of warming waters, however, are unknown and not hopeful.

I can tell you a similar story about the Pacific salmon, the Oncorhynchusspecies—the chum, coho, sockeye and Chinook salmon—which are also extinct or endangered or threatened and which are also genetically eroded. The destruction of the 10-million-a-year run of wild salmon on the Columbia River is unfortunately historic. The Pacific salmon had populated its portion of the Holarctic range simultaneously with the Atlantic salmon. Recent research has verified that Pacific hatchery stock salmon differs genetically from wild salmon and does so from the first generation of breeding. More than 700 genes, according to the data, were associated with “wound healing, immunity and metabolism." (Scientists at Oregon State University recently conducted a study published in the journal Nature that shows there is DNA evidence that salmon hatcheries cause significant and rapid genetic changes). The fish are raised in overcrowded, concrete tanks, eat an artificial, supplemented diet and live in polluted water that is released into the environment whether farmed inland or off coast.

Genetic variation is the key to survival. With variation, if the environment changes, those individuals with the right variation in their genes will be most able to survive, to adapt and to regenerate a population. That is why it is important to sustain a lot of different, varied individuals in the population, in the clan, in the tribe. Genetic diversity for living organisms is the biological foundation for long term survival, for adaptation to environmental changes and is essential to species for sustaining fit populations for future generations. Genetic diversity is essential for all life on earth to survive climate changes.

The old-growth forest of Atlantic salmon was the entire set of all native salmon genes required for response and adaptation to new environments, the genetic set encompassing all salmon diversity, before the beginning of overfishing and the industrial era of H. sapiens sapiens. This forest of genetic diversity stood, so to speak, in wild swimming, individual, native salmon genomes (not laboratories!) and was acquired over millennia of biological and environmental changes by natural selection. The old-growth forest contained the wild genes of each fish, a reliable molecular network, co-adapted, set like jewels in a biological filigree, fitness genes in a pedigree of clans that salmon had naturally conserved among themselves, to sustain themselves and to protect their own kind from and for environmental changes and to adapt, to diverge and to explore new places in their niches of the living ecosystem of our planet. The old-growth forest was everything genetically needed for wild salmon survival.

Stock salmon cannot survive without human intervention. The overcrowded hatchery conditions in which it grows cause numerous fish body abnormalities and require nutritional supplementation to cover for shortfalls in bone development and other physiological problems.

Protect Whatever Remains

Human cultures rose around the salmon, which has fed and continues to feed a lot of people. In the wild, its orange flesh color comes from its consumption of shrimp and krill and the absorption of these carotenoids into its tissues. These natural pigments may actually have a protective effect for the salmon, as well as nutritional value for its consumers, humans and bears alike. Pellet-fed, farmed salmon must be supplemented to obtain its pink color.

Native, indigenous, wild Atlantic salmon, its distinguished clans and tribes, did not need human help to survive and yet we have lost the salmon to our anthropogenic ways, to overfishing, fish farming, dam construction, inbreeding, poor stock management and environmental degradation. And from these genetically eroded hills has been created a hatchery-dependent, diluted salmon, an inflexible, non-diverse and certainly not wild, genetic copy of salmon that we fish, farm, release and eat and even feed to our pets every day.

Spring Chinook salmon. Photo credit: Michael Humling / U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

More than 99 percent of Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., live only as genetically eroded, hatchery stock fish today. That is a most sobering statistic considering the engineering of the Pacific Chinook salmon growth hormone into the Atlantic salmon genome (see my earlier article here). Whatever remnants still exist of our wild salmon populations must be protected without exception, especially given the potential introduction of a new, genetically engineered salmon to our frankly fragile food web.

Moreover, the pollution and operation of inland fish tanks is costly. At this point in the Anthropocene, conservation interests may want to rise up another step against the introduction of industrialized, non-native food species (call them what you will) into the only biosphere we have in which to live, until we are able to halt any further species genetic erosion. Salmon has been swimming upstream against the depleting force of “genetic erosion" for at least a century, a force that has claimed its wild genome, its clans and its tribes, its genetic diversity and which has nearly eliminated a once self-sustaining, powerful ocean species. Now, salmon cannot live without us.

Atlantic salmon is essentially extinct because we have demanded too much of this natural resource through over-consumption and environmental exploitation. The wild gene forest that once lived, the old trees, the towering antiquarians of genetic variation, are gone, lost in the fire of a rapid, wholesale, industrial Homo sapiens taking, consumed in an anthropocentric fire we could even see burning, when one looks at the timeline of scientific data.

CDC sends warning to hunters after deer with tuberculosis found to transmit bacteria to people

Deer with tuberculosis can transmit bacteria, CDC says

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shared a warning to hunters after a man in Michigan was found to have developed tuberculosis caused by bacteria transmitted from deer carcass.

In a report released this week, the CDC said the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services was notified in 2017 of a 77-year-old man who had tuberculosis caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium bovis or M. bovis.

The man had no history of travel to countries with endemic tuberculosis, had no known exposure to someone with tuberculosis and was a regular hunter who had field-dressed deer in the state for 20 years, according to the CDC.

The man also lived the northeastern Lower Peninsula of Michigan, which has a higher occurrence of M. bovis-positive deer, the CDC said.

After testing, the man was found to have been exposed to M. bovis bacteria. The report suggests that the man may have inhaled the bacteria while field-dressing diseased deer carcasses.

Bovine tuberculosis is an infectious disease that is caused by the bacteria M. bovis. The bacteria is most commonly found in cattle and other animals such as bison, elk, and deer. (Photo credit: Michigan Department of Natural Resources)

Two earlier hunting-related human infections with M. bovis were reported in Michigan in 2002 and 2004. In those cases, the patients had signs and symptoms of active TB and required medical treatment, the CDC said.

Bovine tuberculosis typically spreads through infected droplets when someone sick with TB coughs or sneezes. The bacterial infection usually attacks the lungs, but can also spread to other parts of the body, according to WebMD.

It can be transmitted to humans from direct contact with a wound, such as what might occur during slaughter or hunting, or by inhaling the bacteria in the air exhaled by animals infected with M. bovis, according to the CDC.

M. bovis bacteria is most commonly found in cattle and other animals such as bison, elk, and deer.

Hunters are encouraged to use protective equipment while field-dressing deer. The CDC said those in Michigan who submit deer heads that test positive for the bacteria M. bovis could be at a higher risk for infection and advise getting screened for tuberculosis.

In 2018, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources called bovine TB an “emerging disease” after the 73rd cattle herd was identified with bovine TB in the state since 1998.

This story was reported from Cincinnati.

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